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Canada looks to prevent foreign interference in vote

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Ottawa (AFP)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government unveiled legislation Monday aimed at safeguarding Canada's elections from cyber threats and "foreign interference."

The draft bill -- coming after accusations of Russia meddling in the last US election, which Russia has denied -- would also place caps on campaign spending, impose privacy rules on voter information and limit campaigns to no more than 50 days.

Canada's next federal election is scheduled for 2019.

"With the passage of this bill," acting Democratic Institutions Minister Scott Brison told a news conference, "foreign entities will no longer be able to spend money to influence federal elections."

Currently, foreign entities can spend up to Can$500 ($390 US) on election advertising. Under the proposed measure, Canadian advertisers would not be allowed to knowingly accept monies from foreigners to influence elections.

Political parties would also have to disclose what voter information they collect and how they use it, in an effort to make data use more transparent.

And, the bill would repeal a statute passed by the previous Tory administration that prohibits Canadians living abroad for more than five years from voting, affecting more than one million Canadians abroad.

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