(OTTAWA) — Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands) is joining a UK Green Party member of the European Parliament to demand answers about the role of the Canadian company AggregateIQ (AIQ) in influencing elections, specifically the 2016 Brexit vote.
In the House of Commons today, Ms. May will ask Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould if AIQ’s manipulative techniques in influencing elections are compatible with Canada’s commitment to free and fair elections and whether the company’s acquisition of Facebook profiles contravenes Canadian data protection laws.
Her question comes in the wake of allegations that Britain’s Vote Leave campaign sidestepped Brexit spending limits and spent £2.7million (C$4.9 million) with AIQ, apparently for opaque technologies based on apps and web assets to covertly influence voting decisions through micro-targeted messaging on social media platforms.
“Canadian Greens are working in partnership with our Green colleagues in the UK who opposed Brexit and are deeply worried that manipulation of digital information influenced the result,” said Ms.May.
The Victoria-based firm is also accused of having close associations with Cambridge Analytica, which has controversially helped influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election and other elections around the world. Vote Leave director Dominic Cummings claimed that Brexit could not have won without the work of AIQ.
Molly Scott Cato, a Green Member of the European Parliament, said: “From the US to the UK and from India to Nigeria, the political manipulators and their devastating impacts are being felt across the world. This needs a global response. As a global movement, Greens are determined to challenge the forces that are undermining democracy whenever and wherever this occurs.
“I am delighted that we can work cooperatively with our sister party in Canada as we seek to expose the underhand tactics that firms like AIQ and Cambridge Analytica are using to unduly influence and even determine elections.”
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