Canadians should “assume” the threat of foreign interference likely will be higher in the next general election than it was in 2019, said President of the Queen’s Privy Council Dominic LeBlanc. “In the next general election in Canada, I think we should just assume that the threat environment and the threat context has increased since our last election,” he told a virtual news conference about safeguarding elections today. “COVID-19, as we’ve said during this conversation, has given I think energy to different state actors and non-state actors who want to disrupt and sow discord and divide societies or agitate racism and hatred. We’ve seen very ugly examples of that around the world, so we shouldn’t assume those practices should go away during an electoral cycle.” His comments come the same week the Canadian Security Intelligence Service reported the pandemic has led to the highest level of foreign espionage and foreign interference directed at Canadian targets since the end of the Cold War. The spy agency’s assessment said China, Russia, and other foreign states continued to gather political, economic and military information in Canada last year.