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Portions of a military information campaign meant to influence the Canadian public during the COVID-19 pandemic continued to operate months after the chief of the defence staff at the time ordered it shut down in the spring of 2020, CBC News has learned. The Canadian military recently conducted four reviews of controversial initiatives. A copy of one of those reviews was obtained by CBC News under access to information legislation. That review shows that even after the then-chief of the defence staff, Jonathan Vance, verbally called off the overall influence campaign in April 2020, some influence activities aimed at Canadians carried on for another six months — until Vance issued a written edict in November 2020. “The public affairs, [civil-military cooperation] and influence activities that were taking place, particularly within [Joint Task Force Central], did not stop,” says the review document, which looked at the origins of the influence campaign. The review’s conclusion is significant because Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan assured Parliament last year that the activities were halted almost immediately after they got underway.

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