Last Updated on February 13, 2022
The Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) recently pushed a conspiracy theory that Freedom Convoy protests are being organized by the Russian government. The network spoke with “cybersecurity expert” David Shipley, who claimed without evidence, that Russian intelligence agencies were behind the creation of multiple Freedom Convoy Facebook groups. The network has pushed the conspiracy multiple times since the protests began a little over two weeks ago.
“Who would have reason right now to cause as much chaos in Canada as possible?” Shipley asked rhetorically. “Well, at the top of that list is Russia.”
Shipley claimed it was “very likely” that Facebook groups used by protesters were created by Russian assets. “This is the Russian internet research agency playbook,” Shipley said of the Facebook groups. The “cybersecurity expert” did not provide any examples or list which groups he believed to be connected with the Russian government, saying only that the groups allow “hundreds of thousands of people to communicate.”
He was then asked what Canada could do to “eliminate the online threat that Canada faces”, to which Shipley called for increased regulation and suppression of certain topics through social media algorithms.
The network had previously pushed the conspiracy theory during an interview with Canadian Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino. “I don’t know if it’s far fetched to ask, but there is concern that Russian actors could be continuing to fuel things as this protest grows, but perhaps even instigating it,” said a CBC anchor. Mendicino opted not to answer when questioned on potential Russian involvement, deferring to the department.
— True North (@TrueNorthCentre) January 29, 2022
Mendicino has previously stated that he intends to “investigate” Americans who have donated to the Freedom Convoy through GoFundMe and later GiveSendGo, however. The Trudeau government has repeatedly blamed the protests on outside influence from the U.S., though they have yet to allege Russian involvement.