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In today's Morning Brief, two landmark reports have flagged federal nomination races as "particularly vulnerable" to foreign interference and a "gateway" for meddling by foreign states — but the parties have shown little interest to date in making changes.

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Nomination races are a 'gateway' for foreign interference. Is anyone doing anything about it?

Two landmark reports have flagged federal nomination races as "particularly vulnerable" to foreign interference and a "gateway" for meddling by foreign states — but the parties have shown little interest to date in making changes.

Earlier this month, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) — a cross-partisan committee of MPs and senators — released a heavily redacted document detailing how foreign interference is infiltrating Canadian politics.

Liberal MP David McGuinty, chair of the committee, said nomination contests and leadership races are a "critical gap" and an avenue for foreign interference.

"We came face to face with the troubling intelligence that nomination processes and leadership races are particularly vulnerable to foreign interference," he told a Senate committee last week.

WATCH | Focusing on parliamentarians' names misses bigger picture, says NSICOP chair:

As his committee's report noted, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) considers the process for nominating candidates to run for federal office "a particularly soft target for several reasons."

For starters, says the NSICOP report, many ridings are considered "safe seats," so clinching the nomination can secure a seat without the foreign state having to interfere in the election itself.

The report points out that each political party has its own rules and requirements for participating in a nomination contest, such as a minimum age or residency requirement, or payment of a party membership fee. Some parties also allow non-citizens to register as party members and vote in a nomination, as long as they live in the riding.

"CSIS assesses that it is relatively easy to fraudulently add voters who live outside a riding to a nomination process's voter list with inaccurate addresses," says the NSICOP report.

"It is also reportedly relatively easy to show an altered phone bill with the wrong address, or a fraudulent letter from a school, in order to vote in a nomination."

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In one case reviewed by the committee, Pakistan interfered in candidate nominations and worked to support a preferred candidate's election by mobilizing voters and raising funds. The specific details were redacted from the public version.

NSICOP is not alone in its assessment. The public inquiry investigating foreign election meddling called party nominations a "gateway" for foreign interference.

"From the evidence I have heard so far (which has mainly concerned the LPC), the eligibility criteria for voting in nomination contests do not seem very stringent, and the control measures in place do not seem very robust," wrote Commissioner Marie-Josée Hogue in her initial report last May.Read the full story here.

Headwear for the horse crowd

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(Alberto Pezzali/The Associated Press)

Vivienne Jenner wears an ornate hat as she poses for the photographers on the first day of the Royal Ascot horse races at Ascot, England, on Tuesday.

In brief

The cabinet minister in charge of the federal treasury says it doesn't make sense to pour vast amounts of money into the Department of National Defence (DND) until it has the capacity to spend what it's being given.Treasury Board President Anita Anand, a former defence minister, waded into the debate over Canada's apparent inability to meet the NATO benchmark of spending two per cent of the country's gross domestic product on the military. Her remarks came Tuesday, ahead of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's visit to Ottawa today, where he's expected to meet privately with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Canada has been under increasing pressure from allies — and from critics at home — to publicly chart a path toward meeting NATO's spending goal for member states. DND has for years been unable to spend its entire annual appropriation from the federal treasury — a fact Anand underlined as she defended the government's reluctance to come up with a plan to hit two per cent. "I would like to stress to the media that it is fairly superficial to only speak about two per cent without examining how the funding is going to be spent in the short and the long term," she said.Read the full story here.

An Ontario judge "very reluctantly" agreed to postpone the sentencing of disgraced fashion mogul Peter Nygard on Monday in a case that has dragged on since the convicted sex offender was found guilty of four counts of sexual assault last fall.In recent days, Nygard hired his third lawyer in the case, Winnipeg-based Gerri Wiebe, who requested the sentencing be pushed back for 30 to 60 days so she could get up to speed on her new client's case. Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Goldstein agreed to the request "very, very reluctantly," he said, but expressed reservations given several delays in the high-profile case have occurred since Nygard was convicted of four counts of sexual assault on Nov. 12.Read the full story here.

The former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations is suing the advocacy organization for $5 million following her dramatic ouster.RoseAnne Archibald, the first woman ever to lead the AFN, is seeking damages from her former workplace for defamation of character, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and negligence. She names the AFN, its executive committee and all the regional chiefs who sat on that committee while she was in office as respondents. The allegations are contained in a notice of motion filed with the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. They have not been proven in court. The move comes one year after Archibald was removed from the top job by AFN chiefs during a special virtual meeting in response to two outside probes that concluded she had harassed AFN staff.Read the full story here.

Connor McDavid scored twice and had two assists as the Edmonton Oilers beat the Florida Panthers 5-3 last night to force Game 6 in their Stanley Cup final series.Connor Brown, Zach Hyman and Corey Perry also scored for the Oilers, while netminder Stuart Skinner made 30 saves. The Oilers have now won two straight games but still trail 3-2 in the series. Game 6 goes Friday in Edmonton. Game 7, if necessary, would be Monday back in South Florida.Read the full story here.

WATCH lMcDavidcontinues top post-season form, helps Oilers avoid elimination in Game 5:

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McDavid scores twice in four point night as Oilers claim Game 5 win

6 days ago

Duration 2:46

Now here's some good news to start your Wednesday:Daniel Rust isn't finished his university education, but after starting a successful painting business, he says he's ready to help another student as they enter school.Rust is a fourth-year architectural engineering student at the University of Waterloo and also owns and operates Capstone Painting. He started the business as a way to pay for school.Now, the 22-year-old is putting up $1,000 for a scholarship to a student who plans to enter the trades.Read the full story here.

First Person:Being laid off feels like a cruel cosmic joke. But I'm learning to see the upside

After she was laid off, Tanya Unger felt the pressure to find another job quickly and pay her bills. However, being a 50-year-old single mom in a highly competitive job market has pushed her to draw on her inner strength and build a new support system.Read her column here.

Front Burner:Why you can't buy a cheap Chinese electric car

China's electric cars are cheap, plentiful and high quality. But Western governments and automakers are determined to keep them out.

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Front Burner21:29Why you can’t buy a cheap Chinese electric car

Today in history: June 19

1815:Artist Cornelius Kreighoff, famed for his portraits of life in 19th-century Quebec, is born in Amsterdam.

1903:The city of Regina is incorporated.

1914:Some 189 people die in the Hillcrest coal mine disaster in the Crowsnest Pass region of Alberta.

2009:Nortel Networks Corp. announces it will sell itself piece-by-piece rather than try to restructure under bankruptcy protection, winding down a company with a 127-year history inCanada.

With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters

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