According to the National Post (NP), a recently released report by Canada’s military stated that it took advantage of the COVID pandemic to test some of its propaganda techniques on Canadians. The NP received the report through an Access to Information request.
Normally, such propaganda strategies are only employed upon enemies, but the NP reports that, “those in the command saw the pandemic as a ‘unique opportunity’ to test out such techniques on Canadians“.
The Canadian government did not approve or even know about the military’s propaganda attacks that were launched in April 2020. Canada’s military leaders did not believe they needed the approval of the Canadian government to do it.
The National Post explains:
The plan devised by the Canadian Joint Operations Command, also known as CJOC, relied on propaganda techniques similar to those employed during the Afghanistan war. The campaign called for “shaping” and “exploiting” information. CJOC claimed the information operations scheme was needed to head off civil disobedience by Canadians during the coronavirus pandemic and to bolster government messages about the pandemic.
This is not the first time we have seen Canada’s military take such actions. Earlier this year (April 2021), the Ottawa Citizen reported that that Canada’s military was keen on setting up a propaganda office to shape people’s opinions and beliefs.
The Ottawa Citizen explains (notice specifically the second paragraph where it reports that the military even “FORGED letters from the Nova Scotia government” in one trial run):
The Canadian Forces wants to establish a new organization that will use propaganda and other techniques to try to influence the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of Canadians, according to documents obtained by this newspaper.
The plan comes on the heels of the Canadian Forces spending more than $1 million to train public affairs officers on behaviour modification techniques of the same sort used by the parent firm of Cambridge Analytica, as well as a controversial and bizarre propaganda training mission in which the military forged letters from the Nova Scotia government to warn the public that wolves were wandering in the province.