ICC Calls for Investigation into the Activities of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD)

In recent weeks several concerning stories have been reported in news media that are of direct concern to Canadian politicians and citizens regarding the activities of the American organization Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. The Iranian Canadian Congress calls for investigation into the activities of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD):

Over the past two weeks, several concerning stories have been reported in news media that are of direct concern to Canadian politicians and citizens. Though we cannot independently confirm this news, several reputable outlets have verified and reported this news and so it is our opinion that this news must be taken seriously. This news contains several worrying revelations about the American organization Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD). The FDD is a Washington-based American organization which has been referred to as an expert and has been invited to give testimony by Canadian parliamentarians numerous times in recent years.

Since 2012, the FDD has appeared over 10 times in House Committees and several times in Senate Committees to discuss Canada’s Middle East policy, our immigration and citizenship policies, and security issues. A series of leaked emails released last week between the UAE Ambassador to the United States and top FDD executives suggest a remarkable degree of cooperation between the UAE, the FDD, and other foreign governments, particularly Saudi Arabia. Most concerning is that these emails show that the FDD had a “target list” of companies which they directed foreign powers, including Saudi Arabia, to punish for acting against FDD priorities. One of the companies included in the target list is Canadian aerospace company Bombardier for its intention to enter the Iranian market after the Nuclear Deal signed between Iran and the P5+1 world powers (formally known as the JCPOA).

What these emails may show is a foreign organization coordinating with foreign countries to harm an economically and politically important Canadian company -- by attempting to block the efforts of Bombardier to expand its export market. Furthermore, this foreign organization introduces itself as a “think-tank” and its members participate in committee hearings as experts; however, these news reports and leaks suggest that the FDD’s intention is to influence and lobby our parliamentarians in advancing its agenda without regard for Canadian interests.

Clearly, if this is the case, it constitutes a completely unacceptable development and represents a direct threat to the integrity of our Canadian political system. We at the Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC), as a Canadian organization advocating on behalf of Canadians of Iranian heritage:

  • Request an immediate investigation by responsible authorities into the activities of the FDD for any possible violation of the Lobbying Act and to ensure their full compliance with the Act. We request the results of the investigation to be published publicly.
  • Further request that all Canadian parliamentarians and parliamentary committees place a moratorium on any further consultation with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) until the investigation is completed.

We hold that Canada’s open and democratic system must be protected from threats to its integrity. We believe that the above publicly available content warrants investigation by Canada's politicians and responsible authorities.

Contact Person:

Pouyan Tabasinejad

Policy Chair

Iranian Canadian Congress

policy@iccongress.ca

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The Iranian Canadian Congress is a non-profit, non-partisan and non-religious organization established in 2007 to represent the interests of Iranian-Canadians and encourage their participation in Canadian society.

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