Liberals to create new watchdog to oversee spies, security agencies

Discussion in 'Canada' started by shockedcanadian, Jun 22, 2017.

  1. shockedcanadian

    shockedcanadian Platinum Member

    Aug 6, 2012
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    This is where PM Trudeau can make major inroads into Canadas abusive security apparatus. Bring Libertarian values to the forefront, protect Canadian democracy and try and salvage our reputation with our allies.

    Canadian police have zero oversight, it's one of the reasons they so actively engage in interference in American and European corporations.

    Liberals to create new watchdog to oversee spies, security agencies

    The federal government is making one of the most important changes to its anti-terrorism regime in decades, adding layers of new civilian oversight over all operations undertaken in the name of national security.

    In an age of growing concerns over terrorism, the government’s proposed anti-terrorism legislation does not add any new powers to its main spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

    Instead, the government’s proposed National Security Act would put the activities of all national-security agencies under the scope of a new super-watchdog called the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA). The new oversight body would review the operations of the CSIS, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) and the RCMP’s national-security operations, among others.
    Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the new agency will do a better job than the existing patchwork of watchdogs because it will be able to review national-security operations across all agencies simultaneously. “The stovepipes are gone,” Mr. Goodale said.

    National-security expert Craig Forcese said Bill C-59 constitutes “the biggest reform” to Canada’s national-security framework since the creation of CSIS in 1984.

    The government is also looking to hire a new Intelligence Commissioner to provide independent approval of some of the more contentious operations undertaken by CSIS and CSE. The new Commissioner will be a retired judge who will be asked to approve authorizations for operations such as the acquisition of large volumes of personal information (known as datasets) and foreign cyberoperations.

    The Liberals had promised in the previous election to revamp the Conservative government’s Anti-Terrorism Act, but this proposed legislation goes much further with the proposed new oversight mechanism.

    “There will no longer be artificial barriers between the review of what the RCMP does, and the review of what CSIS does, and the review of what CSE does, or indeed any other agency that acts for national security reasons,” said Kent Roach, a law professor and national security expert at the University of Toronto. “It’s a big plus.”

    However, the Conservatives blasted the government for limiting CSIS’s ability to disrupt potential terrorist threats and target would-be terrorists in order to better respect Charter rights.

    “Liberals don’t take public safety seriously,” Conservative MP Erin O’Toole said. “It’s a dangerous step back from certain provisions that allowed law enforcement to intercede when there was a threat to public safety in Canada.”

    The main new powers in the legislation are provided to the CSE, which conducts electronic surveillance and offers cybersecurity expertise to the government. For the first time, CSE would be able to work with the Canadian Armed Forces to engage in cyberoperations to “disrupt the capabilities and activities” of foreign-based entities, instead of simply using defensive methods to protect Canadian assets.

    “We know about the increased threat of cyberattacks, and Canadians expect us to make sure that we have all the necessary tools to protect our infrastructure and our security,” Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said.

    In relation to CSIS, Bill C-59 recognizes the spy agency’s right to obtain and retain datasets that contain large volumes of information on Canadians (such as a list of stolen passports) and foreigners (such as a list of people who crossed a border in a war zone).

    Under this regime, CSIS would need to make an application to the Federal Court to use and retain datasets involving Canadians. Regarding foreign datasets, which contain mostly information on non-Canadians outside of Canada, the Intelligence Commissioner would be able to approve their retention.

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