Evidence of meeting #14 for Public Safety and National Security in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was agencies.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Jim Judd  Director, Canadian Security Intelligence Service
  • William Sweeney  Senior Deputy Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Myles Kirvan  Associate Deputy Minister, Deputy Minister's Office, Department of Public Safety
  • Marc-Arthur Hyppolite  Senior Deputy Commissioner, Correctional Service Canada
  • Stephen Rigby  President, Canada Border Services Agency

9:50 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

The test I put to Mr. Kennedy is what is the funding he requires to carry out his mandate to respond to complaints, and the funding—

9:50 a.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Don Valley West, ON

He said precisely the opposite. We'll provide your office with a transcript if you haven't seen it. He said exactly the opposite, that he needed considerably more money to do his existing mandate, and he was hoping for an expanded mandate, as Mr. Justice O'Connor had indicated there should be an expanded mandate. And yet in the next year, you have not indicated any further spending.

9:50 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

I don't want to pre-judge the decisions of Parliament on supplementary estimates and on other bodies in the government, but what I have asked him to provide to me is the indication of what resources he needs to respond to his mandate to deal with RCMP complaints. My effort as Minister of Public Safety is to ensure that he has the funding to deal with that statutory mandate.

9:50 a.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Don Valley West, ON

Does the government have $20 million or $25 million available for the next inquiry as a result of the failure to do oversight?

9:50 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

I believe that in terms of his work he will have the funding he requires to carry out his mandate.

9:50 a.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Don Valley West, ON

But do you have money for the next inquiry, when the next Canadian citizen is detained or subject to torture because we have not had the proper ministerial directives to ensure torture isn't taking place?

9:50 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

I presume that's not the citizen complaints commission. I assure you I don't think the RCMP ever goes anywhere close or near to torture.

So in terms of the broader question of information sharing among the intelligence agencies following the Maher Arar inquiry and the O'Connor recommendations, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has implemented recommendations to change its practices with regard to intelligence sharing in particular, being cognizant of the risk of torture. I think those measures are very important. Oversight will of course provide additional reinforcement, but that oversight as a stand-in for public inquiry is hopefully something that won't be required in that case. The substantive recommendations of O'Connor relating to the question of information sharing with other intelligence agencies have been largely implemented by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Mr. Judd, do you want to add anything to that?

9:50 a.m.

Director, Canadian Security Intelligence Service

Jim Judd

I have a couple of points, Minister.

In the case of Mr. Arar, CSIS did not exchange any information on him with any foreign entity at all.

Second, of the 22 or so recommendations in Mr. O'Connor's inquiry, nine applied to CSIS. They've all been implemented.

Third, our policies have been amended on information-sharing practices.

Fourth, our information-sharing activity internationally is annually reviewed externally by the Security Intelligence Review Committee to ensure compliance with our policy and our ministerial directives.

9:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Garry Breitkreuz

Ms. Mourani is next, please, for five minutes.

April 2nd, 2009 / 9:50 a.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Ahuntsic, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Good morning, gentlemen.

Minister, earlier you said that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP have put measures in place to change their practices regarding information obtained by torture. I suppose that's what you were talking about. However, last Tuesday, I asked Mr. O'Brian whether the Canadian Security Intelligence Service used information obtained by torture. He told me, and I quote: “Yes, we use information obtained under torture, but only if lives are at stake.”

Are you aware of, or do you agree with that? What do you think of it?

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

The position of the Government of Canada is quite clear: we do not condone the use of torture in intelligence gathering. Our clear directive to our law enforcement agencies and our intelligence service is that they are not to condone the use of torture, practise torture, or knowingly use any information obtained through torture.

I'll ask Mr. Judd to advise about the position of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service on this.

9:55 a.m.

Director, Canadian Security Intelligence Service

Jim Judd

The minister's position is reflective of the policy of CSIS. We do not condone torture. We do not rely on information obtained by torture.

Mr. O'Brian's testimony the other day will be the subject of clarification from Mr. O'Brian via a letter to the committee today.

9:55 a.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Ahuntsic, QC

If I understand correctly, Mr. O'Brian lied or lost his grip. I don't understand. Why did Mr. O'Brian tell us that and why are you now telling us he will be sending clarification? I admit I'm a bit lost. Mr. O'Brian seemed to me to be an experienced person who had thorough knowledge of your agency. Are there any officers who use information obtained by torture without your knowledge? Is that what you're telling me?

9:55 a.m.

Director, Canadian Security Intelligence Service

Jim Judd

No, I think it's unfortunate that Mr. O'Brian may have been confused in his testimony. He will be clarifying that in a letter to the committee today, as I mentioned. I know of no instance where such use of information has been made by our service.

9:55 a.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Ahuntsic, QC

Let's hope that we won't have any surprises in future, because we'll remember what you've told us today if we eventually see that there are other cases emerging somewhere, other evidence of torture.