Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act

An Act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and other Acts

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.

Sponsor

Steven Blaney  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act to give greater protection to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s human sources. Also, so as to enable the Service to more effectively investigate threats to the security of Canada, the enactment clarifies the scope of the Service’s mandate and confirms the jurisdiction of the Federal Court to issue warrants that have effect outside Canada. In addition, it makes a consequential amendment to the Access to Information Act.

The enactment also amends the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act to allow for the coming into force of provisions relating to the revocation of Canadian citizenship on a different day than the day on which certain other provisions of that Act come into force.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Feb. 2, 2015 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
Jan. 28, 2015 Passed That Bill C-44, An Act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and other Acts, {as amended}, be concurred in at report stage [with a further amendment/with further amendments] .
Jan. 28, 2015 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-44, An Act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and other Acts, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at report stage of the Bill and one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at report stage and on the day allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the Bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
Nov. 18, 2014 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-44, An Act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and other Acts, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, the member is wrong. First, this bill is not addressing the police or the RCMP, but clarifying the role of our national security agency. It is to clarify and make sure that CSIS, our Canadian security service, continues to do what it has always done, which is to share information with our partners. We do not need a decade of debate to say that it is quite logical that CSIS shares information on Canadian-born individuals who represent a threat, whether they are abroad or return.

I am sure that Canadians and constituents across the country are telling politicians to make sure that our national security agency has the appropriate tools to do its job and protect us. What is in front of us is a fairly clear bill that has two main goals, to clarify—which is probably something that should have been done when we created CSIS, but at that time it did not seem necessary—that CSIS has a mandate to operate, and to be able to track and share information on those individuals who are either in Turkey or Iraq and willing to commit terrorist attacks, or even worse, who are willing to come back and commit terrorist attacks elsewhere and on our own ground.

That is a fairly good reason to proceed, to move forward, and to have this bill adopted by the House so that CSIS can have the tools needed to protect and keep Canadians safe.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:10 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, as we have now had the 85th motion for time allocation in the House, breaking all historic records, with all due respect to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, this is now a debate on the anti-democratic tendencies of the Conservative administration to consistently shut down debate time after time.

Last week in my riding of Saanich—Gulf Islands, when the Right Hon. Joe Clark addressed a non-partisan event sponsored by my riding association, he said that the Canadian Parliament and the Canadian Prime Minister are currently in violation of the Magna Carta. We have violated our fundamental connection to representative democracy, and it is evidenced by the continual use of measures to shove through bills without adequate debate, particularly to the detriment of members such as myself, who are not able to have time in debate to present a speech.

It is not the minister's decision. I know that. This decision was made by others within the Conservative administration.

It is time to stop shutting down debate. A free and democratic society is what terrorists do not want. Shutting down debate is not in the interests of democracy.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, let me reassure the member that I am fully comfortable that there is a balance between debate and action. Canadians expect politicians from all parties to debate in a democracy, and we are all going to debate. We are not done. Once we adopt this motion, hopefully, we will have time to debate. We are just saying that we will not debate over and over or time and time again. Why? It is because we need action.

We have CSIS at this point in time. We do not want those who protect us to be blind. We want them to share information. Actually, that is one principle of democracy. To protect our democracy, we have to provide those who protect us with the legal authority, and that is exactly what this bill would do.

I will mention again, though I have mentioned it over and over again through the previous 20 hours of debate, that there are provisions not only to protect witnesses but to protect their privacy. This bill fully complies with the Constitution, contrary to what I would call the ridiculous assumption made by my colleague in the NDP. I can reassure the member that when the government tables legislation, it makes sure that it complies with Canadian law.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:10 p.m.
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NDP

Denis Blanchette NDP Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is the 85th time allocation motion.

Once again, the government is disrespecting the people's house. In the parliamentary process, there are steps we have to follow. I do not understand why a minister would not want to listen to the experts and accept amendments to improve his bill. I do not understand what he is trying to achieve with all of this. He says there has to be a balance between action and debate. That is great, but only if there is a real debate.

My question for the minister is therefore very simple. What is he afraid of that is prompting him to prevent and restrict debate? What is he afraid of?

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Louis-Hébert for his question.

I am certain that this bill will allow the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to allay Canadians' legitimate concerns over the terrorist threat. This bill will allow our protective services to share information and will confirm their ability to operate outside Canada. It is quite simple. I am pretty sure my colleague agrees with the substance of the issue. That is what is at the heart of the bill.

The other part of the bill is about ensuring that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has reliable sources. There is always a bond of trust that is established between the source and the service, and it is important to protect that because those people put their lives at risk when they agree to turn over information that can save lives here and elsewhere.

This bill clarifies the role of the service and confirms its ability to operate abroad and, more specifically, and I want to repeat this, share information about and track people, potentially Canadians, who may have left the country for terrorist purposes.

We will share this information with our partners and allies, such as the French. All nations throughout the world are bringing in measures in keeping with their constitutional framework in order to protect democracy. That is the purpose of this bill.

This bill will help allay Canadians' legitimate concerns over the terrorist threat. I am sure that the people of Louis-Hébert will be pleased and will sleep better at night once this bill passes, because these services will then have the legal authority they need to protect Canadians.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, this place is all about process. I do not just mean Parliament, but Ottawa. It is all about process. That is important. There needs to be process, but there also need to be results and action, especially when something is critical and especially when Canadians are demanding something like their personal safety.

October 20 and October 22 were wake-up calls. They should have been wake-up calls for even the sleepiest of Canadians. It could have been so much worse on both of those days, especially on October 22, if the people involved had been better organized, better equipped, and so on. They were not, and we are thankful for that, but they were bad enough.

There is a whole bunch of other people out there who are probably better organized and better equipped, and the clock may be ticking. We do not know that. We know that there are at least 140 out there. If CSIS and others say that there are 140, we can bet that there are a whole lot more than that.

I would like to ask the minister about the urgency of this matter. In the American experience after 9/11, one of the biggest problems the Americans had was that there so many silos and disconnects between all of the different parts of the apparatus of the American security system. When they looked back on it, it was all there. Everything about 9/11 was there, but they just had not talked to each other. They just had not shared.

I know that the same situation exists among Canada's security services, whether it is CSIS, CSEC, the DND, or the CRA. Those disconnects exist.

I would like to ask the minister about the urgency and the timeliness that is required to connect those disconnects, because the clock is ticking.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Edmonton Centre for his question and also tell this House I feel privileged to sit with a member who is not only serving his constituents now as a remarkable member of Parliament but who has also served our country under the flag and has had a remarkable career in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

I was given the privilege of travelling with the member. He is a strong advocate not only of the Canadian Armed Forces but of the men and women who wear and have worn the uniform. He is very involved with veterans, especially with those who fought and flew during the Second World War.

As of today, Mr. Cauchy is in Quebec. He is a proud Quebecker who flew during the Second World War and fought for liberty and freedom. He is not that young, but he is in pretty good shape, and friends of mine were able to give him a tribute today.

My concern now is that when our law enforcement agency and our national security agencies do not have the tools necessary to protect us, every day that passes in this country is a concern. This is a concern for this House. This is a concern for all Canadians, and it is also a responsibility for politicians of all party stripes to take action.

We have been given an opportunity to take action. At the end of this day, this bill will not have been adopted. We still need to get it through the Senate and get royal assent. However, this is an important bill to protect Canadians, and I believe we should do our utmost to get it through.

We will have a fair debate, but once we have a debate, we need action, and it is time for action in this country to fight terrorism.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:20 p.m.
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NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is going to be a problem having the Senate act as a safeguard because of the number of empty seats at present.

First, I am going to correct the minister because he obviously has a short memory when it comes to the speech given by French President François Hollande in the House on November 3. Mr. Hollande absolutely did not say what the minister reported. He spoke about a terrorist-inspired attack, which is a very important nuance.

I hope that the minister will recognize that. I believe that the minister is twisting words in order to take a very simplistic approach to a very important debate.

The right of all Canadians to be properly represented in the House and to have a full debate on fundamental issues that will truly affect their lives is being violated for the 85th time.

Bill C-44 will profoundly change Canadians' ability to understand the extent to which secret activities are carried out and the consequences this will have. This could lead to very serious abuses.

Clearly, the minister is dismissing the concerns people may have about the consequences of actions taken by a government agency.

How can the minister once again justify this time allocation and the end of debate in the chamber that represents the people, the chamber of the truly elected, here in this Parliament?

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my colleague that the purpose of the motion is not to put an end to the debate but to manage and limit it. That being said, it is urgent that we pass this bill. Since the tragic incident in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in mid-October and the events here in Ottawa, which resulted in the death of Mr. Cirillo, we have unfortunately seen terrorist attacks in Australia and more recently in Paris.

We are working closely with the French authorities. Obviously, President Hollande is working with our Prime Minister. My counterpart, Minister Cazeneuve, is taking action on the ground. We have seen it. The minister has proposed legislative measures and arrests have been made recently in southern France.

Like us, the French are working together to combat terrorism. More specifically, we are working together on the ground in Iraq, using air strikes to eliminate this terrorist threat. It is a threat on all fronts. We have law enforcement agencies and a national security agency to protect Canadians and Canadian soil. It is important to give those agencies the tools they need, restore their abilities and make sure that they are not completely in the dark when working outside the country. This bill gives those agencies the tools they need to protect Canadians.

I encourage my colleague to do the right thing this once by setting aside partisanship and supporting a bill that will reassure Quebeckers and all Canadians.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, those were great remarks by the Minister of Public Safety. The problem is that the remarks do not relate to Bill C-44, on which the government has introduced closure. The bill he is talking about sounds to me more like the bill that may be coming on Friday.

This bill really does nothing to address the national security concerns that have been raised as a result of the Quebec activity, the incident in Ottawa, or what has happened in Paris. We expect that to be in a new bill. This bill basically brings into law some of the practices that CSIS is now utilizing and protects CSIS sources. What the minister is trying to put urgency on is not in this bill.

This is advice for the government. If the government would work with us at committee and seriously look at some of the recommendations and the amendments we make, take them seriously to improve the bill and allow us to bring in more than just a couple of witnesses to try to satisfy our needs, bring in witnesses with expertise, then it might find the opposition parties more accommodating. It would allow Parliament to operate like it is supposed to rather than running roughshod over the opposition parties with closure when it wants.

My key point, Mr. Minister, is the bill is not talking about the issues you have been talking about in response to the last questions. It is different from that.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

I agree with him on one point, which is that this is an important bill. This bill targets high-risk travellers and terrorists who could be abroad. The bill also increases our ability to monitor them, so that if they return to the country, we will be in a position to intercept them and prevent them from carrying out terrorist attacks. This bill is very relevant.

However, I agree that other measures are needed, and we intend to propose legislative measures in the House that comply with Canadian laws and that will ensure that our police forces are better able to crack down on this evolving terrorist threat.

I want to take this opportunity to inform my hon. opposition colleague that a technical briefing will be given on these legislative measures. We will contact the offices of the members of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to offer them a technical briefing, as we did with this bill.

Furthermore, during the discussions we had in committee, I noted that the members were knowledgeable about the ins and outs of this bill, which is very clear.

I would like to remind the hon. member for Malpeque that the purpose of this bill is to clarify the role of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. Frankly, this is something we should have done long ago.

In my opinion, the service has the right to operate and conduct its activities outside the country. I do not think we need to spend hours debating that, and the same goes for witness protection. This is a basic principle of justice. Having held very senior positions, the member for Malpeque can see that for himself.

All that being said, I am eager to see this bill move forward so that it can become law in Canada. People sent us here to protect their safety. We have to make sure that they are absolutely safe. We will do that by passing effective laws, and this one is eminently justifiable.

Report StageProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 5:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am not only pleased but proud and privileged to be with a government that has an unwavering commitment to protecting Canadians from radical jihadi terrorists. I am proud of our government's decision to stand with our allies in an international mission to combat the threat ISIL poses to the Middle East, and by extension, to the world. I am proud that when our government says it is committed to giving our security agencies the tools they need to keep Canadians safe, we follow through with decisive action.

In that spirit, I am pleased to rise today in support of the protection of Canada from terrorists bill. As all hon. members know, this bill contains two main measures.

First of all, it will make technical amendments to Canada's Citizenship Act to allow revocation of citizenship provisions to come into force earlier than anticipated. These provisions, which are part of an act that has already received royal assent, include expanded grounds for revocation. This includes authorizing the revocation of the citizenship of individuals engaged in armed conflict with Canada as well as those who have been convicted of terrorism, high treason, or spying.

The bill also provides for a streamlined decision-making process. It will authorize the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration or the Federal Court to make decisions on revoking citizenship from traitors or terrorists.

The second part of this legislation, and what I will focus my remarks on today, are the changes being proposed to strengthen the CSIS Act.

For the last 30 years, CSIS has played a vital, and I would say, valuable role in ensuring a safe and secure Canada. The threats we face as a country today have changed significantly since then. I think all we have to do is look at world events to realize that we do not live in the world of yesterday.

The CSIS Act and the legislation that governs CSIS activities has not changed. With the bill before us, we are taking a critical step toward ensuring that CSIS is well positioned.

Report StageProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 5:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, we are taking a critical step in this government toward ensuring that CSIS is well positioned to confront the terrorist threat as it exists in 2015.

I think it is useful to provide a bit of context about CSIS's work and the associated sections of the CSIS Act that govern that work. Section 12 of the CSIS Act mandates CSIS to collect and analyze intelligence on threats to the security of Canada, and in relation to those threats, to report to and advise the Government of Canada. These threats are specifically defined in the CSIS Act as espionage or sabotage, foreign-influenced activities that are detrimental to the interests of Canada, activities directed toward the threat or use of acts of serious violence, and activities directed toward undermining the system of government in Canada.

Section 16 of the CSIS Act authorizes CSIS to collect within Canada foreign intelligence related to the capabilities, intentions, or activities of any foreign state or group of foreign states. This is subject to the restriction that its activities cannot be directed at Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or corporations.

Sections 13, 14, and 15 authorize CSIS to provide security assessments to the Government of Canada, provincial governments, and other Canadian and foreign institutions, to provide advice to ministers of the crown on matters related to the Citizenship Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and to conduct investigations required to perform all these functions.

Clearly, all of these are very challenging mandates. Fulfilling these mandates means that CSIS has to use a suite of investigative techniques that can include, for instance, open-source research, physical surveillance, interviews, and analyzing intelligence from a wide variety of sources, among others. What is particularly important to note here is the importance that human resources play in allowing CSIS to fulfill its mandate to investigate and to advise on threats to Canada's security.

Other techniques used by CSIS are more intrusive in nature. These techniques may include, among others, searches of a target's place of residence and analysis of financial records or telecommunications intercepts.

CSIS is required to obtain warrants under the CSIS Act to pursue intrusive investigative techniques. In order to obtain a warrant, CSIS must satisfy a designated Federal Court judge that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a warrant is required to enable CSIS to investigate a threat to the security of Canada or to perform its duties and functions under section 16 of the CSIS Act. The CSIS Act also requires the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to approve warrant applications before they are submitted to the Federal Court, which is a very sold failsafe method. In addition, co-operation with domestic agencies is also critical.

Section 17 of the CSIS Act authorizes CSIS, with the approval of the minister, to co-operate with any department of the Government of Canada or the government of a province or any police force in a province. Therefore, CSIS works closely with the RCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency, other government departments, and police forces across Canada.

When it comes to investigating threat-related activities occurring outside of Canada, CSIS's relationship with the Communications Security Establishment Canada, or CSE, is particularly important. CSIS relies heavily on the capabilities and the expertise of CSE to conduct telecommunications intercepts outside of Canada. CSE's legal authority to provide assistance to CSIS stems from subsection 273.64(1)(c) of the National Defence Act.

The CSIS Act authorizes CSIS to enter into an arrangement or to otherwise co-operate with the government of a foreign state, or an institution of that state, with the approval of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness after consulting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Co-operation with foreign entities is critical to CSIS's ability to fulfill its mandate. Individuals being investigated often leave Canada to engage in a range of threat-related activities, and no country can assess the full range of threats on its own. CSIS must be able to work with foreign partners, subject to oversight by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and review by the Security Intelligence Review Committee.

Now that I have outlined some of the important work that CSIS does and how the CSIS act allows for it, I will speak to how this bill would allow CSIS to more effectively operate in the evolving threat environment.

Specifically, this bill would confirm CSIS' authority to conduct investigations outside of Canada related to threats to the security of Canada and security assessments. It would also confirm that the Federal Court can issue warrants for CSIS to investigate, within or outside Canada, threats to the security of Canada. It would also give the Federal Court the authority to consider only relevant Canadian law when issuing warrants to authorize CSIS to undertake certain intrusive activities outside of Canada. It would protect the identity of CSIS human resources from disclosure, and it would protect the identity of CSIS employees who are likely to become involved in covert activities in the future.

These are all measured changes that would amend the legislation governing CSIS' activities so that it has the clear ability and authority to investigate threats to the security of Canada wherever and whenever they may occur.

It is clear that our Conservative government does take the protection of Canadians most seriously. Unfortunately, it seems that some of the other parties do not share our view that these are most serious issues in need of most serious solutions.

The leader of the NDP has determined that our government is playing politics with the issue of terrorism, and he is not convinced that Canada was the victim of two terrorist threats in late October. It is incredible. These views, offensive as they may be—and I do find them offensive personally—are certainly predictable. Remember, this is the same NDP leader who said he did not believe that the U.S. military had really killed Osama bin Laden.

Where can we start with the Liberal Party? It was the Liberal Party leader who recently said we should not fight to destroy and degrade ISIL because he does not believe that we can win against a barbaric group of deranged jihadists.

Despite all of this, I believe that we, as a government and as parties respectively, can come together. I urge all members to support this legislation to allow us to move to the earlier implementation of certain changes to Canadian citizenship laws and to allow CSIS to carry out its vital work in the threat environment of the present day.

Report StageProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 5:20 p.m.
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NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech, despite the insults that he threw in at the end.

The really important thing about this bill is that in the committee process, the NDP proposed a number of very reasonable amendments that the government could have accepted or at least discussed or debated. As things stand now, in fact, CSIS cannot legally conduct extraterritorial surveillance activities. This bill aims to correct that.

There is another important aspect. The amendments we proposed were meant to make the director of CSIS accountable for secret surveillance activities conducted abroad. This will not be the case, because under the bill as it stands, an employee designated by the minister will be accountable for those activities.

I would like to ask my colleague why it is not the director of CSIS who would be accountable for secret activities conducted abroad, and why a straw man should be chosen to do it instead?

Report StageProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 5:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, with all respect, the member is wrong. There would be three levels of accountability that can and will and must take place.

First of all, there has to be a warrant from the Federal Court. The judge must rule that there is valid evidence to conclude that it would be beneficial. It also has to be approved by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Of course, it is also subject to the scrutiny of the Communications Security Establishment.