An Act to establish the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and to make consequential amendments to certain Acts

Sponsor

Dominic LeBlanc  Liberal

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, law.

Summary

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

This enactment establishes the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and sets out its composition and mandate. In addition, it establishes the Committee’s Secretariat, the role of which is to assist the Committee in fulfilling its mandate. It also makes consequential amendments to certain Acts.

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

April 4, 2017 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
April 4, 2017 Failed That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “Bill C-22, An Act to establish the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and to make consequential amendments to certain Acts, be not now read a third time but be referred back to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security for the purpose of reconsidering Clauses 8, 14, and 16 with a view to assessing whether the investigatory powers and limits defined in these clauses allow for sufficiently robust oversight of ongoing intelligence and national security activities”.
March 20, 2017 Passed That Bill C-22, An Act to establish the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and to make consequential amendments to certain Acts, {as amended}, be concurred in at report stage [with a further amendment/with further amendments] .
March 20, 2017 Passed 16 (1) The appropriate Minister for a department may refuse to provide information to which the Committee would, but for this section, otherwise be entitled to have access and that is under the control of that department, but only if he or she is of the opinion that (a) the information constitutes special operational information, as defined in subsection 8(1) of the Security of Information Act; and (b) provision of the information would be injurious to national security. (2) If the appropriate Minister refuses to provide information under subsection (1), he or she must inform the Committee of his or her decision and the reasons for the decision. (3) If the appropriate Minister makes the decision in respect of any of the following information, he or she must provide the decision and reasons to, (a) in the case of information under the control of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; (b) in the case of information under the control of the Communications Security Establishment, the Commissioner of the Communications Security Establishment; and (c) in the case of information under the control of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Security Intelligence Review Committee.
March 20, 2017 Passed 14 The Committee is not entitled to have access to any of the following information: (a) a confidence of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, as defined in subsection 39(2) of the Canada Evidence Act; (b) information the disclosure of which is described in subsection 11(1) of the Witness Protection Program Act; (c) the identity of a person who was, is or is intended to be, has been approached to be, or has offered or agreed to be, a confidential source of information, intelligence or assistance to the Government of Canada, or the government of a province or of any state allied with Canada, or information from which the person’s identity could be inferred; (d) information relating directly to an ongoing investigation carried out by a law enforcement agency that may lead to a prosecution.
March 20, 2017 Passed to sections 14 and 16, the Committee is entitled to have access to ed by litigation privilege or by solicitor-client privilege or the professional
March 20, 2017 Failed That Motion No. 3 be amended by deleting paragraph (a).
March 20, 2017 Passed and up to ten other members, each of whom must be a (2) The Committee is to consist of not more than three members who are members of the Senate and not more than eight members who are members of the House of Commons. Not more than five Committee members who
March 20, 2017 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-22, An Act to establish the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and to make consequential amendments to certain 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.
Oct. 4, 2016 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

November 15th, 2016 / 3:40 p.m.
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Liberal

The Chair (Mr. Robert Oliphant (Don Valley West, Lib.)) Liberal Rob Oliphant

Good afternoon, and welcome.

I'm calling to order this meeting of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, which is our 42nd meeting of the 42nd Parliament.

We are continuing our study of Bill C-22, an act to establish the national security and intelligence committee of parliamentarians and to make consequential amendments to other acts that are implicated.

We welcome Stephanie Carvin, assistant professor at The Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, and her class, which is with her today, both for learning, hopefully, and for moral support.

Thank you for joining us at our committee meeting today.

Justice John Major was meant to be a witness today as well; however, our time is Eastern Standard Time, and he is on Mountain Time, which puts him two hours out. We may be able to track him down, but if not, we will reschedule him at another meeting.

We will begin with Ms. Carvin. You have 10 minutes, and then the committee will ask you questions.

PrivacyAdjournment Proceedings

November 14th, 2016 / 6:40 p.m.
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Montarville Québec

Liberal

Michel Picard LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his question regarding Canada’s privacy laws and the challenges faced by law enforcement in an era where communications technologies are changing rapidly. As the hon. member knows, these are important issues.

On the one hand, our law enforcement and national security agencies need to be able to collect information and evidence to investigate crimes and protect our national security. At the same time, we must ensure that the authorities that we give these agencies are consistent with our values and our rights and freedoms as set out in the charter.

As well, it is vitally important that the government work with the private sector to ensure that organizations take appropriate steps to protect the information that they receive from Canadians.

That is why the government has launched two sets of consultations. The first set of consultations on cybersecurity was launched on August 16. As hon. members know, the cybersecurity landscape is constantly evolving, and our government is committed to ensuring that Canada is an innovative leader in cybersecurity while also keeping Canadians safe online.

We heard from thousands of Canadians on the cyber security threat and how we can capitalize on the advantages of new technologies and the digital economy. That consultation wrapped up recently, and Public Safety is analyzing the many submissions.

The second set of consultations on national security was launched by both the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness on September 8. These consultations are an invaluable opportunity to engage Canadians on Canada's national security framework. They are an important step toward fulfilling this government's commitment to review Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015.

As part of the consultations on national security, we have invited Canadians to provide feedback on a number of different issues, including how best to ensure that our law enforcement and national security agencies have the tools they need to protect Canadians while simultaneously ensuring that Canadians' rights, including privacy rights, are protected.

We are also inviting Canadians to provide their thoughts on how we can ensure that our national security agencies are accountable to Canadians, and a range of other issues.

We have already begun to make important changes in this regard with the introduction of Bill C-22, the national security and intelligence committee of parliamentarians act. If passed, Bill C-22 would, for the first time, enable parliamentarians to meaningfully review the activities of our national security agencies.

The Government of Canada has two fundamental duties: to protect the safety and security of Canadians, and to uphold the Constitution to ensure that our laws respect the rights and personal freedoms we enjoy in this country.

I look forward to a diverse and vigorous debate on these issues. I hope that hon. members of this House will join Canadians in participating in these important consultations.

Public SafetyOral Questions

November 4th, 2016 / 11:25 a.m.
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Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, in the committee, we have already indicated that we are willing to consider all constructive ideas and amendments.

However, I would point out that the powers presently drafted in Bill C-22 do provide the committee of parliamentarians with the authority to examine current operations.

November 3rd, 2016 / 5:30 p.m.
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NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

I acknowledge my debt.

Mr. Forcese, The Globe and Mail just reported that a Federal Court ruling says CSIS has illegally retained sensitive data on Canadians over a 10-year period. This is the second time in three years the courts have found that CSIS has breached the duty of candour and hidden information from judges. Some of this stems from the powers in Bill C-51.

Professor Forcese, what does this ruling mean in terms of the need to repeal Bill C-51 and strengthen Bill C-22?

November 3rd, 2016 / 5:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Marco Mendicino Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

I actually want to take you to task on that because one of the things that you're advocating for today is levelling the access playing field.

As I look at SIRC and its mandate in the CSIS Act, and I look at the committee of parliamentarians in Bill C-22, they actually do not share the same mandate. I think we could talk a bit about whether or not the parameters are more focused for SIRC, but the point is that they're not identical and that may offer a plausible explanation as to why access would not be the same. In other words, it may very well be that as the committee of parliamentarians gets its footing, in a scenario like the one I've just described, where it would find that it did not have access, it would rely on existing civilian oversight—and we've heard that from Professor Atkey, for example—as a way of referring a matter to that body for the purposes of investigation.

Let me hear your thoughts on that.

November 3rd, 2016 / 5:20 p.m.
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Prof. Craig Forcese

Things playing out organically is the Canadian way, otherwise known as muddling through. It's suboptimal because it creates unnecessary conundrums. Ron Atkey, in his prior testimony, raised concerns about the degree of interface that's now possible, given the current drafting of Bill C-22, between the expert review bodies and the committee.

While there are gateways anticipated, those gateways themselves would be subject to the constraints on access to information by the committee. You could imagine the awkward scenarios that might arise.

November 3rd, 2016 / 5:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Marco Mendicino Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Professors Forcese and Roach thank you for your testimony today.

I want to start by thanking you both for your public support of Bill C-22, although I understand from your testimony that it comes with certain qualifications, and that's part of why we're here, to discuss those qualifications and to see how we might improve on this bill.

On any reading of Bill C-22, this new committee of parliamentarians will be bestowed with a rather broad mandate. You would agree with that sentiment, would you not?

November 3rd, 2016 / 5 p.m.
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Professor, Faculty of Law, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, As an Individual

Prof. Kent Roach

Yes, if there was only one amendment, it would probably be to clause 14, that is, to take out paragraph (g), just to argue that the new parliamentary committee needs the same access as SIRC has, but also needs to work as closely as possible with SIRC, the CSE commissioner, and the RCMP review body. Indeed, I think there is some potential that the secretariat of the new committee, which I think will be critical to its success, could work with those existing review bodies that have the confidence of the agencies. Although the idea of having to win trust from the agencies is not a particularly palatable one for an affected parliamentarian, I think that reforming clause 14, which, as my colleague has said, is a very broadly defined no-go area, will undermine public expectations about what a parliamentary committee could do, say, with respect to something like the Afghan detainees, while working closely with the existing review bodies.

I guess one of my greatest fears about Bill C-22 is that it could lead people to think that this is somehow duplicative of the work of the existing review bodies. The Arar commission found that the review structure was inadequate in 2006, and it could be seen to be much more inadequate today after Bill C-51. There needs to be a very close relationship between the new committee and the existing review bodies. I think this will benefit the executive watchdog review and will help the new parliamentary committee to gain credibility while being educated about where they should be placing their limited resources and time.

November 3rd, 2016 / 4:55 p.m.
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Prof. Craig Forcese

You avoid this issue if you pursue the course that I've suggested, which is to remove clauses 14 and 16 and go with the SIRC-style language about cabinet confidences. You don't have this issue anymore, because now you've moved beyond the dilemma posed by the U.K. language. If you were to persist with some kind of qualification on access to information, I'm not sure I would be as fully comfortable with the U.K. model as were some of the prior witnesses, in part because, if you look at the description, it's quite open-textured, and so the scope is potentially, in practice, broader than the enumerated list that you find in clauses 14 and 16.

In practice, though, the one distinguishing feature in the U.K., as I understand it, is that there's not an absolute bar, and so there's no equivalent to clause 14. Clause 14 in the current Bill C-22 says that you don't get this information ever, regardless of any exercise of discretion by the minister. In the U.K. context, the exclusion of information is discretionary, and the memorandum of understanding with the government and the ISC says that discretion will rarely be exercised. So, if you're going to retain a limitation on committee access to information, remove the idea of absolute bars; leave it as discretionary, and try to circumscribe the conditions under which that discretion would be exercised.

November 3rd, 2016 / 4:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

You mentioned the U.K., so I'd like to turn to access to information with respect to the U.K. committee. My understanding is that information can be excluded from the committee if it's sensitive information and it's information that, in the interests of national security, should not be disclosed to the ISC. Sensitive information is then specifically defined. In Bill C-22, we don't see any dual test; it's just “injurious to national security” and it's completely undefined.

Would you speak to how we might be able to improve it? Should we adopt language from the U.K. if we're to go down that road, or should we just leave it as “injurious to national security”, without any definition whatsoever?

November 3rd, 2016 / 4:45 p.m.
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Professor, Faculty of Law, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, As an Individual

Prof. Kent Roach

Picking up from my colleague who addressed the access to information issues, I want to stress the importance of making the committee as non-partisan as possible and ensure that it has as much expert assistance as it needs.

Starting with subclause 4(2) of Bill C-22, I think there needs to be attention paid to ensure that there is not government domination of the committee. I think subclause 4(2) is a good start, certainly something that we don't see with other parliamentary committees, but of course as members know, the representation in the Senate now is evolving. I think it would be important to make this as nonpartisan as possible.

That brings us to clause 6, which contemplates that the chair of the committee would effectively be a prime ministerial appointment, as opposed to what you heard about in the last testimony, whereby the U.K. allows the members of their committee to elect their own chair. It is a bit concerning that this provision is there, especially when the Prime Minister also plays such a key role with respect to possible redactions from reports. Those features are an area that perhaps should be looked at, in keeping with trying to make the committee as non-partisan as possible.

I would also add that I agree with Mr. Atkey's suggestion that, rather than have the Prime Minister, you would in an ideal world have a neutral third party make a decision about what can go in and what can go out of a committee's report. Like the Federal Court, that provision can balance the competing interests of national security and transparency. Given that such may not and is not likely to be the case, there is a concern about potential government domination of the committee, which could be one factor leading to increased partisanship.

Second, the committee rightly has a very broad mandate, which relates to activities carried out by all departments involving national security or intelligence. This is the sort of whole-of-government mandate that was given to the Arar, the Iacobucci, and the Air India inquiries. I think it is very appropriate, given that we have an all-of-government approach to security. That said, we should not underestimate the steep learning curve that any person would have in exercising an all-of-government mandate.

In this respect, I think it is positive that the proposed committee, unlike most other parliamentary committees, is going to have a dedicated secretariat. I would urge that the secretariat be composed in such a way that there would be the maximum of flexibility in hiring staff, that the secretariat be able to use independent legal advice, be able to use the cadre of security-cleared special advocates, who could pop in on an as-needed basis. Obviously this committee's mandate will evolve over time. At certain times it will need certain expertise, and at other times it will need other expertise. The secretariat, in my view, should be less based on a permanent civil service model than a hire-as-required model.

Those are two of my thoughts about how to create conditions for success for the committee. In addition to full access to information, I think those are critical criteria for success, but it is also critical that the right people be available to assist the committee, and that the committee be as non-partisan as possible.

Thank you very much.

November 3rd, 2016 / 4:30 p.m.
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Prof. Craig Forcese

Thanks very much.

Thank you for inviting me to appear before you. As noted, Professor Roach and I have coordinated our presentations.

I'm going to start off by focusing on why we support Bill C-22, and then outline a key concern, some of which you've heard in the prior presentations, namely the proposed committee's access to information.

Let me begin by looking across the Atlantic. In November 2014, the United Kingdom Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliamentarians published a 200-page report on the intelligence relating to the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby by two terrorists on the streets of south London. That report concluded that seven different security agencies had flagged the two terrorists as persons of interest. Errors were made in these operations, although even without these mistakes, it was unlikely the services would have been able to predict and prevent the murder of Fusilier Rigby.

The report also considered, however, the wider policy implications of its findings. It drew lessons learned and recommendations on how interagency relations could be improved.

Juxtapose this with the situation in Canada. Just over two years ago, Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent were killed by terrorists in separate incidents, including the one that terminated in Parliament itself. We have no public accounting of any real sort of what happened. What did our services know? Why did they make the decisions they did? What are the lessons learned? At best, we have a heavily redacted accounting of the security systems on the Hill, as if the questions concerning national security started only when the terrorist entered the parliamentary precinct.

We do not, in other words, do lessons learned exercises well in Canada. Judicial commissions of inquiry such as that concerning the treatment of Maher Arar or the much delayed review of the Air India bombing investigation are episodic, and once they end, their recommendations usually die with them.

Our existing expert review bodies, meanwhile, are stovepiped to individual agencies and incapable of conducting seamless reviews of operational activities that cross agency boundaries. Their focus is usually on compliance with law and policy, what we call propriety review, and they rarely make recommendations on what we call efficacy questions, that is, how well our national security systems work, and especially work together.

That is why we support Bill C-22. It invests parliamentarians with a serious national security accountability function for the first time in Canadian history, and in that respect, aims to catch up to a role legislators now play in essentially all western democracies. Even more critically, it opens the door for the first time to all-of-government review by a standing body able to follow the thread of its inquiry across departments and to conduct efficacy review, as well as the more classic propriety review. This body will endure, and will be capable of follow-up in a manner impossible for ad hoc commissions of inquiry.

But we support Bill C-22 with serious caveats. The success of the proposed committee of parliamentarians will ultimately depend on three criteria.

First, the parliamentarians undertaking this role must be able to perform their functions in a serious-minded manner, in good faith, and without regulatory capture by the agencies. We need, in other words, the right people. Second, parliamentarians will, in practice, be part-time participants on the review committee, and turnover among parliamentarians will occur, especially between parliaments. A stable, well-resourced expert staff is required to ensure continuity and institutional knowledge, and to ensure that the committee can actually function. Third, the committee must have robust access to secret information.

In my remaining moments, I wish to emphasize this third axiomatic point. Unless the committee can access information allowing it to follow trails, it will give the appearance of accountability without the substance. On this point, unfortunately, if enacted in its present form, the proposed Bill C-22 committee will not be as robust a reviewer as are the existing expert bodies, at least on paper.

For one thing, its capacity in paragraph 8(b) to delve into the actual operational details that are a necessary focus of proprietary review is subject to a veto by the executive. Prior witnesses focused on this issue.

Also, the committee will have a much more limited access to information than at least two of the existing expert bodies. There are two principal reasons for this.

First, under clause 14, there are classes of information the government will automatically deny the committee. Take the example of paragraph 14(b) concerning military intelligence. Again, this was raised by the prior witnesses. I would hazard that this exclusion would mean that the parliamentary committee could not delve into the Afghan detainee affair in any full manner, meaning that we would still be left without any independent body able to get fully to the bottom of that matter.

Likewise, take the example in paragraph 14(e) concerning “ongoing” law enforcement investigations. These can endure essentially indefinitely. The RCMP, even now, decades later, still has an active law enforcement investigation into the 1985 Air India bombing. Even now, the new committee could be denied information concerning the disastrous security and intelligence community conduct in relation to Canada's most horrific terrorist incident.

Even the exception in paragraph 14(d) dealing with sources is potentially far-reaching. The reference to inferences opens the door to carving away considerable swaths of information, especially if the government applies its infamous “mosaic theory”; that is, it posits that individual units of information that are themselves innocuous should not be released since they could be stitched together by an omniscient observer to reveal sensitive information—in this case, informer-identifying information.

On top of that, there is an additional limit: clause 16. It gives every minister responsible for an agency whose information may be in play a limited veto power, allowing the minister to deny the committee something called “special operational information”. The items listed in this concept appear at first blush to be modest in scope, but again would have the effect of excluding information on things like Afghan detainees. There is also that open-ended word, infer, in the governing statute and cross-referenced by Bill C-22, that is, the Security of Information Act, which inevitably would have the effect of greatly broadening the universe of information that ministers can deny the committee.

There are three layers of constraint on the new committee of parliamentarians being an effective review body: clause 8 in paragraph (b), clause 14, and clause 16. It is this triple lock on parliamentary reviews that I feel could well make the committee of parliamentarians stumble.

In sum, Bill C-22 opts for a model that treats parliamentarians as less trustworthy than the often former politicians who sit on SIRC, or the judges who hear security cases, or ministers who sit at the apex of the security and intelligence services. It is not at all clear to me why security-cleared parliamentarians sworn to secrecy, subject to the criminal penalties of the Security of Information Act and stripped of their parliamentary privileges in terms of defending against those charges, are less trustworthy than their former colleagues who often staff review bodies.

I would strongly urge, therefore, amendments that would place the committee on the same footing in terms of access to information as these review bodies: full access to information except for cabinet confidences.

Thank you for your interest.

Opposition Motion—Preferential access to governmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

November 3rd, 2016 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to the motion my party put forward today. One day a week Conservatives get a chance to bring forward a motion that we feel is important and that needs to be talked about.

Right now, Canadians are concerned about jobs and the economy. We looked at this issue and out of respect for Canadian taxpayers, this place, and each one of us as parliamentarians, my party felt it was very important to bring this motion forward today and to deal with it, once and for all. We have been having a very difficult time getting any answers during question period and all we are hearing from the government is what would be described as the doubling down defence of its position.

I will be sharing my time today, Mr. Speaker, with the member for Edmonton West. I look forward to his remarks.

There seems to be a pattern with the Liberals, which we have seen very clearly from the outset. The Liberals say what they think people want to hear. They say what they believe the general public would like to hear. They certainly say what the media would like to hear. They say what they think will sell well on Facebook and social media. They do a very good job of that. Then, in action, they do the exact opposite. We have seen that over and over again.

For me, the examples that have really jumped out are in the budget. Liberals were going to run a very small deficit. Now they are running a massive deficit, without even any discussion of going back to a balanced budget. Whether one agrees or disagrees with that position, the Liberals have said one thing and then done something completely different.

Something I believe in very strongly is this. A policy of the Liberals is to nave a gender equal cabinet. They have said one thing and done another. I find it very insulting that they have given all of the women junior positions, without the same responsibility or ability to manage their departments. I am very black and white, I admit that. I see things in life, and there is not always a lot of grey. It is black or it is white, and with the Liberals it is always grey. They say one thing and then do something completely different.

We saw it with Bill C-22, which would apparently provide oversight for CSIS. The Liberals made a big show about providing this oversight, but, again, this group has no ability to oversee CSIS and the Prime Minister whitewashes all of the reports. It is the typical Liberal way of saying one thing and then doing something completely different. That is exactly what is before us today with respect to the Liberals' approach to ethics and cash for access at which they have been very good.

Let us talk about what happened.

This started very early on last year when we noticed that the Minister of Justice was having big fundraisers in Toronto with lawyers. We immediately said that there must be some mistake, that she must not have realized that it was a contravention of the code of ethics that the Prime Minister himself had set out.

Those of us of this side who were in government knew that because as soon as ministers were sworn in, we were immediately told by the prime minister what he expected of us. He gave us guidelines with respect to avoiding conflicts of interest and told not to raise money with lobbyists or our stakeholders. He expected us to follow those guidelines.

The former prime minister, Stephen Harper, was a man of principle, a man of character, a man who, when he said something, we knew he would do it. No one ever questioned his word. When he said he wanted his cabinet to avoid conflict of interest, even the appearance of a conflict of interest, he meant it. We knew what that meant and we followed it. We were not raising money off the backs of our stakeholders. I will give an example.

When I was minister of state for social development, my portfolio included issues to do with people with disabilities. I was going to Newfoundland to deal with a housing agreement related to my housing portfolio. At the same time, lo and behold, there was going to be a fundraiser. It was not for the Conservative Party or any political party. It was for a wonderful cause, helping people with spinal cord injuries. I was asked to attend that fundraiser as minister of state for social development.

However, I knew the guidelines that the prime minister had set out. I knew how important it was that we follow those guidelines and stay away from even the appearance of not following them. Therefore, I did what most of my colleagues did during our time in government. We wrote to the Ethics Commissioner and asked for her guidance. She gives soft guidance and hard guidance.

Here is what her office told me. In its letter, it said, “in light of the above, I advise that the Minister not speak at the event in her personal capacity since the association is a stakeholder of her department. As I also mentioned, in the examination report for Minister Glover”, and I will pause here because members may recall that Ms. Glover was a former minister in our former government. She errantly started to do a fundraiser with some stakeholders. It came to light and she immediately cancelled it, returned the money, and got an opinion from the Ethics Commissioner. That is called ethics.

I will go back to what the office of the Ethics Commissioner said, “the commissioner indicated that it is inappropriate for stakeholders of Minister Glover's department to be invited to make donations in order to attend a fundraiser at which the minister was also present.” These are not my words. These are the words of the office of the conflict of interest commissioner, saying that cash for access was inappropriate. That was her advice.

The letter went on to say, “I realize that the Spinal Cord Injury Association event is not a political one; however, they are still a stakeholder of the Minister's that received funding from her department”.

The advice was not to attend, so I did not attend. I was extremely disappointed. It would have been a real joy and a privilege to attended. I am going to repeat a quote that it is important, “Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have the right to do and what is right to do.” That seems to be where there is a huge lapse in judgment by the Liberals.

I will bring us right back to the motion we presented to the House. This is not about what is legal in terms of what Elections Canada says. Of course the Liberals can take donations from every lawyer, every lobbyist, every mining executive. They can take $1,525 from every one of them and they will not break the law. Congratulations, that is what it means to be a Liberal.

On this side of the House, we are not talking about the Liberal absolute lowest standard, just trying to reach the lowest bar ever. Have the Liberals not changed at all? How about the higher bar they set for themselves? I will read about that higher bar:

General Principles

Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries must ensure that political fundraising activities or considerations do not affect, or appear to affect, the exercise of their official duties or the access of individuals or organizations to government.

...no preferential access to government...

...no singling out, or appearance of singling out, of individuals or organizations as targets of political fundraising because they have official dealings with Ministers...or their staff or departments.

It is in black and white. This nonsense that the Liberals keep spewing that it is Elections Canada is absolutely ridiculous. I am embarrassed for them. The only thing I will say is that this is sad for democracy and sad for accountability. Frankly they can keep doing it because Canadians will see through it. Canadians are not dumb. They were fooled by Liberals once. They will not be fooled again with this kind of typical sponsorship entitlement where the Liberals will keep saying one thing, do something opposite and get away with it. It is not going to work.

November 3rd, 2016 / 4:20 p.m.
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Adjunct Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, As an Individual

Ron Atkey

It's five years, that's correct, but some have suggested that some review be held in three years. Some have suggested in five years. My big concern is that Bill C-22 is all you're going to do and that everything else is too delicate and too difficult to fix. If you do Bill C-22, the government has fulfilled its mandate on its promises during the election—

November 3rd, 2016 / 4:15 p.m.
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Visiting Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa, As an Individual

Wesley Wark

Historically, we do have a siloed system. We've created independent external review bodies that are focused on a particular agency of the government, SIRC for CSIS, the CSE commissioner for CSE, and what is now the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for aspects of the RCMP. Many other elements of the security intelligence community, as Mr. Atkey has pointed out, have not been subject to independent review. When we talk about a siloed system for review, or “oversight” as some people call it, that's really what we're referring to.

What Bill C-22 does is partly fix that problem by giving this proposed new committee of parliamentarians the opportunity, with the mandate written into Bill C-22, of taking a very broad look at all of the agencies of the security intelligence community. My only caveat about that is simply the cautionary reminder that while it can do that, it won't be doing that most of the time. There are going to be core agencies they need to look at, and maybe Parliament and the public of Canada need to understand that as it's written out legibly in the legislation, these are the key agencies that matter, but it will have that strategic level look.

The piece of work that remains—possibly for this committee, in the context of looking at the national security framework and the green paper, and possibly for the government down the road—is that it's one thing to create a committee of parliamentarians, but what are you going to do about the legacy review accountability mechanisms, including these siloed agencies and the relationships between the proposed committee of parliamentarians and other standing committees in terms of what they will look at? There is a lot of work that needs to be done. The Minister of Public Safety has referred to this a bit by suggesting he's open to the idea of creating something like a super-SIRC or bringing the siloed agencies together as a different layer of review.

I think the government has focused on Bill C-22 as it's first act in this field, but I think more work will have to be done.