National Security Act, 2017

An Act respecting national security matters

This bill was last introduced in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2019.

Sponsor

Ralph Goodale  Liberal

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.

Part 1 enacts the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency Act, which establishes the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency and sets out its composition, mandate and powers. It repeals the provisions of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act establishing the Security Intelligence Review Committee and amends that Act and other Acts in order to transfer certain powers, duties and functions to the new Agency. It also makes related and consequential amendments to other Acts.
Part 1.‍1 enacts the Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities Act to authorize the issuance of directions respecting the disclosure of and request for information that would result in a substantial risk of mistreatment of an individual by a foreign entity and the use of information that is likely to have been obtained as the result of mistreatment of an individual by a foreign entity.
Part 2 enacts the Intelligence Commissioner Act, which provides that the duties and functions of the Intelligence Commissioner are to review the conclusions on the basis of which certain authorizations are issued or amended, and determinations are made, under the Communications Security Establishment Act and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and to approve those authorizations, amendments and determinations if those conclusions are reasonable. This Part also abolishes the position of the Commissioner of the Communications Security Establishment, provides for that Commissioner to become the Intelligence Commissioner, transfers the employees of the former Commissioner to the office of the new Commissioner and makes related and consequential amendments to other Acts.
Part 3 enacts the Communications Security Establishment Act, which establishes the Communications Security Establishment and, among other things, sets out the Establishment’s mandate as well as the regime for authorizing its activities. It also amends the National Defence Act and makes consequential amendments to other Acts.
Part 4 amends the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act to
(a) add a preamble to that Act and provide a mechanism to enhance the accountability of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service;
(b) add new limits on the exercise of the Service’s power to reduce threats to the security of Canada including, in particular, by setting out a list of measures that may be authorized by the Federal Court;
(c) provide a justification, subject to certain limitations, for the commission of acts or omissions that would otherwise constitute offences;
(d) exempt employees of the Service and persons acting under their direction from liability for offences related to acts committed for the sole purpose of establishing or maintaining a covert identity;
(e) create a regime for the Service to collect, retain, query and exploit datasets in the course of performing its duties and functions;
(f) make amendments to the warrant regime that are related to datasets; and
(g) implement measures for the management of datasets.
Part 5 amends the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act to, among other things,
(a) emphasize that the Act addresses only the disclosure of information and not its collection or use;
(b) clarify the definition of “activity that undermines the security of Canada”;
(c) clarify that advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression are not activities that undermine the security of Canada unless they are carried on in conjunction with an activity that undermines the security of Canada;
(d) provide that a disclosure of information is authorized only if the disclosure will contribute to the carrying out by the recipient institution of its national security responsibilities and will not affect any person’s privacy interest more than reasonably necessary;
(e) require that information disclosed be accompanied by information about the accuracy of the disclosed information and the reliability of the manner in which it was obtained; and
(f) require that records be prepared and kept in respect of every disclosure of information and that every year a copy of every record prepared in the preceding year be provided to the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency.
Part 6 amends the Secure Air Travel Act to authorize the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to collect from air carriers and operators of aviation reservation systems, for the purpose of identifying listed persons, information about any individuals who are on board or expected to be on board an aircraft for any flight prescribed by regulation, and to exempt an air carrier from providing that information, or from the application of any provision of the regulations, in certain circumstances. It amends the Act to authorize that Minister to collect personal information from individuals for the purpose of issuing a unique identifier to them to assist with pre-flight verification of their identity. It also reverses the rule in relation to a deemed decision on an application for administrative recourse. Finally, it amends the Act to provide for certain other measures related to the collection, disclosure and destruction of information.
Part 7 amends the Criminal Code to, among other things,
(a) make certain procedural modifications to the terrorist listing regime under section 83.‍05, such as providing for a staggered ministerial review of listed entities and granting the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness the authority to amend the names, including aliases, of listed entities;
(b) change the offence of advocating or promoting terrorism offences in general, in section 83.‍21, to one of counselling the commission of a terrorism offence, and make corresponding changes to the definition of terrorist propaganda;
(c) raise one of the thresholds for imposing a recognizance with conditions under section 83.‍3, and amend when that section is to be reviewed and, unless extended by Parliament, to cease to have effect;
(d) repeal sections 83.‍28 and 83.‍29 relating to an investigative hearing into a terrorism offence and repeal subsections 83.‍31(1) and (1.‍1), which require annual reports on such hearings;
(e) require the Attorney General of Canada to publish a report each year setting out the number of terrorism recognizances entered into under section 810.‍011 in the previous year; and
(f) authorize a court, in proceedings for recognizances under any of sections 83 and 810 to 810.‍2, to make orders for the protection of witnesses.
Part 8 amends the Youth Criminal Justice Act to, among other things, ensure that the protections that are afforded to young persons apply in respect of proceedings in relation to recognizance orders, including those related to terrorism, and give employees of a department or agency of the Government of Canada access to youth records, for the purpose of administering the Canadian Passport Order.
Part 9 requires that a comprehensive review of the provisions and operation of this enactment take place during the fourth year after section 168 of this enactment comes into force. If that section 168 and section 34 of Bill C-22, introduced in the 1st session of the 42nd Parliament and entitled the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act, come into force within one year of each other, the reviews required by those sections are to take place at the same time and are to be undertaken by the same committee or committees.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

June 11, 2019 Passed Motion respecting Senate amendments to Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters
June 11, 2019 Failed Motion respecting Senate amendments to Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters (amendment)
June 11, 2019 Passed Motion for closure
June 19, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters
June 19, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters
June 19, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters
June 11, 2018 Passed Concurrence at report stage and second reading of Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters
June 11, 2018 Failed Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters
Nov. 27, 2017 Passed Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters (referral to a committee before second reading)

February 12th, 2024 / 5:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Thank you very much, Chair.

Thank you to the witnesses, both here and online.

The first question is for all three groups.

I've been here since 2016, and during that time I've seen this government constantly attempt to use legislation to give itself excessive power and to avoid accountability. I think back to Bill C-59, the so-called National Security Act, 2017. As well, there have been their attempts during COVID to have over two years of unquestioned authority to spend taxpayers' money without accountability; their attempts to control what Canadians see and say on the Internet through Bill C-11 and Bill C-18; and of course their unprecedented use of the Emergencies Act in 2022, which the Federal Court has just recently, as you know, ruled as being illegal and unconstitutional. The pattern with this government and their legislation should concern Canadians.

Given the organization that each of you represents, and given Professor Clement's research, does this bill as it currently reads not give you pause, especially when it comes to legislating powers that limit Canadians' fundamental rights and privacy?

Ms. Mason, I'll start with you. It's nice to see you again, after seeing you at the Emergencies Act committee. This time, we're hoping to do something pre-emptive as opposed to trying to fix it after the fact, as we tried to do the first time. Could you answer that?

Could all three of you, in your responses, further to what you may have already suggested, suggest how the committee should address the concerns that Canadians have and that you have with those shortcomings?

February 12th, 2024 / 4:10 p.m.
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Kate Robertson Senior Research Associate, Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto, As an Individual

Thank you, Mr. Chair and members of the committee. As you know, I attended this committee last week in relation to this bill.

I'm a senior researcher at the Citizen Lab, which is based at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at U of T. I have submitted a written brief to this committee along with a colleague, Lina Li of McGill Law, which builds upon the research and analysis of my former colleague at the Citizen Lab, Dr. Christopher Parsons.

Today I will readopt my comments from last week and supplement them as follows.

First, several concerns have been raised throughout these hearings focusing on malicious targeting by, for example, ransomware of aspects of the economy that are outside federal responsibility, such as hospitals. The need for protection in other areas is important, but this committee can also be mindful of the proper scope of its responsibility in its work on Bill C-26.

I also appreciate other committee witnesses raising threats facing Canadian society today. However, it is never a good idea to legislate out of fear. This is an important issue that requires careful due diligence and reflection as to what goes into any amendments. I would suggest the committee carefully look at what it is doing. Making the right decision now could improve the security, safety, privacy and charter rights of all people in Canada for decades going forward. It's incredibly important that lawmakers are thoughtful, nuanced and reflective of the kinds of amendments they propose for the legislation.

Second, our brief sets out recommendation 12—including recommendations 12A through 12C—pertaining to judicial review proceedings under Bill C-26. This includes the recommended appointment of special advocates in judicial review proceedings, and the need to align Bill C-26 with analogous provisions under the Canada Evidence Act applicable to secret evidence. These amendments are not only important but also fair, simple and common-sense enhancements.

Lastly, I also wish to address our recommendation that government entities empowered with new information collection and sharing powers be required to limit the use of that information to cybersecurity and information assurance.

The collection or use of information by national security intelligence agencies like the CSE about Canadians or persons in Canada is a core matter of public and constitutional concern. The concern that the CSE may repurpose information it receives through Bill C-26 into its other intelligence activities is not a speculative one. Recent reporting from the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency, or NSIRA, documents that, at this time, the CSE does not consider itself prohibited under its home statute from repurposing information about Canadians across its mandates.

However, only a few years ago, in Bill C-59, an important equilibrium was struck by Parliament concerning the need for important limits, given the prohibition against intelligence agencies directing their activities towards people in Canada. Bill C-26 could destabilize this important equilibrium. It currently contemplates broad and even secretive government collection and sharing powers about information concerning people in Canada. While the Department of Justice's charter statement on this bill referred to the government's potential use of only technical information and not sensitive personal information, there are no caveats or safeguards to stipulate this in the legislation. Clarity is needed.

Telecommunications providers, for example, are quite literally conveyors of the most private information known to our legal system. I agree with witnesses from CIRA and OpenMedia that this is a core matter of public trust. The public should not have to be asking itself whether the government's cybersecurity bill is actually a spy bill under a different name.

As noted by Mr. Hatfield last week, NSIRA has reported a chronic problem in reviewing the lawfulness of the CSE's activities since its inception. Lawmakers here should be very cautious when considering whether extending additional new powers is appropriate or necessary under Bill C-26, and what corresponding judicial oversight mechanisms are necessary and fit for purpose to protect the privacy of all people in Canada.

Thank you. I'm happy to answer any questions you may have.

Bill C-59—Proposal to Apply Standing Order 69.1Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

December 12th, 2023 / 10:30 a.m.
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Conservative

Andrew Scheer Conservative Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order pursuant to Standing Order 69.1, to ask that you treat Bill C-59, an act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 21, 2023 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 28, 2023, as an omnibus bill, and divide it for voting purposes at the second and third reading stages.

This argument is, of course, without prejudice to the arguments which were made last week by me in respect of the rule against anticipation and Ways and Means Motion No. 19, which preceded the introduction of Bill C-59, for which the House is still awaiting a ruling from the Speaker.

Section (1) of Standing Order 69.1 provides that “In the case where a government bill seeks to repeal, amend or enact more than one act, and where there is not a common element connecting the various provisions or where unrelated matters are linked, the Speaker shall have the power to divide the questions, for the purposes of voting". Section (2) of the same standing order makes an exception for budget implementation bills, stating, “if the bill has as its main purpose the implementation of a budget and contains only provisions that were announced in the budget presentation”.

As Speaker Regan ruled on November 8, 2017, at page 15143 of the Debates, where a budget bill contains measures which were not part of the budget, this budget bill exemption applies only to those elements which were in the budget itself. The non-budget elements can be divided under the provisions of Standing Order 69.1(1).

In the case of Bill C-59, calling it a budget implementation bill would be exceedingly generous. While reference to the March budget can be found in the long title, the short title ignores this, calling the bill the “fall economic statement implementation act, 2023”. Not even the government House leader, the manager of the government's parliamentary program, used it as a budget implementation bill, judging by her remarks in the last two weekly business statements. On November 23, she told the House, “it is the intention of the government to commence debate next week concerning the bill relating to the fall economic statement”. This past Thursday, she said that priority will be given to the second reading of Bill C-59, an act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement. Therefore, I would argue that the evident treatment given to Bill C-59 by its own proponents, would mean that its main purpose is, indeed, not the implementation of a budget. Accordingly, it would follow that the exemption found in Standing Order 69.1(2) cannot apply here.

I would further argue that Speaker Regan's November 2017 ruling can be distinguished from the facts at hand today, namely that he dealt with a budget bill with a few extra add-ons. Here, we have a bill that is not even being treated, in the main, as a budget implementation bill and that, therefore, cannot even benefit from a partial exemption, since the main purpose of Bill C-59 is not to implement a budget.

Having addressed that matter, I now wish to turn to the matter of treating the bill as an omnibus one, “where there is not a common element connecting the various provisions or where unrelated matters are linked”. In my respectful view, the fact that a series of measures may have been previewed in a fall economic statement does not amount to a so-called common element. Given that fall economic statements are often popularly dubbed “mini-budgets” and that the House itself recognizes that budgets often string together otherwise unrelated things by creating the budget implementation bill exemption in Standing Order 69.1, it is my submission that the mere inclusion of an item in a fall economic statement cannot be sufficient to overcome the treatment required for an omnibus bill.

Even if the Chair might be persuaded that all of the measures are, in one form or another, a matter of broad economic policy, I would refer you to Speaker Regan's March 1, 2018, ruling at page 17551 of the Debates:

In presenting arguments relating to Bill C-63, the hon. member for Calgary Shepard raised an interesting concept from the practice in the Quebec National Assembly. Quoting from page 400 of Parliamentary Procedure in Québec, he stated:

“The principle or principles contained in a bill must not be confused with the field it concerns. To frame the concept of principle in that way would prevent the division of most bills, because they apply to a specific field.”

While their procedure for dividing bills is quite different from ours, the idea of distinguishing the principles of a bill from its field has stayed with me. While each bill is different and so too each case, I believe that Standing Order 69.1 can indeed be applied to a bill where all of the initiatives relate to a specific policy area, if those initiatives are sufficiently distinct to warrant a separate decision of the House.

In this particular instance, I have no trouble agreeing that all of the measures contained in Bill C-69 relate to environmental protection. However, I believe there are distinct initiatives that are sufficiently unrelated that they warrant multiple votes.

Deputy Speaker Bruce Stanton dealt with another similar situation when he ruled on June 18, 2018, at page 21163 of the Debates, in respect of a former Bill C-59, stating it:

...does clearly contain several different initiatives. It establishes new agencies and mechanisms for oversight of national security agencies and deals with information collection and sharing as well as criminal offences relating to terrorism. That said, one could argue, as the parliamentary secretary did, that since these are all matters related to national security, there is, indeed, a common thread between them. However, the question the Chair must ask itself is whether these specific measures should be subjected to separate votes.

He goes on to state, “In this particular case, while the Chair has no trouble agreeing that all of the measures contained in Bill C-59 relate to national security, it is the Chair's view that there are distinct initiatives that are sufficiently unrelated as to warrant dividing the question.”

Therefore, I would suggest that today's bill, Bill C-59, should also be divided for voting purposes at second reading and, if necessary, at third reading.

After a brief review and analysis of the bill's contents, it seems that it could actually be divided into several groupings: clauses 1 to 95, proposing amendments to the Income Tax Act and consequential amendments to other enactments, as well as the bill's short title; clauses 96 to 128, proposing the creation of a digital services tax; clauses 129 to 136, 138 to 143 and 145 to 167, proposing amendments concerning the excise tax, other than the exemption of GST for mental health services, which is also contained in Bill C-323, a matter to which I will return later; clauses 168 to 196, proposing amendments to the laws governing financial institutions; clauses 197 to 208, proposing to create a leave entitlement related to pregnancy loss and to amend the law concerning bereavement leave; clauses 209 to 216, proposing the creation of a Canada water agency; clauses 217 and 218, proposing amendments to the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act; clauses 219 to 230, proposing amendments to the Canadian Payments Act; clauses 231 to 272 proposing various amendments to competition law; clauses 273 to 277, proposing amendments exempting post-secondary schools from the laws concerning bankruptcy and insolvency; clauses 278 to 317, proposing various legislative amendments concerning money laundering, terrorist financing and sanctions evasions; clauses 318 and 319, concerning the information which is published by the government respecting certain transfer payments to the provinces; clauses 320 to 322, proposing amendments concerning the Public Sector Pension Investment Board; and clauses 323 to 341, proposing the creation of a department of housing, infrastructure and communities.

Additionally, I would propose that clauses 137 and 144, concerning the exemption of GST for mental health services, mirroring the provisions of Bill C-323, as well as clauses 342 to 365, creating employment insurance and job protection benefits for adoptive and surrogate parents, replicating the substance of Bill C-318, should also be separated out from Bill C-59. However, in this instance, I would suggest that, instead of a separate vote, these provisions would simply not proceed further given that the House has already taken a decision on the principle of those matters when it adopted the common-sense Conservative private members' bills at second reading.

Approaching it in this fashion might be an elegant solution to squaring the circle in the ruling that remains pending on Ways and Means Motion No. 19.

In short, Bill C-59, the fall economic statement implementation bill, is an omnibus bill under Standing Order 69.1. It qualifies in no way for the budget bill exemption in that rule. It can and should be divided into separate votes, about 14 or so based on the thematic groupings of the bill's clauses. It would, if so divided, offer an elegant solution for a pending Speaker's ruling to reconcile the long-standing rules and precedents of the House respecting multiple decisions on the same question that, for reasons we are awaiting, did not apply to Ways and Means Motion No. 19 and that saw the House vote, yet again, on the principles found in two Conservative private members' bills that had already been adopted at second reading.

Opposition Motion—Public Inquiry into Allegations of Foreign InterferenceBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

May 30th, 2023 / 10:45 a.m.
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Pickering—Uxbridge Ontario

Liberal

Jennifer O'Connell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Madam Speaker, I am glad to rise today on this important topic. I found the debate earlier quite interesting. We saw the Conservatives and the NDP fight about who did what first and who is criticizing the government more.

Meanwhile, on this side of the House, we are actually getting to work to make sure that our democratic institutions are protected. While we do that, the opposition parties can stand up to fight about who did what best, whose clip came first and whose motion did what.

I think Canadians expect a government that puts partisanship aside to focus on the real issues that our country is facing. The threat of foreign interference is not a partisan issue. Every single Canadian, regardless of who they vote for or what party they support, should absolutely care about this issue. That should be reflected in the House.

The issue of foreign interference in our democratic institutions is not a new one. In fact, it is not even a unique one for Canada. We have seen instances around the world, such as the 2016 U.S. presidential election. We have seen efforts of foreign interference in France, Australia and New Zealand. All of these countries have been dealing with this issue.

In fact, Canada was warned by CSIS in 2013 about the threat of foreign interference. The then democratic institutions minister, now the opposition leader, did absolutely nothing about it. The leader of the official opposition said in this place that he did not do anything about it because it did not serve his partisan interests at the time. That should indicate to Canadians the absolute basics of where the opposition parties are coming from on this issue.

We now have the report by the right hon. David Johnston, and before members have even had a chance to dive into that report, the leader of the official opposition and the leader of the Bloc have said no. They are going to close their eyes to facts. They do not want to receive the secure national security briefing because they want to be able to continue to still make ignorant claims. They would like to remain blind to the facts. It should not surprise anyone that a party based on conspiracy theories and clickbait would not be a mature and responsible opposition party.

Yesterday, in this very place, the Leader of the Opposition said that he did not want a national security briefing because he did not want to be silenced. That should tell Canadians the level of maturity of the Leader of the Opposition. He is not ready to lead this country. He is barely ready to lead an official opposition of this place.

For somebody to suggest that having a national security briefing silences one on this issue is not only beyond false, but also beyond comprehension. It shows how little he knows about national security matters.

I myself have national security clearance because I was a member of the NSICOP committee, yet I have debated on this issue several times. I am leading the opposition day speech in this place. I have spoken out at PROC. I have asked witnesses serious questions. In fact, in my role in the national defence committee, I brought forward a motion that we study cybersecurity. This was all while having national security briefings, sitting on NSICOP and studying foreign interference, yet I have been able to serve my constituents by raising the issues that matter.

By taking national security seriously and by understanding that one can advocate for stronger democratic institutions, one can still advocate for stronger legislation and mechanisms while also protecting the national security information of this country.

That is what responsible members do. If I can do it, as a member of this government, certainly the Leader of the Opposition should be mature enough to understand the importance of national security while still being able to advocate for stronger mechanisms and measures. The fact that he cannot comprehend how to put the national security of this country first, instead of his partisan attacks, should tell Canadians everything they need to know about the seriousness, or lack thereof, of the Leader of the Opposition and, for that matter, the leader of the Bloc.

When it comes to the issues, I have heard many times in this debate that confidence in Canadians is being eroded. Is that not ironic given the members saying it are the ones who are closing their eyes to the facts? In the right hon. David Johnston's report, he specifically talks about the balance between wanting to make a report that everyday Canadians can read and access with better understand, while at the same time protecting the national security information we all rely on to keep this country safe. He acknowledges that.

David Johnston said that he created an annex to this report with all of the information he based his decisions on. He included this annex for leaders of all recognized parties, members of NSICOP and those with national security clearance that need to have access to it. He specifically said in this report for leaders of the opposition and members of NSICOP to please read this annex, the information that he based his decisions on. He said that they can read it and come forward if they believe that, based on the information, his recommendations were ill-informed or they have taken a different approach.

It is pretty open and transparent to say there is a balance between Canadians needing to understand the positions and the recent media leaks while protecting national security. He then went on to say to everybody who has that national security clearance, such as opposition parties and NSICOP, that all of the information, which he based his recommendations and findings on, is in one easy document, and that, if they disagree with those findings, then they can come forward and say so. However, this will be done while protecting the confidential information collected by the national security community. That is quite reasonable.

In fact, it was an incredibly readable report. I have read many reports of this nature. NSICOP has produced many reports of this nature, and one of the things NSICOP always tries to do in the public version of its reports is to take care and concern in making them as digestible as possible, so any Canadian picking up a report would understand the national security dynamics happening at any given time.

David Johnston suggested to read the information to determine on one's own if one thinks his findings were reasonable, so what happens? The Leader of the Opposition covers his eyes and his ears and says, “No, no, no. I don't want facts and information. I want to be able to stand up here and make fake innuendos, fake accusations and raise some money for my election campaign.” He wants to make personal attacks against the Prime Minister and the right hon. David Johnston.

What does the Bloc do? As my hon. colleague says, it is “blue light”, and it just follows suit. Then the NDP, with this motion, calls for the removal of the special rapporteur based on his report. Its leader has at least agreed to read the annex and get that national security briefing. However, before that has been done, to my knowledge, or at least before the leader of the NDP has made any assessment on the information the right hon. David Johnston used to come to the conclusions he did, and before NDP members have had a chance to really look at it to see if all the information is relevant, they say that they do not support the report. They do so without reading the basis of the recommendations.

When it comes to national security, there is a lot more context and information required than just a few media leaks. Therefore, for any responsible government to refuse to read the national security documentation in the briefings, to refuse to wait and, even for for those who have agreed to read it but refuse to actually digest it, look at it or consider it and just throw the report out, is nothing more than partisan games with Canadians' national security and with our democratic institutions. Therefore, if anybody is suggesting that confidence is being eroded, I would suggest it is by the irresponsible behaviour of our opposition parties in not actually doing the work, considering the information and making informed decisions, which is something that, regardless of party, I think every Canadian would expect their MP to be able to do.

I have talked about why I find the opposition parties irresponsible and, in particular, why I find the Leader of the Opposition not only irresponsible but also incredibly immature and unfit to lead, even a party, in this place. However, I want to also talk about some of the things we have done since 2015 because, as I started with in my speech, this is not new.

The opposition party, as the previous Conservative government, knew about foreign interference in 2013. Let me just say, too, that this is this not new, and it is never going to be over. There is no silver bullet any government could implement to say that foreign interference is no longer an issue. A serious democracy is going to always have to be diligent to the foreign forces that would love to destabilize the democracy that Canadians have fought so hard for. Therefore, the important piece of dealing with our democratic institutions is to put the partisanship aside and continually work on how to adapt and change with the changing nature of the threat. However, again, we cannot even have those types of debates in this place because we are too busy hearing partisan and personal attacks from the opposition members, who should be bringing forward recommendations and suggestions to move forward on legislation or mechanisms that would strengthen democratic institutions. Because we cannot get past personal attacks, the government is going to keep working based on experts and those who have come forward making recommendations, and based on looking at other countries and some of the work that they have done.

Some of the things that we have done since 2015 include creating NSICOP, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, which gives national security clearance to representatives from recognized parties in the House, as well as national security briefings and documents. It is a committee that I mentioned I sat on, and it was an extremely professional and serious committee that has not only produced excellent reports for Canada but also has been recognized globally for the work it has done.

We created NSIRA, which is a review of our national security community. We have also established the critical election incident public protocol, and we have created the security and intelligence threats to elections task force, often referred to as SITE.

We have established rapid response mechanisms during elections. We have also had Bill C-59 and Bill C-76, and we have created the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security. That is all since 2015.

While opposition parties say that we do not take this seriously, we have right here eight examples that I have listed. I would be curious as to whether, at any point during the day, the Conservative Party will be able to name even one example of something that it did in 10 years to deal with the threats to national security and to strengthen our democratic institutions. I will wait patiently through the debate today to see if that happens.

In addition to that, I would be very curious to see whether the members opposite come forward with serious policy and a serious policy debate.

We have the Johnston report, which makes very clear recommendations, as well as criticisms, with respect to how information is being reported to those who need it. Every government needs to seriously look at and constantly review these matters. I think there has been a strong indication that we are not only taking it seriously, but that we will implement changes to make sure that, moving forward, we are constantly improving our democratic institutions and our processes, and that we are making sure that democracy is protected for Canadians. We do not own these spaces, as this is the House of Commons of Canadians, and it is our job collectively to ensure that we continue to maintain the democratic institutions in this place.

I have spoken at length about the seriousness of these issues, the fact that they are not new, and that in 2013 we had a government that did not take them seriously at all. We are now implementing several of the recommendations, as well as implementing mechanisms to constantly strengthen our democratic institutions.

I want to speak again to this, because we are going to hear personal attacks all day today on the Right Honourable David Johnston. We have already seen him referred to as a ski buddy, a neighbour, a friend, and I think it is quite interesting that Conservatives would refer to him in that way.

I would like to read a quote with respect to Mr. Johnston, which states:

Mr. Johnston has a strong record of public service, a broad base of support and an impressive list of achievements....He has extensive legal expertise, a comprehensive understanding of government and a deep appreciation of the duties and tasks now before him.

That was not the current Prime Minister, but the previous prime minister, Prime Minister Harper, who said that about David Johnston. Therefore, it is disappointing that the Conservatives use personal attacks to undermine not only his credibility, but his lifelong achievements, dedication to this country and public service. To erode all of that by saying he is just a ski buddy and that is how he was selected is an absolute insult to this place and to the people who serve their country. It is all being done for nothing more than partisan gain. He was good enough for Conservatives to make him the governor general. He was good enough for the former prime minister to speak of him in that way. His reputation and credibility have only come into question now that Conservatives are not getting their political way.

I have spoken a lot about the lack of maturity shown by the Leader of the Opposition. I know my time is wrapping up and I want to conclude by saying this. Canadians deserve opposition parties and parliamentarians who work hard for their constituents. We are not always going to agree, but at the very least this should be a place of adamant debate on policy. When the Conservative members opposite do not like the findings or the opinions of someone they have acknowledged and revered for years and decide to throw him away like he is no longer good enough for this country, it is an absolute shame. It shows how immature and ill-equipped the Leader of the Opposition is and that he should not be taken seriously in this country. He is clearly not ready now, nor probably ever, to lead this country, because he does not take national security seriously, but we will on behalf of Canadians.

May 11th, 2023 / 1:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Ryan Turnbull Liberal Whitby, ON

Ms. Byrne, NSICOP, the critical election incident public protocol, the SITE task force, the rapid response mechanism, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, the plan to protect Canadian democracy, Bill C-59 and Bill C-76 are eight things that our government has done since 2015. Can you name eight from the Harper era?

Intimidation Campaign Against Members of ParliamentPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

May 8th, 2023 / 10:55 p.m.
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Kingston and the Islands Ontario

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (Senate)

Mr. Speaker, the member referenced that I was pining over the fact that the member for Carleton or the previous government had never done anything about this. However, that was just the context I was using to set the stage for telling members about all the things we did do, as well as all the things we have done since becoming elected, that Conservatives have routinely voted against, including this member.

Bill C-22 created NSICOP, which he now speaks so highly about. Conservatives voted against it. Bill C-59 created and established NSIRA. Conservatives voted against it. Bill C-76 limited foreign ability to influence elections through monetary contributions. Conservatives voted against it.

Conservatives have routinely voted against initiatives that the government has brought forward to combat foreign interference. The fact that the previous Conservative government did nothing is just the context to set in order to highlight everything that we have done.

Could the member share with the House why he and his colleagues voted against all those measures?

Intimidation Campaign Against Members of ParliamentPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

May 8th, 2023 / 8:35 p.m.
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Kingston and the Islands Ontario

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (Senate)

Madam Speaker, foreign interference has been reported publicly through CSIS since as early as 2013, when Conservatives were in power. The member for Carleton, the Leader of the Opposition, was then the minister responsible for receiving that report. Conservatives did nothing for two years.

Since then, we brought in Bill C-76, the Elections Modernization Act, which tightened up rules around donations to campaigns, specifically limiting foreign donations. We brought in Bill C-59, which established NSIRA, the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency. We brought in NSICOP, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, to oversee national security.

Conservatives voted against all of that, everything, and at times they would not even vote to let the bills go to committee. How is it they can come in here and be so interested and speak so passionately about protecting democracy against foreign interference when they have routinely and systematically voted against every single initiative?

Democratic InstitutionsOral Questions

May 2nd, 2023 / 2:40 p.m.
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Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Marco Mendicino LiberalMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, since we continue to get the same question in a broken-record format, let me highlight exactly what we are doing to combat foreign interference.

We introduced Bill C-59 to give CSIS additional threat reduction measure powers. We introduced Bill C-76 to crack down on foreign funding. We introduced the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians so we could work across partisan lines. We finally introduced NSIRA to ensure transparency on how we do this work to Canadians.

What is the distinction? We did those things; the Conservatives opposed.

April 27th, 2023 / noon
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Liberal

Marco Mendicino Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Madam Chair, what I can tell you is that I recall my votes on Bill C-76 and Bill C-59. I voted in favour of them, in conjunction with the government—

April 27th, 2023 / 11:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Marco Mendicino Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Madam Chair, through you to Ms. Sahota, first, I appreciate the question. It allows me to expand on how we are combatting foreign interference.

I talked about how we have created new authorities and powers for our national security intelligence agencies, through Bill C-59, that bestow upon them the ability to address and to mitigate any potential threats to our national security.

We've also put into place a protocol that applies specifically during elections. It is called the critical election incident public protocol. It is applied by our most senior non-partisan, professional public servants, who have been charged with the responsibility of receiving information and intelligence as it relates to any foreign interference that could pose a threat to an election. It is applied when they inform and educate Canadians about that work.

This is a protocol that has served Canadians well. However, I would also point out to Ms. Sahota that we are not resting on our laurels. We are building on the recommendations put forward by two distinguished Canadians, Mr. Judd and Morris Rosenberg. I know that my colleague, Minister LeBlanc, has reported recently to the Prime Minister on how we are advancing recommendations to strengthen the mechanisms we have in place to protect all of our institutions, and most especially our elections.

April 18th, 2023 / 8:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Ryan Turnbull Liberal Whitby, ON

Thanks, Madam Chair.

Mr. Jean, thank you for being here. I appreciate your testimony.

You mentioned several times, in response to various questions about the CSIS Act, the fact that CSIS was introduced in 1984. I know that our government added some threat reduction measures in Bill C-59, which was first tabled in the House in 2017. I know those are subject to legal authorization, so there was some enhancement of powers of CSIS and CSE, if I am not mistaken, with regard to threat reduction measures.

I am wondering, in terms of your deep knowledge in this space, and a review of the CSIS Act—which you seem to think is necessary and on which I agree with you—what specific changes should be made to the CSIS Act, in your view?

April 18th, 2023 / 6:45 p.m.
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Jarislowsky Chair in Public Sector Management, University of Ottawa, As an Individual

Michael Wernick

The context is always different. I was deputy clerk and helped the Harper government pass Bill C-51 late in its mandate. A little bit later, I helped the Trudeau government amend it through Bill C-59.

At the time, in 2015-16, there was still a great deal of focus on anti-terrorism. This is the time when Daesh had overrun most of northern Iraq. There were all kinds of issues in the Middle East at the time.

As Mr. Jean and others can explain to you, there are a range of threats that the Government of Canada worries about, from terrorism to domestic terrorism to cybersecurity to foreign interference and so on. That's why we have a national security adviser. That's why we have a cabinet committee on security and intelligence, and that's why the government wanted NSICOP created.

April 18th, 2023 / 6:40 p.m.
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Jarislowsky Chair in Public Sector Management, University of Ottawa, As an Individual

Michael Wernick

I'll try my best to reconstruct a chronology using Google. I may get some of the order wrong or whatever.

Yes, I was deputy clerk in 2015. I was appointed deputy clerk by Prime Minister Harper and stayed for the transition and the early days of Mr. Trudeau's mandate. He appointed me clerk in January of 2016, and I took on that role for the next three years.

There were quite a few things in play at the time.

A very early priority of the government, you may recall, was to create the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians to give a group of parliamentarians with appropriate security clearances a window into national security and intelligence issues. Bill C-22 was an early initiative by the government.

Also, then, there were a number of initiatives under way, so by the time we got to 2017, which I know is the period of interest here, there were quite a few things in play. Bill C-59, which was the comprehensive overhaul of national security legislation, would have been in play in late 2016 and early 2017. We were very concerned about disinformation issues. It's a matter of public record that Putin's Russia tried to disrupt the French election in May of 2017 and that they tried to disrupt the German election in September of 2017.

At the time, cybersecurity was a huge issue. Members who have been here long enough will remember Chinese cyber-attacks on the National Research Council that were called out by the Harper government—by Minister Baird—in early 2014. A personal focus for me very much was on cybersecurity: secure communications for the Prime Minister and secure communications for the cabinet, and investments in cybersecurity, which came to fruition in the 2018 budget.

I could go on, but that gives you some sense of what was going on at that time.

March 31st, 2023 / 9:25 a.m.
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National Coordinator, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group

Tim McSorley

I'll just quickly say no. Several of the problems I raised were actually enshrined in Bill C-59, the creation of the CSE act. One of the things we think needs to be done is to bolster the powers of both NSIRA and the intelligence commissioner to be able to review these kinds of activities and be able to discuss their findings publicly.

March 31st, 2023 / 9:25 a.m.
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NDP

Lindsay Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Thank you for that.

Yes, it was mentioned within that same lawsuit, in the documents that the BC Civil Liberties Association came out with, the glossary of terms of unselected data and publicly available data and how they are used. Do laws like Bill C-59...? That lawsuit was before Bill C-59. It addressed more the old Bill C-51 problems. Specifically as we look at Bill C-26, do those laws adequately address the threats that civil libertarians are worried about in terms of taking advantage of publicly available data?