Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the witnesses, each of you, for very compelling testimony.
I think we recognize that the initial provisions came into being immediately after September 11. At that time there was a feeling that we needed to act as quickly as possible to do something to give extra powers to police, but I think wisely those provisions had sunset clauses to allow the country—Parliament, Canadians, and the judiciary—to examine both the necessity and the applicability of those provisions.
Over that period of time, we have heard, as the witnesses have said, from the Supreme Court. We have also heard from the former head of CSIS, who says that these provisions are unnecessary and don't provide any additional security.
But I have to say that I've also been moved by seeing the faces of security and intelligence failures: Maher Arar, Mr. El Maati, Mr. Nureddin, Mr. Almalki, and others. There were a couple of other cases referenced as well by Mr. Mia.
Let me just say to Mr. Vernon, I have to reject the premise that the suspension of due process or civil liberties for the possibility of greater collective security is unto itself not enough, because the danger of that argument is that it has no end. That argument could continue to the point that it fundamentally destroys the things that are most fundamental and important about what we're trying to protect.
The question here is, if you are going to suspend the civil liberties of an individual, if you are going to suspend due process, can you demonstrably prove two things: first, that you are in fact making substantive improvements to collective security; and second, that you have vigorous and robust oversight to ensure in those circumstances that the power will not be misused or that the powers will be restrained or that, if mistakes happen, they will be immediately caught and rectified?
On the first point, I am yet to hear in the testimony that we've had over the three meetings we have held any concrete examples of specifically how these provisions would achieve my first point. In fact, we've heard the former director of CSIS, who was responsible for oversight of all intelligence services in this country, say—not before this committee, but publicly—that these provisions fail in that first measure.
The second one is, I think, even more important, and I would bring this question first to Mr. Vernon. The second one deals with oversight. We have O'Connor, Iacobucci, Brown, the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Major, all of whom have brought out recommendations on oversight, the vast majority of which are unanswered. We have many departments involved in intelligence today that have no oversight: Immigration, as an example; the Canadian Border Services Agency, as an example.
Would you not agree with me, Mr. Vernon, that prior to the continuation or the re-institution of any extraordinary measures, we would first have to make sure that security and intelligence oversights, failures, and deficiencies that exist today are repaired?