I'd like to call this meeting to order.
My name is Rob Oliphant, member of Parliament for Don Valley West, and I am the Chair of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
Welcome to this public meeting of our committee.
This is the travelling version of our 10-member committee. We have members representing the Liberal Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party, as well as the Conservative Party of Canada. We are travelling across the country to hear people's thoughts and ideas about the national security framework.
Both English and French will be used in this committee's meeting.
You can get headsets for interpretation because we will be respecting both languages.
This afternoon, and each afternoon in the five cities that we've chosen, we have been listening to experts who have worked in this area of national security. They've been advising our committee with their thoughts and ideas, and we had a chance to question them this afternoon.
Tomorrow, we'll be in Calgary, on Wednesday in Toronto, on Thursday in Montreal, and then Friday, we'll be in Halifax.
We began our committee hearings in Ottawa two weeks ago. This is the on-the-road version, and we will continue studying the topic when we get back to Ottawa, listening to more experts and receiving briefs and written submissions that Canadians want to give us.
The government itself is also undertaking consultations regarding national security. This is separate from that. This is a parliamentary committee, and people often confuse Parliament and government as though we're one and the same. We are not. This parliamentary committee is independent of government, and will advise government through Parliament on measures we think are important to Canadians that should be taken into account by the executive branch of the government.
The government is undertaking a similar consultation and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness issued a green paper, as well as a backgrounder on national security. That forms part of our consultation, but it isn't our full consultation. Our consultation can be as wide as we want to make it, and it can take therefore as long as.... We're not exactly sure how long it's going to take right now.
The minister has asked us to provide some advice to him through Parliament before the year's end, which we will attempt to do; however, our work will continue, I am sure, for quite a while in the area of national security as we attempt to find a way to ensure that Canadians are kept safe, and our rights and freedoms are safeguarded. It is a balancing of keeping Canadians safe through the best options and tools for our national security agencies, but at the same time ensuring that we have the rights of Canadians safeguarded.
Tonight, we have two hours to meet as a committee with you, and we're going to suggest that this is your meeting, not ours. We will be speaking only a little. People will be invited to go to the microphone, and I'm going to suggest about three minutes per person.
The committee may or may not have questions of individual members. I will be watching the committee members to see if any of them would like to ask the questioner for elaboration, or perhaps some clarification of what was said.
We would ask that when you come to the mike, you identify yourself. If you would like to also indicate any organization that you're part of, you may do so, but you don't have to. That's a way for us to understand how broadly and how deeply Canadians are concerned about these issues.
We don't have any opening remarks from the committee other than to say thank you for engaging in this conversation. It's important that Parliament be an open body, and we're glad that you are here to share your thoughts. I can guarantee you that your opinions will indeed shape the report that the committee eventually makes to Parliament.
I'm going to introduce our committee before we begin. Actually, I'll have you introduce yourselves.