Welcome to the 38th meeting of the Standing Committee of Public Safety and National Security of the 42nd Parliament.
I want to welcome members of the public here, acknowledging that it's a Friday evening. I am glad that you are here with us.
I want to begin with a couple of remarks about what we are doing this week in the context of our study on the national security framework, and then I will have the members of the committee introduce themselves to you.
My name is Rob Oliphant and I am the chair of this committee. This past week, our committee has been undertaking a study of the national security framework that exists in Canada, which we began the week before in Ottawa. As you know, the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, was the culmination of a set of different acts over the last number of years that had restructured the national security framework.
It was felt that when this government was elected they wanted to make some changes, so we felt, as a parliamentary committee, that we should do a study on this security framework, both to advise the government of what Canadians were thinking, and as well to respond to what the government was doing in terms of study or legislation.
There are two consultations going on right now. They are simultaneous. The first consultation is being done by the government, through the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. He has issued a green paper, a shorter version and a longer background document, that is engaged now in public consultation. You can respond to it online. We can show you how afterwards, if anybody doesn't know.
Parallel to that is a parliamentary review. In this committee we represent Parliament, not part of government. Some of us are on the government caucus and others are not. However, we have not come here with an opinion. In some cities we have had large gatherings where people have wanted to know our opinion on issues, and we're not at an opinion stage. We are consulting with the public to find out what you think about the parameters of the national security framework.
We were in Vancouver for two meetings on Monday, in Calgary for two meetings on Tuesday, and in Toronto for two meetings on Wednesday. Yesterday in Montreal we had three meetings, and we're here in Halifax today. Our afternoon meetings are with experts in the field who may be academics or practitioners, and various civil society groups that come and give us their expertise. We have a chance to question them. Our evening meetings are your opportunity to tell us what your concerns or thoughts are.
The end of this study isn't quite clear yet. The goal is to report back to Parliament, and thus to have the government read our report and respond to it as well. Normally, when a parliamentary committee issues a report, they request a government response to that report. This study will also be fuelling all the legislation that the government is going to be bringing forward in the area of public safety. There's one bill that has already been tabled that comes under this umbrella. It's Bill C-22, and it establishes a committee of parliamentarians to do oversight of national security agencies. We are looking at oversight, but we will be studying that bill in depth beginning next week.
Tonight is your turn. I'm going to turn it over to the committee to introduce themselves. I let them tell you where they're from, and then we're going to turn on the microphone.