Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present to Parliament the fourth annual statement on public security. I have just tabled in the House the 1994 Public Report and Program Outlook of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
This year, for the first time, the CSIS public report provides both a review of the current security environment and a projection of CSIS resource requirements in future years.
As well, in the program outlook section of the public report, the service gives detailed breakdowns of both budget and personnel levels in this and future years. This is a continuation of the government's commitment to accountability and openness in the security sector.
1994 was marked by a number of events involving CSIS. The allegations made last summer regarding the service's connection with the Heritage Front were investigated extremely carefully. In spite of the stir caused by all these events, CSIS continued to operate and adapt to a changing world.
1994 also marked the 10th anniversary of the creation of CSIS, our civilian security agency. What a change we now see from those early days of 1984 when the Warsaw Pact alliance, under the leadership of the Soviet Union, was one of the dominant factors in world affairs.
In 1984 we were in the middle of an era of east-west relations where the focus of security services such as ours was aimed at the counterintelligence aspects of protecting national security. It could be said that 10 years ago when CSIS came into being it was a simpler world. We thought we knew where most of the threats came from and therefore targeted our resources accordingly.
Today we face a very different situation from 10 years ago with the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact following the collapse of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the end of the intelligence struggles of the cold war. We know and are very much aware that today's threats come as much from groups and individuals as they do from sovereign states. Today's threats are targeted as much against economic targets as they once were against military objectives. Today's threats involve organizations which do not recognize international boundaries or jurisdictions.
We have also seen the emergence of new national security threats, including weapons proliferation and an increase in transnational organized crime. Along with the evolution of some of the mainstream global linkages such as those in business, information and technology, security issues as well have become truly global in nature. Just last week we were witness to a shocking act of terrorism on the subway lines of Tokyo. These senseless acts have a chilling effect on public confidence. They bring home immediately and graphically the concerns we all have about the continued proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
Canadians have had to deal with terrorists and acts of terrorism. We must continue to do our part to monitor and combat international terrorist organizations in order that tragic incidents do not repeat themselves.
CSIS works hard to contribute to the international fight against terrorism through its domestic security investigations as well as through liaison with foreign counterparts, by working closely with domestic police services at all levels and through effective consultation and information sharing with other government departments.
CSIS helps to prevent terrorists from either entering Canada or from using our country as a recruiting or a training ground for illegal activities. Coupled with this international co-operation is a concerted effort, through the CSIS counter-terrorism program, to prevent foreign conflicts from taking root in our communities.
In order to accomplish this CSIS undertakes a broad range of activities such as investigating attempts by terrorist organizations to raise moneys in Canada to support terrorist acts in other lands, to manipulate members of immigrant communities in Canada or establish safe havens for those who have committed acts of terrorism in their homelands.
It is ironic that the very characteristics of this country that give us this quality of life we enjoy in Canada and endear it to honest citizens are also the ones that attract terrorists looking to escape international justice.
International terrorism has become such a serious concern that discussions at the highest level will continue. I expect this is an issue the Prime Minister will raise at the G-7 summit he will be chairing in Halifax in June.
Although serious political violence is most frequently manifested in the international arena, it can also find its roots within our nation's borders. The Heritage Front affair brought home for many Canadians the fact that terrorism has a psychological component as well as a physically violent one. It brought home the fact that extremist organizations such as the Heritage Front operate both in our major cities and in our rural communities.
It gave Canadians a rare glimpse of how our security service investigates the kinds of political extremism that can pose a threat to our national security. The Heritage Front affair also gave Canadians an insight into the checks and balances which were built into the CSIS act.
The allegations surrounding the service's involvement with the Heritage Front triggered an immediate investigation by the Security Intelligence Review Committee, just as the legislation intended. This test of the review mechanisms in the CSIS act reaffirmed the importance of these mechanisms and confirmed that they are generally working well.
SIRC conducted a thorough and timely investigation of the allegations and presented a report which found that the white supremacist movement "was and is a threat to the security of Canada", that CSIS acted properly in its dealings with the Heritage Front, and that the allegations made against CSIS were without foundation.
As members of the House know, the service is expressly prohibited from investigating lawful advocacy, protest or dissent. However, it is mandated to investigate politically motivated acts of violence. I am sure that all members of the House will agree that racism, neo-Nazism and white supremacism have no place in Canadian society and certainly do not belong in Canada.
The accountability cycle does not end with special reports of the Security Intelligence Review Committee. It is important to note that in response to the variety of allegations which accompanied the Heritage Front affair, the inspector general of CSIS prepared a report dealing with the handling of national security documents in the office of my predecessor and is also preparing a report on the handling of human sources by the service. As well, SIRC performs ongoing work in the preparation of its annual report, which I as Solicitor General tabled in both Houses of Parliament in the fall of this year.
Operational accountability is one thing, but in these times of restraint and program review there is a need for fiscal accountability as well. Last year, for the first time, CSIS' actual salary, capital and operating costs were released by me in what I referred to at the time as a three-line budget. I should point out that this is a major departure from the traditional one-line budget that is released by most western intelligence services.
This year, in conformity with the changes this government has implemented in order to provide members with more meaningful financial information, I am pleased to report that the CSIS 1994 public report and program outlook provides more information than ever before about the service's resource and personnel levels. I want to compliment the service on being one of the first government departments or agencies to publicly release their program outlook documents.
Upon examination of the program outlook, and I conclude my statement with some comments about this, members will find that CSIS is being fiscally responsible and is a full partner in the government-wide program review exercise.
It will be noted that the service's resource levels will decrease from $206.8 million in the 1994-95 fiscal year to a projected $159 million in 1997-98. As well, the personnel levels will drop from a peak of 2,760 under the previous government to roughly 2,000 by 1997-98.
This means that the service will have to continue to respond to Canadian security needs in a manner consistent with the government's fiscal targets. I want hon. members to know that I have been assured by the director of CSIS that the situation is
manageable and will not compromise Canada's national security.
I look forward to the comments of opposition colleagues. I hope they will agree that the global security intelligence environment is a volatile and unpredictable one. I trust they will understand that the basic nature of threats to national security have changed with the times and that this government and its security service are adapting to those changes.
I hope members opposite and Canadians as a whole will recognize the need in these rapidly changing times for the continuance of a domestic security service. We must be prepared to deal with threats to our national security. To do otherwise would be irresponsible and could lead to the undermining of our cherished freedoms and values.
By passing the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act in 1984, Parliament established an organization responsible for ensuring the security of Canada and its citizens, while at the same time providing mechanisms, in the legislation, to fully protect the rights and freedoms of Canadian citizens.
I believe those goals are being met by CSIS. I am confident they will continue to be met in the future.