Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. I appreciate the opportunity to speak in front of this committee.
First, let me say how encouraged I am that Canada, in the space of just a handful of years, has had two bills on national security. Content notwithstanding, the actual debate we're having helps improve...including the choices that we will be deliberately making as a country to either diminish or enhance our security, and I accept that there's a trade-off.
I come at this issue not just from my time in uniform in our special forces community, but also having been the senior uniformed officer responsible for international security in the Department of National Defence as well as being the chief strategic planner. Subsequent to my retirement, I have remained involved in this area, specifically working in the high-tech sector as well as in academia.
As part of the broader issue, I would wish to have my opening comments focused on three specific challenges. First of all is the trade-off between privacy and security, between the charter and the reasonable measures to protect Canadians. This is not, from my perspective obviously, a binary issue, or one that should be looked at as absolutes, but rather a dynamic relationship that should remain constantly under review. We should embrace that tension as opposed to pretending it doesn't exist, with a conversation being seen to have value in and of itself.
Second, there are the unavoidable challenges that are presented with dealing with intelligence and admissible evidence, quality information. This includes the provision of a coherent picture to policy makers. No policy or law will be able to solve this conundrum, however, better processes and deliberate case-by-case choices can be made to better inform our way ahead. I believe those are lacking. I believe this starts with a more coherent, joined up, centrally directed intelligence construct, which is mirrored in other countries, but quite frankly, not fully realized here in Canada. I'll address this a little later. Although this will be debated by many, the gap can be simply defined by the lack of one accountable minister—who is not the Prime Minister—in one department, responsible for the synthesis of a national perspective. The current construct through PCO lacks both authority and reach but most certainly process. The consequences are that we have government officials, both elected and unelected, who are not privy to a complete whole-of-government intelligence assessment, and vulnerabilities ensue as a consequence.
Lastly, we have a cultural blindness as a consequence of the quality of life that we all enjoy. To be sure, that's a double-edged sword, but the willingness to think of others, that they might share our values, our practices, essentially our way of life, is foolhardy. I vacillate, of course, between despair and admiration at this ability to ignore the realities of the world as I've experienced it. I won't be proposing any solution to that issue.
In this first instance, I would want to see a process that is able to flex and contract on a case-by-case basis. I do recognize there are embedded processes within the Government of Canada machinery. I believe them to be inadequate. This space should be defined by a non-political entity, likely expanding on the current judicial processes we have at the moment. In particular, I believe this must be informed by certain rules that trade off the automaticity of an action being appropriate or not with a deliberate set of decisions. Although there are some basic constructs that allow for warrants for certain actions, I don't believe this receives the attention or the expertise that is warranted in a holistic sense. We have a great judiciary, we have a great rule of law, and I believe the solution is in this space.
Lastly, in this area I consider it to be the requirement for whatever process adopted to remain in camera so as to protect that information, which leads me to my second point. By necessity, there's an overlap between various members of the security and intelligence community here in the machinery of government. We need better coordination, not merely information. Too often, even post-Maher, there remain gaps between how information and intelligence are manned in this domain. As an aside, I think it is tremendously important to distinguish between the two—information and intelligence. Although various individuals claim we are addressing this, I would remind this committee, as I'm sure you know, that this claim has been repeated by various officials in various governments for decades now. No good solutions have been reached, in my opinion.
When making this body of knowledge prosecutable, we need to do better. Although recognizing the hue and cry that will result, in some instances, it may mean, or continue to mean, a court process that is not transparent to the general public. These are the types of trade-offs that I believe are necessary. It's not a good solution. In fact, it may be a bad solution, but it's not the worst solution. In fact, it may be the best of a number of bad solutions. We are living in the worst solution, which is that we don't appear to address it at all. Implementation of independent monitors, etc., or any additional process may be considered as part of that solutions space.
With regard to electronic surveillance and security, I admit to an incredulity at either the inability or naïveté of Canadians in general, and quite frankly, the government in particular, accepting that there must be rules and policies surrounding these activities. It has shocked me. Over the last four or five years, I've worked a lot in the cyber domain. It's shocking to me how little effect successive governments have had in addressing the cyber-threats that this country faces on a daily basis. The vulnerability of our energy grid, the financial sector, among others, and the lack of a government-wide set of policies and legislation to enforce compliance leads me to believe that we are living in a country that is now fully compromised by foreign actors at the state and non-state level.
A voluntary system will not work, as a vulnerability by one is a vulnerability to all, in fact. The CSE legal mandate is a good and useful step, but it's only part of the picture. I am a strong believer that mass surveillance metadata, not individual surveillance or collecting individual information, and the power of directed and non-directed machine learning are critical to embrace and to better understand the space in which we are working. Lacking this, we will fall further behind.
Turning briefly to accountability and functionality in the government, I would cite the most recent report by the U.S. director of national intelligence, which is a significantly different role than the proposed commissioner of the intelligence, whose mandate falls well outside of my area of expertise and understanding, although it does appear to me to be a very good step. Although the current intelligent assessment secretariat fulfills some of the functionality of DNI, it falls short. Focused on the provision of intelligence to the and given its position in the Privy Council Office, it lacks the appropriate authorities to direct, as well as the degree of ministerial accountability needed. We have no minister responsible for this and no such equivalent director of intelligence. There is no mandate and therefore, the function is not served.
It seems to me that much of the public debate on the bill in question, , is about legal mandates, compliance, oversight, and governance. I don't wish to imply that this isn't needed, let alone value added, but rather suggest that the necessity of this conversation should not be mistaken for sufficiency. By itself, the debate on those issues is insufficient.
In a rapidly changing world, an equal amount of discussion should be given to the efficacy of the security and intelligence agencies and supporting departments, how well they work together, how rapidly they are able to, not just respond in the moment, but adjust to changing threats, etc.
As a criticism, I could argue that one would say the jealous safeguarding of mandates authorities—or more crudely put, turf battles—will be argued by any number of officials who will come in front of this committee. I would posit that you would be fooling yourself to believe that those turf battles aren't actively fought on a daily basis and therefore, inhibit a fuller, broader understanding of the threats that we face and the actions that we can take in response. However, I was strongly and tremendously encouraged to see Ms. Rennie Marcoux appointed as the executive director of the committee proposed. She is a true intelligence professional, but this is a separate function, and I do not mislead myself into believing that replaces the proposed DNI, which I would support. This is a gap that needs attention.
Furthermore, not being in government at the moment, I do remain uninformed about how the interaction between that commission and PCO, the assistant secretary of security intelligence, and the national security advisor will all work together, reminding ourselves that the PCO answers only to the PMO and there's no accountable minister, let alone mandate, and therefore, no real authority besides that which is practised, but not enforced.
In addressing the oversight committee I believe I noted with concern that in some instances the committee—and I stand to be corrected on this—would not have access to certain intelligence. I think I've read that in some of the critiques. To be very clear, for lack of a better term, I believe that to be admittedly stupid. The committee should have access to any and all documentation seen and used by the intelligence committee regardless of the originator controls. Anything less makes a mockery of oversight. Decisions will be made. Actions will be initiated based on that foreign-based intelligence.
There is a need to continue to force the interaction most especially between the intelligence and security agencies and associated departments. I'm convinced that Bill is a good step forward, but it needs to be enlarged in processes and interactions, and an accountable minister appointed.
I'd be more than happy to talk about threats and other processes during our Q and A.
Thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. It's good to see you again.
I'd like to thank the committee for the invitation to appear before you with respect to this very important Bill . I've had the opportunity to follow some of the proceedings and to read some of the transcripts, and it's very encouraging to see the depth and substance of the questions asked of the individual witnesses who are appearing, including with different perspectives.
I've had a long history, and I was thinking about it before I came here today. It's been almost 30 years, I guess, since I first testified before a parliamentary committee. I was a crown prosecutor from Alberta, and as I put it, I got tired of tripping over the mistakes of the parole system in my courtroom, and realized that the only way to try to change it was to change the laws. That meant coming to Ottawa, because we were dealing with federal correctional legislation. I was appearing before parliamentary committees where I exposed what had happened in a couple of cases.
The important work of the legislative branch struck me then, and it has remained with me throughout. That sometimes gets overlooked, and depending on how things are being handled at the executive branch of government, the really important and critical analysis that committees can do is quite significant. A bill like this is a very good example of that, because you can have different opinions about things on different subjects, but you have the ability to ask questions and to try to elicit information to analyze whether or not the intended results are going to be achieved by the legislation in the way that it's drafted or if other things need to be done. That is particularly true, I think, in relation to legislation like Bill , which is obviously pretty complex legislation and deals with a whole lot of subjects.
In fairness, the discussion itself has raised issues that are not contained in Bill . I think a very encouraging sign was the way that the government sent the bill here in advance of second reading so that you could have input and suggestions on other subjects. I have some suggestions to make on things like that. I must admit, though, that I would suggest that it probably is a better idea, simply from a procedural perspective, to confine your recommendations to the specifics of the bill, and perhaps, in an ancillary report, make suggestions on other subjects rather than adding huge new amendments to sections and opening up different issues that are not specifically contained in Bill . There's so much of value in Bill C-59 that it's a good idea to move it forward.
My presentation today will touch on essentially three aspects. The first is just to take some examples of things that I think are notable and quite important in Bill . I also have a couple of comments on things, and one in particular I have a problem with, but I suppose, to put it in a larger sense, they're just ones where I would suggest you may want to ask some questions and make sure you understand that what you are anticipating is the case is, in fact, the case. Then, because the minister has invited suggestions on other issues, if we have time—and probably not in the opening statement, but during questions and answers—I have some suggestions on other issues that I think might be of interest.
Let me just give you a little bit of background as well on my personal experience in this, because it impacts on the insights. As I mentioned, I was a crown prosecutor in Alberta. Ultimately, because of one of the cases I was involved in, in 1992 I became the executive officer of the Canadian Police Association. This is the rank-and-file police officers, the unions. We were involved very heavily from 1992 to 1998 in criminal justice reform, policy advocacy. It was from that, in particular, and my work as a crown prosecutor, that I got the sense of the importance of learning from front-line operational insights how you can then shape legislative or policy tools so as to achieve desired outcomes.
Also, not everything needs to be done by legislation. There are frequently instances—and I was struck by this as I was watching some of the evidence from some of the witnesses that you've had—where we don't necessarily need new laws. We need to enforce the ones we already have, and we need to make sure that the tools are in place to use them appropriately. There are some examples of that, I think, in Bill specifically.
I ended up working with the Ontario government in 1998 as an order in council appointment. That government had intended to achieve some criminal justice reforms, and they weren't getting it done, so they wanted some people with some understanding of the justice system.
After 9/11, I was appointed as the special security adviser on counterterrorism because of some work I had previously been involved in. I had significant interactions with Americans in relation to that. In the old days, it was the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, which became INSET. I had a role, essentially, in being the provincial representative in some of the discussions, and I saw the inter-agency interactions, or lack thereof, and the impact that potentially had.
Since then, I'm actually one of the guys who did the review that led to the arming of the border officers. I still do work with the union on policy stuff. I also do some stuff with security technology committees. The value of that is that you get an understanding of some of the operational insights and what is necessary to achieve the intended outcomes.
I should add, I suppose, the final thing. Last year, I accepted a position at Simon Fraser University as an adjunct professor. I know you'll be shocked to hear that. It's for a course they offer, a master's program, the Terrorism, Risk, and Security Studies program. The course I teach is balancing civil liberties and public safety and security. To go on from a point that the general made, I think the case is that these are not either-or situations. We are fully capable of doing both, and there is a balance involved in this. As a general principle, it is a very good idea, when you're looking at what is proposed in legislation, especially in legislation like this which has national security implications, to keep in mind the general principles of protecting civil rights.
There are two points about that. You'll notice that in “civil rights”, “rights” is modified by “civil”. In other words, they are rights that exist in the context of a civil society. That has ramifications in the sense, I think, of what citizens are entitled to expect of their government. I don't want government intruding on my privacy, but, at the same time, if government has the capability of accessing relevant information and acting on someone who is a threat to me and my family, I expect, under my civil right, that, in fact, government will do what it needs to do to extend that protection.
The other side of that—and I know, Monsieur Dubé asked many questions about this, as did other members of the committee—is the importance of looking at it generally, at what is proposed, to see that there is, in effect, oversight initially and, as well, appropriate review so that the balancing can take place. In my opinion, and more accurately in my experience, having the executive branch reporting to itself for authorization is something that should raise a red flag. There are provisions within the act that ultimately address that, although there are some that raise some questions about it.
In the very brief time left, let me just say that I think that among the important things in the legislation are the extensive use of preambles and definitions about the importance of privacy and what we would generally call civil rights in consideration of why we're doing things. That, I think, was a deficiency in Bill . I can tell you that it is critically important in today's charter world to make sure that is included so that the courts can consider whether or not what was being done by legislative authority in fact took into account the charter issues. A rule of statutory interpretation is “thou shalt consider the preamble in a statute when actually drafting it”.
With one minute left, I think probably the most important operational aspect of this bill is the proactive cyber-activity authorized to CSE. That is a reality of the world in which we live. We are totally cyber-dependent, which also means we have enormous cyber-vulnerabilities. Cybersecurity, in effect, has been an afterthought. This is a step; it is not the complete answer. I do some work in the cyber field as well, and that is something that I think is extremely important.
The one issue I would raise, in closing, which I have a concern about specifically, is in relation to the change in what I think is the evidentiary threshold in the terrorism propaganda offence. I can get into that in more detail, but my concern is, essentially, that it may be making it, for no good reason, no justifiable reason that I can see, harder to use that section, which has extreme relevance now in the changing domestic terrorism environment in which we are living.
I look forward to answering any questions and, hopefully, touching on the other subjects.
I don't mean to cut you off.
You alluded in your remarks to your concern about the speech crime provision in Bill C-51 being modified under Bill . I was reading a piece that you wrote—it might have been for iPolitics as a matter of fact, back in the fall—where you pointed to your opposition to this.
Just for the record, under Bill C-51, it was a crime for one to “knowingly advocate or promote the commission of terrorism offences in general”. Under Bill , this has been replaced with something much more common in criminal law: “counselling another person to commit a terrorism” act.
I have read your criticism, so I want to jump immediately to ask you a question about how the offence was phrased in Bill . Take the example of a journalist or a group of protestors who were supporting a group—now the times don't align here but I think you'll appreciate the example—of anti-apartheid activists, under the ANC and under Mandela. You know very well that, particularly in the early history of their activism against apartheid, they advocated for non-lethal attacks on public infrastructure.
Now if a journalist here in Canada were writing in favour of that kind of an approach—again, the anti-apartheid movement was one of the most important struggles of the 20th century—it's entirely conceivable, and I'm not the only one to use this example, that they could have been charged under the wording in Bill .
To shift now, to pivot to a counselling offence, doesn't this clarify and bring greater understanding to what is permissible and what is not permissible?
As I say, the biggest one I have questions about is the terrorism propaganda. To circle back and answer, precisely because the proposed definition is section 22 of the Criminal Code—which is counselling another person to commit a criminal offence—the way I read the language of that, in effect that offence is already there.
I guarantee you, sir, that if that wording is used, there will be occasions when defence counsel will come to court when somebody is charged, and ask, “Who was it that he was counselling to commit the offence?” If you don't have another person involved, you aren't able to prove the offence.
That compares to the general notion, which reflects the reality of what we're dealing with now: we know that what would be included in the definition of terrorism propaganda is what is being used in radicalization, recruitment, and facilitation, including and especially in domestic circumstances. That's what we're actually facing.
To your point, though, about the larger issues, I'll go back to what I said before. I actually think there are things in Bill that help us deal with the reality of returning jihadis. The most important thing is that the government did not change the evidentiary level in section 810.011, the terrorism peace bonds. It's still “may commit”. Had that been raised up to “will commit”, that would have put a much more significant barrier on things.
The other thing that is very important in this bill is the provision that requires annual reporting on the number of peace bonds that are actually used, and also a five-year reporting on the impact of the bill itself. In my experience in government, that tends to bring about accountability. I assure you that if those provisions are included, throughout the different offices of the security branches and agencies there will be whiteboards going up with people writing on them, “Okay, I'm responsible for this. I've actually got to deliver this.” That's a good thing, because I think accountability tends to produce results.
Thank you very much for the question.
I will try to answer in French, but I might miss some slight nuances. I will answer the other questions in English.
I would like to briefly address the previous question.
As a practitioner, a focus solely on the legislation by this committee will miss about 80% of the potential gaps you've asked about. The reality is that legislation has to have practices in place and structures in place under those practices to support that. That's the total capability. There's lots of legislation in Canada that is not enacted because it lacks the practices, the structures, the reporting mechanisms, and everything else. I would be very guarded about focusing solely on gaps in legislation. As the guy on the practitioner side of the house, I would argue that we need to be a little more holistic.
With regard to your specific question, I think it's excellent. Jihadists or religious extremists fall along a pretty broad continuum spanning adventure seekers, malcontents, the disenfranchised, and the truly committed. We will receive back in Canada that complete continuum. Anybody who believes that every individual coming back is either wholly bad or just situationally good, and so on, is fooling themselves.
We will receive those people who went for reasons unrelated to the actual clash between Daesh, ISIS, and so on, and who were turned off by what they saw.
Equally, we will see people coming back here, fully determined to continue to prosecute that conflict. People are fooling themselves. I've dealt with these people around the world. They are committed. You're fooling yourself if you declare otherwise, and you're lying. You should know better.
I provided my opening remarks, and as well, the actual paper that I wrote for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and a couple of other papers to the committee, so you will have access to that.
I totally agree with respect to border issues not being really included. I don't think that was the intent, frankly, in the drafting of Bill and fair enough, you use other legislation. But there are so many things that could and need to be done in my opinion. I wondered when you had your last witnesses here including from the RCMP, who had some unusual remarks in my opinion, but they're not so much legal as they are practical.
Do we have a bad guy lookout system in place supported by face recognition biometrics? I know this may come as a surprise but the bad guys use phony ID. Why are our border officers not allowed expressly to be doing enforcement work between ports of entry? It's ridiculous. We need to renegotiate the safe third country agreement.
Let's me clear, obviously you can call it global migration or human smuggling but it's not an accident that these people happened to coincidentally.... More than 50% of them by the way, in these latest waves, were not just people who were Haitians expecting that they were going to leave the United States but people who had actually lawfully obtained visas to come to the United States to illegally enter Canada. That should raise an eyebrow. Why is that? The word is out essentially that it is something that can be done.
What I would suggest is that there are so many issues that are involved in this. It merits a separate study and analysis and not necessarily tacking things on to Bill , because there are enough other things in Bill C-59 that are legitimate but our border security issues I think.... We haven't completed the commitments in the Beyond the Border program or the border integrity technology enhancement program for border surveillance technologies. Those are things that absolutely need to be done.
As I say, the bad guys tell us what they're planning on doing. Remember when this all started and there was a flow of refugees into Europe and they said, we're going to embed our people in amongst them. There was a report out last week from the EU about that fact of those people retuning. That's something we need to pay attention to.
On the final last point just about this, I thought that the Immigration and Refugee Board has done a pretty good job of releasing statistics on the numbers of people who have been ruled inadmissible or timelines and things like that. The one statistic that you don't see is how many people have actually been removed? In our system that's different from being ordered removed.
That's information that is available and it would be a good idea to actually get it because our system in my experience is too bureaucratic and process focused. Process is supposed to serve purpose. If I could add an insight from a career in law enforcement, all too frequently it doesn't, especially in border issues.
You'll see a whole list of recommendations, sir.
Thank you for your question and comments.
I think I agree with your underlying point about the exaggeration of threats. We should understand what risk really is in this domain. It's a combination of three separate and distinct elements: the frequency of any occurrence, the likelihood of it, and the consequence of it.
I think any metric that you look at would suggest that foreign-fighter-based terrorism is probably outside the top one hundred threats that Canada faces in terms of life and limb here in Canada. You shouldn't mistake that for a belief on my part that it doesn't need to be addressed, but it should be kept in proportion.
That's why I said, in my opening comments, that in terms of the balance between our security and charter rights and everything else, we should be making deliberate decisions that actually diminish our security, because it's an informed position of risk and threat. You only get there, though, if you have the supporting mechanisms that I've alluded to previously this morning, so that they're informed decisions.
My concern is not about the exaggeration of threat. It's about the ignorance of threat. I'm perfectly comfortable with governments, agencies, law enforcement agencies, etc., deciding not to do something. I'm really uncomfortable when they decide not to do something because they just don't know, and that's actually the reality, in my opinion.
I would agree with the underlying part of that, which is that there are some individuals who want to exaggerate that for effect because ideologically that fits with them, or it's their policy base, or whatever the case is. I'm certainly not there, but this certainly needs conscious decision-making, acceptance, and weighing of threat based on an informed decision process that's supported by a structure of government that's fully integrated. Those final three steps just are not present.
Mr. Chair, honourable members, thank you for inviting me here today to speak to you about Bill . As you said, Mr. McKay, I am accompanied by Ms. Joanne Gibb, Director of the Research, Policy and Strategic Investigations Unit of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
I will focus my comments today on part 1 of the bill, which seeks to establish the national security and intelligence review agency, thereby transferring certain powers, duties, and functions from the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP to this new agency.
As the head of the commission, I strongly believe in the importance of civilian oversight and review, whether it is related to national security or, for that matter, related to law enforcement more generally. Independent review fosters positive change and makes organizations better, and I think that's an objective we shouldn't lose sight of when we're talking about these changes. Consequently, the commission supports all of the efforts to enhance the national security review framework.
The trust that Canadians have in their public safety and national security agencies is predicated on accountability and transparency, to the degree possible. Independent review, whether it is by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, or by expert civilian bodies such as the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission, the Security Intelligence Review Committee, or the Office of the CSE Commissioner, contributes to the overall accountability framework of the organizations entrusted with keeping Canada safe and secure.
As the government seeks to further strengthen that framework by creating the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency, the commission welcomes the opportunity to work collaboratively with the new review body to ensure that RCMP activities are independently examined.
Created in 1988, the commission has significant experience and expertise in managing complaints and conducting reviews of the RCMP, whether it is into the RCMP’s actions in relation to the G8 or G20 summits, the RCMP seizure of firearms in High River, or policing in northern B.C., to name a few subjects.
The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP, as it is known now, has long been a key element of the RCMP’s accountability structure. By independently reviewing complaints, and where necessary making findings and remedial recommendations, the commission strives to bring about constructive change in the RCMP.
Currently, the commission is undertaking a review of the RCMP's implementation of Justice O'Connor's recommendations in relation to the Maher Arar affair. That investigation is ongoing at this time and is expected to be completed before the end of the fiscal year. The commission will then prepare a report outlining any findings and recommendations pertaining to the six sectors examined by Justice O'Connor.
It is my hope that any findings or recommendations made by the commission would guide the new review agency in its future work in relation to the RCMP's national security activities.
In his 2006 report, Justice O’Connor stressed the importance of a review body being able to “follow the thread”. Through Bill , the new national security and intelligence review agency will have the mandate to do just that, providing a more holistic approach to national security review. Justice O’Connor also stressed the need to eliminate silos and for expert review bodies to work more collaboratively. We're hopeful that this will be an outcome of the new legislation and new oversight structures.
Since the mandate of the RCMP is much broader than just national security, I am pleased that Bill permits the national security and intelligence review agency to provide the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission with information it has obtained from the RCMP if such information relates to the fulfilment of our own mandate. I believe that this is critical to the overall effectiveness of the expert review bodies.
For example, if in the course of a national security review the national security and intelligence review agency becomes aware of a policy issue unrelated to national security, that issue could be flagged to the CRCC for further examination. This is the reality of the world we're living in.
To further illustrate the importance of collaboration and co-operation, I would suggest that if a public complaint was received by the commission that pertained to national security, but also contained allegations related to RCMP member conduct, the two review bodies should be able to collaborate, within their respective statutory mandates, to deal with the complaint. That is the only way that the Canadians who had made a complaint would receive an appropriate response to all their complaints.
Although the legislation requires the complaint to be referred to the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency, the CRCC, as the expert review body in relation to policing and police conduct, could deal with the allegation related to member conduct. This would ensure a consistent approach in reviewing complaints of RCMP on-duty conduct.
In terms of changes to the commission's mandate relative to Bill , certain elements in the legislation might benefit from further clarification, and that the members of this committee may wish to consider further. Proposed amendments to the RCMP Act require that the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission refuse to deal with a complaint concerning an activity that is closely related to national security and refer any such complaint to the national security and intelligence review agency. That means the CRCC will continue to receive all public complaints related to the RCMP, and thus will remain the point of intake for public complaints. The onus will then be on the CRCC to determine whether the complaint is, in the words of the legislation, “closely related to national security” before deciding on how it will dispose of it.
Absent a definition of national security, however, the commission must make a determination on whether to refer the complaint to the national security and intelligence review agency. Once referred to the national security and intelligence review agency, that agency must receive and investigate the complaint in accordance with section 19 of the new legislation. There is currently no authority, however, for a referral back to the CRCC if the national security and intelligence review agency were to deem, after it had examined a complaint, that it was not a matter closely related to national security. This is a matter that the committee may want to consider further.
Also, while Bill prohibits the commission from dealing with or investigating complaints closely related to national security, as well as RCMP activity related to national security, there is no prohibition on the commission's chairperson from initiating a complaint related to national security. Further to the RCMP Act, if the chairperson is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to investigate the conduct of an RCMP member in the performance of any duty or function, the chairperson may initiate a complaint in relation to that conduct. Bill C-59 does not amend subsection 45.59(1) of the RCMP Act and, as a result, the chairperson could initiate a complaint closely related to national security. I respectfully suggest that the committee may wish to consider whether this is consistent with the intent of the legislation.
As I indicated at the beginning of my remarks, I believe in the importance of civilian oversight of law enforcement, and we at the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP are fully committed to working with the new national security and intelligence review agency.
In closing, I'd like to thank the committee for allowing me to share my views on the important role of the independent civilian review. I welcome your questions.