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View Élisabeth Brière Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Élisabeth Brière Profile
2020-02-06 17:51 [p.1063]
Madam Speaker, if we want Canadians to trust their government, we need a government that trusts Canadians. I would add that this position has been repeated many times in the House, and not just when Bill C-98 was introduced.
On that note, I would also like to thank the senator who introduced Bill S-205 in 2015. That bill set out a number of the recommendations that we are proposing today.
Beyond the CBSA, our government's desire to improve the transparency and accountability of all our security agencies is clear.
For example, in 2013, a member proposed the creation of a national security committee of parliamentarians, but unfortunately the House rejected that proposal. The following year, a member introduced a bill that would have amended the National Defence Act in order to improve the transparency and accountability of the Communications Security Establishment.
Obviously, parliamentarians and Canadians want our intelligence and security agencies to be as accountable and transparent as possible. When our government took office in 2015, we knew we had to take action. During the government consultations on national security, experts and members of the public told us that we risked losing the trust of the public if our security agencies did not become more transparent and accountable.
After all, these measures create an effective and efficient government.
They help us oversee the exercise of authority and deliver results for Canadians.
The bill established the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency, which is the heart of Bill C-59 and represents a historic change for Canada.
The creation of this agency resulted in an integrated and comprehensive review of all national security and intelligence activities, including broader access to information across the government.
The government also created the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, a group tasked with reviewing Canada's national security and intelligence organizations.
As members know, this committee now has extraordinary access to classified information so that it can scrutinize security and intelligence activities.
The creation of this committee filled a significant gap and allowed us achieve two objectives: guaranteeing that our security agencies are working effectively, and protecting the rights and freedoms of Canadians.
The government also adopted a national security transparency commitment across government to give Canadians better access to information. All of these measures will help build public confidence in our security agencies. The RCMP, CSIS and Correctional Service Canada are already subject to solid accountability measures.
We know that similar steps have to be taken for our border agency.
We need a transparent system to ensure that complaints regarding the conduct and quality of services of CBSA employees are handled appropriately.
This is what Bill C-3 aims to do.
This bill would build on all of the government reforms I mentioned earlier and would increase the accountability of our national security apparatus.
Canadians can rest assured that an independent review body would be handling complaints relating to the conduct of border officers.
Bill C-3 would expand and strengthen the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission, the CRCC, which is the RCMP's review agency. This commission would become the public complaints and review commission. The new commission would be responsible for handling complaints and reviews for the Canada Border Services Agency and for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Anyone interacting with CBSA employees who wishes to file a complaint about the employee's conduct or quality of services would be able to go through this enhanced commission.
The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission could also conduct reviews of the Canada Border Services Agency of its own initiative or at the request of the Minister of Public Safety. However, matters of national security would be addressed by the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency with help from the CRCC.
Departments and agencies within Canada's public safety community are very familiar with this new transparency and accountability model. I know that they understand that their ability to respect this model has a direct impact on public trust, their credibility and their day-to-day activities.
The government knows that with the creation of the independent mechanism proposed in Bill C-3, Canadians will be much more comfortable filing a complaint. We will thereby greatly improve the accountability of our public safety apparatus' oversight mechanism.
I encourage all members of the House to join me and support Bill C-3 at second reading.
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