Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Lisa Raitt Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lisa Raitt Profile
2019-07-25 12:38
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you very much for ruling this admissible. Through the questioning today something has become quite apparent to me, and it has been confirmed for me as well in the discussion I had with Ms. Campbell. It is that this is truly an important issue for us to study. The chair of the advisory committee for the Supreme Court of Canada nomination process has indicated that this is something she thinks MPs would be interested in getting to the bottom of. I agree with her and I appreciate that piece of advice.
I am also concerned that there seems to be a miscommunication, deliberate or not, with respect to what is actually being investigated now and who is being investigated. I understand that part of the defence, I guess, in saying no to a justice committee inquiry was that the Privacy Commissioner was doing his job.
As you may have noticed today, I brought up the fact that section 50 of the Privacy Act exempts any political staff or ministers or prime ministers from an investigation. Simply put, the Prime Minister will not be interviewed by the Privacy Commissioner. Minister Lametti will not be interviewed by the Privacy Commissioner. The cabinet ministers who were consulted as part of the previous process will not be interviewed by the Privacy Commissioner. Elder Marques will not be interviewed by the Privacy Commissioner. Mathieu Bouchard will not be interviewed by the Privacy Commissioner, and neither will Ben Chin be interviewed by the Privacy Commissioner.
The reason I'm concerned is that in response to my questions, the minister was very careful when I asked whether or not his political staff were going to be interviewed. He responded by by saying that his department would co-operate. That, I believe, is a deliberate attempt to split a hair. As a former minister, I don't appreciate it because I don't think it's being fair to Canadians, as it does not allow them to understand exactly what is being investigated now.
As a result, I'm proposing this motion so that there will be no gap in any investigation regarding this incredibly egregious leak of the personal information of Mr. Justice Glenn Joyal to the press, with the purpose, quite frankly, of delegitimizing whether or not Jody Wilson-Raybould was in favour of the charter. That's what it all comes back to.
As a result, I look forward to the comments by my colleagues around the table regarding the matter.
I would point out one last thing with respect to what Minister Lametti testified today. When I put it to Ms. Campbell whether or not she discussed the matter of the leak with Minister Lametti, she indicated that she had not discussed it with Minister Lametti as he went forward in the new process. That to me, as well, is of concern. At the very least, I think Minister Lametti should return to answer questions on the topic and, as I indicated before, anybody else who was involved in it.
This committee has the ability to call everybody. The Privacy Commissioner is barred by statute from calling the key people who politically had the information on a discussion between the former minister of justice, Jody Wilson-Raybould, and the Prime Minister of Canada. We're not going to get to the bottom of anything unless we have those people come forward and tell us what happened.
Thank you.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you.
Does anyone on this side wish to intervene?
Since there are no other speakers, we will proceed to the vote.
View Lisa Raitt Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lisa Raitt Profile
2019-07-25 12:43
I'd like a recorded vote.
(Motion negatived: nays 5; yeas 4)
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
Do the members of the committee have any other comments?
Not seeing any, I want to thank everybody for being with us today.
I imagine this is perhaps our last meeting before the election, so I wish everybody a very nice summer and a good campaign.
The meeting is adjourned.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Folks, we're trying to get back on our timeline here. We are waiting for our other witness, but in the meantime, we will proceed with RCMP captain Mark Flynn.
You will make your presentation, and if the folks from the Communications Security Establishment come, we'll make arrangements for them to speak as well.
The meeting is now public, by the way.
For those who are presenters, the real issue here is that the members wish to ask questions. Therefore, shorter presentations are preferable to longer ones.
With that, Superintendent Flynn, I'll ask you to make your presentation.
Mark Flynn
View Mark Flynn Profile
Mark Flynn
2019-07-15 13:29
You'll be happy to hear, as I understand the committee was informed, that I won't be making any opening remarks. I am present here today simply to address any questions you may have. As this, on its surface, does relate to an ongoing criminal investigative matter, it would be inappropriate for me to provide details of an investigation, particularly an investigation that is not being undertaken by the RCMP.
I welcome all questions. I am here to provide whatever assistance I can.
View David de Burgh Graham Profile
Lib. (QC)
It's a little harder to ask questions without an opening to work off.
The first question I have is this. If somebody calls the RCMP with a suspicion of data theft complaint, how does the RCMP treat that from the get-go?
Mark Flynn
View Mark Flynn Profile
Mark Flynn
2019-07-15 13:30
That will depend on the jurisdiction where it occurs. In the jurisdiction where we are, the police have jurisdiction, so they have the provincial and municipal responsibility. It would be forwarded to our intake process there, whether it be our telecoms office, the front desk of a detachment or a particular investigative unit that's identified for that.
In cases where we are not the police of jurisdiction, like in Ontario and Quebec where we are the federal police, we will become aware of these instances through our collaboration with our provincial and municipal partners. We will look at the information and determine whether or not there are any connections to other investigations that we have ongoing, and offer our assistance to the police of jurisdiction should they require it, although on many occasions this type of incident is very well handled. We have very competent provincial and municipal police forces that are able to handle these on their own.
View David de Burgh Graham Profile
Lib. (QC)
At what point does something become federal? If something is provincial jurisdiction but affects multiple provinces, does each province have to deal with it separately or is the RCMP able to step in at that point?
Mark Flynn
View Mark Flynn Profile
Mark Flynn
2019-07-15 13:31
The RCMP doesn't automatically step in solely because it crosses multiple provinces. As occurs with traditional crimes, whether a theft ring on a border between two provinces, or homicides, the police forces in those jurisdictions are used to collaborating and do so very well.
When there's an incident that occurs from a cyber perspective, if it's going to have an impact on a Government of Canada system, a critical infrastructure operator or there are national security considerations to it, or if it's connected to a transnational, serious and organized crime group that already falls within the priority areas we're investigating, then that matter will be something we will step into.
From a cyber perspective, we have ongoing relationships and regular communication with most of the provinces and municipalities that have cyber capabilities within their investigative areas. We know that many of these incidents occur in multiple jurisdictions, whether they be domestic or international, so coordination and collaboration are really important.
That's why the national cybercrime coordination unit is being stood up as a national police service to aid in that collaboration, but prior to that being implemented, one of the responsibilities of my team in our headquarters unit is to have regular engagement, whether regular telephone conference calls or formal meetings where we discuss things that are happening in multiple jurisdictions to ensure that collaboration and deconfliction occurs, or on an ad hoc basis. When a significant incident occurs, our staff in the multiple police forces will be on the phone speaking to each other and identifying and ensuring that an appropriate and non-duplicating response is provided.
View David de Burgh Graham Profile
Lib. (QC)
In the case of the incident we're here to discuss, which is obviously a major incident, is the RCMP being kept apprised of what's happening, even if it's not their investigation?
Mark Flynn
View Mark Flynn Profile
Mark Flynn
2019-07-15 13:33
I'd like to stay away from discussing this particular investigation, but I can tell you that investigations of this nature absolutely will lead to discussions occurring. That happens as a consequence of the fact that we do have those regular meetings, whether it be in cyber or other types of crime that are going on in different jurisdictions. These, obviously, on a scale of this nature, would lead to discussions.
I am not involved involved in any of those discussions at this time. It is not something I have knowledge about.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Drouin, welcome to the committee.
View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Flynn, thank you for being here. I know that you will not comment on the ongoing investigation, but as a member of Parliament who represents a lot of members who have been impacted—I have been impacted as well—I am looking more at the potential impacts of fraud.
I know that many Canadians get fraudulent calls from CRA. I myself called back somebody who pretended they were you guys. They wanted to collect some money for a particular person. They were demanding. They were really adamant. They gave a callback number, and I provided that callback number to the police. Is that something you would advise Canadians to do where obviously the RCMP, or your local police force, is the first point of contact?
Mark Flynn
View Mark Flynn Profile
Mark Flynn
2019-07-15 13:35
Absolutely. We actually have a program at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and a close relationship with telecommunications service providers, who have been very helpful in addressing some of the challenges we've had around telemarketing and the mass fraud committed over the telephone. As we learn about numbers that are utilized for fraud, we are validating that, and the telecoms industry is blocking those numbers to reduce the victimization. We have adapted some of our practices to ensure that this occurs at a much more timely rate than it has historically.
View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
Just from your experience, and learning from cases of fraud, we know that some of them may have my social insurance number. They may have my email address, as well as my civic address. It could be a very convincing case for them to pretend that they're either a government official or from some type of financial institution. What would you advise Canadians on the best way to protect themselves?
Mark Flynn
View Mark Flynn Profile
Mark Flynn
2019-07-15 13:36
With any mass fraud campaign, whether it be tied to an instance like this or just in general, people need to have a strong sense of skepticism and take action to protect themselves. There are many resources under the Government of Canada, with such organizations as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and Get Cyber Safe, that provide a list of advice for Canadians. It simply comes down to protecting your information and having a good sense of doubt when somebody is calling you. If it's a bank calling, call your local branch and use your local number. Don't respond to the number they provide and don't immediately call back the number they provide. Go with your trusted sources to validate any questions that are coming in.
I have experienced calls similar to yours. I had a very convincing call from my own bank. I contacted my bank and they gave me the advice that it was not legitimate. It was interesting, because in the end it turned out to be legitimate, but we all felt very safe in the fact that the appropriate steps were taken. I would rather risk not getting a service than compromising my identity or my financial information.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Paul-Hus, you have seven minutes.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Mr. Flynn. I'll come back to you in a few moments.
The leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Andrew Scheer, asked me to contact my fellow committee members to convene this meeting. He sent an open letter to the media on July 12, and I'd like to paraphrase a few paragraphs.
Like the vast majority of Quebecers and all Canadians, I am worried about the the security of our information technology systems, identity theft and privacy protection.
This is a very serious situation, and I understand the fear and anxiety of the victims, whose personal information, including their social insurance number, was stolen. They are worried about how this will affect them in the future. They will have to spend considerable time and energy dealing with this.
It is reassuring to see that the leadership at Desjardins Group is taking the matter seriously and working hard to protect and reassure members. The federal government, too, has a responsibility and duty to support all victims of identity theft by learning from the past and strengthening cybersecurity in partnership with all stakeholders across the industry.…
I want the victims of this data breach, as well as all Canadians, to know that we stand with them and that a future Conservative government would be committed to tackling the privacy challenges confronting Canadians.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Well, we thank Mr. Scheer for that wonderful message.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
We want to be very clear about what an important and serious issue this is—so important, in fact, that we felt it was necessary for the committee to meet on this sunny July 15.
Mr. Flynn, you answered the questions of my Liberal colleagues, but I find the RCMP's response to the situation rather weak. Allow me to explain. Some 2.9 million Desjardins account holders are very worried right now. About 2.5 million are Quebecers, and 300,000 are in Ontario and other parts of the country. For the past three weeks, constituents have been contacting our offices non-stop, and the government has yet to respond. The reason for today's emergency meeting is to figure out what the federal government can do to help affected Canadians.
You said the RCMP isn't really involved, but can't it do something given that it has its own cybersecurity unit, works with organizations like Interpol and has access to other resources? I don't want to interfere in a police investigation, but we heard that people's personal information was being sold abroad. Isn't there technology or techniques the RCMP can use to detect potential fraud?
Mark Flynn
View Mark Flynn Profile
Mark Flynn
2019-07-15 13:40
The RCMP's role, as I explained earlier, in many of these situations is to work with our provincial and municipal partners. It's important to recognize that our provincial and municipal partners are very skilled at responding to many of these incidents. It's not always the case that the RCMP has additional powers, authorities or capabilities to the ones they have when dealing with an incident that is singular in nature, where an individual is involved in a single event, as opposed to a broader one.
However, there's always a standing offer from the RCMP to our provincial and municipal partners, that should they require technical assistance, advice or guidance, we are available to them for that. It would be inappropriate for the RCMP to inject itself into the jurisdiction of another police force to run the investigation they are operating.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
I understand what you're saying about the investigation probably being conducted by the Sûreté du Québec, but what the Conservatives and NDP want to know is this. What can the RCMP do about the personal information of 2.9 million people that was handed over to criminals? I don't want to discuss the investigation; I want to know whether you have resources. If you don't, we want to know. That's why we are here today. If personal data was sold on the international market, neither the Quebec provincial police nor Laval police is going to deal with it. I think it falls under RCMP jurisdiction.
Mark Flynn
View Mark Flynn Profile
Mark Flynn
2019-07-15 13:42
Again, outside the scope of this particular investigation, cybercriminals do commit the majority of their crimes to gain access to personal or financial information for the purposes of gaining access to financial institutions and the money that's housed in those locations. The RCMP work continuously with the international community to identify and pursue the individuals who are committing a great number of these crimes.
The RCMP are working closely right now with those international partners, as well as many of the large financial institutions in Canada and the Canadian Bankers Association, to ensure that we are targeting the individuals who are causing the most significant harm. Our federal policing prevention and engagement team has hosted sessions with both the financial institutions and the cybersecurity industry. We have a new advisory group that's helping us target those individuals.
As far as knowledge goes, it's only in the hands of those cybersecurity and financial institutions. We're trying to ensure that as we are putting the resources we have into investigations, we are targeting those individuals who are causing the most harm.
We do that, as well, internationally. As incidents occur, we speak to our international law enforcement partners. We identify the behaviours we have in our cases or in our Canadian law enforcement partners' cases, so that if there are connections or individuals who are in those other jurisdictions, we're using the mutual legal assistance treaty, and we're using police-to-police collaborative efforts that we have to ensure that, internationally, all of those efforts are put towards a problem.
Now, I want to stay away again—and I apologize for doing that—from this exact incident. I cannot express what is or is not being done in this particular incident.
Mark Flynn
View Mark Flynn Profile
Mark Flynn
2019-07-15 13:44
I am unable to speak about this particular incident. It would be inappropriate for me to do so.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Paul-Hus.
Mr. Dubé, you may go ahead for seven minutes.
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