Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I will make a statement, then the Right Honourable Kim Campbell will speak, and then I will speak again. Afterwards, we will answer your questions together.
Mr. Chairman, Right Honourable Kim Campbell, members of the committee and other parliamentarians in the room, good morning. I also note the presence of the Honourable Irwin Cotler, whom I thank for being here.
First and foremost, we recognize that we are on traditional unceded Algonquin lands. It is very important to underline this fact today.
I would like to thank the chair for convening this extraordinary meeting of the committee. I also thank all honourable members for being here today. I recognize, of course, that many of them have changed their summer plans to be with us. I am very grateful to them.
As the chair has just pointed out, this is the third time our government has implemented its reformed process for appointing judges to the Supreme Court of Canada.
The modifications we introduced in 2016 are designed to ensure greater openness, transparency and accountability in the appointments process. Many of you here today are seasoned participants, having been part of the 2016 and 2017 processes that resulted in the appointments respectively of justices Rowe and Martin. Madam Campbell was the chair of those committees as well.
As you can imagine, I have followed these processes with great interest and attention. It is now a great honour and privilege for me to participate more directly in the process to fill the position that will become vacant on September 15, 2019, following the retirement of Justice Clément Gascon.
I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank Justice Gascon for his contribution and to acknowledge the courage he has shown throughout his career.
I have the pleasure of appearing today with the Right Honourable Kim Campbell, who joins us via video conference from Vancouver. Ms. Campbell previously served as the chairperson of the Independent Advisory Board for Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments. Ms. Campbell also served as the chairperson of the current advisory board that was adapted to ensure the appointment of a judge properly grounded in the legal experience of Quebec and its legal tradition. Ms. Campbell's extensive experience with the selection process has been an invaluable resource in this process. We are grateful for her continued dedication to serving Canadians in this role and we say thank you.
In a few moments, I will turn things over to Ms. Campbell to describe the specific work the advisory board undertook in order to produce the short list of candidates for the Prime Minister's consideration. Before doing so, however, I would like to briefly outline the unique aspects of the current process to fill this Quebec seat on the court.
According to the Supreme Court Act, three seats on the court are reserved for lawyers from Quebec. Under sections 5 and 6 of the act, only judges of the Court of Appeal or the Superior Court of Quebec, or those who have been members in good standing of the Barreau du Québec for at least 10 years, may be appointed.
As specified by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Reference re Supreme Court Act, ss. 5 and 6, these appointment criteria are intended to ensure that Quebec's unique legal traditions are well represented on the court. These criteria make it possible not only to ensure that the court is able to handle civil law cases, but also to ensure its legitimacy in the eyes of the Quebec population.
That is why the qualifications and evaluation criteria stipulate that a "deep knowledge of the civil law tradition is essential for all candidates to the three Quebec seats".
In addition, on May 15, 2019, the Prime Minister announced a memorandum of understanding between our government and that of Quebec. This memorandum of understanding sets out the process for filling the position that will become vacant following Justice Gascon's retirement. As with the process for seats that do not belong to Quebec, this process is based primarily on the work of the independent and impartial advisory board, which is responsible for assessing nominations and developing a short list of three to five names to recommend to the Prime Minister.
The composition of the advisory board has been adjusted to accurately reflect the reality of Quebec, its legal practices and its civil law tradition.
As mentioned, the advisory board was chaired by Ms. Campbell and included another member whom, as Federal Minister of Justice, I had been asked to appoint. The other six members were selected in such a way as to ensure adequate representation with respect to Quebec and civil law. These six other members were appointed by the Quebec Minister of Justice, the Barreau du Québec, the Quebec Division of the Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Judicial Council and the Deans of the Quebec Law Faculties and the Civil Law Section of the Faculty of Law of the University of Ottawa.
The selected members, all of whom are functionally bilingual, represented a distinguished set of individuals who undertook their important responsibilities with great care and dedication. I would like to thank them, on behalf of the Prime Minister and our government, for their exceptional service throughout this process.
They did a better job than those working the lights today.
Voices: Oh, oh!
Hon. David Lametti: The core mandate of the advisory board was to assess candidates against the published assessment criteria and to submit to the Prime Minister the names of three to five qualified and functionally bilingual candidates.
In accordance with the agreement with the Government of Quebec, after receiving the short list provided by the advisory board, I forwarded it to the Quebec Minister of Justice. We then conducted our own separate confidential consultations on the preselected applications.
For my part, I consulted with the Chief Justice of Canada, a number of my cabinet colleagues, the opposition justice critics, members of your committee and the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, among others. The Quebec Minister of Justice conducted her own consultations, including with the Chief Justice of Quebec, before reporting her findings to the Premier of Quebec. After the conclusion of this consultation period, the Premier of Quebec and I submitted our respective recommendations to the Prime Minister of Canada to inform his choice as to whom to appoint.
Before turning the floor over to Ms. Campbell, I would like to speak briefly about the importance of confidentiality in this process, given the concerns that have rightly been raised about improper disclosures surrounding the 2017 selection process.
As I have said previously, the disclosure of confidential information regarding candidates for judicial appointments is unacceptable. I want to stress that I took strict measures to ensure that confidentiality was respected. This process has implemented strict confidentiality measures throughout. The terms of reference for the advisory board contain provisions specifically designed to ensure that the privacy interests of all candidates are respected. This includes a requirement that advisory board members sign a confidentiality agreement prior to their appointment. In addition, the agreement with Quebec explicitly states that the sharing of, and consultations on, the short list are to be conducted in a confidential manner.
In terms of next steps in the process, in addition to the advisory board's critical contribution in developing the short list, today's hearing is another important element. It provides an opportunity for all of you, as parliamentarians, to hear from and question the government regarding the selection process and our choice of nominee. Parliamentarians, and Canadians more broadly, will have the opportunity to become acquainted with the nominee through the question and answer session that has been scheduled for this afternoon.
Having provided this context, I would now look to Ms. Campbell to describe the work that the advisory board undertook in fulfilling its mandate. I will then say a few words about the Prime Minister's nominee to the Supreme Court of Canada, the Honourable Nicholas Kasirer.
Madam Campbell.
View Lisa Raitt Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lisa Raitt Profile
2019-07-25 11:34
The retired justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Louis LeBel sat on your committee this time and commented regarding the leak from the advisory process the last time, saying it was very serious because the process is a very delicate matter.
Did he bring up any concerns about confidentiality during this process?
Kim Campbell
View Kim Campbell Profile
Right Hon. Kim Campbell
2019-07-25 11:34
Not particularly, because we were obviously so devoted to it and so very careful to maintain that confidentiality.
View Lisa Raitt Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lisa Raitt Profile
2019-07-25 11:34
Did you take any steps to determine and ensure that there was no leak of confidentiality from your advisory committee? I know you said there wasn't, but I'm just wondering if you called anybody. Did you talk to the minister? Did you talk to PCO?
Kim Campbell
View Kim Campbell Profile
Right Hon. Kim Campbell
2019-07-25 11:34
I don't think it was necessary. We worked with the commissioner for federal judicial affairs. We worked on our documents on secure tablets—very carefully controlled. We always left our documents in the meeting room and the clear commitment.... We signed an undertaking to maintaining confidentiality, so the process was well established. I just want to repeat that there has been no indication of any leak ever coming from a member of the committee.
Kim Campbell
View Kim Campbell Profile
Right Hon. Kim Campbell
2019-07-25 11:35
If anything, we were sort of tip-toeing around and were often afraid, even among ourselves. When we ate dinner together we went someplace where people wouldn't even realize who we were and what we were doing.
View Lisa Raitt Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lisa Raitt Profile
2019-07-25 11:35
That's tough for you to do, I would imagine, Ms. Campbell.
The reason I ask is that, of course, we are concerned about the leak and the way it happened. The Privacy Commissioner is concerned as well and is investigating the leak. His officials can't interview the minister's office or the Prime Minister's Office.
I'm wondering if he had a conversation with you to understand the confidentiality around the advisory committee.
Kim Campbell
View Kim Campbell Profile
Right Hon. Kim Campbell
2019-07-25 11:35
Well, no, because there's never been any suggestion that this confidentiality has been breached.
I'm delighted—this is good for your committee obviously to be concerned about, but the nature of the leak, such as it was, is that it very clearly was not from the committee process.
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?
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