Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Minister, thank you for being here today, and thank you to the folks around the table as well.
My question—and you mentioned this in your comments—is about the capability sharing that's happening between CSE and the armed forces, in particular with regard to active cyber-operations. There have been concerns raised about the evolving landscape that was alluded to and what exactly that means for a civilian organization when you're talking about, in particular, foreign-state actors that might be involved in some of the activities that those active cyber-operations are being used against. It feels as if there might be a slippery slope there in terms of international law, as to what is military action and what is not.
I'm wondering if you could comment on that and perhaps explain how those capabilities go together and in what way we're making sure we don't have CSE as a civilian organization engaged in what other states might perceive as military attacks, especially with the concept of sovereignty being very nebulous in this digital age in terms of international law.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
Before I get to the technical side for a more precise aspect, the bill calls for authorization by you, in consultation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, for any active cyber-operation. Let's say there's a foreign state actor involved in the activity that requires that active cyber-operation. Can you walk us through the process of how you make the decision as to whether the Armed Forces should be intervening with their cyber-capability or whether it's CSE as a civilian organization?
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
Hello.
I am pleased to hear that I have 14 minutes.
Thank you for being here today. I have a number of questions and I would like them to pertain to the bill, but certain issues relate to your organization and the RCMP, broadly speaking, and to the topic under consideration.
My first question relates to the lack of consistency across Canada. There are a lot of questions about the way police action is investigated, in Ontario and Quebec in particular, which have provincial police services. We have even heard that the police services in Toronto, Montreal, and other cities have significant involvement in all kinds of anti-terrorism work. Could the lack of consistency in evaluating police work and handling complaints, in both legal and practical terms, be problematic for these national investigations?
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
As regards national security, you made recommendations about how to proceed in this context and the need for a stronger definition. If I understand correctly, however, the ideal would be for you to work together rather than passing the buck back and forth.
You conduct parallel investigations, is that correct? How do you see this?
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
You mentioned that you are reviewing Justice O'Connor's recommendations.
Will you publish a report once you have completed that review?
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
I have one final question. I might then give Mr. Picard some speaking time since it is his birthday.
My question pertains to the Canada Border Services Agency. There is a debate going on right now that you are certainly aware of. There is always some tension between police authority and the territory a certain number of kilometres around customs areas. There have been some incidents, in Windsor in particular. As I recall, someone died following a police chase.
One of the questions raised in the debate of Bill  C-59 is the review or surveillance of the Canada Border Services Agency.
Does your mandate include the work the CBSA does in co-operation with the RCMP or is it once again a question of following the trail, national security issues, and information sharing?
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
Great. Thank you.
I just want to shift gears a bit and go to the position of the intelligence commissioner. It perhaps seems like a nitpicking thing, but it is important, this notion that it's a part-time position. I'm just wondering what your thoughts are on that, and if you think it should be full time, especially considering that, should this bill be adopted, it's essentially the only form of real-time oversight, versus everything else in this country that's based on review after the fact.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
Something that has come up a few times—and the minister has evoked interest in this, but nothing has really come of it yet. Do you both believe that there should be an oversight and complaints mechanism specifically for CBSA, which is currently the only body dealing with national security that doesn't have that kind of thing in place?
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
There's a sense that everything the CBSA does could be considered national security because it involves the flow at the border. Is there any concern that this definition is not tight enough even for the work that existing bodies such as SIRC currently do when they have to follow the breadcrumbs leading to CBSA?
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being here.
Mr. Blais, I would like to ask you a question about the presence, or rather absence, of various review mechanisms for the Canada Border Services Agency. Several witnesses have said it would be important to have some kind of committee or organization that would review that agency's activities, considering that it plays an increasingly important national security role.
Do you agree with that view?
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
I agree.
In the circumstances, should we follow the indicators? You usually conduct a review because you believe that information could have been shared with CSIS, for example. That is why you are reviewing the actions the agency has taken. Is that an appropriate conclusion?
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
I understand. I also think our discussion clearly shows how difficult it is to determine when that's important and when it is not.
Now I would like to talk about Global Affairs Canada, which is exempted from review by the new committee that has been established. Isn't that a problem considering the role that–
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