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View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2018-06-18 18:33 [p.21183]
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that so many changes have been made to our anti-terrorism legislation, which are reflected in Bill C-59. I have stood in this place a number of times and complained that the government held consultations but did not listen. I am happy to say that this is not one of those times.
I submitted an extensive brief to the joint consultation, headed by the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Public Safety. When I read Bill C-59, I felt very gratified that this legislation was drafted with an eye to the recommendations of the commission of inquiry into the Air India disaster and the failure of our security system at that point resulting from our agencies' inability to talk among each other to share information that could have prevented that terrible tragedy. It also appeared to me that the drafters paid attention to the results of the inquiry into the atrocious treatment of Canadian citizen Maher Arar.
There are still weaknesses in this bill. I would have preferred, as the hon. member knows, to remove any kinetic powers from CSIS. Its power to disrupt plots may still prove to make us less secure than we were, given that CSIS was originally intended to be about information collection only, and it left the RCMP to take action on the ground for kinetic activities.
Overall, this is a substantial improvement over the situation in which we found ourselves in 2015 with the speedy passage of what I still call the “secret police act” or what was then BillC-51.
This is a comment, more than a question to my hon. colleague, just to say on the record that I am pleased to vote for Bill C-59, although I would have preferred we had gone further and removed more of the things launched in BillC-51.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2018-06-18 19:20 [p.21189]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the hon. member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis has perhaps a more nostalgic and certainly more favourable view of what took place in the 41st Parliament, but I put it to him that my experience in studying BillC-51 convinced me that it made us much less safe. I will give an example and hope my hon. colleague can comment on it.
Far from creating silos, Bill C-59 would help us by creating the security and intelligence review agency because, in the words of former chief justice John Major who chaired the Air India inquiry, we have had no pinnacle review, no oversight over all the actions of all the agencies. This is a real-life example. When Jeffrey Delisle was stealing secrets from the Canadian navy, CSIS knew about it. CSIS knew all about it, but it decided not to tell the RCMP. The RCMP acted when it got a tip from the FBI. We know that in the Air India disaster, various agencies of the Government of Canada—CSIS knew things as did the RCMP—did not talk to each other. The information sharing sections to which the member refers have nothing to do with government agencies sharing the information they have about a threat. They have to do it by sharing personal information of Canadians, such as what occurred to Maher Arar.
To the member's last comment that nothing has gone wrong since BillC-51, my comment is: how would we know? Everything is secret. Rights could have been infringed. No special advocate was in the room. We have no idea what happened to infringe rights during Bill C-51's reign.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2018-06-18 19:43 [p.21192]
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan for striking a blow for members being recognized by the Speaker as they rise to speak.
I want to suggest we had a confusion in some of the debate here tonight between the concept of oversight and review. I have the advantage, although I do not think at the time I thought it was an advantage, to be participating as much as I could in the legislative review of the parliamentary committee that was looking at BillC-51 in the 41st Parliament.
Justice John Major who chaired the Air India inquiry testified at that committee his opinion it was not, as my friend from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan has suggested, a lack of tools that meant intelligence agencies did not share information. Judge Major said it was human nature. He said they just will not share the information. His experience from the Air India inquiry led him to believe that CSIS could have the information and out of its own inclinations, would not share it with the RCMP.
This was confirmed for us by a witness who testified, an MI5 agent from the U.K. who has been a security liaison with Canada, Joe Fogarty, who gave numerous examples. He used the ones that were in the public domain, by the way. He said he knew of more that we could not talk about, that the RCMP were deliberately kept in the dark by CSIS because it chose not to share the information.
I heard my hon. Conservative colleague speak of the cost of developing the security intelligence review agency. If the cost will save lives, then there is no point in not having a properly sourced security intelligence review agency. Review and oversight are quite different from review at the end of the year. We desperately need oversight of what our agencies are doing.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2018-06-18 20:19 [p.21198]
Madam Speaker, I would say this to the hon. member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke. I remember the fight we had in the 41st Parliament with respect to BillC-51, the so-called Anti-terrorism Act, which I believe made Canada much less safe. It is hard for me to actually vote for Bill C-59 now, especially when I hear his very good arguments.
However, I will tell him why I am going to vote for Bill C-59. I am very relieved to see improvements to what I thought were the thought-chill provisions in BillC-51, the rules against the promotion of unexplained terrorism “in general”. There are big improvements to the no-fly list. However, there are not enough improvements, for my taste, to the ability of CSIS to take kinetic action. The big failure in Bill C-59 in front of us is the information sharing around what Canadians are doing with other governments.
The irony for me is that the Liberals voted for BillC-51 in the 41st Parliament and voted against the destruction of environmental assessments in BillC-38. Ironically, I think they have done a better job now of fixing the bill they voted for than of fixing the bill they voted against, at least as far as environmental assessments go. Therefore, I am voting against BillC-69 on environmental assessments. However, I am voting for Bill C-59. I am influenced a lot by Professors Craig Forcese and Kent Roach, who overall think this is an improvement. I do too, overall. However, it does not fix everything BillC-51 did to make us less safe.
I appreciate the member's thoughtful analysis, and I am going to vote for it, but with misgivings.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2018-06-18 20:47 [p.21201]
Madam Speaker, to the last point made by my hon. friend from Durham, that BillC-51 in the 41st Parliament, the Anti-terrorism Act, was there to make us safe, again, the expert evidence we heard, even before that bill passed, was that BillC-51 under the previous government made us less safe.
For that, I cite the evidence of Joe Fogarty, an MI5 agent doing security liaison between Canada and U.K. When asked by the U.K. authorities about what Canadian anti-terrorism legislation they might want to replicate in the U.K., he answered “not a thing”, that they have created a situation which is akin to an accident waiting to happen. It has made Canadians less safe, through the failure to ensure that one agency talks to the other. In the example that the member just gave, agencies have a proactive requirement to talk to each other and not guard their information jealously.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2018-06-06 20:41 [p.20388]
Mr. Speaker, as I was unable to rise earlier tonight on time allocation on BillC-69, I will say, parenthetically, that I find that time allocation even more offensive than this one, because we were time allocated in committee as well. I had clause-by-clause amendments on Bill C-69, and I had clause-by-clause amendments on Bill C-59. At least, to the credit of the Bill C-59 time management, we were allowed to debate all the amendments on Bill C-59, on public security, but we were stopped from debating two full bills' worth of amendments on omnibus Bill C-69.
Why is it required at this point, on a bill that has much that is good in it, to stop this place from being able to have a full debate? It is anti-democratic.
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