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Results: 1 - 11 of 11
Paul Martin
View Paul Martin Profile
Paul Martin
2018-02-01 11:03
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'll continue.
Building on what Laurence spoke about in terms of harmonizing and working together as police agencies, from the federal agencies to the municipal agencies and the provincial in between, there are three major concerns for the committee to consider from the policing standpoint. There are perhaps many, but certainly three for your consideration: the terrorism peace bonds, the intelligence-to-evidence conundrum, and then encryption. I'll speak to them separately.
The terrorism peace bonds manage some of the threat posed to Canadian citizens but not all. They do help manage in some cases, but something to consider is that with the terrorism peace bonds there are conditions imposed. I can provide an example of an individual subject to the peace bond who is not permitted to use computers, or not allowed to access the Internet for a number of different reasons that I'm sure are obvious. There is no mechanism in place right now for police officers of jurisdiction to go in and ensure that the person is complying with those conditions, so that's something for consideration.
With respect to the intelligence-to-evidence conundrum, we know how the intelligence lives in one space and the enforcement piece lives in another space. It's my understanding, after talking to my colleagues, some more learned than I, who have been involved in this field for some time, that this discussion has been ongoing for more than 15 years in terms of how we can improve the speed, flow, and direction of this information so that we can share it in a quicker fashion. Incidents such as the Aaron Driver one made it very obvious to the policing field how fast information moves, and how fast it has to move in order to detect, deter, and ultimately deal with a threat nationally.
Something to consider is how that's going to happen. The 9/11 Commission was very clear on the fact that information needs to be shared amongst the different agencies. Police agencies right now do share a lot of information, but that's something for this committee to consider as this bill proceeds.
With respect to encryption, we've heard a lot south of the border as far as going dark is concerned. We've heard all these different terms, but encryption, whether it be in the hardware itself or with the use of applications that are encrypted end to end, poses a very difficult issue for policing and how to monitor people who would carry on criminal activity, whether it's for terrorism or for organized crime. We've seen a number of examples in our jurisdiction and throughout Ontario, and certainly across this country.
The important thing is that we must be focused on the principles and not the technology, and where an individual or group is using any form of communications to support terrorism or other designated criminal activity, this may be intercepted by specified authorities with the proper and appropriate judicial authority.
Laws regulating access to communication data would be, in principle, the same as those currently in place for other forms of telecommunication intercepts, companies ensuring data is available to access if required, warrants being issued by the appropriate authority, and then both time limits and regular scrutiny and review.
I throw that out to the committee to consider as we go forward and you talk about this bill. These are really the top three concerns that seem to spread generally across the policing community: the terrorism peace bond and the future of that, the intel-to-evidence conundrum, and encryption.
Thank you very much for your time.
View Michel Picard Profile
Lib. (QC)
I'll go to French, if you don't mind.
My first question is for Mr. Neve.
You raised the issue of torture. In this regard, our security agencies all do the same job with the same objective, regardless of the government in power: they must verify the information obtained and make sure it is not the result of torture in another country. How can we protect the good faith of our agencies in this process?
Alex Neve
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Alex Neve
2017-12-05 9:41
It can be a tough question, but there are processes, mechanisms, and expertise that can be drawn on to make those assessments. It obviously involves careful analysis of law enforcement and security practices in the country from which the information is being received, both in a general sense and in a specific context. There is no perfect equation or process through which information can be filtered and a clear and conclusive determination made that it has or has not been the result of torture. That's why there's a threshold here. What we're looking for is whether there is a serious reason to believe it has been attained through torture.
View Michel Picard Profile
Lib. (QC)
If the information was obtained through torture in another country, it is very likely that we will learn that after the fact, not before. That is rarely indicated on the report providing the information.
How should we manage that information, considering that we unfortunately did not learn until after the fact that the information was contrary to its own values?
Alex Neve
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Alex Neve
2017-12-05 9:43
If there are serious reasons to believe it has been obtained through torture, and even more so, if conclusively it has been possible to determine that it has been obtained through torture, then in our view it should be disregarded and not used in security and intelligence practices.
View Michel Picard Profile
Lib. (QC)
That is true, provided that we have not taken action yet. That said, we rarely have three or four weeks to react to information, especially if the threat is imminent. Action must be taken fairly urgently if the lives of Canadians are at risk. I am referring to cases in which, unfortunately, we learn after the fact that the information was tainted.
Alex Neve
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Alex Neve
2017-12-05 9:43
We would propose that other means of investigation be used, not relying on torture-tainted information.
Number one, relying on torture-tainted information only encourages more torture, both in the short term and in the long term. It is sending a message to torturers that there is a market for the fruits of their crimes, and we want to counter that. We want to break that cycle.
Second, we also have to remember the reality that torture-tainted information is very often unreliable. You will hear it very powerfully—not just from human rights experts, but more so from law enforcement and security experts—that relying on torture-tainted information excessively can be distracting and can take agents away from the real lines of investigation that will give rise to strong intelligence.
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you both for being here today.
You're both well aware of the ministerial directives that were issued by Minister Goodale in late September with respect to the use of information obtained by torture, but for the purposes of the record and for the millions watching at home on CPAC.... I'm sorry, that was a little levity.
The rules prohibit the use, by the RCMP, CSIS, and CBSA, of information that was likely obtained through mistreatment in three main areas, except when it is necessary to prevent loss of life or significant personal injury. Use of this information is prohibited if it could lead to further abuse or torture, and with respect to information obtained through torture, it can no longer be used to prevent risks to property.
These are directives. It's not legislation that we're talking about. Could you give us your thoughts on whether the directives are good enough, or do we need these principles enshrined in law? Obviously, if they're enshrined in law they will be harder for any future government to change.
Wesley Wark
View Wesley Wark Profile
Wesley Wark
2017-12-05 10:34
I'll begin. I think both Craig and I have commented publicly on the ministerial directives.
I would say first of all that the current ministerial directive that was recently released is a great advance on the original versions in 2011, which I think were very problematic in terms both of protecting Canada's duties and obligations under law and providing for security.
The thing that I think is most advantageous about the current directive is that it makes a distinction between what is often called “inbound” and “outbound” information, and it is particularly strong in trying to ensure that Canada is not complicit in acts of torture by sharing information with overseas bodies that might have a very poor record in that regard. This has been the source of many of our problems in the past.
With regard to inbound information, there is always the challenge of knowing exactly whether it was derived from torture. You can have your suspicions, but no foreign intelligence agency is going to tell you directly, “By the way, we got this from torture.” What the current directive provides for is the use of some kinds of information in very extraordinary circumstances, which probably are unlikely to arise in practice.
From my perspective, it's a good question whether this should be brought forward into legislation or regulation. I am pleased that it's in regulation and that the regulation is public. I think it is very important to have that ministerial directive in public. Insofar as it is in public, which is a change from past practice, perhaps that is good enough.
Craig Forcese
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Craig Forcese
2017-12-05 10:35
In response to your question, yes, I would prefer to see it in legislation.
Craig Forcese
View Craig Forcese Profile
Craig Forcese
2017-12-05 10:35
It's for the reasons you've described. For one thing, it is embedded and more difficult to change. For another, in the past, ministerial directives were not always transparent. We know about only the 2009 and 2011 ministerial directives through the use of access to information. As a policy matter, the government is more proactively disclosing ministerial directives, but of course it would be nice to ensure that going forward there was always transparency in this area. Again, then, there's a transparency aspect.
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