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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.
In the spirit of brevity and efficiency, I think I will forgo the opportunity to put a 10-minute statement on the record and just speak informally for a couple of minutes about BillC-98. Evan Travers and Jacques Talbot from Public Safety Canada are with me and can help to go into the intricacies of the legislation and then respond to any questions you may have. They may also be able to assist if any issues arise when you're hearing from other witnesses, in terms of further information about the meaning or the purpose of the legislation.
Colleagues will know that BillC-98 is intended to fill the last major gap in the architecture that exists for overseeing, reviewing and monitoring the activities of some of our major public safety and national security agencies. This is a gap that has existed for the better part of 18 years.
The problem arose in the aftermath of 9/11, when there was a significant readjustment around the world in how security agencies would operate. In the Canadian context at that time, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency was divided, with the customs part joining the public safety department and ultimately evolving into CBSA, the Canada Border Services Agency. That left CRA, the Canada Revenue Agency, on its own.
In the reconfiguration of responsibilities following 9/11, many interest groups, stakeholders and public policy observers noted that CBSA, as it emerged, did not have a specific review body assigned to it to perform the watchdog function that SIRC was providing with respect to CSIS or the commissioner's office was providing with respect to the Communications Security Establishment.
The Senate came forward with a proposal, if members will remember, to fix that problem. Senator Willie Moore introduced BillS-205, which was an inspector general kind of model for filling the gap with respect to oversight of CBSA. While Senator Moore was coming forward with his proposal, we were moving on the House side with NSICOP, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, by virtue of BillC-22, and the new National Security and Intelligence Review Agency which is the subject of Bill C-59.
We tried to accommodate Senator Moore's concept in the new context of NSICOP and NSIRA, but it was just too complicated to sort that out that we decided it would not be possible to salvage Senator Moore's proposal and convert it into a workable model. What we arrived at instead is BillC-98.
Under NSICOP and NSIRA, the national security functions of CBSA are already covered. What's left is the non-security part of the activities of CBSA. When, for example, a person comes to the border, has an awkward or difficult or unpleasant experience, whom do they go to with a complaint? They can complain to CBSA itself, and CBSA investigates all of that and replies, but the expert opinion is that in addition to what CBSA may do as a matter of internal good policy, there needs to be an independent review mechanism for the non-security dimensions of CBSA's work. The security side is covered by NSICOP, which is the committee of parliamentarians, and NSIRA, the new security agency under Bill C-59, but the other functions of CBSA are not covered, so how do you create a review body to cover that?
We examined two alternatives. One was to create a brand new stand-alone creature with those responsibilities; otherwise, was there an agency already within the Government of Canada, a review body, that had the capacity to perform that function? We settled on CRCC, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission, which performs that exact function for the RCMP.
What is proposed in the legislation is a revamping of the CRCC to expand its jurisdiction to cover the RCMP and CBSA and to increase its capacity and its resources to be able to do that job. The legislation would make sure that there is a chair and a vice-chair of the new agency, which would be called the public complaints and review commission. It would deal with both the RCMP and the CBSA, but it would have a chair and a vice-chair. They would assume responsibilities, one for the RCMP and one for CBSA, to make sure that both agencies were getting top-flight attention—that we weren't robbing Peter to pay Paul and that everybody would be receiving the appropriate attention in the new structure. Our analysis showed that we could move faster and more expeditiously and more efficiently if we reconfigured CRCC instead of building a new agency from the ground up.
That is the legislation you have before you. The commission will be able to receive public complaints. It will be able to initiate investigations if it deems that course to be appropriate. The minister would be able to ask the agency to investigate or examine something if the minister felt an inquiry was necessary. BillC-98 is the legislative framework that will put that all together.
That's the purpose of the bill, and I am very grateful for the willingness of the committee at this stage in our parliamentary life to look at this question in a very efficient manner. Thank you.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
I think, Ms. Dabrusin, it's simply a product of the large flow of public safety business and activity that we have had to deal with. I added it up a couple of days ago. We have asked this Parliament to address at least 13 major pieces of legislation, which has kept this committee, as well as your counterparts in the Senate, particularly busy.
As you will know from my previous answers, I have wanted to get on with this legislation. It's part of the matrix that is absolutely required to complete the picture. It's here now. It's a pretty simple and straightforward piece of legislation. I don't think it involves any legal intricacies that make it too complex.
If we had had a slot on the public policy agenda earlier, we would have used it, but when I look at the list of what we've had to bring forward—13 major pieces of legislation—it is one that I hope is going to get to the finish line, but along the way, it was giving way to things like BillC-66, BillC-71, BillC-83, Bill C-59 and BillC-93. There's a lot to do.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
Well, as I said, Monsieur Dubé, we have had an enormous volume of work to get through, as has this committee, as has Parliament, generally. The work program has advanced as rapidly as we could make it. It takes time and effort to put it all together. I'm glad we're at this stage, and I hope the parliamentary machinery will work well enough this week that we can get it across the finish line.
It has been a very significant agenda, when you consider there has been BillC-7, BillC-21, BillC-22, Bill C-23, Bill C-37, Bill C-46, Bill C-66, Bill C-71, Bill C-59, BillC-97, BillC-83, BillC-93 and Bill C-98. It's a big agenda and we have to get it all through the same relatively small parliamentary funnel.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
There is no internal resistance at all. In fact, the organization, CBSA, recognizes that this is a gap in the architecture and that it needs to be filled.
Part of it was filled by Bill C-22 with the committee of parliamentarians, as far as national security is concerned. Part of it was filled by Bill C-59 and the creation of the new NSIRA, again with respect to national security.
This legislation fills in the last piece.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
Our concern, Monsieur Dubé, is with providing information in the public domain that could, in fact, reveal sensitive and very critical operational details of the RCMP, CSIS or CBSA in a way that would compromise their ability to keep Canadians safe.
The information can be shared in the context of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. It would also be available to the new national security and intelligence review agency, which will be created under Bill C-59. Those are classified environments in which members of Parliament around the table have the appropriate clearance level. It's more difficult to share that information here.
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View David McGuinty Profile
Lib. (ON)
View David McGuinty Profile
2019-05-13 15:26
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Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Good afternoon, colleagues. Thank you for your invitation to appear before your committee. I am joined by Rennie Marcoux, executive director of the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, or NSICOP.
It's a privilege to be here with you today to discuss the 2018 annual report of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.
The committee's first annual report is the result of the work, the dedication and the commitment from my colleagues on the committee. It is intended to contribute to an informed debate among Canadians on the difficult challenges of providing security and intelligence organizations with the exceptional powers necessary to identify and counter threats to the nation while at the same time ensuring that their activities continue to respect and preserve our democratic rights.
NSICOP has the mandate to review the overall framework for national security and intelligence in Canada, including legislation, regulations, policy, administration and finances.
It may also examine any activity that is carried out by a department that relates to national security or intelligence.
Finally, it may review any matter relating to national security or intelligence that a minister refers to the committee.
Members of the committee are all cleared to a top secret level, swear an oath and are permanently bound to secrecy. Members also agree that the nature of the committee, multi-party, drawn from the House of Commons and the Senate, with a broad range of experience, bring a unique perspective to these important issues.
In order to conduct our work, we are entitled to have access to any information that is related to our mandate, but there are some exceptions, namely, cabinet confidences, the identity of confidential sources or protected witnesses, and ongoing law enforcement investigations that may lead to prosecutions.
The year 2018 was a year of learning for the committee. We spent many hours and meetings building our understanding of our mandate and of the organizations responsible for protecting Canada and Canadians. The committee was briefed by officials from across the security and intelligence community and visited all seven of the main departments and agencies. Numerous meetings were also held with the national security and intelligence adviser to the Prime Minister. NSICOP also decided to conduct a review of certain security allegations surrounding the Prime Minister's trip to India in February 2018.
Over the course of the calendar year, the committee met 54 times, with an average of four hours per meeting. Annex E of the report outlines the committee's extensive outreach and engagement activities with government officials, academics and civil liberties groups.
The annual report is a result of extensive oral and written briefings, more than 8,000 pages of printed materials, dozens of meetings between NSICOP analysts and government officials, in-depth research and analysis, and thoughtful and detailed deliberations among committee members.
The report is also unanimous. In total, the report makes 11 findings and seven recommendations to the government. The committee has been scrupulously careful to take a non-partisan approach to these issues. We hope that our findings and recommendations will strengthen the accountability and effectiveness of Canada's security and intelligence community.
The report before you contains five chapters, including the two substantive reviews conducted by the committee.
The first chapter explains the origins of NSICOP, its mandate and how it approaches its work, including what factors the committee takes into consideration when deciding what to review.
The second chapter provides an overview of the security and intelligence organizations in Canada, of the threats to Canada's security and how these organizations work together to keep Canada and Canadian safe and to promote Canadian interests.
Those two chapters are followed by the committee's two substantive reviews for 2018.
In chapter 3, the committee reviewed the way the government determines its intelligence priorities. Why is this important? There are three reasons.
First, this process is the fundamental means of providing direction to Canada's intelligence collectors and assessors, ensuring they focus on the government's, and the country's, highest priorities.
Second, this process is essential to ensure accountability in the intelligence community. What the intelligence community does is highly classified. This process gives the government regular insight into intelligence operations from a government-wide lens.
Third, this process helps the government to manage risk. When the government approves the intelligence priorities, it is accepting the risks of focusing on some targets and also the risk of not focusing on others.
The committee found that the process, from identifying priorities to translating them into practical guidance, to informing ministers and seeking their approval, does have a solid foundation. That said, any process can be improved.
In particular, the committee recommends that the Prime Minister's national security and intelligence advisor should take a stronger leadership role in the process in order to make sure that cabinet has the best information to make important decisions on where Canada should focus its intelligence activities and its resources.
Moving on, chapter 4 reviews the intelligence activities of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. The government's defence policy, “Strong, Secure, Engaged”, states that DND/CAF is “the only entity within the Government of Canada that employs the full spectrum of intelligence collection capabilities while providing multi-source analysis.”
We recognize that defence intelligence activities are critical to the safety of troops and the success of Canadian military activities, including those abroad, and they are expected to grow. When the government decides to deploy the Canadian Armed Forces, DND/CAF also has implicit authority to conduct defence intelligence activities. In both cases, the source of authority is what is known as the Crown prerogative. This is very different from how other intelligence organizations, notably CSE and CSIS, operate. Each of those organizations has clear statutory authority to conduct intelligence activities, and they are subject to regular, independent and external review.
This was a significant and complex review for the committee, with four findings and three recommendations.
Our first recommendation focuses on areas where DND/CAF could make changes to strengthen its existing internal governance structure over its intelligence activities and to strengthen the accountability of the minister.
The other two recommendations would require the government to amend or to consider enacting legislation. The committee has set out the reasons why it formed the view that regular independent review of DND/CAF intelligence activities will strengthen accountability over its operations.
We believe there is an opportunity for the government, with Bill C-59 still before the Senate, to put in place requirements for annual reporting on DND/CAF's national security or intelligence activities, as would be required for CSIS and CSE.
Second, the committee also believes that its review substantiates the need for the government to give very serious consideration to providing explicit legislative authority for the conduct of defence intelligence activities. Defence intelligence is critical to the operations of the Canadian Armed Forces and, like all intelligence activities, involves inherent risks.
DND/CAF officials expressed concerns to the committee about maintaining operational flexibility for the conduct of defence intelligence activities in support of military operations. The committee, therefore, thought it was important to present both the risks and the benefits of placing defence intelligence on a clear statutory footing.
Our recommendations are a reflection of the committee's analysis of these important issues.
We would be pleased to take your questions.
Thank you.
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View David McGuinty Profile
Lib. (ON)
View David McGuinty Profile
2019-05-13 15:48
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Our role is to submit reports to the government, and we have done that. All we can do is hope that the government will take them seriously
The national security and intelligence review agency, NSIRA, once it's created under Bill C-59, will have the power to review the Department of National Defence but will not be obligated to do so on an annual basis like it will for CSIS and CSE. The committee was unanimous in calling for NSIRA to have that annual responsibility built into Bill C-59 so that the extensive activities of the Department of National Defence in intelligence were reviewed on an ongoing basis.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
I consider both BillC-71 and Bill C-59 to be vital pieces of legislation that need to receive the appropriate parliamentary attention as quickly as possible. I want to thank this committee for dealing with both of those items of legislation in a very thorough way. There was no compromise on your scrutiny. You examined the issues very carefully. You made a number of recommendations for changes in the legislation and sent them back to the House in a timely way. I thank this committee for that work. Now, both of those issues are before the Senate.
I have had the opportunity to speak with a number of senators about the very heavy agenda that is before them, including BillC-71 and Bill C-59. They do seem to be optimistic that in the time they have available between now and the summer they will be able to deal with the legislation in a full and final way.
I share the belief that this legislation is vital. It contains very important measures, such as the extensive background checks that you referred to in BillC-71, which I believe has received support across all party lines.
In Bill C-59, issues that you mentioned included the ability of CSIS to deal properly with bulk datasets, the new authorities that are provided to the Communications Security Establishment, as well as the creation of a new national security and intelligence review agency to get out of these silos for reviewing our security intelligence organizations and to have one review agency that has full jurisdiction to examine any issue in any department or agency of the Government of Canada and follow the evidence wherever it may go.
There's a lot more to the legislation than that, but those are really critical innovations in the law, and it is important for the legislation to receive careful and timely consideration. The communications that I have heard from the Senate would lead me to believe that they are working diligently on the issues before them and are confident that they will be able to discharge their parliamentary duties in a timely way, and I look forward to that.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
One thing that Bill C-59 does with respect to the threat reduction measures is to create a very clear procedural, as well as legal and constitutional, frame that will ensure more transparency and more accountability. Exactly how the powers can be used is laid out now more explicitly in legislation than ever before.
The one major criticism of the old BillC-51 was that the way those powers were worded in the old law implied that you could somehow exercise those powers in violation of the charter. We have clarified in the law explicitly that it is not the case, and that indeed, if and when those powers are ever exercised, they must be exercised in a manner consistent with the charter, not in violation of the charter.
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Scott Jones
View Scott Jones Profile
Scott Jones
2019-01-30 16:59
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We're using whatever tool is the appropriate one at the time. If Bill C-59 is passed by the Senate, gains royal assent and comes into force, then we would re-evaluate how we approach these problems, given those new—
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Good afternoon to members of the committee. It's a pleasure to be with you again to discuss the estimates today.
I have a familiar cast of characters with me. Malcolm Brown is the Deputy Minister of Public Safety. John Ossowski is the President of the Canada Border Services Agency. Anne Kelly is the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada. Jeff Yaworski is the Acting Director for CSIS. Gilles Michaud is Deputy Commissioner for the RCMP.
I would point out that as of last week, Deputy Commissioner Michaud has been elected Delegate for the Americas to serve on the executive committee of INTERPOL, representing our continent in that important organization.
Again, I want to thank members of the committee for the diligent work that you do on matters related to public safety. The volume and gravity of the key pieces of legislation, the policy changes, and the major investments that we have been making are very substantial. Your scrutiny and advice have helped to inform that work, which includes, for example, the new regime that Canada now has in place with respect to cannabis, a modernized national security framework that was developed in the context of Bill C-59 and new strong actions in relation to gun and gang violence. That's just to name a few.
We are in the midst of extraordinary changes to Canada's public safety environment, and Canadians are seeing some direct benefits. This month alone, we have announced millions of dollars in new funding for public safety projects from coast to coast. Those projects help our communities plan and prepare for natural disasters like floods. They improve our collective ability to effectively counter radicalization to violence in new and innovative ways. They help communities steer youth away from criminal and risky behaviour, such as guns, gangs and drugs.
Of course, there is also the $86 million that we announced earlier this month to support both the RCMP and the CBSA in their efforts to combat gun and gang violence. Keeping Canadians safe clearly requires efforts at every level, from communities to NGOs to governments to law enforcement and security agencies and beyond.
Today, in these estimates that are the subject matter for this meeting, we're looking at the spending authorities the portfolio needs to accomplish those objectives. Through these supplementary estimates (A), the Public Safety portfolio is requesting adjustments resulting in a net increase of $262 million. That represents a change of 2.6% over existing authorities. It's largely because several portfolio organizations have now received Treasury Board approval to increase appropriations and have received or are making transfers to and from other organizations.
All told, the approval of these estimates, including in-year adjustments, would result in total portfolio authorities increasing to $10.5 billion for the current fiscal year.
For my part today, I'll try to break down the key highlights of these changes across the portfolio, and I'll speak to just a few current priorities.
First, I note that these estimates provide a great snapshot of just how closely this portfolio must work together. Thirteen of the spending initiatives, with a total value of over $144 million, are horizontal in nature, requiring close collaboration among the organizations within this portfolio. I'll single out three in particular.
One of the most prominent is the $29.9 million requested in these estimates for the initiative to take action against guns and gangs, to which I alluded earlier. The evidence is clear: Gun and gang violence is a growing problem for Canadians.
Last year, I announced a total of new funding of $327.6 million over five years to help address this issue. A portion of that total—over $200 million over five years—will help provinces and territories address gun and gang issues through initiatives specific to the needs of their local communities.
The nearly $30 million that is requested in these estimates will help the CBSA, the RCMP and Public Safety Canada to carry out this collaborative new guns and gangs initiative.
On the theme of collaboration, I would also highlight the $50.3 million requested by my department to be transferred to the RCMP in support of the first nations policing program in various communities across Canada. Indigenous communities, like all other communities in Canada, should be safe places where families can thrive and economies can flourish. Public safety is essential for social and economic development. That's why I announced last year that the government is investing an incremental $291.2 million over five years in policing in first nations and Inuit communities currently served under the first nations policing program. That is the single largest investment in the program since it was first created back in 1991. For the first time, the funding will be both ongoing and indexed so that first nations communities can have the confidence that their police forces will have the resources they need into the future.
A third horizontal initiative is reflected in the $7.1 million requested for CSIS and CBSA to support the 2018 to 2020 immigration plan. As you know, Minister Hussen announced a multi-year plan that would welcome some 980,000 new permanent residents to our country by 2020. Public Safety portfolio organizations are very important partners in the immigration and refugee system, helping determine admissibility to Canada and providing security screening. Again, this funding will support their efforts.
Mr. Chair, that's just a quick snapshot of some of the collaborative work the portfolio is undertaking.
I'll briefly outline some of the other more prominent dollar amounts requested by some of our portfolio partners.
These estimates would provide the CBSA with a net increase in budgetary expenditures of $94.1 million. Along with supporting action against gun and gang violence, as well as immigration activities, that funding will also enhance the passenger protect program and other priorities.
The RCMP is seeking a net increase of $163.3 million in these estimates for the first nations policing program that I mentioned, and the guns and gangs initiative, as well as for G7 security, efforts related to the new cannabis regime, and much more.
Finally, I'll also highlight a requested net increase of $16 million to the spending authorities for CSIS, and an increase of $2.3 million to the Correctional Service of Canada. Minister Blair will have more details to share on today's estimates during the next hour of your meeting.
With respect to immediate priorities, it's safe to say that we won't be slowing down in the near future. For example, you can expect to see new measures responding to the mandate that we have given to the new commissioner of the RCMP. With the new cannabis regime in place, we'll be presenting legislation soon to make things fairer for Canadians who have been previously convicted of the offence of simple possession.
In closing, I understand that this committee will begin clause-by-clause consideration of BillC-83 later this week. I have been following the testimony and your lines of questioning very closely. Even though we are eliminating the practice of administrative segregation through this bill and introducing the new concept of structural intervention units, it is clear that some form of independent review mechanism for individuals who do not take part in programming within the structured intervention units would make stakeholders more comfortable with this very ambitious legislation. As indicated previously, I would be amenable to such a change, and I look forward to your work on clause-by-clause study.
As members likely know, creating a review mechanism would be a new and distinct function that would require a royal recommendation. That includes changing the terms and conditions of the original royal recommendation that was included at the beginning with BillC-83, which of course would make such an amendment inadmissible at the committee stage.
If members are interested in such an amendment, my office would be more than willing to work with you in preparing such a report stage amendment. I would seek the appropriate royal recommendation from my cabinet colleagues.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to appear, Mr. Chair. Welcome to you in your role as chair today. I'm glad to be here and to have the opportunity to answer any questions.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
We continue to make progress. Bill C-59 is further through the process now. It's in front of the Senate, and I'm hopeful that the Senate will be able to deal with Bill C-59 in the weeks and months immediately ahead.
BillC-21 is also in the Senate. It's also making progress. We need those two pieces of legislation passed to give us the legal authority to make the changes. Once they're passed, there will be certain regulations that will need to be developed and promulgated under the two pieces of legislation.
The good news is that from Mr. Morneau's budget, we have the money in place that will allow us to build the new information system that will be required to correct this long-standing problem. It's a problem that's 10 years old. I want to fix it as fast as I can, but I do have to go through the necessary legal steps in the right order to get the legal authority and to get the regulations adopted.
We have the money now, and CBSA will be building the new system, which will be a government-controlled system and an interactive system. Once a person who has been red-flagged as a security issue has been cleared, they'll get a clearance number, and on all their subsequent encounters with the system they'll be able to enter that clearance number and automatically be cleared without going through the difficulty they're experiencing now.
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Shelly Bruce
View Shelly Bruce Profile
Shelly Bruce
2018-11-08 12:54
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Thank you for your question.
As I mentioned before, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security is actually the amalgamation of all the operational expertise from across the government into a central branch. That branch actually reports inside CSE, so what used to be our IT security branch has now been augmented and will have about 750 people who are focused on being and promoting what the cyber centre can deliver for Canadians. There are many foundations that exist. We've been working on protecting Canadians' information for 70 years, but as you know, the challenges are many in terms of the technological changes that are before us, as well as the threats that are evolving.
The focus of the cyber centre will be to continue to provide advice, guidance and services to raise Canada's cybersecurity bar for Canadians, all the way through to critical infrastructure owners and operators. It will also be to raise awareness. We just finished a month-long cybersecurity awareness campaign, which included everything from being aware of what you're buying and what kinds of apps you're loading onto your phone all the way through to a fake news panel, so that people could start to appreciate a bit more how to be discriminating about the sources of information they're ingesting, whether in the democratic institution space and elections, or in their normal day-to-day business. There was one held for adults and also one for children. There's a big corporate social outreach program that is really looking at how to raise the technical quotient and the cybersecurity quotient amongst Canadians.
We do monitor all Government of Canada websites with our own sensoring system, so we're able to respond very quickly when there are incidents and events. We are also taking some of the tools that we're developing in-house, based on the expertise that we have, and putting them out there for the public. We recently released something called “Assemblyline”, which has been picked up thousands of times around the world. It's open-source software now. Banks in Europe are using it as one of their main lines of defence.
We are really working on trying to make Canada a more cybersecure, robust and resilient environment. There is a bill that is in the Senate now for second reading, Bill C-59, which would add some new authorities to CSE's mandate to allow us to take action if we see activity.
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Brian Herman
View Brian Herman Profile
Brian Herman
2018-09-26 19:33
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Thank you for the question, Mr. Rankin.
We have reflected on that. I must say that in all of this we do have a dialogue with Department of Justice officials where we sometimes discuss with them our concerns and some of the rationale for why they have drafted what they have.
This is where I go to the point that I made about the consistency of what we've been saying when it came to discussing amendments to BillC-51 and to Bill C-59, and that is the signals that are sent and how in an effort to increase expediency in the system to deal with the charter concerns about efficiency and speed, sometimes there are certain provisions that get caught up in a broad basket of issues and that should not be there. We feel that these particular provisions are so serious as to warrant being kept strictly indicted.
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Scott Jones
View Scott Jones Profile
Scott Jones
2018-09-20 16:36
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Good afternoon, Mr. Chair and members of the committee.
My name is Scott Jones. It's a pleasure to be back again. I'm the deputy chief of IT security at the Communications Security Establishment and the head-designate of the soon-to-be established Canadian centre for cybersecurity.
I am joined today by Rajiv Gupta, the director of standards architecture and risk mitigation. Thank you for inviting us to discuss this very important topic.
The Communications Security Establishment is the lead technical and operational agency for cyber security in the Government of Canada. We are mandated to protect information and information infrastructures of importance to the Government of Canada.
This expertise in protecting and providing information is over 70 years in the making. The protection of government communications has been a part of CSE's mission since it was first established in 1946 as the Communications Branch of the National Research Council.
It goes without saying that the world of 1946 was much different from the world of today. What has not changed, however, is the need for innovative and skilled leadership to meet the challenges of an evolving world.
Canada's new national cybersecurity strategy, announced in June of 2018, recognizes this and sets out Canada's vision for security and prosperity in the digital age. Among the new measures in this strategy is the creation of the Canadian centre for cybersecurity, to be housed at the Communications Security Establishment.
Combined with the investments made in budget 2018, these efforts will enable us to remain resilient against cyber-threats and to continue to protect the safety and security of Canadians—and there's a great deal worth protecting.
Recent innovations in technology have created incredible opportunities for economic growth in Canada. The benefits of an increasingly digital society are many and should not be understated.
The Internet has brought enormous benefits to the lives of Canadians. Many federal government services are online. Budget 2018's investments in strengthening digital services demonstrate that the government is embracing new and innovative technology.
But of course, Canadians can only reap the benefits of online commerce when they can conduct their online activities with confidence and trust. These risks should not dissuade us from adopting new technologies, but they should be acknowledged and mitigated.
Unfortunately, we have all seen how cyber-compromises can result in significant financial loss, the loss of intellectual property and reputational damage to a company, an individual, or a government. For example, recent cases involving ransomware demonstrate the increasing threat of cybercrime and the effects of a cyber-compromise.
Today's cyber-threat actors have a variety of motivations and capabilities. They include state actors, hacktivists, criminals and terrorists capable of a broad range of disruption, from denial of service attacks to the exposure of personal information.
CSE plays an important role in stopping threat actors from achieving their goals. Our expertise helps identify, prepare for, and defend against the most severe and persistent threats to Canada's systems and networks.
There are three keys to success: partnerships, appropriate authorities and talent.
Let's begin with partnerships.
Cyber security is everyone's business. Our relationships with industry are critical to defending Canada and Canadians from cyber threats.
Equally important are our relationships with other government departments, including Public Safety Canada, Shared Services Canada, the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
Beyond the government and the private sector, CSE's partnerships also extend to academia and leading-edge research groups.
The Canadian centre for cybersecurity will greatly improve our ability to work with industry, other government departments, other government partners and academia. The cyber centre will consolidate the key cybersecurity operational units of the Government of Canada under a single roof. In doing so, the cyber centre will establish a unified source of expert advice, guidance, services and support on cybersecurity operational matters, providing Canadians with a clear and trusted place to turn for cybersecurity advice.
An important part of this is ensuring continuity in the functions of the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre—also known as CCIRC—at Public Safety, once it becomes part of the cyber centre. Specifically, a crucial element of CCIRC's work is the notification of victims in the event of a cyber-compromise. This is an important role and one that will need to continue under the cyber centre.
Second, I would like to talk about CSE's authorities.
As you all know from debates on Bill  C-59, under the proposed legislation, CSE would retain its current cyber security and information assurance mandate and would be given a new authority to defend important networks outside the Government of Canada.
The proposed Communications Security Establishment Act would also explicitly allow CSE to share cyber threat information with owners of systems outside the Government of Canada, so they can better protect their networks and information. For example, CSE could more extensively share information about specific cyber threats with the owners of critical infrastructure such as communications companies or the banking sector.
Finally, the CSE act would give CSE the ability to take action online to defend important Canadian networks and proactively deter cyber-threats before they reach important Canadian systems. These new authorities will better protect Canadians' most sensitive information and important cyber-networks from compromise and strengthen Canada's cyber-defences.
Third, and most key for me, is people. Among the new measures introduced as part of the national cybersecurity strategy is funding to develop Canadian cyber-talent. We are fortunate at CSE to have incredibly bright and talented Canadians working to address these tough cyber-challenges. However, to continue the success, we need to build on this talent and harness the tremendous brain power in the cyber field that exists here in Canada.
With strong partnerships, appropriate authorities and skilled people, CSE is working to address cyber threats facing Canada. However, cyber security is everyone's responsibility, and it will take all of our expertise and innovation to remain resilient.
Thank you for your invitation. We look forward to answering your questions.
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Scott Jones
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Scott Jones
2018-09-20 16:48
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I think the key thing is that defensive cyber-operations are proposed in Bill C-59. It's a tool we can use to respond against any malicious cyber-activity.
There are a number of elements. The first one is the permission to undertake that activity. It's up to the Minister of National Defence, with consultation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to ensure that if there are any foreign relations aspects, they are taken into account.
But this wouldn't be the first measure, if you were taking a defensive action. You would want to increase your network defences. You would want to try to increase your resiliency against the activity. This type of activity is something that, if there were no other option, you would turn to as things escalated.
There are a number of other things we would look to do. If the activity were originating from a foreign actor, we would engage our international CCIRC community. The Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre has relationships around the world with national computer emergency response teams to respond. We could ask them for help. We would certainly look for law enforcement, if that were a better option.
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Alison Irons
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Alison Irons
2018-05-22 12:07
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Good afternoon Mr. Chair, and members of the committee. Thank you for inviting me to speak today.
My name is Alison Irons. I'm the mother of Lindsay Margaret Wilson who, at the age of 26, was stalked and murdered by shotgun by her ex-boyfriend on April 5, 2013, in Bracebridge, Ontario, two weeks before completing her graduating semester at Nipissing University.
My daughter's killer drove from Kingston earlier that week and followed her car from her tiny campus to discover where she was living. The day of her murder, he drove up again, followed her, and hid behind the house. He took four videos of himself on his phone preparing to kill her, and waited until she emerged from the house. He confronted her in the driveway and shot her while she bargained for her life, with pellets and slugs from one of the two long guns he took with him to ensure that he got the job done. He then took his own life.
She was conscious for a few moments, but in no pain, and told EMS that she knew she was dying. Imagine living with that as a parent. Mortally wounded, she didn't know that her murderer had killed himself beside her. She died about 20 minutes later at the Bracebridge hospital.
According to the pathologist, there was extensive internal injury to my daughter's heart and lungs. Her killer knew what he was doing. I'll tell you, as an ex-RCMP officer myself, that this is a lethal target known as centre body mass. Her right shoulder was fractured, five ribs were shattered to pieces. Her left forearm was completely fractured and left hanging by a thread, with what the pathologist called an avulsion of most of her left forearm, likely a defensive wound.
She had minor gunshot wounds to the back of her head, likely from the first shot spinning her body around, and stippling wounds to the lower part of her beautiful face. I'm grateful to the pathologist's staff for concealing these facial injuries with makeup, so that I could kiss my daughter goodbye for the last time.
I don't apologize for being graphic about my daughter's injuries. This is what guns do in the hands of the wrong people.
My daughter met her killer sometime in 2009 or 2010. He hid his criminal past from her and had plausible explanations for why he, as an adult, was living with his parents and seemed to have no real job prospects or tangible income. He was charming, articulate, clean-cut looking, and a recreational hunter.
There was no violence in their relationship, although he could be controlling and manipulative. She left him for the first time in 2011 when she caught him drug dealing. He successfully lured her back with false promises of change, but a year later she caught him drug dealing again.
In 2012, she was devastated when he contracted meningitis and nearly died. She thought that his illness was her fault for having left him. When he survived, she, as a person trained in disability support and out of her sense of guilt, tried to help his recovery, but by Christmas the same manipulative, controlling behaviours recurred, and she severed all contact. He stalked her and murdered her three months later.
As a career-long investigator, I researched his history. He had concealed from my daughter that in 2000 he was arrested by one police force for drug trafficking. Seven days later, he and another male kidnapped a third male from a residence over what Kingston Police believe to have been a drug deal gone wrong. They bundled the victim into a car, drove him off down a secondary highway, while one of the two beat him up in the car. He escaped by rolling out of the moving car onto the side of the highway, where he was rescued by a passerby, and taken to police. Had he not done so, who knows if the victim would have been murdered.
My daughter's killer and the other kidnapper were charged with approximately five offences including forcible confinement, assault, threatening, and at least a couple of other charges, which Kingston Police told me were related to drugs. Through an apparent plea bargain, he was convicted in 2002 of only forcible confinement and assault, through summary conviction. The previous drug trafficking charge was withdrawn. His only sentence was two years' probation.
Immediately upon completing his probation in 2004, he applied for and was granted a possession and acquisition licence. He privately purchased several guns, one of which was the gun he used later to murder my daughter in 2013. Through my own sources, I learned he had been extensively interviewed about his PAL application under the self-reporting model. This meant that he had been red-flagged in the Canadian firearms information system, what is known as a stage A failure, but this flag was then discretionarily overridden in order to grant him the gun licence.
Before he met my daughter, and again concealed from her, he was warned by a person in authority, apparently due to a domestic violence incident, that if he didn't obtain a pardon for these prior convictions, his PAL would not be renewed. Although this incident is recorded in the Canadian firearms information system, it wasn't coded by police in such a way as to precipitate a firearms hit or trigger a review or revocation of his licensing. Yet this warning suggests to me that his licence should never have been granted in the first place. CFIS also contained a conviction for impaired driving.
As Lindsay's mother I ask you how someone with adult criminal convictions for forcible confinement and assault related to drug trafficking, as well as an impaired driving conviction and a CFIS entry for a domestic violence incident could ever get a gun licence in Canada. How does our gun licensing system fail to properly take into account and weigh the actual context of someone's convictions and other CPIC or CFIS history before granting them a licence? Did he obtain the PAL and the guns for hunting, as he likely purported on his application, or did he obtain them to protect his apparently ongoing drug-dealing career over 13 years?
Our gun licensing system and process, particularly in the area of background checks, definition and validation of references, treatment of criminal offences, and the apparent broad discretion to override stage A failures or red flags, clearly failed my daughter. Please don't tell me that he just fell through the cracks.
Justin Bourque killed three Mounties in New Brunswick using legally acquired guns. Alexandre Bissonnette killed six people at a Quebec City mosque using legally acquired guns. Mayor Tory of Toronto has recently written to the minister for help since, due to tighter border controls limiting the smuggling of illegal guns into Canada, trafficking in legally acquired domestic guns to criminals and gangs is on the rise.
Since we couldn't even protect my daughter, we cannot say that bills such as the former C-51 and C-59 protect Canadians from terrorist acts, mass shootings, or lone wolf gunmen like the one who killed Corporal Nathan Cirillo on Parliament Hill, if we do not correspondingly review and begin to strengthen our gun legislation, regulations, policies, processes, and systems and close the gaps.
In the case of an applicant with convictions for personal violence, especially when related to other serious crimes such as drug trafficking, background checks must be more comprehensive and must consider the applicant's adult lifetime criminal history and the context of any crimes of personal violence. Definition of appropriate references for PAL applications must be more stringent and should not include immediate family members or those with a criminal record. All references for those with a criminal record for personal violence should be validated as to suitability, CPIC and CFIS checked, and contacted. An appropriate level of skilled resources should be in place to ensure that more comprehensive background and reference checks can be conducted.
Do I have just one minute more?
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John Davies
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John Davies
2018-04-25 18:43
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Sure. Just to echo that comment, the “threats to the security of Canada” are already defined in the CSIS Act, as was said. It's very clear in the CSIS Act.
The Security of Canada Information Sharing Act is not just about CSIS. It's about the entire national security community as already scheduled in the act and includes 16 other departments and agencies, including defence, border control, law enforcement, and so on. The issue with the SCISA definition in the concept of undermining threats to security is both that you would not want confusion with the CSIS Act and that it also needs to be broad enough to include the entire national security community.
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Sophie Beecher
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Sophie Beecher
2018-04-25 18:54
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I will just explain what it does. It takes away from the definition pure activities of “advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression”. It's to make clear that we don't wish to capture those when sharing information.
However, we did modify it to say that if such an activity were conducted in conjunction with an activity that is captured in the definition, we can then share information about that particular activity. We think that reaches the right balance in respecting advocacy, protest, dissent, and artistic expression, but also not being prevented from sharing information when we need to, when there is an actual threat to national security.
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Sophie Beecher
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Sophie Beecher
2018-04-25 19:05
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Yes, as soon as the information is found not to be necessary for the jurisdiction and responsibilities of the recipient, they must destroy it. That is what preserves the privacy interest of the individual whose information is presumably being shared.
However, if the information is found to be necessary, that's when they may retain it and the information is then subject to normal retention periods in individual institutions.
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Sophie Beecher
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Sophie Beecher
2018-04-25 19:06
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There was once a provision in the bill—and it is still there for the moment—that indicated that nothing in the legislation affected the retention or disposal of information. An amendment to that effect has just been passed. That is why these words must be taken out of the bill. If they are not, there will be a contradiction.
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Ari Slatkoff
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Ari Slatkoff
2018-04-25 19:20
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Yes. Thank you.
The reasonable grounds to suspect threshold is a lower threshold. It requires a lower degree of certainty than reasonable grounds to believe. However, it still must be supported by factual elements that can be proven in evidence.
The Supreme Court has said that a hunch or intuition gained by experience would not suffice to meet this threshold. It can't be speculative. It has to be grounded in fact. It is a commonly used threshold in various other pieces of legislation such as the CSIS Act and the Criminal Code.
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John Davies
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John Davies
2018-04-25 19:21
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To add to that, to get on the list is reasonable grounds to suspect, but that's not the same threshold for denying travel. There's a two-part test. The decision must be considered specific, reasonable, and necessary to prevent an individual from threatening transportation security or travelling for purposes of terrorism.
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Ari Slatkoff
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Ari Slatkoff
2018-04-25 19:33
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The current law allows judges' discretion in crafting a remedy. If they feel the initial decision to add somebody to the list was not supported, the judge, under the law as currently drafted, can still order that the person remain on the list based on new information that's presented before the court. This is different from a judicial review. That's why this section is called an appeal under a judicial review. If the initial decision is unreasonable, it has to be sent back to the original decision-maker.
In this context, given that we're talking about national security threats and the need to maintain people on the list if there's current information that they pose a threat that would make a decision today reasonable, it's arguably appropriate to allow judges to have that discretion.
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John Davies
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John Davies
2018-04-25 19:37
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Certainly, in regard to revealing the number of people on the list, the Federal Court already agreed with the government that it would be injurious to national security. That was in a ruling in 2016. So it's a yes.
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John Davies
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John Davies
2018-04-25 19:37
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Again, it would be classified information, or it could be redacted and released. NSIRA as well could look at this. In terms of the number of appeals, that would already be public. That would be public through the court system, so you would know that anyway.
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John Davies
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John Davies
2018-04-25 19:40
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My colleague from the Department of Justice talked about special advocates in the context of the Canada Evidence Act. I think the other day we talked about special advocates in the context of CSIS and warrants, and here in this context. The answers are all pretty much the same. The judge always would have the discretion to appoint an amicus, a cleared amicus. In many cases, those amici are also special advocates. There are only so many lawyers, I guess, with a national security background and cleared at that level. So that discretion is already there.
I guess the difference in this case, relative to division 9 of IRPA when you're talking about potential detention, rulings of inadmissibility, and deportation, is that here, in the SATA context, we're talking about the ability to get on a plane or not, to be honest, to make your flight. The rights invoked are very different. So before you would want to create perhaps a whole new regime at much higher cost, it would be something to consider in that decision.
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John Davies
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John Davies
2018-04-25 19:42
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The cost is covered. The Department of Justice has a special fund and a roster that names people as special advocates.
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