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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 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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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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View Colin Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Colin Fraser Profile
2018-10-29 20:43
Expand
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The amendment modifies the coordinating amendment in subclause 407(5) to reflect the changes made by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to section 83.221 in Bill C-59, the national security act, 2017. This amendment ensures that the amendments made to section 83.221 during committee study of Bill C-59 are reflected in BillC-75.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
I will, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much to the members of the committee for their work as they are about to begin clause-by-clause study of Bill C-59, the national security act.
I am pleased today to be accompanied by a range of distinguished officials in the field of public safety and national security. David Vigneault, as you know, is the director of CSIS. Greta Bossenmaier, to my right, is the chief of the Communications Security Establishment, and the CSE is involved in Bill C-59 in a very major way.
To my left is Vincent Rigby, associate deputy minister at Public Safety. I think this is his first committee hearing in his new role as associate deputy minister. Kevin Brosseau is deputy commissioner of the RCMP, and Doug Breithaupt is from the Department of Justice.
Everything that our government does in terms of national security has two inseparable objectives: to protect Canadians and to defend our rights and freedoms. To do so, we have already taken a number of major steps, such as the new parliamentary committee established by Bill C-22 and the new ministerial direction on avoiding complicity in mistreatment. That said, Bill  C-59 is certainly central to our efforts.
As I said last week in the House, this bill has three core themes: enhancing accountability and transparency, correcting certain problematic elements in the former BillC-51, and ensuring that our national security and intelligence agencies can keep pace with the evolving nature of security threats.
Bill C-59 is the product of the most inclusive and extensive consultations Canada has ever undertaken on the subject of national security. We received more than 75,000 submissions from a variety of stakeholders and experts as well as the general public, and of course this committee also made a very significant contribution, which I hope members will see reflected in the content of Bill C-59.
All of that input guided our work and led to the legislation that's before us today, and we're only getting started. When it comes to matters as fundamental as our safety and our rights, the process must be as open and thorough as it can possibly be. That is why we chose to have this committee study the bill not after second reading but before second reading. As you know, once a bill has passed second reading in the House, its scope is locked in. With our reversal of the usual order, you will have the chance to analyze Bill C-59 in detail at an earlier stage in the process, which is beginning now, and to propose amendments that might otherwise be deemed to be beyond the scope of the legislation.
We have, however, already had several hours of debate, and I'd like to use the remainder of my time to address some of the points that were raised during that debate. To begin with, there were concerns raised about CSIS's threat reduction powers. I know there are some who would like to see these authorities eliminated entirely and others who think they should be limitless. We have taken the approach, for those measures that require a judicial warrant, of enumerating what they are in a specific list.
CSIS needs clear authorities, and Canadians need CSIS to have clear authorities without ambiguity so that they can do their job of keeping us safe. This legislation provides that clarity. Greater clarity benefits CSIS officers, because it enables them to go about their difficult work with the full confidence that they are operating within the parameters of the law and the Constitution.
Importantly, this bill will ensure that any measure CSIS takes is consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. BillC-51 implied the contrary, but CSIS has been very clear that they have not used that particular option in Bill C-51, and Bill C-59 will end any ambiguity.
Mr. Paul-Hus, during his remarks in the debate in the House, discussed the changes we're proposing to the definition of “terrorist propaganda” and the criminal offence of promoting terrorism. Now, there can be absolutely no doubt of our conviction—I think this crosses all party lines—that spreading the odious ideologies of terrorist organizations is behaviour that cannot be tolerated. We know that terrorist groups use the Internet and social media to reach and radicalize people and to further their vile and murderous ends. We must do everything we can to stop that.
The problem with the way the law is written at the moment, as per BillC-51 is that it is so broad and so vague that it is virtually unuseable, and it hasn't been used. Bill C-59 proposes terminology that is clear and familiar in Canadian law. It would prohibit counselling another person to commit a terrorism offence. This does not require that a particular person be counselled to commit a particular offence. Simply encouraging others to engage in non-specific acts of terrorism will qualify and will trigger that section of the Criminal Code.
Because the law will be more clearly drafted, it will be easier to enforce. Perhaps we will actually see a prosecution under this new provision. There has been no prosecution of this particular offence as currently drafted.
There were also questions raised during debate about whether the new accountability mechanisms will constitute too many hoops for security and intelligence agencies to jump through as they go about their work. The answer, in my view, is clearly, no. When the bill was introduced, two of the country's leading national security experts, Craig Forcese and Kent Roach, said the bill represents “solid gains—measured both from a rule of law and civil liberties perspective—and come at no credible cost to security.”
Accountability mechanisms for Canadian security and intelligence agencies have been insufficient for quite some time. BillC-22 took one major step to remedy that weakness by creating the new National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. Bill C-59 will now add the new comprehensive national security and intelligence review agency, which some people, for shorthand, refer to as a super-SIRC, as well as the position of intelligence commissioner, which is another innovation in Bill C-59.
These steps have been broadly applauded. Some of the scrutiny that we are providing for in the new law will be after the fact, and where there is oversight in real time we've included provisions to deal with exigent circumstances when expedience and speed are necessary.
It is important to underscore that accountability is, of course, about ensuring that the rights and freedoms of Canadians are protected, but it is also about ensuring that our agencies are operating as effectively as they possibly can to keep Canadians safe. Both of these vital goals must be achieved simultaneously—safety and rights together, not one or the other.
Debate also included issues raised by the New Democratic Party about what is currently known as SCISA, the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act. There was a suggestion made that the act should be repealed entirely, but, with respect, that would jeopardize the security of Canadians. If one government agency or department has genuine information about a security threat, they have to be able to disclose it to the appropriate partner agencies within government in order to deal with that threat, and you may recall that this has been the subject of a number of judicial enquiries in the history of our country over the last number of years.
That disclosure must be governed by clear rules, which is why Bill C-59 establishes the following three requirements. First, the information being disclosed must contribute to the recipient organization's national security responsibilities. Second, the disclosure must not affect any person's privacy more than is reasonably necessary. Third, a statement must be provided to the recipient attesting to the information's accuracy. Furthermore, we make it clear that no new information collection powers are being created or implied, and records must be kept of what information is actually being shared.
Mr. Chair, I see you're giving me a rude gesture, which could be misinterpreted in another context.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Hon. Ralph Goodale: There are a couple of points more, but I suspect they'll be raised during the course of the discussion. I'm happy to try to answer questions with the full support of the officials who are with me this morning.
Thank you.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
The short answer, of course, is that BillC-51 as a single piece of legislation no longer exists. It is now embedded in other pieces of law and legislation that affect four or five different statutes and a number of different agencies and operations of the Government of Canada. It's now a little bit like trying to unscramble eggs rather than simply repealing what was there before.
Based on the consultation that you referred to, we meticulously went through the security laws of Canada, whether they were in BillC-51 or not, and asked ourselves this key question. Is this the best provision, the right provision, in the public interest of Canadians to achieve two objectives—to keep Canadians safe and safeguard their rights and freedoms—and to accomplish those two objectives simultaneously?
We honoured our election commitment of dealing with five or six specific things in BillC-51 that we found particularly problematic. Each one of those has been dealt with, as per our promise, but in this legislation we covered a lot of other ground that came forward not during the election campaign but as a part of our consultation.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
Yes. I can certainly get the list from our platform. They include making sure that civil protest was no in any way compromised; making sure that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was paramount, particularly with respect to the threat reduction measures; making sure that there would be a review of the legislation after a certain period of time, with the legislation providing for a five-year review when all the security framework of Canada will be re-examined; and clarifying a number of definitions, like the one about terrorist propaganda that I referred to. There are also the no-fly corrections that we undertook.
We also said that we would create the committee of parliamentarians. That's done. We said that we would create the office for dealing with counter-radicalization. That's done. With the passage of Bill C-59, all of the specific elements that we referred to in the platform will be accomplished.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
It's because they do come together as a comprehensive, coherent package. Again, that is a product of the consultation. Never before has a government gone out to Canadians to say, “Have your say about national security. Tell us what works. Tell us what doesn't work. Raise the issues you want to raise.” We had a discussion paper to stimulate the conversation, but there was nothing off limits for Canadians to raise. The issues they raised, some more strenuously than others, and some in a larger volume than others, are the issues that are included in Bill C-59. They are all interconnected.
To give you one example, some people have asked about the CSE provisions here and about whether it's directly relevant. Well, CSE was one of our campaign commitments. CSE is a topic that was raised during the consultation. One of the new innovations that we're bringing in the legislation is the creation of the intelligence commissioner. The intelligence commissioner deals with CSE issues, with CSIS issues, and with other issues, so it makes sense to do them all together as a package.
A great many cross-cutting issues like that lead one to conclude that you need to debate this package as a comprehensive package rather than in bits and pieces, where the continuity would not be obvious.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
Yes.
Insofar as CBSA deals with national security and intelligence matters, it is covered by Bill C-59, just as is CSIS or CSE or the RCMP, or any other security intelligence or police organization at the federal level. Their activities in relation to national security and intelligence are covered by Bill C-59 and the new national security and intelligence review agency.
What's still missing with respect to CBSA is an individual complaints mechanism for officer conduct unrelated to national security. We will be bringing forward a proposal to deal with that. That is one gap that remains in the architecture, and it will be subject to separate legislation.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
Mr. Motz, we listened very carefully to the public reaction and the parliamentary reaction when we tabled the bill in June. By and large, it was favourable.
However, with a piece of legislation this large, there will be differing perspectives and points of view. Over the course of the summer, there's been some elaboration on that. Some academic papers have been written, and various people who were involved in the consultations have come back to raise a question about this or a concern about that.
There are two areas that I would mention in particular. One is the provisions around SCISA, the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, and whether those provisions can be improved or upgraded. Some of the experts, for example, Professors Forcese and Roach, have made some suggestions in that regard, which we're prepared to take a very careful look at. That is a critical mechanism here for agencies to be able to share information, but to do so on the proper legal basis, properly protecting privacy. The Privacy Commissioner made some observations as well. That's one area.
With regard to another area, you may have noticed that, earlier in the fall, I issued new ministerial directives to the security agencies about how they deal with information sharing with foreign entities. People have noted that a ministerial directive, by custom, has the force of law. It may be valuable to take that concept and find a way to put it in legislation so that there is a legislative anchor or hook for the ministerial directives.
Those are just two possibilities that we could consider, and I hope by the end of this conversation, you will agree that your optimism is not misplaced.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
I would be interested to look at any specific suggestion you might have to make, where something is better done by regulation than actually in legislation. That's completely possible, because we're doing the legislation in the way we're doing it by having this discussion in committee before second reading. If there's a suggestion or an idea about it that you'd like to bring forward, we'll take a look at it.
Your comment is the opposite of what we usually hear, which is to not leave it to regulation but to put it in the bill. I think it would depend on the specific proposal.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
There are a number of places where approval procedures are put in place where we have made arrangements for emergency situations and exigent circumstances so that the necessary approvals can be obtained, but that doesn't stand in the way of agencies taking the action they need to take in an emergency.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
In the presentation of this section we wanted to make it clear that no new power of collection is being created here. This is all in reference to information that already exists.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
Justice Noël's judgment is very interesting. Obviously he was concerned about certain procedures and practices and he laid out his instruction as to how those practices were to be adjusted. Bill C-59 captures Justice Noël's advice and judgment for a procedure going forward dealing with the management of data and datasets. That is all articulated in a very elaborate set of rules that will apply.
However, Justice Noël also said this. I don't have the exact quote in front of me, but he said to bear in mind that the CSIS Act was written in 1984. Think back to 1984. If you had a cellphone, it was as big as a breadbox. The fax machine was cutting-edge technology. A lot has changed, and as you mentioned, Monsieur Picard, he said explicitly that maybe all of this needs to be revisited in light of all the technological change that has taken place since 1984.
There have been recommendations from the Security Intelligence Review Committee. There have been judgements of the courts. There have been findings by judicial inquiries into a whole variety of circumstances in terms of the collection, the analysis, and the utilization of certain datasets, and what should be permitted and what shouldn't be permitted. We've taken all of that on board and it is now embodied in the rules laid out in Bill C-59.
There was another dimension of Justice Noël's judgment where he suggested in some pretty blunt language that there needed to be greater communication and candour between the agency and the court.
David Vigneault is the director of CSIS. I would just ask him to comment on that issue with respect to candour.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
That's always difficult to predict, Mr. MacKenzie, as you know.
In the example I used in my remarks, I think my answer to your question would be, yes, in the tools that are available to deal with terrorist propaganda. The problem with the language in BillC-51 was that it was very broad, and in the language of lawyers in court, it was so broad that it was vague and unenforceable.
If you recall, there was some discussion during the election campaign in 2015 that the language in that particular section might have been used to capture certain election campaign ads, which obviously wasn't the intention of the legislation.
We've made it more precise without affecting its efficacy, and I think we made it more likely that charges can be laid and successfully prosecuted, because we have paralleled an existing legal structure that courts, lawyers, and prosecutors are familiar with, and that is the offence of counselling. Clearly, it doesn't have to be a specific individual counselling another specific individual to do a specific thing. If they are generally advising people to go out and commit terror, that's an offence of counselling under the the act they way we've written it.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
Mr. MacKenzie, on that point, I might ask Kevin Brosseau to comment. I think you're referring to the Driver case at Strathroy. That critical piece of information that came to us from the FBI was actually an intelligence operation they were conducting. It wasn't via social media. It was another method that they were using.
But your point about the ability for them to share with us and us to share with them was absolutely crucial. The relationship between CSIS and their counterparts, the RCMP and their counterparts, is extraordinary. In that particular case, in the space of about eight hours, they were able to identify very precisely what was going on and stop a very significant tragedy from happening.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
It's a very serious issue, Mr. Spengemann. You really have touched on the two elements we're working on. Through the collection of new provisions that are here in Bill C-59 we will give CSIS and the RCMP and our other agencies the ability and the tools to be as well informed as humanly possible about these activities and to be able to function with clarity within the law and within the Constitution to do what they need to do to counter those threats. Specifically where offences arise in relation to young people, the Youth Criminal Justice Act applies, so that is the process by which young offenders will be managed under this law.
The other side of it is prevention, and all of the countries in the G20, and probably many others around the world, are turning their attention more and more to this question. It has been discussed among the Five Eyes allies. It's been discussed among the G7 countries as well as the G20.
How can we find the ways and share our expertise internationally with all countries that share this concern? How can we find the ways to identify vulnerable people early enough to have a decent opportunity to intervene effectively in that downward spiral of terrorist influence to get them out of that pattern?
Obviously intervention and counter-radicalization techniques will not work in every circumstance. That's why we need a broad range of tools to deal with terrorist threats, but where prevention is possible, we need to develop the expertise to actually do it. That is the reason we created the new Canada centre for community engagement and prevention of violence, so we would have a national office that could coordinate the activities that are going along at the local and municipal and academic levels across the country, put some more resources behind those, and make sure we are sharing the very best ideas and information so that if we can prevent a tragedy, we actually have the tools to do it.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
Yes. It's all important. It's hard to put them in a hierarchical order. It's all important activity, and we're doing our best to have a coordinated, full effort with everybody on board.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
I think Madam Gallant, the way you put that, it's a complete misstatement of the government's position.
We believe we need a robust set of measures to deal with the terrorist threat. That includes our participation in the global coalition against Daesh. Canada's role there, especially our intelligence-collecting capacity, has been a very large asset. We need the surveillance, the intelligence gathering, and the monitoring capacity of our security agencies. We need the ability of our police forces to collect evidence to prepare cases that can be sustained in court. We need the ability to use no-fly lists, the ability to list people and entities under the Criminal Code, to apply for peace bonds, and to use the threat-reduction powers of CSIS.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
If you are travelling for a terrorist purpose, if you leave Canada to travel for a terrorist purpose, that is an offence under the Criminal Code.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
There are about 60 of those returnees back in Canada. Bear in mind, these are people who have gone to a whole variety of theatres of terrorist activity around the world. Some would have been directly involved, others less so. The security and intelligence efforts of Canadians and all our allies around the world are watching these people intently to know exactly what they're up to.
When they come back, if evidence is available that can stand up in court, they are charged. In the last two years, there have been two charges laid because we believe we have the evidence that can be prosecuted in court. Up until that time, no charges had been laid.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
We believe the measures that have been put together here, based upon the most extensive consultation with Canadian experts, parliamentarians, and the general public, are indeed appropriate to accomplish two objectives—one, to keep Canadians safe, and two, to safeguard their rights and freedoms—and to do those things together.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
The most prominent issue that emerged from BillC-51 was the original wording of what became section 12.1 of the CSIS Act, which implied, by the way the section was structured, that CSIS could go to a court and get the authority of the court to violate the charter. Every legal scholar I've ever heard opine on this topic has said that is a legal nullity. An ordinary piece of legislation such as the CSIS Act cannot override the charter. The charter is paramount. However, the language in the way section 12.1 was structured left the impression that you could go to the court and get authority to violate the charter.
In the language change that we have put into Bill C-59, first of all, we have specified a list of disruption activities that CSIS may undertake with the proper court authorization, but when they go to the court to ask for authority, the ruling they're asking for from the court is not that it violate the charter, but that it fits within the charter, that in fact it is consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including clause 1 of the charter.
That's the difference between the structure of the old section and how we've tried to make it clear that the charter prevails.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
You can expect to see a whole range of proposals dealing with enhanced cybersecurity from the government in the next number of months. The existing cyber-policy goes back to 2010. It was thought at that time to be cutting edge, but technology has marched on.
We will be introducing an entirely new set of measures to strengthen Canada's cyber-capacity. One piece of that is the new authority that we are giving to the CSE. Maybe I can ask Greta, in the interest of time here, to comment specifically on cyber-powers in the section on CSE.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
The real difference there is that, without this authority, you have to sit back and wait to be attacked, even though you know it's going to happen. You're not in a position to be proactive. With the new authorities, CSE would be able to identify a very likely attack and be more proactive in preventing it from happening, rather than to try to clean up the mess after it has happened.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
It wasn't used in the two or three years between then and now. Our view was that it was written in such broad language, it was largely unusable.
We've tried to use language that is more familiar. In the history of our criminal law, the offence of counselling is very well understood. Using that language covers the problem, and does so in a way that's enforceable.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
All of the implications of existing and proposed future legislation have been very carefully analyzed.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, good morning.
I'm sure you would all like to join me this morning in expressing our deep concern with respect to the two very serious incidents that occurred this past weekend, one in Edmonton and the other in Las Vegas. These circumstances are horrendous in our free and open and democratic society. It's at times like these that we all pull together to support each other and to applaud our first responders on both sides of the border, who have done extraordinary work. We extend our thoughts and prayers to the victims and the families and the loved ones, and we hope for the speedy and full recovery of those who have been injured. We make the emphatic point that events like this will not divide us, nor will they intimidate us. Police investigations are obviously ongoing; they're at a very early stage. A lot more information will be forthcoming in due course, but we I'm sure stand in solidarity with one another within our country and across the border when these kinds of sorry events occur.
Mr. Chairman, with respect to this meeting and this topic, this is my first opportunity to be before the committee since the return of Parliament, so welcome to you as the new chair. I notice some other new faces on all sides of the table, and some old-timers too. To all of you, welcome, and thank you for the invitation to be here today. I look forward to a very good relationship with the committee.
We begin, of course, with BillC-21. I'm joined today by Martin Bolduc, who is vice-president of the Canada Border Services Agency; Sébastien Aubertin-Giguère, who is director general of the traveller program directorate within CBSA; and Andrew Lawrence, who is the acting executive director of the traveller program directorate.
The bill that we're here to discuss will at long last enable Canada to keep track of not only who enters our country but also who leaves it. If that sounds pretty fundamental, actually it is. But there has been a gap in our border system for a great many years that we are now proposing to close with BillC-21. I would point out that many other countries, including all of our Five Eyes allies, already collect this information that is commonly known as “exit” data. Canada, with Bill C-21, will catch up to those other countries and fill the gap.
The information that we're talking about is simply the basic identification information that is found on page 2 of everyone's passport, along with the time and the place of departure. It's the same simple identification information that all travellers willingly hand over when they cross the border. When you cross into the United States, you show your passport and the border officers take note of the information on page 2. It's that information that we're talking about here: name, date, place of birth, nationality, gender, and the issuing authority of the travel document.
The way this information will be collected is really quite straightforward, and travellers should notice no difference at all in the process. For people leaving Canada by air, the air carrier will collect that information, as it already does from passenger manifests, and it will give it to the Canada Border Services Agency before departure. For people crossing by land into the United States, American officials collecting this information, as they already do in the form of entry data, will then send it back to CBSA where it will serve as exit data. This will work in the same way in reverse for travellers crossing into Canada from the United States. The experience from the point of the view of the traveller will be absolutely unchanged.
With this information in hand, Canadian officials will be better able to deal with cross-border crime, including child abductions and human trafficking. It will strengthen our ability to prevent radicalized individuals from travelling to join terrorist groups overseas. It will help ensure the integrity of benefit programs where residency requirements are part of the eligibility criteria. It will also ensure that immigration officials have complete and accurate information when they do their jobs. They won't waste a lot of time dealing with people who have already left the country.
Finally, the legislation also addresses a concern raised in the Auditor General's report in the fall of 2015 about the need for stronger measures to combat the unlawful export of controlled or dangerous goods. BillC-21 will amend the Customs Act to prohibit smuggling controlled goods out of Canada. Currently, and this may be a surprise to some people, only smuggling “into” Canada is prohibited. The new legislation will give border officers the authorities regarding outbound goods similar to the ones they already have for inbound goods.
Mr. Chair, I followed closely the second reading debate in the House about BillC-21. There were not a lot of specific issues raised, but there was one mentioned by Mr. Dubé that I would like to respond to. It had to do with this issue of the sharing of information with the United States. I was concerned that there seemed to be a view that any exchange of information with the U.S. was inherently a bad thing.
I think we should keep in mind that the process of Canadian and U.S. authorities working together and exchanging information, pursuant to laws and agreements and subject to oversight, is essential for our mutual security. For example, when Canadian authorities were able to take action in Strathroy, Ontario, last summer to prevent a planned terrorist attack, that was due to an exchange of information with the United States. Because of that, the RCMP and local police authorities were able to prevent a much larger tragedy. Working in concert with our American partners, and exchanging information with them according to the rules, is very important to our national interests. It supports having the longest, most open, successful international boundary in the history of the world.
The key questions are these: what kind of information is to be shared, with what safeguards, and for what purposes? BillC-21 provides very clear answers. What kind of information? As I said, it's the basic identification data, on page 2 of our passports, that we all offer up whenever we cross a border. It's worth pointing out that if Canada is sharing this information with the United States, that is only because the person in question has just come into Canada from the United States, to whom they necessarily gave the same information upon entry. It's not new or expanded information beyond the fact that they have left. That's the sum and substance of the data that is involved.
What safeguards are in place? To begin with, the government has engaged proactively throughout this whole process with the Privacy Commissioner. That engagement continues. You can find the privacy impact assessments of the current and previous phases of entry/exit implementation on the CBSA website. A new assessment will be updated once the new legislation is actually in effect.
In addition, exchange of information both within Canada and with the U.S. will be subject to formal agreements that will include information management safeguards, privacy protection clauses, and mechanisms to address any potential problems.
All of this will be happening in the context of the most robust national security accountability structure that Canada has ever had. We've already passed BillC-22, which creates the new National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. Add to that Bill C-59, introduced in the spring, which will create a new national security and intelligence review agency. And as you know, we have proactively, in the last number of days, released new ministerial directives about information sharing that have been broadly applauded as significant advancements.
Finally, what purpose does the exchange of information serve? As I've outlined, it will help Canadian authorities do everything from combatting cross-border crime to preventing terrorist travel to improving the management of social benefits and immigration programs. But to give you a concrete example, if it's discovered one evening that a child is missing, police can do a check of the exit records to see if the child left the country earlier that day, where, at what time, and in whose company. That is obviously immensely helpful to investigators working collaboratively on both sides of the border in their efforts to recover the child and catch the kidnapper. For that reason alone, I hope the committee will see fit to report this bill back to the House with all deliberate speed.
I thank you for your attention, Mr. Chair, and look forward to questions.
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
There are several safeguards, including, number one, the nature of the information. It is very basic data, and it's data that people already share. If you're crossing into the United States, you show your passport. What this will add is the provision that this information will then automatically come back to the CBSA too. You've already told the Americans, so CBSA will have the data that would say this individual left Canada at this time at this border crossing. That's safeguard number one, the nature of the information.
Safeguard number two is the relationship we've developed with the Privacy Commissioner. In all of these measures, whether it's for this or BillC-23 or Bill C-59, we have an ongoing dialogue with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. He comments on areas where we could improve, where he sees problems, where he would like to see things changed, and all of that advice is taken very seriously in crafting both the law and the regulations.
There are privacy impact assessments that are required to be done. The ones that have been done so far on this initiative are already on the website. Once the legislation is passed and we actually have the legal framework, we will produce a new privacy impact assessment that will be made public to satisfy the requirements of the Privacy Commissioner. There will also be written agreements between the relevant Canadian departments and between Canada and the U.S., which will detail the way the information will be managed and safeguarded, what the privacy protection clauses need to be, and the mechanisms for addressing any potential problems. That will all be laid out in agreements governing—
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