We have no idea whether and how rights were infringed under Bill C-51

On Thursday, June 21st, 2018 in Debate, Parliament

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the hon. member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis has perhaps a more nostalgic and certainly more favourable view of what took place in the 41st Parliament, but I put it to him that my experience in studying Bill C-51 convinced me that it made us much less safe. I will give an example and hope my hon. colleague can comment on it.

Far from creating silos, Bill C-59 would help us by creating the security and intelligence review agency because, in the words of former chief justice John Major who chaired the Air India inquiry, we have had no pinnacle review, no oversight over all the actions of all the agencies. This is a real-life example. When Jeffrey Delisle was stealing secrets from the Canadian navy, CSIS knew about it. CSIS knew all about it, but it decided not to tell the RCMP. The RCMP acted when it got a tip from the FBI. We know that in the Air India disaster, various agencies of the Government of Canada—CSIS knew things as did the RCMP—did not talk to each other. The information sharing sections to which the member refers have nothing to do with government agencies sharing the information they have about a threat. They have to do it by sharing personal information of Canadians, such as what occurred to Maher Arar.

To the member’s last comment that nothing has gone wrong since Bill C-51, my comment is: how would we know? Everything is secret. Rights could have been infringed. No special advocate was in the room. We have no idea what happened to infringe rights during Bill C-51′s reign.

Steven Blaney – Member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis

Mr. Speaker, had my hon. colleague supported the Anti-terrorism Act, she would have accomplished exactly what she was seeking, which is information sharing throughout the federal government when Canada is under threat. This is exactly what the Anti-terrorism Act achieves. She can be assured that this is now the law of the land.

What is unfortunate is that with the current Liberal bill, instead of expanding the authority of SIRC, the Security and Intelligence Review Committee, which is a gem, as I mentioned in my speech, the Liberals are creating another structure, adding more bureaucracy and more layers of approval, which would impact the efficiency of the work on the ground, bringing no results but more costs.

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