Opposition Motion – Communications Security Establishment Canada

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have an opportunity to finally get the floor on this debate today. I am very supportive of this motion, and concerned about the excesses that are apparent in CSEC, the Communications Establishment Security Canada.

I want to ask my colleague from Winnipeg North a question that I do not believe has come up today. It is an example that blows a hole through the argument the Conservatives are making that nothing needs to be done about CSEC, that it is using legitimate means to intercept communications that come from foreigners for appropriate security reasons.

How do they explain that Canada was caught spying on the Government of Brazil through CSEC? It intercepted communications to Brazil’s department of mines, in an apparent effort of industrial espionage, to assist Canadian mining companies dealing with Brazilian mining companies. There was no legitimate security interest in doing this. I would ask my hon. colleague whether that incident does not bolster the need for parliamentary oversight.

Kevin Lamoureux: Mr. Speaker, I thank the leader of the Green Party for supporting the motion. It is somewhat sad that the only time that this becomes a topical issue is when we hear of something that has inappropriately taken place, such as the report with respect to Wi-Fi, where it appeared that Canadians were being monitored in some fashion or another.

The point is that we do not know for sure either way. That is why it is critically important that we do have a parliamentary group that deals with the issue in terms of oversight. Only through that can we provide unequivocal assurance to Canadians that their privacy-related issues with respect to CSEC are being protected.

That is why I would encourage the government not to just wait for news reports; we can be proactive in dealing with this issue. It would not be costly. Canadians would value a government that would protect their privacy. At the end of the day, there is nothing to be lost by accepting this motion and passing the private member’s bill that we have suggested.