Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security Monday, November 24, 2014 Chair

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security Monday, November 24, 2014 Chair
Standing Committee on Public Safety and
National Security
Monday, November 24, 2014
Mr. Daryl Kramp
Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security
Monday, November 24, 2014
● (1530)
The Chair (Mr. Daryl Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings,
CPC)): Good afternoon, colleagues and guests. Welcome to meeting
number 40 of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National
Today, pursuant to the order of reference of Tuesday, November
18, Bill C-44, an act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence
Service Act and other acts, will be dealt with.
Appearing before us here today is the Honourable Steven Blaney,
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. We also
have François Guimont, the deputy minister. From the Canadian
Security Intelligence Service, we have Mr. Michel Coulombe,
director; and from the Department of Citizenship and Immigration,
we have Nicole Girard, director general, citizenship and multiculturalism branch. These will be our witnesses for the first hour.
At the end of the first hour, Minister Blaney will be excused. The
other witnesses, I believe, will be staying. We have other additional
witnesses who will be arriving for the second hour.
With that understanding, I will now open the floor to opening
statements by our witnesses.
Minister Blaney, you have the floor.
Hon. Steven Blaney (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency
Preparedness): Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I am here this afternoon to invite you to support Bill C-44—
The Chair: Excuse me, Mr. Blaney, but Mr. Easter has a point of
Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.): I raise this again, and I
raised it last time this minister was here. The minister has the
resources of all the department available to him. A minister coming
before these committees reads from written notes; we saw that last
time. There was important information in there we could have used
during committee that we didn't pick up until after. So I ask, does the
minister have his statement written so that it can be presented to the
committee in both official languages, as I believe should be the
custom of this place?
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Easter. Obviously I will ask the
minister if he has a prepared statement that he can distribute. If not,
he can go ahead with his statement but take that under advisement
for future visits.
Hon. Steven Blaney: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I begin by saying that what I have to say is not in any written
speech, Mr. Chair.
I find it particularly special to be here in this room, in this very
room where I was with my colleagues on October 22. We spent
hours here. You were here as well, Mr. Chair. We will remember
those hours for a very long time, as will our opposition colleagues,
who were just on the other side of that room. We were all somewhat
involved, against our will, in the terrorist attack that took place.
A few weeks before the attack, I was here with Mr. Coulombe,
Mr. Guimont, and also with our RCMP commissioner to state that
we are—we were at that time and still are—taking the terrorist threat
very seriously, and that the threat is real.
Unfortunately, we have been exposed to the hatred of those
individuals who committed the two terrorist attacks in mid-October.
That makes this meeting even more important.
With that, I would like to begin by talking to you about Bill C-44,
for which I seek your support.
I will mainly address the provisions that amend the Canadian
Security Intelligence Service Act, which has not been dramatically
altered in the last 30 years.
I would like to point out that Ms. Girard will address the
Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, which received royal
assent earlier this year. The section that deals with Canadian
citizenship is not a new legislative component; it only encourages
quicker implementation.
I am here today as Minister of Public Safety because the Canadian
Security Intelligence Service, CSIS, comes under my department's
responsibility. This service must have effective tools to fight the
terrorist threat.
CSIS collects and analyzes information from across the country
and abroad, and informs the Government of Canada of threats to
national security, especially threats involving terrorism and violent
Obviously there should be no doubt about the direct and persistent
threat terrorism and violent extremism pose to our security. No one
can argue that what took place here in this Parliament and in SaintJean-sur-Richelieu are not terrorist attacks. That's why, colleagues,
we need to move swiftly forward with this legislation. CSIS' ability
to investigate threats to the security of Canada no matter where they
may occur is vital to the safety and security of Canadians, and indeed
our ability to respond to the threat of terrorism.
Our government is keeping Canadians safe. That is what this bill
is all about. Let's dive straight into the very reason of the bill before
us today, and therefore so critical in its importance to keep
Canadians safe, to use it as a shield. The protection of Canada from
terrorists act responds to two key core decisions that have important
implications for CSIS' mandate and operations. Those of you who
have taken the opportunity to get the technical briefing provided by
my department understood that well. I could see it was the case when
we had exchanges in the House about the bill.
In May 2014 the Supreme Court of Canada issued its ruling in the
Harkat case. The Supreme Court's decision stated that CSIS human
sources do not benefit from a common law class privilege similar to
the informer privilege applicable to police informers. Human sources
are a critical source of information for CSIS. They are at the very
base of CSIS, yet, Mr. Chairman, they do not benefit from a
protection as this court has ruled. In turn this significantly hampers
our intelligence-gathering capabilities and therefore it puts Canadians at risk. This bill is not seeking at this point in time for new
powers. It's just seeking to clarify the existing authority under which
CSIS can protect us in an efficient manner. That's why the protection
of Canada from terrorists act addresses this gap.
● (1535)
from terrorists act confirms CSIS' authority to conduct investigations
outside of Canada related to the threats, to the security of Canada,
and security assessments. This is not a big thing. CSIS can operate
within and outside Canada. That's fairly simple.
CSIS has always had the power to undertake investigative
activities abroad. The Federal Court of Appeal acknowledged this
fact when it found that section 12 of the Canadian Security
Intelligence Service Act in no way suggests geographic limitations
for CSIS' activities.
However, the power of CSIS to conduct activities abroad in order
to investigate threats to Canada's security is not indicated as clearly
as it should be in the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act. It is
therefore important that Parliament and the elected representatives of
the people clarify this matter.
At the same time, the bill also confirms the authority of the
Federal Court to issue warrants authorizing CSIS to undertake
certain activities outside of Canada, and it gives the Federal Court
authority to consider only relevant Canadian law when issuing
warrants for CSIS to undertake certain activities outside of Canada.
These amendments are important. We believe that the Canadian
Constitution, especially the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is far
superior to the decrees of a dictator in a far-off land. Canadian law,
and even more importantly, Canadian values, are what should solidly
ground our legal deliberations around national security, and that is
exactly what this bill is accomplishing.
These amendments bring about automatic protection of the
identity of CSIS' human sources.
● (1540)
This bill is balanced. This bill is reasonable and that's why I'm
seeking your support. That's why you've been expressing your
support in the House so far. Why? Because it fully respects the spirit
of our Constitution.
The parties will be able to obtain an order from a judge to declare
that the person in question is not a human source or that the
information in question will not reveal the identity of that person.
November 24, 2014
Mr. Chair, the proposed amendments in Bill C-44 are reasonable
and necessary for ensuring that the Canadian Security Intelligence
Service can carry out its mandate adequately. They are also
consistent with the spirit of the Canadian Security Intelligence
Service Act and the recommendations of the 1981 McDonald
In criminal proceedings, defendants will have the ability to seek
an order from a judge declaring that disclosure of the identity of a
human source is essential to establishing their innocence. The
fundamental right to a fair trial is preserved and reinforced.
Turning to the second court decision affecting CSIS' mandate, the
Federal Court of Appeal recently unsealed its July 2014 decision
related to the government's appeal of Justice Mosley's decision that
was issued by the Federal Court last year. The protection of Canada
Unfortunately during debate on this legislation at second reading,
I heard some allegations related to CSIS operating outside the law.
That's what this bill would prevent from happening, because it would
clearly define that CSIS is operating within the law. Let me be clear.
CSIS will, as always, continue to be required to obtain judicial
authorization to undertake certain intrusive activities.
I believe this clearly lays out the technical aspects of this
legislation, and nobody can challenge the motive of this bill.
November 24, 2014
Again today, Mr. Chair, we have learned that the Islamic State
armed group is recruiting eight-year-old children, as if all the images
and atrocities we have been exposed to were not enough. I am
thinking of a video that was released showing over a dozen men
being decapitated.
Among those individuals was humanitarian worker Peter Kassig.
His parents wrote on Twitter that they were heartbroken to learn that
their son had lost his life because of his love for the Syrian people
and his desire to lessen their suffering. Our government resolutely
condemns the acts of violence by the Islamic State armed group in
the strongest possible terms. That is why we are providing
humanitarian aid to the people affected by these barbarians and are
supporting the coalition's efforts to neutralize and diminish their
capacity to conduct major operations.
In addition to these distressing reports out of Iraq and Syria, recent
terrorist attacks here remind us that this organization is also a threat
within our own country. That is why we are steadfastly working to
improve the tools available to the police forces and the intelligence
community. The Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act is just the
first step toward achieving this objective. Our Conservative
government has taken strong action to protect our national security.
As you know, Mr. Chair, we passed legislation to fight terrorism
over a year ago now. That act gives the authorities tools that enable
them to revoke the citizenship of individuals who take part in these
activities. As I mentioned, the component of the bill that is before us
today basically consists of accelerating the measures that have
already been adopted and received royal assent.
We have increased funding to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
and CSIS by a third. We have implemented new measures.
Unfortunately, we have not been able to count on the support of
the opposition, neither the New Democrats nor the Liberals, for the
revocation of passports and dual citizenship of individuals found
guilty of terrorist acts. However, I have noted during debates that
there is some receptiveness to the bill that was introduced today.
I realize this bill was not formally opposed during the debate at
second reading, and I look forward to answering your questions
today. Ultimately, and I would say much more importantly, I look
forward to this legislation being returned to the House after thorough
study so we can move forward and get this bill adopted, so that we as
parliamentarians, elected officials, can better do our part to keep our
country safe. Thank you.
● (1545)
The Chair: Thank you very much, Minister Blaney.
Are there any other opening comments from witnesses?
Seeing none, thank you. We will now go to the rounds of
questioning. We'll start with Ms. James for seven minutes, please.
Ms. Roxanne James (Scarborough Centre, CPC): Thank you,
Mr. Chair. Thank you to the minister for appearing, as well as the
Minister, in your opening remarks you talked about the incident
that happened at the National War Memorial as well as what took
place here on Parliament Hill. These incidents of terrorism were not
simply attacks against an individual or a place where people go to
work. These were attacks against our Canadian Armed Forces and
against our institutions of governance. This was an attack against all
At the start, when we talked about Bill C-44, I heard some
comments that this was simply a knee-jerk reaction to those terrorist
attacks that took place in Ottawa and in Quebec. In fact, Minister,
this legislation has been in the works for some time and was to
correct a problem that, as you mentioned, we saw an issue with
before the courts, which were calling into question the authority of
I'm just wondering if you could speak about that particular aspect,
that this was not a knee-jerk reaction, and why this is absolutely
critical for the operations of CSIS to continue to keep Canadians
Hon. Steven Blaney: I thank Parliamentary Secretary James for
her question, Mr. Chair.
The definition of a terrorist act is widely accepted throughout the
world, and it has three components. The first is that an individual or
a group attacks a symbol of a nation. We are talking about the
military uniform and we are talking about our sacred National War
Memorial. It is also committed based on an ideology. We clearly saw
that those two individuals were embracing extremist, fundamentalist,
radical Islamic views. They were going against the Criminal Code by
committing violent acts against innocent people.
Clearly, what took place in Canada on October 20 in Saint-Jeansur-Richelieu
… and that targeted Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, and
Nathan Cirillo in Ottawa, are both terrorist acts.
That is what the president of Holland noted when he visited
Parliament. The U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry, noted that as
well, as did the RCMP commissioner. Under the Criminal Code, it
was terrorism.
It is important to take a measured approach when dealing with the
terrorist threat and not react excessively, but we must not stand idly
by in the face of the constantly changing terrorist threat.
Ms. James, I believe you know that the bill in question was to
have been introduced on October 22, the very day of the attack.
Shortly after the attack, we did not know that were were going to be
confined here all day. We were living in uncertainty, but I was still
hopeful I would be able to introduce it that day.
Consultations were held before the introduction of this bill which,
as I explained, followed on an invitation by the courts to clarify the
legislative provisions so that CSIS could exercise its mandate
November 24, 2014
I am pushing the importance of adopting this bill because CSIS'
current capacity to fully exercise its duties is limited by court
decisions. As parliamentarians, we are being asked to get this bill to
royal assent in order to restore existing powers to CSIS at a critical
time when we are facing a real terrorist threat.
well. That's why I and our government intend to come back with
further legislation to address this gap we are now faced with.
To answer your question, I would say that this bill was in the
works long before the two terrorist attacks in Canada in midOctober, but that those attacks make its adoption much more
important and urgent.
We'll now move on to Mr. Garrison, please. You have seven
● (1550)
The Chair: Thank you, Minister.
Mr. Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, NDP):
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Ms. Roxanne James: Thank you, Minister.
In your remarks you said something similar to “not as clearly
outlined in the CSIS Act as it should be”. I think everyone in this
committee recalls, and I've mentioned it many times in conversations
and in the House, that the CSIS Act was first passed way back in
1984. This is actually 30 years ago. This is why we're really here
today. CSIS has been operating and communicating with our Five
Eyes partners and operating outside of Canada, and all of a sudden
the courts have called that into question because the CSIS Act
doesn't clearly indicate it has the power and the ability to do so.
When we talk about terrorism in Canada, I think most Canadians
would agree that the Toronto 18 was something we had not heard
about before in Canada. We also experienced, more recently, the
VIA Rail plot. Now we have seen issues of individuals being
radicalized, going overseas, and receiving training overseas with the
potential to come back here and cause even greater damage and
assault against Canadians in our country within our borders. In
reality, terrorism knows no borders.
When I think about this bill, Minister, my greatest concern is that
CSIS must absolutely have the ability to operate overseas. Without
that, it would be working with both hands tied behind its back.
Would you agree with that statement?
Hon. Steven Blaney: Absolutely, I fully agree with you.
I believe that while we have to make sure we are providing all the
tools, especially to our national security agency, the service, in this
case, we also need to continue to invest ourselves in the four pillars
of our counter-terrorism strategy, particularly in the domain of
prevention. This is exactly what was agreed upon amongst the 300
participants who took part in the Halifax international security
conference that just ended yesterday, where there was a consensus
among western countries that we need to reach out with outreach to
communities. You have the example of the Toronto 18. As you
know, it was because of the bridges we had built with the
communities that we were able to deter this terrorist attack that
was plotted. Mr. Coulombe is very aware of this.
In the meantime we also need to show our unwavering
commitment in tracking those who are committing terrorist attacks
or are willing to do so. This also includes hate violence, whether in
their behaviour or in their speech. We also need to make sure we
have the tools that are necessary, and not only our national security
agency but our national law enforcement needs to have the tools as
I'd like to thank the minister for being here today.
The NDP supported this bill at second reading because it deals
with national security, which is obviously a very important issue.
Precisely because of that importance, we have to make sure, with
any changes we make, that we get them right and that they are
effective. That really requires full debate on this bill.
What I want to raise is something I raised with the minister in the
House during time allocation. At that time I asked the minister if he
would assure me that we would have full time for debate here in the
committee. Again today, he mentioned in his opening statement that
he looked forward to the committee giving thorough study to the bill.
I'm going to ask him again. His parliamentary secretary, who is his
spokesperson in the House, has made sure that we have only one day
of witnesses other than government officials. That means six
witnesses on this very important bill.
I ask the minister again. Do you think we're actually going to have
enough time here in committee to give this bill the study it deserves?
Hon. Steven Blaney: Absolutely. I think I have correctly
evaluated the time needed to work on this straightforward bill. As
I was given the opportunity to mention to you during the debate in
the House of Commons, it's a seven-page bill. It says that CSIS can
operate outside and within Canada. It says that we need to protect
sources, which is obvious since that's where CSIS is harvesting its
information, which can be transformed from intelligence to
evidence, and then where we can prosecute terrorists and put them
in jail. Rightly so, as we have already been doing with the
Combating Terrorism Act and the previous legislation.
I believe there has already been more than 11 hours of debate. I
think we are expected by Canadians, especially in the context of an
evolving threat, to do thorough work but not to drag our feet and
waste time. This bill is needed. As you know, we hope other
measures will be coming soon, and that is what Canadians are
expecting from us. I refer to some comments in the media today that
Canadians think we should take the terrorist threat very seriously,
and we should act accordingly. I think that adopting this bill after the
study.... We are here and the experts will be available here to answer
all your questions.
November 24, 2014
● (1555)
Mr. Randall Garrison: But with respect, Mr. Minister, when we
say one day that means two hours in this committee with witnesses
outside the government. So if we are going to take terrorism
seriously, with respect, I would think that two hours is not taking it
sufficiently seriously.
You say it is only a seven-page bill so I have a question about
something that is not there. We have seen recommendations from
Justices O'Connor, Iacobucci, and Major, all of them dealing with
the need for improved accountability in national security. The
accountability is connected very directly to that effectiveness.
Minister, why is there nothing in this bill that improves the
accountability and the oversight of our national security agencies?
Hon. Steven Blaney: I think you were given the opportunity to
attend the technical briefing. As I said in the House and I said again
today, this bill is designed particularly to address two issues that
were brought forward by the court that limit the power and the
authority of CSIS. It is important at this very moment when we face
a real terrorist threat—and these walls can speak for themselves—
that we address this gap. That's why this bill is straightforward. I
make the commitment today that we will present further legislation,
and that's why I seek your support for this bill.
Mr. Randall Garrison: I hope the further legislation will have
improvements in accountability and oversight because that's part of
the effectiveness, as I said before.
Another point that I am concerned about here, and that's why I
think we need more time to discuss this, is that there's no point in
passing laws that won't withstand scrutiny in the court. So I have a
question for the minister about what advice he has received from the
Department of Justice on the constitutionality of the measures
proposed here, particularly those that deal with authorizing courts to
grant warrants without respect to international law, also with respect
to the protection of the identity of human sources.
If these laws aren't going to stand up when they get to court then
we're wasting time here when we could do something more effective.
Has he had that advice? Will he table that advice with this
Hon. Steven Blaney: I think our time is really precious, and that's
why I seek to have this committee move forward, Mr. Chair.
Let me get back to the proceedings, and I will address it. I thank
you for your question.
As I've said, in criminal proceedings defendants will have the
ability to seek an order from a judge declaring that disclosure of the
identity of a human source is essential to establishing their
innocence. The fundamental right to a fair trial is not only preserved
it is reinforced.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Only as to the trial, not to detention, not
to bail hearings, and all other aspects of the criminal justice process.
You've only applied that exception to one small piece of that. That's
why I'm interested in the advice you have received from the Minister
of Justice about the constitutionality of that.
Hon. Steven Blaney: In another bill we will come back with
issues related to surveillance, arrest, and detention, but this is not
what this bill is about. This bill is about protecting the source. This is
exactly why we have embedded measures in this bill to reinforce the
fundamental right, not only respecting the law but the spirit of the
law, which I think is going even further.
The other aspect is that you know we are talking about Canadian
citizens, Canadian law, and Canadian procedure. I expect this
question may come further on during our exchange. We sometimes
work in an environment where people don't experience the freedom
and the democracy that is experienced here. That is why this bill is
related to Canadian law and that's why it is a bill that fully complies
with our Constitution.
● (1600)
Mr. Randall Garrison: So you have that advice from the
Minister of Justice.
Hon. Steven Blaney: We are always moving forward with bills
that are seeking to protect Canadians. That's our first goal and
priority and this is how this bill has been prepared, with all respect to
our Canadian Constitution.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Thank you very much.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Garrison.
Now we will go to Mr. Norlock, for seven minutes, please.
Mr. Rick Norlock (Northumberland—Quinte West, CPC):
Thank you very much.
Mr. Chair, through you to the witnesses, thank you for attending
Minister, I notice that this act has certain aspects of the recently
passed Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act. Do you believe it's
reasonable to revoke the citizenship of convicted terrorists, or people
who would do harm to Canada?
Hon. Steven Blaney: Thank you, Mr. Norlock, for your question.
We are very proud to be Canadian. Whenever we go around the
world we are also very proud to show our Canadian passport, which
is well recognized and established. What we realize is that
individuals are abusing the generosity of Canadian individuals
who have embraced Canadian principles and values, and they are
ready to turn their backs on this society.
Just last Friday I met with the cross-cultural round table where we
have people coming from different backgrounds. Most of them are
not Canadian-born citizens and they all agree that when we are
Canadians, we are winners. We are winners of the lottery. We are a
great country, and to be a citizen of this country is a great privilege.
Those individuals who are committing terrorist acts using the
Canadian passport don't deserve to use their citizenship to propagate
violence around the world. That is why, once they are convicted of a
terrorist act, I find it fairly appropriate to remove this tool and the
great privilege it is to be a Canadian citizen.
Mr. Rick Norlock: Thank you, Minister.
November 24, 2014
What you're saying is that citizenship is a great honour and to
those who would do us otherwise, it is not a right. At least that's what
I think you said, and that's what I believe.
Hon. Steven Blaney: Absolutely.
Minister, I'd like to go further into this piece of legislation. One of
the parts of the legislation deals with judicial oversight of CSIS
warrants. We've heard statements that we have to respect international law and the laws of other countries. I think of some countries
that don't have the respect for human rights and the rule of law that
our country does. They may get warrants in ways that we would find
totally inappropriate, and that are totally against all we stand for as a
country that respects human rights.
The Chair: That's fine. Thank you very much.
I wonder if you could comment on judicial oversight, the
necessity of issuing warrants, and comment on this provision and
why you believe it makes sense.
Hon. Steven Blaney: I thank you for your question.
CSIS operates under Canadian law. This is why we have set up a
package of law so that, whenever it operates, it is operating within
the law. Of course, I may be involved in those authorizations, but
more importantly, judges warrant when our issues need to be
validated by the judicial system. On top of that, we have an overview
mechanism of the whole service, and this is done by the Security
Intelligence Review Committee. I have brought here a copy of that
report. It's in both official languages. We have robust oversight of an
agency that is to abide by Canadian law. This is exactly what this bill
would do. We have, over the course of the last month, been given the
opportunity by the court to clearly define that CSIS has the mandate
to operate within and outside the country. That's the first main part of
the bill. The second part of the bill, which is so important, is to
protect the sources. To quote the definition of “source” in this bill:
“human source” means an individual who, after having received a promise of
confidentiality, has provided, provides or is likely to provide information to the
When the service is entering into a contract—if I can put it that
way—with a human source, there is this promise of confidentiality.
Those sources are sometimes putting their lives at risk to share this
information. That is why it is important that this contract be clearly
defined under the law, and under certain circumstances this
protection can be used in a trial or tribunals if it is used to prove
that someone is accused.
This bill has been crafted based on our Constitution, based on our
laws, and based on the principle, as I've mentioned, that the
fundamental right to a fair trial is not only preserved but reinforced.
That's why I'm seeking your approval for this bill, which is
accomplishing those main important things: protection of human
sources within our Constitution, confirming the authority of CSIS to
operate abroad, and as we have indicated, speeding up the process of
removing dual citizenship, while adding no other element to the
already-adopted bill.
● (1605)
Mr. Rick Norlock: It's not dissimilar to the rights and to the tools
that exist for police officers within Canada, and have done so for
some time and have stood the test of many court challenges over the
years. I think what you're saying is that it would be reasonable to
assume that this would withstand the test of the courts in Canada, as
does the legislation that currently exists.
Now we will go to Mr. Easter for seven minutes, please.
Hon. Wayne Easter: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Welcome, Minister. You no doubt will be aware that I forwarded
to your office a series of nine questions that I had hoped you could
provide written answers to prior to this committee. I wasn't actually
overly enamoured with the response I got back from your office. I'll
quote it. It said, “It is preferable that Mr. Easter pose these questions
to the minister and officials on Monday to allow the responses to be
on the record and have all members of the committee be able to hear
the responses to these specific questions.”
Anyway, Mr. Minister, I do have those questions in both official
languages here and, Mr. Chairman, I'd ask the clerk to distribute
them. I may or may not get into them, but I would request, because
they are quite technical, that your office provide the committee with
answers prior to us going to clause by clause, because it is asking for
some technical responses in terms of the bill. Before I get to the
specific bill, but on something related, when you last appeared
before us on October 8 you said, “We know of about 80 who have
returned to Canada”, meaning terrorists who operated abroad, or
Canadians who operated in terrorist entities abroad. This is your
quote: “Let me be clear that these individuals posing a threat to our
security at home have violated Canadian law, as passed by this
Parliament in the Combating Terrorism Act.”
This is my question to you. None of these people have been
arrested yet as I understand it, although you said they violated the
Canadian law. I have said to you in the House that I believe they
should be able to be arrested under section 83.181. I'll not get into it.
There are four different evaluations there. Can you answer? One,
why hasn't section 83.181 of the Criminal Code been used to arrest
those individuals? Two, are there components in this bill that will
allow you to arrest those individuals where you're not now able to?
● (1610)
Hon. Steven Blaney: I thank you for your question and also your
detailed written questions and we'll do our best to answer them
November 24, 2014
Related to your written questions, they are related to the bill. Now
if I get back to your asks today, they are more broad but I'll try to
also answer them properly. This number, if I go back to the latest
information provided by Commissioner Paulson, is around 93
individuals. Mr. Easter, as you are well aware, and you've been in
that position before, it is not because you suspect an individual to
have contravened the criminal law that you necessarily are able to
transfer this intelligence into evidence. That's why we need to move
forward as the legislator. That's why I will come back to this
committee to address this issue, and that's why I hope I can count on
your support to do exactly that.
to lay charges we need to have strong cases, and those cases are
emanating from intelligence.
To get back to the existing provision of the Criminal Code,
Commissioner Paulson has already indicated that the threshold was
too high and that they were not able to proceed.
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre (Alfred-Pellan, NDP): Thank you,
Mr. Chair.
Hon. Wayne Easter: Yes, but sir, you did indicate that they had
violated Canadian law.
Mr. Minister, I would like to thank you for being here today.
My secondary question on that is this. If the threshold is too high
to meet and to charge them, is there anything in this bill that does
that, or will it be new legislation? You can answer that with my other
When you go to the bill, it specifies “within or outside Canada”
for CSIS action under its collection duties in proposed new
subsection 12(1) and under its investigation functions in proposed
new subsection 15(1). This bill introduces an extraterritorial element
within the checks and balances present in section 16, regarding
foreign intelligence, of the obligation of consultation with the
minister of foreign affairs.
From that complicated wording, under foreign affairs, if Canada is
going to have some of its people do something, there's a check with
the foreign affairs minister, because anything we do in a foreign
country can impact us in other areas with that foreign country.
As I see it under this bill, there are no checks and balances where
CSIS is going to do something that violates the law of another
country but is able to do so because of the warrants issued within
Canada. There doesn't seem to be a need for those checks and
balances to protect our foreign affairs interests whether in trade or in
other areas.
Can you, or someone, clarify that for me? Where are the checks
and balances to protect Canada's interest when we take action under
this section?
Hon. Steven Blaney: I'll answer that question first.
This is exactly why the service is conducting its operation, to
protect the interests of Canada, its companies, its citizens—its safety
and also its interests.
To get back to your first question, this bill indeed addresses that
indirectly and would make it easier to track terrorists. This is because
we would be able to gather better intelligence. Why? Because we
would be able to guarantee a level of protection to the witness, which
is critical in gathering intelligence, and because we would be able to
operate prior to those two court decisions. Basically, we would just
get back to where we were before those court decisions, which are, at
some point, diminishing the capability of the service to protect us.
Obviously, this would have a positive impact because when we want
The answer is yes. This bill is definitely a step in the right
direction. We need to do more, and that's why we will come back
with additional measures in the near future.
● (1615)
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Easter. Your time is up.
We will now go to Madame Doré Lefebvre.
I would like to come back to a question that my colleague,
Mr. Garrison, asked. Can you confirm, with a yes or no, whether
Bill C-44 is constitutional?
Hon. Steven Blaney: I think this is the most constitutional bill we
have introduced and that you will have an opportunity to support.
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: Did you receive any legal opinions
that it was constitutional?
Hon. Steven Blaney: Of course. We always consider the legal
As I clearly indicated in my presentation, not only does the bill
confirm that an individual can receive a fair and equitable ruling, but
it also strengthens and defines this right.
The mechanisms for this are explained in the new subsection 18.1
(4) that can be found in clause 7 of the bill, which stipulates that you
can even have what we call an amicus curiae, a friend of the court
who, in a way, enshrines and oversees the application of the
individual's rights.
So this is a bill that establishes an absolutely effective way of
strengthening the safety of Canadians while fully respecting the
spirit of our Canadian legislation and the Constitution, particularly
the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: You mentioned CSIS. This bill is
largely related to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, aside
from the part that affects Citizenship and Immigration Canada. In the
last few weeks, we have heard a lot about the importance of public
safety, while not overlooking the related civil liberties and while
finding a balance between the two.
Why not provide CSIS with better tools for the civilian oversight
mechanism at the same time?
Hon. Steven Blaney: Thank you for your question. I think I
remember it being raised during the House of Commons debates.
There are excellent oversight mechanisms. I have here the 201213 annual report of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, and
every member here has a copy. The committee is made up of
prominent Canadians, who submit an annual report to Parliament.
They are responsible before Parliament for ensuring that CSIS
carries out its duties in the full respect of Canadian legislation.
As I indicated, I expect CSIS will follow up on the recommendations that were made in this year's report. The Security Intelligence
Review Committee is doing important and very serious work.
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: I have another question about the
part relating to the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act.
Bill C-44 concerns CSIS. Why include that act? Does it have any
kind of relationship? I don't understand the connection between
CSIS and moving up the implementation dates.
Hon. Steven Blaney: It is to facilitate and accelerate the removal
of dual citizenship in those cases where individuals have been found
guilty. There are no new legislative elements, except for the
provisions aimed at expediting the implementation of the legislation
that has been adopted. Perhaps Ms. Girard can round out my answer.
As for the oversight mechanisms, clause 7 of Bill C-44 amends
the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act by adding
subsections 18.1(4) and (5) to enable the courts to intervene if there
is a possibility that a source's identity would no longer be protected.
The bill contains such provisions.
Ms. Girard, could you perhaps comment on citizenship and
accelerating the implementation of the legislation?
Ms. Nicole Girard (Director General, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Branch, Department of Citizenship and Immigration): I don't have much to add to what the minister said. He
provided a very good description of two separate elements of
Bill C-44.
The objectives are complementary insofar as the proposed
technical changes to the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act
will help attain the same objective, which is to strengthen the safety
of Canadians, the value of Canadian citizenship and the integrity of
the program.
The Chair: We will now go to Ms. Ablonczy, please, for five
● (1620)
Hon. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary—Nose Hill, CPC): Minister,
this act contains amendments to the CSIS Act that would clarify that
CSIS may perform its duties and functions within or outside Canada.
I wonder if you would tell us why you think that clarification is
Hon. Steven Blaney: Thank you.
The reason it is so important is that this law was crafted 30 years
ago, and at that time it seemed it was not necessary for the legislation
to clearly specify that CSIS can operate in and outside Canada. In a
later judgment that was rendered by the Supreme Court, it was
acknowledged that it might be pretty useful, especially in the context
of foreign fighters, terrorists' attacks coming from abroad, that the
service operate outside, which it has done over the course of the last
year. That's why it is important to clearly specify in the basic law of
the service that this principle be entrenched.
Hon. Diane Ablonczy: I note too that the act, and others have
mentioned this, would allow CSIS to protect their sources in the
same way that police officers can protect their sources, because
obviously no one is going to give you information if they can be
November 24, 2014
hung out to dry, shall we say. I'm a little puzzled about why CSIS
wouldn't have already had this ability to protect their sources, and I'd
like to know why you think it's important that it be in this legislation.
Hon. Steven Blaney: That's a good question. I will turn to Mr.
Coulombe. But one thing is sure, we clearly need it to maintain the
quality and the reputation of the service and the accuracy of the data
they are collecting. Before, this court decision, this right, if I can put
it that way, was taken for granted. Due to this court decision, we are
invited as a legislature to clearly define it in the law.
Monsieur Coulombe.
Mr. Michel Coulombe (Director, Canadian Security Intelligence Service): Thank you, Mr. Minister.
In terms of the first part of your question of why it's not in the act
at the moment, if you go back 30 years, at the time it was not
envisaged that the service would be as involved as it is today in
administrative proceedings or criminal prosecutions. The threat has
evolved, and terrorism is taking a growing place.
I think it is pretty obvious why we need to protect our sources.
We've talked about it in terms of nobody wanting to cooperate with
us if they were putting their life at risk. But I think it's also very
important that we shouldn't lose sight that when somebody is
cooperating with the service quite often at the risk of their own
security and with the promise of confidentiality, the state has a duty
to protect that person and to protect their identity so that we can
protect their security—and not just protect them but sometimes their
family also.
We have to balance that in different proceedings with how we
maintain fair proceedings. I think the bill has achieved that balance.
Hon. Diane Ablonczy: I read an opinion that indicated that police
evidence-gathering is different from CSIS' information-gathering, so
CSIS sources don't need the same protection. Would you comment
on that, please?
Mr. Michel Coulombe: It is true that the service is not an
enforcement agency. We're not in the business of collecting
evidence. But again, because of the evolution of threats, we're more
and more indirectly—and sometimes directly—involved not in
criminal investigations because we run parallel investigations with
the RCMP, but just because of the nature of the relationship and
exchange of information. At times service information will be used
in criminal proceedings, or could be used regarding security
certificates, for example. Although we're not in the business of
collecting evidence, that's why our intelligence will either be
challenged or there will be a request for more disclosure, including
the identity of human sources.
It's just that the nature of the threat environment has changed and
has changed the service interaction in dealing with those different
● (1625)
The Chair: Fine. Thank you very much. Time is up.
November 24, 2014
Mr. Garrison, you have five minutes, please.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I just want to stress again, Mr. Minister, that when you talked
about this bill at the outset we had hoped the bill could be made
effective, and we had hoped we could have all-party support for the
bill. The attitude of the government is now making me very doubtful.
We share the same interest as you in making sure that our national
security agencies maintain their quality and the reputation of their
services, and we think that accountability is quite important to that.
There is nothing in this bill on that.
You mentioned the challenge of transferring intelligence into
evidence. I think those were your words. We share that concern
about taking intelligence and making sure you can use it in
prosecutions. I have a concern that the way this bill is drafted it may
make it more difficult to do those prosecutions. When you talk about
the protection of the identity of witnesses, the courts can protect the
identity of CSIS sources on a case-by-case basis now. They didn't
say that wasn't possible.
When you say they invited you to do this, I believe that if you read
the decisions, they said that Parliament could do this. They didn't say
it was necessary, and they didn't say that Parliament should provide
this blanket protection; they said it was possible.
Why risk this change to limit the rights of the defence to challenge
the use of intelligence information in prosecutions? Why risk a
change that might either make it more difficult to prosecute, or might
result in those provisions being declared unconstitutional?
Hon. Steven Blaney: I thank the member for his numerous
The first response would be that some of the questions go beyond
the scope of the law, and I have clearly stated that this bill is crafted
to ensure it responds to the invitation of the courts.
All western countries are faced with the challenge of terrorism. I
have here a press release from my U.K. counterpart, Theresa May,
who is coming up with more than eight measures to tackle terrorism
and says that time for new policies is required, and why? Because we
need to adjust to this threat, that's clear.
I've clearly demonstrated this afternoon that we are doing it while
respecting the Constitution with the amicus curiae in the protection
of witnesses whenever someone is accused.
The member has asked a question on oversight. Clearly this is
going beyond the scope of this bill, but we have a clear mechanism
that is working and will ensure that while CSIS is protecting
Canadians, there is robust oversight.
I would say, Mr. Chair, that to me it is clear that there is no liberty
without security.
Mr. Randall Garrison: With respect, Mr. Minister, all the
commissioners who have looked into these questions have agreed
with you on half of that. You forget the other half that they've said,
and that is that we need improvements. If you're going to give more
powers to national security agencies, especially in this time of
technological change, then you need improvements in the oversight,
so I think it is connected to the bill even though it's not here.
But I want to give you one more chance on this question of why
you're risking making it very difficult to use intelligence information
in criminal prosecutions by this very limited protection, this limited
exemption in this bill.
Hon. Steven Blaney: This bill clarifies the powers of CSIS. It will
facilitate the work of the courts because it eliminates the grey areas
that existed when the legislation was applied, both with respect to
protecting witnesses and to the capacity of the service to operate
abroad and exchange information with our allies, including
Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and France.
They are our allies, and they are facing the same challenges we are,
which is monitoring individuals who travel from country to country,
threaten the safety of Canadians and attack innocent people. That is
exactly what this bill does. It restores the powers that enabled the
service to be effective in the past. At this critical time, as we face a
growing threat, it is all the more important to preserve the capacity of
CSIS to protect Canadians.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Garrison.
Minister, thank you very kindly for coming here today.
We thank our guests as well.
We will suspend briefly just for a minute while the minister
excuses himself, and we will welcome our new witnesses to the
● (1630)
● (1630)
The Chair: Colleagues, we are back in session.
We will welcome our new witnesses here today.
We have Lynda Clairmont, senior assistant deputy minister,
national and cybersecurity branch. We have Ritu Banerjee, director
of the intelligence policy division for the national and cybersecurity
branch; and we have Mory Afshar, senior counsel, Citizenship and
Immigration Canada legal services.
The three new witnesses are entitled to make a statement, should
they wish. Otherwise, we will go directly to questions.
Are you all fine? Thank you very much.
We will go to rounds of questioning, then. We will start off with
Mr. Carmichael, please, for seven minutes.
Mr. John Carmichael (Don Valley West, CPC): Thank you,
Thank you to our witnesses for attending today.
This is obviously a very interesting session, as we deal with
concerns of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. As I've travelled
through my riding, I've heard from Canadians on this issue since
October 22, and the horror that...well, actually before that, because
we had the tragedy in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, with Warrant Officer
Vincent. Then we were confronted with the horror of the terror attack
here on Corporal Cirillo, and then in the House. Canadians have
been very responsive to these issues, and our security and our safety
is clearly something they hold dear and for which they have great
concern. They ask how these types of acts can happen and what we
can do to protect our shores and protect our borders.
What I'd like to ask you about first off—and I'll let you decide
who is the best person to respond on this—is around the fairness of
revoking the citizenship of dual nationals. At your last appearance,
Mr. Coulombe, we talked about the number of citizens who have
gone overseas, who are taking part with ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and
those who have returned. We addressed some of the numbers and the
concern of how we're going to deal with these people.
But I want to talk about the provision in the bill for the revocation
of dual citizenship, where we have people who have been charged
with terrorism or treason, served their time overseas, and then come
back. Canadians have asked about the fairness around this particular
clause. I wonder if you could comment on it. I won't go any further,
as far as what I'm hearing is concerned. I'll leave it for you to perhaps
comment on the importance of this issue.
● (1635)
Ms. Nicole Girard: Thank you very much for your question.
I would just note at the outset, as mentioned earlier, that the
provisions in Bill C-44 are technical amendments that would not
bring any changes to the provisions of the Strengthening Canadian
Citizenship Act, which received royal assent in June earlier this year.
They would enable the government to pursue an earlier implementation of the changes to the revocation provisions in the Citizenship
Nevertheless, to come directly to your question, I think the first,
most important point to make is that Canada is alone compared to
like-minded countries and other democratic countries in not having
this ability already to revoke citizenship for egregious actions that
are done against the national interest, so the recent changes that
Parliament made in June to expand the grounds for citizenship
revocation limited to specific actions—namely convictions for high
treason, treason, spying, terrorism, or being in the service of an
organized armed group or armed force engaged in armed combat
with Canada—is broadly in line with what like-minded countries
already do.
I would also like to add that with regard to fairness there are many
safeguards that are provided in the law and as a matter of procedure
with regard to the revocation process itself. Those include: notice,
the ability of the person concerned to know the grounds against
them; to see the evidence; to have an opportunity to respond and
make their submissions; to receive a decision in writing; to
potentially have a hearing with the decision-maker; and of course,
to seek judicial review if in the end that decision is against them and
revoking their citizenship.
Thank you.
November 24, 2014
Mr. John Carmichael: Thank you. Quite frankly, I think that is in
line with the general consensus amongst Canadians today that
citizenship is a privilege and should be respected as such. I
appreciate your comments. Thank you.
I'd like to address this to Mr. Coulombe perhaps with regard to
informants, and you can direct it elsewhere.
If an informant is involved with more than one investigation, they
must have his or her identity released. It seems like you're left with a
tough decision, a tough task in how to deal with that: give up their
identity and risk losing intelligence that's been gathered from other
ongoing investigations in hopes of getting a conviction, or risk
losing that conviction to maintain other investigations.
Would this be an accurate portrayal of the situation, without
having the similar protections afforded to informants by Canadian
law enforcement agencies?
Mr. Michel Coulombe: It's actually a very accurate picture of
what we're facing.
I would add one more thing. It is true at the moment that a judge
can afford protection case by case, but because of that “case by
case”, because of that uncertainty, it is more difficult to recruit or get
people to cooperate because there is that uncertainty in terms of their
Mr. John Carmichael: The uncertainty is about their safety.
Mr. Michel Coulombe: Their safety, yes.
Mr. John Carmichael: Once they've provided that information,
they're vulnerable.
Mr. Michel Coulombe: Yes.
Mr. John Carmichael: That's an important part of what we're
dealing with today, clearly.
Mr. Michel Coulombe: For us it is crucial.
Mr. John Carmichael: Monsieur Coulombe, without the
assurance that their identity is being protected, has CSIS ever had
issues with possible informants coming forward with information,
and does that have a possible effect on the safety of the public?
Added to that, is there a strong likelihood that without the security
that informant will walk away from providing that information?
● (1640)
Mr. Michel Coulombe: There is always that possibility. I don't
want to go into specifics, but again there's always a possibility that
somebody with information, knowing that his identity could be
revealed, would decide not to share that information.
Mr. John Carmichael: Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
We'll now go to Mr. Garrison, please, for seven minutes.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I'm
glad to see you back in the chair.
November 24, 2014
One concern I was raising with the minister is that, in fact, part of
national security, protecting the country, is protecting the rule of law.
I just want to go to something that Director General Girard said. In
terms of the revocation of citizenship of dual citizens, she said there
was the right to see the evidence.
On a similar question, do any other like-minded countries, the
Five Eyes countries, have provisions in their acts that allow ignoring
the law of other countries or ignoring international law in the
collection of intelligence?
I'm wondering how the provisions in Bill C-44 protecting the
identity of CSIS human sources connect with the citizenship process.
In other words, if evidence that's being used from CSIS sources is
the evidence that is being used for the revocation of citizenship, then
what provisions are there? The only exemption for defence here is
about criminal prosecutions, not citizenship. Is there an intersection
between the two bills there, or any exemption provided for use in
those citizenship processes?
Mr. Michel Coulombe: I'm not aware of any that specifically
have it in their legislation.
Ms. Nicole Girard: Thank you for your question.
I would just respond by stating that the two provisions of this bill
are distinct. They are not intended to be related, other than that they
both support the objective of the safety and security of Canadians.
Then the other point, more directly in response to your question, is
that citizenship revocation cases would be initiated based on
objective, open-source information to determine whether the
provisions apply.
You have to understand that everybody—and we'll talk, for
example, of the Five Eyes partners—is working under different
legislation, different frameworks, so it's very difficult to compare.
I'm not aware of any other countries, partners, that would have the
same type of legislation.
Mr. Randall Garrison: What would be the response of the
government, then, if we had a foreign intelligence agency collecting
intelligence in Canada in contravention of Canadian laws? How do
you deal with that? There seems to be a normal principle, which I
think is called comity of international law, by which we don't violate
each other's sovereignty and we don't conduct illegal surveillance in
each other's countries, which to me, would seem to be part of that.
That's how I would respond to your question. Thank you.
Mr. Randall Garrison: There is no provision for using CSIS
information in those proceedings.
Ms. Nicole Girard: There is not, as contemplated by Bill C-44
nor the changes under the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Thank you very much.
I'm going to turn to Deputy Minister Guimont. I'm going to go
back to the question of advice on constitutionality of this exemption
provision from the Minister of Justice. The minister talked around
the point; I think that is the most charitable way I can put it.
Can you tell us whether you received advice on that specific point
from the Minister of Justice or the Department of Justice; and if you
received written advice, would you table it with the committee?
Mr. François Guimont (Deputy Minister, Department of
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness): The advice from
justice is always factored into the cabinet process, always. That's
number one. Number two, the aspects of the bill are consistent with
the charter and Canadian law. That's number two. Number three is
that this is part of cabinet confidence.
I'm not trying to be difficult. I'm trying to be respectful of the
committee, but most of you are aware of how that system unfolds.
So that's my answer.
Mr. Randall Garrison: I respect that, and I am aware and
certainly expected you to say it was a cabinet confidence—
something the minister, of course, could have said. But there is a
problem here then. We really need more time to have experts in on
this, so that we can get our own advice in the committee on whether
or not it's constitutional, since we can't see the government's advice
on this. That is where we run up against the time limits, and the
limited number of witnesses here makes it very difficult for us.
If we're now telling people we might be doing that to them, what
would our response be to another country saying it is going to do the
same thing in Canada?
● (1645)
Mr. Michel Coulombe: Maybe I can just correct my previous
answer, because I'm not an expert on the legislation. Just quickly
reading this, I see that actually New Zealand, in its legislation with
regard to foreign intelligence warrants, which is what we're talking
about here, says that it can be issued notwithstanding anything to the
contrary in any other act.
Mr. Randall Garrison: That's any other act of New Zealand,
though, not of any other country.
Mr. Michel Coulombe: We can certainly dig down on that
question and provide the committee with a better answer. As I said,
I'm not coming here prepared to—
Mr. Randall Garrison: I appreciate that, and I thank you for
being cooperative. I just will remind you that our deadline is going to
be before next Monday, since we're going to be moving on to
amendments to this bill.
I guess it still comes back to this question. What is the Canadian
response, then, to foreign intelligence agencies conducting things
that would be illegal here? How do we respond to that? If we're now
saying, “We may do the same thing to you”, I find it troubling.
Mr. Michel Coulombe: You have to understand that, with likeminded partners, we do work overseas jointly. It's not like we would
go into a friendly country and do things covertly. As a security
intelligence service, and not just as a service—all of our partners do
conduct operations covertly. That's kind of obvious. Although it
might not be specific in their legislation, that's what a security
service will do at times. Most of the time, for the service, we do our
work overtly with our partners when they are like-minded, but there
could be occasions when we're sending intelligence officers, for
example, into countries that are not like-minded, when we might not
tell that country what we're doing, because of the national interests of
Canada but also for the safety of our officers.
The Chair: Please reply very briefly.
Ms. Ritu Banerjee (Director, Intelligence Policy Division,
National and Cyber Security Branch, Department of Public
Safety and Emergency Preparedness): In the past, when there
have been issues of espionage in Canada, we have used the security
certificate provisions to seek the removal of those individuals. I'm
thinking of Russian spy cases. So there are limited uses of our
current legal framework to manage that, but it is very sensitive and
very difficult.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Garrison.
Now we will go to Mr. Falk for seven minutes, please.
Mr. Ted Falk (Provencher, CPC): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you to our witnesses here today for joining us. I've enjoyed
listening to your presentations and your responses. I just want to
clarify again that, in the proposed legislation that we're discussing
here today, there are no new authorities. Is that correct?
Mr. Michel Coulombe: Yes, that is correct.
Mr. Ted Falk: It's a clarification of existing authorities.
Mr. Michel Coulombe: Exactly, it's following the Federal Court
decision of last year, and the Federal Court of Appeal decision.
Mr. Ted Falk: Good.
When we're conducting surveillance or intelligence-gathering in
foreign countries, what kinds of activities would require a warrant in
our country, or obtaining a warrant from the judicial?
Mr. Michel Coulombe: It's when section 8 of the charter is at
Mr. Ted Falk: Let me clarify a little bit. Would it be fair to say
that we would secure a warrant from a judge if we were involved in
any activity that would require a warrant here in Canada?
Mr. Michel Coulombe: Yes, that's a fair description.
Mr. Ted Falk: So we apply the same standard when we work
outside of Canada as we do here inside.
Mr. Michel Coulombe: Yes, in fact all Bill C-44 would do in
terms of.... Section 21 is the one that deals with acquisition of
warrants. We're just adding “outside”, so it is the same article, the
same criteria, that would be used.
Mr. Ted Falk: Good.
There have also been concerns raised regarding the rights of
terrorists to a fair trial if they don't know who their accuser is or from
where the information is being sourced. Can you maybe just expand
November 24, 2014
on that a little bit and comment on that; also whoever feels they want
Mr. Guimont I don't mind if you comment on that as well.
Mr. Michel Coulombe: Again, I think what's in the bill is exactly
equivalent to the class privilege protection that police informants
have. As was mentioned earlier, that has been tested a number of
times in court, so that's not different. Plus, there are exceptions if it is
believed that it is essential to reveal the identity of that source to
prove the innocence of the person accused.
● (1650)
Mr. Ted Falk: Okay. In situations where we have to identify our
source, do we provide witness protection programs going forward?
Mr. Michel Coulombe: We could certainly look into it, if we get
there. With what's proposed in Bill C-44, if we come to a point
where we would have to identify our source, I guess with discussion
there's either the option—and it's a crown decision—to pull the
information and possibly the case would collapse, or we disclose the
identity of the source and then there's the question of assessing the
risk to the security of that source and what we can do to mitigate
Mr. Ted Falk: But they've provided the information to us on the
basis that we will respect—
Mr. Michel Coulombe: It was in confidence, yes.
Mr. Ted Falk: —their confidentiality. That creates a difficult
situation in some scenarios.
Mr. Michel Coulombe: It does, and it goes back to my earlier
comment that I truly believe there's also a duty on the part of the
state, when it makes that promise of confidentiality, that it has the
measures in place to assure the promise it has with that person.
Mr. Ted Falk: When we're using the resource of a confidential
informant, is there a practice or procedure in place that confirms the
information that's provided?
Mr. Michel Coulombe: We always try to corroborate information
coming from sources, and not just the human sources. We always try
to corroborate in order to better assess the validity of that
information, and it doesn't matter if it comes from partners or others.
Mr. Ted Falk: Okay. These laws that we currently have on the
books and that we're proposing to strengthen and clarify, are they
consistent with laws that our allies would be applying?
Mr. Michel Coulombe: Again, it is difficult to compare because
of different legislation, but yes, they are consistent in terms of being
able to operate overseas. Again, the regime of obtaining warrants
might be different, but overall it is consistent.
November 24, 2014
Mr. Ted Falk: Some concerns we've heard regard the ability of
the Federal Court to issue warrants within the scope of relevant
Canadian law when issuing warrants to authorize CSIS to undertake
certain activities to investigate a threat to the security of Canada,
outside of Canada. Some may wonder why warrants would not be
more appropriate coming from the nation where the activities are
taking place. Could you comment on why this is important, as some
of those countries may not exactly have a court system that can be
approached for a warrant, as well as the transnational nature of these
Mr. Michel Coulombe: I'll answer your question the same way as
when I appeared in October and we talked about Canadians who are
currently overseas involved in threat-related activities. I mentioned
countries like Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, and Afghanistan, so you
can just imagine going through the court system or the judicial
system of those countries to try to get authorization. I'm not sure it
would be practical.
Mr. Ted Falk: Ms. Clairmont, I have a question for you. You're
representing cybersecurity here this afternoon. Cybersecurity is
something that can be done anywhere. Is it necessary to operate
outside of Canada to completely provide the security we require
here? Or do we do everything here?
Ms. Lynda Clairmont (Senior Assistant Deputy Minister,
National and Cyber Security Branch, Department of Public
Safety and Emergency Preparedness): No. Cybersecurity is
borderless, I would say. So it can be done within the country and
outside of the country.
Mr. Ted Falk: Do you anticipate any changes affecting your
operations, with any of the legislative issues here?
Ms. Lynda Clairmont: No, we don't.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Falk.
We will now go to Mr. Easter for seven minutes.
Hon. Wayne Easter: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The minister said we had robust oversight for security agencies. I
want to put on the record, Mr. Chair, that I sincerely disagree. The
fact is that we're the only one of the so-called Five Eyes that does not
have parliamentary oversight for security agencies. I think the
government, if it were thinking about bringing in a balance, would
bring in such a body. In a report from 2005 all parties agreed on such
a body. I'd just make that point. As Ms. Girard said, related to the
revocation of citizenship, Canada is alone compared to other
democratic countries when it comes to that issue. We're also alone on
parliamentary oversight when it comes to the Five Eyes.
I think probably the nub of the issue, in terms of this bill, is the
substantive changes to CSIS on its extraterritorial activities, if I
could call it that. The deputy or head of CSIS can correct me if I'm
wrong, but I think originally when CSIS came in it was envisioned
that we'd depend on our foreign relations or liaison relations with
other countries to provide us information, and that's how we'd
operate, rather than having agents abroad. In today's reality the world
has changed. We're dealing with a stateless world to some regard.
Doesn't this bill, in terms of CSIS, now give wide extraterritorial
applications for Canadian judicial decisions abroad in how we
Do you understand what I asked?
● (1655)
Mr. Michel Coulombe: Not the last part, I'm sorry.
Voices: Oh, oh!
Hon. Wayne Easter: That's fine. That's not a problem.
In this bill, if I can put it this way, with judicial decisions, judges
authorizing certain activities for CSIS abroad, aren't we now getting
into the extraterritorial application of what CSIS does from where we
Mr. Michel Coulombe: First of all, in terms of CSIS conducting
activities outside Canada—and you talked about the McDonald
commission but I'm not going to quote it—I'm pretty sure the report
does talk about the creation of CSIS and that you would have to be
very careful, but they were already seeing the possibility that we
would have to do this. It has always been our understanding that we
have that authority. That's why this is just a clarification, making it
explicit in the act that we can do what we've been doing for 30 years,
because that was the interpretation of.... If you look at section 16,
there's a clear restriction: it's within Canada, which you do not find
in section 12.
Hon. Wayne Easter: I'm not disagreeing with the approach here,
but I think we need to be fairly open about what we are doing. I don't
think CSIS has always done this, maybe in the last 20 years. But one
of the difficulties I think with this act now, and with what we're
talking about CSIS doing, is that we are getting into a new area, or I
guess we're laying out in law more clearly a new area that Canada
has always opposed other nations' security agencies doing when it's
applied to Canada. Is that correct?
Mr. Michel Coulombe: Again, I don't think it's a new area. When
you stated it's putting it into law explicitly in the act, I think that's
correct, but I don't think it's a new area.
In the second part, again, you have to look at this in terms of
thinking about our acting in other countries. When it's with likeminded partners most of the time this is done jointly, with the
acknowledgement of that country, just as we expect them to do the
same here. When there are cases of non-like-minded countries, as
was mentioned earlier, with for example, cases of Russian espionage,
then we would investigate, and if there's a case we would pass it to
the RCMP.
● (1700)
Hon. Wayne Easter: I think you make a very good point, because
we're really dealing with several different types of countries.
Mr. Chair, on the earlier question from Randall, I do have a
Library of Parliament question we asked him here that basically
states that we were talking about the wording “within or outside
Canada”. I do have a Library of Parliament document here I can
provide to the committee. It's only in English, but you could get it
translated. It states that exact or similar wording to that found in
clause 8 of Bill C-44 is not found in the relative legislation of Five
Eyes nations. It names the relevant pieces. So if the committee wants
that, I can table it.
The last question is on the source. On the sources protected, is
there any different protection to sources outside Canada versus
inside Canada? For those outside Canada, how do you perceive to
protect those sources?
Mr. Michel Coulombe: There are no differences. It's not a
question of where the source is actually residing. It's a question of
whether we promise confidentiality. So there is no difference in
terms of a source living here or living abroad.
The Chair: Fine, thank you very much.
Now we will go to Madame Doré Lefebvre for five minutes.
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I would like to thank the witnesses for staying during the second
hour to answer our questions.
For the moment, I would mainly like to know whether CSIS has
sufficient resources to apply these new measures pursuant to the
Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act. We know that all the
departments have experienced cuts in recent years. The Department
of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness did, and so did CSIS.
Do you currently have the resources needed? If not, where are you
going to find them so that you have enough staff on the ground to do
the work required under the new CSIS mandate?
Mr. Michel Coulombe: As we mentioned previously, Bill C-44
does not provide new powers or tools. It simply clarifies what we are
already doing and a certain part that we had stopped doing following
the Federal Court ruling last fall.
There is nothing new in terms of what we can do. No powers or
tools have been added. This has no impact on the service's resources.
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: Does CSIS currently have the
resources necessary to do the work being requested of it?
Mr. Michel Coulombe: The service, like any other organization,
works within the framework of its budget.
We must establish priorities and allocate resources based on them,
which are determined from information provided by the government.
Then, we have our ways of evaluating the matrices to determine the
threat that various subjects of investigation represent. We allocate
resources based on that.
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: Have you cut any jobs that were
directly related to the exchange of information with our allies abroad
in the past few years?
Mr. Michel Coulombe: No.
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: Still on the topic of the exchange of
information, I would also like to know whether Bill C-44 will
November 24, 2014
facilitate cooperation between the RCMP and CSIS. Are there any
measures that will help you work with the RCMP?
Mr. Michel Coulombe: Bill C-44 has no impact on our
relationship with the RCMP.
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: In terms of the class privilege
protecting a CSIS human source, how will the bill facilitate your
service's investigations? Could you provide some clarification on
that? Could Mr. Guimont or Mr. Coulombe answer please?
Mr. Michel Coulombe: The first way to facilitate the investigations, as I mentioned earlier, is the certainty—with a few exceptions
—of protecting the identity of the sources. More people would come
forward with information. It would be easier for the service to obtain
the cooperation of individuals who would become sources if they
were certain that their identity would be protected.
In terms of the protection of sources, as your colleague mentioned
earlier, when we appear in criminal court, for example, the current
system judges situations on a case-by-case basis. That is very
demanding on resources. We have to dedicate a lot of resources to
this, which leads us back to the issue of uncertainty. It is important to
know in each case whether the identity of the source will be
disclosed. The protection of sources under Bill C-44 will really
facilitate the voluntary provision of information sources, the
recruitment of individuals and the management of cases and files
when we go to criminal court or elsewhere.
● (1705)
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre: Bill C-44 also contains a provision
that has to do with providing better protection—or less disclosure—
of information about CSIS agents. We are also talking about future
agents. Do you have more details? Given the way Bill C-44 was
drafted, this could be practically anyone who is working for CSIS.
Wouldn't it be easier to target individuals you would potentially like
to send abroad as agents? This provision is really quite broad.
Mr. Michel Coulombe: It is important to know that the current
legislation provides this protection to individuals who are involved
in these activities at present or who were in the past. Bill C-44 adds
individuals who could be involved in this type of activity.
There is a problem if we try to provide a tighter definition of who
we are talking about: the threat and context are changing so quickly
that there are individuals involved now in this type of activity who,
five or 10 years ago, I could not have imagined that they would be
involved. It isn't just the intelligence agents who can be involved. We
would run the risk of truly limiting the protection of the identity of
the service's employees.
November 24, 2014
Like any other of the service's activities, designating employees
who come under this protection is subject to the review of the
Security Intelligence Review Committee. This is one thing it can
monitor in the context of its review.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Madame Lefebvre.
Ms. James, you have five minutes, please.
is that the threat to our national security has evolved, terrorism has
I think back to 1984. Without disclosing my age, I was still in high
school, maybe. I had no email, no Internet, no computer. I remember
lugging my father's old typewriter in that big old case up the stairs to
write my first resumé to get a part-time job. A lot has changed. I
recall answering my rotary phone when they called for an interview.
Ms. Roxanne James: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Coulombe, with regard to warrants, some discussions have
compared us to our Five Eyes partners and the fact that the same
explicit text is not necessarily contained in other legislation from
other countries. I wanted to confirm that we have been able to issue
warrants since the CSIS Act was first established in 1984, and
similar countries have the same abilities but maybe not necessarily
the same wording in their legislation.
The problem we have here in Canada, as people recognize, is that
we also have different court systems and the judiciary interprets laws
differently. We have the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which may
not be identical to other countries as well.
The problem we have is that the courts have specifically called
into question the ability of CSIS to operate overseas, to issue those
types of warrants. The legislation, the very text we're putting in this
new bill, will clarify, will clearly spell out the capabilities CSIS has
always had, to ensure that the courts no longer call it into question. Is
that a fair statement?
If you could, comment on that, please.
Mr. Michel Coulombe: You're right that since 1984 warrants
have been issued, but in terms of activities here in Canada.
Starting around 2009.... The Federal Court decision last
November by Justice Mosley called into question the authority of
the service to operate abroad, certainly the authority of the service
from Canada, because the interception had to be done from Canada,
to be able to do it when the targets or investigations are overseas.
Yes, since 1984 warrants have been issued, but they were here in
Canada. The bill is making it clear that we can operate overseas, and
that, yes, the Federal Court has the jurisdiction to issue warrants that
would apply overseas.
● (1710)
Ms. Roxanne James: Do you know if other countries that we're
sometimes compared with have had similar court decisions that have
questioned their authority to be able to operate overseas or
communicate with their allies as such?
Mr. Michel Coulombe: I'm not aware of any, but you have to
understand also, if you look at the Five Eyes partners, for example,
they have a separate foreign intelligence security service with a clear
mandate to operate overseas. They don't have the issue we're
debating today, because they have separate agencies where their
mandate is to operate overseas.
Ms. Roxanne James: I posed this question to the minister with
regard to when the CSIS Act was first passed back in 1984. I wrote
down something you said, that one reason we need to clarify this law
When we talk about how the threat has evolved, obviously a lot
has changed since 1984. How has the threat evolved? You didn't
really expand on it at that time.
Mr. Michel Coulombe: Not to reveal my age, but I was working
with the RCMP in 1984.
The threat has evolved in a number of ways. You just talked about
technology. The Internet has changed.... You don't have to go back to
1984; it was10 years ago, so the pace at which technology is
evolving, as we all know, is extremely rapid. That's certainly one.
The nature of the threat has evolved. Back in 1984, really, the
priority was Cold War espionage. Now it's terrorism. The mobility of
people has greatly increased also, and the facility of people
travelling, so that has changed not only the nature of the threat but
the velocity at which that threat can develop. Communication has
changed that threat, again going back to the Internet, with the facility
with which you can communicate between Canada and Yemen and
the Sahel, and elsewhere in the world—it doesn't matter where.
There are many factors, and it's not just the threat itself that moves
more from a CI threat to more of a terrorism threat. But everything
surrounding it, from the technology to the mobility of people, as I
said, has dramatically changed the environment in which we work
The Chair: Thank you very much.
We will now go to Mr. Garrison for five minutes, please.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I'm not sure who I should ask this question to. There's a bit of a
problem I have in understanding, in terms of the legal drafting of this
bill. Who here today can talk about that? Certainly, Mr. Coulombe,
you said that there are no new powers for CSIS here. In clause 8
where it adds to the warrant question the words, “Without regard to
any other law, including that of a foreign state”, my question is this.
Could that be removed from this bill?
If it were removed, would that change anything materially here?
Certainly, to me, it would affect the reputation of what we're doing in
other countries. I'm not sure who's responsible for the drafting of that
and what impact it would have to remove those words from this bill.
Mr. Michel Coulombe: That's something, Mr. Chair, we'd like to
get back to the committee on, because that's a very technical, legal
Mr. Randall Garrison: I respect that. That's why I said I had
some trouble seeing if you had anybody at the table today who could
really respond to that.
Mr. Michel Coulombe: But I just want to go back to what I said
earlier, that you have to recognize the type of environment and the
type of countries we're talking about. Again, if you're talking about a
situation where activities that we were going to do overseas had to be
lawful in the country where they were going to take place, again, I'm
not sure that's a viable, practical system.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
I guess possibly what we're trying to say is that we're looking for
perfect legislation to deal with an imperfect world. That could be, but
carry on.
responsibility to SIRC. I know the Minister says there's nothing
about oversight here. I wonder if CSIS maybe shares that same
interpretation that there is a new responsibility for SIRC included
here in the bill.
Mr. François Guimont: Mr. Chairman, it's new in the sense of
being defined in that bill, but in reality SIRC can look at all aspects
of CSIS activity, as long as it is not cabinet confidence. Their power
is very broad.
It is a review responsibility, and their resource—I think they have
16 individuals, plus or minus—is a significant number of individuals
who are very capable and understand the business of CSIS. I would
like to think they are probably equipped to do a good job of carrying
out reviews, should they decide to do so.
Mr. Randall Garrison: So you would say this section is really
more of a clarification, that this information is not excluded from the
review responsibilities.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Those are words I would not accept. I
think what we're looking for is legislation that will stand up to legal
challenges, so that we're actually doing something effective in
defence of national security.
Mr. François Guimont: It is clarification.
Ms. Ritu Banerjee: Maybe I can add a little bit more to that. Part
of the reason it's drafted this way is that, if we go back to the Federal
Court of Appeal decision, we see the court made it clear—and this is
again following up from what Mr. Coulombe just said—that it would
have the jurisdiction to issue such a warrant, and I'm quoting the
decision, “when the interception is lawful where it occurs”. Because
that is very challenging to operationalize, we had to ensure that the
law was clear for judges and that what they had to consider was
relevant to Canadian law, primarily the charter and the CSIS Act.
The Chair: You have about 15 seconds.
So that's why it's written the way it is.
● (1715)
Mr. Randall Garrison: Thank you. I think that is helpful.
Mr. Michel Coulombe: I don't know if I have time to add one
little thing. In terms of being lawful in the country where it's going to
take place, you can imagine the difficulties in the countries I listed
earlier. But I just talked about mobility. If we were to obtain a
warrant where it would be lawful to do whatever we want to do in
Syria, and the next week that person is in Iraq, and the following
week that person is elsewhere, again, in terms of, as we say in
… “practical”.
I'm not sure how that system would be workable.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Okay.
In clause 9 of Bill C-44, it makes reference to making information,
which is otherwise protected by the protection of identified sources,
available to SIRC. Again, we don't have anyone from SIRC here, but
it seems to me that this provides an element that is more complicated
than some of the other stuff that SIRC has dealt with in the past. I'm
just wondering about the capacity of SIRC as the oversight body to
deal with this new responsibility that I believe does add a
November 24, 2014
Mr. Randall Garrison: Okay, thank you.
Do I have another minute?
Mr. Randall Garrison: Oh, 15 seconds. I think we'll let that go at
this point.
The Chair: Fine, thank you very much. I appreciate your
consideration, Mr. Garrison.
We will now go to Mr. Norlock.
Mr. Rick Norlock: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Through you once again to the witnesses, thank you for attending.
I'll start by saying that we live in a new world, and I don't want to
have an organization like CSIS or any other organization that treats
the rest of the world like some.... I don't want to belong to a country
that's naive or acts like a Pollyanna and expects the whole world to
be like, we respect everything you do and we would never do
anything.... We know that other countries are recruiting terrorists,
whether they be naturalized Canadians, people who were born here,
or people with dual citizenship, who are now embedded in our
country and want to do irreparable harm not only to individuals in
Canada but to our very foundation. The very building we're in is the
place where we exercise our democracy.
At least on five or six occasions all the questions asked in many
different ways here all come down to what Mr. Guimont said. This is
not an earth-shattering, new, ominous, tremendous load on CSIS.
This is just a simple clarification of existing rules and regulations
that a court said we needed to clarify.
Mr. Guimont, you can tell me if I'm making this as simple as
possible for my constituents, who don't want to belong to a country
that's naive and believes that if we're nice to everybody else they'll
be nice to us? This legislation tries to impart to CSIS the same kind
of judicial acceptance or protection for human resources, in other
words, for informants, who want to give CSIS information in a way
that won't identify them. It gives them the same type of protection
that police already have with informants. Is that correct?
November 24, 2014
● (1720)
Mr. François Guimont: Yes, and as was said earlier by the
minister and others, essentially Bill C-44 is a result of court
decisions, if you wish—in one case, that of Justice Mosley—so we
are essentially fixing this very transparently. My colleague in CSIS
was operating under a regime that we thought was understood, so
we're clarifying that. That's why the word “clarifying” is always
there, even in the bill, as I remember.
With respect to the protection of sources, it is also as a result of
court proceedings—the Harkat decision, essentially. Again, out of
the logic put forward by my colleague Monsieur Coulombe, we feel
that being able to offer that protection is important for them to be
effective in delivering protection to Canada.
Mr. Rick Norlock: Thank you very much.
It's as simple as that.
Another observation I'll make is that you can try to not support
legislation by finding little bits and pieces that you disagree with, but
the bottom line is that this is—as I say, I think you've made it simple
—simply a clarification based on what judges have observed. All
we're trying to do is straighten it out.
Thank you for that.
My next question is to Ms. Girard. You mentioned in your
response to one of the questions that in this legislation that refers to
another piece of legislation with regard to the revocation of
citizenship, this is in line with other like-minded countries that
have the same kind of legislation. It says, my goodness, being a
citizen of Canada is one of the most tremendous privileges this
country can offer. Citizenship is probably the most important thing,
the most cherished thing, that you can be given. If you do something
that imperils...or that is found to be treasonous, one of the most
serious crimes, which used to have the death penalty up until very
recently, if you want to do something that really spits on the
privilege of being a Canadian, then maybe the state should revoke
I wonder if you are aware of any other countries that share the
rights and freedoms that we have, the values that we have? Perhaps
you could list a couple of those countries so that my constituents
know that there are other countries that they may go to that share this
kind of opinion.
The Chair: Very briefly, please.
Ms. Nicole Girard: Thank you, yes.
The provisions in the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act,
which enable revocation of citizenship from dual citizens who have
done these actions against the national interest that I referred to, are
broadly similar to provisions that exist in the United Kingdom,
Australia, and New Zealand, and other democratic European
countries that we looked at including France, Italy, Germany, the
Netherlands, Switzerland. So that gives you a bit of a flavour.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Norlock.
Mr. Garrison.
Mr. Randall Garrison: I actually have perhaps more than one
point of order so I'll just try to deal with them in pieces.
One is that we've had an offer of some additional information
being made available to the committee. My concern is that given our
tight schedule the witnesses should be aware that we would have to
have that this week really in order to deal with it effectively, as we're
going to clause by clause next Monday.
So I'm looking for a commitment from the witnesses that they
would be able, within about 48 hours, to provide us with additional
information. I know that is somewhat unreasonable but I'm not
setting the timeframes on this committee.
That's my first point.
The Chair: First of all, briefly an encapsulation of that first
request, and it was directed to Mr. Guimont.
Mr. Randall Garrison: Yes.
The Chair: Are you familiar with the information that was
requested, Mr. Guimont?
Mr. François Guimont: I think, Mr. Chairman, there was a bit of
back and forth and it would be very good for all of us if the chair
could clarify exactly what is expected by witnesses.
The Chair: Then please go ahead and repeat the information that
you requested.
Mr. Randall Garrison: I'm trying to remember exactly because I
didn't keep detailed notes because I thought the witnesses were. It
had to do with certainly clause 7 of the bill and the exception and
whether that exception deals with things like bail and detention.
That's my main concern. There are a couple of other points but that's
my main one. So the ability to request the exemption does it deal
with...? It says the presumption of innocence but does that include
the other stages of the legal process including bail and detention?
● (1725)
The Chair: Is that available to our witnesses to provide that?
Mr. François Guimont: Yes, sir, we will provide the information
as requested. I also want to do justice to Mr. Easter; he has a
commitment from the minister and he'll get an answer to the
questions he filed with the department as well.
The Chair: Fine. Thank you very much.
Were those the two pieces of information you were looking for?
Mr. Randall Garrison: That was the piece I was looking for. The
others were just questions.
My second point of order is that given the short timeframe we're
on I'm looking for unanimous consent of the committee to authorize
the chair to, should there be any witness slots that haven't been filled
for Wednesday due to scheduling considerations, invite any of those
who have approached the committee through the chair—which I
know includes the Privacy Commissioner—to fill those slots. So
could he fill those slots, starting with the Privacy Commissioner and
any others who approached the chair, because we are on such a tight
timeframe that people may not be able to get...?
The Chair: The motion is in order, but it would require
unanimous consent to do so.
Yes, Ms. James.
Ms. Roxanne James: I have a quick point. We have a couple of
other witnesses so we don't know whether those slots would be
filled. I can't give you an answer at this point.
The Chair: Yes, Mr. Easter, speaking on the same point.
Hon. Wayne Easter: Yes. Certainly on that, maybe the
parliamentary secretary doesn't have the information available yet,
but given the Privacy Commissioner's interest, the Privacy
Commissioner could be put on standby should a spot be found to
be vacant at the next hearing.
The Chair: Yes, Ms. James.
Ms. Roxanne James: I would agree if a spot were available for
the Privacy Commissioner to come as well, but again, I won't know
until we are able to get hold of the other witnesses.
November 24, 2014
Mr. Rick Norlock: I'm not prepared to give my consent to
something that I'm not aware of, the witness lists, etc. It's not
appropriate for me to make a decision at this point because I haven't
seen the complete witness list, so I'm not going to say yes or no to an
unanimous motion until I have all the facts, and I do not have them.
I can assure Mr. Easter that any witness the government would
bring forward would add value to this enterprise.
Hon. Wayne Easter: It's a political theme, if I could say so.
The Chair: Okay, seeing no consent at this point, that obviously
is a no go now, but I might suggest there could be conversation
between the parliamentary secretary and co-chairs, and we will see
how this evolves. If something can be worked out, fine, and if not,
we all understand the realities.
The Chair: The chair would only point out one thing. This does
change the balance of the concentration of source of witnesses per
party. As long as we have unanimous consent, the chair is
comfortable with that.
Mr. Norlock, the clerk has advised me that the witness lists have
been distributed to all members.
Mr. Rick Norlock: Thank you very much. I'll look at them and be
able to get back with regard to unanimous consent.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Hon. Wayne Easter: Mr. Chair, that balance is such foolishness
anyway. If they are good witnesses, bring them on.
To our witnesses, thank you very kindly for giving us your time
and your expertise today.
The Chair: Mr. Norlock.
The meeting is adjourned.
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permission does not affect the prohibition against impeaching
or questioning the proceedings of the House of Commons in
courts or otherwise. The House of Commons retains the right
and privilege to find users in contempt of Parliament if a
reproduction or use is not in accordance with this permission.
La présente permission ne porte pas atteinte aux privilèges,
pouvoirs, immunités et droits de la Chambre et de ses comités.
Il est entendu que cette permission ne touche pas l’interdiction
de contester ou de mettre en cause les délibérations de la
Chambre devant les tribunaux ou autrement. La Chambre
conserve le droit et le privilège de déclarer l’utilisateur
coupable d’outrage au Parlement lorsque la reproduction ou
l’utilisation n’est pas conforme à la présente permission.
Also available on the Parliament of Canada Web Site at the
following address:
Aussi disponible sur le site Web du Parlement du Canada à
l’adresse suivante :
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