Past actions

LAST CHANCE – Tell the Senate: “Strengthen C-22 to ensure real national security oversight!”


UPDATE: Last Thursday, June 15, 2017, the members of the Senate committee on National Security and Defence rejected all amendments to Bill C-22. As it is, the bill will leave the future National Security Committee of Parliamentarians incapable of accomplishing its important oversight work. The Senate will vote on the bill in 3rd reading TOMORROW. This is our last chance to rectify this situation! Please send the letter below to all Senators TODAY even if you already participated in the previous actions. And share widely. Thank you!

Background information: On Monday, March 20th, 2017, the federal government passed amendments to Bill C-22, “An Act to establish the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians”, effectively cancelling several amendments proposed by the Public Safety House Committee – despite the fact that Liberal MPs make up the majority of the committee – and reverting the bill to its original, highly inadequate and worrisome text. On Tuesday, April 4th, the government voted in favor of Bill C-22 at third reading in the House of Commons. The bill was studied in the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, and all further amendments that would have improved the bill have been defeated there as well. Read our analysis of Bill C-22. Read our latest brief on C-22 submitted to the Senate Committee.

As it is, the bill will leave the future National Security Committee of Parliamentarians incapable of accomplishing its important oversight work. Please take 2 minutes of your time and send a letter to all Senators urging them to strengthen C-22 TODAY as the Senate will vote on it for the last time tomorrow.

Copy and paste the email addresses of all Senators and feel free to use the following text and modify it as you see fit:


Dear Senators,

I am writing you today to ask that you take action to ensure strong parliamentary oversight of our country’s national security activities and policies.

I believe that Bill C-22, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act, is an important and necessary piece of legislation. That is why I, and other Canadians, are so adamant that the bill be strengthened before becoming law.

As you are well aware, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Defence amended C-22 to answer concerns voiced by security experts and human rights advocates. These amendments, which had cross-party support, would have ensured committee members the ability to access the information necessary to investigate, enabled them to compel testimony and the production of documents, and generally allowed them to more effectively carry out their work.

Disappointingly, the majority of these amendments were removed before the bill passed third reading. I believe this was a mistake.

Furthermore, while the government has argued that it is important to pass the bill now, I believe it is worth taking more time in order to improve this important bill. During committee hearings, many experts proposed improvements that would have strengthened the bill, and that I believe should still be considered. Some of those were proposed as amendments at committee, but were voted down.

Therefore, I am asking you to work with your senate colleagues to ensure that the final version of Bill C-22 will:

– Allow the Committee access to all documents and information necessary for its members to accomplish their work;
– Restrict the ability of the Canadian government, including ministers and the Prime Minister’s Office, to block investigations – especially on broad grounds of national security;
– Grant the Committee of Parliamentarians the same power as parliamentary committees to compel people to appear and for documents to be provided – a solution here would be to transform the Committee of Parliamentarians into a Special Joint Parliamentary Committee;
– Allow the committee to seek judicial review of government decisions that would restrict the committee’s access to information, deny their ability to carry out specific investigations, or block sections of committee reports from being made public.

Thank you in advance for your work on this important issue.


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Free Khaled Al-Qazzaz campaign: Email your MP now!

On July 3, 2013, the Egyptian military forcibly and illegally detained Khaled Al-Qazzaz, a Canadian-educated mechanical engineer, human rights activist and former school principal. After his health deteriorated, he was released from prison on January 2015. His Toronto-born wife, Sarah Attia, and their four Canadian children traveled to Egypt in February 2015 to bring him back home and they have since been prevented from leaving the country by Egyptian authorities, without reason. Email your MP now to urge them to intervene so that Khaled and his family can come back to Canada – and share widely!


Read the whole story here.

Take Action: Fix Canada’s Broken Access to Information System

Coalition calls on parties to improve the public’s right to know

HALIFAX (Monday, 14 September 2015)—The undersigned organizations have issued a joint letter to the major political parties in Canada calling on them to make concrete commitments to reform Canada’s access to information system.

A strong access to information system is vital to maintaining a healthy democracy. The public has the right to obtain the information it needs to participate meaningfully in the democratic process, while also holding Canada’s public officials and Members of Parliaments accountable. The current system is failing Canadians.

“When the Access to Information Act was adopted over 30 years ago, Canada was a world leader on this important democratic right,” said Toby Mendel, Executive Director of the Centre for Law and Democracy. “But decades of stagnation have left us in a miserable 59th position globally, far behind countries like India, Mexico, South Africa and Slovenia.”

“Canadians are being left in the dark,” said Tom Henheffer, Executive Director of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. “We have a right to know in this country and it’s being undermined. Urgent access to information reform is needed to hold politicians and public institutions accountable, to keep the public informed and to ensure Canadian democracy continues to function.”

“It is long past time these changes were made,” said Vincent Gogolek, Executive Director of Freedom of Information and Privacy Association. “The black holes in the Access to Information Act have to be closed.”

Our country deserves an open and accountable government. Political parties must make a clear electoral promise to undertake a comprehensive process of consultation leading to reform of the Access to Information Act. They must also express specific support for the rapid adoption of the following four reforms following the election:

  1. Strengthen the Office of the Information Commissioner with a larger mandate and order-making power.
  2. Eliminate loopholes and blanket exclusions and minimize exceptions to the Access to Information Act.
  3. Expand the scope of the Act to include all public authorities and other bodies which perform a public function or receive significant public funding.
  4. Require public officials to document and preserve all records of their decision-making.

How can Canadians help reform Canada’s access to information system? 

  • Send an email to your representatives: using the following simple one-click platform, you can easily make your right to information a priority to federal party leaders and your local MPs and senators based on your postal code.
  • Share your views on social media: tweet at Secretary of the Treasury Board @TonyclementCPC, Liberal Open Government Critic @Scott_Simms and NDP Treasury Board Critic @MRavignat using #ATIreform and #cdnfoi to let them know that you want to see immediate reforms to Canada’s access to information system.


BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA)

Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ)

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE)

Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF)

Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD)

Centre for Social Justice

Evidence for Democracy

Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec (FPJQ)

Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA)

Greenpeace Canada

International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group

PEN Canada

Politics of Evidence Working Group

Newspapers Canada


Right to Know Coalition of Nova Scotia


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