Ottawa – The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) has submitted a brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security for its study of Bill C-22, An Act to establish the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and to make consequential amendments to certain Acts.
The ICLMG welcomes the addition of an oversight committee. However, in its brief entitled “Bill C-22: An inadequate, worrisome and insufficient bill”, the coalition contends that such a committee does not go far enough. To ensure true accountability, and to complement and assist the oversight work of the Committee of Parliamentarians, the government must also create a robust, overarching and independent review and complaint body.
Moreover, the ICLMG advocates for a series of amendments to C-22, including:
- The Committee of Parliamentarians should be accountable to and report to Parliament, not to the Prime Minister;
- There should be a provision requiring the committee to immediately report all suspected wrongdoing, including any violations of Canadians’ rights, to the appropriate minister and the Attorney General;
- The committee should have full access to all necessary information, with the reasonable exception of cabinet confidences;
- Section 8(b) which would allow any minister to block an investigation into a particular issue or activity of their department by asserting risk to national security should be removed.
“Bill C-22 falls short in many respects and cannot be a substitute for an independent expert review and complaint body,” says Tim McSorley, the coalition’s National Coordinator. “We are pleased to see that the amendments proposed by the NDP share many of our concerns, and we hope the government will make the necessary changes to ensure this bill can truly fulfill its function of oversight and accountability,” he adds.
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