Ottawa – Members of Parliament in the House of Commons will be debating, this week, Bill C-22, a proposed legislation introduced last June by the government to create a National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.
This newly proposed committee would have for objective to review “the legislative, regulatory, policy, administrative and financial framework for national security and intelligence,” and “any activity carried out by a department that relates to national security”.
The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) welcomed this new overdue legislation — however we highlighted many problematic aspects of Bill C-22 — but emphasized the need to include strong independent review mechanisms that would greatly complement the future tasks of this committee.
“For instance, we just learned today in the annual report of privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien that the federal government didn’t properly assess the privacy consequences of the Anti-Terrorism Act 2015, commonly know as Bill C-51. This is extremely troubling especially because 14 out of 17 government agencies authorized to share information on national security have no independent review or oversight” declares Monia Mazigh, national coordinator of the ICLMG.
In 2006, Justice O’Connor released an extensive report with recommendations for the federal government on how to establish comprehensive and independent review mechanisms so that the privacy and human rights of all Canadians are protected. To date, these recommendations still have not been implemented.
“It is time to act seriously and vigorously on the question of accountability in a national security context. The powers granted by C-51 to security and intelligence agencies are very extensive and unjustified, Canadians need to be assured that their human and privacy rights are not trumped by any invasive legislation,” reemphasizes Monia Mazigh.
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