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Packed room for today's @SenateCA National Security and Defense committee's first hearing on Bill #C59. Will try and share updates throughout
First up, as per custom, is Public Safety Minister @RalphGoodale #c59 #cdnpoli
You can watch online at SenParlVu. senparlvu.parl.gc.ca/XRender/en/Pow… #C59 #cdnpoli
Begins with a general overview Speaks about broad consultation that led to Bill #C59
While it was broader than usual consultations, @iclmg and others have raised concerns that important parts of public input were ignored and some things in #C59 were never mentioned in the consultation
Now on to the review and oversight sections of #C59: the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency and the Intelligence Commissioner #C59
This is new: announces they are also looking at new policies on declassification and what elements of threat assessments can be shared publicly to increase transparency
(to be clear, that is parallel too, and not part of #c59)
He continues to go through the sections of the bill. I'll just share anything new #c59 #cdnpoli
In the meantime, you can read our analysis of the bill at @ICLMG here iclmg.ca/issues/bill-c-… #cdnpoli #secd
On to questions. Sen. McIntyre is first up. Asks about removing the crime of "counseling terrorism offenses in general". Asks if this will weaken tools for police
Minister responds that changes will actually make the law more clear and allow for better use by law enforcement
This change, btw, is one that we at @ICLMG and many other #natsec and civil liberties experts have supported. #C59
Need to correct my self. The original was "advocating or promoting terrorism offences in general"; #c59 changes it to "counseling a terrorism offense". DoJ rep says this makes it more coherent and clean. #C59
Sen. Boisvenu continues along this line of questioning. Says "counseling" speaks to private communication, and by removing "advocating" no longer applies to the spread of propaganda on social media. #C59
Minister responds that current wording too broad and vague. "Counseling" is more familiar to law enforcement, and would still include public language. #C59
Sen. Boisvenu asking if government open to an amendment to this section. Min Goodale responds "We'll see" (to laughs), says open to amendments, but he doesn't sound convinced #C59
This critique has been a theme for Conservatives, and points to a line of questioning we'll possibly see throughout the study of #C59
Sen. Griffin asking about Section 6, on the No Fly List. It will allow for middle names and other info (set by regulation) to be added to the list. Asks what that may be, and how it may improve accuracy of the list #c59
Minister Goodale says this will allow for a government controled list with the needed information, and that doesn't rely on "piggy backing" on the airlines' systems #noflylist #cdnpoli
Deputy minister states that the list of info to be collected will go through thorough consultation as well as normal regulatory process. #C59
Sen. Gold, the sponsor of Bill #C59, is next. Focusing on review and oversight. Asks if the number of people on #NSIRA could be increased to meet expanded mandate, as suggested by many (this is something @Iclmg has also asked)
Minister says it will be examined, but that question is more that NSIRA is adequately staffef and sufficient budget to do their work. But will also consider whether there is need for more members.
Deputy minister says that they envision a doubling of the budget of the two agencies coming together. So sounds like "Commissioner of CSE + SIRC budget x 2 = NSIRA" #cdnpoli #C59
Sen. Gold asks about making Intelligence Commissioner full Tim (currently proposed as part time)
Minister says envision that IC won't need to be in the office every day, but that there will be busier times throughout the year. But if it appears necessary, after experience, could envision full time position #C59
Senator Oh asks if #c59 will help address foreign interference. Minister responds that the goal is to give tools to provide the necessary advice to government to deal with all threats
Senator Stewart Olsen raises concern that #C59 creates too large a bureaucracy (I think in reference to the oversight and review bodies)
Minister responds that #c59 has been applauded for its breadth. Goes on to State that issue was SIRC, Commissioner of CSE, etc, worked in silos.
Adds that NSIRA will break out of silos, and follow thread wherever it may lead. #C59 s
Says that if IC needs to become full time, it is something they will consider. #C59
Senator McPhedran asks about Part 6, No Fly List. Asks about the fact that current rules allow judge to hear info about listing of a person without the person present, and can only be provided a summary of info being used against them.
Asks if as a solution, could add in a special advocate provision to No Fly List similar to the security certificate system.
Minister responds that judges already have discretion to name an amicus curiae in order to play a similar role, if warranted.
Senator pushes that this is a very broad discretion.
Deputy Minister says security certificate system is unique. That for no fly list, amicus system is better suited #noflylist #C59 b
Break as minister leaves. Will resume in 5 minutes with department officials. #C59
Sen. Boisvenu asks why IC is appointed by PM and not by Parliament. #C59
PSC DM Brown says this follows convention for these kinds of appointments. #C59
Now asks CSIS chief about whether enough being done to address returning extremist travelers/foreign fighters
Responds that agencies work together to establish a "fishing net" to ensure that those who pose threat are monitored, and that all threats are addressed. #C59
DM adds that all asylum seekers are thoroughly screened and that there is high confidence in the system.#C59
Sen. Pratte asking about changes to the Security of Canada of Information Sharing Act
States concern that the exception regarding artistic or political work is not tied to violant acts, but any activities that undermine the security of Canada.
While responses to him are stating that "violence" is included in this provision
Senator explains his concern is that this is in fact too broad, and that it should only be limited to acts of violence. #C59
For example, someone promoting indigenous sovereignty in a non violent way would still be considered as "undermining the security of Canada."
Government officials will provide more information to the Senators. Sen Pratte points out that it isn't just him bringing this up, but also the Cdn Bar Association, among others #C59
(For the record, @ICLMG also shares theses concerns. Glad Senator Pratte is raising them) #C59
Sen Gold now asks what is at risk if #C59 is not passed/not passed in a timely manner.
I'm playing catch up, but one answered from CSE is that under current laws, CSE cannot act to protect private infrastructure from cyber attacks/interference.
CSIS chief speaks to need for proper tools, including data collection and threat reduction
DM points to addressing #NoFlyListKids issues, fixing #SCISA (closing gaps) and important improvements to oversight & review
CSE Chief says the IC will address criticisms as well as give CSE stronger legal footing #C59
Sen McIntyre asks about #C59's elimination of investigative hearings, and whether this will limit police powers
DoJ rep says that investigative hearings have never been used and deemed to no longer be necessary. In fact, investigative hearings "sunsetted" in Sept. 2018, so don't actually exist right now (learning something new!)
Sen McIntyre asks why government is weakening "preventative arrest" thresholds with Bill #C59
DoJ rep points out that this has also sunsetted, so C-59 brings it back, with the stronger threshold of "necessary to prevent" instead of "likely to prevent" that was present under #C51. #C59
Sen Griffin asking about #SCISA, and why it has a "reasonably necessary" threshold vs the threshold of "strictly necessary" in the CSIS Act.
DM says that a big difference is that CSIS Act speaks to the collection of info, whereas SCISA is about the sharing of information already collected.
CSIS chief says that collection threshold is "strictly necessary" and that SCISA will not change that, but provide a better framework for depts to share information with CSIS #C59
Sen Gold asks CSE Chief Bruce and CSIS Chief Vigneault whether they are concerned about new levels of review and oversight proposed by #C59
CSE Chief says that CSE has had review, and that are attempting to be more open about their work. Greater review allows for better acceptance of their work by public (I'm paraphrasing)
Does not that sometimes it is uncomfortable, but is appreciated
CSIS Chief agrees. Adds that the foreign agencies that are adversaries do not operate under the rule of law, and applauds Canada's charter, application of rule of law. Welcomes the "social license" created by review. Is not a burden and are prepared to work with if #c59 approved
Sen Oh asks why Canada wants to bring foreign fighters to home.
DM Brown states that there is in fact no push to bring these people back to Canada. There is a legal right to re-entry, but that Mimiyster Goodale has stated that they are not proactively working to bring foreign fighters home
Last Q from Sen McIntyre. Asks about changes to the terrorist entities list, and whether burden of proof to change name or add an alias is being lowered
DoJ rep states that he isn't clear about the question, but that it will allow Minister to add alias or modified names.
Adds that further change will also allow for the issuing of a certificate of mistaken identity (I'm not familiar with that section so would be good to review that section) #C59
Finally, why is the review period for the Terrorist Entities list be changed from 2 to 5 years? A: that have seen that over 2 year period, there is little change and that a 5 year period is a better allocation of resources
And that's it for the first day of #C59 Senate committee hearings #cdnpoli
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