, 12 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
Yesterday marked an important day for review of Canada's national security activities: The new National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) came into existence. newswire.ca/news-releases/… #c59 #cdnpoli 1/12
For the first time, there will be an overarching review agency that can examine the activities of all National Security agencies, including CSIS, RCMP, CSE, CBSA, Global Affairs & more. This is in contrast to the siloed approach until now: CRCC for RCMP, SIRC for CSIS, etc. 2/12
It definitely isn't perfect - @ICLMG & others have argued for increased staffing, more independence & greater transparency. There is a fear that problems from the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), on which NSIRA is modelled, will be transferred to the new body. 3/12
For example, the current @BCCLA court challenge around SIRC's decision regarding CSIS surveillance of Indigenous and environmental activists, and the gag order placed on the original hearings. thestar.com/vancouver/2019… The new NSIRA rules wouldn't fix that #c59 #protestpapers 4/12
But it does mean that if, for example, there is concern about how CSIS and Global Affairs officials interact with a Canadian detained abroad (for example, complicity in torture), then for the first time NSIRA would be able to look at everything. #c59 #cdnpoli 5/12
The NSIRA is also empowered to accept complaints, but is limited to those regarding the CSE, CSIS and the RCMP's national security activities. This limitation creates a serious gap that we hope will be addressed. #c59 #cdnpoli 6/12
Why is the limited complaints system a problem? For example, under their national security mandate, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) interacts with individuals, both in stopping people from entering Canada but also in detention, monitoring and deportation #c59 #cdnpoli 7/12
The current system means that an individual will not be able to submit a complaint regarding the CBSA to an independent review body. Bill #98 would have solved this, but it was introduced with barely a month left in parliament and died on the order paper. #c59 #cdnpoli 8/12
So there's lots to do to ensure the effectiveness & thoroughness of this new body. But for the moment, I think we can also congratulate everyone who has pushed so hard, really since the O'Connor inquiry into... #c59 #cdnpoli 9/12
...Canada's complicity in the torture of Maher Arar, which recommended an overarching review over a decade ago. You can also read more about @ICLMG's take on the NSIRA here: iclmg.ca/issues/bill-c-… #c59 #cdnpoli 10/12
And I guess one last note of caution: the implementation of a new review body is positive, but it cannot be seen as balancing out the threat posed by the new powers granted to CSIS and CSE over the past several years. #c59 #cdnpoli 11/12
Yes, we need more review and oversight. We've needed it for 10 years (more, really). But that doesn't undo the need to scrutinize, question and challenge new state security powers granted to these agencies. #c59 #cdnpoli 12/12
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