Two new Committee reports on National Security – How will Goodale react?
Two important Commons committee reports relating to Bill C-51 and national security were released this week. They come after a major consultation on national security by the federal government in late 2016.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has said he plans to introduce legislation to reform the much-criticized Bill C-51 before the summer, but it is still unclear what the nature of those changes might be. Hopefully these Committee reports will give the minister some direction.
The first report to be released was from the Access to Information, Ethics and Privacy Committee (ETHI), which has completed a study on the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act.
The ETHI report has 14 recommendations, which would have a significant positive effect on this legislation, but would not actually repeal it.
The Conservatives supported the report, but added a supplementary set of reasons, saying the review was premature.
The NDP dissented from the report, calling for the repeal of the SCISA.
A day later the Public Safety and National Security Committee (SECU), released its report on national security entitled Protecting Canadians and their Rights: A New Roadmap for Canada’s National Security. This report contained 41 recommendations, including getting rid of the ability of CSIS to violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by getting a special warrant from a judge.
This time the NDP supported the report, but provided supplementary reasons, while the Conservatives rejected the recommendations, stating that protecting Canadians from terrorism is the government’s highest responsibility and the powers in C-51 have been used responsibly.
Minister Goodale has about six weeks to introduce his promised legislation.