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National Security & Intelligence Committee - 11 Watchdogs or 11 Rubber Stamps?

  • Broadcast in Politics



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Bill C-51 brought a new security regime to Canada. Not only by what powers and measures it allowed to agencies, but also by what it didn't allow. Sweeping changes to definitions and legalities regarding detention and government force? Yes, indeed. Addition of adequate oversight bodies to guarantee lawful compliance with those new powers? Not anywhere close. The opposition to Bill C-51 was immediate, loud, principled and kept growing as more specifics became known to the public. It continues to this day.

But don't worry Canada. The Sunny Ways brigade is in charge. Things will be so different now, because Team Trudeau said they would be. Despite the 3rd place Liberals voting with the Harper Conservatives on C-51 in 2015, the caveat was if elected to government the Liberals would deal with the "problematic" issues in the new law. Well, the Liberals were elected to government. The fixes promised have been slow in coming and weak in scope. As The View Up Here discussed last week, C-59 is hardly a perfect bill but includes measures to bring Canada into the 21st century regarding oversight and limits to state power. Committee and amendments will be coming without a doubt.

Since June, Bill C-22 - An Act to establish the National Security & Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, has been law. The first part of the LPC plan to deal with C-51's "problems". Eight MP's, three Senators and a complex set of operating limits and procedures. The first ever committee members have been named. Will they be able to deliver on the intent of the mandate to Canadians? Who are these 11 named to perform this duty? What limits from above is the Prime Minister's Office and Privy Council keeping over the committee and for what purpose?

Sunny Ways through a locked window with curtains only open to a certain degree is not quite the same as advertised. We examine C-22 and the NSICOP for answers.