Liberals Move Motion to Increase National Security Oversight

February 3, 2014

OTTAWA – In response to Canadians’ deep concern over reports that their personal information is being illegally monitored by national security agencies, Liberals will be introducing a motion in Parliament to end this surveillance and establish an oversight body, said Liberal Public Safety Critic, Wayne Easter, today.

“Reports indicate that Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) has intercepted and tracked the personal information of law-abiding, unsuspecting Canadians in the most alarming revelation to date,” said Mr. Easter. “This is why tomorrow I will be moving a Liberal Opposition Day Motion calling on the government to end these surveillance practices as well as establish a national security oversight body of Parliamentarians.”

The creation of a National Security Committee of Parliamentarians, which is also laid out in Mr. Easter’s Bill C-551, has been championed by Liberals, in government and opposition, for almost a decade. Recent reports continue to validate the dire need for a parliamentary committee mandated to review the legislative, regulatory, policy, and administrative framework for agencies responsible for national security in Canada. This proactive oversight of all aspects of national security handled by the federal government will fill a gap addressed by Canada’s major allies long ago – namely providing oversight and accountability for agencies that have functioned in nearly complete secrecy.

“With so many outstanding questions about how Canada’s national security agencies are operating, the time for a rigorous and entrenched oversight body is long overdue,” said Liberal Defence Critic, Joyce Murray. “The government must finally act in Canadians’ interest, end any illegal surveillance, and institute an oversight body to ensure law-abiding Canadians are protected.”

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Background:

Mr. Easter’s Opposition Day Motion is as follows:

That the House express its deep concern over reports that Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) has been actively and illegally monitoring Canadians and call on the government to immediately order CSEC to cease all such activities and increase proper oversight of CSEC, through the establishment of a National Security Committee of Parliamentarians as laid out in Bill C-551, An Act to establish the National Security Committee of Parliamentarians.

Read more on Mr. Easter’s bill to establish a National Security Committee of Parliamentarians here.