As I write this, bill C-22 is being debated in the House of Commons, on second reading. Once that debate concludes, the bill will be referred to the relevant House of Commons committee — presumptively, the Standing Committee on National Security and Public Safety (SECU). For those interested in the issue of the parliamentary role in national security “oversight” (as it is usually called — although for technical reasons it is better described as “review” or “scrutiny”), I have assembled assorted resources here for ease of reference:
The Evolution of the Idea
- The 1981 McDonald Commission report on reform of Canadian security & intelligence and its proposal for a parliamentary body charged with a scrutiny role (at p.896 forward).
- The 2011 EU study of comparative parliamentary oversight bodies.
- The UK Intelligence and Security Committee (website) (governing legislation, Part 1; Schedule 1)
- The Australian Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (website) (governing legislation, Part 4; Schedule 1)
- The New Zealand Intelligence and Security Committee (legislation)
- The 2004 Martin government discussion paper on a Canadian national security committee of parliamentarians.
- The 2004 report of the interim committee of parliament on the topic.
- The Martin government bill (C-81) (died on order paper)
- The Hugh Segal private member’s bill (S-220) (died on order paper)
- The Joyce Murray private member’s bill (C-660) (defeated on second reading)
- Working Paper: Forcese and Roach, Bridging the National Security Accountability Gap: A Three-Part System to Modernize Canada’s Inadequate Review of National Security (March 31, 2016).
- Opeds: Atkey, Forcese, Roach, Making the spies accountable: real change or illusion? Globe and Mail (Sept 12 2016)
- Blog postings: Forcese, Knee Jerk First Reaction: Bill on National Security Committee of Parliamentarians (June 16 2016)
And of course, to understand how parliamentary scrutiny fits into the “big picture” (of bill C-51, etc), you really should read that big, but very affordable book, written with verve: Forcese & Roach, False Security: The Radicalization of Canadian Anti-terrorism (Irwin Law, 2015).
Video primers (covering off some of the same terrain as our analyses)