harper-binoculars-thumb-1.png
harper-binoculars-thumb-1.png This article is more than 7 years old

VIDEO: Conservative MP ‘disagrees’ with Stephen Harper on C-51 oversight

A Conservative MP has broken ranks with the Prime Minister in calling for greater checks and balances in his own government’s anti-terrorism bill. Responding to a recent question about Bill C-51’s lack of oversight on community station TVCogeco, Conservative MP Michael Chong said, “I disagree with the government’s position on this. They’re of the view […]

A Conservative MP has broken ranks with the Prime Minister in calling for greater checks and balances in his own government’s anti-terrorism bill.

Responding to a recent question about Bill C-51’s lack of oversight on community station TVCogeco, Conservative MP Michael Chong said, “I disagree with the government’s position on this. They’re of the view that the current oversight [the Security Intelligence Review Committee] is sufficient.”

“I don’t think that’s sufficient quite simply because this committee’s appointed by the Prime Minister,” Chong added.

The five-member SIRC is Canada’s intelligence oversight body. Past appointees to SIRC have included former Reform Party MPs oil lobbyists, and Arthur Porter. Porter is currently awaiting extradition from Panama on fraud charges.

“I don’t think that gives it enough of an arm’s-length relationship — enough independence to properly review the activities of security and intelligence agencies and hold the government to account.”

WATCH CONSERVATIVE MP MICHAEL CHONG CRITICIZE HIS OWN GOVERNMENT’S POSITION ON C-51 OVERSIGHT:

Since the anti-terrorism bill was introduced in January, C-51’s critics have included four former prime ministersover 100 legal experts and even prominent conservative voices. Many concerns have honed in on the need for checks and balances on the bill’s new powers.

In February, Prime Minister Harper responded to that criticism:

“We already have a rigorous system of oversight on our national security and police agencies. Specifically on intelligence, we have the Security Intelligence Review Committee, which is a robust mechanism for independent, expert, third party oversight. It functions very well. We are proud of the work it is doing.”

When CTV’s Robert Fife pointed out that even SIRC chair Deborah Grey said “the spy agency isn’t telling them a lot of stuff,” Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney had this to say:

“Any additional [oversight] would be just duplication.”

And here’s what Blaney’s parliamentary secretary, Roxanne James, added to the debate:

“We are not interested in creating needless red tape.”

WATCH CONSERVATIVES EXPLAIN HOW CHECKS AND BALANCES ON NEW TERROR LAW ARE “NEEDLESS RED TAPE”:

Chong added that, while he supports the broad goals of C-51 and will vote for it, he thinks a motion could be introduced to add parliamentary oversight.

The MP said he favours a parliamentary oversight committee in which members are elected by their “peers” as opposed to being selected by the prime minister or party leaders.

Photo: PMHarper.

Our journalism is powered by readers like you.

We’re an award-winning non-profit news organization that covers topics like social and economic inequality, big business and labour, and right-wing extremism.

Help us build so we can bring to light stories that don’t get the attention they deserve from Canada’s big corporate media outlets.

 

Donate
PressProgress
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

thumb-sources PODCAST

Doug Ford is Looking to Cut Costs in Healthcare Staffing, Documents Show

Related Stories

PODCAST

Police across Canada are investing in “copaganda” reports that criticize the social safety net

View the post
News

Tech Company Working With Police Across Canada to Justify Higher Police Budgets Lobbied City of Toronto

View the post

McMaster University Working ‘Very Aggressively’ to Break CUPE Strike, Union Says

View the post

Explainers

Human rights & inclusion

Amira Elghawaby

Here’s The Problem With Hoping Corporations Will Be Socially and Environmentally Responsible On Their Own

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

The battle of the PACs in Calgary’s municipal election

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

27 Different Candidates are Vying to be Calgary’s Mayor. Here Are the Biggest Issues at Stake.

View the post
Newspapers always have a business section – why not a labour section? We’ve launched a free newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.
Get Canadian Labour News You Won't Find in Corporate Newspapers.
We’ve launched a free newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.
Get Canadian Labour News You Won't Find in Corporate Newspapers