Liberals unveil security plan

Posted by admin on Apr 5th, 2005

Liberals unveil security plan. Toronto Star April 5, 2005

OTTAWA.The Liberal government is moving to establish a new National Security Committee of parliamentarians that would give MPs unprecedented access to secret information collected by Canada’s intelligence agencies and a role in reviewing their operations.

Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan tabled the proposal yesterday, not long after being officially sworn in as minister of public safety and emergency preparedness after the bill to create her department finally became law.

In a written statement, she said it will “strengthen the effectiveness of our security system through dialogue with parliamentarians.”

McLellan borrowed the language of an interim joint committee that had studied and recommended the “made-in-Canada approach” and said it will not duplicate the role of other independent review bodies, such as the Security Intelligence Review Committee, an arms-length body that oversees the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Under the proposal released yesterday, the Liberal government says it would swear in MPs as privy councillors so they may receive classified information, and could submit reports to the Prime Minister who would table them in Parliament.

The committee is to be a joint Senate-Commons committee made up of nine members from the government and opposition. It would be supported by staff with security clearances and “hold meetings in secure facilities.”

Legislation to set up the committee is to be introduced soon, McLellan said.

Conservative critic Peter MacKay said the proposal was short on detail. He wanted to see the legislation before deciding whether it goes far enough.

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