Monday, June 1, 2015

Back to C-51

At this rate, will I ever get through these hearings??? It doesn't matter.
    I find it interesting that we keep talking about the Privacy Commissioner not being invited to committee. In fact, the NDP did not even put him on their witness list. I just wanted to—
    He's not a witness; he's an officer of Parliament.

    Well, we all put forward witnesses, Mr. Chair, and he was not one of them put forward by the opposition.
Ahem. I've tried to look up the rules and procedures for witness lists before committees and the testimony of officers of Parliament at committees, but haven't been able to find anything. Given the fact that the Conservatives are anti-Parliament, anti-democracy stupid thugs, I'll assume that Randall Garrison has explained why the Privacy Commissioner is not on the NDP's witness list adequately and that Roxanne James has either embarrassingly fucked-up or she's shamelessly trying to deflect an important question with trumped-up bullshit charges. 
Anyway, I'll get back to questioning.

    Minister Blaney, I want to go back to the information sharing portion of this bill, which is part 1. There's been some misconceptions with regard to the information sharing, which is actually part 1 of this bill, and conflating it with the amendments to the CSIS Act under this bill with regard to information sharing. The information sharing section does not equate to arrest or prosecution under any sort of terrorism charges. I just wanted to make that very clear for the committee members here today. Also, with respect to the ability to share information, it has to fall under the umbrella of undermining “the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of Canada or the lives or the security of the people of Canada”.
    Taking this into consideration, there has been a whole lot of concern about how protesters out there, in demonstrations, somehow will be now falling under the umbrella of the information sharing aspects of this bill, which is not the case.
     I just want to ask you a couple of questions, and if you could just indicate yes or no whether they would fall under the guise of information sharing, as outlined in this bill.
    Would a peaceful sit-in for any reasons have any protesters subject to the information sharing portions of this bill?
Now, please understand, dear readers, that almost all of what you're going to read on this subject is meaningless. We've already heard from their own mouths in their earlier testimony, that the bar for considering someone likely to possibly be perhaps at risk of being radicalized and therefore sometime in the future possibly guilty of maybe committing a terrorist act, is very low. 

What the Conservatives are doing here is asking Parliament: "Will you give me the right to enter your home if it is on fire and I hear screams for help; or if any time, for any reason, I maybe think something might be amiss (so pretty much whenever I feel like it)? (I pinky-promise that I'll only enter your home when there's clear evidence of a fire though.)" 

So, even if the words to the effect that peaceful civil disobedience is exempt from the draconian provisions from this bill are being uttered sincerely as they escape from the harpercons' lips, they already have the power to do whatever they want under the legislation. Besides which, they're probably just lying.
    Well, lawful protest is not included in that bill. We've seen that although it could be illegal, if it doesn't undermine the security of Canadians, it wouldn't be taken into the information sharing act, so no.
Or "yes" depending on the situation. For instance; white supremacists shooting-up a shopping mall food court? Not terrorism. First Nations people blocking a rail line? Terrorism.
     For protestors who might be blocking a road or a railway, or even blocking a pipeline from being built, as long as it does not undermine the security and all the other parts that are in this bill, they're not going to be subject to information sharing.
I just want to point out that Ms. James seems exercised by the idea of people blocking a pipeline from being built, and that the RCMP is so concerned about this "danger" that they lump in anti-pipeline activists with violent terrorists, but that nobody seems to find the increased cancer deaths and the poisoning of lakes and rivers (and all the human beings and wildlife that depend upon them) as being even an equal "risk" to Canadians.
    That's it. That's it, and again, it's only existing information that is transferred within the government so the left hand and the right hand know.
It's entirely possible that the problem I have with Blaney's constant reference to "only existing information" is entirely my own, and that it means something quite clear and unproblematic. But reading his testimony during this process has convinced me that Blaney is an imbecile who is using the wrong words to describe what he's trying to say.
    If there were reason to believe that someone was going to bring in a pipe bomb or blow up critical infrastructure, that would then fall under the outline of information sharing because it would be a threat to national security. Is that correct?
    That is correct.

     In fact, I would point to some of the language here, where, while serious interference with or disruption of an essential service or a system is part of the definition of terrorist activity, it does not include, to go to your point about a peaceful sit-in, lawful or unlawful protest, dissent, or stoppage of work unless there is intention to cause death or serious bodily harm, endanger someone's life, or cause risk to the safety of the public. In other words, your description certainly doesn't meet that standard. Non-violent unlawful protest is not included in this broader definition of terrorist activity.
Oh! Well! If Peter MacKay says so it must be false. Because he lies all the fucking time.

    Thank you very much.

    I'll direct a question to Commissioner Paulson.
    We talked about this legislation in response to some of the gaps that were identified by our national security agencies. With respect to information sharing, could you elaborate on how this would help the RCMP? For example, I think that in general terms there are individuals who you may be tracking or monitoring, or who may be on that list of 90-odd individuals that you've mentioned before, but then there are other individuals who you may have no knowledge of and who may also pose a threat.
     First of all, does this legislation, in whole or in part, fill some of the gaps identified by the RCMP? Also, with respect to information sharing, how will that be extremely helpful to you?
    Yes, it does fill those gaps, and I think Minister Blaney actually used a couple of examples that are real examples of what happened to us recently in Turkey in terms of an exchange of information from people who were coming out of Syria and who had been wounded. There were questions about privacy implications from one part of the government exchanging information with another part of the government. It would be very helpful for those kinds of situations.

    It would also be very helpful in respect of those people who we don't know about. What we're, I think, proposing is that we begin to shift the culture of an information management culture within the Government of Canada that recognizes those instances where information is plainly relevant and necessary, and relevant to the protection of the security of the country, and that it be proactively shared in instances where people recognize that it represents a threat. It would be very helpful.

    I should also say that it's also helpful in some of the measures that Minister MacKay was speaking of in respect of the peace bonds and the preventive arrests. Those are things that we identified as important considerations in this sort of graded application of police powers, because not only does it bring us closer to successful criminal justice interventions, but with respect to the peace bonds, it allows us to intervene in those counter-radicalization initiatives. By having people on conditions, we're able to sort of intervene and work with them to try to get them out of that path.
Or, you could, for instance, get the medical records, particularly the psychological counseling sessions of a particularly annoying veterans' ombudsman and use them to discredit him. Or, you could go on a fishing expedition on a suspect and find out anything you wanted to and then stupidly share it with the CIA through CSIS or some other semi-legal means and get that person tortured in, oh, probably Egypt by now, since Syria and Canada are no longer "cooperating" in the GBWT.

And, of course, you could help these individuals by combating the virus of "radicalization" and teach them that maybe they should just be murdering prostitutes and feeding their dismembered body-parts to their pigs instead.
    Thank you very much.

    Now we'll go for a round of three minutes, with Mr. Easter.
Easter, the Liberal, does a good job of pretending to care. Let's hear what he has to say:

    First, with regard to Mr. Norlock's question on Justice Mosley, I have the court decision here. Just to be clear, Justice Mosley found that CSIS breached its duty of candour to the court by not disclosing information that was relevant to the exercise of the jurisdiction of the court.

    I do expect that CSIS is trying its best to ensure that it follows the rules of the court, and I'll grant it that, but that decision does make the point that when the minister claims that a judicial warrant is oversight, it is not. Let me turn to oversight for a minute. The minister talks about SIRC. We're not talking about oversight of just CSIS and by just SIRC. Canadians want oversight of all our national security agencies. This bill involves 10 other departments or agencies in terms of the flow of information. Canadians are basically demanding—and of course, the government, as usual, is not listening—to have oversight of all of these agencies.
    I might say, too, Mr. Chair, that Minister MacKay tried to put words in my mouth. I do not agree with what he said. I'll turn to the June 2009 report of this committee, of which Mr. Norlock was a member, and which was chaired by a Conservative chair. In 2009 the committee recommended creating a parliamentary committee to review the activities of national security agencies.
    It admits in there, Mr. MacKay, for your information, that a bill to establish a committee of parliamentarians, Bill C-81, was introduced on November 24, 2005. Who was the government then? It was indeed the Liberals, but that's partisan and that's beside the point. The fact of the matter is that Canadians believe, and Canadians need—and we support them—national oversight by parliamentarians of all of our national security agencies. Will the government consider that and stop playing this game by saying either judicial or SIRC or somebody else is doing the job? They aren't. Will the government consider that?
Aside from his pathetic reference to Bill C-81, which managed to get past first reading before being mothballed when the Liberals lost power after fourteen years in office, that was good.

    Mr. Chair, it's very enlightening to hear this conversion on the road to Damascus from a former solicitor general who is advocating for something he so roundly rejected when he held the position that Mr. Blaney now occupies, but I'll take him up on his offer to avoid partisanship.

    The reality is that with judicial oversight, with Attorney General consent with regard to recognizance and peace bonds, with the SIRC body that we've heard has very robust mechanisms and the ability to look into the actions and the activities of our security enforcement, there is oversight. There is also, of course, reporting to Parliament. This report is now clearly before Canadians through Parliament. The activities in some cases, for example recognizance, have come back for sunset review. These are elements in which parliamentarians are very involved and which they have the ability to examine.

    The process we're taking part in today, as it did in the time of Mr. Easter, gives us the opportunity to question officials, to hear from experts, to put on the record the concerns that have been expressed and to have a very open, transparent discussion about what activities this new bill will grant. It allows us to examine, in context and in real time, practical examples and concerns expressed by the commissioner, by the head of CSIS. That is exactly what is required in this process so that Canadians can have confidence. This is something Mr. Blaney has underscored many times.
    Canadians have to have confidence and trust that our security enforcement and security agencies are acting responsibly, acting within the Canadian law, and acting in their best interests. We know that terrorists do not play by any rules whatsoever. We, on the other hand, are responsible to Parliament, responsible to the courts, and responsible for responding in a way that is within the law of Canada. 
You would have to be an utter shit-head (as Peter MacKay is) to even consider the idea that a committee hearing on a bill is the same thing as real-time oversight of police work. Aside from that steaming turd, MacKay responds to a question about the lack of judicial oversight by referring to [non-existent] judicial oversight as a safeguard. He refers to the Attorney General of the government employing the police-state powers as a safeguard. And, once again, he puffs-up the dubious mechanism of SIRC as being effective oversight. 

A piss-poor job from start to finish.
    Thank you very much, Minister.

    Before, we, collectively as a committee, thank our witnesses for being here today, we have in this study an extensive list of witnesses and the chair needs authority from the committee to pass a budget to support our witnesses coming here. The chair is making a budget request to the committee for $39,000 for witness expenses.
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Chair: It's unanimously agreed to. Thank you very much.
     At this time, we would like to thank Minister Blaney, Minister MacKay, Commissioner Paulson, and all of our senior departmental officials. Thank you very kindly.
    The meeting is adjourned. 
Whew! Only, what? TEN MORE to go!!! Yee-haw!!! (Yahoo????)

No comments: