CSIS oversight not enough

Let’s assume for a minute that Bill C-51, the bill that will allow CSIS to look up my hoo-haw, is actually needed...

Dear Sir:

Let’s assume for a minute that Bill C-51, the bill that will allow Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to look up my hoo-haw, is actually needed, even though there is no clear evidence to support that assumption.

Everyone on the planet earth, including my cat and Stephen Harper, knows that you can’t have an oversight committee appointed by the prime minister (PM).

A proper oversight committee is a parliamentary body of elected members of all parties. The governing party does have a majority on the committee but it is not solely made up of the prime minister’s buddies. However, the PM says SIRC (Security Intelligence Review Committee) looks after CSIS just fine.

But wait. CSIS has lied to SIRC before. And SIRC is composed of the prime minister’s buddies, even though appointments are ostensibly made by cabinet.

How successful have past SIRC chairs been? Former Harper cabinet minister Chuck Strahl was appointed chair but then resigned in 2014 when it was revealed that he was a paid lobbyist for Enbridge while CSIS was keeping tabs on Enbridge opponents.

Another chair, Arthur Anderson, also a Harper appointee who was on SIRC before Strahl, was privy to Canada’s intelligence data and is now hanging out in Panama avoiding extradition to Canada on corruption charges.

How can we think Harper should continue to appoint SIRC members?

Fact is while even Harper knows a parliamentary oversight committee is needed, it’s not going to happen.

He is going to adamantly oppose any form of additional oversight, and claim that anyone advocating that (like myself) is a soft-on-terror, foreign funded radical, Canadian values hating, jihadist.

He wants to scare people and make that an election issue to shore up his base.

Does anyone remember why CSIS was created? Because of the activities of the RCMP’s intelligence branch.

And do you know who the RCMP was watching?

Tommy Douglas – his file is secret to this day.

And Ed Broadbent – now there’s an enemy of the state for sure.

The watch list include unions and my mother, a senior civil servant with the agriculture department in Ottawa.

I can only suppose she was under surveillance because she was a strong advocate of women’s rights.

You want to go back there? I don’t think we should.

But, if you do, okay, then we need to go back with serious elected civilian oversight. And not just accept what Harper says is good for us.

We have an election this year. My main issue is democracy. I’m voting ABC.

David Menzies,

Terrace, B.C.