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CSIS is damned when it does and damned when it doesn’t

By Phil Gurski      

CSIS actually had no choice but to get rid of the material. As an internal study found in 1988, the files did not meet the threshold in the CSIS Act to justify being kept in the service’s active inventory and also fell short of criteria for preservation set out by the national archives.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale; Vincent Rigby, associate deputy minister of public safety; RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki; and CSIS Director David Vigneault, pictured May 13, 2019, at the House Public Safety and National Security Committee. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

OTTAWA—Cast a sympathetic eye on Canada’s spy agency, CSIS (when is the last time someone asked that of you?). It is subject to incredibly intense scrutiny from all sides and also to oversight from multiple angles. This is, of course, as it should be since CSIS has extraordinary powers to collect and retain information in the furtherance of national security and public safety protection. With great powers come great responsibility, so they say (I think I got that from the first Spiderman movie). We live in a democracy, after all, and our security organizations should not be able to run roughshod over our hard-fought freedoms.

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