Home Page Election 2019 News Opinion Foreign Policy Politics Policy Legislation Lobbying Hill Life & People Hill Climbers Heard On The Hill Calendar Archives Classifieds
Hill Times Events Inside Ottawa Directory Hill Times Store Hill Times Careers The Wire Report The Lobby Monitor Parliament Now
Subscribe Free Trial Reuse & Permissions Advertising
Log In
Global

BCCLA case shows how ignorant Canadians really are about CSIS

By Phil Gurskii      

CSIS is legislatively mandated to investigate threats to the security of Canada, defined under Sec. 2 of the CSIS Act, by the powers granted under Sec. 12. One of these threats is politically motivated violence. Is it possible that some of the opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline could have turned to violence? Absolutely, ergo CSIS did what we ask of it.

Protesters, pictured in Ottawa on Jan. 8, 2018, out in solidarity with Indigenous peoples who had been arrested at Wet’suwet’en camp in British Columbia. Canadians need to appreciate that CSIS acts as an 'early warning system' on threats to national security and public safety. It has a lower threshold of investigative power than law enforcement does. It collects intelligence, not evidence, and does so to keep up on what may morph into real threats to Canada. Everything it did in looking into the Northern Gateway protest movement was not only allowed, it was required, writes Phil Gurski. The Hill Times photographs by Andrew Meade

OTTAWA—As spy agencies go, ours in Canada is not that different from others in the Western world. Okay, CSIS does not have the sexiness of MI6’s James Bond and may not overthrow regimes like the CIA does, but it does share many characteristics with its closest equivalents. It collects intelligence to advise governments. It tries its best to protect its sources and methods. It tends to operate in the shadows. And it does a poor job of explaining to Canadians why it does what it does. It is this latter trait that sometimes leads to problems.

Explore, analyze, understand
Democracy, Terrorism and Killer Robots: Embassy News covers the 2015 Halifax International Security Forum
The Halifax International Security Forum is one of the world’s biggest gatherings of defence and security leaders.

Get the book
Rural Broadband: The challenges and potential solutions
A guide to the problems, work done so far, the key players, and what needs to be done to get all Canadians access to broadband.

Get the book
Election cybersecurity: a comprehensive look at the threats and solutions ahead of 2019
Election cybersecurity concerns in Canada.

Get the book
Related Policy Briefings
Agriculture Policy Briefing
Short and informative analyses on policy challenges that bring background and recommendations to policymakers, journalists and the general public.

Read policy briefing
Defence Policy Briefing
Short and informative analyses on policy challenges that bring background and recommendations to policymakers, journalists and the general public.

Read policy briefing
Cannabis
Short and informative analyses on policy challenges that bring background and recommendations to policymakers, journalists and the general public.

Read policy briefing

Politics This Morning

Get the latest news from The Hill Times

Politics This Morning


Your email has been added. An email has been sent to your address, please click the link inside of it to confirm your subscription.

‘Thou shalt be there,’ government whip tells MPs as high-stakes minority Parliament kicks off Thursday

News|By Palak Mangat
In a minority Parliament, co-operation between parties is now an 'imperative, as opposed to something that we would try to do,' says Chief Government Whip Mark Holland.

‘A servant of the House’: MPs to elect Commons Speaker in early-morning ceremony

News|By Beatrice Paez
Incumbent House Speaker Geoff Regan says he expects MPs will be largely influenced by their peers' assessments of the candidates in casting their ballots for the new Speaker.

Political ties, not diplomatic bona fides needed for next Canadian envoy in D.C., says former ambassador

News|By Neil Moss
‘From a U.S. perspective, the relationship between the ambassador and the prime minister has to be extremely close,’ says Michael Kergin.

‘Let’s get on with the contest now’: chorus of prominent Conservatives calling for Scheer’s ouster continues to grow

News|By Mike Lapointe
But a Conservative source is decrying public criticism of Andrew Scheer's leadership, saying it will only create the kind of schisms that will set the party back and that former leader Stephen Harper worked to avoid.

Parliament security labour standoff nearing end of the road

Long-awaited collective agreements are finally being settled with the unions representing Parliament’s security officers, just in time for a new round of talks.

French envoy defends Macron’s NATO comments as ‘brave’

French ambassador Kareen Rispal says the 29-member alliance is in the midst of a political crisis and her president was recognizing that fact.

‘Small but mighty’: New Democrats say they’re up to the task as MPs pile on critic jobs

The 24-member team is Jagmeet Singh’s ‘first caucus,’ says MP Don Davies, and the group is ‘starting with a clean slate.’

Diversity, inclusion minister should act as ‘catalyst’ with cross-ministerial power, say advocates

'It is a weird irony that integration is being isolated this way,' says Anita Singh, while others say there’s an opportunity for the diversity, inclusion, and youth file to play a larger role in government.

PMO finalizes the chiefs of staff of 22 cabinet ministers; senior PMO staffer Bouchard moves to Heritage

News|By Abbas Rana
The Liberal Research Bureau is seeking applications from interested staffers to fill posts in the Prime Minister's Office and the offices of MPs and ministers.
Your group subscription includes premium access to Politics This Morning briefing.