Recently, the Globe and Mail published this article</a> about how a senate committee report demanded that elected MPs should have direct oversight and be entitled to access to CSIS’s files the same way the Security Intelligence Review Committee is. I really think that this is a very big deal because of these facts:
- CSIS still refuses to release the file on Tommy Douglas</a>, who was voted the Greatest Canadian of all time by a contest by the CBC.</li>
- CSIS holds the files from the old RCMP Intelligence Service, and as such has access to the PROFUNC files, which indicates which members of government were under investigation</li>
- Members of Parliament are the main connection to the general public through their riding offices. Would that mean that people associated with the NDP offices, especially those of Libby Davies (longtime NDP MP of Vancouver East, the riding I lived in until recently), or Don Davies (Vice-Chair of the House of Commons Committee that made these recommendations, and the MP in Vancouver-Kingsway, the riding I live in now) would have to undergo even more scrutiny? Would they be denied work due to past allegiances to radical groups?</li>
- Instead of SIRC, who appear to be completely in the dark about CSIS activities, the MPs would actually hold CSIS to account. For example, it was Svend Robinson who tried to kill off the counter-insurgency force of CSIS that targeted peace activists among others. Say what you will about the NDP and Svend, but he was a major thorn in the side of CSIS</li>
- CSIS admits to have agents working in the Reform Party as part of the whole Grant Bristow thing. It'd be stupid to not assume that former Reform members Preston Manning, Stockwell Day and even the current Prime Minister Stephen Harper don't have their own files kept secret from them. (See, it's NOT just the NDP)</em></li> </ul> If you're wondering why I'm pointing out the NDP, it's because they're one of the most targeted parties in Canada. That being said, I'm certain that former Reform members in the Conservative Party who aren't friends with Stephen Harper, members of the Liberals and especially the Bloc Quebecois will all have staffers trying to access these files and mine them for secrets. The reports can be found on the Globe and Mail site, and the Senate Report is an interesting read, since it also shows the Government's current attitude towards the existance of WikiLeaks. Namely the fact that the Government of Canada appears to view WikiLeaks as a part of the New Media, and that conclusion comes from the proceedings of the Senate Committee on Anti-Terrorism</a>, where you can see the Senators talking to Mr. Jenkins a member of the RAND Corporation and someone who wrote a book called "Will Terrorists Go Nuclear?" who says the following after being asked if jihadists will gain intelligence from the cables: I am not sure that WikiLeaks will provide information that would-be jihadists do not already have. Some of the revelations about attitudes of Arab governments might confirm some of their suspicions that these leaders are corrupt, double-dealing and betraying. It complicates diplomacy in terms of dealing with these groups and creating the networks.</em> This is of course related to the list of infrastructure that was leaked by WikiLeaks. The Dominion has a nice graphic of this here</a>. Anyway, the reports also recommend that Richard Fadden, the current head of CSIS, be forced to resign due to the fact that he refused to apologize for his comments where he said that various municipal politicians (you mean like this one</a>) and members of cabinet in various provincial governments (like this guy</a>) could be manipulated by a foreign government. What's interesting is that this comment caused him to be dismissed while former CSIS heads could authorize that information get leaked and Canadian Citizens get sent to countries for torture and they get to keep their jobs. Of course, the Conservatives are sticking up for their man in the Service, and I doubt that he's going to be gone anytime soon. I'll have an election post later today! That's something that should shock you, that's for sure!