Garrison questions airport snooping tactics

  Question in the House - July 18th, 2012

Mr. Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, NDP): Mr. Speaker, quietly without telling Canadians, Canada Border Services Agency has installed new surveillance equipment to eavesdrop on travellers in airports across the country. The Conservatives did this without even consulting the Privacy Commissioner, which they are required to do by law. As a result, we do not know how these recordings will be used and stored or how long they will be kept. We are all for making airports safer, but this will give the minister access to a mountain of private information. Will the minister tell the House how this blanket spying on Canadian travellers will make our airports or our borders more secure?

    Hon. Vic Toews (Minister of Public Safety, CPC): Mr. Speaker, Canada Border Services Agency operates customs-controlled areas for screening international travellers arriving at airports across Canada, including monitoring video and audio in order to detect and prevent illegal smuggling. I assure the member that the privacy rights of law-abiding Canadians are respected at all times.