Garrison Questions Conservative Cuts to CSIS Oversight


Mr. Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, NDP): Mr. Speaker, from dismantling fisheries protection to gutting public safety oversight, the Conservatives are still pressing ahead in their attempt to sneak through major changes disguised as a budget implementation bill. For example, clause 378 deletes the Office of the Inspector General of CSIS. To Conservatives, that is “strengthening oversight”. To Canadians, in plain language this means less civilian oversight for Canada's spy agency. Why are the Conservatives getting rid of oversight tools instead of strengthening them? Why is the minister so eager to shrug off his responsibilities to oversee CSIS?

    Hon. Vic Toews (Minister of Public Safety, CPC): Mr. Speaker, what we would do is eliminate $800,000 in administrative costs that do not contribute to oversight. We would ensure that the agency responsible for the oversight of CSIS would have the necessary power to do exactly that. So what we would do is eliminate needless administrative costs and ensure that the independent function of SIRC would continue.