The Parliamentary process on bill C-59, the largest overhaul of Canadian national security law since 1984, is well underway. You can find the proceedings in front of the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Security and Public Safety here.
Lots of people have written primers. Kent Roach and I did a basic early assessment here. And I posted a meditation here. I have posted two "decision-tree" schematics, one on the new CSE powers and other on CSIS datasets. The written notes to my committee appearance are here.
But for those following along with A Podcast Called INTREPID, Stephanie Carvin and I have been getting into the weeds. And we finally got through the whole bill! So here is a Listener's Guide to Bill C-59:
- Episode 3: The Challenge of Watching Watchers: bill C-59's new "review" body, the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency.
- Episode 6: Commissioner, Minister, Lawyer, Spy: bill C-59's fix to CSE's current (very) constitutionally-suspect system of foreign intelligence and cybersecurity activities implicating Canadian private communication or metadata. (We did not discuss how we haven't quite fixed the problem but could with a few words of amemdment. See here. I think I have been persuaded that my one-word fix may fix the a constitutional problem and create an operational problem. So I have a different, five or six word fix that I presented to the committee here.) This podcast also discusses new powers for CSIS to receive and analyze and retain information not tied only to threats to the security of Canada. (Feel free to shake your head should anyone claim that C-59 does not include substantial new powers for intelligence services).
- Episode 8: The Legal Pile-One, the No-Fly Glitch, and the Police Probe: includes a discussion of Canada's creaky no-fly list and how C-59 fixes it in part, but still fails to resolve it in full.
- Episode 9: Cyber-Cyber-Bang-Bang: discusses C-59's considerable expansion of CSE's mandate to include offensive and defensive cyber. (Again, feel free to shake your head should anyone claim that C-59 does not include substantial new powers for intelligence services).
- Episode 10: The first thing we do, let's disrupt all the lawyers: discusses C-59 and CSIS threat reduction powers and what changes and what doesn't. And discusses new criminal immunity powers for CSIS sources (and officers) doing intelligence work and the checks and balances. (Please keep shaking that head if people try to tell you this bill doesn't offer anything to the security services).
- Episode 12: The SCISA in the Limit (on Information-Sharing): C-59 and the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, focusing on the tension between the ready flow of information and privacy.
- Episode 14: Locking Them Up: We foocus on the Criminal Code amendments: the parts of C-59 that can involve locking people up or otherwise constraining their liberty. They discussing changes to the bill C-51 speech crime and also "preventive detention" and "peace bonds" as well as the terrorism group listing process.
Hope some of this helps!