Mr. Bob Ogle (Saskatoon East):
Mr. Speaker, 1 should like to review a little of what I said on February 20. Bill C-9 is an Act to establish the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, to enact an Act respecting enforcement in relation to certain security and related offences and to amend certain Acts in consequence thereof or in relation thereto.
In my opening remarks I began to discuss the notion of what security means in current English. 1 believe there has been a change in the meaning of the word in our part of the world.
During the break we had last week I visited a number of high schools in Saskatoon and spoke to student bodies. I was surprised to find among them a great concern about this Bill. In fact, I received more questions about the security Bill than about any other area of activity in the House of Commons. This was an eye opener to me because I did not realize young people had this concern.
In my opening remarks on the Bill I spoke about the notion of security. Words indicate what is happening in society so the change in the meaning of a word indicate a change in mentality. When I was younger I believed that the word "security" referred to a state of well-being. You were secure when you were in your home; you were well looked after, you were warm, your parents were with you and there was a state of security. In today's world I believe there is an almost completely different understanding of the word, and that is why I think it is important to define what we mean by the word "security" in the Bill.
Today I think security almost means looking at someone as an enemy. To be secure you have to be sure that you can check everybody out. To be secure you have to sort of work against everybody who might be trying to damage your own security. Probably the best example of how the meaning of the word has
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changed is with the systems at airports. People now take it for granted that they go through security. They are actually going through a machine which is there because the airline company or society has indicated that everyone in the airport is possibly suspected of subversion. Interestingly enough, no one stands up and protests that what is taking place is an indication to every person that they are actually a security risk and cannot be trusted. 1 feel that change in mentality is something which is very significant in terms of this Bill which is before us.
I have had the experience of living in a part of the world in which there was a radical change in the notion of security. In Latin America in the 1960s the policy which was adopted by five of the major countries there is what is known as the "doctrine of national security". That doctrine began in Brazil in 1964 when the military overthrew the democratically elected Government of Goulart and then put into effect the military regime which has lasted down to the present time, although the severity of that particular regime has tapered off in the last number of years.
Following that takeover there were the coups which took place in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Bolivia. Each of them had basically the same mentality and philosophy, which was always based on the idea of national security. National security was understood in the kind of philosophy that one had to be against the enemy and the enemy was, for simplistic purposes, communism. Therefore, the military took over and took away the rights of people. There was no problem at all. There was no discrimination whatsoever. Everyone in a sense became the enemy. Just as Pogo said in the comic strip: "We looked for the enemy and the enemy was us". And that was the factual situation in those countries.
I am not talking about what used to be called "the banana republics". I am talking about countries with high levels of historical democratic process such as Argentina and Chile which had 132 years of democratic governments prior to these takeovers. The reason they were finally taken over was the idea that in those countries there were subversives, communists, people who were going to take over the government, the government having already been taken over by the military. There was this idea that one had to protect oneself against the subversive.
When I learned that the Government was going to introduce a Bill which was based on the idea of having a Security Intelligence Service, I could not believe it. I just could not believe that those kinds of words could be used in Canada. I would like the Government to look seriously at what is happening, because if there is any possibility at all of the philosophy which I have been outlining, under which I have lived and which I have seen operate, taking place right now, I say to government stop, and stop now. Once this kind of operation is in place with its secrecy, there is no way to find out what is happening; and if you happen to be one of the "subversives", there is no way of telling whether your telephone is tapped or your mail is being opened. I have lived through all that. Even
today I have great difficulty feeling really secure that my phone is not being tapped or that my mail is not being opened. That is because I lived for six years where that was a reality in part of the world which not very long before had been a democratic country.
What happened in the situation where everyone became a subversive, and where those countries had to set up a security service not unlike what we have here? It had a body which was the directorship and it had under it the agents. The agents had absolute and total power to do whatever they wanted. Whom did they go after? They went after anyone who questioned what was going on in the government. Who were they? They were the university community.
In the area I lived in Brazil in the 1960s, near the place where I lived, there was a city which had a state university, the city of Maceio. During the period of January, 1969 every single university professor was arrested or detained. Why were they arrested or detained? Because they were subversives? No, because they "might" be subversives. They were questioned and put through police procedures and looked upon as being spies and enemies of the state.
I lived in another reality in which there were a great number of so-called "subversives", people one could not trust. It was the church. People who were actively involved in church responsibilities became the subversives. Many of my friends and colleagues and many of the people I worked with became the subversives. They were arrested and imprisoned and sometimes they were killed. This was all done under the notion of security of the state. Other subversives were the labour unions. Anyone at all who had any influence over the workers, the leaders of the organizations of the workers, became the subversives, the enemies of the state, so they likewise went through the same procedure.
Young people were also involved. They became the enemy because they were asking why this was going on. They asked how it was possible that a government could set up a system which treats its people as though they were all enemies of the state. But it did, and that situation still exists, Mr. Speaker. It exists in several countries yet.
I am happy to say, after having been to Brazil and talked to the human rights people, that much of the early violence against civilians which was carried out by the security services in the name of guarding security has disappeared. However, in Uruguay it still exists. In Chile it is very real. There is no break at all I can see in the position there. Thanks be to goodness, in Argentina I believe there has been a change and that a democratic election has brought back to Argentina- again, a country with a long tradition of working and democratic processes-a system in which it is going back and rechecking that period of its history, the period of violence carried out against its own citizens in the name of justice.
What this Bill is attempting to deal with is the difficult distinction between legitimate dissent and subversion. I admit there are times when that must be a very difficult thing to decide. However, I am very much afraid of the fact that if that is done through a secret system in which the citizens of the
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country cannot get a responsible answer, it will become very dangerous for the citizens of the country.
What would be considered legitimate dissent? Could it happen down the road that there will be a militant group which will get into government and take over this civilian service? I suspect that that is a real possibility in our country when I observe the ease with which some people, including people in this House, throw around the word "communist" or the word "subversive", and I have heard them use those words. Could it just be down the road that suddenly the same thing will happen and the same kind of people who suffered in Latin America will suffer under this super security mentality, this super necessity to get intelligence and information out of anyone no matter how, whether by using the telephone, the post, or by using prison, intimidation, torture or even death? Is it possible that the beginnings of that kind of mentality in a system is already among us? I speak with emotion about it naturally, because I have lived and suffered under that system.
I ask the Government, and I ask it seriously, to reconsider what it is doing. This notion of setting up a Security Intelligence Service which is not part of the RCMP, which is not something we can question, we can see, talk to and check on to find out what is going on, is a very dangerous precedent in Canadian life.
How did the situation happen in Latin America where there were people who knew about democracy, who had constitutions and well formed governments? I lived through it and I watched it take place. I would like to introduce into the debate today some ideas which have been presented by the Interchurch committee on Human Rights in Latin America. They are ideas which have been put forward by some of the most outstanding theologians, philosophers and historians of Latin America itself, including Jose Comblin, a theologian who is well known throughout all of Latin America and who has written extensively on the church and the national security state in Latin America.
It is claimed that the ideology of the national security state had two main sources. I believe it is true because I have seen it. One might be called indigenous in that it goes back to the roots of Spanish and Italian fascism and those Catholic organizations on the far right involved in all of that. The other can be traced to a much more recent event, the training provided for military and security forces in the U.S. and in the School of the Americas in Panama founded by the U.S., and in the Supreme War College of Brazil. I have spoken to graduates of both places and they have told me about what took place there.
That is where this philosophy, this mentality, was brought forward that you had to have this super security over all citizens so that there would be no subversion, which I agree with, but also that legitimate dissent did not exist. There was no way that you could question what was going on because "big brother", the government, said what is going on is good and you should accept that because "Big Brother" said it is good. There was no way to have legitimate dissent. When
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there was any form of dissent at all from the church, the universities or labour unions, they then became the targets.
What happened next was that, because people could see this was oppression in its worst form, throughout Latin America there was a strong movement among many people, including church people, to have people study in the light of the Gospel and other values whether this was right or wrong. What took place was "conscientization". It is a difficult word, it does not really exist in English, but it is a word-concientizacao- which basically means that people, after studying a reality, grow to a new awareness of who they are and what their rights are under the system they live in. They can have legitimate dissent and speak up and find a better way down the road.
Unfortunately my time is running out, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.
Subtopic: CANADIAN SECURITY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE ACT