February 2, 1993 (34th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Derek Vincent Lee


Mr. Derek Lee (Scarborough-Rouge River):

Mr. Speaker, last autumn I put a question through the Chair to the Solicitor General regarding a matter involving the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
I was seeking from him an assurance for Canadians that intelligence gathering and analysis had not been politicized. Politicization of that type of information can cause significant problems for democratic governments. There are many examples in modem history such as the case of J. Edgar Hoover in the United States who perhaps used information for purposes other than for that which it was originally intended in the field of security intelligence.
The background to my question involved two allegations that were publicly made. The first was that the names of intelligence sources were made known to the Solicitor General and were routinely disclosed. The second was that the political staff of the Solicitor General attended meetings of the target approval and review committee within CSIS.
On the first question the Solicitor General responded that in a small number of exceptional cases names were disclosed but in none of those cases was the person a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident. In that way he perhaps got a little lucky but that does not speak for other Solicitors General prior to this one. What he did not say but should have said, and he might if he had the chance, is that any reference in the Solicitor General's routine business to persons without using a code name should only occur on an exceptional need to know basis. I hope that is what is occurring because anything beyond that risks politicization.
The second question involved the allegation that political assistants of a previous solicitor general had attended meetings of the target approval and review committee. This was not fully addressed in the question.
A committee of this House reported in 1990 on CSIS and did not include that type of person at meetings of TARC. I hope that is the case. That is not to say that before 1988 such persons did not attend those meetings. I hope they did not. In any event we do not have a lot of information that they are now, and I believe they are not.
The point I want to make, and I make it on behalf of members on this side of the House for the benefit of the Solicitor General, is that disclosure of source names and attendance by political staff at meetings of TARC or any other committee within CSIS should not happen. It is a matter for continuing monitoring by the security and intelligence review committee that acts on behalf of this House and all Canadians in monitoring CSIS. The Solicitor General should always be in a position in this House to assure Canadians that the security intelligence gathering systems within CSIS are secure and have not been politicized as those public allegations suggested at that time.

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