Mr. Bob Ogle (Saskatoon East):
Mr. Speaker, I would like to address the debate this morning specifically on the wording of the title. It reads:
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.
I believe it is extremely important to be able to define correctly what is going on, to say a thing clearly so that it relates to an idea which everybody understands. What I talk about is not a new idea.
In the first chapter of the book of Genesis the question of being able to name the creation is how ancient people addressed the very important fact of why human beings differing from other beings in creation are able to explain, to say and to know exactly what an idea is.
In the title before us I feel there are certain words that in no way explain what is meant or understood. The first word is "security". I have already spoken to this idea. I want to say again that I believe the word "security", at least in English, is a word that does not have a clear understanding today. It is a vague word. In fact, it is more than vague; it is a word that to my mind has literally changed its meaning in my lifetime and during the time I have been speaking the English language. When I was a child, as other Members of my age will remember, the word "security" referred to a state of being. It was the kind of thing that happened when you were safe at home. It was the kind of thing that took place when you had enough to eat and you were warm and dry. It is an idea signifying that basically you were in good status.
I believe in our lifetime, and recently more so than ever, the word security has litarelly changed its meaning for many, many people. The word security more frequently now is used, and used very commonly, to refer to the fact that everybody has to be mistrusted. I think the best example I can give in the experience of everyone in this House of Commons and of every Canadian is how a person is treated when going to board an airplane. Not many years ago I could go to an airport and board an airplane with the same facility as I can board a bus or a train. In recent times, because of incidents in international aviation, security clearance has become an accepted pattern in many parts of the world, although in some places security clearance is being overlooked and in some Latin American countries I know now that security is not carried out at the airports. But notice how I use the word "security". Security now refers to an event, a happening or a situation in which everybody is considered a possible criminal. People have to be challenged personally at a particular time to make sure they are not criminals. I believe that is against our tradition. I believe that in the tradition of Canadian life it is important to remember people are not criminals before you address them.
I find it very disconcerting and in a sense dangerous that many people, without thinking, accept the fact that you have to go through security to get on an airplane. I do not feel any more secure getting on an airplane after having gone through the little electronic door than before. I believe anyone who wants to steal an airplane will steal an airplane whether that person goes through the electronic door or not. That does not make me any more secure. But the falseness that anybody can look after your security, that "big brother" somewhere can make you more secure, is what this Bill is basically about.
When I address the title, Mr. Speaker, and that word "security", I feel we are being led down the road. Probably if we want to use the word security, we would be on much safer ground if we started to call the Bill something like a Bill to set up the national security state. The national security state is a reality. I have lived in national security states. A national security state was a movement that took place in the last 20 years. In many of the Third World developing countries, Latin America in particular, a national security state became a dominating philosophy of the people in power. It became the philosophy that those who were against the people in power were subversives. National security police agencies were required and these people would go after the subversives. 1 speak from conviction and from experience.
That kind of state developed in very democratic countries and it developed in the last few years. Chile is an example. It is a national security state in the new understanding of national security. Chile has a massive police force, an army, not to go against people of other countries but to go against its own people. That situation also took place in Brazil, Bolivia and Uruguay. It still exists in Uruguay. Last week the Leader of the Opposition of the Uruguayan Parliament returned to Uruguay and was immediately imprisoned. Why? Because he had committed a crime? No, because the national security
June 18, 1984
state said that he did not have a right to be in opposition to those in power.
What about the notion of this Bill and its name? Remember that naming something is extremely important. A dictionary will explain how to name something. It will tell you the genus of what something is basically about, that two things coming together will make it possible for a human being in his or her mind to say that this particular being over here is this and not that. The title of this Bill, at least to my mind, does not tell me it is this and not that. I think Canadians are aware of this. I have been told that a more apt name, if we want to think about another name, would be to call it an Act to suppress the civil liberties of Canadians. That might be closer to the understanding of what the Bill does and it might be easier for Canadians to understand. Mr. Speaker, I believe personally that the present title does not give us a clear understanding of what is going to take place in this Bill. The Bill should be clearly titled and understood before its less important matters are debated. I hope the Minister who has proposed this Bill will hear what is being said and will understand that what is taking place in the naming of the Bill is extremely important. It has not been well done.
The second word in the Bill that I believe should have a much more clear understanding is "intelligence". What does intelligence mean in present day English or present day French? To what does it refer? Whose life does it interfere with? What does it mean in relation to myself or to any other Canadian? Who has the right to look into my life, to find out things about my life, to keep them secret from me and from lots of other people, but which could be used against me whenever those in power decide that I have become a subversive, one who endangers the security, as they would say, of the state?
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: CANADIAN SECURITY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE ACT