Mr. Donald W. Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich):
Mr. Speaker, we are now at third reading stage of this Bill. There are four very important aspects of the Bill which deserve further consideration. You will recall that last evening we spent some time
on votes on this Bill. However, we did not have an opportunity, before coming to those votes, to finish consideration at the report stage. There were still a number of very important matters before us when we had to turn to the vote.
There are four elements of this Bill which I want to emphasize most particularly. The first is the separation of the agency from the RCMP. That has been a matter of some controversy. I suppose it is the element which divides the Government Party from our Party and our attitude toward the agency, whether it be within the RCMP or separate. Our Party favours the retention of the agency within the larger ambit of the RCMP.
That is one element. I think the Canadian public is concerned about that particular element. A lot of people have made up their mind. I am sure that a lot of others are still wondering. If there is a balance swinging in one direction or another, it is in favour of the retention of the service within the RCMP, for the very simple reason that the RCMP is a known quantity. The separate service outside of the RCMP is an unknown quantity. Given the history of intelligence agencies around the world, the separation of that agency from a known quantity is causing concern.
I will mention the second matter and return to it later, and that is the element of ministerial responsibility. This is a deep and abiding concern. Ministerial responsibility does not exist in this Bill. I know it is difficult to retain ministerial responsibility. However, there must be a link between an agency such as the Security Intelligence Service and the Parliament of Canada. That does not now exist, even with the review committee.
The third element which is causing concern is the threat to human rights and the imminent invasion of privacy which are inherent in the type of organization which is being created by this Bill. Mistakes can be made and innocent people can have their rights affronted and their privacy invaded. What recourse do individuals have to secure what they believe to be their rights? How do they protect their privacy?
One of the interesting elements in timing is that this potential for invasion of privacy or assault on human rights in Canada comes right on the heals of the Charter of Rights which is now embedded in the Constitution. People now feel that they have their rights and they are damn well going to be sure that they are recognized. How are they going to be recognized under this legislation unless there is some sort of ministerial responsibility? That is a tragedy. The Bill was not properly thought out. The link between the individuals, the legislators and the Government has not been properly worked out.
I am not questioning for an instant the need for a security intelligence agency. My experience in a previous career has taught me, and my reading since that time has reinforced what I learned, that there is a need for a security agency. However, in creating that agency we must not avoid this parliamentary institution which is a safeguard of the rights of the Canadian people. That is what we are doing with this Bill.
June 21, 1984
The fourth element arose over the past weekend. It has two aspects. It is the emergence of a new Leader of the governing Party. Mr. Turner was elected last weekend as the new Leader of the Liberal Party. In the course of time he will become Prime Minister. For the first day or so we were prepared to concede that Mr. Turner was not aware of what this Bill might contain. He had been Minister of Justice at a very critical time so he should have been aware. He should have been following what was happening, but of course he was busy campaigning. Perhaps he had not focused clearly on the contents of this Bill. Therefore, for the first day or so we were prepared to concede that, being unaware, the process of legislating this Bill was proceeding without his knowledge. That period has now passed. Mr. Turner must be aware that this Bill is before the House of Commons. He must also be aware of, and therefore must have condoned, the imposition of closure or time limitation on debate.
In two senses the future Prime Minister of Canada is coming in with two strikes against him. He is prepared to back a new institution with which he must have been familiar because he was working with the agency before. Starting out with those two heavy strikes against him on this particular piece of legislation is a pretty tough way to begin.
Let me come back to ministerial responsibility and leave the names out of it for the moment. Others have spoken about other elements of the Bill. My prime concern today is that element of ministerial responsibility.
Let me read extracts from a book that I was looking at recently. I believe reading these extracts give the gist of the story. This is the story of a person who became embedded in the security institutions of the Canadian Government. I admit that it is a novel, but this person became embedded within those institutions and it finally became clear that this person was a plant or a spy. The book first points out that those who were investigating the matter found a number of unused one-time cypher pads. Unused one-time cypher pads are used for cyphering plain language to transmit over the wires, which can then be unscrambled at the far end. However, in the belongings of this particular person they found some one-time cypher pads, a list of call signs, tables set to 24-hour cycles keyed to five-year calendars, and so on. It is the manual that is used for conveying information in a secure manner.
It became apparent that this person, having suspected that she had been detected, fled from Ottawa to Montreal with her son. Their car was traced to what was called Pier 11. The head of the service said: "Pier 11, is that not where the MS Alexandr Puskin normally docks?" The trail became a little more interesting and the fears were being substantiated. It then became apparent to the head of the intelligence service who had all these ideas in his mind that he would have to tell the Prime Minister. He was sure that the Prime Minister would not like what he had to tell him.
The book goes on to say that the head of the intelligence service saw the Prime Minister in his Centre Block office in
Security Intelligence Service
the Houses of Parliament. He gave his account to the Prime Minister. Finally the Prime Minister, having heard the story, asked the head of the intelligence agency where was the car that was used to get from Ottawa to Montreal. He was told by the head of the agency that it had been impounded by the RCMP in Montreal. It had been found on federal property within the jurisdiction of the agency and therefore could be impounded without anyone knowing it had been impounded.
The Prime Minister thought for a moment and said: "I intend to call a special meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security and Intelligence early tomorrow morning. I would like you to be there. We will have a number of decisions to make". The Prime Minister said: "In the meantime, arrange to have that car moved to Ottawa in a closed van and stored in a secure garage. By the way, you and the Secretary of Cabinet will be the only officials present tomorrow. I do not want the meeting advertised".
That is normal. These matters must be dealt with in a very careful manner when the security of the state is in question. He brought the Cabinet Committee together on short notice. The Prime Minister said: "I am sorry we have to meet on such short notice. As you will know, the only officials present are the Secretary of the Cabinet and the Head of the Security Service". He said that the reasons for that will become apparent. He instructed that no minutes be kept of the meeting and went on to say: "I do not intend to raise the matter in full Cabinet and I would ask that each of you refrain from discussing the subject matter of the meeting with anyone outside this group".
The scene is set. When he came to make his report he began: "Gentlemen, we have a problem. The secretary of this Committee, Mrs. Heide Latour, was discovered not long ago to be a spy, an agent of a foreign power, the Russians". This, of course, caused consternation. The Prime Minister proceeded with his account and laid out before his colleagues the full story of the operation that had been undertaken to find the leak at first, and then focusing on Madam Latour. One of the Ministers said: "Why in the hell didn't the RCMP keep her under surveillance?" The question was passed to the head of the security service who said that when it was agreed that the person in question could visit her in-laws in Quebec with her son, he suggested that she be accompanied by the woman operative who had been stationed in her house from the time they first picked her up when suspicions started to gel.
The RCMP had been dealing with this matter. The Prime Minister then said: "It appears to me that there are two practical alternatives to dealing with the problem. Make a statement in the House disclosing the facts of the case, or provide some credible public explanation for her disappearance which avoids disclosure of the true facts". It is necessary to hide the true facts. I suppose this is normal within a security operation. Someone spoke up and said: "The first alternative could be political suicide given our minority position in the House". Political considerations come into play.
The Prime Minister did not wait. He said: "Exactly my feelings. Instead, I propose that her disappearance be attribut-
June 21, 1984
Security Intelligence Service
ed to an accident to her car", the gas tank of which would have exploded causing the vehicle to dissolve in a pillar of fire. They had the car and he had instructed that the car be brought to Ottawa. That can all be staged.
While I am reading from a novel, it is an interesting novel which bears directly on what we are talking about. He mentioned that the car had been found and brought to Ottawa. He said that he gave instructions that Mrs. Latour's car be removed to Ottawa in a closed van for storage by the RCMP and arrangements were accordingly made that it be found as having exploded somewhere. He turned to the head of security and said: "I assume your people can make the necessary arrangements?"
The head of the security agency then turned to the Prime Minister and said: "Mr. Prime Minister, there is no doubt that if the affair becomes public the damage done to our extensive and sensitive relationships with various foreign security and intelligence agencies within and outside NATO would be considerable". They had to avoid that. Then comes the crunch. One Minister who was very smart said: "Fine, but it could become messy. If it does, you will understand that we have to deny all knowledge of the affair". That essentially ends my reading but those words "we will have to deny all knowledge of the affair" are important.
Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, who wrote that book. It was written since his retirement by the first civilian director of the Canadian Intelligence Service, Mr. John Starnes. It is based on his experiences. The book is called "Deep Sleepers". That is a term used in the intelligence world for those who are placed many years in advance into positions of significance and influence so they could do their spying.
I just read a small part of the book. How does it end? The Minister says: "If this becomes public you will understand, of course, that we have to deny all knowledge of the affair". There is an absolute absence of ministerial responsiblity. This is not good enough. Mr. Starnes speaks from experience.
Yesterday in our debate before we came to the vote we were considering an amendment which was brought forward by my colleague, the Hon. Member for Vancouver South (Mr. Fraser), that this House set up a Commons committee, or a committee in conjunction with the Senate which could meet in camera or openly, depending upon its agenda, to review the administration, provisions, and operation of the Service.
This Bill was not fully studied in this House-in committee, yes, but not in this House. We were not given enough time, thanks to the connivance of Mr. Turner and the Government, to deal with all the provisions of this particular legislation. It is essential in my view that there be a committee of this House to ensure that there is some responsibility to the Canadian people for the activities of that agency and for the manner in which this Bill is being implemented.
There must be a Minister who will answer. That is one of the reasons that, through the Solicitor General (Mr. Kaplan) and the Commissioner of the RCMP, that channel exists. But
what does this Bill propose? It proposes that the RCMP be cut out, that a separate agency be instituted and that there be no ministerial responsibility. That is the tragedy of this Bill, Mr. Speaker. It is so important that I felt I had to rise this afternoon to explain why it is such a dangerous Bill.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: CANADIAN SECURITY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE ACT