#CyberFLASH: Public Safety mandate includes parliamentary oversight of intelligence agencies

a-woman-uses-her-computer-keyboard-to-type-while-surfing-the-internet-in-north-vAfter nearly a decade of tough-on-crime, security-state expanding governing by Stephen Harper, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has mandated new Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to roll back some of the previous government’s trademark policies, including on intelligence oversight and gun control.

Goodale’s mandate letter, among the 30 Trudeau sent to his new cabinet that were released today, outlines 12 key priorities in the department, chief among them the creation of a parliamentary intelligence oversight committee with special access to classified national security information. The creation of such a committee is long overdue according to the experts, who have repeatedly condemned Canada as the only country among its allies that does not trust its’ parliamentarians with sensitive security information.

Also high on the list is an issue that the Liberals will have to tread very carefully with: the partial repeal of and amendments to C-51, the contentious anti-terrorism legislation pushed through by the Harper government earlier this year that, to the surprise and anger of many supporters, the Liberals had supported in the House.

One promised change to C-51 in Goodale’s mandate letter is the creation of an Office of the Community Outreach and Counter-radicalization Coordinator.

Collaboration with other departments is heavily emphasized in several of the priorities, the largest being a broad review of the cyber capabilities of Canada’s critical infrastructure with the ministers of National Defence, Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Infrastructure and Communities, Public Services and Procurement, and the President of the Treasury Board.

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