Security Intelligence Review Committee

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Security Intelligence Review Committee
Committee overview
Formed 16 July 1984
Committee executive Deborah Grey, Chair
Website www.sirc-csars.gc.ca

The Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) is an independent agency of the government of Canada empowered to oversee and review the operations of Canada's security service, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and investigate complaints against CSIS. SIRC was established in 1984 as a result of the reorganization of Canadian intelligence that also saw the creation of CSIS. This reorganization was recommended by the McDonald Commission investigating the former security service of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police which was found to have engaged in illegal activities.

SIRC's role is to review the activities of CSIS to ensure that the extraordinary powers granted the security service are "used legally and appropriately, in order to protect Canadians’ rights and freedoms." [1]

Controversies[edit]

Some appointed members of Security Intelligence Review Committee have been in the center of controversies related to their activities outside the Committee.[1][2] Wesley Wark, visiting professor at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs,[3] together with Ronald Deibert, professor of Political Science, and Director of the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies and the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, have both been important voices in calling for the need to enhance oversight and review of the Canadian Security Services watchdogs due to its current inefficiency. Authors Reg Whitaker and Anthony Stuart Farson, both experts in National Security, suggest that there is a need to enhance the role of Parliament in the accountability process and enhanced review and oversight bodies.[4][5][6]

Chuck Strahl (2012–2014) lobbying activities[edit]

In January 2014, Chuck Strahl resigned his position as chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, the watchdog of Canada’s spy agency, after it was revealed by the press that he is also registered as a lobbyist over the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines.[7][8][9][10]

Arthur Porter (2008–2011) criminal charges and arrest[edit]

Arthur Porter and his wife Pamela Mattock Porter were detained by Interpol agents in Panama on May 27, 2013, after an investigation by the Sureté du Québec, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol). He faces charges in Canada of fraud, conspiracy to commit government fraud, abuse of trust, secret commissions and laundering the proceeds of a crime.[11][12][13]

The fraud against the Quebec government is related to his alleged role in the handling of a $1.3-billion Montreal hospital construction and maintenance contract.[14][15] At the time of the alleged fraud, from 2008 to 2011, Porter director general of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) in Montreal, Quebec, being in charge of one of Canada’s largest health-care providers. He was appointed to the position in 2004.[16] He was also a member of Air Canada’s board of directors.[15]

Porter is claiming diplomatic immunity on the basis that he was travelling via Panama on a diplomatic mission to Antigua and Barbuda, on behalf of the government of Sierra Leone, according to his lawyer Ricardo Bilonick Paredes (formerly known as Ricardo Bilonick). However, the Sierra Leone government says he is a goodwill ambassador and thus has no diplomatic immunity.[17]

Air India bombing[edit]

In 2005, SIRC came under criticism for allegedly not giving close enough scrutiny to the activities of CSIS regarding the Air India bombing, where crucial wiretap evidence was destroyed putting the legal case against the alleged Air India bombers into jeopardy. The Security Intelligence Review Committee cleared CSIS of any wrongdoing. The report remains secret to this day.[18]

Members appointment[edit]

SIRC is made up of five members appointed by the federal government. The committee meets monthly with its day-to-day operations being handled by an executive director.

The current members of SIRC are:

Due to the sensitive material SIRC members are required to handle, members of the committee are sworn into the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, if they are not already members, in order to put them under the provisions of the Security of Information Act.

Chairs of SIRC[edit]

Historical membership of SIRC[edit]

Source: SIRC

Appointed November 30, 1984[edit]

Chair:

Hon. Ronald G. Atkey, PC, QC (five years)

Members:

Hon. Frank Charles McGee, PC (five years)

Hon. Jean Jacques Blais, PC, QC (five years)

Hon. Saul M. Cherniack, PC, QC (five years)

Hon. Paule Gauthier, PC, OC, OQ, QC (five years)

Appointed November 30, 1989[edit]

Chair:

Hon. John W.H. Bassett, PC, OC (three years)

Members:

Hon. Stewart D. McInnes, PC, QC (three years)

Hon. Jean Jacques Blais, PC, QC (two years)

Hon. Saul M. Cherniack, PC, QC (two years)

Hon. Paule Gauthier, PC, OC, OQ, QC (two years)

Appointed November 30, 1991[edit]

Member:

Hon. Saul M. Cherniack, PC, QC (one year)

Appointed December 5, 1991[edit]

Members:

Hon. Michel Robert, PC, QC (five years)* *Appointed to the Bench, May 1995

Hon. Jacques Courtois, PC, QC (five years)

Appointed November 30, 1992[edit]

Member:

Hon. Edwin A. Goodman, PC, OC, QC (five years)

Appointed December 23, 1992[edit]

Chair:

Hon. Jacques Courtois, PC, QC (five years)

Member:

Hon. George Vari, PC, OC, C.L.H. (five years)

Appointed April 20, 1993[edit]

Member:

Hon. Rosemary Brown, PC, OC (five years)

Appointed June 8, 1995[edit]

Member:

Hon. Paule Gauthier, PC, OC, OQ, QC (five years)

Appointed September 30, 1996[edit]

Chair:

Hon. Paule Gauthier, PC, OC, OQ, QC (to June 7, 2000)

Member:

Hon. James Andrews Grant, PC, QC (five years)

Appointed April 30, 1998[edit]

Member:

Hon. Bob Rae, PC, OC, O.Ont, QC (five years)

Appointed June 9, 1999[edit]

Members:

Hon. Raymond Speaker, PC, OC (five years)

Hon. Frank McKenna, PC, OC, QC, ONB (five years)

Appointed June 8, 2000[edit]

Chair:

Hon. Paule Gauthier, PC, OC, OQ, QC (five years)

Appointed October 4, 2001[edit]

Member:

Hon. Gary Filmon, PC, OM (five years)

Appointed February 20, 2003[edit]

Member:

Hon. Baljit S. Chadha, PC (five years)

November 13, 2003[edit]

Member:

Hon. Roy Romanow, PC, OC, QC, SOM (five years)

Appointed September 16, 2004[edit]

Member:

Hon. Raymond Speaker, PC, OC (five years)

Appointed June 24, 2005[edit]

Chair:

Gary Filmon, PC, OM (five years)

Member:

Aldea Landry, PC, CM, QC (five years)

Appointed September 3, 2008[edit]

Hon. Denis Losier, P.C.

Hon. Dr. Arthur Porter, PC, MD (five years). (Resigned November 10, 2011)[21] Area of specialisation: Cancer.

It is noteworthy to remark to the reader that 8 months after the appointment of Hon. Arthur Porter (Oncologist); the CSIS Director Jim Judd announced his early resignation from his post.

Appointed January 23, 2009[edit]

Hon. Frances Lankin, PC

Appointed June 24, 2010[edit]

Chair: Hon. Dr. Arthur Porter, PC, MD (Resigned November 10, 2011)[21]

Members: Hon. Philippe Couillard, PC, MD & Hon. Carol Skelton, PC

Appointed June 14, 2012[edit]

Chair: Hon. Chuck Strahl, PC (Resigned January 2014)[8][22][23][24]

Appointed April 22, 2013[edit]

Hon. Deborah Grey, OC, PC

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Canadian spy watchdogs are lobbyists - and that is a problem by Steve Anderson". OPENMEDIA.CA. January 16, 2014. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  2. ^ "Toothless bark from spy watchdog SIRC's latest annual report is a study in fantasy by Andrew Mitrovica". Toronto Star. October 31, 2011. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  3. ^ Privacy By Design Mark Wark accessdate=2014-03-04.
  4. ^ "Accountability in and for National Security by Reg Whitaker and Stuart Farson Security and Democracy". September 1, 2009. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  5. ^ "Why are we eliminating the CSIS watchers? Brian Stewart". CBC News. June 1, 2012. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  6. ^ "Five Eyes’ intelligence-sharing program threatens Canadians abroad, watchdog warns by Colin Freeze". The Globe and Mail. October 31, 2013. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  7. ^ a b "Canada’s top spy watchdog resigns over lobbying questions by Steven Chase". The Globe and Mail. January 24, 2014. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  8. ^ a b "Spy watchdog’s registration for Northern Gateway lobbying under fire from NDP". The Globe and Mail. January 6, 2014. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  9. ^ "CSIS watchdog’s Enbridge job". Democracy North. January 23, 2014. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  10. ^ "Chuck Strahl, CSIS Watchdog Chair, Registers As Northern Gateway Lobbyist". The Huffington Post Canada. January 6, 2014. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  11. ^ "Arthur Porter arrested in Panama". CBC News. May 27, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2013. 
  12. ^ Allan Woods (2013-05-30). "Arthur will fight extradition to face fraud charges in Canada". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2013-05-31. 
  13. ^ a b "Quebec anti-corruption squad nabs fifth man in mega-hospital fraud case, Porter remains at large". National Post. 2013-03-12. Retrieved 2013-05-31. 
  14. ^ "Former CSIS watchdog Arthur Porter arrested in Panama". National Post. 2013-05-28. Retrieved 2013-05-31. 
  15. ^ a b "Ex-spy watchdog reportedly under microscope as anti-corruption squad raids hospital office, probes SNC-Lavalin contract". National Post. 2012-09-20. Retrieved 2013-05-31. 
  16. ^ MUHC Board of Directors
  17. ^ Porter, Arthur (6 June 2013). "Arthur Porter n’est pas un diplomate, dit le Sierra Leone". Journal De Montréal. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "Canada - No lessons learned Continuing "gaping holes" in Canada's security arrangements are revealed at an inquiry into the 1985 bombing of an Air India flight from Toronto". The Economist. June 14, 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  19. ^ Globe and Mail: "Canada’s top spy watchdog resigns over lobbying questions" 24 Jan 2014
  20. ^ canada.com: "Chuck Strahl quits Security Intelligence Review Committee" 24 Jan 2014
  21. ^ a b "Arthur Porter Resignation: Spy Watchdog Quits Amid Concerns About Business Dealings", March 16, 2012
  22. ^ "Canada’s top spy watchdog resigns over lobbying questions by Steven Chase". The Globe and Mail. January 24, 2014. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  23. ^ "CSIS watchdog’s Enbridge job". Democracy North. January 23, 2014. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  24. ^ "Chuck Strahl, CSIS Watchdog Chair, Registers As Northern Gateway Lobbyist". HuffPost Canada. January 6, 2014. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 

External links[edit]