Trudeau announces new National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians

Justin Trudeau
Photo by Sukhwant Singh Dhillon

PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday announced the establishment of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, a multi-party committee that includes representatives from both the House of Commons and the Senate.

Trudeau noted that Canadians have been clear that they want – and need – Canada’s national security and intelligence communities to continue to be responsible and fully respect the rights and freedoms guaranteed to all citizens.

The Committee – to be chaired by David McGuinty, MP for Ottawa South – will have the authority to review national security and intelligence activities carried out across the Government of Canada. This includes activities undertaken by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Communications Security Establishment, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Canada Border Services Agency, amongst many others. The Committee’s mandate allows an unprecedented level of review and promotes government-wide accountability.

The Committee will provide the Prime Minister with annual reports on its reviews – including any findings and recommendations – that will be tabled in both Houses of Parliament and referred to the appropriate Standing Committees. Special reports may also be issued as needed.

Trudeau said: “The creation of a strong, accountable, and multi-party committee of dedicated parliamentarians will help us ensure that our national security agencies continue to keep Canadians safe in a way that also safeguards our values, rights, and freedoms. This independent group will help strengthen the accountability of our national security and intelligence work. In our system of responsible government, there is no substitute for scrutiny by parliamentarians.”

The members of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians will include:

  • Gordon Brown, Conservative
  • Tony Clement, Conservative
  • Percy E. Downe, Senate
  • Emmanuel Dubourg, Liberal
  • Hedy Fry, Liberal
  • Gudie Hutchings, Liberal
  • Frances Lankin, Senate
  • David J. McGuinty, Liberal (Chair)
  • Murray Rankin, NDP
  • Brenda Shanahan, Liberal
  • Vernon White, Senate

The Committee will be supported by an independent Secretariat that will be led by an Executive Director to be appointed in the near future.