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CBC: Even CSIS didn’t need Bill C-51

Now we learn that even CSIS didn’t want the extreme privacy-undermining measures in Bill C-51. Speak out at Article by CBC News The Conservative government alarmed privacy advocates by overhauling the law to give Canada's spy agency easier access to federal data, even though the spies themselves said greater information-sharing could be done under existing laws, newly released documents show.

In a presentation to federal deputy ministers last year, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service said "significant improvements" to the sharing of national-security information were possible within the "existing legislative framework."

The Canadian Press obtained a heavily censored copy of the secret February 2014 presentation and a related memo to CSIS director Michel Coulombe under the Access to Information Act.

Earlier this year, the government introduced an omnibus security bill that included the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, intended to remove legal barriers that prevented or delayed the exchange of relevant files.

The legislation, which recently received royal assent, permits the sharing of information about activity that undermines the security of Canada, something law professors Craig Forcese and Kent Roach called "a new and astonishingly broad concept."

Privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien denounced the scope as "clearly excessive," saying it could make available all federally held information about someone of interest to as many as 17 government departments and agencies with responsibilities for national security.

In the 2014 memo to Coulombe, CSIS assistant director Tom Venner stressed the importance of timely and reliable information exchanges, and he lamented the patchwork of existing authorities that hindered sharing.

- Read more at CBC


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