Bill C-51 Backgrounder #2: The Canadian Security Intelligence Service's Proposed Power to "Reduce" Security Threats Through Conduct that may Violate the Law and Charter
"If bill C-51 passes, CSIS will be expressly authorized to 'take
measures, within or outside Canada, to reduce' very broadly defined 'threats to the security of Canada'. Where authorized by Federal Court
warrant, these 'measures' may 'contravene a right or freedom guaranteed
by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms' or may be 'contrary to
other Canadian law'.
The CSIS changes are dramatic, even radical. In 1984,
parliamentarians granted CSIS a very broad mandate – found in the
definition of 'threat to the security of Canada' in s.2 of its Act – but
were careful to accord it very limited powers. It has been an
intelligence service – it collects and analyzes information and supplies
assessments to the government.
That will change in Bill C-51.
The government proposes radically restructuring CSIS and turning it
into a 'kinetic' service taking physical action well beyond intelligence
collection — and competent to act beyond the law and even the
constitution. We doubt the legality of this proposal for a number of
reasons explored in detail in our backgrounder."
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