Libs seek advice abroad on C-51 overhaul - Toronto Sun 20160108

Libs seek advice abroad on C-51 overhaul - Toronto Sun 20160108

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale responds during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale will head to the U.K. and France this weekend for advice on how to transform Canada's security oversight from an arms-length model to one overseen by politicians.

Goodale's meetings will focus on "countering terrorism, radicalization and cyber-security," spokesperson Scott Bardsley told the Sun.

The fact-finding mission is part of the Liberal election platform pledge to "establish an all-party national security oversight committee." That was part of the proposed reforms to Bill C-51, the former government's anti-terrorism act.

Britain's intelligence and security committee oversees a number of agencies and consists of parliamentarians. This is in contrast to Canada's Security Intelligence Review Committee - that oversees CSIS - which is composed of appointees and operates at arms-length from Parliament.

This likely means SIRC's duties would be rolled into the parliamentary committee. This would bring CSIS oversight more into the open, but it could also make it more partisan.

"It's good to have that distance between them and partisan politicians," former SIRC member Deborah Grey said, responding to the news.

It's unclear if the government plans to include the less partisan Senate in the committee. But Sen. Daniel Lang, chair of the Senate committee on national security and defence, said "any oversight committee must include members from both houses of Parliament in order to ensure total parliamentary oversight."

"One important part to note about that committee (in the UK) is it hasn't leaked," Bardsley says of concerns that a committee of politicians would be less secure.

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