National security committee violates MPs’ parliamentary privilege: Ontario court

Canada’s fledgling National Security Committee faces another challenge after an Ontario court ruled its privacy provisions violated parliamentary privileges for lawmakers.

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The Parliamentarians’ National Security and Intelligence Committee (NSICOP) was created in 2017 by the Liberal government to give security-free lawmakers and senators a measure of review and oversight of Canada’s security and intelligence agencies.

Canada lagged behind in providing public surveillance to the essentially secret world of espionage and intelligence gathering. NSICOP was there to fill that gap.

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But the committee’s secrecy provisions were such that MPs and Senators would not be covered by parliamentary privilege – a fundamental concept in the Westminster system, which gives politicians an exemption in parliamentary debate.

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In May, an Ontario Superior Court ruled that a constitutional amendment would be needed to limit the privileges of…

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