The House

Spy agency broke the law, so who should be held accountable?

This week on The House, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale explains how he plans to respond to this week's scathing court ruling slamming Canada's spy agency.
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale (Michelle Siu/Canadian Press)

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale hasn't ruled out firing those responsible at the Canadian Security and Intelligence for illegally keeping potentially revealing electronic data it collected over a 10-year period.

"There are circumstances that would certainly go to that extreme," he told The House.

On Thursday the Federal Court ruled that CSIS illegally kept potentially revealing electronic data, breaching its duty to inform the court, since the information was gathered using judicial warrants.

Because the metadata — which can include information like email addresses and telephone numbers contacted at a specific date or time, but not the content of the messages or calls themselves — was not related to a security threat, it should have been destroyed.

Goodale said he's tasked the Security Intelligence Review Committee, also known as SIRC, to continue to monitor CSIS.

"The first identification here of a problem actually came from SIRC, came from their review process," Goodale said.

"They are the eyes and the ears of the Canadian public. They get full disclosure of all the details. What I am asking them to do is make sure  that the information here, that court has criticized, make sure that that information is properly handled."

He also said the creation of a parliamentary oversight committee could also offer a future safeguard.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale explains how he plans to respond to this week's scathing court ruling slamming Canada's spy agency. 8:45

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