Murray Rankin’s ‘daunting’ role as new spy watchdog by Jack Knox, July 25, 2019, Times Colonist
You can just about hear Murray Rankin gulp over the phone from Ottawa.
“Let’s be honest, it’s daunting,” the Victoria MP says of his new challenge. “But it’s so important.”
“It” is Rankin’s appointment by Justin Trudeau to head an independent watchdog for Canada’s security and intelligence agencies, one intended to ensure their activities are legal, reasonable and necessary.
The job, announced Wednesday, comes with a ton of responsibility and with access to secrets that Rankin will never be allowed to divulge. So much for easing into post-political life.
The new National Security and Intelligence Review Agency will, for the first time, bring oversight of all of Canada’s cloak-and-dagger efforts under one umbrella.
That means the new agency will absorb the Security Intelligence Review Committee, which looks at the activities of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. It will also watch over the lesser-known Communications Security Establishment and the intelligence- and security-related activities of all other federal bodies — the RCMP, the Defence Department and the Canada Border Services Agency, to name a few.
“We have oversight over the whole thing,” Rankin says.
The former UVic law professor announced in January that he would not seek re-election to the House of Commons seat he first won in 2012. That the prime minister should, after consulting with other party leaders, appoint a New Democrat to chair the new agency offers reason to have faith that it will be independent, Rankin says. [He can’t believe what he’s saying! Industry, Trump, China, Koch Bros, Israel will never let it be independent]
Rankin says the call from Trudeau came as “a complete surprise, and a pleasant one.” (The two were to meet when the prime minister was in Victoria last week, but couldn’t make their schedules mesh.)
Rankin’s background did offer hints that he might be considered for the job, though. As a grad student at Harvard Law School he focused on national security and freedom of information. He later served as a lawyer for the Security Intelligence Review Committee and as a special advocate under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act — a lawyer with security clearance, appointed by the court to ensure people held or facing deportation for security reasons were treated fairly.
Since 2017 he has served on the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, a group of MPs and senators cleared to study top-secret information. He knows a lot of stuff he can’t talk about. “Sometimes you get quite anxious about what you learn,” he says.
Both the creation of the new agency and Rankin’s appointment won approval Wednesday from an insider we’ll just refer to as a retired senior public servant with experience in intelligence: “I don’t know of any other sitting MP who could match him for experience in the security and intelligence world.”
That world includes the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, which is tasked with detecting and stopping espionage directed against Canada, and Communications Security Establishment, which intercepts foreign communications for intelligence purposes. It’s the Communications Security Establishment’s job to listen for terrorists plotting to blow us up, say, or to watch out for Russians using the internet to interfere in our elections — but that doesn’t mean it may eavesdrop on you and your buddy for no good reason. [Bullshit!]
“We have rights and freedoms that we have to safeguard,” [Rights and freedoms that the Supreme Court of Canada showed the world clearly, they care diddly squat about when it comes to the oil and gas industry] says Rankin, whose role will be to ensure that the extraordinary, intrusive powers with which such agencies are entrusted in the name of keeping Canadians safe are wielded in accordance with the rule of law. [Triple bullshit!]
At the same time, he is supposed to ensure those agencies do their job. “If there’s a threat, are the agencies adequately responding to that threat?”
Rankin’s new four-year post is a non-partisan role, meaning he won’t be able to campaign or fundraise for the NDP prior to October’s election. “I have to have a bright red line between by former life as a politician and this new responsibility.”
He will resign as MP and take on the new job Sept. 1 (which will probably be just a couple of weeks before Parliament is dissolved for the election anyway).
Also named to the new agency Wednesday were Craig Forcese — a University of Ottawa law professor and expert in national security — and the four current Security Intelligence Review Committee members.
Prime Minister announces members of the new National Security and Intelligence Review Agency News Release by PM Justin Trudeau, July 24, 2019 Ottawa, Ontario
Our security and intelligence communities must keep pace with evolving threats to the safety and security of Canadians, and they must do so in a way that safeguards our rights and freedoms and the people’s trust in how the government works.
That is why the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced the members of the new National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA).
The NSIRA has the authority to review any activity carried out by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service or the Communications Security Establishment, and any national security or intelligence-related activity carried out by federal departments and agencies. To fulfill its expanded mandate, the NSIRA will have full access to all information held by the Government of Canada, including classified and sensitive information, with the sole exception of information that is subject to the confidence of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.
The NSIRA will work to ensure that Canada’s national security agencies are complying with the law and that their actions are reasonable and necessary. It will have full and independent authority to determine what government activities to review, and be able to hear public complaints related to the activities of Canada’s security and intelligence agencies.
To promote transparency, the NSIRA will present annual reports to the Prime Minister on its activities, which will also be tabled in the House of Commons and the Senate.
“We have modernized our security and intelligence agencies to ensure we continue to keep our country and all Canadians safe and secure. The members of the new National Security and Intelligence Review Agency will play an important role protecting Canadians and their rights and freedoms, while keeping our country’s national security and intelligence agencies accountable to the citizens they protect.” [Pffft! Not believable, even with the two new members. The agencies have too much power, too often have shown no respect for the Rule of Law or the rights of Canadians, and have been too much corrupted by multinationals like Encana to serve corporate interests rather than national security.
Hop to the future, 2020:
2020 02 15: Pissing on Reconciliation, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney calls First Nations “Fringe Groups” and spews rule of law while he remains under investigation by the chicken shit RCMP for breaking it. Law Prof Heidi Matthews: “‘Rule of law’ is a conservative talking point.”
End hop to the future.]
The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
The new members of the NSIRA, appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister, are:
Murray Rankin, Q.C. (Chair)
The four remaining members are past members of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, who will continue to serve for the remainder of their original terms.
These members are:
The Honourable Pierre Blais, P.C.
The Honourable L. Yves Fortier, P.C., C.C., O.Q., Q.C.
The Honourable Dr. Ian Holloway, P.C., C.D., Q.C.
The Honourable Marie-Lucie Morin, P.C., C.M.
The NSIRA assumes the review and complaints functions of the Security Intelligence Review Committee and the former Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner. The NSIRA will also hear certain complaints regarding the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The NSIRA will complement the important work of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. Together, they will provide comprehensive scrutiny of Canada’s national security and intelligence activities.
The NSIRA was created under the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency Act, which received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019.
The NSIRA will review activities undertaken by:
- the Canadian Security Intelligence Service,
- the Communications Security Establishment,
- and national security or intelligence related activities of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police,
- the Canada Border Services Agency,
- the Department of National Defence,
- Global Affairs Canada,
- the Department of Justice,
- and others as needed.
Refer also to:
Harper’s Charter-assaulting Bill C-51 isn’t enough for the oil and gas industry and RCMP?
Why do RCMP need a law? They appear to violate Canadians’ rights and get private information whenever they please, laws protecting citizens be damned.
2009 02 12: The Intimidation of Ernst: Members of Harper Government’s Anti-terrorist Squad Intimidate and Harass Ernst after her Legal Papers were Served on Encana, the EUB (now AER) and Alberta Environment
A segment of Ernst presentation at Cochrane, Alberta, September 10, 2011:
February 12, 2009: Following a CTV W5 National News segment of Ernst’s explosively contaminated well water and the ERCB’s (now AER, previously EUB) treatment of her, “undercover” Royal Canadian Mounted Police with Canada’s anti-terrorist squad arrive warrant-less at Jessica’s home in Rosebud to interrogate. EnCana, Alberta Environment and the ERCB had been served legal papers two months previously.
Who ordered Canada’s anti-terrorism squad to harass Ernst at her home?
Who violated Ernst’s privacy rights and gave the squad Ernst’s unlisted home phone number and legal land description of her home?
Encana’s deregulating darling, the AER?
Trudeau taps outgoing NDP MP to chair new national security oversight body, New watchdog will have full access to virtually all information held by the federal government by John Paul Tasker, Jul 24, 2019, CBC News
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Wednesday that outgoing NDP MP Murray Rankin will serve as chair of a new National Security and Intelligence Review Agency, a body that will be keep tabs on the country’s intelligence services, including the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Communications Security Establishment (CSE).
The agency — which will complement another, similar entity composed entirely of MPs and senators — will have the authority to review any activity carried out by CSIS, the national intelligence agency, and CSE, which collects foreign signals intelligence, and any other national security or intelligence-related work performed by federal departments and agencies.
“The members of the new National Security and Intelligence Review Agency will play an important role protecting Canadians and their rights and freedoms, while keeping our country’s national security and intelligence agencies accountable to the citizens they protect,” Trudeau said in a statement Wednesday. “We have modernized our security and intelligence agencies to ensure we continue to keep our country and all Canadians safe and secure.”
Rankin was first elected as MP for Victoria in 2012 and, until recently, served as his party’s justice critic. He was the NDP’s representative on the justice committee during its probe of the SNC-Lavalin affair and former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould’s allegations of inappropriate pressure by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Prior to serving in Parliament, Rankin was a law professor at the University of Victoria, where he taught administrative and environmental law. In his past legal career, he also served as legal counsel to the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) — the agency this new watchdog will replace. As an MP, he was a member of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.
In addition to Rankin, Trudeau also has appointed University of Ottawa professor Craig Forcese to the agency. Forcese is a frequent media commentator who was critical of the former Conservative government’s anti-terrorism legislation, Bill C-51, which he said included “extreme” measures. (Rankin was also a critic of the Tory changes.)
“His appointment is apt after his distinguished career in the law and as a member of Parliament,” NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said in a statement.
“Canada’s NDP caucus has the utmost confidence in Murray Rankin, and we are pleased that an aspect of our nation’s security will be in his capable hands. We know he will carry the principles we share — putting the well being of everyday Canadians first — with him into his new role.”
A graduate of McGill, Carleton, the University of Ottawa and Yale, Forcese teaches public international law, national security law, administrative law and constitutional law. Forcese is also a senior research affiliate at the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society.
In a June 2017 Maclean’s piece he wrote on Bill C-59, the legislation that created the new review agency, Forcese praised the Liberal government’s push for more accountability for agencies that operate in almost total secrecy.
“The government is finally redressing the imbalance between security service powers and those of the review bodies that are supposed to hold them to account,” he said.
“Expert review will be liberated from its silos as the new review agency has a whole-of-government mandate. A new accountability body will now ‘follow the thread’ in reviewing security operations involving multiple agencies,” he said, saying the improved accountability will “go a long way to restoring confidence and credibility.”
Five members of the existing SIRC also have been re-appointed to the new body: Pierre Blais, L. Yves Fortier, Ian Holloway and Marie-Lucie Morin.
The new watchdog body will have full access to all information held by the federal government, including classified and sensitive information, with the exception of information that is subject to the confidence of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada (cabinet documents).
To prevent violations of civil rights and other forms of abuse, the watchdog has been tasked with ensuring these agencies are complying with the law and that their actions are “reasonable and necessary.”
To that end, the body will have “full and independent authority” to determine which activities to review and it can field complaints from the public.
The agency will present annual reports to the prime minister on its activities, which will also be tabled in the House of Commons and the Senate.
Refer also to:
‘A shocking violation of free expression’: Civil liberties groups release ‘Protest Papers,’ call on CSIS for more transparency. Pfffft! As if oily politicians, RCMP & courts will let that happen!
David Eggen, the NDP energy critic, said the impartiality of the regulator has been tainted by the investigators….
“Ordinary people bringing their objections and concerns to the AEUB shouldn’t be treated like terrorists.”
2007 09 22: Disgracefully undemocratic Oil industry controlled (including courts) Canada hasn’t been a democracy for decades.
Counter-terrorism unit set up in Alberta to protect energy industry headline changed shortly after publication to Counter-terrorism unit set up in Alberta to help protect energy industry, public
“I couldn’t believe the degree to which the judicial process had been corrupted,”
2013 10 09: Canadian spies met with energy firms, documents reveal, Government agency that allegedly spied on Brazil had secret meetings with energy companies
AER’s outside counsel, lying Glenn Solomon, duped the courts too, slithering all the way up to Supreme Court of Canada, with judges only punishing Ernst!
The Establishment gets nastier:
A few years later, January 2017, Supreme Court of Canada Justice Rosalie Abella made shit up in her ruling in Ernst vs AER, writing that the regulator found Ernst to be a “vexatious litigant.”
Ernst didn’t file her lawsuit until two years after AER (then EUB, later ERCB) violated her Charter rights. The regulator never found Ernst to be a vextatious litigant, they judged her to be a criminal (in writing). Seven years later, in AER’s court filing, they changed that to Ernst being a terrorist, all with no evidence, no charges, no arrests, no hearing, no trial, no due process.
How the hell can a top judge turn the AER finding Ernst a “terrorist” into a “vexatious litigant” in a ruling and get away with it? (Abella was the swing judge.)
Four Supreme Court justices pointed out Abella’s shit in their ruling; the four others were silent, enabling Abella’s smear of Ernst. But, all nine judges knowingly published the lie anyways, sending it to the media without advising that four justices called Abella out on her lie. The media of course, published the lie.
2019 07 09: Three Leaves to Appeal the Claimed Jurisdiction of Court of Queen’s Bench Over Vexatious Litigants by Jonnette Watson Hamilton:
… For one thing, the litigant has been characterized as a “vexatious litigant” by a person in authority. Their reputation and credibility have been, or can be perceived by the litigant or others to have been, damaged. A vexatious litigant starts out with at least one strike against them….
2014 01 31: Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) illegally spied on Canadians; Harper government insisted CSEC never spied on Canadians; Spy agency’s work with CSIS, RCMP fuels fears of privacy breaches
2014 02 26: Complaint filed over alleged illegal searches of private information on Northern Gateway pipeline opponents by RCMP, CSIS and handing the information over to oil companies and Canada’s national energy regulator
2014 03 31: Devastation Day for Alberta’s Water: The Oil and Gas Industry takes over total control of Alberta’s Fresh Water as “No Duty of Care” Spying AER now a single regulator, 100% funded by industry, takes over Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act and Water Act
2014 04 07: Is this Canada? “Up all night with a license to kill” Miles Howe reports on the trial of Germaine ‘Junior’ Breau and Aaron Francis, Mi’kmaq Warriors
2014 08 08: Meet ASSIST: Alberta’s very own Spy Agency, “Alberta Security and Strategic Intelligence Support Team;” Did ASSIST break into Carmen Langer’s home and steal his files? Did they break into Ernst’s home?
2015 01 30: Citizen Frac Awareness Group vs State of Pennsylvania Terror Listing “Without Evidence” Lawsuit Settles while Steve Harper’s Expanded Terror Listing Powers are “almost certainly unnecessary”
2015 03 25: Did Harper and the oil and gas industry order RCMP/CSIS/Snipers to attack innocent mothers and grandmothers, and set aflame stripped police cars in New Brunswick to discredit all Canadians concerned about frac harms and lay a red carpet for Harper’s Bill C-51?
2015 08 29: England: Kent Police slammed for snooping after asking for list of people attending frac debate at Canterbury Christ Church University
2015 10 25: MUST READ! Will Canadian cops become next victims of industry’s water contamination and fraud? A dangerous new police “best practice?” RCMP members “drink the water” while “trying to understand the shale gas industry” and “educate” themselves. No word on if RCMP plan to try to understand, or investigate, the dangerous and rampant fraud associated with oil and gas industry’s widespread frac contamination, or the number to call if families need RCMP “water taster” to come taste their water after it’s been frac’d, as companies, regulators, and research councils try to cover it up, while lying to the public (including the police) that now toxic and explosive water is “common, normal, and safe”
2016 05 18: “Corruption … At A Gallop.””Ex-Justice Minister Peter MacKay urges: “Respect the Rule of Law” while the RCMP, Encana, AER, Alberta and Harper governments busily break it?
2016 09 16: RCMP ignore “volley of gunfire” to concerned citizen’s home but warn government and industry: “Environmental extremists pose ‘clear and present criminal threat’ to Canada’s energy sector – more likely to strike at critical infrastructure than religiously inspired terrorists.” Canadian and Australian oil and gas lobby groups warn: Industry operations “impact aquifers” and “contaminate water resources” as pre-determined “bullshit” investigations, cover-ups and court rulings fix everything. No word if “religiously inspired terrorists” plan to retire because of the intense competition
2017 10 26: Attorney General of Canada “Breaks rules in Court. All. The. Time.” Fails to File Statement of Defence within 30 days. In Ernst vs Encana, Encana filed Statement of Defence more than 2 years late; Alberta Environment more than 3 years late; AER never filed, with their lawyer Glenn Solomon bragging about it.
Slides above from Ernst speaking events
Ernst presenting in Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Or Frac’d Canadian Scientist?