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Harper to create Canadian CIA
06/01/2006
 
by Ed Hollett : Stephen Harper will create a Canadian spy organization like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to collect information on threats to Canadian security, counter threats overseas and add to allied intelligence capabilities.

 
There is no explanation of how Harper's spy agency will counter threats overseas, although CIA has recently been aggressively capturing and reportedly torturing suspected terrorists in secret prisons overseas.

There is also no explanation as to why a major foreign and security policy announcement was buried in the back of a document that for the most part focused on gun and youth crime. The release, aimed to exploit recent gun violence in Toronto, made no mention of intelligence agencies.

The Conservative plan is buried in a backgrounder to an announcement on security made on Thursday.

* Expand the Canadian Foreign Intelligence Agency to effectively gather intelligence overseas, independently counter threats before they reach Canada, and increase allied intelligence operations.


The Harper commitment to expand the agency is unusual since no such overseas intelligence agency currently exists.

There is no information on Harper's plan beyond the brief mention buried in the party backgrounder. The Conservative policy statement released in March contains reference only to a new agency to co-ordinate existing intelligence activities within the Privy Council Office.

Today's announcement describes an agency with powers significantly beyond those currently held by PCO.

As the 1996 Auditor General's report notes, the main Canadian source of foreign intelligence is the Canadian Security Establishment (CSE). (Left - CSE badge)

This agency, part of the Department of national Defence collects and analyzes electronic intelligence from a number of sites, including automated equipment at Gander and Argentia. CSE is comparable to the National Security Agency (NSA), the American electronic intelligence gathering and cryptological service.

The United States maintains a data collection facility at Argentia that includes equipment to monitor launches from Cape Canaveral.

Canadian foreign intelligence collection and assessment is also provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Privy Council Office, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and elements of the Canadian Forces.

The Martin government has considered adding to CSIS' limited overseas operations, however Harper's proposal would create an entirely separate agency under new legislation. (Left: CSIS badge)

Earlier this year, the head of the CSIS oversight committee warned that CSIS' overseas operations may be straying outside the mandate of the counter-terror agency. Under current legislation CSIS is able to collect intelligence both within Canada and overseas.

A bill to establish the Canadian Foreign Intelligence Agency was introduced two years ago as a private member's bill but died on the order paper at the end of the 37th Parliament.

Recent international news stories have highlighted CIA operations in the fight against terrorism, including the existence of secret overseas prisons, the use of torture by the CIA and suspected shuttling of detainees on CIA-contract flights that sometimes transit Canadian airports like Gander, St. John's and Goose Bay. 
 

RELATED LINKS


Connie campaign chair sets the bar low
by Ed Hollett : Speaking of Derek Zeisman's charges for attempting to smuggle a car and 112 bottles of liquor across the border, Reynold's said that even if Zeisman were convicted "it's not a criminal offence."

Great visuals, Steve
Stephen Harper, defending the Conservatives for running as a candidate someone who is charged with smuggling a Mercedes and a huge quantity of liquor across the border, by saying "I depend on other people to do stuff like background checks for me."

Release the Zeisman form
BC Conservative spokesperson Colin Metcalfe told CBC in that Derek Zeisman filled out a form as part of the nomination process in which he was supposed to disclose relevant information. If Zeisman failed to disclose, then Conservatives can simply make the completed form public.

Harper health pledge already exists
by Ed Hollett : Remember Stephen Harper's pledge to let people travel to other province's to get health care? He called it the Patient Wait Times Guarantee. It already exists. It's already part of the publicly funded health care system in Canada.

Tories to hike taxes - on lowest income earners
Conservative candidate Jason Kenny confirmed Friday that the federal Conservative Party would raise taxes on low income earners.

Blowing the whistle on Kathy Tomlinson
by Ed Hollett : She has NO evidence that anyone knew any - not just some, but any - details of the announcement. Insider trading requires advance knowledge of the content of an announcement. Having access to information which is generally available (see below) doesn't count. It isn't a crime to be well informed.

"Battalions for Everyone"
by Ed Hollett : Harper Christmas campaign: "Battalions for Everyone" continues. Campaigning during the Christmas season in British Columbia, Stephen Harper added to the number of infantry battalions he is promising to create once elected.

Sheila Copps abandons principles, backs Harper
The woman who once resigned her seat on a matter of principle - and good for her for having the integrity then - is now helping elect all the guys who hate her guts and who worked against everything Sheila once stood for.

Son of a Meech
by Ed Hollett : From the sounds of Stephen Harper's latest speech on national unity, the man who once wanted to build walls around Alberta is taking constitutional advice from Brian "Diceman" Mulroney when it comes to Quebec. According to Canadian Press, Harper "pledged to recognize provincial autonomy 'as well as the special cultural and institutional responsibilities of the Quebec government.'"

Choice my foot - updated
by Ed Hollett : What do Scott Reid, the prime minister's communications director and Liam O'Brien, the Conservatives chief blogger in Newfoundland and Labrador, have in common? They are both apparently single men with no dependent children, talking about child care.

Harper changing stand on equal marriage?
by Ed Hollett. Not likely. The Globe and Mail is reporting that the federal Conservative Party is attempting to distance itself from efforts by conservative Christian political activists who oppose equal marriage.

Conservative Gun Control
by Ed Hollett : A reasonable interpretation of the Conservative Party policy manual actually appears to call for an elimination of licenses for firearms owners. Instead, they'll just have to clear a screening program of some kind.

Liam quotes the “American Right” to back Harper
by Ed Hollett : In one of several megaposts lately, Liam O'Brien at RGL quoted someone named Darcy Ann Olsen, who is presented as an expert commentator on child care issues. The link is to an outfit called The Heartland Institute. Here's some background on Heartland, courtesy of the Centre for Media and Democracy. There's another link to another article from heartland in the same piece.

Election madness
by Ed Hollett : Without a shred of evidence other than a vague "suspicion", Conservative member of parliament Jason Kenney is calling for an investigation of supposed insider trading that preceded last week's announcement by the federal government on income tax policy.

Find. Fix. Fire.
by Ed Hollett : There's a reason why in both politics and the army they call it a campaign. Winning requires strategy, logistics, co-ordination and flexibility. There is only one winner. Everyone else is a loser.

Chinooks, Hercs and some Italian bird
As the Globe and Mail reports, the federal cabinet will decide this Monday on a proposal from National Defence to spend $12 billion to purchase new helicopters and aircraft for the Canadian Forces.

The Tragedy of FPI
Halfway through the debate on changes to legislation governing Fishery Products International Limited (FPI), the whole focus has shifted to Harbour Breton, the community where FPI has closed the town's major employment source. Debate isn't really the word for it, though. The whole thing has become a sort of extortion racket. Politicians including Premier Danny Williams are insisting that FPI has to put something back in Harbour Breton, on the province's south coast as a price for their vote.

The tragedy of common-place thinking
by Ed Hollett : Take a look at The Independent this week and you'll see an interesting study in contrasts. On the front page is a solid story by Stephanie Porter on the role of the media in covering criminal trials. It covers the subject thoroughly and quotes local reporters for print and television outlets here as well as news directors, all of whom refer to the need for factual accuracy and unbiased reporting in their news.

OTHER LINKS


SES SPAC - CPC 40, Lib 31
“CPAC-SES tracking has the Conservatives holding on to a nine point lead nationally but further increasing support in Quebec. Conservative support nationally stands at 40%, followed by the Liberals at 31%, the NDP at 14%, the BQ at 10% and the Green Party at 6%.

Release the Zeisman form
BC Conservative spokesperson Colin Metcalfe told CBC in that Derek Zeisman filled out a form as part of the nomination process in which he was supposed to disclose relevant information. If Zeisman failed to disclose, then Conservatives can simply make the completed form public.

Great visuals, Steve
Stephen Harper, defending the Conservatives for running as a candidate someone who is charged with smuggling a Mercedes and a huge quantity of liquor across the border, by saying "I depend on other people to do stuff like background checks for me."

Negativity begets negativity
Conservatives recently condemned the Liberals for what they suspected to be the beginning of a sweeping negative campaign. Before any negative Liberal ads actually appeared the CPC ran an ad containing a picture of a menacing Paul Martin with claims of “corruption,” itself the essence of negativity.

 
 
 

 

 
LINKS

The Robert Bond Papers
Ed Hollett's Blog site covering contemporary polictical issues.

 
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