Canada is in the midst of a comprehensive—and long-overdue—reform of its national security institutions and legal authorities.
Latest in Canada
Canada is going on the attack—at least in cyberspace. As Canada undergoes the most comprehensive national security legislation reform in over three decades, one of the most notable proposed changes in the sweeping Bill C-59 would empower Canada’s signals intelligence agency, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), to engage in offensive cyber operations.
Canada is embarking on the most substantial overhaul of its national security institutions and governance in over three decades. Should C-59, a national security bill, become law, part four of the bill will amend the legislation governing the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), in several significant ways. CSIS, also known as “the service,” is Canada’s domestic spy agency, whose primary mandate is investigating threats to Canada’s security.
Canadian Intelligence Reform Proposal: An ‘Intelligence Commissioner’ for the Communications Security Establishment
In this second post in our series about Canada’s national security law reform, we begin a discussion of changes proposed for the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Canada’s primary signals intelligence and cybersecurity agency. We focus specifically on how Canada will address an issue that has also arisen in allied states: oversight of bulk collection that may incidentally include communications involving nationals.
Canada is undertaking the most substantial reforms to its national security law since 1984, when its first civilian intelligence agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, was created. Like other democracies attempting to lawfully use emerging technologies, Canada is seeking to codify once-murky intelligence practices into statute.
Editor’s Note: Programs to counter violent extremism (known as “CVE”) attempt to offer non-military and non-law enforcement means to fight terrorism, working with communities to identify potential radicals and move them away from violence. Critics who have the ear of the Trump administration deride them as weak and ineffective, and programs at DHS and other agencies are on the chopping block. Eric Rosand, a non-resident fellow at Brookings and the director of the Prevention Project, calls for renewing U.S. CVE efforts.
Google filed a complaint this week in the Northern District of California to challenge a Canadian Supreme Court ruling that requires Google to delist—that is, remove from its search results—links to certain offending pages. (I wrote about the Canadian case here.) In short, Google’s attempt to fight a global takedown order in Canada was stymied by the fact that the order did not pose a conflict of laws.
Last week, the Canadian Supreme Court upheld a ruling by the Court of Appeal for British Columbia that required Google to delist—remove from its search results—links to a website that appears to violate Canadian law (the result of an intellectual property dispute between Equustek and Datalink that otherwise does not involve Google; for more background on the case, see coverage
Editor’s Note: Perhaps no country is closer to the United States—geographically and culturally—than Canada. Aside from a few unpleasant moments at the birth of the American republic, relations have been warm and mutually supportive. So it is no surprise that Canada watched the election of President Trump, with his insurgent rhetoric and calls for dramatic changes in U.S. policies, with concern.
Editor's Note: Canada is a close American ally, and in both war and peace, the two countries seem bound at the hip. Canada, however, has its own distinct politics, interests, and capabilities, and these are all evident in its debate over the war against the Islamic State. Thomas Juneau of the University of Ottawa dissects Canada's politics and policies towards the Islamic State, arguing that Canada should remain an important part of the U.S. effort to degrade and defeat it.