CSIS oversight rejected by Tories as terrorism bill returns to House

Conservative MPs used their majority on the House public safety committee to quash opposition efforts to tighten rules on when and how the Canadian Security Intelligence Service can use new powers it would get under the government’s bid to expand its mandate.

Over the course of two hours spent on a line-by-line review of bill C-44, dubbed the Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act, the Conservatives voted down each and every amendment emanating from the opposition side of the table.

Among the rejected recommendations was an NDP-backed proposal that would have required CSIS to get a warrant for any extraterritorial investigation that would require such authorization if conducted in Canada.

The Conservative majority also put the kibosh on an attempt by all three opposition parties present to remove wording that states judges considering such applications should do so “without regard to any other law, including that of any foreign state.”

New Democrat public safety critic Randall Garrison also wanted to expand an exemption that could allow the identity of a protected source to be disclosed. And he sought to add a provision explicitly allowing those defending themselves against testimony provided by a witness whose identity has been withheld to have counsel present, provided they have the appropriate security clearance…