NDP takes steps to protect Canadians’ privacy

OTTAWA – NDP Digital Issues critic Charmaine Borg (Terrebonne–Blainville) is calling for an emergency debate on how Canadians’ personal information is being collected by law enforcement and national security agencies.

“As parliamentarians, it is our responsibility to balance public safety and national security interests against the privacy rights of law-abiding Canadians,” said Borg. “New Democrats have consistently supported establishing clear oversight legislation for electronic surveillance.”

It was recently revealed that in 2011 Defence Minister Peter MacKay approved a Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) program that monitors Canadians’ Internet and telephone activity. While current legislation prohibits CSEC from targeting Canadians, companies can disclose Canadians’ personal information to law enforcement agencies without supervision. In a letter to House Speaker Andrew Scheer, Borg also called for appropriate parliamentary supervision and reporting of any disclosures to police.

“Intelligence and security experts have consistently identified lack of adequate oversight as constituting a significant problem for privacy in Canada,” said NDP Defence critic Jack Harris (St. John's East). “Canadians need transparency on exactly what data CSEC is collecting and how they operate.”