The tabling of new, omnibus anti-terrorism legislation, Bill C-51, in the Canadian Parliament in January 2015, has re-energized calls for greater “oversight” of Canadian intelligence and security practices. Many voices have weighed in, from former Canadian Prime Ministers, to the NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, who called out Canada for having one of the “weakest oversight” frameworks for intelligence gathering in the Western world. The concern is understandable.
The motion tabled in Parliament this week to extend Canada’s military engagement against the Islamic State (IS) sets a worrying precedent. The decision to expand the air war to Syria is grounded in a confused legality that blurs legitimate concerns with Iraq’s right to self-defence with the dubious legality of a global ‘war on terror’.