Sunday, January 15, 2006

Tories propose Canadian Foreign Intelligence Agency

The Conservative Party's election platform document, Stand Up For Canada (PDF file), promises that a Conservative government will "Create a Canadian Foreign Intelligence Agency to effectively gather intelligence overseas, independently counter threats before they reach Canada, and increase allied intelligence operations." The original version of the pledge, reported by Jim Bronskill (Tories to strengthen spying capabilities if elected, Canadian Press, 11 January 2006), promised instead to "expand the Canadian Foreign Intelligence Agency". This caused a certain amount of confusion among intelligence observers, since no such agency currently exists.

The platform document also specifies that the Tories would "Name a National Security Commissioner with the responsibility of providing recommendations to government as to how to coordinate the work of the RCMP, CSIS, the Canada Border Services Agency, a revitalized Coast Guard, a reinstated Ports Police, and a new Canadian Foreign Intelligence Agency, as well as the security aspects of the Departments of Immigration and Transport."

I guess it's a step forward that the Conservatives now realize that there is not yet a CFIA. But they seem to have forgotten that CSE does exist. Unless the plan is just to keep CSE's work uncoordinated.

The Conservative Party's early primate ancestors (AKA the Reform Party) also took an interest in the intelligence community. Reform's 1999 foreign policy document Canada and the Millennium: A New Look at Foreign Policy also promised to "create a new independent agency responsible for the collection of foreign intelligence." But they went on to propose that the government "make available some intelligence analysis, on a cost-recovery basis, to the private sector."

The current, more highly evolved bunch (some of whom even believe in evolution) seems to have abandoned the idea of a two-tier intelligence system.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge where there is no river.
- Nikita Khrushchev

A fitting quote I think, given the subject matter...

January 20, 2006 12:57 am  

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