Do Canada’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies need more power?

WATCH: Former Liberal Defence Minister Jean-Jacques Blais and Paul Cavalluzzo, who was Chief Counsel of the Arar Inquiry, join The West Block with Tom Clark to discuss whether Canada’s police and intelligence agencies need additional powers to stop terrorism.

OTTAWA — The Conservative government has introduced a bill giving new powers to Canada’s spy agency.

Among the bill’s many provisions, CSIS will now be able to legally conduct operations overseas.

These changes were contemplated well before last week’s fatal attacks on two members of the Canadian Forces, but those attacks have raised the possibility of even more laws aimed at tracking and stopping terrorists before they attack.

Jean-Jacques Blais, a former Liberal defence minister and solicitor general and a former Security Intelligence Review Committee (the agency overseeing CSIS) member, and Paul Cavalluzzo, a leading constitutional, labour and administrative lawyer sat down with Tom Clark.

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Cavalluzzo said Ottawa needs a measured response to address whether intelligence officials need more powers.

“Sit back, review the present laws that we have in order to see if they are adequate to deal with this problem,” he said on The West Block with Tom Clark.

“If not, then we will have to respond in a proportional way.”

READ MORE: ‘Police need more powers to combat terrorism,’ says Calgary MP

If intelligence and law enforcement agencies see any increased powers, Cavalluzzo said, the government should also come up with a more effective oversight mechanism to review their conduct and activities.

Blais said he supports the government’s move on foreign intelligence gathering, and agrees with Cavalluzzo’s stance on oversight.

“The more power you have, the better system of oversight you need to indicate,” he said.”I’m not aware of any new laws that would be needed today in order to improve the capacity of the security agencies to do their work.”

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