Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale heads out for the Five Eyes meeting in London on Sunday, and while there, he says the challenges posed by those who use the internet for “illegitimate” means will be going under the microscope.
In an interview with the West Block’s Eric Sorenson, Goodale said the meeting — which will have at least one new face around the table after the swearing-in of Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week — will be a chance to address how best to address the societal harms stemming from malicious use of the internet.
“Cyber security is a growing concern around the world and that will undoubtedly be a major topic of discussion … as well as the use of the internet and the social harms that flow from the illegitimate and sometimes criminal use of internet services and platforms,” he said, pointing to terrorism, violent extremism, exploitation of children and interference in elections as examples.
“Those are some of the issues we’ll be dealing with.”
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He also acknowledged it will be a chance to make other members of the Five Eyes aware of the recent creation of Canada’s new national security review agency.
Established under Bill C-59, the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency replaces the separate review agencies in place for bodies like CSIS and the CSE, and effectively amalgamates all authority for probing the national security activities carried out by government into the new agency.
Retiring NDP MP Murray Rankin will chair the agency. He previously advocated for civil and Indigenous rights as a lawyer before beginning his political career in 2012, and served as the party’s justice critic.
He also served as legal counsel for the Security and Intelligence Review Committee, one of the watchdogs the new agency is replacing, and also served as a special advocate for immigrants and refugees during hearings into whether they posed national security risks.
Goodale said Rankin’s background as an opposition MP and national security and justice advocate was a key part of why he was chosen for the role.
“That is indeed part of the process here. We want to make sure that this agency has independence and credibility, that it’s non-partisan, that it acts always in the Canadian public interest and that Canadians can trust it,” he said.
“He is very well respected both in Parliament and outside.”
Goodale was also asked about reports that the government plans to push its decision on whether to allow Chinese technology firm Huawei to be part of Canada’s 5G network, but said the review into the security of Canadian telecommunications remains underway.
“We’re taking this review process very, very seriously,” he said, pointing to a desire to hear from a range of allies who have different views on whether Huawei poses a security threat.
The U.S., for example, views them as a significant threat and has barred them from their networks, while the U.K. has imposed few limits.
“We want to take all that on board and make sure when we make the decision, it is the right one for Canada, not just what is fastest.”