MONTREAL – Today, the NDP is calling on the Minister of Public Safety, Ralph Goodale, and the Minister of Justice, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to testify before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security about what they knew about CSIS’ illegal activities and when they became aware of them. It was revealed last week that CSIS has been illegally storing information on untold numbers of ordinary Canadians who pose no security threat whatsoever, through its Operational Data Analysis Centre (ODAC). This troubling revelation amounts to a massive breach of privacy, a grave disregard for the rule of law, and a disturbing attempt to hide an abuse of power from the Court

“This is a massive breach of privacy and shows a grave disregard for the rule of law,” said NDP Leader Tom Mulcair. “The Liberal government must explain their attempt to hide this abuse of powers from the Court meant to provide oversight.”

This ruling, along with Minister Goodale’s lack of clarity when it comes to surveillance of journalists by federal authorities is clear evidence of the need for strong new oversight of Canada’s security agencies. The Liberals have so far only proposed an after-the-fact review committee that would be significantly censored.

“This ruling shows that now – more than ever – we need a watchdog with teeth – and claws, with unimpeded access to information, not a censored, after-the-fact review committee, as the Liberals have proposed,” said Public Safety Critic Matthew Dubé.

The Federal Court ruling also mentions the new powers under C-51 that expand potential surveillance targets and give CSIS warrantless access to Canadians’ tax records, for example.

“The Liberals promised to remove the most egregious aspects of C-51. Well it’s now clearer than ever the dangers of that legislation and the need to fully abolish it immediately,” said Dubé.