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Testimony on the Hill

Dr. Christian Leuprecht

Queen’s professor Christian Leuprecht testified yesterday on two different bills before Parliament.

Dr. Leuprecht spoke to the Senate of Canada’s Standing Committee on National Security and Defence about Bill-C44 and later that day to the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on National Security about Bill C-51. He is one of just 48 witnesses who have been called to testify on Bill C-51.

“As an academic, I was honoured to be called to testify at both a Senate and a House Committee on the same day, and on bills as controversial as these,” says Dr. Leuprecht, an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Political Studies and School of Policy Studies.

Bill C-44 is an act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Act to give greater protection to CSIS human sources and to more effectively investigate threats to the security of Canada. Bill C-51, an anti-terrorism bill, would authorize government institutions to share information that could undermine the security of Canada and amend the Criminal Code with respect to terrorist activity or a terrorism offence.

As an academic, I was honoured to be called to testify at both a Senate and a House Committee on the same day, and on bills as controversial as these.
- Dr. Christian Leuprecht

“In general, I’m sympathetic to the strategy and the ends of both bills and so I expressed support for the broad rationale and the gaps they fill,” says Dr. Leuprecht. “I stressed the way Bill C-51 actually makes good on Canada’s obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1373, 1624, and 2195 on preventing radicalization leading to politically motivated violent extremism, prohibiting incitement of terrorist violence and recruitment for such purposes, disrupting financial support for terrorism and foreign terrorist fighters, interdicting travel by foreign terrorist fighters.  I also made concrete proposals to make the review process of intelligence activities more robust and effective.”

First, in regards to both Bill C-44 and Bill C-51, Dr. Leuprecht proposed that the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) be able to follow CSIS intelligence throughout federal agencies to ensure that intelligence is handled in accordance with the law and the Constitution. Second, he pointed out that CSIS is already the most reviewed security intelligence service in the world but suggested enhancing SIRC’s effectiveness by adopting the UK model of a separate parliamentary committee composed of select Members of Parliament, including the opposition, who have been security-cleared to be briefed by SIRC as well as the Commissioner of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE).  

Dr. Leuprecht recently laid out his position in two editorials published in the Globe and Mail: “Will Bill C-51 protect or imperil Canadians?” And “Done right, C-51 can balance freedom and security.”

Follow these links to hear Dr. Leuprecht’s testimony on Bill C-44 and Bill C-51.

As well as being a professor at Queen’s, Dr. Leuprecht is a Fellow at the Centre for International and Defence Policy and the Institute for Intergovernmental Relations. Dr. Leuprecht is also the associate dean at the Faculty of Arts at the Royal Military College of Canada and a professor in the Department of Political Science.