By Sara Norman
Published November 4th, 2013/ news1130.com
“Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister is downplaying concerns surrounding our country’s spying practices. This comes after the BC Civil Liberties Association filed a lawsuit arguing monitoring by the Communications Security Establishment of Canada violates your rights.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says there’s nothing wrong with the CSEC’s practice of reading our emails, text messages and listening to our phone calls–a program the BCCLA says isn’t monitored, has no judicial oversight, and is against our Charter of Rights.
Baird disagrees: “We have strong laws in place for police authorities, for intelligent agencies, I see no evidence that those laws have been broken in any way shape or form.”
CSEC is permitted under law to read emails, text messages and listen to phone calls from Canadians when they are communicating with someone outside of the country. But the BCCLA says part of their practices violate unreasonable search and seizure protections under the Charter of Rights when CSEC collects metadata created every time we use mobile phones or the internet. The BCCLA hopes their lawsuit will force the government to change this practice.
As for claims by the US National Security Agency leaker, Edward Snowden, Canada’s embassies abroad are working with the US to spy on foreigners, Baird wouldn’t confirm or deny.
“I’m just not going to go into the Snowden discussions,” adds Baird.
Snowden accuses Canada and other countries of having intelligence equipment hidden in walls and architectural features of their embassies abroad.
“We have strong oversight, and strong legislation on [spying] issues,” Baird assures.”