Other Forms of Scrutiny

AuthorCraig Forcese
 
Other Forms of Scrutiny
e prior chapters have examined the scrutiny role played by the
courts (specically the Federal Courts) and specialized national secur-
ity review bodies. is chapter looks at other entities whose scrutiny
activities may implicate national security and intelligence matters: ad
hoc commissions of inquiry, Parliament, and ocers of Parliament
and other independent bodies. As this chapter discusses, each of these
entities suers from certain disadvantages when it comes to scrutin-
izing the security services. Indeed, were review bodies not to exist,
Canada would have a patchwork quilt of only partial scrutiny of the
security services.
Occasionally, the governor-in-council (Cabinet) establishes ad hoc
independent commissions to probe particular public policy issues or
matters of public controversy, employing its powers to do so under the
Inquiries Act. Recent examples in the national security area include
the – Public Order Commission, established following the gov-
ernment’s use of the Emergencies Act in response to the  “freedom
1 RSC 1985, c I-11.
 | Fundamentals of National Security Accountability in Canada
convoy” occupation in Ottawa and border blockades; the –
O’Connor inquiry on “the actions of Canadian ocials in relation
to Maher Arar” (Arar Commission); the – Major inquiry into
the bombing of Air India Flight  (Air India Commission); and
the – Iacobucci internal or departmental inquiry concerning the
actions of “Canadian ocials in relation to Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad
Abou-Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin” (Iacobucci Commission). e
Arar and Iacobucci commissions focused on information sharing by
Canadian agencies with foreign counterparts and the consequences of
that sharing for the detention and mistreatment of Canadians by that
foreign state. As discussed elsewhere in this book, the Arar Commission
proved especially relevant in assessing the state of Canadian national
security review. e Air India Commission examined the failure of
Canadian agencies to forestall and then properly investigate the 
bombing of Air India Flight , the worst act of aviation terrorism
before / and a massacre planned and set in motion on Canadian soil.
Commissions of less recent vintage include the  inquiry into
“certain matters pertaining to the deployment of Canadian Forces to
Somalia,” the  McDonald Commission into “certain activities of
the Royal Canadian Mounted Police,” and the  Mackenzie Royal
Commission on Security. e Mackenzie Commission and especially
the McDonald Commission responded to lapses and wrongdoing by
the security services then in operation. As discussed throughout this
book, the McDonald Commission provoked a thorough reorganiza-
tion of Canadian security intelligence and led directly to the creation of
the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
A. Triggering Inquiries
Inquiries come in two forms: public inquiries and departmental inquir-
ies. Public inquiries are more common. Under the Inquiries Act, the
2 PC 2022-392 (25 April 2022).
3 PC 2004-0048 (5 February 2004).
4 PC 2006-0293 (1 May 2006).
5 PC 2006-1526 (11 December 2006).
6 PC 1995-0442 (20 March 1995).

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