Is the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service Going to

Protect the Status Quo or Join the Reform Initiative?


© 2010 Brad Kempo B.A. LL.B.

Barrister & Solicitor    


Canada’s security apparatus is a combination of many federal, provincial and municipal agencies working collaboratively to protect the country from that which is deemed a threat.  The question becomes who defines what constitutes a ‘threat’?  The answer isn’t what you might think at the intersection of power, wealth and secret international alliances.   That which all Canadians agree is a danger and menace to our way of life and the values we all hold dear no longer apply and instead it’s all about Chinese joint sovereignty, economy monopolization and wealth misappropriation in staggering amounts.


Most Canadians have no idea how the country’s law enforcement, intelligence and military communities function; trusting that they do what is necessary to protect the integrity of our system of government, the administration of justice, the economy and our civil and human rights.  That conviction and having blind faith they operate to keep us all safe is about to be shattered; replaced with a feeling of such betrayal the executive heads of each agency will, as was the case in old Europe, roll.  



One of the major backbones of the hitherto non-transparent policies and practices begun by the Trudeau Liberals and old money families has been the security apparatus, which became more and more clinically sociopathic as their political masters and financers did through trans-generational nepotism and patronage, lengthy Liberal rule and embracing what Chinese communism held dear.  By the early 1980s these agencies had adopted the principles and practices of totalitarians and triads because that’s who were in the beds of our political and corporate leaders. 



The question now becomes whether CSIS, which took full advantage of and abused the ‘national security’ confidentiality given it by law will remain complicit and loyal or change sides and join the reform movement. 



The best example of this defection from a corrupt and authoritarian old guard is the Securitate, the Romanian secret police, in 1989.  As the grass roots uprising reached its crescendo, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu and his wife fled; and then were captured, tried and executed.  This brought a swift end to his Soviet style paradigm of governance.  The revolt began mid-November of that year and the regime fell on December 25th. 



Canada’s security apparatus is comprised of many different agencies.  One umbrella organization is called INSET; which stands for ‘Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams’.  On the RCMP website is stated the following: 



National Security requires an integrated approach to ensure early detection and prevention of any potential threats to Canada and the public. The importance of greater integration of resources and intelligence has been heightened by the reality of terrorism for many countries, including Canada.


The RCMP has refocused its National Security Investigations Sections (NSIS) to become Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSETs) in major centres throughout the country.


The purpose for this is to increase the capacity for the collection, sharing and analysis of intelligence among partners with respect to individuals and entities that are a threat to national security and; create an enhanced investigative capacity to bring such individuals and entities to justice; and enhance partner agencies collective ability to combat national security threats and meet all specific mandate responsibilities, consistent with the laws of Canada and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 


INSETs are made up of representatives of the RCMP, federal partners and agencies such as Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), and provincial and municipal police services.


The mandate of INSETs is to: 


1.      Increase the capacity to collect, share and analyze intelligence among partners, with respect to targets (individuals) that are threat to national security.


2.      To create an enhanced enforcement capacity to bring such targets to justice.


3.      Enhance partner agencies’ collective ability to combat national security threats and meet specific mandate responsibilities. 



INSET spearheaded the September ’08 investigation triggered by the Security of Information Act complaint.  The fact it was terminated some six months later is a testament to the power and resiliency of who procured and have been perpetuating and protecting the interests of totalitarians and triads and their Canadian accomplices in government, the administration of justice and economy. 



So the question therefore becomes “who and what does Canada’s national security regime protect?”.  Clearly, given what’s documented in the CSIS-RCMP Sidewinder Report it’s not the interests of thirty million plus citizens; but rather that of foreigners with an ideology that is antithetical to what we cherish and organizations that violate The Criminal Code of Canada. 



The answer lies in a remarkable academic publication most Canadians never heard of before, and served as a valuable guide when researching the true nature of Canadian governance.  A collection of academics and investigative journalists ask the question in its title Whose National Security? Canadian State Surveillance and the Creation of Enemies (Gary Kinsmen, Dieter K. Buse & Mercedes Steedman, Between the Lines, Toronto 2000).   The contributors to this work define ‘national security’ not in conventional terms of military and intelligence secrets, practices and protocols and protecting Canada's interests as our citizens view them, but rather in the following way: 



The constructs of “national interest” and “national security”, then, cannot be taken for granted.  We need to ask whose national security is being protected … and who is doing the defining.  




[M]any forms of state organization have taken action against persons and groups seen as threats to those in power.  From being supposed enemies of those in power, these groups become transformed into enemies of the nation or enemies of the state. 


The right of governments to use these “national security” procedures against opponents is generally enshrined in constitutions and in laws (and, in Canada, cabinet directives) that are mobilized against “subversives” and “dissidents”.  Often these “security” campaigns have been waged against groups that are attempting to transform social relations and government policies through democratic forms of popular struggles. 




But surely people have a basic right to be different, to advocate for change, and to seek to expose the misguided, sometimes illegal, and often repressive actions of the state and its dominant classes and groups.  




[W]hile Canada’s security intelligence service has mostly been above partisan politics, it has not, of course, been above politics.  The very process is implicitly and explicitly political.  The security intelligence agencies exist to maintain and protect a political system.  




The members of the political, economic, and social elite who defined Canadian national security were interested in perpetuating social regulation, in ensuring a social stability that would, in the end, be to their own benefit and to the benefit of others like them. 


Another valuable publication is Andrew Mitrovica’s Covert Entry: Spies, Lies and Crimes Inside Canada's Secret Service (Random House of Canada Limited, 2002):



This book is about secrets and spies. It is also an account of lies and crimes ordered and condoned by high-ranking public servants in the name of Canada’s national security.


Covert Entry had its origins in 1999, when as an investigative reporter at the Globe and Mail, I first cast a critical eye on Canada’s spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).  I soon realized how little Canadians knew about the mandate, powers, resources and leadership of the intelligence service that is supposed to protect us from increasingly amorphous enemies at home and abroad.




The new agency was invested with extraordinary powers in order to protect “Canada’s national security interests and the safety of Canadians.” In fact, CSIS’s ability to invade the lives of Canadians is unmatched in government. If it decides, in secret, that you constitute a threat to national security, CSIS can listen in on your telephone calls at home and at work. It can deploy an army of watchers to monitor and record your every movement twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. It can intercept and open your mail without your knowledge. It can break into your home and office and install state-of-the-art voice- and video-recording devices. If you become a target, your family, friends and neighbours can also be subjected to this suffocating scrutiny. Your life -- past, present and future -- is fair game. In effect, the act that created CSIS simply made legal the old service’s tactics.




What I discovered behind the carefully constructed artifice is an intelligence service, still in its infancy, riddled by waste, extravagance, laziness, nepotism, incompetence, corruption and law-breaking. Far from being a shining example to sister intelligence services, CSIS and its imperious leadership remain wedded to its predecessor’s destructive habits.




Chrétien’s lack of interest in Canada’s continuing role in the spy wars is, I believe, welcomed by the men and women who run CSIS.  It signals to them that they enjoy free reign.  Comfortably ensconced in their sixth-floor offices, CSIS’ executive branch behave as though they are unimpeachable, safe from meaningful accountability, discipline or reform.  This complacency has bred a culture of impunity at CSIS, founded on what is widely referred to at the spy service as the “Ways and Means Act”: if you have a way to get things done, the means – legal or not -- are justified.




Elcock has deflected critics, parliamentarians and inquisitive reporters with a wave of his hand and has dismissed questions about his controversial tenure as CSIS director with bluff assurances and monosyllabic answers.  He has emerged unscathed, in part because he has skillfully forged alliances with journalists – particularly in Ottawa’s incestuous orbit – and academics who have, in exchange for his ear and his information, defended him and the service.  But in large measure, Elcock and CSIS have been shielded from accountability by less-than-tenacious watchdogs and a succession of junior ministers who prefer to play the role of marionette rather than defend the public interest.




What in significant measure helped the security apparatus protect the status quo from threats to what was critically important to the rich and powerful?



In May 2000 press reports revealed that the government’s Human Resources Department had complied a high computer database of information on individual Canadian citizens, raising great concerns once again about privacy and state surveillance.  The database contained two thousand pieces of personal and financial information on each of thirty-three million Canadians, living or dead, and under existing regulations the RCMP and CSIS could have access to these vast computer files in the normal course of investigating individuals.



In sharp contrast to these critiques and what the Fiefdom research project discovered in part using them is testimony of Jean Chrétien’s CSIS Director; constituting more of what the treatise describes as the “cleverly manufactured façade of democratic respectability”:


Ward P.D. Elcock 

·         B.A. Political Science, Carleton University, Ottawa

·         L.L.B. Osgoode Hall Law Society School 

·         Admitted to the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1975


Career Profile 


1973–1974      Articling student, Department of Justice

1975–1979      Lawyer assigned to Energy, Mines and Resources


1979–1980      Lawyer assigned to the Department of Finance and Treasury Board


1980–1983     General Counsel, Legal Services, Energy, Mines and Resources


1983–1989      Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Legislation and House Planning) and Counsel, Privy Council Office 


1989–1994     Deputy Clerk, Security & Intelligence, and Counsel, Privy Council Office 

1994–2004      Director, Canadian Security Intelligence Service

August 2004    Deputy Minister, Department of National Defence 


Appearance by Ward Elcock, Director Canadian Security Intelligence Service at The Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies Conference

October 16, 2003

Read speech



Canada’s democratic principles are honoured in every reasonable respect by a group of people who hold Canadian ideals to be at the core of their everyday working lives. Both the MacKenzie and McDonald commissions recommended that Canada’s intelligence service be governed by a strict regime of political accountability. Simply put, CSIS exists because the government concluded that the rights of Canadians had not been adequately protected. As it was constituted in the Act, the purpose of CSIS was to protect rights, to work within the law and to be accountable to the elected government.




CSIS is a better organization because of the Act’s accountability regime, which has resulted in a disciplined and competent service. This regime ensures that our investigators deal with threats in a way that protects the rights of Canadian citizens.




Apart from civilianization, education and cultural orientation, specialized training has helped to ensure that individual rights are respected in the application of the systems and processes that are prescribed in the CSIS Act. Our professional standards require that an intelligence officer be trained to respect civil liberties as well as be trained in the operational ways and means.



While the Kinsmen and Mitrovica publications focus on circumstances not related to the secret alliance with totalitarians and triads, their analytical frameworks are applicable.  The exact same conclusion is to be reached about what CSIS and its collaborating agencies have been doing to protect them all these decades.  Sure, a small constituent of CSIS and the RCMP were responsible for authorship of The Sidewinder Report and commencing the September ’08 investigation.  But the fact their 1990s findings were suppressed and the investigation a decade later was cancelled in its early stages is cumulative proof top tier decision makers in the security apparatus, government and the economy colluded to undermine their integrity and proper functioning, leaving citizens vulnerable and helpless to profound systemic abuses of political, bureaucratic and corporate power and the whims of clinical sociopaths who embrace a “culture of entitlement”. 



The question now becomes whether there will be resistance to and sabotage of reform and accountability or will those who face a life sentence for violating The Security of Information Act accept the amnesty being offered in exchange for terminating the old guard.  Formal contact with the CSIS Director Richard Fadden through his Chief of Staff, Nicole Currierwas first made on May 20th, 2010 with a follow-up on May 31st .   She indicated during the latter telephone call someone from the agency would be in touch when a decision is made. 



Director Fadden’s inaugural speech will in due course be interpreted either as genuine or perpetuating the multi-decade façade of democratic respectability that protects the nefarious status quo: 



Remarks by Richard B. Fadden, Director, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, to the Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies (CASIS) Annual International Conference

October 29, 2009

Read speech


[S]ecurity is a human right. Security and rights are not in opposition, but are intertwined like DNA strands. Together they form part of the genetic code of modern citizenship. People around the world yearn for both civil liberties and security, and have a right to both. People come to Canada to enjoy a high level of political, economic and religious freedom. They also come to Canada to avoid the impunity and arbitrary limits on those freedoms that are, sadly, commonplace in many parts of the globe. Security and human rights are not matter and anti-matter. They are compatible, and inseparable. […] A generation of employees, who know their CSIS Act pretty well, heeded those values.




CSIS has very strict criteria on whom it can target, and intrusive intelligence-gathering can only be conducted with a warrant, which must be approved by our Minister and a Federal Court judge. I do predict, however, and I would be happy to talk about this in a few years, that within several years, someone will accuse us of acting like the Stasi [East Germany's secret police, 1950–90] because of the information we are now compelled to keep.




The Cold War ended and the walls came tumbling down, but there is still a certain chill in the air. While our public role is usually associated with collecting intelligence on terrorism, we still commit considerable resources to espionage and foreign interference in Canada. Our country is a scientific innovator, and we have strong and developed diplomatic and military links. We continue to protect these vital gateways because knowledge is power and is of course part of our national interest.




CSIS has evolved and grown remarkably over the past decade. Our budgets and the number of employees recently reached historic highs. […]  Our work with our security partners has helped … protect Canadians from harm.




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