Former PMs call for better intelligence accountability

Four former prime ministers are among almost two dozen prominent Canadians calling today for stronger security oversight.

OTTAWA — Four former prime ministers are among almost two dozen prominent Canadians calling today for stronger security oversight.

The statement published in the Globe and Mail and La Presse newspapers comes as the Conservative government proposes a new mandate for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

It is signed by Jean Chretien, Paul Martin, Joe Clark, John Turner and 18 others involved in security matters over the years.

The Security Intelligence Review Committee currently oversees CSIS, doing several studies each year and tabling a report in Parliament.

Critics point out the review committee is just that, a review body, not an oversight agency peering over the spy service’s shoulder in real time.

The letter notes that detailed recommendations for a new oversight regime, proposed in 2006 by the inquiry into the Maher Arar torture affair, were never implemented.

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