Gord Brown reports from Parliament Hill

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Honoured to serve on Security and Intelligence committee

Gord Brown, Member of Parliament for Leeds-Grenville – Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, says he is honoured to be chosen to serve on the newly-announced National Security and Intelligence Committee. “I am pleased and honoured that the Prime Minister chose me as one of the members of this committee,” says Gord. “This is an important committee that matches similar committees functioning in the United States and Great Britain.”

Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced the establishment of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, a multi-party committee that includes representatives from both the House of Commons and the Senate. According to a release from the Prime Minister’s office, the committee – to be chaired by David McGuinty, Member of Parliament for Ottawa South – will have the authority to review national security and intelligence activities carried out across the Government of Canada.

This includes activities undertaken by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Communications Security Establishment, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Canada Border Services Agency, amongst many others. The Committee’s mandate allows an unprecedented level of review and promotes government-wide accountability.

The Committee will provide the Prime Minister with annual reports on its reviews – including any findings and recommendations – that will be tabled in both Houses of Parliament and referred to the appropriate Standing Committees. Special reports may also be issued as needed.

The Committee was created under the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act, which received Royal Assent on June 22, 2017. Its work will mirror similar committees in the United States and Britain. The members of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians will include, in addition to Gord Brown, the Honourable Tony Clement, P.C., Conservative; the Honourable Percy E. Downe, Senate; Emmanuel Dubourg, Liberal; the Honourable Hedy Fry, P.C., Liberal; Gudie Hutchings, Liberal; the Honourable Frances Lankin, P.C., C.M., Senate; David J. McGuinty, Liberal (Chair); Murray Rankin, NDP; Brenda Shanahan, Liberal; the Honourable Vernon White, Senate.

Religious rights protected:

Gord thanked his colleagues on the Justice Committee for successfully working to protect religious gatherings in Canada. “Conservatives have been working hard to ensure that sections of the Criminal Code, which makes it a crime to unlawfully obstruct, threaten, or harm a religious official before, during, or after they perform a religious service, remained in the Code. That section also makes interrupting or disturbing a religious service a crime,” he explained.

Clause 14 in Bill C-5, which was introduced by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, just days before the summer parliamentary recess on June 6, 2017, would have repealed this section of the Criminal Code. On Wednesday of last week, the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Member of Parliament for Niagara Falls and the Opposition Shadow Minister for Justice, proposed two amendments to Bill C-51 at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. The first amendment would keep religious protections (Section 176) in the Criminal Code of Canada, while the second amendment would modernize the language of this Section.

“Holding the Justin Trudeau Liberal Government to account is our job as the Conservative Opposition. Yesterday, we were successful with the support of tens of thousands of Canadians, including many from Leeds-Grenville –Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, who took the time to send me letters and emails about their concerns over this Bill,” Gord noted.

At a time when hate crimes against religious communities across Canada are increasing, the Justin Trudeau Liberals tried to quietly remove the religious protections covered in our Criminal Code, Gord said. “It is our belief that disturbing a religious service is a very serious offence and should not be treated as a mere mischief charge.

“In the words of the Right Honourable John G. Diefenbaker: ‘I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind’.”

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