National Newswatch

CSIS welcomed energy industry info about alleged threats, documents show

Jul 8 2019 — Jim Bronskill — OTTAWA — Canada's spy service routinely welcomed reports from the energy industry about perceived threats, and kept such information in its files in case it might prove useful later, newly disclosed documents reveal. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service is supposed to retain only information that is "strictly necessary" to do its job, and the spy agency is now facing […]

Ministers appear unfazed by Senate changes to federal gun bill

Apr 9 2019 — Jim Bronskill — OTTAWA — Federal ministers played down notions Tuesday that Senate committee amendments to the Liberals' gun bill would hobble the legislation. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale suggested the government's intentions for Bill C-71 will be reflected in the final version of the legislation, despite efforts by Conservative senators to cut provisions they say penalize law-abiding gun owners. The […]

Former Afghanistan hostage Boyle made frantic 911 call about wife, court hears

Mar 26 2019 — Jim Bronskill — OTTAWA — Former Afghanistan hostage Joshua Boyle made a frantic, late-night 911 call in December 2017 to say his wife Caitlan Coleman had run screaming from their Ottawa apartment, threatening to kill herself. An audio recording of the call, which resulted in a prompt visit from police, was played Tuesday at Boyle's assault trial in […]

Question of solicitor-client privilege comes to fore in SNC-Lavalin controversy

Feb 12 2019 — Jim Bronskill — OTTAWA — The time-honoured tenet of solicitor-client privilege — usually discussed in courtrooms and law-school textbooks — has become a central point of debate in a political controversy over whether the prime minister's aides put undue pressure on a former attorney general. Jody Wilson-Raybould, who resigned from the Liberal cabinet Tuesday, has cited the privilege as the reason she cannot […]

Microsoft offers online protection to politicos amid pre-election security fears

Feb 8 2019 — Jim Bronskill — OTTAWA — As a federal election approaches, Microsoft is offering advanced online threat-detection tools to Canadian political candidates and parties to shore up their cyberdefences. Microsoft's AccountGuard, designed to warn customers about cyberthreats — including attacks by nation-states — will be provided free to registered parties at the federal and provincial level, think-tanks and democracy advocacy organizations that already use the […]

Ottawa hid vital information, claim ailing diplomats who served in Cuba

Feb 7 2019 — Jim Bronskill — OTTAWA — Five Canadian diplomats and their family members who became mysteriously ill while posted to Cuba are suing Ottawa for more than $28 million. In a statement of claim filed Wednesday in Federal Court, the diplomats say the Canadian government failed to protect them, hid crucial information and downplayed the seriousness of the risks. […]

New advisory board to help RCMP modernize amid history of bullying, harassment

Jan 16 2019 — Jim Bronskill — OTTAWA — The federal government is creating an external board of civilian advisers to help the RCMP modernize after years of grappling with internal bullying and harassment. The long-anticipated move follows numerous calls stretching back over a decade for more outside input and expertise to transform the force's insular and outdated culture. Members of an interim board will be […]

Feds poised to bolster RCMP accountability

Jan 15 2019 — Jim Bronskill — OTTAWA — The federal government is poised to try to improve RCMP accountability by placing some external eyes on the national police force. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki are expected to announce the plans at a news conference in Ottawa on Wednesday. The long-anticipated move is the latest attempt at rebuilding the force following years of […]

Canadian officials meet with detainee Michael Spavor in China for second time

Jan 8 2019 — Jim Bronskill — OTTAWA — Canadian diplomats visited detained entrepreneur Michael Spavor on Tuesday, their second meeting since he was arrested in China last month for allegedly endangering national security. They are providing services to Spavor and his family and will seek further access to him, Global Affairs Canada said in a statement. The department is also trying to arrange another meeting with Michael Kovrig, himself […]

Consider making some criminal pardons automatic, MPs recommend

Jan 1 2019 — Jim Bronskill — OTTAWA — A panel of MPs wants the federal government to look at making criminal pardons automatic for some offenders who have served their sentences. The House of Commons public safety committee also suggests lowering the $631 fee for a pardon and simplifying the often complex process for applicants. A criminal record can hinder a person's ability to get a job, find housing, go […]

Months after false Hawaii missile alert, Canada ‘finalizing’ warning protocol

Dec 23 2018 — Jim Bronskill — OTTAWA — Almost a year after a false ballistic missile alert terrified Hawaii, Canada is "finalizing" a protocol for notifying the public of a genuine airborne threat of mass destruction. Internal federal government memos and emails obtained through the Access to Information Act show the early-morning Jan. 13 alert that sent people in the tropical U.S. state scurrying for cover soon had Canadian officials scrambling to figure […]

Canada among targets of alleged Chinese hacking campaign

Dec 20 2018 — Jim Bronskill — OTTAWA — Companies in Canada were among the targets of two Chinese citizens charged with waging an extensive hacking campaign to steal valuable data over many years, U.S. authorities say. In an indictment unsealed Thursday, prosecutors say Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong were acting on behalf of China's main intelligence agency to pilfer information from several countries. Beginning […]

CSIS gathered info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: Watchdog

Dec 18 2018 — Jim Bronskill — OTTAWA — Canada's spy service collected some information about peaceful anti-petroleum groups, but only incidentally in the process of investigating legitimate threats to projects such as oil pipelines, says a long-secret federal watchdog report. The newly disclosed report from the Security Intelligence Review Committee acknowledges concerns about a "chilling effect," stemming from a belief that the Canadian Security […]

Feds endangering rights of accused spy for China, lawyer tells Supreme Court

Dec 17 2018 — Jim Bronskill — OTTAWA — Federal foot-dragging over secrecy is risking the right to timely justice for a man accused of trying to spy for China on Canadian shipbuilding plans, his lawyer charges. In a letter filed with the Supreme Court of Canada, lawyer Frank Addario says Ottawa's failure to resolve questions around disclosure of sensitive information is imperilling naval engineer Qing […]