Liberal MP Wayne Easter introduced a Bill into the House of Commons yesterday that would establish a national security committee of parliamentarians. Bill C-551, which received first reading, is possibly the first step in establishing parliamentary oversight of Canada’s security and intelligence agencies.

“This legislation would ensure that Canada’s intelligence gathering community has the kind of proactive oversight already in place in a number of world jurisdictions,” he explained. “This legislation is required on an urgent basis. I would remind the Minister of Justice, the Minister of State (Finance), and the member for Windsor—Tecumseh that they, on behalf of their respective parties, endorsed the national security committee of parliamentarians in a 2004 report. Therefore, I would hope that this legislation would move forward on an urgent basis.”

The Bill is not the first attempt to to establish a national security committee. Easter pointed to Bill C-81, introduced by the Liberal government in 2005, as one of the earliest examples.