Thursday, July 27, 2023

Keeping up with Canadian Security Stuff

One of the things that Twitter used to do -- though sometimes neither thoroughly nor well -- was to let everyone keep up with things in a general way. 
For example, we used to be able to scan relevant news and views about relevant issues, without needing to read a PhD-level 5,000-word articles. 
These days, we're on our own. 
One of Canada's recent topic areas is national security -- the main news recently has been about Chinese interference in elections, but we've also had news stories and leaks or whistleblowing about how our national security system is working. 
 And honestly, I have to admit, I just can't keep up with it. 
That's why I am so glad that I discovered Wesley Wark's National Security and Intellegence Newsletter. This month he has posted about a batch of issues that probably didn't make the news anywhere else: 
..."it comes down to the lack of a National Security (NS) culture in Canadian government, including around intelligence. Canadians just don’t take NS seriously, despite the dangerous security environment in which we find ourselves and all the events of the last two years (Afghanistan, Ukraine, the freedom convoy, foreign interference). Our major Allies seem to get it, but we don’t. Producing a strategy, creating a cabinet committee on NS, strengthening intelligence coordination at the centre, or being more transparent through public threat assessments and other similar measures, would put us on the same level as our allies. "...
The annual report from the National Security and intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians was tabled in Parliament on July 19. There was no one home to receive it. MPs and Senators are enjoying their summer recess and will not return to the Hill again until the end of September. A stealth release of this important committee’s report is in no one’s interest...
The RCMP have made some intriguing national security arrests recently. One involved terrorism offences. A second was based on charges laid under the Security of Information Act dealing with foreign interference. Both cases have unique features and are the product of long -run and, presumably, complex investigations. 
For anyone interested in the government’s handling of national security issues, the biggest news coming out of today’s Cabinet shuffle is the replacement of the much besieged Marco Mendicino as Public Safety Minister by Dominic LeBlanc. Next in line as big news is the move of Bill Blair from a minor Cabinet post (Emergency Preparedness) to Defence, replacing Anita Anand. Melanie Joly stays as Foreign Minister. This is the big three trio of Ministers with responsibilities for security and intelligence. 
As an addendum to news about the Cabinet shuffle, PMO is also announcing that the PM will create a National Security council-style Cabinet committee on national security and intelligence.
Here's a little more detail about the NSC:
Other newsletters which occasionally discuss Canadian security issues: 
Routine Proceedings by Dale Smith - parliamentary issues including security
Bug-eyed and Shameless by Justin Ling - includes coverage about far-right Convoy stuff
Phillips's Newsletter by Phillips P. O'Brien - particularly about NATO and the Ukraine War

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