Conservatives decry approach to parliamentary security committee

Liberals are ready to politicize watchdog committee on national security and intelligence, Conservatives say

Conservative MP Erin O'Toole. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Conservative MP Erin O’Toole. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

OTTAWA — The Opposition Conservatives are accusing the Liberals of politicizing a watchdog committee on national security and intelligence before it has even been set up.

Public Safety critic Erin O’Toole says the Liberals aren’t consulting either his party or the NDP on the shape and mandate of a committee that should be completely non-partisan as it oversees the country’s spy agencies.

In a letter to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale being sent today, O’Toole lays out his party’s suggestions for some ground rules for the body.

They cover ideas for the mandate, structure and duties of the committee, including a requirement that it publish an annual report and that all its members should have had some exposure to security, intelligence or defence issues.

Formation of the committee was a Liberal campaign promise that followed the passage of a Conservative law extending the powers of spy and security agencies.

Goodale plans to introduce legislation to create the committee this spring and a spokesperson says there will be ample room for opposition input.