On March 4, 2010 Finance Minister Jim Flaherty presented the 2010 Budget in the House of Commons. In keeping with normal procedures, the budget will now be followed up with a series of motions and Bills to implement the proposed measures.
Contained in the Budget, and the Speech from the Throne delivered on March 3, 2010, are a number of issues that the CCLA will continue to monitor.
- Money has been committed to the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Transport Canada for what appear to be security related programs. The CCLA supports measures to ensure the safety of Canadians, and will examine any security policy to ensure that there are no unnecessary infringements of citizens’ privacy or fundamental freedoms. The funding provided to Canada’s security bodies includes $28 million to CSIS over two years to “ensure its effective operation in the current global environment”; $87 million over two years for the CBSA for, in part, “state of the art” vehicle and cargo scanning equipment and information systems; and nearly $38 million to Transport Canada for increased aviation security programs. This is in addition to the $1.5 billion over five years previously allocated to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority and Transport Canada, to maintain Canada’s air transport security system, “to better align with international security requirements, and to keep up with recent U.S. measures.”
- With respect to the Royal Canadian Mounted Policy (RCMP), $8 million has been allocated for the establishment of a new RCMP review organization, which is referred to by the government as a “civilian independent review and complaints commission.” The CCLA welcomes an improved oversight body for the RCMP and monitor further development on this subject. To read more about the CCLA’s position on oversight of the RCMP, click here.
- The government has dedicated $14 million to the National DNA Databank, and announced that it is considering privatizing the RCMP Forensic Laboratory Services. The CCLA is concerned generally about the potential privacy implications of DNA Databank and will monitoring this issue closely.
- The Speech from the Throne made it clear that the government is set to bring back numerous justice bills which died on the order paper when Parliament was prorogued last December. (To read what the CCLA had to say about this prorogation, click here). It is anticipated that these bills will touch upon some issues that are of potential concern to the CCLA, such as minimum mandatory sentences and expanded investigatory powers. For more on the CCLA’s position on minimum mandatory sentences, click here or here. For more on the CCLA’s position on previously proposed changes to the sex offender registry, click here. For the CCLA’s position on increased “cyber surveillance” powers, click here.
To access the government’s summary of the budget (“the Budget in Brief”), the full budget document, the budget speech and other resources, you can visit the government’s Budget 2010 website at website. Many news outlets and other organizations also have Budget 2010 pages, with analysis and highlights. In addition, the text of the Speech from the Throne, which announced the government’s priorities for the 3rd session of the 40th Parliament, can be read in the transcripts of March 3rd, 2010.