You may or may not have heard of the Communications Security Establishment, Canada’s most secretive and (for most of its history) non-legal spy agency. You also may or may not have missed the following rather Orwellian regulation:
His Excellency… hereby transfers to the Communications Security Establishment, effective at 00:00:02 on November 16, 2011, the control and supervision of those portions of the federal public administration in the Department of National Defence known as the Communications Security Establishment and the Communications Security Establishment Internal Services Unit.
What that little piece of bureaucrat-speak means is that CSE, whose primary function is to monitor telephone, Internet, and other communications traffic and pull out intelligence-worthy morsels for its masters, no longer answers to civil servants inside the Department of National Defence. Instead, it is now an indepedent agency working directly for the Defence Minister, the Dishon. Peter MacKay. So the man who thinks search-and-rescue helicopters are actually his personal taxi service now has the opportunity to use our country’s most technologically advanced spy agency as his own personal surveillance service.
Here’s the Orwellian part. You may have noticed, as I did and as Lux Ex Umbra has, the odd fact that MacKay seized control of the CSE at precisely two seconds past midnight. That’s because MacKay wants to run CSE without having to follow the relevant employment law, the Public Service Employment Act. To get around the rule of law, the government also passed the following second regulation:
2. These Regulations come into force at 00:00:01 on November 16, 2011.
3. These Regulations cease to have effect at 00:00:03 on November 16, 2011.
Interestingly, these regulations were signed into force on November 15, but not published in the Canada Gazette until December. So by the time you read about them taking effect, the inclusion regulation had expired and the transfer regulation was already illegal again.Tweet