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Macfarlane: Are the Liberal party’s calls for parliamentary oversight of Canada’s intelligence services warranted?

By: /
6 February, 2014
By: Emmett Macfarlane
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Waterloo

One concern with the push for parliamentary oversight is the risk that it would actually cloud accountability. This may seem counter-intuitive, given that parliamentarians are elected representatives, but it becomes very difficult for opposition members of the House of Commons to hold the government to account for state activity that they themselves had input and possibly gave approval. In such a scenario, the responsible minister(s) may be able to deflect responsibility or blame by pointing to consensus that emerged within a parliamentary oversight committee.

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