The Review Committee has provided a large number of reports to the Solicitor
General of Canada. Some of them have been voluminous, some quite brief.
This report on "The Heritage Front Affair" comes somewhere
between those extremes.
In order to describe what we set out to achieve in this investigation, we feel that we can do no better than quote from our Chairman's statement to the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on National Security on September 13, 1994. Only the readers of the report can judge whether we achieved the goals we set for ourselves.
"First of all, Mr. Chairman, let me explain what we are doing.
As soon as the press report appeared in the Toronto Sun on Sunday, August 14 , we commenced an investigation to find out exactly what CSIS was doing in this area.
We had already looked at CSIS activities regarding "extremist groups" in 1990 to early 1991 and reported on the problems we found in our 1990-91 and 1991-92 Annual Reports.
That review looked at all investigations underway at the time. It was designed to make sure that: only leaders who could reasonably be described as "threats to national security" were being investigated; that the intrusiveness of the investigations was proportionate to the possible threat; and that there was no intrusion on innocent people's privacy. Our review focused on the legality of investigative techniques used by CSIS, including human sources.
The review we have underway now will examine every aspect of all allegations that have been made; down to the smallest detail and including everything even remotely relevant to the case.
The law gives us absolute and complete authority to look at every file, examine any document (except Cabinet Confidences), or interview any person we consider necessary. Contrary to the impression you may have received from the news media, there are no limitations whatsoever on our access to information held by CSIS. In this case, we are exercising to the full the extraordinary powers given to us by Parliament.
But, as you know, Parliament also decided that the results of our reviews should be passed to the Solicitor General pursuant to section 54 of the Act. The Minister must then decide how much of our report can be made public without endangering national security. Only in our Annual Report can we decide what to make public.
We are seeking answers to the following questions:
1. Possible CSIS Source in the Heritage Front
2. Infiltration of the Reform Party
3. Spying on the CBC
4. Provision of Information to Racists about Jewish Groups
5. Harassment Campaign Against Left-Wing/Anti-racists
6. Solicitor-Client Communications
7. Assessment of CSIS Human Source Handling
In addition to the points made in the Chairman's statement to Parliament,
we have addressed the questions posed by the Sub-Committee on National
Security, and the questions posed by the Reform Party through the Chairman
of the Sub-Committee. The allegation that CSIS spied on Post Office workers
is also addressed.
During our investigation, we examined every CSIS file, every internal memo, all reports, threat assessments, reports to the Minister, reports to Police forces and other government agencies, and all other documents having anything whatsoever to do with the "Heritage Front Affair".
We interviewed or contacted one hundred and twenty-one people, many of them several times. We also held five full days of formal Hearings under oath, during which we questioned the principal players in the affair. In the vast majority of cases we received full co-operation from the people we wished to interview. In particular, we received considerable help from members, former members, or supporters of the Reform Party and the Conservative Party.
We regret that despite our best, indeed incessant efforts, we were able to interview very few members or former members of the Anti-Racist Action group. We asked members of this group, both orally and in writing, on many occasions to cooperate with our investigation. We also tried to alleviate their concerns about providing us with information about their experiences at the hands of the Heritage Front. We thought that we had reached an agreement with them in late November, but they did not call us back, as they had promised to do, and we learned from the media that they had decided not to cooperate. We sent a final written request on November 23, 1994 but have received no reply.