ontario news watch
Other Categories

Court ruling affirms law curbing parliamentary immunity of spy watchdog members

OTTAWA — The Ontario Court of Appeal has affirmed the constitutionality of a law that limits members of a spy watchdog from using their parliamentary immunity to speak out.

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, composed of MPs and senators from various parties, has access to highly classified information.

Ordinarily, MPs and senators can claim parliamentary immunity from prosecution for statements made in Parliament.

However, members of the watchdog, known as NSICOP, could face criminal penalties for the improper disclosure of information protected under the legislation underpinning the committee and related statutes.

The ruling released this week overturns a 2022 Ontario Superior Court decision that found Parliament could not restrict parliamentary privilege without a constitutional amendment.

A three-member panel of the Court of Appeal says Parliament can limit the right to freedom of speech and debate in the manner laid out in the legislation governing the committee, without a constitutional amendment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 25, 2024.

The Canadian Press

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *