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MP says parliamentarians 'need to know' more security info

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Alex Ruff believes it’s time Members of Parliament knew more about the security and intelligence threats facing Canada.

“The world is getting more messed up. It’s a complicated place. I think Canadians want to know more,” said Ruff, the Conservative MP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound.

With 25 years in the military and a seat on the National Security and Intelligence Committee, Ruff has a pretty high security clearance, but most of his fellow MPs do not.

The process to apply is an arduous one that can take months, so Ruff is putting forward a Private Member’s Bill that would allow all Members of Parliament and the Senate to apply for secret security clearance.

He said many higher ranking members of the military, including civilians, have it, so why shouldn’t elected MPs.

“Most of the bureaucrats will always have to get up to a secret security clearance because there is a probability that one of those files that comes across their desk may have classified material. And, in order for them to do their jobs, they need that clearance. I’m making the case, parliamentarians, the probability they may have to see something at that level, has gone up,” said Ruff.

All the vetting would still have to take place, and MP’s could be turned down, but it starts the clock, and vetting process right away.

Ruff’s bill was introduced into Parliament on Feb. 12, 2024. He’s hopeful that other parties will support it so that more decision makers have more pertinent security information to help them make those important decisions.

“It would improve, not only accountability and transparency with the government, but it would increase the seriousness that Canada’s Parliament takes national security and intelligence. And would really educate our parliamentarians to understand the challenges we face,” he said.

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