Skip to main content

Ralph Goodale, MP


Dear friends,

Thank you for visiting my website. I hope this offers you useful information on the work I am doing as Regina-Wascana’s Member of Parliament.

If you have any questions or comments about any federal program or service, or need help dealing with any department or agency of the Government of Canada, please don’t hesitate to contact my Constituency Office. It is an honour to serve our community.


Cyber Security – A Challenge and Opportunity!

Posted on June 24, 2016

As part of my mandate from Prime Minister Trudeau, I will lead an extensive review of all existing measures to protect Canadians and our critical infrastructure from multiple cyber-threats.

This work will be undertaken in partnership with the Ministers of Defence, Innovation, Infrastructure, Public Services and the Treasury Board, among others, as well as other levels of government and the private sector.

Virtually every dimension of how we live our lives is dependent on information technologies.  So are the most critical infrastructure systems which underpin our economy and our society.  We’re all heavily inter-connected and networked which adds huge value to our quality of life.  But it also compounds our vulnerability.

In complex commercial supply chains, a successful cyber-attack on one enterprise can ricochet downstream to impact all their customers and upstream to affect all their suppliers.  We’re only as good as the weakest link.

Major corporations – in telecommunications, finance, utilities, information technology and others – are totally engaged in the global cyber security challenge, investing mega-bucks to protect themselves.  But others, especially smaller businesses with limited time and resources, cannot.  This represents real risk and missed opportunity.

The hackers and scammers who are constantly trying to break into our information systems are a motley, but potent combination of foreign states and militaries, terror groups, organized crime, petty thieves and vandals, and the lonely computer geek in his basement.

Their objectives range from espionage, sabotage and mayhem to theft, extortion, revenge and just sheer nuisance.  There are millions of potentially malicious cyber activities every week.  Hacking tools are readily available, cheap and prolific.

It has been speculated that cyber abuse could well have played a role in Canada’s loss of Nortel.  Innocent Canadian NGOs have had their databases forcibly encrypted and then ransoms demanded to get them back.  It’s estimated that cyber-crime globally causes some $400-billion (US) in economic losses every year, and before the end of this decade that figure could exceed $2-trillion.

We’ve seen the harm done in Ukraine when a foreign government cyber-attacked that country’s power grid.  You cannot even imagine the consequences if a terror group got access to air traffic control systems or the technology that underpins banking, telecommunications or healthcare.

But while we need to be acutely aware of these massive risks, we should not be driven by crippling fear or defensiveness.  I want to approach our Cyber Review as an opportunity to build Canadian strength and excellence, and thereby transform a liability into an asset.

This matters to Canadians.  On a per capita basis, we spend the most time on-line of any country in the world – at 41.5 hours per Canadian per month.

If we get really good at cyber security – at every point in supply chains, at every level of government, and in our personal use of the internet – we can multiply our potential and capitalize on all the advantages of new technology in a digital economy.  And with justifiable, verifiable confidence in the security of our information systems, we can sell our skill and competence to the rest of the world.

The international market for cyber security products and services stands at some $105-billion today.  By 2020, it’s likely to balloon to $170-billion or more.  This represents huge opportunities for Canadian science, research and development, for innovation and cutting-edge manufacturing, and for knowledge-intensive jobs.

Cyber security professionals are a highly specialized, highly sought-after and highly paid subset of IT workers.  The global job market for cyber pros is expected to rise by some six million over the next 4 – 5 years, and current projections indicate a shortfall of 1.5-million in qualified candidates.

Talk about a career and employment opportunity for young Canadians.  A profit centre for businesses.  Stimulating possibilities for science.  And huge potential for building a powerful Canadian brand!

But there’s no sense of this in Canada’s current cyber security strategy, which dates back to 2010 and is decidedly out-of-date.  A Canadian Cyber Review is long overdue.

In this process we will examine cyber structure, governance and funding issues within government.

We will assess existing partnerships and capabilities in the government’s Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre, in the private sector’s Canadian Cyber Threat Exchange, around Critical Infrastructure Tables and through the “Get Cyber Safe” awareness campaign.

But far beyond that, we need to take our cyber game to a whole new level.  I hope our review will raise the profile and the understanding of the cyber threats that face our country and the cyber opportunities we might embrace.

I hope we can lay the foundation for a new and stronger strategy:

  • One that protects the safety and security of Canadians and our critical infrastructure;
  • One that defends fundamental rights and freedoms on-line;
  • One that fosters innovation, economic growth, exciting jobs and prosperity;
  • One that is nimble and flexible to anticipate change and adapt to new technologies as a constant fact of life; and
  • One that defines roles and co-ordinates across jurisdictions, sectors and borders.

Our review needs to rethink how the Government of Canada can best provide leadership.  It needs to vigorously engage and animate the private sector.  It must also stimulate a whole new generation of Canadian cyber talent.

It could also trigger a very useful discussion about where Canadians want the intersection to be found between encryption and absolute privacy on the one hand and legitimate investigations to protect the public good on the other.  Where do you draw that line?  What safeguards are necessary?

A comprehensive, thoughtful review should also help us define a Canadian interest in global governance issues for the internet.

There is obviously a whole lot to be tackled.  I hope Canadians will want to participate vigorously.

Key Commitments Advanced on National Security

Posted on June 21, 2016
  • A National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians
  • A new legal framework for preclearance of travellers to the USA
  • A system to collect basic information when people leave Canada

As the House of Commons finished its spring sitting last week, the Government of Canada introduced new legislation to make progress, as promised, on critical national security priorities.  Publishing the details now will give ample time for these three measures to be studied before they come up for debate and votes in the fall.

With this legislation, Bill C-22, the federal government is fulfilling the single most important commitment it made to Canadians to improve this country’s security and intelligence architecture.

As promised, we are creating a nine-member National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians – two Senators and seven MPs (with only four from the governing political party) – who will have extraordinary access to classified information and a broad mandate to scrutinize any and all departments and agencies of the Government of Canada with security or intelligence functions.

Their objective will be to help ensure that all those departments and agencies are effective in keeping Canadians safe and secure, and that Canadian values, rights and freedoms and the open, generous, inclusive character of our country are safeguarded.

Virtually every other western nation has such a parliamentary vehicle to provide senior-level supervision and accountability.  Canada is the anomaly.  The Auditor-General highlighted this gap more than a decade ago and a previous Liberal government introduced legislation to fix the problem.  But upon coming to power in 2006, the Harper government dropped it.

We have studied how other countries operate, and we’ve learned from their experience.  So far, independent experts have given our proposal favourable marks.  Over the weeks ahead, the government is looking forward to hearing what MPs and Senators, academics, security professionals and all Canadians have to say.  We want a security system that is the best it can be.

One key element of our national security is a smoothly functioning border with the US.  It needs
to be safe, while facilitating border crossings by more than 400,000 people every day, and some $2.4 billion in daily trade.

A sound and expanding “preclearance” system is a major asset.  It allows travellers to clear US Customs and Immigration procedures before crossing the border.  Unique in the world, Canada has enjoyed preclearance privileges in air travel into the US since the 1950s.

Preclearance is now offered on cross-border flights from Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto Pearson, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax.  It saves a lot of time upon arrival, and opens a vast array of direct travel options to US airports that don’t have customs facilities.
The Americans are now offering preclearance opportunities to travellers from many other countries too.  As they do so, they are standardizing their administrative and legal frameworks.  So Canada has concluded a new arrangement.  It lays the groundwork for an expansion of preclearance operations in both directions and in all modes of transportation (air, rail, marine and land).

That’s what is embodied in Bill C-23, now before Parliament.  But what’s even more important is a Canada-US business agreement in principle to take advantage of expansion opportunities – starting with Billy Bishop City Airport in Toronto, Jean Lesage Airport in Quebec City, the train from Montreal to New York, and the Rocky Mountaineer Railroad in BC.  Informal train and cruise ship sites on the west coast will be regularized.  And the door has been opened for other new Canadian venues and possibly the preclearance of cargo.

Canadian border officers carefully examine everyone who enters Canada, but unlike most other countries, we have had no system in place to record who is exiting.  This leaves a big security loophole. Our new Bill C-21 will remedy that problem in a simple, unobtrusive way.

After the law is enacted, Canada will begin collecting basic “exit” information on everyone leaving the country.  It’s nothing more than the brief biographic data shown on Page Two of your passport (name, date and place of birth, sex, nationality), together with the date, time and place of your departure.

For those who leave by land, when you show your passport to customs officials on the US side, they will automatically transfer that information back to Canada.  For those leaving by air, Canada will collect that same basic information off the passenger manifests of departing aircraft.  There’s no new burden on travellers.

Having exit data will make our border more secure. We will be able to respond better to Amber Alerts about missing children, and to other criminal activities like human trafficking, smuggling and illegal travel for the purposes of terrorism.  We’ll be more efficient in dealing with immigration and visa issues.  And we will help to protect the integrity of Canadian social programs.

Privacy is always be a prime priority.  So in devising this new exit data arrangement, the government has sought the good advice of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

These are three important public safety and national security initiatives.  Your questions and comments are always most welcome.

Summer jobs more than double in Saskatchewan

Posted on June 13, 2016

REGINA, Sk. June 13th, 2016 – Member of Parliament, Ralph Goodale, today announced the expanded “Canada Summer Jobs” program (CSJ) has helped to generate seasonal jobs for 1,873 young people across Saskatchewan – more than double the 836 positions created last year. Nationally, the program has produced more than 70,000 summer jobs, again more than double last year.

In his Regina-Wascana federal riding, Goodale said 86 local organizations using the CSJ program created 166 jobs for young people this summer, way up from just 61 jobs in 2015.

“By doubling federal funding for this program,” Goodale said, “the amount invested by the Government of Canada in summer job creation in this riding climbed to $576,644. It’s money very productively put to work, supporting a broad range of local employers.”

“The objective is to encourage those employers to generate summer incomes for students, while also equipping them with some of the skills and experience they’ll need in their future careers,” Goodale said.

The employers include private sector firms, local government entities, educational institutions and faith-based groups, together with a broad cross-section of not-for-profit organizations in such fields as sports and recreation, health and care-giving, culture, environmental protection, community service, support for the disadvantaged and more.

The jobs range from early childhood educators to tutors and computer programmers; from coaches and trainers to marketing assistants, administrators, communications officers and junior geologists.

Doubling the Canada Summer Jobs program was a specific campaign commitment last year. Funding was provided in the 2016 federal budget.
This initiative is one component in a broader Youth Employment Strategy being led by federal Employment Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk. It’s focused on reducing chronic joblessness among young Canadians.

-30 –

Scott Bardsley

Huffington Post: Fixing Canada’s National Security Framework

Posted on June 6, 2016

Fixing Canada’s National Security Framework

Read more

Good Public Policy Withstands the Test of Time

Posted on April 18, 2016

Nearly 40 years ago, as a rookie MP representing the sprawling Saskatchewan riding of Assiniboia, it was my pleasure to work with the colourful and energetic […]

Read more

Sound Reasons for Mr. Trudeau’s Decision on OAS

Posted on March 20, 2016

Reversing the previous Conservative government’s plan to diminish the value of Canada’s publicly-funded Old Age Security (OAS) system, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has confirmed that the […]

Read more

A Better Border: More Prosperous, More Efficient, More Secure

Posted on March 16, 2016

Justin Trudeau’s government made significant progress last week in bolstering Canada’s vital relationship with the United States. Managing that relationship successfully is every Prime Minister’s largest […]

Read more

A Credible Regulatory System Paves the Way for Exports

Posted on February 2, 2016

To reap the economic benefits that flow from the development of our valuable natural resources, we need a credible regulatory system that Canadians know they can […]

Read more

Harper oblivious as Canada shrinks towards recession

Posted on July 31, 2015

It’s officially five months now – five consecutive months (January through May) during which the Canadian economy got smaller and smaller. The figures for May were […]

Read more

Another Stephen Harper Senatorial rabbit-hole

Posted on July 27, 2015

With a rash of bad news about the Canadian economy falling into a second recession and Stephen Harper’s deficit not in fact being eliminated, and with […]

Read more

Subscribe to Goodale Commentaries

For a periodic commentary on important public issues, order "Ralph Goodale's Report," sent to you directly by email

Contact Us

310 University Park Drive
Regina, SK S4V 0Y8
(306) 585-2202

House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Mail may be sent postage-free.

(613) 295-1761