Question in the House - FINTRAC Breach and Government Accountability

Murray Rankin Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, the problem is not just about the personal information of Canadians. It is a much larger and more chronic problem that the Conservatives are unable to fix.

Last October, a computer and USB key were stolen from a car. They contained information about more than 700 people under surveillance by an officer responsible for stemming the flow of money to criminal and terrorist organizations.

Can the Conservatives explain the loss of these sensitive documents

Mr. Speaker, I believe the incident the member is referring to was a FINTRAC incident that happened, I believe, last November. The federal agency responsible contacted the local police and the Privacy Commissioner, as well as all affected businesses and individuals.

Some months ago FINTRAC took corrective steps to ensure this never happens again, including changes to the ways it stores and transports information

Murray Rankin Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, protecting the private information of Canadians should be a priority, but the Conservatives have repeatedly bungled these breaches. They have lost hard drives, lost USB keys and exposed the private information of thousands of people.

Now the federal agency charged with preventing the flow of money to organized crime might have actually allowed this information into the hands of the very criminals it is trying to stop.

Why did the government keep these serious privacy breaches secret? Where is the transparency?

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, FINTRAC is an independent arm's-length agency and specific questions should go to FINTRAC.

However, FINTRAC did take action immediately when this occurred, which I believe was in November. It hardly kept things secret. It called the local police. It called the Privacy Commissioner. As I have already said, it contacted all of the affected businesses and individuals.