Canadian Intelligence Eh!

Why doesn’t Canada have a foreign intelligence service?

In a world where everyone is spying on everyone else you would think that having a trained, competent foreign intelligence agency is a given – not in Canada

Episode 200 – What would it take for Canada to create a true foreign intelligence service?

Canada is an outlier in the ‘5 Eyes’ intelligence club (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US) in that it does not have an independent foreign intelligence (FI) service. There is an FI SIGINT (signals intelligence agency) CSE (Communications Security Establishment) and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) does have a FI mandate, but a weird one, constrained to collection in Canada (how Canadian, eh?). Do we need one and how would we go about creating one? Borealis speaks with three former CSIS intelligence officers on this issue.

Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act (

National-security adviser nixes idea of foreign-intelligence agency for Canada – The Globe and MailConfused Over the Debate of whether Canada needs a Foreign Intelligence Agency? You’re not alone! – Global Intelligence Knowledge Network

About my guests

Neil Bisson is currently the Director of Global Intelligence Knowledge Network, Neil Bisson has over 25 years of experience in National Security and Canadian law enforcement environment, he has spent almost two decades with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and ten years with Canada Border Services Agency as a Border Service Officer.

Al Treddenick is the President and CEO of ATNOH Group, a global Public Safety and Security consulting company based in Canada.  Prior to this position, Al was the Director of BlackBerry’s Government Relations team leading the company’s strategic relationships with law enforcement, intelligence, and security agencies around the globe.  Al retired from Canadian Government service after 32 years with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).  While with CSIS, Al was a senior operations officer leading both domestic and foreign Counter Terrorism  HUMINT collection programs.

Dan Faughnan served for over 30 years with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Canadian Armed Forces, retiring as a senior director general. During his long career Dan served in multiple domestic offices and overseas missions, developing and leading a significant number of operations, as well as transformational projects and programs. Dan’s areas of expertise and experience centre on senior leadership in the defence and security sectors, however he has extensive experience at the director and senior executive levels with enterprise risk management, strategic planning, performance measurement, change management, inter-departmental policy development, business continuity planning, and leadership professional development.


In a world of multiple voices and opinions it can be very hard to know where to turn.  One choice is to look to those who actually worked in counter-terrorism in the national security world. In these half-hour podcasts, 30-year Canadian intelligence veteran Phil Gurski is joined by a fascinating array of individuals with something meaningful to say about these issues as they provide insight into what they mean and what we need to do about them. 

About Phil Gurski 

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. He worked as a senior strategic analyst at CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) from 2001-2015, specialising in violent Islamist-inspired homegrown terrorism and radicalisation. He is the author of six books on terrorism, including the most recent The Peaceable Kingdom: A history of terrorism in Canada from Confederation to the present

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.