Nuclear Terrorism Act

An Act to amend the Criminal Code

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2013.

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to create four new offences relating to nuclear terrorism in order to implement the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

  • May 21, 2013 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.

Nuclear Terrorism Act
Government Orders

May 10th, 2013 / 10:05 a.m.
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NDP

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the New Democratic Party believes that we must seriously address the issue of nuclear security and comply with our international obligation in order to better co-operate with other countries on a counterterrorism strategy.

The bill before us is unique inasmuch as we usually oppose the introduction of a government bill through the Senate, because an unelected chamber is not the place to begin the legislative process. However, for Bill S-9, one can see a helpful use of Senate time to do the first vetting of legislation that is intended merely to be technical to create compliance with international obligations.

This bill fulfills Canada's treaty obligations under the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, CPPNM, and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, ICSANT. This includes extending international measures beyond protecting against the proliferation of nuclear materials to now include the protection of nuclear facilities. It reinforces Canada's obligation under UN Security Council resolution 1540, from 2004, to take and enforce effective measures to prevent the proliferation of nuclear materials as well as chemical and biological weapons.

In this case, the implementation of the treaty requires amendments to Canadian legislation. The treaty is ratified only when such amendments or new legislation have been passed. To date, Canada has not ratified either the ICSANT or the CPPNM amendments. This is because Canada does not have legislation in place to criminalize the offences outlined in the ICSANT or some of the offences outlined in the CPPNM.

The amendments Bill S-9 introduces into the code represent Canada's efforts to align its domestic legislation with what is required by both conventions. If these amendments become law, Canada will presumably be in a position to ratify both the conventions, something Canada, and other countries, committed to work toward at both the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit, held in Washington, D.C., and the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, Korea.

New Democrats are committed to multilateral diplomacy and international co-operation, especially in areas of great common concern, such as nuclear terrorism. We thus need to work with other leading countries that are ratifying these conventions. Moreover, Canada has agreed to be legally bound by these conventions. It is important to fulfill our international obligations and ratify these conventions through the domestic implementation that Bill S-9 undertakes.

To emphasize the seriousness of nuclear terrorism, I wish to quote from Professor Matthew Bunn, associate professor of public policy, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University.

Dr. Bunn testified before the Senate committee on this particular bill. He said:

The danger of nuclear terrorism remains very real. Government studies in the United States and in other countries have concluded that if terrorists manage to get enough highly enriched uranium or plutonium, they might very well be able to make a crude nuclear bomb capable of incinerating the heart of a major city.

In the case of highly enriched uranium, making such a bomb is basically a matter of slamming two pieces together at high speed. The amounts required are small, and smuggling them is frighteningly easy.

The core of al Qaeda is, as President Obama mentioned the other night, a shadow of its former self, but regional affiliates are metastasizing and some of the key nuclear operatives of al Qaeda remain free today. With at least two terrorist groups having pursued nuclear weapons seriously in the last 20 years, we cannot expect that they will be the last. Moreover, some terrorists have seriously considered sabotaging nuclear power plants, perhaps causing something like what we saw at Fukushima in Japan, or dispersing highly radioactive materials in a so-called “dirty bomb”.

Should terrorists succeed in detonating a nuclear bomb in a major city, the political, economic, and social effects would reverberate throughout the world. Kofi Annan, when he was secretary-general of the United Nations, warned that the economic effects would drive millions of people into poverty and create a second [terrifyingly significant] death toll in the developing world. Fears that terrorists might have another bomb that they might set off somewhere else would be acute. The world would be transformed, and not for the better.

Hence, insecure nuclear material anywhere is really a threat to everyone, everywhere. This is not just an American judgment. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned that nuclear terrorism is one of the most serious threats of our time. Mohamed ElBaradei, while he was head of the IAEA, called it the greatest threat to the world.

Russia's counterterrorism czar, Anatoly Safonov, has warned that they have “firm knowledge” that terrorists have been given specific tasks to acquire nuclear weapons and their components....

Fortunately, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, we've made tremendous progress around the world in improving security for both nuclear weapons and the materials needed to make them. No longer are there sites where the essential ingredients of a nuclear bomb are sitting in what you and I would consider the equivalent of a high school gym locker with a padlock that could be snapped with a bolt cutter....

At scores of sites around the world, dramatically improved nuclear security has been put in place. At scores of other sites the weapons-usable nuclear material has been removed entirely, reducing the threat of nuclear theft from those sites to zero. More than 20 countries have eliminated all weapons-usable nuclear material on their soil, and the nuclear security summits have provided new high-level political impetus, which has accelerated this progress.

Mr. Safonov stressed a few more dangerous areas that still exist.

In Pakistan, a small but rapidly growing nuclear stockpile, which is under heavy security, I believe, faces more extreme threats than any other nuclear stockpile in the world, both from heavily armed extremists who might attack from outside and from potential insiders who might help them.

In Russia, which has the world's largest stockpiles of both nuclear weapons and weapons-usable nuclear material dispersed in the largest numbers of buildings and bunkers, the nuclear security measures have dramatically improved, but there are still important weaknesses that a sophisticated theft conspiracy might exploit. And sustainability remains a major concern, as Russia still has neither the strong nuclear security rules effectively in force nor sufficient funds allocated from the federal government to sustain security for the long haul.

At more than 100 research reactors around the world, you still have highly enriched uranium used as fuel or as targets for the production of medical isotopes, and in many of these reactors, security is very minimal. Some of them are on university campuses.

At the moment, unfortunately, the mechanisms for global governance of nuclear security remain weak. No global rules specify how secure a nuclear weapon or a chunk of plutonium or highly enriched uranium ought to be. There are no mechanisms in place to verify that every country that has these materials is securing them responsibly.

Without a doubt, Canada strongly supports the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Canada was, in fact, one of the architects of the CPPNM amendment and the ICSANT, and we are encouraged by the adoption of these two conventions by a significant number of countries. We actively encourage others to follow through on the their commitment to become parties, as Canada is doing.

Bill S-9, once passed and followed by the ratification of the CPPNM amendment as well as the ICSANT, would give credence to Canada's commitment to the strengthening of the global national security architecture. It would provide Canada with additional tools to counter this threat as well as enhance our ability to work with partners to mitigate the consequences, should this threat ever materialize.

We must be vigilant. We must work toward disarmament. We must ensure the safety of our world, our country and our families.

Nuclear Terrorism Act
Government Orders

May 10th, 2013 / 10:10 a.m.
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NDP

Denis Blanchette Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for her speech. I am sure the government finds it disconcerting to know that it cannot always say one thing and do another. Could the member talk some more about how the government should change its view on international treaties, so that we can do more and move faster to crack down on these dangerous devices?

Nuclear Terrorism Act
Government Orders

May 10th, 2013 / 10:10 a.m.
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NDP

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, certainly moving expeditiously on this particular piece of legislation is a first step.

However, it is not just nuclear security and the threat of potentially dangerous scenarios we should be cognizant of. Canada has signed a lot of international conventions and a lot of UN conventions. We signed a convention to protect women against inequality, to protect first nations women, to protect first nations rights and to protect children against hunger and poverty, and we have not followed through. It is not just this convention, it is all conventions. I would like to see this Parliament move expeditiously to honour all of our international agreements.

Nuclear Terrorism Act
Government Orders

May 10th, 2013 / 10:15 a.m.
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NDP

Romeo Saganash Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for her excellent speech. She identified a number of essential components of this bill.

However, I would like to hear her thoughts on our role and the influence we used to have on the international stage. We seem to have lost that influence. According to the United Nations charter, the principle of international co-operation is a chief obligation for member states. This government is currently ignoring that obligation.

Nuclear Terrorism Act
Government Orders

May 10th, 2013 / 10:15 a.m.
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NDP

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is quite correct. In terms of Canada's lost reputation internationally, we have become something of a pariah in the world community. Our failure to move ahead on our responsibility regarding climate change is just one example. We pulled out of the agreement to address climate change, the Kyoto accord.

Beyond that international reputation is the reality that Canada is a key producer of uranium, the kind of material used for nuclear weapons. We have to show leadership on this. We have benefited from uranium production. In fact, we are a key producer of nuclear reactors. We have to show some positive and responsible, and I think important, leadership in this regard.

Nuclear Terrorism Act
Government Orders

May 10th, 2013 / 10:15 a.m.
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NDP

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a troublesome kind of reality that the current government is so busy losing money, $3.1 billion, and covering up scandals that it does not seem to have the time to do the positive international and domestic work we very much want to happen in this place.

This is an important bill. I am very sorry that it did not come from the government, that it did not come through the House of Commons, because we, as elected members, have an obligation, as I said, to our families, to our country and to the world community. No Senate can do that work.

Nuclear Terrorism Act
Government Orders

May 10th, 2013 / 10:15 a.m.
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NDP

Sylvain Chicoine Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, ever since September 11, the international community has been worried about international terrorism.

The United Nations General Assembly and Security Council have been trying to establish international co-operation to eliminate terrorism. They have paid particular attention to nuclear terrorism.

The UN General Assembly and Security Council passed resolutions that resulted in treaties on nuclear terrorism, calling upon member states to pass laws and adopt policies to keep up with the constant evolution of the terrorist threat.

Canada has been involved in this international co-operation for a long time. Canada ratified the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which encourages countries to create measures to prevent, detect and punish crimes involving nuclear materials.

In 2005, that convention was amended to improve physical protection for nuclear materials and nuclear facilities. These changes will increase the scope of the convention and cover nuclear materials used for peaceful purposes while in domestic use, storage and transport, as well as domestic nuclear facilities.

Also in 2005, Canada signed the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, but that convention has not yet been ratified. A treaty can be ratified only when national legislative amendments have been made.

The ICSANT calls upon countries to create new criminal offences for acts of nuclear terrorism. That is the purpose of Bill S-9. The bill will amend Canada's laws to bring them into line with the two conventions I have just mentioned.

Once this bill has been passed, Canada will be able to ratify both international conventions and thus we will fulfill our obligations.

We are in favour of multilateral approaches that encourage co-operation between countries. Such co-operation is important in so-called transnational areas of concern, such as terrorism.

International co-operation is the only way we can protect ourselves from such threats. When a problem goes beyond our borders, our national laws cannot eliminate transnational activities or protect us from them.

That is why it is important to establish good co-operation that leads to international conventions that make it possible to extend the limited coverage provided by our own legislation. We support co-operation among the countries that have ratified these conventions.

That is why we will support this bill. Its content meets the requirements of the convention very well.

This bill was introduced in the Senate in March. It has 10 clauses that create four new crimes to be added to the Criminal Code. The bill would make it illegal to possess, use or dispose of nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device or commit an act against a nuclear facility or its operations with the intent to cause death, serious bodily harm or substantial damage to property or the environment.

It would also make it illegal to use or alter nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device or commit an act against a nuclear facility or its operation with the intent to compel a person, government or international organization to do or refrain from doing anything.

I would like to emphasize the word "compel". It is important because the prime objective of terrorism is to force a government or organization to do something, and that can include not doing certain things as well.

How many attacks or kidnappings have been committed by terrorist organizations in order to discourage countries from taking part in the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq? Terrorist groups use threats and retribution to force governments to give in to their political demands.

The bill also makes it illegal to commit an indictable offence under federal law for the purpose of obtaining nuclear or radioactive material, a nuclear or radioactive device, or access to or control of a nuclear facility.

Protecting against someone obtaining a nuclear device may be problematic. Quite often, people who try to make a nuclear device will try to find the parts individually and, often, the parts may seem harmless because they could be used for many things. One of the biggest difficulties for the RCMP and the security service is identifying how the parts will be used.

The bill also makes it illegal to threaten to commit any of the other three offences.

This bill makes other important amendments to the Criminal Code, for instance, to add definitions for the terms used for these new offences.

The bill also adds a new section to the Criminal Code to ensure that individuals who commit or attempt to commit any of these offences overseas can be prosecuted in Canada. This provision contains specific criteria, however. The offence must be committed on a ship that is registered or licensed or on an aircraft registered in Canada, by a Canadian citizen or someone who is present in Canada after the commission of the act.

This bill will amend Criminal Code provisions on electronic surveillance and the taking of bodily substances. The Anti-Terrorism Act amended the code provisions on electronic surveillance.

Therefore, the four new offences were added to section 183 of the Criminal Code to justify the use of electronic surveillance for these offences. This provision was included to allow peace officers to apply for a warrant for the seizure of bodily substances when they are investigating individuals for these offences. It will also be mandatory to collect bodily substances from those convicted of these offences.

These two tools are important for our front-line public safety officers. However, these provisions will have to be used in accordance with Canadian legislation and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. When new powers are granted, limits must be set to prevent any abuse on the part of our public safety officers who, I would like to stress, have my full confidence.

Finally, the bill amends the Canadian rule regarding double jeopardy. That rule does not apply if a trial abroad does not meet certain basic Canadian legal standards. In such cases, a Canadian court may retry the person for the same crime for which he was convicted abroad.

This Senate bill enables the government to meet its international obligations by creating new Criminal Code offences, but that is just one side of the coin. The other side, which is just as important, has to do with prevention and security.

Mr. Jamieson, from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, made a presentation before the Special Senate Committee on the Anti-terrorism Act on June 4. He gave a brief outline of the prevention provisions adopted by the commission. He explained that the requirements relating to physical protection are gradual and reflect the level of risk and its consequences. He presented a partial list of security measures in nuclear facilities. The requirements range from controlling access to sites to providing an on-site response force. Employees and supervisors must meet security protocol awareness and training requirements, and they must undergo background checks.

Licensees must develop and maintain contingency plans as well as practise regular emergency drills. The transport of nuclear materials requires a licence. In order to obtain it, the licensee must submit a detailed security plan including a threat assessment, the proposed security measures, the route and other arrangements along the route. Security plans are required for all shipments, including those in transit through Canada.

Canada is a model for the world when it comes to nuclear safety, but the government must continue to invest the necessary funds in order to maximize the safety of Canadians, while minimizing the likelihood of a crime or a terrorist attack being committed in Canada or elsewhere in the world.

The International Atomic Energy Agency documented nearly 2,000 incidents related to the unauthorized use, transport or possession of nuclear and radioactive materials between 1993 and 2011. Government agencies with anti-terrorism responsibilities must work in an integrated manner in order for these organizations to be able to properly protect Canadians.

It is not just a matter of creating indictable terrorist offences. It is also a question of investing the necessary funds to allow these organizations and their front-line officers to carry out their mission and the mandate assigned to them, which is to protect the safety of Canadians.

Nuclear Terrorism Act
Government Orders

May 10th, 2013 / 10:25 a.m.
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NDP

Pierre Jacob Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my hon. colleague on his heartfelt speech. I would like to ask him why the manufacture of nuclear or radioactive devices was not included in Bill S-9 when it was introduced in the Senate, since this eventually led to the Senate amendment. This speaks volumes about the lack of prudence and preparation on the government's part.

I wonder if my colleague could elaborate on this lack of prudence and preparation.

Nuclear Terrorism Act
Government Orders

May 10th, 2013 / 10:30 a.m.
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NDP

Sylvain Chicoine Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question. Obviously, the initial bill did not include the provisions that my colleague mentioned. Was it a lack of foresight or a lack of planning? I really cannot say, but it obviously was an oversight.

The Liberal senator proposed the amendments needed to add these provisions to the bill so that it fulfills our obligations and the treaties we have signed. These amendments were accepted unanimously and are now an integral part of Bill S-9, making it consistent with our international obligations.

Nuclear Terrorism Act
Government Orders

May 10th, 2013 / 10:30 a.m.
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NDP

Denis Blanchette Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. The bill allows us to honour international conventions. However, it did take quite some time to deliver a relatively simple piece of legislation to align our domestic laws with international agreements.

I would like to hear what the member has to say about how slowly Canada has moved to ensure compliance with the international conventions it signed.

Nuclear Terrorism Act
Government Orders

May 10th, 2013 / 10:30 a.m.
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NDP

Sylvain Chicoine Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Louis-Hébert for his question. Our domestic legislation and international obligations should have been aligned 10 years ago. It has taken a fairly long time. However, I must mention that Canada is not the slowest country because, if I am not mistaken, the United States has yet to amend its legislation.

On a number of occasions, Canada has been slow to align its legislation with its international obligations. However, it is important to mention that at least this time, it is going to fulfill its international obligations. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. In fact, on a number of occasions, Canada has ratified agreements and not met its commitments, which is deplorable. This time around, things moved very slowly, but at least Canada will meet its commitments.

Nuclear Terrorism Act
Government Orders

May 10th, 2013 / 10:30 a.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I am taking part in the debate at third reading on Bill S-9, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, or the Nuclear Terrorism Act.

I have a keen interest in this bill. In fact, I can identify with a number of aspects of the nuclear issue as they are related to various stages in my life. My speech might be called “slices of life”.

After an innocent childhood light years away from such concerns, it was in my teen years that I realized the incredible potential of nuclear energy, although I did not immediately become aware that there were major disadvantages hidden behind its advantages.

I lived in Trois-Rivières my whole life, and in the 1970s I saw the first nuclear power plant built. Gentilly-1 was an experimental plant if ever there was one, and it was the pride of Canadian technology. It promised an incredible energy future and garnered international renown for Canada’s CANDU reactors. In addition, a friend's father, who worked for Atomic Energy of Canada Limited at the time, was sent to Korea to take part in the building and start-up of nuclear power stations using Canadian technology. To my mind, nothing but good could come of this, because I knew him.

Remember, it was the early 1970s, a time when we thought that, by the end of the century, we would have a four-day workweek and a leisure society and floating cars, just like in the Star Wars films. Of course, at the time we also thought finding a solution to the problem of radioactive waste would be child’s play. During my first visit to Gentilly-1, the storage ponds for uranium fuel bundles and the use of robots in the handling procedures left me feeling confident in our ability to succeed. Life is so simple when you are young.

This idyllic view of the world was shattered by my first 20th-century history courses, when films of the fallout of the Hiroshima bombing made me realize that a major scientific breakthrough could be either beneficial or destructive, depending on whose hands it fell into.

During my university years in Quebec City, while travelling along the 138 by the St. Lawrence River, I noticed the construction of Gentilly-2, which was in service from 1983 until 2012, and which produced a great deal of radioactive waste that is still stored on site. All the tourists who enjoyed a cruise on the St. Lawrence at Trois-Rivières were invariably told all about these two nuclear power stations during their trip.

It was not until much later, not until the disasters at Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986, that I began to be more concerned about the issue of security at these facilities. Although terrorism was not a factor in these two disasters, I found that, while security of access to the Gentilly plants by land was adequate, access by the St. Lawrence River was significantly more problematic. In fact, my fears in this regard have not yet entirely dissipated, and my opinion is the same as it was back then.

Today, however, we cannot deny the possibility of a terrorist attack. While its former international reputation made a Canadian passport the best calling card for travel throughout the world and gave us the impression that we would never be targeted by terrorist movements, since this government came to power, the global community's ideas about Canada have changed radically, and there is very little to suggest that we are still sheltered from attacks or reprisals.

I am somewhat encouraged to see that we are discussing a bill today that could enable Canada to meet some of its international obligations, including under the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings. The latter would extend the application of international measures beyond protecting against the proliferation of nuclear materials to include protection of nuclear facilities. I live next to Gentilly, and our region is the only one at risk in Quebec and will be for years because even though the power plant was shut down in December, it still needs to be decommissioned and dismantled.

This bill could help reassure millions of Canadians like me who live near a nuclear facility. Despite the complexity of the matter and the situation, the bill is relatively easy to understand.

The bill on nuclear terrorism includes 10 clauses that create four new offences.

This bill makes it illegal to possess, use or dispose of nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device or commit an act against a nuclear facility or its operations with the intent to cause death, serious bodily harm or substantial damage to property or the environment.

It made me chuckle to see a Conservative bill that even bothers to mention the environment.

The bill also makes it illegal to use or alter nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device or commit an act against a nuclear facility or its operation with the intent to compel a person, government or international organization to do or refrain from doing anything.

It also makes it illegal to commit an indictable offence under federal law for the purpose of obtaining nuclear or radioactive material, a nuclear or radioactive device, or access to or control of a nuclear facility.

Finally, it makes it illegal to threaten to commit any of the other three offences.

With these four new offences, this bill also makes major amendments to the code.

For example, one amendment would ensure that the four offences be considered primary designated offences for the purposes of issuing warrants. One provision regarding wiretapping would allow for the rules to be applied to these new offences.

If Bill S-9 is passed, Canada would have legislation enabling it to ratify the two international conventions I mentioned a few minutes ago. Although such a bill is necessary, we cannot ignore the fact that it raises some concerns.

As a result, we must ensure that the scope of these new sections will not lead to excessive criminalization and will not violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

We will continue to oppose the fact that the government is introducing bills through the Senate, because we do not think that this unelected chamber should be the starting point of our legislative process.

However, as New Democrats, we are determined to support multilateral diplomacy and international co-operation, particularly in areas of shared concern. That is why we will vote in favour of the bill at third reading.

Terrorism is certainly a shared concern. Many people associate nuclear terrorism with plots from action movies such as James Bond or Die Hard. However, between 1993 and 2011, the International Atomic Energy Agency identified close to 2,000 incidents related to the use, transportation and possession of nuclear and radioactive material.

Canada must take a leadership role to ensure that at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit, the participants implement the amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which was amended in 2005.

Canada, as well as the United States, could play an important role in making sure that happens. However, 2014 is not far off, and that is one reason why my party is supporting this bill at third reading.

Since the September 11 attacks, Canada and the United States have tightened up security protocols surrounding their own nuclear material, to convince other countries to adopt a responsible approach to reducing the risk of theft of nuclear material and nuclear terrorism. As a result, these two countries should set an example by implementing responsible measures at home.

A total of 97 of the 145 countries have to ratify this treaty for it to be enforceable. Fifty-six countries have already ratified it in their parliaments. The call was put out during the Seoul summit, and we need to step up.

The threat is real; according to Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary-General, nuclear terrorism is one of the greatest threats we face today.

We do not have the right to allow incidents to happen because we did not try to guard against a terrorist attack.

I will conclude by saying that it would be wrong not to anticipate events as tragic as those in Fukushima, which were caused by natural forces beyond our control. We cannot assume that they will not happen as a result of situations that we could have avoided.

There are two fundamental reasons why I am voting for this bill. For one, it is designed to fight potential nuclear terrorists before they strike and, two, it will help Canada regain some of the credibility it has lost internationally.

Nuclear Terrorism Act
Government Orders

May 10th, 2013 / 10:40 a.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague, who is also president of the NDP's Quebec caucus, for his excellent speech on a bill that is important to us. This bill proves that the NDP is not just here to oppose government proposals. Even if it takes the government a long time to introduce bills that make sense or that fulfill our international obligations, once it does, the NDP will answer the call.

I would like to know if my colleague sees a link between the government saying that it is against terrorism and is doing everything it can to fight it, and the fact that it lost $3.1 billion in funding for public security and anti-terrorism activities. We do not know where that money is.

I would like to hear his opinion on that.

Nuclear Terrorism Act
Government Orders

May 10th, 2013 / 10:40 a.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Gatineau for her question.

I must admit that you have to have certain ideals if you want a career in politics. Voting for Bill S-9 is much more than a leap of faith, given the government in power. I think that, in the matter before us this morning, it is completely unavoidable.

As I said at the end of my speech, there are two critical elements that contribute to making me say yes. Once again, I am putting my faith in the Conservatives for a few weeks, for a few years, until 2015 at the latest. In any case, democracy prevents me from doing otherwise.

This is one of the few times that the different parties of the House are working together on this issue, and I hope we will get results internationally. Again, the two objectives are to have the government and Canada regain credibility on the international scene and to protect ourselves against possible terrorist acts.

Nuclear Terrorism Act
Government Orders

May 10th, 2013 / 10:45 a.m.
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NDP

Romeo Saganash Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his inspiring presentation.

I would like to respond to the last point he raised. International co-operation is an important aspect for Canada. Article 1(3) of the United Nations charter, in particular, sets out this principle and this obligation to co-operate with other countries around the world.

International co-operation is important when ratifying international agreements, like the one we just discussed, that result in shared concerns. We have lost that in recent years under the Conservatives' leadership.

I would like to know whether my colleague is as concerned as I am about Canada's reputation on the world scene.