House of Commons photo

Track Steven

Your Say

Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is veterans.

Conservative MP for Lévis—Bellechasse (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 43.90% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Public Safety November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we strongly condemn this callous attention-seeking stunt.

In recent weeks, right here, we have seen terrorists kill our Canadian Armed Forces members in cold blood, and the criminals of the Islamic State calling for volcanoes of jihad against Canadians.

It is clear now more than ever that we need to be vigilant against the threat of terrorists and not complacent. This is why our government will strongly move forward to bring the tools we need to keep Canadians safe.

Public Safety November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the role of the Security Intelligence Review Committee is to report to Parliament and confirm that this agency is fulfilling its mandate in accordance with the law. That is precisely the purpose of Bill C-44, which we are currently debating and which will clarify the powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service in order to make judges' work easier and also to facilitate the work of the review committee, which does an excellent job.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I already answered my colleague's question. The committee is master of its own destiny, that much is clear.

I am not a member of that committee, but any time the committee so desires, I make an effort to take part. I had the opportunity to go to committee meetings and have productive discussions. That is what we did a few weeks ago, when the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service came to present a status update on the terrorist threat.

It is important to take a sensible and responsible approach. That is what we are being asked to do today by supporting this motion, so that this important bill, which has the approval of all the political parties in the House, may go to committee. Then we could debate it, do a clause-by-clause review, and bring it back to the House to enact it and give the country a new law.

Every parliamentarian was shaken by what happened on October 22. That is one of the reasons we have this opportunity to pass a well-constructed, balanced bill that will ensure the safety of Canadians.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, once again, I believe that this NDP member has a great deal of respect for the power of committees and elected officials, and it is up to the committees to discuss this issue. I had the opportunity to do so when I was chair of the Standing Committee on Official Languages.

Now, I have the opportunity to invite my colleague to support this bill. It will ensure the safety and security of Canadians and is in keeping with our policy direction since the events of September 11, 2001, which made terrorism the greatest threat to the security of our country.

Thanks to CSIS and our police forces, we foiled terrorist plots in Canada, including the attacks of the Toronto 18, and the attacks on the British Columbia legislature and VIA Rail. We thwarted those attacks with the laws we put in place and those terrorists are facing charges. Some have been sent to jail because of the laws we instituted.

Therefore, it is important to debate bills, but it is also important to take action, especially when the terrorist threat is real and, unfortunately, has already created victims in our country. As parliamentarians we have the responsibility to act.

I have full confidence in the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security and all its members, and I trust they will review this bill and bring it back to the House so that we can adopt it at third reading, send it to the Senate and make it a law that will protect Canadians.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, let me remind my hon. colleague what I said in my very first speech in support of this bill in the House a few weeks ago. I said that we will never turn our backs on the fundamental Canadian values of respect for individual rights and the rule of law. While this bill gives our national security agencies some of the tools they need to protect Canada from terrorists, clause 7, on proposed subsection 18.1(4), of the legislation I introduced then ensures that the right to a fair trial is protected in all cases.

I invite my hon. colleague to take a look at proposed paragraphs 18.1(4)(a) and (b). There are also some provisions in the bill that go in exactly the same direction, suggesting that we clarify the role of our intelligence agencies while protecting the rights of Canadians. That is exactly what this bill would do. That is why the hon. member's party has indicated it is willing to support this bill. So is the second opposition party.

This is a great bill that would help improve the safety of Canadians while protecting their rights. That is why we need to have this debate. We need to send the bill to committee so that we can go more in depth and make this the law of the land.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service appeared before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. He reminded us that 140 individuals with connections to the country are currently suspected of having been involved in terrorist activities abroad.

Under current rules, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service does not necessarily have the authority to investigate these people who are a threat to our safety. This is about clarifying powers, as I said. The court invited us to clarify those powers. Opposition colleagues had the opportunity to attend a briefing before the bill was introduced.

This bill was scheduled for introduction on October 22. It is on schedule. We have the support of both opposition parties. This balanced bill contains provisions that clarify the service's roles and protect citizens' rights.

I am eager to see this bill go to committee, and I am eager to see it come back to the House so that we can pass it and it can go to the Senate, where it will be debated again, become law, receive royal assent, and become an effective tool for protecting Canadians. The terrorist threat is undeniably real. We have to take meaningful action against it and make sure Canadians are protected.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the answer to the question posed by the member opposite is quite simple. She agrees with the bill. The Liberals agree with the bill. We have already debated it for six hours here in the House. Committee is the best forum in which to amend bills.

Today, the debate is not about passing the bill. It is simply about moving it on to the next step so that it can be thoroughly debated. Why? Because, whether we are members of the government or an opposition party, Canadians elected us to pass bills once they have been debated. That is what we have done in the House and that is what we are going to do in committee.

I understand that the two opposition parties support this bill. For that reason, which seems very clear to me, we should immediately adjourn this debate and send the bill to committee so that we can take action to protect Canadians. That is why we were elected to Parliament.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my opposition colleague for the question.

Why act? We must act because we all witnessed the tragic events that occurred near here and an attack that ended in this Parliament on October 22. We also know that on October 20, a Quebecker, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, lost his life because he was wearing a Canadian Forces uniform in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

These events remind us that the terrorist threat in Canada is real. An act of terrorism is an act committed by a person who attacks a symbol of Canada, a symbol of power, or a symbol of our democracy. It is an act committed for political, ideological or religious purposes. That is what happened here, in Parliament. President François Hollande talked about that not far from here, and he condemned these acts of violence. He said that together, we must take action. That is why we are working with the French minister of the interior, Bernard Cazeneuve, and with our U.S. counterpart, Jeh Johnson.

As legislators, it is our job to put the necessary tools in place. It is important to take action. Let us be clear: we indicated that we would not over-react, nor would we stand by and leave Canadians defenceless against evolving terrorists threats. That is why we introduced Bill C-44, and that is why we plan on implementing other measures to protect Canadians and democracy. That is why, and in particular with this bill, we always do so in compliance with our country's fundamental laws. That is why, in this bill, clause 7 provides that anyone facing charges based on information from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has the right to an amicus curiae, a friend of the court, and access to legal provisions and also provides that everything is overseen by a court. This is a balanced bill, and my colleague will have the opportunity to ask questions in committee as soon as the House decides to send this bill to committee.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question.

As he knows, committees are masters of their own destiny. It will be up to the committee to make decisions. However, there is consensus on this bill.

As legislators, we have the responsibility to provide the tools required by both the police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to protect us in compliance with Canadian laws.

Freedom requires a safe and secure environment. This bill very clearly seeks to provide that. It will define the powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service at home and abroad, and provide a clear definition of “witness”, the very basis for the information on which CSIS files are based.

It is also important to have reliable information, because the information collected by CSIS is precisely what enables us to build cases and collect evidence leading to the indictment and incarceration of convicted terrorists, so that they are brought to justice.

Unfortunately, the NDP did not support our bill to combat terrorism. However, this time, it is interesting to note that they are more receptive to the bill. They have indicated that they will support it. It is therefore very important to closely examine it now. The parliamentary committee is the best forum in which to do so, and we will have the opportunity to comment on it and debate the final version of the bill once it returns to the House.

Given that this bill is important to the safety and security of Canadians, that parliamentarians support it and that there are no significant objections, I invite the opposition parties to support it so that we can go to committee and move forward with this bill, which is important for the security of Canadians.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the bill is seven pages long, which, as I said before, makes it a very simple bill.

We want to send it to committee for debate because we need to pass it in order to protect Canadians. Furthermore, both opposition parties expressed support in principle for this bill, which would clarify the powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

The service has been around for 30 years, but it was never explicit that the people in charge of keeping us safe could operate here in the country as well as abroad. This is all the more important considering a growing phenomenon related to terrorist threats: high-risk travellers and foreign fighters.

That is what makes this bill so important: it will enable judicial authorities to clearly define the scope within which authorities and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service can exercise their powers while remaining in compliance with Canadian law.

As we have seen, this bill already contains provisions for court oversight of the process.