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 ActGovernment Orders

November 30th, 2012 / 10:30 a.m.
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NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Saint-Jean for his wonderful fast-finger research and question.

Absolutely, I do not think any member of the House elected to represent Canadians would do anything to harm them in this regard. If it were brought forward in a manner ensuring that we meet the treaty requirements and the safety of Canadians and global security, we would all support it. Therefore, for the parliamentary secretary to make comments like that is unfair. It is unfair for Conservative members or the parliamentary secretary to make broad-brush claims that the government has tried before but no one was listening, and that now that it has a majority it will push this through.

The New Democrats have stood steadfastly for the safety and security of Canadians and the global environment.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 30th, 2012 / 10:30 a.m.
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NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her wonderful speech. She gave a very good explanation of the nuclear dangers and the importance of addressing this issue, particularly since it meets a requirement for Canada, which signed the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism back in 2005.

The Conservative government took a long time to meet this requirement, which is part of the convention. What does the hon. member think of this delay, which does not really make sense?

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 30th, 2012 / 10:30 a.m.
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NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Drummond is correct. We signed the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, both in 2005. Yet today we stand at the end of 2012 and still do not have our domestic affairs in order. We cannot ratify the treaty requirements until we have domestic legislation that ensures safety and our meeting of the treaty requirements. For the government to be in power for seven years and not to have done anything until now is sad. It is time that we finally do it.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 30th, 2012 / 10:30 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise today to speak to an important issue. It is not new but has actually been talked about for a number of years.

As was pointed out in the most recent question and answer, governments will go abroad and work with other levels of government and sign agreements. Quite often we find that a signed agreement is nothing but a piece of paper with a signature, with the intent of it ultimately passing the House of Commons. In fact, that is the case with this particular treaty.

There have been four treaties relating to the whole issue of security and nuclear terrorism. The first was United Nations Security Council resolution 1373 done in 2001 and then United Nations Security Council resolution 1540 done in 2004. There was also the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism of 2005, and in that same year the amendments to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. I will provide a bit of a comment on each of those a little later.

The point I would like to make is that what we have before us today is not really new. This whole topic has been debated at different levels of government. Different governments around the world have come together, recognizing that as a world community we need to come up with progressive legislation among the member nations of the United Nations supporting a common goal. That common goal is to deal with the horrors of nuclear energy, the power of nuclear energy and the damage it could ultimately cause if it were used inappropriately.

Hollywood has made hundreds of millions of dollars producing movies based on the fear factor of the potential harm of nuclear fusion, including the ability to kill millions of people with just one dirty bomb or nuclear bomb. Previous generations have witnessed that in a world war, seeing just how horrific a nuclear bomb can be.

This is something that has been in the minds of many politicians and diplomats over the years as they have tried to come up with the best way to manage this very complicated and difficult issue. When we see organizations like the United Nations come to a conclusion and propose and support resolutions, we would expect the government to want to take action in a more timely fashion.

The bill that we have before us could have been introduced years ago. For whatever reasons, the government has not really acted on the issue. In fact, in principle, we in the Liberal Party support the bill going to committee stage so that we can hear some more technical presentations and make sure that we are moving in the right direction.

Suffice it to say, former Prime Ministers Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin were leaders at the time in ensuring that Canada would be at the table and that our viewpoints would in fact be heard. I believe that through both Mr. Chrétien and Mr. Martin, at least in part, we were able to see these treaties come into play. I think that speaks volumes.

My NDP colleagues talk about how they believe in the importance of addressing the issue. Not only do Liberals believe in it, we have acted on it. Both Liberal prime ministers, predating the current Prime Minister, played a critical role in getting those treaties at least signed off by Canada and raised the concerns we would have in regard to the whole area of nuclear. There is the negative side, but there is somewhat of a positive side, and I will make some reference to that also.

This has been sitting on the back burner. It is encouraging that Senate has seen the value in bringing it forth and getting the ball rolling.

I appreciate that the Senate had the opportunity for some public meetings on the issue. I was quite pleased to see that some amendments were suggested. Former general Senator Dallaire provided some feed back on the importance of incorporating into an amendment something that would prohibit the making of radioactive devices. It is important that we recognize, as Senator Dallaire has, that even though we have Bill S-9, there is a need for us to be diligent as we go through the committee process, because there is the opportunity to make it better legislation.

Like the Senate, I would suggest the House vote in favour of the bill. I do not see it as controversial legislation. At the very least, let us see if we can pass it through second reading and ultimately get it to committee stage.

I am not the critic assigned to the bill, but I can assure the House that our critic for public safety has a great many thoughts and concerns that we would like to express at the committee stage, but most important, we would like to encourage the government to have an open mind in approaching the committee stage, with the idea that the bill can be improved upon.

It is important that we underscore the fact that Canada's efforts to combat nuclear terrorism fall into an overall framework of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. While it is still necessary, especially in implementing international agreements, Bill S-9 is insufficient if it is to constitute a significant part of Canada's efforts on this file.

The Liberal Party believes we could do more. In the past, Canada has demonstrated great leadership on the international scene, and this is one of those areas in which Canada has the potential to play a leadership role.

Many of the critical components to nuclear fusion comes from Canada. We have had a great many scientists who have trained and gained the knowledge that is necessary to become experts on the issue. In Manitoba the whole idea of nuclear power was greatly explored through Pinawa. A great deal of scientific work was done in regard to some of the positive ways we could use nuclear power, as an example. It generated not only economic activity, but it also provided a great deal of expertise.

Whether it is looking at the scientists we have in Canada, or political leadership and the experience gained, or Canada's role in the world in being able to have influence to speak out in forums like the United Nations, we can in fact make a difference. We have a lot more to contribute.

When we look at Bill S-9, it is important that it represent a domestic focus as well as our international obligations to contribute to the debate. The stronger we reflect on what we can do in Canada to improve our own situation I think will bode well when we sit down at those international tables. At the end of the day, we speak with a louder voice when we have done the work in our backyard.

I have made reference to the four resolutions, particularly the United Nations Security Council resolution 1373, which requires member states to adopt certain anti-terrorism legislation and policies. It calls upon member states to prevent and repress the financing of terrorist acts; freeze the financial resources available to terrorist organizations; suppress the supply of weapons to terrorist organizations; and deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support or commit terrorist acts. It also calls upon member states to become party to and fully implement the relevant international conventions and protocols related to terrorism as soon as possible.

In Canada many of these acts were criminalized and reclassified as a terrorist activity as a result of the 2001 Anti-terrorism Act. Since then, amendments have been brought forward to that act.

We know through experience that we want to play a significant role in ensuring that terrorism, and the promotion of terrorism, is minimized and as much as possible. We want to prevent it from taking place. We want to prevent it from originating in Canada and prevent people who are residing in Canada to contribute in any fashion whatsoever to world terrorism.

I made reference earlier to the United Nations Security Council resolution 1540, which was adopted in 2004. It focused specifically on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It asked member states to take steps to prohibit non-state actors from acquiring nuclear weapons and to put in place additional controls on nuclear materials. It also asked member states to adopt and enforce effective domestic controls to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons; adopt legislation to prevent the acquisition, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons by state and non-state actors; extend such criminal legislation to apply to citizens extraterritoriality; and include internal waters, territorial waters and air space in the territory for which nuclear weapons would be prohibited.

Each of these concepts are present in Bill S-9. Therefore, the principle of the bill is something I believe most, if not all members of the House, will see the merit in allowing it to go to committee.

However, just because the bill incorporates those concepts, we do not necessarily have to settle for that. As Senator Dallaire pointed out, there are other ways in which we can improve Bill S-9.

The other reference I made was in regard to the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, better known as the ICSANT, adopted in 2005. It was the first international convention related to terrorism open for a signature after 9/11. It builds on both the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and International Conventions for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings.

ICSANT is comprehensive and contains detailed language on what particular aspects of nuclear terrorism should be criminalized. ICSANT is the inspiration for the bulk of Bill S-9, as several articles are codified in Bill S-9, such as article 2, which outlines new offences created in section 82. Articles 4, 5 and 9 also all contribute to it.

It is important that we take note in terms of when that resolution was before the United Nations in 2005 and, in essence, asked that it take effect in June 2007. However, it does beg the question as to why we have waited so long in having this issue come before the House of Commons. One would have expected that the government would have had the support to pass such legislation.

It was interesting in one of the questions posed to the New Democratic Party in regard to why it was not passed at an earlier point, the speaker made reference to the fact that the NDP did not oppose the legislation. I suspect that had the government, two, three or four years ago, raised the issue with the opposition parties, there would have been the type of support necessary even to get it through a minority situation. I suspect that whether the House or Canadians are canvassed, we would find there is a need to not only support, but go beyond supporting and taking a proactive approach in dealing with issues of terrorism. If potential nuclear weapons, or chemical weapons, or weapons of mass destruction being used, I am sure there is an enormous amount of goodwill to protect the world community.

I think had the government genuinely wanted to see that pass, having a capable government House leader along with co-operative opposition House leaders, it would not have been a problem. It is a bit disappointing that it has taken as long as it has to come before us.

The last point I referenced about the United Nations was the amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which was done in 2005 at a diplomatic conference convened in July 2005, three months after the ICSANT opened for signature. The Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material was signed in Vienna, Austria in March 1980. It is the only legally binding undertaking in the area of physical protection of nuclear material and establishes measures related to the prevention, detection and the punishment of offences relating to nuclear material.

Given the age of the CPPNM, the 2005 meeting was meant to update and strengthen the CPPNM provisions. Therefore, the CPPNM amendment will require that states protect their nuclear facilities as well as nuclear material used, stored and transported domestically rather than protect only nuclear materials during international transport, as the CPPNM currently requires.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 30th, 2012 / 10:50 a.m.
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NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the speech by the Liberal member. He talked about a number of UN resolutions, including resolution 1373. As I recall, that resolution was passed in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center, in 2001. Paragraph 3(e) of that resolution, for example, calls upon all states to increase co-operation and fully implement the relevant international conventions.

That resolution, on which all signatory states agreed, dates back to 2001. It is now 2012 and it will soon be 2013, which is the year when we will be able to ratify the two international conventions we are talking about today in connection with Bill S-9.

I wonder if the Liberal member could tell us about his party's view on the delays that occurred during the Parliaments that followed 2001 and have led us to an international stance that is not very rigorous and also does not project a good image of Canada.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 30th, 2012 / 10:55 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I recognize that back in 2001 it was obviously a very serious issue, not only at that time but even prior to the whole 9/11 incident. There was already a great deal of discussion about terrorism. At the time, Chrétien was the prime minister of Canada and played a role in trying to heighten the importance of getting some form of treaty signed through the United Nations. The Liberal Party has always been very supportive of the United Nations.

The resolution that the member is specifically referring to was back in 2001. It required member states to adopt certain anti-terrorism legislation and policies, including those to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts, freeze the financial resources available to terrorist organizations, suppress the supply of weapons to organizations, as well as deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support or commit terrorist acts. It also called on the member states to become party to and fully implement the relevant international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism, as soon as possible.

Some of those items are fairly recent in terms of enactment in Canada's own Criminal Code. I believe even Bill S-7 might have attempted to deal with some of this. There is no doubt that the government has been negligent in not addressing some of those dated resolutions that were passed years ago.

Therefore, we could be doing more. Maybe we should be having a thorough review on those resolutions dealing with terrorism that have been passed, or those agreements that have been signed off, to see what more Canada could do, through the House of Commons, to ensure that we are not only signing agreements but actually implementing—

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 5th, 2012 / noon
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NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to stand in support of the bill and to start today's discussion of Bill S-9.

I will be splitting my time with the fantastic member of Parliament from Nanaimo—Cowichan. Notwithstanding the fact that I was instructed to use those precise terms, I happily stand by them.

We are back to amending the Criminal Code but this time for a good cause. Bill S-9, the nuclear terrorism act, would amend the Criminal Code in order to implement the criminal law requirements of two international counterterrorism treaties, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, as amended in 2005, and the 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

The nuclear terrorism act introduces four new indictable offences into part 2 of the Criminal Code, making 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; 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; to commit an indictable offence under federal law for the purpose of obtaining nuclear or radioactive material, a nuclear or radioactive device, or access or control of a nuclear facility; and to threaten or commit to do any of the above.

In addition, the bill introduces into the code other amendments that are incidental to these four offences but are nonetheless important. It introduces a new section into the code to ensure individuals who, when outside of Canada, commit or attempt to commit these offences may be prosecuted in Canada. It amends the wiretap provisions found in the code to ensure that they apply to the new offences. It also amends the code to make four new offences primary designated offences for the purposes of DNA warrants and collection orders.

Finally, it amends the double jeopardy rule in Canada such that, notwithstanding the fact that a person may have been previously tried and convicted for these new offences outside Canada, the rule against double jeopardy would not apply when the foreign trial did not meet certain basic Canadian legal standards. In that case, a Canadian court may try the person again for the same offence of which he or she was convicted by a foreign court.

For a long time now, but particularly in the post-cold war era, it has been well understood that with the proliferation of nuclear weaponry and nuclear power generation around the world, a new and heightened regime of nuclear safety and security must be developed. A scenario in which nuclear weapons or materials fall into the hands of terrorists has prompted many to focus on the development of such a regime or framework. It is clearly understood that such a regime must be international in scope and must be grounded in the deep and good faith co-operation of states around the world. That regime needs to be put in place with considerable urgency.

This understanding forms the basis of the two aforementioned conventions that await Canada's ratification. The first of these, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, dates back to 1980. Its importance is signified by the fact that it stands, still, as the only internationally legally binding undertaking in the protection of nuclear material.

In July of 2005, a diplomatic conference was convened to strengthen the provisions of the convention by doing a number of things, including expanding international co-operation between and among states with respect to rapid measures to locate and recover stolen or smuggled nuclear material, mitigate any radiological consequences, such as sabotage, and prevent and combat related offences.

With respect to the other convention, in 1996 an ad hoc committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations was mandated by the General Assembly to develop an international convention for the suppression of terrorist bombings, and subsequent to that, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. This later convention was adopted by the General Assembly in April 2005. This convention on nuclear terrorism imposes an obligation on state parties to render the offences set out in the convention as criminal offences under national laws and to establish jurisdiction, both territorial and extraterritorial, over the offences set out in the convention.

Both of these conventions await ratification by Canada, which is first dependent on the codification of the offence provisions of these conventions into Canadian criminal law.

We on this side of the House recognize the need and urgency to put in place a regime to counter nuclear terrorism. Moreover, New Democrats are committed to multilateral diplomacy and international co-operation, especially in areas of great common concern such as nuclear terrorism. Thus, we need to work with other leading countries that are moving forward toward ratifying these conventions.

We also believe that since Canada has agreed to be legally bound by these conventions, it is important to fulfill our international obligations. For these reasons we will vote in favour of the bill at second reading in order to further study it at committee. However, a few concerns need to be set out first.

The first has to do with the origin of the bill. I would urge those who embrace the anachronistic and undemocratic institution of the Senate on the grounds of tradition to employ the Senate in the traditional way, that being as the chamber of sober second thought and not as the place of origin of legislation. It is for those of us in the chamber who, for better or worse, were sent here by Canadians to do that work.

Second, as with so much legislation that the government puts forward through whichever chamber, we must be careful that we do not overreach in the name of anti-terrorism. On this point, our experiences with the Liberals' Anti-terrorism Act and the government's recent Bill S-7 are instructive. The provisions of that act and that bill run contrary to the fundamental principles, rights and liberties enshrined in Canadian law.

Moreover, perhaps more importantly, we have found that without such extreme provisions, without changing the legal landscape of Canada, without breaching the rights and civil liberties of Canadian citizens, we have successfully protected the safety and security of Canada and Canadians from terrorist attack and that the offending provisions have proven over the course of time to constitute an unnecessary, ineffective infringement.

I would note that this issue arose in the course of the bill's study in the Senate. No doubt the intention of the drafters at the Department of Justice was to adhere as closely as possible to the terms of the convention. However, it has been suggested that some of the new Criminal Code offences are broader in scope than the offences found in the individual international agreements. We must be sure that the overreach of these new sections will not result in undue criminalization or go against the Canadian Charter of Rights.

I anticipate that the justice committee will play a very valuable role in ensuring that the lessons of previous anti-terrorism legislation are applied to Bill S-9.

Last, I come to what I believe is a very important point in this discussion, that being the matter of delay. The implementation of the bill or some amended version thereof is a prerequisite for the ratification of both international conventions. Both of these conventions set out in their respective preambles the urgency with which the international community must act to implement a regime to control nuclear weapons and materials and to ensure they are not accessible for terrorist purposes.

For example, the preamble to the convention on nuclear terrorism talks about the deep concern of the parties to this convention of the worldwide escalation of acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and that acts of nuclear terrorism may result in the gravest consequences and may pose a threat to international peace and security. It also notes that existing multilateral legal provisions do not adequately address those attacks and that the “urgent need to enhance international cooperation between States” for these purposes needs to be moved forward.

Therefore, the question sitting out there is this. Why has it taken the legislation so long to get to the House for debate when both conventions have been open for ratification since 2005?

While there are other laggards in the international community, it is our expectation that Canada show leadership on issues such as these.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 5th, 2012 / 12:10 p.m.
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NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my hon. colleague and was especially interested in terms of the larger picture. Certainly we need to deal with the offences when someone is trying to deal in nuclear materials and the whole issue of nuclear terrorism. However, we see such a proliferation of arms already around the world that we need to have a proactive instead of a reactive response on the issue of nuclear proliferation. Reactive is just not good enough, no matter how many bills and legislation we bring forward. We are dealing with many countries, some of whom are unstable, that have used nuclear weapons or have access to nuclear waste or nuclear materials.

I ask my hon. colleague this. What does he think in terms of the big picture with respect to Canada playing a proactive role internationally to reduce access to nuclear weapons in every single country?

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 5th, 2012 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House have noted that Canada is falling behind both in its international reputation and participation in multilateral efforts to curb the proliferation of weapons. It is happening at a time of tremendous importance for countries like Canada to do the opposite and show international leadership on these matters. There are states around the world that are failing. Many of these states have a great deal of weaponry and those weapons are falling into the hands of people who should not have weapons. That is great cause for concern for the safety and security of folks around the world, including Canadians.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 5th, 2012 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Beaches—East York mentioned a number of important points. In one part of his speech, he focused on something puzzling. In fact, the term “urgent” is used several times in these conventions. Yet, we have been waiting since 2005 for a bill to be introduced that really deals with this problem and that amends the Criminal Code, so that Canada can ratify these conventions.

One of the arguments trotted out by the Parliamentary Secretary when the bill was first introduced was that, at the time, there was a minority government in power.

To my knowledge, all members of the House agree with the general principle of this bill. Therefore, I will ask my colleague to speculate about why the government, which has been in power since February 2006, did not move more quickly on this bill.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 5th, 2012 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, my response is a bit of a continuation of the response I gave to the last question in that what is happening is that Canada is failing to take its full place in the international community and show leadership on such issues. It seems to me that it was the urging of the international community at both the Washington nuclear security summit in 2010 and the Seoul nuclear security summit in 2012 that seems to have prompted the government to finally take action and put together a bill that would see the criminal codification of offences under those respective conventions put into place in Canada. It is interesting to read the Seoul communiqué that came out of the summit in 2012 and the very stark terms it spoke about of the urgency for countries around the world to ratify these agreements.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 5th, 2012 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the very hard-working member for Beaches—East York for sharing his time with me. He has done a tremendous amount of work in the House around the F-35 file and his speech today reflects his commitment to looking at some of these matters.

I also want to acknowledge the member for Gatineau and the member for Toronto—Danforth who spoke previously and very ably outlined some of the technical aspects of the bill. I will read from the legislative summary so that people who are watching are clear about the bill we are speaking about. It reads:

Bill S-9, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (short title: Nuclear Terrorism Act), is a 10-clause bill that introduces four new indictable offences into Part II of the Criminal Code, which deals with offences against public order. Adding these new offences, with respect to certain activities in relation to nuclear or radioactive material, nuclear or radioactive devices or nuclear facilities 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;

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;

commit an indictable offence under federal law for the purpose of obtaining nuclear or radioactive material, a nuclear or radioactive device, or access or control of a nuclear facility; and

threaten to commit any of the other three offences.

The bill would fulfill Canada's treaty obligations under the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, also known as CPPNM, and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, ICSANT. This includes extending international measures beyond protecting against proliferation of nuclear materials to now include protection of nuclear facilities and 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 a case where the implementation of a treaty requires amendment to Canadian legislation, the treaty is ratified only when such amendments or new legislation has been passed. As the member for Beaches—East York very ably pointed out, Canada has not ratified even though it has signed on and it has been five years. The question is why the government did not take steps before. I know the parliamentary secretary mentioned in his speech that it was because of a minority Parliament, but there is broad agreement in the House about the need to ratify this treaty and for Canada to fulfill both its domestic and international obligations.

To date, Canada has not ratified either the ICSANT or the CPPNM amendment. This is because Canada does not yet have legislation in place to criminalize the offences outlined in the ICSANT or some of the offences outlined in the CPPNM amendment. The amendments Bill S-9 introduces into the Criminal Code represents 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 ICSANT and the CPPNM amendment. One would hope that Canada would move expeditiously to do that once this law has passed through both Houses.

I will quote from a handbook for parliamentarians supporting nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament because the bill has a larger context. It is important to note the larger context and why it is important for Canada to move ahead and ratify these treaties. This handbook was just released at the interparliamentary union last week in Quebec City. There was an address from the United Nations Secretary-General, a message dated July 2012, that was at the outset of this book. It reads:

The rule of law is coming to nuclear disarmament, and parliamentarians have important contributions to make in advancing this historic process.

Inspired or assisted by the efforts of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, parliaments are showing an increased interest in promoting nuclear disarmament. This should come as no surprise. Parliaments represent the people, and across the world today we are seeing a groundswell of opinion among diverse sectors of civil society--doctors, lawyers, religious leaders, mayors, human rights activists, women’s groups, environmentalists, economists and educators in countless fields--demanding concrete steps to control and eliminate these deadly, costly, wasteful weapons.

The core role of parliaments in ratifying treaties and adopting implementing legislation gives them tremendous potential to extend the rule of law even more deeply into the domain of disarmament.

This is part of what Canada can do in terms of fulfilling some of those international obligations. There is an important context, though, for this, and again in the Supporting Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament handbook, they quote from the 7th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates who concluded that:

The failure to address the nuclear threat and to strengthen existing treaty obligations to work for nuclear weapons abolition shreds the fabric of cooperative security. A world with nuclear haves and have-nots is fragmented and unstable, a fact underscored by the current threats of proliferation. In such an environment cooperation fails. Thus, nations are unable to address effectively the real threats of poverty, environmental degradation and nuclear catastrophe.

They go on to talk about the economic dimensions. I think this is also an important note about why it is so important for Canada to move forward. It goes on to state:

In December 2010, Global Zero released an analysis indicating that approximately US $100 billion per year was being spent globally on nuclear weapons, with almost 50 per cent of that being spent in the United States alone. In comparison, the biennial United Nations budget for 2012/2013 is US $5.1 billion, or 5 per cent of the yearly global nuclear weapons budget. The costs of meeting the Millennium Development Goals--of basic education, primary health care, minimum food, clean water, and environmental protection (including climate change prevention and alleviation)--are estimated at US $120 billion per year, just slightly more than the nuclear weapons budget.

We can imagine what a different world we could live in if all the money that was being spent on nuclear weapons was actually being spent on health care, education, poverty reduction measures and climate change.

The handbook goes on to say:

Allocating such massive budgets to weapons systems designed in the hope they will never be used not only steals economic resources from other vital programmes, it also drains the social capital required to stimulate economies. Dollar for dollar, investing in nuclear weapons creates far fewer jobs than virtually any other industry; nuclear weapon systems are high-tech and have virtually no economic flow-on to other industries or other economic activities. In addition, the intellectual activity devoted to modernizing and developing nuclear weapon systems steals such intellect from areas of social and economic need. The nuclear-weapon corporations might get richer, but everyone else gets poorer.

In the same handbook, it reads:

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a letter addressed to all parliaments in February 2010, noted that:

“At a time when the international community is facing unprecedented global challenges, parliamentarians can take on leading roles in ensuring sustainable global security, while reducing the diversion of precious resources from human needs. As parliaments set the fiscal priorities for their respective countries, they can determine how much to invest in the pursuit of peace and cooperative security.”

I have a quote that reads:

Dwight D. Eisenhower, from a speech before the American Society of Newspaper Editors,16 April 1953:

It is “The opportunity-cost of militarism....”

I think it is timely for us to remind ourselves of that in the context of this debate today. Mr. Eisenhower went on to say:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

The New Democrats are supporting getting this bill to committee for study because it is a very technical bill. There was one clause that needed to be amended at the Senate. We want to ensure that the bill reflects Canada's obligation under these international conventions.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 5th, 2012 / 12:25 p.m.
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NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague for Nanaimo—Cowichan for her speech. The Anti-Personnel Mines Convention is from another era, an era when Canada was a leader on the issue. We are now living with the shame of being a follower and having to make up for lost time. Fortunately, we are now taking action.

After listening to my colleague's speech, I have the following question. Does she believe that simple amendments to the Criminal Code and the government's measures are enough to ensure compliance with the terms of the convention? Changes to the Criminal Code can be useful, but they must be accompanied by precautionary measures and we must take concrete measures internationally that go beyond mere amendments to the text.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 5th, 2012 / 12:25 p.m.
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NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is why it is very important for this bill to go before the committee for us to study it in detail and look at whether we would be in compliance with the two conventions I mentioned, or whether we would go beyond the conventions and there is more in this bill than absolutely necessary.

The bill also presents an opportunity for the government to educate Canadians about the whole issue around nuclear weapons and the need to move toward nonproliferation. There was a study commissioned by the United Nations and presented to the first committee of the General Assembly at its 57th session in 2002 that actually recommended that states undertake a whole series of measures around education, including looking at their own policies and legislation in the context of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament.

Perhaps Bill S-9, once passed, would be an opportunity for the government to set aside some funds to look at educating Canadians about the broader issues around nuclear weapons use.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 5th, 2012 / 12:30 p.m.
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NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, it has been very interesting to see that Canada has not moved with the urgency needed on this bill. However, we also see internationally that many of our allies seem to have a bit of an ambivalent attitude toward the issue of access to nuclear materials. For example, depleted uranium has been used in armour-busting shells. It has been very convenient for the armies of the U.S. and NATO, in particular, to use depleted uranium. We saw over 300 tonnes of it dumped in the first Gulf War. As a result, there have been massive increases in child cancers and deformities there. Yet, under the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a general licence was established for people to be able to use uranium from depleted uranium shells as long as they committed not to leaving it anywhere. There seems to be a very cavalier attitude to something that is very dangerous, particularly as we have seen the health effects of depleted uranium.

It is not just about getting rid of large nuclear weapons, but also about ensuring that we pull these very dangerous toxic materials out of any kind of use, whether military or civilian.