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 5th, 2012 / 1:30 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, that would underpin my entire approach to saying that the Canadian government must list the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity. As all studies have shown in this regard, as I mentioned in my remarks, the IRGC has emerged as the epicentre of the fourfold Iranian threat that I described and is particularly engaged both in the matter of nuclear proliferation and international terrorism. Should it be characterized as a military organization rather than as the terrorist entity it is, then it could somehow find a loophole to be protected against the application of this legislation.

In that regard, we must therefore move with all deliberate speed, which I have been suggesting for years, to list the IRGC as a terrorist entity under Canadian law. In fact, when the Canadian government closed the embassy in Iran, I listed four initiatives that could have been taken, apart from closing the embassy, which would have had compelling impact: number one, listing the IRGC as a terrorist entity; number two, holding Iran accountable for its state-sanctioned incitement to genocide; number three, holding to sanction those engaged in massive human rights violations; and number four, engaging, as I said, in a much more active way in combatting the nuclear proliferation program in Iran.

Those are the activities we still must undertake, and they are more important than the issues of simply closing the embassy in Iran because they would have substantive effect in terms of our combatting overall the fourfold threat that Iran represents, in particular its nuclear proliferation threat that is underpinned by its genocidal incitement threat, as well as its international terrorist conduct, in which not only the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps but its terrorist proxy Hezbollah also has been engaged. While we have put Hezbollah on the terrorist list, we might encourage our European counterparts to do the same.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 5th, 2012 / 1:30 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, this legislation represents a first step on the domestic level with regard to the implementation of our obligations under international treaties, which now finally, belatedly, will be both ratified and implemented.

However, it represents only a first step and it deals only with the domestic criminal law enforcement step. It does not deal with the overall, multilateral involvement that is required of us in terms of combatting the overall nuclear proliferation danger, as well as all the others I have mentioned.

We need to go beyond this legislation, which is effectively, importantly, a domestic law enforcement tool that does not deal with the important, compelling, international, multilateral arms control and disarmament initiatives we need to be taking.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 5th, 2012 / 1:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Mike Sullivan NDP York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Timmins—James Bay.

The bill fulfills Canada's treaty obligations to the UN under the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, including extending international measures and beyond protecting against proliferation to now include the protection of nuclear facilities. Also, it reinforces Canada's obligation under the UN Security Council Resolution 1540 taken in 2004, to take and enforce effective measures to prevent the proliferation of nuclear materials as well as chemical and biological weapons.

At the outset, let me say that we generally support the bill. We think it is about time that the government actually lived up to its obligations under the UN, but we have some reservations about the scope of the bill.

I also want to point out that the government with its law and order agenda has an overarching propensity to deal with law and order as its prime focus. This is just one of 14 bills, I believe, that have reached the House dealing with crime or crime and punishment, or defining crime. There are many of them. There were bills about megatrials, human smugglers, mandatory minimums, military justice, the gun registry, citizens' arrest, criminal and electronic communications, human smugglers, elder abuse, accountability of offenders, RCMP accountability, the faster removal of foreign criminals, terrorism and nuclear terrorism, which would lead one to belive that perhaps Canada is going through a spate of crime that is out of proportion to everything, because these bills are out of proportion to what we are doing here in the House of Commons.

However, that is not true. The facts suggest otherwise, that crime is on the decline in Canada and has been on the decline since before the government took office. Focusing on laws to scare Canadians into thinking that crime is on the rise and making the criminal justice system harsher and less flexible is not the way to go. On this side of the House, we believe that a flexible and more systematic approach to crime is a better of dealing with it.

The bill is necessary and we agree it is necessary to adopt these laws, to abide by our agreements with the United Nations, to deal with the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, et cetera. However, let us talk about what things are still missing from the government's agenda while this bill is front and centre.

The government is making illegal certain acts of terrorism involving nuclear materials. Bravo. Canadians generally are glad that, if people try to use nuclear or radioactive material for terrorism, they will be doing something against the law and if they are caught and convicted they will face serious penalties. However, we note there are no mandatory minimums here.

What is the government doing about other things that are terrifying Canadians? In my riding of York South—Weston there was a recent spate of killings and maimings using handguns. Last week one person was killed and two others injured in handgun violence. Over the summer, there were six funerals of Somali youth who were gunned down in acts of violence all over the city of Toronto. Of course there were the horrific shootings at a block party on Danzig Street in Scarborough, which left two dead and 23 injured. What action has the government taken to stop the flow of illegal guns at our border?

It is all well and good to pass laws making terrorism and nuclear terrorism illegal, but if our citizenry is being terrorized by other things, what are we doing about that? What actions are being taken to get the guns that are already there off the street? There is no bill before us on that topic.

The government passed Bill C-19, which cancels and will destroy the long gun registry, so less will be known about what guns are out there, and people are fearful. People in my city are fearful about what that will mean for their personal safety. They are more fearful than they were before the Conservative government took power.

In my riding of York South—Weston the bill does nothing to prevent another thing that is the single biggest crime in my riding right now, the theft of cellphones and other electronic mobile devices. Kids are being mugged and people are being injured, and yet nothing is happening from the government. The solution is simple. Make it illegal to activate phones reported as stolen, and I brought forward such a motion in the House of Commons.

So far the government is silent on things that are terrifying people, that are making people feel they are less safe than they were yesterday. Yet, we are here discussing nuclear terrorism.

It also takes aim at the risk of the environment being threatened by nuclear terrorists. Again, bravo. Canadians are worried about the environment. They are worried about the climate changes that have been felt most recently from Hurricane Sandy doing damage to both the U.S. and Canada.

What else is the government doing about the environment? The definition of the environment in Bill S-9, this bill, is almost identical to that found in the new environmental assessment act. Essentially,

“environment” means the components of the Earth, and includes (a) land, water and air, including all layers of the atmosphere; (b) all organic and inorganic matter and living organisms; and (c) the interacting natural systems that include components referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b).

Bravo, again.

If a nuclear terrorist threatens any of these elements of the environment, they can be charged with an offence, and if convicted, they can face serious time. However, if they do something, the environmental effects of these actions cannot hurt any living organism, including humans. That is not so for the way that the government treats its own projects.

The definition of environmental effect in the new environmental assessment act is only about those impacts on fish, migratory species and birds. If a federal project harms the environment in such a way that human health is threatened, apparently the government does not care. Human health is no longer protected by the Environmental Assessment Act.

Bill S-9 protects human health. It therefore protects the environment better against harm than the environmental assessment act. Nuclear terrorists are treated more harshly than government projects or other projects that are of large scale and large effect and that can in fact harm the environment. Most of those projects are not nuclear terrorism, so nothing is wrong with harming human health, says this Conservative government.

Bill S-9 is a necessary part of living up to our obligations to the UN. We like the UN. We wish we were part of the Security Council. We wish we lived up to all of our obligations. One of those obligations is the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which the government signed on March 11, 2010. On that date the government promised, as a result of signing that convention, to report back to the UN within two years. It still has not done it.

There has been no report on what it has done so far to help persons with disabilities. So far, the government has done things to harm persons with disabilities. One of the things that treaty with the UN says very clearly we are supposed to be doing is making it possible for persons with disabilities to have equal access to information, equal access to the Internet. Yet, the government, in its last bill, removed community access funding. It therefore cut off thousands upon thousands of disabled individuals from having access to the Internet, which they had grown used to under that plan, and it is no longer available to them.

The government has apparently failed the disabled, and failed, again, one of the very important things we have signed with the UN. We agreed with the UN. We thought we would make life better for the disabled, with every measure we took and with everything we did. Yet, we have the government acting in opposition of that promise to the UN.

In addition, the bill does nothing to deal with one of the most pressing needs in my riding, and that is affordable housing. The bill is all about safety and security, but safety and security is one of the things that is most missing in my riding with regard to persons living in supported housing in the city of Toronto.

Fifteen years ago, the Liberal government got itself out of supported housing, and the federal government has done nothing to move back into that role. The City of Toronto is facing a $750 million deficit in terms of repairing these buildings, and thousands upon thousands of people are on waiting lists. Yet, we can do nothing about it. This is part of the safety and security of individuals in my riding in the city of Toronto, and in Canada as a whole.

However, the most important thing facing us is nuclear terrorism, according to the government. We have done absolutely nothing to assist those people in this country to feel more secure in where they live.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 5th, 2012 / 1:45 p.m.
See context

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, these obligations go back to 2004, and no steps have been taken to ratify them until now.

The government seems to have a very mixed attitude toward the United Nations. It has tried to get on the Security Council, and they were turned down, many said, because of the government's attitude on key issues. We have heard backbenchers attack the United Nations. We have seen the Minister of Foreign Affairs ridicule it.

I would like to ask the hon. member if he is concerned about Canada's long-standing tradition of multilateralism being undermined by a government that seems to be very hostile towards our most important international body?

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 5th, 2012 / 1:45 p.m.
See context

NDP

Mike Sullivan NDP York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, as for Canada's role in the world, one way of putting it is that we have always punched above our weight. However, since the government took office, we are less able to have an influence in the major and underlying issues facing this planet. Nowhere was that more evident than when we were rejected for a spot on the Security Council.

I am a supporter of the United Nations. I prefer to think that the United Nations is a place we can go to have large-scale discussions about the ills that face the world. Canada should be a part of that process.

More and more, since the government has taken office, we seem to be pushing ourselves to the outside of the UN. We do not want to make speeches at the UN. We do not want to abide by our commitments. It has been seven years since the commitment to the UN was made. It has been almost three years since the commitment on the persons with disabilities was made, and there has been no report from the government on that commitment.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 5th, 2012 / 1:45 p.m.
See context

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I was concerned as I listened to the member touch on a whole host of issues that are not directly related to this bill. However, I guess he has the right to do that.

I want to speak specifically to the issue of the flow of illegal guns into this country. The member was basically accusing the government of having done nothing on that, in spite of the fact that we have put increased resources into that at the border. We have increased sentencing for gun crimes because we felt that was an important thing to do in this country. We have armed officers at the border in order to protect them better, as well, and we have been screening arrivals and making sure people are checked so that the flow of guns is stopped.

The member also mentioned that the gun registry was shut down and seemed to somehow try to link that to handguns. I do not know if the member is aware, but the handgun registry has been in place for decades and it continues. The long gun registry does not affect handguns. If the member is talking about handguns in his riding, he should be clear and should not be misleading his constituents into thinking that somehow the government has not done anything with the handgun registry.

I have a specific question. It is the member's opinion that people feel they are less safe today than they were years ago. I am just wondering, if that is the case, why have the NDP members opposed every initiative we have brought forward in order to protect people and make them feel more safe in their own homes and communities?

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 5th, 2012 / 1:45 p.m.
See context

NDP

Mike Sullivan NDP York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, the problem with the actions that the government has taken is they do not make people feel more safe. That has been the problem.

The government has taken action to remove a long gun registry, which in fact police were using every day. It has taken steps to make penalties for using guns harsher. I am not aware of too many criminals who read the law before they take a gun and shoot somebody. That is not what goes on in the minds of criminals.

What is necessary in order to make people feel safer is safer and more secure housing, and safer and more secure streets, which may mean we need some proactive way to get at the proliferation of handguns.

When I go into a high school and half of the children there admit to owning a handgun or knowing someone who does, there is something wrong with our society. When the proliferation of handguns is that pervasive that high school students think nothing of owning a handgun, there is something wrong.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 5th, 2012 / 1:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, as always, it is a great honour to rise in the House of Commons, the house of the common people of Canada, and to represent the people who elected me in the region of Timmins—James Bay, whom I have great respect for. I take my role in this debate very seriously. We are discussing something of great importance that cuts across all party lines. It is an international concern about dealing with the proliferation of nuclear materials that could be used in terrorist attacks and in illegal ways.

Bill S-9 is an attempt by Canada to ratify commitments that were made at the United Nations, eight years ago, on the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. That was amended at the 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. It is unfortunate that we did not move to ratify this earlier, but we are dealing with it now, so let us get down to business.

Ensuring that all countries are in compliance with the legal codes necessary to deal with those who would attempt to misuse or get access to nuclear materials is, of course, a major issue domestically. However, there is no such thing as being reactive when it comes to nuclear materials. It only takes one case, which could have catastrophic implications. There is the need to be proactive and multilateral, for Canada to take a place on the world stage, where we once were recognized for trying to get rid of weapons. It is the ease of access to materials that is like playing the dangerous game of Russian roulette.

I will talk a bit about the bill, but I want to talk about two issues that have recently come to light with regard to how nuclear materials are being used. One is on how they are clearly being used in an illegal manner, and the other is how they are being used perfectly legally. I will talk about the illegal manner.

There was the recent assassination of the Russian Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned with polonium-210. Mr. Litvinenko was a critic of Vladimir Putin, and a major investigation was undertaken. It was interesting that at the time British authorities were quoted in the media saying, “we are 100% certain who administered the poison, where and how”, yet nobody was ever extradited for this, and life went on. The British doctors who dealt with Mr. Litvinenko when he was dying said that his murder represents an ominous landmark, the beginning of the age of nuclear terrorism.

After the fall of the communist regime that had become very much a corrupt oligarch, there have been attempts and hope throughout the last 20 years for Russia to move forward. However, there are real concerns about what is happening there right now. Three young women were recently convicted of the crime of embarrassing the Russian ruler with a piece of theatre. Yekaterina Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were all arrested, convicted and sent to penal colonies. Yekaterina Samutsevich was finally released, but the other two young mothers, in their early 20s, are now serving hard labour in penal colonies for the crime of having embarrassed the oligarch Putin. This happened in 2012.

What is also very sad and shameful is that, along with Mr. Putin attacking these young women artists, he was actually backed by the patriarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church who felt they had also been embarrassed. For a church that has been persecuted by the Soviet Union, we would have hoped the leadership of the church would have called on Mr. Putin not to use the power of the state to try to crush artists. It is the role of the artist to perhaps say what the media and other people are unwilling to say. Yet, two young dissident women are suffering right now in a penal colony in Russia, in 2012. Very little has been said internationally, and Mr. Putin carries on. The murder of Mr. Litvinenko, the lack of action to find out who did it and the fact that it involved nuclear material is very concerning.

For the young women of Pussy Riot, we do need parliaments and political leaders to stand up and say that the right of dissent, the right of art must be protected around the world, even in the world of Vladimir Putin.

I will now turn to another issue in terms of nuclear proliferation, something that is perfectly legal right now but certainly does not meet the tests of international law, and that is the use of depleted uranium by NATO and U.S. military forces.

Obviously, depleted uranium is being used as tank busters and were used to a great extent in the first Gulf war, in Afghanistan and in the invasion of Iraq. It makes it very easy to blow up a tank with a large depleted uranium shell but uranium is extremely toxic and poisonous to the atmosphere. It destroys the landscape because it poisons it forever. We are now seeing, in areas like Afghanistan and Iraq, the effects of this, particularly in Fallujah . There are real concerns about catastrophic levels of birth defects and abnormalities being reported by media following the U.S. attack on Fallujah in 2006. Dr. Samira Alani, the pediatric specialist in Fallujah, said that she personally has logged over 700 birth defects in children who were born with severe abnormalities and children who died as a result of exposure to some form of radiation. The only radiation we can think of is the use of these depleted uranium shells. That is unconscionable.

What is also unconscionable is that as we are talking about trying to limit access to these materials because they could be used in terrorism, we see that the U.S. nuclear regulatory commission has established a general licence for the use of depleted uranium. Everyone can get a general licence as long as they promise they will not lose any of the stuff.

Nationally and internationally, we need to get our heads around this and say that we must get uranium away from being used in nuclear forces because all over the world we are seeing countries, which have access to weapons-grade uranium and nuclear materials, that are unstable. Some former regimes have collapsed and some of the new people should not have access to this material. The potential is catastrophic. It has been one of the great fortunes of the world that over the last 50 years these weapons have not been used, even accidentally, and we should all be grateful. It has to go back to the fact that there still is a lack of action at the international level to insist that we move toward removing these weapons and materials so that they cannot be used incorrectly.

The New Democratic Party supports moving the bill to committee and feels that it is important to do so. Obviously, people who are attempting to trade in nuclear materials need to be punished to the full extent of the law. However, it is the role of multilateral engagement that Canada has traditionally played the role of honest broker in the world in order to bring the various parties to the tables to say that we need to start, not only lowering the level of intercontinental ballistic missiles but we need to deal with issues like depleted uranium shells. We need to start taking the materials out of circulation in order to protect the common good.

As we have been waiting eight years for this legislation to come forward, we accept it and will move forward with it, but we are calling upon the government to understand that reactive does not work when it comes to nuclear issues. The only real response of any credible nation in the world today in 2012 is to be proactive. We are calling upon the government to take the proactive lead to move toward multilateral disarmament on nuclear issues, including the depleted uranium shells that are still being used.

I look forward to carrying on this debate. This is the kind of discussion that belongs in our House and what we should be spending our time on as members of Parliament.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

October 15th, 2012 / 3:15 p.m.
See context

Delta—Richmond East B.C.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the second reading debate on Bill S-9, the nuclear terrorism act. I will begin my remarks by drawing attention to the words of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University in its 2011 report entitled, “The U.S.-Russia Joint Threat Assessment of Nuclear Terrorism”. It noted, “Of all varieties of terrorism, nuclear terrorism poses the gravest threat to the world”.

Al-Qaeda, for example, has a long-standing stated desire to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Our government has acknowledged this threat. The March 2010 Speech from the Throne noted the danger to global peace and security posed by the proliferation of nuclear materials and related technology. In light of this threat, the international community and individual countries have taken a number of steps to combat nuclear terrorism. Two key international efforts are the genesis for Bill S-9. It is important to take a moment to discuss these two treaties that are its genesis.

The original Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, the CPPNM, was signed by Canada in 1980 and ratified in 1986. It established measures related to the prevention, detection and punishment of offences relating to nuclear material, principally during international transport. In July 2005, state parties to the CPPNM, including Canada, adopted by consensus important amendments calling on states to protect nuclear facilities and material in peaceful domestic use, storage and transport; to provide for expanded co-operation among states; and to criminalize a range of acts involving nuclear material and nuclear facilities. I will refer to this instrument as the CPPNM amendment.

That same year, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, or ICSANT, was negotiated and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. It covers a broad range of acts and possible targets, including nuclear facilities, and applies to nuclear material, radioactive material and radioactive devices, and includes provisions relating to interstate co-operation. Given the clear overlap between the criminal law requirements and subject matter of the CPPNM amendment and the ICSANT, Bill S-9 is designed in a way that proposes to implement into Canadian law the criminal law elements of both instruments.

For Canada, as with other dualist states, domestic legislation is required to ratify international treaties. Ratification is the formal act by which we signify our consent to be legally bound by the terms of the conventions. Bill S-9 proposes four new nuclear terrorism offences in our Criminal Code.

First, it proposes an offence for the making of a nuclear or radioactive device, as well as the possession, use, transfer, export, import, alteration or disposal of nuclear material, radioactive material or device, or the commission of an act against a nuclear facility or its operations with the intent of causing death, serious bodily harm or substantial damage to property or the environment. Those who are found guilty of this offence are liable to a maximum term of life imprisonment. I would note that the prohibition against the making of a device was added through an amendment made while Bill S-9 was being studied by the Special Senate Committee on Anti-Terrorism, and I would certainly say that it adds to the strength of this important bill.

Second, the bill proposes an offence for the use or alteration of nuclear material, radioactive material or device, or the commission of an act against a nuclear facility or its operations with the intent of compelling a person, a government or international organization to do or refrain from doing any act. This offence also carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Third, Bill S-9 also calls for an offence for the commission of an indictable offence for the purpose of obtaining nuclear or radioactive material or device, or access or control of a nuclear facility. The offence is designed in this way to comply with the requirements of both the CPPNM amendment and the ICSANT to specifically address the commission of various crimes, such as theft and robbery perpetrated to obtain nuclear or radioactive material or a device.

As a result, this offence would require the Crown to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that both the underlying offence was committed, with its requisite elements, and that it was done with the intent to obtain nuclear material, radioactive material or a device, or to obtain access to a nuclear facility.

Again, given the seriousness of such an offence, the proposed penalty is a maximum term of life imprisonment.

The fourth and final offence proposed in Bill S-9 addresses threats to commit one of the above nuclear terrorism offences. Both the CPPNM amendment at article 7(9) and the ICSANT at article 2(2) require states to criminalize the threat to commit one of the treaty offences.

The Criminal Code does contain an offence of uttering threats, found at section 264.1. However, this offence has a maximum punishment set at five years, which was not seen as severe enough in the case, for example, of threatening to unleash a radiological dispersal device, or dirty bomb, in public. The maximum penalty proposed for this offence is 14 years' imprisonment.

It is important to state that the offences in Bill S-9 and their very specific intent requirements have been set out to be absolutely clear so that lawful activity is not captured. In other words, these proposed four new offences would not capture lawful medical procedures involving radiation, the lawful exchange of material or devices or other lawful activity in the nuclear industry.

These four offences make up the essential elements of Bill S-9, but there are other important areas that require brief comment.

First, the terms “nuclear material”, “radioactive material”, “nuclear facility”, “device” and “environment” are defined in Bill S-9. All of these definitions are based either on existing law or on the CPPNM amendment and the ICSANT.

Second, as is consistently the practice in treaties of this nature, countries are called upon to assume extra-territorial adjudicative jurisdiction, which means ensuring that our Canadian courts have the authority to try offences committed outside of Canada in certain situations. It is for this reason that Bill S-9 would provide for jurisdiction to try these new offences in situations, for example, where the offence is committed outside Canada but by a Canadian, or when the person who commits the act or omission outside Canada is later present in Canada.

Third, given that the majority of Criminal Code offences are prosecuted by the provinces and territories, as is the established practice for other terrorism offences, Bill S-9 would provide the Attorney General of Canada with concurrent prosecutorial authority along with the provinces and territories over these new nuclear terrorism offences.

In addition, as called for in the treaties and consistent with Canadian law in this area, Bill S-9 contains a military exclusion clause. These amendments do not apply to the activities of the Canadian Forces and to persons acting in support of the Canadian Forces who are under the formal command and control of the Canadian Forces while in the performance of their official duties.

The military exclusion language used in both the CPPNM and ICSANT is similar to that used in the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, which is presently in Canadian law at section 431.2 of the Criminal Code.

Moreover, it is significant to note that Bill S-9 would add both the CPPNM amendment and the ICSANT to the list of existing terrorism treaties making up the first part of the definition of terrorist activity at section 83.01(1)(a) of the Criminal Code.

The significance of this addition is that by virtue of the operation of the definition of terrorist activity, a number of other provisions would apply to those charged with the nuclear terrorism offences. These provisions include a reverse onus at bail hearings, the availability of one-year wiretap authorizations as well as the dispensation of the requirement to demonstrate investigative necessity.

In addition, for this terrorism offence, the law would provide for the application of the consecutive sentencing regime for multiple terrorism offence convictions and an increased period for parole ineligibility.

All of these powers currently exist in Canadian criminal law and so the only change brought about by Bill S-9 is the addition of the nuclear terrorism offences to the pool of offences to which these tools apply.

Outside of the criminal law, the physical protection measures contemplated in the CPPNM amendment are already in place in Canada.

Under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is responsible for setting physical protection standards in Canada and ensuring that those standards are met. The nuclear security regulations set out the physical protection measures that licensees must implement to meet minimum security standards. However, due to the pressing threat posed by the possibility of terrorists acquiring dangerous nuclear or radioactive materials or devices, the securing and disposing of these materials remains a high priority for Canada and its international partners.

In this regard, at the invitation of United States President Obama, 47 world leaders, including the Prime Minister, participated in the inaugural April 2010 Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington. At this summit the leaders agreed that strong nuclear security measures were the most effective means to prevent terrorists, criminals or other unauthorized actors from acquiring nuclear materials, and in this regard the summit work plan called upon participating states to ratify and work toward achieving the universal implementation of the CPPNM amendment and the ICSANT.

The second Nuclear Security Summit was held in March of this year in South Korea. The summit again brought together world leaders to exchange views on the threat of nuclear terrorism and the pressing need to further develop and implement internationally coordinated efforts to enhance nuclear security worldwide. World leaders, including our Prime Minister, joined together to state:

Nuclear terrorism continues to be one of the most challenging threats to international security. Defeating this threat requires strong national measures and international cooperation given its potential global political, economic, social, and psychological consequences.

The summit produced a comprehensive action plan aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism, with emphasis on the management of nuclear materials, protection of nuclear facilities, prevention of trafficking of illegal nuclear materials and the promotion of the universality of key nuclear security instruments.

Therefore, it will come as no surprise that Canada is not alone in pursuing domestic legislation on this front. The United Kingdom became a state party to the CPPNM amendment through amendments made by its Criminal Justice and Immigration Act, 2008, and the ICSANT through the Terrorism Act, 2006. In addition, Australia modified its laws to achieve ratification through the Non-proliferation Legislation Amendment Act, 2007, and more recently, the Nuclear Terrorism Legislation Amendment Act, 2012. I would also note that the United States has a bill before the United States Congress aimed at domestic ratification.

Upon review of these foreign precedents, members will note many similarities in how countries, including Canada, through Bill S-9, have adopted or proposed laws to implement the criminal law requirements of the CPPNM amendment and the ICSANT. These specific efforts are only part of the international community's efforts at universal ratification. Indeed, there are currently 55 states parties to the CPPNM amendment and 79 states parties to the ICSANT.

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 and we actively encourage others to follow through on 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.

On this last point, it is important to note that both international instruments have specific obligations relating to extradition and mutual legal assistance that would be triggered in the event of a nuclear terrorism investigation or offence. While the global spread of the use of nuclear technology and nuclear materials brings great benefits, the increasing number of users also creates vulnerabilities. Terrorists will seek to exploit any gap in security anywhere in the world and it is our duty to ensure that Canada has the laws in place to ensure that we will not present any such opportunities.

Bill S-9 is both targeted and timely. With the adoption of specific nuclear terrorism laws and the eventual ratification of these two important counterterrorism treaties, Canada can build on and demonstrate its continued commitment to secure nuclear materials as well as to punish those who would inflict unimaginable harm.

Bill S-9 sends a strong message to the global community that Canada is a willing partner in the fight against terrorism and is committed to measures that contribute to global security.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

October 15th, 2012 / 3:30 p.m.
See context

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Delta—Richmond East, who managed to turn a rather dry, complicated and very technical bill into something more easily understood. I certainly appreciate the urgency and importance of this bill, which we will support at second reading.

Why has the government not made this a priority before now? For the past five years now, we could have been honouring our commitments under international treaties. Why did it take five years?

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

October 15th, 2012 / 3:30 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay Conservative Delta—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague and I work together very well on the justice and human rights committee and I continue to welcome her input on these important legislative measures.

The fact is that there were attempts to bring forward many of these measures during the time of minority Parliaments but they were not accepted. Now we are in a majority situation and we are bringing them forward. I hope the opposition members will see the need for this and understand the legal effect of ratifying our international obligations. Ratification is the formal international act by which Canada signifies its consent to be legally bound by these conventions, which we were part of the architecture of them as well as agreeing with them. This is a real and continuing threat and we are now taking our place among our international partners.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

October 15th, 2012 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Craig Scott NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I agree with my colleague from Gatineau. That was a very helpful and extremely clear introduction of the bill by the parliamentary secretary.

The International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism includes, among the listed acts that are an offence or need to be made an offence in domestic law, the making of a radioactive device. That was not originally in the government's bill before the Senate and the Senate has made an amendment to add that offence to the bill.

Could the government explain why that rather obvious offence was not included in the original bill?

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

October 15th, 2012 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay Conservative Delta—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I cannot speak to why it was not included originally. What we are dealing with now are four new offences. It is important for all of us to understand, members considering this, as well as the Canadian public, that is what is happening here with this bill.

There would be an offence for the possession, use, transfer, export, import, alteration or disposal of nuclear material, radioactive material or device, or the commission of an act against a nuclear facility or its operations. There is an offence for the use or alteration of nuclear material, radioactive material or device, or the commission of an act against a nuclear facility or its operations. There is an offence for the commission of an indictable offence for the purpose of obtaining nuclear or radioactive material or device, or access or control of a nuclear facility. There is also an offence for a threat to commit one of those offences.

As I said in my speech, the threat here can bring about an unimaginable toll, one we do not want to ever have to deal with on Canadian soil. We need to take these strong preventive measures and join our global partners.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

October 15th, 2012 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, another question comes to mind after listening to the hon. member for Delta—Richmond East.

How does the government plan to deal with the problems that could result from the fact that these new Criminal Code offences will have a broader scope than the offences included in separate international agreements?

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

October 15th, 2012 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay Conservative Delta—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, as I said in my speech, one of the proposed methods is to have concurrent prosecutorial authorities for the attorney general of Canada, as well as the provinces and territories which are the ones, under our constitution, that generally administer the law. They are the ones applying what terrorism offences exist now. That is one of the ways we will be dealing with this.

This is where we are sort of partnering Bill S-7 and Bill S-9 together. We are taking steps to bring this together now in order to deal with it effectively and in a timely way. That is the understanding on the concurrent jurisdiction.