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

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

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

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

Denis Blanchette NDP Louis-Hébert, QC

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

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

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

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

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

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

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

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

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

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

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

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

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

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

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

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

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

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

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

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

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

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

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

Sylvain Chicoine NDP Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

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

Pierre Jacob NDP Brome—Missisquoi, QC

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

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

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

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

Sylvain Chicoine NDP Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

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

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

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

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

Denis Blanchette NDP Louis-Hébert, QC

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

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

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

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

Sylvain Chicoine NDP Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

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

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

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

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

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

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

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

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

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

I would like to hear his opinion on that.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

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

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

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

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

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

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

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

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

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his excellent question and for mentioning the UN convention.

Such a convention would never have been possible if international co-operation had not become a necessity, as it has today, in 2013. The planet is now a small village. Indeed, the potential fallout of such major issues as climate change or nuclear terrorism does not recognize state lines. Radiation does not stop at the border, and neither do the climate disruptions that we are currently experiencing. Therefore, it is our duty to work with every international body.

Unfortunately, since the arrival of the Conservative majority, we have gradually been distancing ourselves from these relationships that countries must build with others in order to deal with global issues on a local level, in the hopes of finding a global solution.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

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

Pierre Jacob NDP Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Trois-Rivières for his very compelling speech.

I agree with him about the government's credibility, as it has clearly grown complacent on that front and rarely chooses to be a part of the global community.

My colleague spoke not only of international obligations, but also of the need to honour national charters.

I would like the member for Trois-Rivières to explain why it is important for us to do so.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

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

Pierre Jacob NDP Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, first, I think it unfortunate that the nuclear terrorism bill has come from the Senate, a chamber where the occupants have not been democratically elected, but, rather, appointed for partisan reasons. Bills should be debated first and foremost in the House of Commons, where the elected representatives sit. That is the very principle of a parliamentary system.

The government was already beating all records for time allocation and closure. Now it is bringing its bills in by the back door, by way of the Senate. It is really sad.

Let us discuss Bill S-9, which will enable Canada to fulfill its commitments under two international conventions. These conventions are intended to go beyond the limits of nuclear non-proliferation and will now include protective measures for nuclear facilities. Bill S-9 would reinforce Canada's obligation under the 2004 UN Security Council Resolution 1540 to take and enforce effective measures to prevent the proliferation of nuclear materials as well as chemical and biological weapons.

According to Matthew Bunn, associate professor of public policy at Harvard University, there have been a number of cases of trafficking in since the 1990s. For example, there have been 20 seizures of highly enriched uranium since 1992. There is also a black market for less radioactive materials. The International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, has reported nearly 2,000 incidents of unauthorized use, transport, and possession of nuclear and other radioactive material between 1993 and 2011.

We must remain watchful and aware of the danger. Canada is one of the world's major producers and exporters of uranium. That means we must stockpile a great deal of radioactive and nuclear waste. That is an enormous problem, especially with the lax enforcement of regulations and prevention seen in the field. It is very difficult to contain this kind of waste. When a potential black market in radioactive material is added to this problem, we must see that the potential for nuclear terrorism is right here in Canada, under our noses.

My hon. colleague the member for Manicouagan told a story the other day here about L. Bélanger Métal, a large scrapyard in Trois-Rivières, that detected a very high level of radiation in certain metal beams it had received in 2012. Tests were done and they were able to determine that the metal came from Gentilly. How did this radioactive metal end up there? It is a very disturbing situation that shows how far-reaching the problem is. The greatest nuclear terrorism threat lies in the waste from Canada's nuclear reactors, which are unprotected from theft or simple negligence.

Nuclear terrorism does not occur in isolation but has an impact on the entire world. New Democrats agree that we must co-operate with our international partners. Historically, Canada has always had a reputation as an international leader. It is sad to see that our reputation has been quite tarnished since 2006, for example, with the new environmental policies. If we want to be serious about preventing nuclear terrorism, the first thing is to strengthen our procedures governing environmental assessment and the way we stockpile nuclear waste.

Still, I hope that Bill S-9 will help build Canada's credibility in the fight against nuclear terrorism. I also hope that, when they see us implementing this legislation here, our international partners will be inspired to follow suit.

The Senate committee provided many interesting comments during the long process the bill went through. First, with the development of new technologies, Canada will no longer need to use nuclear reactors and enriched uranium to produce medical isotopes.

The committee also believes that Canada should be a leader in nuclear safety, by committing to stop the use of highly enriched uranium for civilian purposes as soon as possible.

Second, Canada must show greater care in its safety arrangements. Malicious people are always looking for ways to bypass existing safety features. As a result, we must remain vigilant and move to new methods focused on prevention rather than repression.

Another issue was raised during consideration of the bill. The justice department's intention was to stick as closely as possible to the provisions of the international convention. However, some of the new offences in the Criminal Code have a broader scope than the offences found in the international agreements. We must ensure that the overly broad scope of these new sections will not lead to excessive criminalization and will not violate the charters of rights.

Lastly, Canada is legally bound by these international conventions, which means that we have obligations to fulfill. However, we cannot ratify the conventions until the domestic implementation process is complete. That is why I support Bill S-9, while hoping that it will not turn out to be just something passed to court votes.

We need to do more in terms of securing sites, creating protocols and implementing storage solutions that will not become a burden for future generations.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

May 10th, 2013 / 10:55 a.m.
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NDP

Denis Blanchette NDP Louis-Hébert, QC

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

He mentioned some important aspects of life in the nuclear era, his primary focus being the safe storage of nuclear materials. I agree that safe storage is not the main purpose of the bill; however, if we want to reduce the risk, then safe storage is a key component of all the actions taken by countries that want to restrict access to nuclear materials for malicious purposes.

I would like the hon. member to elaborate on what he thinks about safe storage, which is a part of prevention. We cannot just implement repressive measures. We must also promote prevention.

I would like my colleague to comment on that.

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May 10th, 2013 / 10:55 a.m.
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NDP

Pierre Jacob NDP Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for that very relevant question.

Prevention is indeed very important in this and many other areas. When it comes to crime, it is very important. Prevention as well as securing sites and storing nuclear materials are all very important when it comes to countering nuclear terrorism.

Prevention is also very important when it comes to environmental issues. It is a must and it pays off in the long term, since it prevents many future problems.

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May 10th, 2013 / 12:20 p.m.
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NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure of rising once again to speak to Bill S-9, which aims to implement two international treaties to fight terrorism, namely, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

I spoke to the bill at second reading, at which time I supported the bill in principle. Essentially, the bill was not amended in committee and several witnesses reminded us of the importance of its swift passage.

Before quoting some very enlightening testimony heard at committee, I would like to remind the House what Bill S-9 is all about. Quite simply, it amends the Criminal Code to create new offences allowing us to better foil certain activities related to nuclear terrorism.

Among other things, the bill makes it illegal to possess, use or dispose of nuclear or radioactive material 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 a nuclear or radioactive device or commit an act against a nuclear facility or its operations 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, or access to a nuclear facility; and to threaten to commit any of the other three offences.

The bill also has a prevention component to it. As Terry Jamieson, vice-president of the Technical Support Branch of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, told the committee:

...if Bill S-9 is enacted and Canada ratifies the CPPNM as well as the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, there is no additional work necessary to implement the physical protection measures among Canada's nuclear facility operators. These measures in fact have already been in place for years.

This bill is vital to Canada's credibility in the fight against terrorism. Professor Matthew Bunn, from Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, said the following in committee:

Since the September 11 attacks in the United States, both [Canada and the United States] have improved security for their own nuclear materials, helped others to do the same, helped to strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency's efforts, and worked to strengthen other elements of the global response. But if the United States and Canada are to succeed in convincing other countries to take a responsible approach to reducing the risks of nuclear theft and terrorism at the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands in 2014 and beyond, then our two countries have to take the lead in taking responsible action ourselves.

It is time to walk the walk. Canada cannot just pay lip service to this issue. We must put our words into action and deliver a clear message to the international community. Speaking of sending a clear message, our neighbours to the south have yet to approve similar legislation. Hopefully, between now and nuclear safety week in 2014, they will be inspired by our example to ratify the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, the CPPNM amendment and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

Although Bill S-9 and those conventions seem to have limited content, they at least promote international consistency. Again, according to Matthew Bunn:

I think the domestic steps, such as passing this legislation, are crucial to being able to build this global framework. The reality is that we won't get everybody participating in this global framework. You're not going to see North Korea ratifying these treaties any time soon.

On the other hand, I think that through the international cooperation that we have managed to achieve...we've managed to get many countries where radioactive materials or even nuclear materials were quite vulnerable to take action by improving the security of those items or by getting rid of them entirely from particular places. I think that has reduced the risk to all of us.

That being said, it is essential that Canada recognize nuclear terrorism as a real threat to security and live up to its responsibilities to the international community.

Again, I am quoting Professor Matthew Bunn, on the current dangers of nuclear terrorism:

Government studies in the United States and in other countries have concluded that if terrorists manage to get enough highly enriched uranium or plutonium, they might very well be able to make a crude nuclear bomb capable of incinerating the heart of a major city. In the case of highly enriched uranium, making such a bomb is basically a matter of slamming two pieces together at high speed. The amounts required are small, and smuggling them is frighteningly easy.

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

It is vital to keep in mind that Canada is a major uranium producer and has a number of nuclear reactors. What is more, nuclear substances are delivered in Canada hundreds of times daily. An example that springs to mind is the medical isotopes delivered to Canadian hospitals.

These facts remind us that we must be vigilant. It is important to know, for example, that a person was successfully prosecuted in 2010 for trying to send Iran dual-use nuclear devices, which might have been used for uranium enrichment.

To have an idea of the extent of these realities at the international level, we must remember that the International Atomic Energy Agency official responsible for non-proliferation and risk reduction reported 2000 incidents relating to the unauthorized possession and transportation of nuclear and radioactive material between 1993 and 2011.

Furthermore, as I pointed out in my speech at second reading, the Conservative government should also recognize that Canada will not be able to reduce nuclear terrorism threats unless it implements an action framework that it conceived and endowed with sufficient resources to support the implementation of these conventions.

We in the NDP are determined to promote multilateral diplomacy and international cooperation, particularly in areas of shared concern, such as nuclear terrorism.

I look forward to my colleagues' questions.

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May 10th, 2013 / 12:30 p.m.
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NDP

Élaine Michaud NDP Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to thank my colleague and congratulate her on her excellent speech.

My question is very brief. I liked her comments, because they throw light on a particularly important issue, especially given the modern context in which we now live.

Could she say a little more about the provisions in these treaties that concern transportation and storage of nuclear materials, whether waste materials or some other kind?

In the context of Quebec, if we think of the shutting down of Gentilly-2 or other events of this nature, this issue is of particular interest. I would therefore like to hear a little bit more about this facet of the issue.

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May 10th, 2013 / 12:30 p.m.
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NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, yes, it is a matter that is of concern to Quebeckers and Canadians from all parts of the country. It concerns the health and safety of Canadians throughout the country, and also in Quebec, as my honourable colleague pointed out.

We are asking the Conservative government to be vigilant and allocate the necessary resources to ensure these materials are safely stored. I should also point out that Canada is committed to providing $367 million over five years to the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. It is also committed to taking part in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and the Proliferation Security Initiative.

As I mentioned in my speech, these are praiseworthy initiatives, but we must go further still. I expect the Conservative government to take action in this regard.

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May 10th, 2013 / 12:35 p.m.
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NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her very interesting speech.

I would like to point out that this is not the first time she has spoken on this matter in the House. She has been monitoring the progress of this bill to some extent.

Does she know whether any amendments were made to the bill when it was being studied in committee or in the House?

Before giving her the floor, I would like to say that I found her reminder of how important it is to walk the talk very interesting. For example, as the critic for seniors, I have seen bills introduced in the House without any resources for prevention and intervention, even though these bills were supposed to help combat elder abuse. This often happens in the House.

That is all I have to say, and I will now give her the opportunity to answer my question.

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May 10th, 2013 / 12:35 p.m.
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NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the question from my hon. colleague is most appropriate.

In fact, no amendments to this bill were adopted in committee. Nevertheless, we believe that the bill is commendable. However, the Conservative government ought to come up with some other measures to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands.

I would remind the House that the bill is basically punitive. It increases the length of sentences and the number of criminal offences in the Criminal Code. We therefore expect the Conservative government to provide adequate resources to protect Canadians and ensure that the goals of this bill are achieved.

My colleague raised another interesting point. The parliamentary committees do indeed do essential work. Witnesses and experts therefore need to come and give evidence, something that the Conservatives have refused to allow in other committees.

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May 10th, 2013 / 12:35 p.m.
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NDP

Mylène Freeman NDP Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on Bill S-9, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Nuclear Terrorism Act. This bill puts in place legislative measures to comply with the criminal law requirements contained in two international counterterrorism treaties: the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, amended in 2005, and the 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

The NDP and I myself believe that we must seriously address the issue of nuclear safety and comply with our international obligations, in order to better cooperate with other countries on a nuclear counterterrorism strategy.

The danger remains very real. It is therefore very important that we implement these UN treaties. Even though we normally oppose a government bill that is introduced through the Senate, Bill S-9 is important enough that we can understand that it is worthwhile for the Senate to do the first vetting of legislation that is intended merely to be technical in order to create compliance with international legislation. It is very important for me as a member of the NDP that we comply with our obligations in the international arena. We are determined to promote multilateral diplomacy and international cooperation, particularly in areas of shared concern, such as nuclear terrorism.

Because Canada has already agreed to be legally bound by these conventions, it is important to fulfill our international obligations.

It is good to see that the government is taking action to comply with these international treaties and conventions. We must of course note that the elements in the bill are in response to these 2005 treaties. It is a bit late in the day to be doing this, but we are used to it.

This bill was tabled in the Senate on March 27, and moved very slowly. The government brought it before the House sporadically, and only in order to fill gaps in its program. This is unfortunate.

As I was saying, the intent of Bill S-9 is to comply with Canada’s international obligations, but it is still a breath of fresh air in the House.

I would like to take this opportunity to draw the attention of this House to Canada’s other international responsibilities that are still waiting to be dealt with by this government.

It is very relevant, in fact, given that the United Nations Universal Periodic Review was just tabled in late April 2013. The report points out that the Committee against Torture has urged Canada to incorporate the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in its law, so that its provisions can be invoked directly before a court of law and so that the Convention be given precedence.

Unfortunately, Canada has not been moving on this file. It is nevertheless part of the same process to amend our statutes to fulfill our international responsibilities.

Torturing human beings ought not to be allowed here or anywhere else. Even so, we have not yet ratified the treaty here in the House, despite our international agreements.

Moreover, the Committee Against Torture remains concerned by the fact that Canadian law, particularly subsection 115(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, continues to provide exceptions to the principle of non-refoulement.

Are the Conservatives moving this file forward? No. Instead, they are pushing their bits and pieces of legislation through the back door in the form of private member’s bills.

These bills runs completely counter to what the international community is asking of us. By possibly endangering these people—whether by returning them without review, imprisoning and sometimes separating them from their children, or even by making them stateless—this government is once again violating international obligations and its obligations to its own citizens.

Unfortunately, that is not all. The Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Canada find a constitutional way of providing a comprehensive national legal framework that fully integrates the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its optional protocols.

Once again, we are at a standstill on this matter. All Canadians are very unhappy about it. It is yet another convention left for dead by the people on the other side of the house. Yet, children are our future, and the rights of children need to be protected unconditionally.

On that note, I would also like to point out that the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination strongly urged Canada, in consultation with aboriginal peoples, to consider adopting a national action plan to enforce the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Many allied countries have questioned Canada on this matter, including New Zealand, Australia and Sweden. Unfortunately, as we heard yesterday in the committee of the whole with the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, the Conservatives' approach to aboriginal rights is paternalistic, improvised and partisan.

Owing to the absence of any real consultations with aboriginal communities, to use the language of the minister himself, and of course their cavalier way of handling claims by aboriginal peoples, it is impossible to believe that the Conservatives want a harmonious relationship. They also do not really want to comply with international laws in this area.

The community of Kanesatake, which I represent, is suffering seriously from this lack of vision. Whether because of its lack of openness and consultation, its chronic underfunding of education and other areas, or its abysmal management of land claims, the Conservative government gives the appearance of really working against Kanesatake.

I would like to know whether my government colleagues are aware that the Committee on the Rights of the Child has urged Canada to pass laws that would bring it into compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, and to amend its legislation to ensure that information on the date and place of birth of adopted children and their biological parents is retained.

This is a short list of important actions Canada needs to take with respect to the federal government's international obligations, whether in terms of co-operating with other countries and the UN or developing laws, in order to continue to be a world leader. Only then would we be in a position to leave a legacy.

We saw this already with Bill S-9, on which action was very slow indeed. Action should really have been much faster.

Unfortunately, as I just mentioned, it was introduced in the Senate, but we are going to support it because it is extremely important.

I would nevertheless like to point to the government's lack of motivation to implement international agreements. I would certainly never say that one is less important than the other, but in this instance, the bill on nuclear terrorism was of course chosen.

For many years, the process to eliminate discrimination against aboriginal peoples and to provide genuine assistance for aboriginal women was delayed. That process is stalled now.

To conclude, I would like to reiterate that I will support this bill, which brings in legislative measures to comply with the criminal law requirements in the two international treaties on combatting terrorism.

I sincerely hope that the government will comply with the treaty requirements in those areas I spoke about today.

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May 10th, 2013 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I really liked the connection that my colleague made with the situation of aboriginal women. In fact, I too would like to make a connection between their situation and the bill that is before us.

My colleague said that she had concerns and expectations but that she still planned to support the bill. This is a good example that shows that, sometimes, we do not agree with all the measures or provisions of a bill but we are still prepared to support that bill because we think that it does not necessarily cause significant damage or because our concerns may not be so serious.

Bill S-2, which deals with the matrimonial rights of women living on reserves, is currently being examined in committee. This is an example of a bill that we are not necessarily prepared to support. Although its objective is very commendable, the way that it is written and the negative impacts it may have could be enough to stop us from supporting it.

The fact that the purpose of a bill is commendable does not mean that we are necessarily going to support it. We must go much further than that before making a decision. My colleague is very involved in women's issues. I commend her for that, and I commend her for her speech.

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May 10th, 2013 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Mylène Freeman NDP Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her question. She is absolutely right.

Bill S-9 implements measures consistent with international commitments that we support. This is therefore very important. Even if we have concerns, it is more important to co-operate at the international level so that we can advance within the international community. Canada is a very important player on the international scene. What we do here with our laws can reflect these agreements, and it is very important to set an example for other countries.

The case of Bill S-2 is completely different. As I mentioned, many countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Sweden, are calling for us to do something for aboriginal women. None of them have told us that Bill S-2 is a step in the right direction, since the bill creates more problems than it solves.

Countries around the world are trying to help us and encourage us to prevent violence and racial discrimination against aboriginal women, and it is sad that our government has been ignoring these issues because it wants to play petty politics. Unfortunately, that is what the Conservatives are doing.

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May 10th, 2013 / 12:50 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel for her excellent speech on something that is not always an easy subject.

I have to say that bills amending the Criminal Code or dealing with nuclear terrorism, like Bill S-9, are not the best topic of conversation around the dinner table.

The member was able to highlight the important role Canada plays with respect to the international treaties we have signed. I would like to quote Matthew Bunn, an associate professor of public policy at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. He said:

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

Does my colleague agree that this is a step towards complying with our international conventions, but that we cannot stop there?

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May 10th, 2013 / 12:50 p.m.
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NDP

Mylène Freeman NDP Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, the member for Gatineau, for the excellent job she does on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. As justice critic, she lends a voice of reason in the House. I agree and I want to share something else that Matthew Bunn said in committee:

But if the United States and Canada are to succeed in convincing other countries to take a responsible approach to reducing the risks of nuclear theft and terrorism at the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands in 2014 and beyond, then our two countries have to take the lead in taking responsible action ourselves. Hence, it is important for both of our countries to ratify the main conventions in this area...

We cannot stop there, however. As with any international agreement, this is only the first step. This is something we must do as a member of the international community, and we must move forward.

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May 10th, 2013 / 12:50 p.m.
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NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank all my colleagues who participated in the debate on Bill S-9 before us today. This bill is about a very important issue on which all parties in the House agree.

Recently we have seen many examples of the dangers of terrorism throughout the world and even close to home. These incidents remind us that the world is much smaller that it used to be, and that we cannot ensure our security by retreating behind our own borders. To truly protect ourselves in today's world, we have to be engaged citizens of the planet, reach out and work with other countries in order to find solutions and help one another.

We, the New Democrats, have always favoured multilateral diplomacy and international co-operation, especially in common areas of great concern, like nuclear terrorism. I have worked in international law for my entire adult life and at the United Nations with people from all over the world. This has allowed me to see for myself what can be achieved through international co-operation. I saw this when, in 2007, after 23 years of negotiations, we finalized the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

I often put a great deal of emphasis on the importance of international co-operation because it is one of the pillars—I would even say the cornerstone—of international law with respect to relations among countries. In fact, it is a principle and an obligation that is set out in article 1 of the United Nations charter. Nothing can be achieved without international co-operation.

Canada has a history of being a force for good in the world when we take a multilateral approach, but, sadly, over time we have seen the Conservative government go in a different direction most of the time. However, Bill S-9 is an exception to that trend.

Bill S-9 would amend the Criminal Code to implement criminal law requirements found in two international counterterrorism treaties: the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. By passing the bill, Canada will fulfill its international obligations under these treaties and will be legally bound by them. Passing the bill will allow Canada to finally ratify these conventions, putting us in line with our international partners. We need to be working with other leading countries that are moving toward ratifying these conventions, and passing Bill S-9 will go a long way in doing that.

As a member of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development for the past years, I have had a front-row seat to witness the Conservatives' view of the world and how they choose to deal with other countries. They have taken an abrasive approach to diplomacy, while calling it “principled”, but act more like a confused bull in a fine China shop than diplomats or simply fellow citizens of the earth.

We have seen the Conservatives pull out of the UN's desertification conventions for reasons, to be polite, that were questionable.

We have seen them send out ministers of the Crown to berate one of the UN's special rapporteurs for pointing out the fact that we have a food security problem in many parts of our country.

We then saw the Minister of Foreign Affairs ignore multiple requests from three other UN special rapporteurs for 15 months before finally answering while presenting at the UN's Universal Periodic Review on Human Rights. I am sure that the timing of that announcement was the purest of pure coincidences.

Then, for the final coup de grâce, we heard from the Minister of Foreign Affairs that Canada would not even attempt to win a seat on the UN Security Council because our defeat was so certain. To put that into perspective, under the Conservative government we have gone from never losing an election for a Security Council seat to not even trying because we are so sure to lose that election.

This is a serious decline in our international standing in a very short period of time. We need to ask ourselves why this is happening, because this is not the Canada I knew.

That is not the Canada I knew, a Canada that had a definite role and definite influence on the international scene. That is not the Canada we have now under the Conservatives.

The Conservatives will try to tell us that none of that really matters and that their approach will not have any serious consequences. I challenge the Conservative members who serve on the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development to go to Montreal and meet the thousands of people who work at the International Civil Aviation Organization and whose jobs are threatened because of the Conservatives' lack of diplomacy.

In light of our recent past and the government's failed attempts at international diplomacy, I hope that this bill marks a shift towards genuine, respectful multilateral diplomacy.

Simply passing Bill S-9 will not repair the damage this government has done to our international reputation, but it could be a first step towards regaining our place in the world, which is so important to Canadians.

I sincerely hope that the Conservatives will seize this chance as an opportunity to do just that, because we have a great deal of expertise in the field of nuclear science. Canada has long been a leader in this field, and an engaged Canada on this file can be a large force for good for the world.

We need to remember how the world has changed around us in the past 30 years when it comes to nuclear weapons. During the Cold War, the number of nations with these weapons or the capacity to make them was small, with the United States and Russia by far holding the largest arsenals of these weapons. These two superpowers had strong control over their stockpiles, but after the fall of the Iron Curtain, into the 1990s and beyond, we saw that control weaken in Russia. We also saw more countries gain nuclear facilities, either for energy production or for research.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, the world is a much smaller place today and the ability to move people and items around this planet has increased immensely. These conditions make it all the more important to work with other nations and bring ourselves into compliance with conventions like these.

Between 1993 and 2011, the International Atomic Energy Agency identified close to 2,000 incidents related to the use, transportation and unauthorized possession of nuclear and radioactive material. That is a lot, considering the destruction and damage that a single nuclear attack could do.

In light of the danger these materials and weapons pose, we need to ensure that we have the necessary laws in place to stop those who could use them during terrorist attacks. We need to work together with the rest of the world to meet this challenge. We need to work with other countries to protect our safety here, at home, in light of the threat that nuclear materials pose.

We can protect our own safety, but not by barricading ourselves behind our borders and hoping that the problem will go away on its own. It is time to take action. I encourage my colleagues to join us and support this legislation.

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May 10th, 2013 / 1 p.m.
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NDP

Pierre Jacob NDP Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his very thoughtful speech on Bill S-9.

Why does he think the government waited so long? The government was in power for over five years before this issue became a priority for it.

I have some suggestions. Is it because this government has a hidden political agenda, and standing up for the needs of all Canadians is just not a priority?

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May 10th, 2013 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his very relevant question. I think he touched on something we seem to forget far too often.

Since this government came to power in 2006, our international reputation has suffered greatly because the Conservatives have changed their stance, ideologically speaking.

I remember that, for years, we worked with the government during negotiations for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, since the government had to respect its constitutional obligations. In 2006, the Canadian delegation came to see the aboriginal representatives at the United Nations—I was one of them—to tell them that the government's approach had changed and that it wanted to obstruct the United Nations in its multilateral negotiations.

That is one reason why this is taking longer now.

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May 10th, 2013 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, obviously this makes sense. Today is practically a day of celebration, since we are all going to vote the same way.

We want to protect ourselves against a possible nuclear terrorist attack, but has my colleague seen anything in the Conservatives' many pieces of legislation that would reduce the number of potential targets in Canada by giving scientists the means to come up with good solutions for the disposal of all the nuclear waste we have been stockpiling for years?

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May 10th, 2013 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his excellent question. The short answer is no.

He also raised one aspect of this debate that we often seem to forget, because nuclear and other kinds of waste are a concern for our country. They are often found in isolated areas, like in my riding and in many northern ridings.

The Conservatives seem to be saying that the Prime Minister travels to the Arctic every year because that region matters to him, when, really, he shows up for a photo-op. There is absolutely nothing concrete on the ground for the environment or the people who live in the far north.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

May 10th, 2013 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my esteemed colleague, whose work I admire tremendously.

Since September 11, 2001, the United States, Canada and other countries have joined forces to try to improve security protocols. Furthermore, two countries, the United States and Canada, have not yet ratified the conventions, because they have not passed the kind of legislation were are about to pass.

My question is similar to that of my hon. colleague from Brome—Missisquoi on the delay, but it is a little strange that it is those who were on the front lines in North America who are dragging their feet on signing the treaties in question.

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May 10th, 2013 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Gatineau for the question.

I am not surprised, and for several reasons. As a keen observer of what is going on internationally and especially regarding international co-operation, I am noticing more and more that we seem to have lost the role and the influence that we once had.

Barack Obama said something interesting regarding this debate, but it also applies to other contexts. He said that we cannot invite others down a path that we are not willing to follow ourselves. That is problem here, in terms of our role on the international scene.

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May 10th, 2013 / 1:10 p.m.
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NDP

Élaine Michaud NDP Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, like many of my colleagues, I am rising in the House in support of Bill S-9 on nuclear terrorism.

This bill would amend the Criminal Code in order to add the criminal law requirements found in two international treaties designed to combat nuclear terrorism around the world.

The two treaties in question are the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, the CPPNM, and the 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

These international conventions require the signatory states to improve the physical protection of their nuclear facilities as well as the use, storage and transport of nuclear materials. The states are also required to create new criminal offences for acts of terrorism, among other things.

These treaties show that the international community is willing to work together to combat the threats against countries all around the world.

Unfortunately, we are seeing an increasing number of nuclear threats around the world, whether we are talking about Canada, the United States or other countries.

In the past, for example, at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in 2010 and in Seoul in 2012, Canada committed to be legally bound by these conventions and to ratify them.

In 2005, Canada signed the two United Nations treaties, but since then, the Conservatives have unfortunately done nothing.

Bill S-9 would pop up on the order paper from time to time, when they were trying to fill some holes to avoid prorogation. Now, as we approach the end of the session and there are still a few weeks to fill, Bill S-9 is back.

This is an extremely important issue, but Canada has dragged its feet when it comes to honouring the promises and commitments we made to the international community.

Despite everything, I am happy that we are having this debate in the House and that we can maybe move forward with legislation to better protect Canadians and people in other countries, as well as have better relations with the rest of the international community.

At present, we are still unable to keep our promise to ratify those treaties because we do not have a legislative provision in the Criminal Code that criminalizes the offences contained in the two treaties we are discussing today.

If Bill S-9 were passed, it would allow Canada to finally fulfill its international obligations by amending the Criminal Code, which in turn would then meet the requirements of international conventions that the Prime Minister has clearly said he wants Canada to endorse. It is time to keep that promise and to finally achieve the desired result of ensuring everyone's security.

The bill on nuclear terrorism we are debating today includes 10 clauses that would create four new offences under part II of the Criminal Code, as well as other amendments that are consequential to these four offences.

They have already been described at length in the House. I will not go over all the legislative provisions contained in this bill. However, it is extremely important that we make these amendments to the Criminal Code.

The NDP firmly believes in the importance of promoting multilateral diplomacy and international co-operation, especially on such an important issue as nuclear terrorism. This is not the kind of file that we can shove into a drawer and come back to when we have more time or at a more opportune moment. It is something that must be dealt with fairly quickly.

Canada signed these treaties back in 2005. A number of years passed before some measures were taken in order to get the wheels turning. That is what I find disappointing about the whole process.

There is something else that I find quite unfortunate. Once again, the Senate was given the responsibility of introducing a bill that is of vital importance.

It should not be the role of the unelected chamber. Still, I have to say that I appreciate the technical work that was done here. It was painstaking and detailed work. The senators even managed to correct at least one shortcoming in the bill. That effort is appreciated. However, I still believe that this bill should have been introduced initially in the House of Commons, which is where we should have been debating it from the start. Of course, we have the opportunity to do so now, but it is getting to us a bit late.

Despite the procedural shortcomings, Canada still has a responsibility to the international community, and we really need to take action. We have to get serious about domestic and international nuclear security, and we have to co-operate more with other countries on strategies to fight nuclear terrorism.

Unfortunately, threats in today's world are increasing in number and diversity. It can be difficult to predict what tragedy may happen if radioactive or nuclear material were to fall into the wrong hands. Small amounts of this material can cause absolutely unbelievable damage. That is why it is so important to pass Bill S-9 and ensure that the steps we are taking here, in Canada, truly meet our needs.

Aside from creating new offences for nuclear terrorism, threats and so on, what I find interesting and important is that the treaties address various aspects of transporting and storing nuclear material, be it nuclear waste or something else. Canada is a significant producer of medical isotopes. We still use nuclear material that is highly enriched, which creates large quantities of waste that must be disposed of safely.

There are ways to deal with that. I do not think that the materials currently used to make our medical isotopes should still be used. There are alternatives that would produce good results. In the meantime, we need to commit to reducing the quantity of waste we produce from medical isotopes and find better ways to store it. Canada already does this relatively well, but we can always do better and ensure even better protection for the people within our borders.

Some of my colleagues also mentioned the closure of the Gentilly-2 reactor in Quebec, which highlights the importance of proper storage of nuclear materials and proper disposal of waste. Given the closure of that reactor, we need to ensure that we really can dispose of radioactive materials safely when they can no longer be used, in order to ensure that they do not fall into the wrong hands and do not affect the health of Canadians.

I am sure everyone remembers what happened with Bruce Power, an Ontario company, in 2011. It wanted to transport 16 nuclear reactors down the St. Lawrence River and then on to Sweden to decontaminate them, bring them back here and then bury them. It stirred up a great deal of controversy at the time. Mayors of the cities and towns along the river opposed it, and the company had to change its plans. In fact, people were worried about the precedent it would set, about the transportation of this kind of waste increasing considerably on the river, thereby potentially putting our health at risk. Once again, we cannot always predict what will happen with this kind of transportation.

These are all issues that we need to address as parliamentarians. We had the opportunity to do so with Bill S-9. It is critically important that we pass this bill and I hope it receives unanimous support.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 28th, 2013 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, I missed my colleague's speech because of the House schedule.

I would still like to ask him a question, which I believe gets to the heart of what we are trying to do with this bill.

While this issue is a challenge for our country, it still involves international treaties and commitments we have made regarding those treaties.

I would ask him to speak about how we hope that this bill is a signal that Canada will begin to do more to honour its international commitments.

I would also like him to demonstrate how our international reputation is waning and how the NDP's vision is quite different.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 28th, 2013 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

I will start with an international perspective and a familiar example. If Canada extracts uranium from the soil and exports it, Canada must bring the radioactive and nuclear waste back in the end. This is a real problem, especially if we take into account the lax approach and other problems we are seeing right now, as I mentioned in my speech.

Currently, it is almost impossible for humans to contain this waste. This is a really hot topic in Quebec right now that senior officials in Quebec are discussing, perhaps at this very moment.

It remains a highly controversial industry, and governments must make significant efforts in this respect. We are left with some real questions here.

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March 28th, 2013 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am interested in my hon. colleague's comments about the appropriateness of government bills coming through the Senate. Of course we are happy that the government is addressing this, but we are a little concerned that it came through Senate. I know it is an issue of interest and concern to our party, the official opposition, and I am very interested in the member's comments on that.

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March 28th, 2013 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

My position on the Senate is shared by a number of my colleagues. We know that an almost air-tight seal surrounds all the discussions there. We also know that partisan behaviour is behind all of it. I am not saying that I have studied all these ideas specifically, but I know quite well that these individuals are not elected and are, in fact, appointed. This is about political capital and these are, first and foremost, partisan positions.

I am highly dubious of the relevance in 2013 of submitting such bills that could have a major impact to a House—in this case, the Senate—made up of people who, at the end of the day, benefited from favouritism.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 28th, 2013 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech and his informed answers.

With respect to international affairs, it is well known that the New Democrats are in favour of multilateral diplomacy rather than the very limited, and even simplistic, bilateral negotiations the government prefers. I spoke about this at the Standing Committee on International Trade.

After adopting this bill, we will still have to move forward and ratify the agreement that brought about this bill, and also implement measures to address it.

Does my colleague believe that the government will take appropriate measures after adopting Bill S-9?

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March 28th, 2013 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

Here are my thoughts. I am aware of and have seen the pernicious effects of lobbies and how they presently have the ear of this Conservative government. I would say that there are very powerful lobbies behind the nuclear movement. I would also say that there is a very strong likelihood that the hands of some people are definitely tied because there is great interest in growing the economy at any cost. This growth is always based on the exploitation of natural resources as the sole agent and driver of Canada's economy.

Once this bill is adopted, there will be waffling: people will pussyfoot around, take a step back and then take a step forward. I guarantee that over the next few years, there will be backpedalling and pussyfooting around because of the undue influence of a number of lobbies and special interest groups in Canada.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 28th, 2013 / 1:10 p.m.
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NDP

Mike Sullivan NDP York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is one of the bills put forward by the government through the Senate, unfortunately, that deals with the Criminal Code of Canada, and the current government has touted itself on being tough on crime or making changes to the Criminal Code. However, when we review the history, it is not a very progressive agenda.

In fact, there are numerous actions that the Conservatives have taken over the past little while that would speak to the fact that they are not actually trying to prevent crime in this country. In particular, I am referring to the recent reductions in funding to the RCMP and, in particular, reductions in funding to the native reserves for their policing.

Can you comment on whether this is as important as that to the people of Canada?

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 28th, 2013 / 1:10 p.m.
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NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for the question.

As he said, cuts have been made to service delivery and services to the public, and also to environmental assessment.

The Conservatives claim to be tough on crime.

I would say that adding these new provisions to the Criminal Code will cause problems. I am speaking from the point of view of a criminal lawyer. I still like to think of myself as one, even though I do not currently practice law. I know that some of my clients who were not in full control of their faculties would utter threats left and right without necessarily being in a position—especially physically—to carry out those threats. A number of those clients, who had mental health issues, might threaten to use nuclear devices even though such devices are not available to the average citizen.

Canada's complacency towards environmental assessment might please the mining lobby and very specific individuals, but it exposes Canadians to serious threats, including in the nuclear industry in terms of monitoring waste storage sites. This is currently a serious problem.

The potential for nuclear terrorism is right under our noses, here in Canada.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 28th, 2013 / 1:10 p.m.
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NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured to follow the hon. member for Manicouagan, who is sitting beside me, but who will likely have to leave the House to attend to business. I wish him a happy Easter weekend.

Before I begin, I would like to indicate that I will be sharing the time I have been given to speak about Bill S-9.

I am trained as an archivist and historian, and I have been interested in history and international issues for a long time now. To put Bill S-9 into context, it is important to understand that, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, we moved fairly quickly from a very polarized world to one that was more fractured. Previously, the world was relatively simple to understand and keep in balance. The two major powers that divided the world were making extraordinary efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. They had the means to use them, but they also had to deal with the related security issues.

Now we live in a more fractured world. Among the sovereign states, there are states whose sovereignty is more or less assured, as well as states that are completely disorganized. What is more, there are groups throughout the world in possession of nuclear weapons. Their ability to act is difficult to assess, but they are scattered throughout the world.

This fractured world has created additional hazards, security hazards related to the possession, handling and use of nuclear material. As a result, it is particularly appropriate and vital—I would even go as far as to say urgent—to consider a bill such as Bill S-9, which makes it possible to take measures related in part to Criminal Code amendments.

I would like to talk about some of these measures. A number of my colleagues have already spoken very eloquently on the subject. Nevertheless, I am going to spend much of my time talking about the methods used and the impact, since those are the most important factors. In fact, this was my pet topic when I had the honour of being a member of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk about, understand and learn more about how Canada's Criminal Code works.

We fulfill our responsibility for implementing effective and comprehensive measures through bills. Yet that is far from the only method that can be used. In fact, as I have said before, when you come right down to it, a bill alone is nothing more than a marketing ploy that gives the appearance of solving all the problems, if there is no way of implementing it. In reality, a law without the means to act, without the means to be implemented, can be completely powerless.

Our legislative system is one of the pillars of our society, of our democracy, but it is not the only one. That is why the judicial system is completely independent. This system acts with the legislative system to enforce legislation. The judicial system obviously cannot be effective and productive without police forces, without the tool society has developed to investigate and understand what goes on in society. We obviously need courts to try people who are accused of planning or committing crimes that threaten our society.

As my colleagues and I have said, our responsibility is greater because the bill is associated with a multilateral treaty.

As a country that is rich and advanced and has an excellent international reputation on nuclear issues, Canada has a much bigger responsibility to implement nuclear measures. We must also act as a leader. We must at least reach out to help less fortunate or less advanced countries that have a nuclear liability or legacy meaningfully and effectively address the situation.

This situation is far from benign. A fractured world has given rise to more opportunities. The circle of nations that are developing nuclear weapons or that have nuclear facilities—either for energy production or research—has expanded a lot in the past 20 or 30 years. The so-called threat has expanded, and we have to pay attention because it remains a reality.

Canada has pulled out of the multilateral anti-drought convention. The government sent a rather strange message. It would be funny if it were a joke, but this message is just bad. This could cause our allies, the world community, to lose trust in us, even if we pass Bill S-9.

I cannot help but speak to the economic consequences of implementing Bill S-9. As a member of the Standing Committee on Finance, I will not hide the fact that I am concerned by the current dynamic. The government has no qualms about blindly cutting left, right and centre.

I am very concerned about the fact that this may well be a useful bill that would give us the potential means to deal with a threat of nuclear terrorism. Unfortunately, it will be practically unenforceable because the government will not have taken the measures to secure sites and draft protocols.

I am also concerned about management and planning. Management is not necessarily the government's strong suit, as it has amply demonstrated over the past seven years. I have no idea how the urban legend about the Conservatives being good managers came to be.

A tree is known by its fruit. Up to now, that fruit has been mostly rotten tomatoes, which Canadians do not find very appealing. The Conservatives do not have a very good record. I have often felt sick to my stomach because of some of the decisions this government has made.

I jest to lighten the mood, but that does not change the fact that it is essential that the government give research institutions, universities, existing and even private facilities the means to truly ensure that we can prevent theft or any type of nuclear threat in our society.

We also need to be able to arrest people who could use a nuclear threat to terrorize the public or to retaliate on behalf of a cause. Certain causes may be fundamentally just, but with the world the way it is, even just causes can be perversely and deviously manipulated and threaten lives.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 28th, 2013 / 1:20 p.m.
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NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am curious specifically about the member's riding. Chalk River has spent nuclear fuel that it will be transporting back to the U.S. under an agreement we reached the last time Mr. Obama was here, I believe, or around that time. There have been concerns raised about the safety of transporting it like that and the risk of somebody trying to intervene and steal it.

As this is weapons-grade fuel, I am wondering what the reaction has been in the member's riding.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 28th, 2013 / 1:20 p.m.
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NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Hamilton East—Stoney Creek very much for his question. I particularly thank him for bringing up that point of view.

Among the five federal ridings in Quebec CIty, the Beauport—Limoilou riding has the distinctive feature of containing three of the five major hospitals in the region. Hospitals are potential threats because they still make significant use of radioactive material and there are safety standards related to the use of such material.

The government's massive cuts to health and other transfers to the provinces could threaten the management of this risk. Not to mention that all this radioactive material could be diverted for use in poisoning large numbers of people. It might not kill them, but it could pose a threat and frighten people, thereby paralyzing public authorities, governments and average citizens. This could be petty crime, and not just far-reaching and large-scale terrorist crime.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 28th, 2013 / 1:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up on the last question.

The member made reference to the medical use of isotopes. We need to recognize that within Canada we do use nuclear materials. Hydro is one company or organization, and there are other stakeholders out there. Our provincial governments are somewhat involved in terms of the monitoring that takes place.

My question to the member is this. Can he provide his thoughts on the importance of the Government of Canada developing a plan because of the threat of potential local terrorist activities? Also, how important is it that it takes stock of or knows of the potential targets in Canada? What is it doing to minimize the potential threat of terrorist actions, even here in Canada, underlining the importance of working with the different stakeholders in particular and different levels of government?

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 28th, 2013 / 1:25 p.m.
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NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Winnipeg North for his question, which I find fairly ironic. Like him, I agree on the importance of having a plan, but what good is it if we do not have all the means to implement it?

I find it ironic coming from a member of a party that, back in the day of the Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin governments, made massive cuts in transfers to the provinces. In other words, he is from a party that shovelled its deficit onto the backs of the provinces, thereby weakening, for lack of resources, the capacity of the provinces and related institutions, including health and higher education institutions, to manage and secure sites and to implement some kind of plan.

Yes, we need a detailed plan, but without the resources to implement the plan, it has no more actual value than a bill that cannot be implemented for lack of resources.

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March 28th, 2013 / 1:25 p.m.
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Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am always pleased to ask my hon. colleague from Beauport—Limoilou a question.

Given that this is the second day that we are studying this bill at third reading stage and that neither he nor his NDP colleagues have given any reason why we should not take action to ensure nuclear safety, why does the hon. member believe that we should wait some more before taking action and passing this bill?

This bill will allow Canada to fulfill some very important national obligations and address a very urgent global challenge. We have yet to see an act of nuclear terrorism, but without the measures proposed in this bill, Canada is exposed to certain risks.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 28th, 2013 / 1:25 p.m.
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NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my esteemed colleague for his question.

I will answer in another way. I hope he took the time to listen to my speech. After passing Bill S-9 relatively quickly, we will have to implement it and meet our international obligations. However, Bill S-9 will not be enough. I hope that the member was listening carefully.

Will the government implement measures to ensure that Bill S-9 is not just a document that is not worth the paper it is written on? We have to be able to secure sites and have adequate police resources to deal with this famous terrorist threat. Above all, the provinces must be able to use radioactive material in a safe manner.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 4:45 p.m.
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NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill S-9, an act to amend the Criminal Code, otherwise called the nuclear terrorism act. I also want to note that I will be sharing my time with the member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert.

It is interesting that the legislation comes forward on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq war, and I will be speaking about that later. However, first, let me provide some background information about the proposed legislation.

Introduced in the Senate on March 27, 2012, Bill S-9 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, CPPNM, as amended in 2005; and the 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, or ICSANT.

The nuclear terrorism act is a 10-clause bill that would introduce four indictable offences into part II of the Criminal Code. The bill would make it illegal to possess, use or dispose of nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device or commit an act against a nuclear facility or its operations with the intent to cause death, serious bodily harm or substantial damage to property or the environment. It would also make it illegal to use or alter nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device or commit an act against a nuclear facility or its operation with the intent to compel a person, government or international organization to do or refrain from doing anything. It would also make it illegal to commit an indictable offence under federal law for the purpose of obtaining nuclear or radioactive material, a nuclear or radioactive device, or access or control of a nuclear facility. Finally, it would make it illegal to 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 and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. This would include extending international measures beyond protecting against the proliferation of nuclear materials to now include protection of nuclear facilities. It would also reinforce Canada's obligation under the UN Security Council Resolution 1540, in 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 would require amendments to Canadian legislation, the treaty would be ratified only when such amendments or new legislation have been passed. To date, Canada has not ratified either the ICSANT or the CPPNM amendment. This is because Canada does not yet have the legislation in place to criminalize the offences outlined in the ICSANT or some of the offences outlined in the CPPNM amendment.

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

A number of experts have spoken out on this important topic. I would like to introduce some of their comments for the record.

Sabine Nolke, the director general of non-proliferation and security threat reduction at DFAIT, said:

Furthering nuclear security, enhancing the physical protection of facilities, installing radiation detection equipment, especially at border crossings, reducing the use of weapons-usable materials, is one of the key tools to prevent these materials from falling into the wrong hands.

Miles Pomper, a senior research associate with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, had this to say. Mr. Pomper said:

—I want to point out generally how important it is to global security that Canada ratify these treaties. As you know, Canada and other countries, at the 2010 and 2012 Nuclear Security Summits, committed to ratifying these conventions. At the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, just held a few months ago in Seoul, states also made a particular commitment to have the 2005 CPPNM amendment enter into force by the time of the next nuclear summit in 2014. For this to happen, two thirds of the 145 parties to the original CPPNM, or 97 states, need to ratify the treaty. To this date only 56 have done so. In ratifying this treaty, therefore, Canada will not only bring us one step closer to the magic number needed for entry into force. Canada is deeply respected in the international community for its leadership on nuclear issues and its commitment to multilateral diplomacy. Its ratification will encourage other countries to move forward with their own ratifications and improve global security.

Finally I would like to add what Matthew Bunn, associate professor of public policy at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, had to say. He said:

At the moment, unfortunately, the mechanisms for global governance of nuclear security remain very weak. No global rules specify how secure a nuclear weapon or the material needed to make one should be. No mechanisms are in place to verify that countries are securing these stockpiles responsibly. Fukushima made clear that action is needed to strengthen both the global safety and security regimes because terrorists could do on purpose what a tsunami did by accident. A central goal leading up to the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit must be to find ways to work together to strengthen the global framework for nuclear security and continue high-level attention on this topic after nuclear security summits stop taking place. Ratifying the conventions that are under consideration now is important, but it is only the beginning.

I would like to comment about Fukushima. It is timely. Coming from the west coast and also being the west coast deputy Fisheries and Oceans critic, I find that this event is very relevant and relates to this topic. Last week, for example, the Japanese government announced a $1 million grant to support the cleanup of tsunami debris washing up on Canada's west coast. B.C.'s coastline is approximately 26,000 kilometres long. It is estimated that 1.5 million tonnes of debris will wash up on B.C.'s shores following the 2011 Japanese tsunami. That is half the amount of garbage generated by metro-Vancouver in the year 2010. That is a lot of debris floating toward west coast shores.

The funds provided by the Japanese government will go toward cleanup of this debris, planning for the cleanup of future debris and addressing the increased threat of invasive species turning up on our shore. Two years ago, in March 2011, the world witnessed one of the most catastrophic events in recent times. The 9.0 magnitude earthquake and consequent tsunami and nuclear disaster killed approximately 16,000 people, with over 2,500 individuals still considered missing. It caused an estimated $235 billion in damage.

The Fukushima nuclear disaster was the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. The fear of what could have been created worldwide panic and generated a shift in societal attitudes toward nuclear power. In Canada, many considered the potential threats to our domestic nuclear facilities located in Ontario. The Fukushima disaster also reminded us of the importance of multilateral diplomacy and international co-operation in areas of great common concern.

I mentioned the Iraq war in my opening remarks and I want to make mention of it here. It was indeed 10 years ago that the Canadian government supported the Iraq war. I would add that this illegal invasion was supposedly based on Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction or nuclear weapons.

It is critical that Canada and indeed the world participate in developing the appropriate protocols to deal with nuclear terrorism. Canada needs to live up to the international conventions and obligations that call for human safety, peace and security.

I would like to conclude my remarks by outlining what it is that Canada's New Democrats are looking for. We are committed to multilateral diplomacy and international co-operation, especially in areas of great common concern, such as nuclear terrorism. We need to work with other leading countries that are moving toward ratifying these conventions.

Canada has also agreed to be legally bound by these conventions. It is important to fulfill our international obligations. Canada cannot officially ratify these conventions until the domestic implementation is complete.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 5 p.m.
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Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's comments, especially at the end, about what the opposition is looking for in order to support the bill. It would be prudent to remind him of what some of the key new offences are under the debate of the bill, including possessing or trafficking nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device or committing an act against a nuclear facility or its operations with the intent to cause death, serious bodily harm or substantive damage to property or the environment, et cetera. There are about four key provisions that greatly increase the capacity of the Criminal Code of Canada to deal with these types of threats.

I was just hoping he could comment on his party's position on some of these key changes, which are really in the best interests of Canadian security. Regarding some of the other things he talked about in his speech, I would like to hear a clear commitment on the support of the bill, as well as some of the important issues that he talked about in his speech, which are actually met in the outline of the bill right now.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 5 p.m.
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NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, in fact, Canada's New Democrats are supporting the bill. We are pleased to see it move forward. However, there are some concerns, which some of the experts pointed out. I just wanted to highlight a couple of those points.

Why was the making of a nuclear or radioactive device not included in Bill S-9 when introduced to the Senate, resulting in a Senate amendment? If this was in fact an oversight, does this not give rise to concerns about the lack of care in the process of determining how these two treaties would be implemented? Also, why has it taken the government so long to introduce the legislation? It has taken over five years for this to become a serious priority.

These are some of the concerns that we have, but as I say, we are supportive of this moving forward.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 5 p.m.
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NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to Sabine Nolke, between 1993 and 2011, the International Atomic Energy Agency identified close to 2,000 incidents related to the use, transportation and unauthorized possession of nuclear and radioactive material.

Does the member not think that we need to move forward on this and that it is more important that Canada ratify this treaty, since it has been dragging its feet on this file?

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 5 p.m.
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NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member is quite correct. Over the last 20 years, there have been over 2,000 incidents in Canada. This is obviously a concern. It could easily be stated that this is unacceptable. It highlights the importance of Canada being a part of this and moving forward on the signing of these treaties, and of the government making it a higher priority than has been demonstrated so far.

I am sure that the government will hear the opposition's comments and move forward as quickly as possible to really focus on this important issue of keeping our country safe from nuclear accidents and materials that could enter our atmosphere or the country.

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March 18th, 2013 / 5 p.m.
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NDP

Djaouida Sellah NDP Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bill S-9, Nuclear Terrorism Act, amends the Criminal Code to implement the criminal law requirements contained in two international treaties to combat terrorism, namely the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which was amended in 2005, and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, signed in 2005.

Like my NDP colleagues, I believe that we must seriously address the issue of nuclear security and comply with our international obligations in order to better co-operate with other countries on counterterrorism strategies.

For the past 10 to 12 years, the United Nations and its members have been concerned about terrorism, including nuclear terrorism. They have adopted resolutions and played a key role in developing treaties and agreements, so that member states can give themselves the necessary tools in terms of legislation and policy to be able to keep up with the ever-changing terrorist threat. My speech here today will summarize some of the main resolutions and conventions that have been adopted or drafted, as well as Canada's efforts to respect its obligations in that regard.

I cannot even imagine the impact these kinds of activities would have on the people affected. We need only consider the repercussions of past nuclear incidents, like Hiroshima, Chernobyl or even Fukushima one year ago, to understand that it would be extremely damaging and powerful. The effects on health would be felt for decades, even on people who would not be directly affected.

Nuclear terrorism is a difficult concept to grasp. We do not have any concrete examples, aside from what we see in certain catastrophic Hollywood films. However, since the International Atomic Energy Agency has counted close to 2,000 incidents related to the use, transport and unauthorized possession of nuclear and radioactive material between 1993 and 2011, we must remain cautious and, above all, aware of the danger. In this sense, Canada must participate in the multilateral efforts internationally to ensure that the phenomenon remains confined to Hollywood movies.

The International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism was passed by the United Nations. It is the first international convention on terrorism to be signed since the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001. It is an extension of the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings.

The International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism was signed by Canada in 2005 and came into effect in 2007. However, since the treaty requires amendments to legislation, Canada has not yet ratified it. In Canadian law, it is not enough to simply have a treaty signed by a Canadian representative for it to automatically take effect or be implemented. The signature is simply Canada's agreement in principle. If amendments to Canadian legislation are required for a treaty to be implemented, the treaty is ratified only once the amendments are made or new legislation is passed.

In this case, several amendments to the Criminal Code would be required. It is unfortunate that this government did not decide to introduce this bill until this past year.

The government decided that ratifying the convention was not a priority. And here we are today.

Bill S-9, on nuclear terrorism, is a 10-clause bill that introduces four new offences to 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.

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

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

In addition, Bill S-9 introduces into the Criminal Code other amendments that are incidental to these four offences, but that are nonetheless significant. The bill provides definitions of certain terms used in the four offences outlined above, such as “environment”, “nuclear facility”, “nuclear material”, “radioactive material” and “device”. It also amends the definition of “terrorist activity”.

A new section is added to the Criminal Code to ensure that individuals who commit or who attempt to commit these offences, even if abroad, can be prosecuted in Canada.

The bill also amends the wiretap provisions found in the code to ensure that they apply to the new offences and amends the code so that these new offences are considered primary designated offences for the purposes of DNA warrants and collection orders.

There is also the amendment of the Canadian rule on double jeopardy, so that if an individual is tried for or convicted of these four new offences abroad, the double jeopardy rule, in other words, being convicted of and tried for the same crimes, does not apply if the trial abroad does not meet certain basic Canadian legal standards. In that case, a Canadian court can try that person again for the same crimes of which that person has already been convicted in a foreign court.

I am quite comfortable with these objectives.

I will conclude my remarks with a quote from Matthew Bunn, an associate professor of public policy at Harvard University, who made this comment during his testimony before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, which I think should convince the members of the House and Canadians of the importance of passing this bill.

Since the September 11 attacks in the United States, both countries have improved security for their own nuclear materials, helped others to do the same, helped to strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency's efforts, and worked to strengthen other elements of the global response. But if the United States and Canada are to succeed in convincing other countries to take a responsible approach to reducing the risks of nuclear theft and terrorism at the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands in 2014 and beyond, then our two countries have to take the lead in taking responsible action ourselves.

Hence, it is important for both of our countries to ratify the main conventions in this area: the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, the amendment to that convention, and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

To conclude, I will do my part by voting in favour of the bill.

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March 18th, 2013 / 5:10 p.m.
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NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I know this member, who gave an excellent speech, very well. She is a doctor and she is from Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert.

I would like to focus on nuclear waste, and on medical waste in particular. We know that isotopes are used to treat various diseases and in various equipment, including scanners.

I wonder if she could confirm the importance of signing this treaty quickly, to ensure that people will be completely protected. We need to propose measures regarding nuclear waste, and medical waste in particular.

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March 18th, 2013 / 5:10 p.m.
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NDP

Djaouida Sellah NDP Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I also wish to thank my hon. colleague for her pertinent question and for her work here in the House. Her work sets an example for all members of this House. My colleague defends her values fervently and she does her homework.

It is true that some offences could unfortunately be linked to illegitimate activities, but we need to make sure that no offences are linked to any lawful medical practices, such as radiation and the legitimate exchange of radioactive material or a radioactive device, or to any other lawful activity within the nuclear industry.

Implementing and ratifying these treaties on terrorism, through this bill, will send a clear message to our allies and our partners around the world that Canada takes nuclear safety very seriously.

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March 18th, 2013 / 5:15 p.m.
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NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her excellent speech. We have a much better understanding of the scope and importance of this bill, which will finally allow us to sign these international agreements. They should have been signed years ago. This is a good start.

I find it astounding that this bill comes from the Senate. Where was the government all this time? What was it doing? Why did it wait so long, especially since this affects the safety of all Canadians? Thus, it is really important.

This morning someone mentioned an important problem with Bill C-55 and the fact that the Conservative government did not make sure it was complying with the Charter and the Constitution before introducing a bill. In this case, the government made the Senate do the work that it should have done.

I would rather talk about the process of this bill, rather than the essence of the bill. I agree that this bill is very relevant and useful. However, why did it take so long? Why did the Senate have to do all the work? What is the government doing?

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 5:15 p.m.
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NDP

Djaouida Sellah NDP Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his relevant question. I do not think that Canada had any rules about the process. Canada ratified the convention, but there were no rules for enforcing these conventions.

As for the fact that this came from the Senate, the majority of the members here do not agree with the fact that bills are going through the Senate before they get to the House. However, we think that a thorough technical analysis was conducted this time. It appears that the Senate did some work here. That is why we plan on supporting the bill.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 5:15 p.m.
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NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is important to put this debate in context. The first thing I have to note, and this happens every time we have a bill from the Senate, is the dependence of the government on bringing bills from the Senate. As a democrat, not just a New Democrat, I believe that bills should originate in this House and go to the other place after. After all, we are elected to bring forward legislation, to oversee legislation and to then take it to the other place. That is how I see our obligations here. However, the government sees it differently. That is the difference between us.

This is important legislation. As referenced, it is our obligation under international treaty that we have legislation to deal with the importance of locking down and securing nuclear resources and materials. In fact, if we just pull back a bit and look at what the scenario is right now, the threat of nuclear weapons is very concerning for many of us.

I disagree with the government on its analysis of the biggest threats we face as a species. It has its own view. I think we face two major issues, no question: climate change and nuclear weapons.

The fact of the matter is that we have to deal with climate change. The government sometimes believes in the science of climate change, and at other times not so much. We need to do more there. I do not have to list all the threats we face because of climate change. We can see it worldwide. We see it in the Arctic and in sub-Saharan Africa. It is something that is increasing in terms of its threat.

The other threat, of course, is nuclear weapons. More people should be seized with the threat of nuclear weapons. We have passed motions in the House. I worked with the other side. All parties agreed on a motion to actually have Canada engage in a nuclear weapons convention. I will be interested to see what the response of the government is. It was a couple of years ago. All parties agreed. It was passed in the Senate, in a similar motion, that we need to be seized with nuclear proliferation.

When I was growing up, there were two big powers, and the two big nuclear threats were between those two superpowers. However, an amazing thing happened, and that was around 1989. We saw two things happen. One was the fall of the Soviet Union, the fall of the wall, which was historic and memorable.

I was just in Berlin for a conference on a nuclear convention. It was hosted by the German government, as a matter of fact. It is amazing to see that city and to see what happened where the wall came down. What happened around the same time, which was unimaginable in the years prior to 1989, was that there were agreements for fairly rapid, substantive nuclear disarmament.

We started on a path in the 1990s of what I would call a period of not just reconciliation but of fairly stable peace, because we saw the threat of nuclear weapons really being reduced. Let us think about it. We had over 60,000 nuclear weapons pointed at us, indirectly, through the United States, and the same from Europe to the Soviet Union. Within a matter of years, that was diminished to just over 10,000, which is what we presently have.

However, things have changed. We are in a multi-polar world. We have threats. We know of North Korea. We have Iran, which is continuing to ramp up its program. We have non-state actors. This is what this bill is addressing because of our international commitment to the treaty of 2004 and the UN resolution. They can conceivably not only find access to these materials but can then turn those materials into weapons-grade uranium, with some support, and have missiles that are fairly portable. Clearly we need to be seized with this.

This is why it is important to understand nuclear power in all its aspects and how it can change from what we use for power to a threat.

In Chalk River, the government is engaged in decommissioning. It is looking to taking the highly enriched uranium out of that facility, which has been there since post-World War II, and transferring it to the United States. This is important not only for my constituents but for everyone in Ontario, because there are a lot of questions about it. There is not a question about the need to do it. In the scheme of things, it is not a bad thing. In fact, the Prime Minister announced the intention to do it just after the 2012 nuclear conference, which has been referenced.

It is important to have this legislation in place before the trucks start moving down the road. I say that because what the Prime Minister announced was that we would be sending highly enriched uranium through the province of Ontario to the United States. Part of our obligation under the UN resolution we signed in 2004 is to ensure that there will be mechanisms in place so that the materials from Chalk River do not end up in the wrong place.

There have been some legitimate concerns raised by mayors of towns throughout the province about the government's plan when it comes to decommissioning and sending these materials south. Non-proliferation advocates want to make sure that everything is done so that none of the material lands in the wrong hands. That is why we would have hoped to have seen this kind of protocol put in place a while back. In 2012, when the Prime Minister made the announcement, we should have had it in place. As was mentioned by my colleagues, the government has had problems in terms of drafting and in putting it on the front burner. If the two biggest threats we face are climate change and the proliferation of nuclear weapons, this should have been done as early as possible, and certainly before the Prime Minister announced at the Nuclear Security Summit in 2012 that we would be sending these materials from Chalk River south.

The people affected by this need to hear, from the government, about a process whereby local villages and towns and mayors are given notice and are confident that all appropriate measures are taking place.

This is a fairly complicated process. We are talking about making sure that the spent fuel rods are secure, that the routes they are taking are secure, and that everything is being done by the government to ensure that the intent of the bill is actually being done.

In the past we have seen problems with the government and its relationship with the supervisory capacity of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. I will not go back in history on that. It was very controversial. I am hoping that some lessons were learned by the government at that time. However, we need to know that the government will work with those mayors and those people who are affected in Ontario.

I would say to all members of Parliament for Ontario on the government side that if they have not done so already, it is their responsibility to represent their constituents and engage both the safety commission and the government to ensure that the plan is solid.

The other area this touches on is the UN resolution. The UN resolution stems from the concerns of the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council about the potential proliferation of nuclear weapons. After the Iraq war in 2003, the IAEA was questioned by some of our allies at the time, including the Bush administration.

The head of the IAEA, Mr. ElBaradei at the time, said that they did not believe there was evidence there of nuclear weapons, and of course we saw what happened after, the cooking of the books. After that, there was not only consensus but an urgency to ensure we would have smart policy and fair rules to ensure this kind of fiasco did not happen again. Essentially, we had one of our member states along with support of another member state deciding that they would, in effect, override this international agency, IAEA, and come up with their own “facts”. We found out the facts were not the facts. The yellowcake story, for instance, was something that had been cooked up and it was just a premise for an invasion of a country and another agenda.

Therefore, in 2004 resolution 1540 was passed. It was to deal with the fact that this was a serious issue and we needed to have not only laws within our own countries about dealing with nuclear materials, but there had to be some globalization of this process so we would not see the same playing of politics with this. We had not only to sign onto this, but also to implement and enact legislation, and that is what this is. That is a fairly long period of time and the threats that we face, as I mentioned, with non-state actors with certain states that are proliferating in the Middle East and other places, and we need to understand that.

However, if we take from this lesson that we need to work in a multilateral way, that we need to push for non-proliferation, we should also embed that in the way we do business. As members know and as was in the newspaper today, our agency is in the U.K. promoting the Candu reactor. I do not have to tell members the lessons that we should have learned with the sale of our technology to India. It led to India having the capacity for nuclear weapons. That proliferation continued, as we know, in Pakistan, et cetera. I say that because we cannot separate the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the proliferation of nuclear power. We have to understand that one can lead to the other. Certainly that is the case in Iran with which everyone is seized. We need to have a capacity to deal with that.

My concern, not with the bill but with the direction of the government, is that the members have said a lot of interesting things about proliferation but they really have not gone far enough in pushing for non-proliferation. I have a couple of examples.

Many right now are pushing for Canada to be involved in a preparatory committee for a nuclear weapons convention. People would like to see this happen in a couple of years. We have seen leadership from the White House, as members know, with the speech by President Obama in Prague a couple of years ago. We had the “four horsemen” article a couple of years before that. We have had Ban Ki-moon talk about the need for a nuclear convention.

I have not heard, except for when we have raised it in the House and we passed our unanimous motion, a real commitment from the government on non-proliferation to the extent that we could do more. We are proudly a non-nuclear weapon country. I give credit to John Diefenbaker for that role. We need to say that Canada will play a role in working with others in a multilateral way and through the U.N. and other agencies to strengthen nuclear non-proliferation. We have some of the best people in verification. We have the technology that we have developed. I am a little concerned that we are not putting enough into oversight, as I mentioned in the case of Chalk River. We should be strengthening the IAEA. We should be working with others to come up with verification instruments so we can actually lock down nuclear materials. We have some of this capability, but we have not kept up with it and it should be a priority.

In the end, what we are left with is a process whereby we are obviously manufacturing the materials and are promoting nuclear energy. We also need to recommit ourselves, because we have been committed in our country before, to non-proliferation. We should be working with others for a nuclear weapons convention. We should be saying that Canada will take a leadership role when it comes to nuclear non-proliferation. We should be pushing those states that have nuclear weapons and have not signed the NPT to do so, and we should be looking for real reductions, as former Secretary Shultz, others in the United States, Ban Ki-moon and President Obama have said.

We should be very active on this, because if we are sincere about making sure that we deal with one of the two threats to global existence, nuclear weapons, then we have to be serious about how we promote nuclear non-proliferation.

If not Canada, then who? We are the ones who were between the two superpowers for that long period of time during the Cold War. We were the ones who decided—and I credit a Conservative leader, Prime Minister Diefenbaker—that they would not be on our terrain. We never had nuclear weapons on our land, so we are in a perfect position to be leaders in forging a better agreement on nuclear weapons.

This is an opportunity to talk about that with the bill today. As was mentioned by my colleagues, we will support it. However, let us do what other countries have done and ask for more. There are two examples I can think of in recent history of deciding to get rid of nuclear weapons: South Africa and Kazakhstan. In the case of Kazakhstan, that was where it was decided to test nuclear weapons. It was a decision by Stalin, who said that there was no one near the place so they would not worry about it. They conducted 450 nuclear tests. I was there recently, and the results are there still. There are people with deformities who have passed them on through generations. It is a reminder. Fukushima, in Japan, is another reminder that we have to take this seriously. We have to do more when it comes to nuclear non-proliferation.

I ask the government to not only bring in legislation that meets our UN obligations but to do more on the issue of non-proliferation. It would have support not only from this side of the House but from Canadians from coast to coast to coast. People would be proud and would be saying that this is something that is in line with our values and our history and would actually be contributing to peace and security in the world.

I support the bill, but I ask that the government do more to support non-proliferation to make it a more secure world. That is in keeping with Canadian history.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 5:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, obviously non-proliferation of nuclear weapons is a goal all countries should aim for. It is a challenging issue, because what this particular bill sets out to do is to make sure the technology behind these nuclear devices does not proliferate, whether through terrorist organizations or others. Bill S-9 speaks more to the ways and means we have agreed to with our multilateral partners in how to address it.

To the member's concern, many of these provisions were in the Criminal Code prior, but the exact language and codification is changed. I should also point out to the member that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission came to the justice committee and pointed out that there is a tremendous amount of security and process when dealing with nuclear materials.

The NDP continues to say that multilateral agreements are good, that Canada should participate and that we should be supporting measures that protect people from these kinds of things. It continues to put up speaker after speaker arguing in favour of the legislation but will not let it go on so that we can be the leader. I say that because we had a professor from Harvard who said that Canada would be leading the way. Other countries, such as the United States, have not yet been able to do this.

I would like his response as to why the NDP continues to speak in favour but does not allow the bill to go forward.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 5:35 p.m.
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NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where to begin. We have a bill that is coming from an unelected Senate to start with. Also, it is amazing that the member is talking about how horrible it is that we are not doing our democratic duty by not letting this just go through.

The point is we had a government that failed to live up to its obligations. It managed to fast-track every bill it wanted to get through when it was convenient for it. We just went through that this past year. Therefore, it is a little rich to hear from the other side that we are in the way somehow. I mean, it is setting records on time allocation and shutting down debate.

I will put that aside, but I will agree with him that we should be seized with this. We should be seized with taking the opportunity through multilateral forums to ensure that we have a safer planet by being stronger. However, I did not hear the member say anything about the need to be more clear about how these materials from Chalk River are moving through my province of Ontario. He should be concerned with that and also seized with the opportunity for us to lead internationally on nuclear non-proliferation.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 5:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pick up on the member's last point when he talked about the transportation of nuclear material.

It is important for us to note that nuclear material does come in many different forms in Canada. It is used in energy and medical isotopes. Nuclear material does have a very beneficial role to play in society. However, as the provinces have different types of nuclear material, many have raised the issue that we need to be doing what we can to ensure that we are marginalizing sabotage and terrorism within our country

Could the member provide some comment on how important it is that Ottawa work with its provincial counterparts and other potential stakeholders like hydro companies or companies that provide electricity? How important is Ottawa's role in providing leadership on that file?

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 5:40 p.m.
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NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would agree with the member if he is talking about a real partnership in ensuring that something as important as nuclear waste, for instance, and I am referring to Chalk River, is done in a way that is going to be transparent and open with the communities that are affected.

If we think of what happened to Japan, we think of all the best plans, as the scenario goes. The Japanese thought they had everything figured out. However, what turned out to be a problem was they had certain assumptions that were dated.

As my kids would say, it is a no-brainer. We have to ensure we work with all of the communities affected, including on this plan to send spent nuclear fuel from Canada to the United States. I reiterate the importance of the government working with local municipalities and being clear about where this is going so people will not be in fear of the concerns they have about this material going through their backyards.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 5:40 p.m.
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NDP

Djaouida Sellah NDP Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague's speech and I have a question for him.

We know that Canada is well respected in international circles. 2014 is fast approaching and these treaties must be ratified.

Does he not think that Canada has dragged its feet in introducing this bill? As the saying goes, you have to lead by example.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 5:40 p.m.
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NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I agree.

I think that our nuclear energy obligations are very important. For all Canadian citizens, we must ensure that the government is serious about its obligations under Canadian law and, as I mentioned earlier, about Canada's obligations to the United Nations.

In the end, this is both a matter of our obligations to citizens here in Canada and also our obligations internationally. That is why the government should have taken this more seriously and should have acted more promptly.

I look forward to the government staying seized with this issue, because as I have mentioned in my comments, this is not just about following up with this one aspect of nuclear energy or materials. This should be about continuing to be seized with nuclear non-proliferation.

Yes, I would agree with my colleague. I wish that we had seen quicker action, that we had paid more speedy attention and that we had passed the bill. It should have been done, frankly, before the last election.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 5:45 p.m.
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NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague from Ottawa Centre for his excellent speech and all the very enlightening information about the bill that he shared with us.

This is a very important bill because we have a deadline to meet in order to live up to international agreements. In that regard, it was urgent to get the job done.

Unfortunately, as my colleague mentioned, the bill originated in the Senate, where we have appointed not democratically elected representatives. The Senate is even dealing with several scandals, which have been mentioned a number of times in the House of Commons. The Conservative government's lack of leadership in the fight against and prevention of nuclear terrorism is deplorable. That is very important.

I would like my hon. colleague to share his opinions on the fact that the bill came from the Senate and not the government. He also mentioned—

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 5:45 p.m.
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Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, I ask you to ensure that the question and the response that has been put on Bill S-9 is relevant to the topic at hand and not about the other place. Even though the bill comes from that area, that is not the topic of the bill. The topic is nuclear terrorism, and I wish the members would stick to the facts.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 5:45 p.m.
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NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think it is important to talk about where the bill came from. I will reference what I was talking about before. When as many as 76 transport truckloads of high-level nuclear waste could journey along the Trans Canada Highway over the coming four years in an effort to ship decades worth of radioactive rubbish from Chalk River to the U.S. reprocessing site, those of us who actually represent communities throughout this province are concerned about that.

The fact that the bill came from over there delayed our being able to talk about it here. That is why we should have bills originating from this place. These are issues that affect our constituents. With all due respect to the other place, we found senators had some problems understanding where they actually live, never mind who they represent.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 5:45 p.m.
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NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Scarborough—Rouge River.

I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak, however briefly, to this particular subject. In a previous Parliament we had many a debate over the Nuclear Liability Act, and many of those issues are very important to us all. I really do not see any reason why debate in the House on such an important issue should be curtailed simply because we all agree on things. We are looking for better answers throughout the time that we work on a bill. Certainly this bill is no exception. No one can say that the bill comes from experience, because not everyone has experience with radioactive waste and not everyone has experience with what happens with radiation when it gets into the environment.

I want to preface with a couple of experiences that I have had in my community and in the north.

The first one deals with the transport of yellowcake from the Port Radium mine on Great Bear Lake in the 1930s, when it was transported by gunny sack down the Mackenzie River and over the portage at my town of Fort Smith. Sixty years later, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited came through to deal with the residue that came from the yellowcake that was carried on people's shoulders in gunny sacks. This was after many of them suffered radiation-induced cancer throughout the system and that is something that can be referenced by googling the Deline radiation issues.

In any event, when passing through the community, one of the bags happened to fall off a cart. Sixty years later, we could identify precisely where that bag fell off the cart. The residue remains in perpetuity unless we do a very massive cleanup.

The second incident I want to talk about is COSMOS 954. COSMOS 954 was a satellite that the Russians lost control of in 1984 or 1985, somewhere in that range. This was a nuclear-powered satellite with a reactor the size of a football. It exploded coming through the atmosphere and the debris from that explosion covered an area of some 30,000 square kilometres, including my community of Fort Smith, which was on the edge of that radius.

When the cleanup started, people with Geiger counters could go through the community and sort out the pieces of radioactive material that littered the entire community. A team of people worked all summer long with Geiger counters, picking up the pieces as they went around.

Radioactive material is dangerous material. Radioactive material in any size, shape or form can cause difficulties for human beings. We are seeing this now on a more massive scale with what has happened at Fukushima, where radioactive releases are costing the economy of Japan a huge price and will continue to do so. We can look at Chernobyl where large numbers of deaths occurred, but the impact on the countryside and on the people who lived in those areas was huge as well.

Now we come to the potential for dirty bombs—that is, someone taking some radioactive material and blowing it up in a populated area, say over Ottawa, using a Cessna 172 filled with some explosives and some radioactive material they happened to get somehow from Chalk River or from some other place. The impact upon the city of Ottawa would be immense. The cleanup would be incredibly costly. The cost to the community over time would be incredibly serious.

What we are talking about are serious issues. These are issues that can affect us all. I have seen the effects of very small amounts of radiation escaping from the system. Deliberate efforts to create radiation issues with something such as a dirty bomb would be devastating to anyone in the areas that was hit by it.

We might not see it today. It might not be something that kills everyone in its surroundings, but it would kill the initiative of people to live in that area. It would take away so much from any community affected by it.

When we talk about the act, are we taking it seriously enough? Have we identified any criminal offences that could be put against people who might, without malice or intent to injure or create serious bodily harm, simply make mistakes or do something that was wrong with the material moving through the system?

Let us remember that there are thousands of sources of radioactive material around the world. There are thousands of sources of radioactive material in Canada. The problem is very large. Would this act give enough impetus to those who are in charge of radioactive material any sense of their mistakes or apprehensions, or perhaps cover criminal activity in selling it to someone else or in dealing with it in a bad fashion, even not with the intent to injure or kill? Would it cover completely what we want to do with those types of people? That would be my question with the legislation. That is why I am standing here today and talking about it. It is important to have debate and discussion over these types of issues.

I notice the Conservatives have not spoken up on the bill in front of us to explain to their constituents and to us in Parliament how they feel about this issue. Simply to push it through without debate and without understanding is not the thing to do. We need to understand the issue. We need to explain to Canadians what we are doing, how it works and what the legislation is intended to accomplish. If we simply say we will push it through and someone else can take care of it, and we simply fulfill our role under treaty obligations, we do not know if we are doing enough to protect Canadians, because we do not understand this issue that well.

Is that what is happening here with this question as we stand up and debate this subject in Parliament? I find that reprehensible in some ways, and that attitude should be looked at very carefully by all members of the House. When we talk about this issue, there are many things to say. I have said what I really wanted to say about it because we want a full discussion of those issues at committee. It is not good enough that the Senate has done it; we are elected members. We need to make sure that the work that is done is correct.

I hope that all members will enter into thought about this issue. It is serious. It is one of the more important items that have been brought forward to protect Canadians in my time here in Parliament.

We speak about protecting the victims of crime. This is a great opportunity to do just that, because these are preventative measures. It is not good enough to have a bill that simply deals with the after-effects of criminal activity in this regard; we need to prevent this type of activity from happening.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 5:55 p.m.
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NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about nuclear terrorism, which is not a trifling matter. The member for Drummond raised a point earlier that got a reaction from the member opposite.

It really is a question of negligence because the bill originated in the Senate. The government is negligent for not introducing the bill and for not implementing serious measures. If we were talking about the transportation of gold, I believe that much more effective measures would be implemented to prevent the gold from being stolen. There is also negligence because we are not yet members of these international organizations that are leading the way.

Who is manufacturing nuclear weapons? It is not ordinary citizens sitting around their kitchen tables. We should go straight to the source to find out who is transporting nuclear materials and who is manufacturing them. It would be much easier to protect national security that way.

Does the member not believe that we should go straight to the source to prevent the theft and illegal sale of nuclear materials?

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 5:55 p.m.
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NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for the question, because it is really germane to what I was saying.

The importance of recognizing the criminal liability of those who handle radioactive material is part of the solution in dealing with this. I do not see that in the bill. I do not see that the bill has addressed that in any way. There are no penalties for an error, bad judgment or simple carelessness in dealing with this type of material. That is something we should perhaps look at in committee. What are the responsibilities of those who handle radioactive material and enter it into the system?

As my colleague from Ottawa Centre has pointed out, we are going to be engaged in some very large takedowns of nuclear facilities in Canada, and those questions are of extreme importance.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 6 p.m.
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NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in support of Bill S-9, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (Nuclear Terrorism Act), at third reading.

I believe that ensuring the safety and security of our country is extremely important for all parliamentarians, and the work that has been done in this bill strengthens the ability to protect Canadian citizens. Bill S-9 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, the CPPNM, as amended in 2005, and the 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, ICSANT.

This bill would fulfill Canada's treaty obligations under the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, the CPPNM, and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. It would also reinforce Canada's obligations under the United Nations Security Council resolution passed in 2004, resolution 1540, to take and enforce effective measures to prevent the proliferation of nuclear materials as well as chemical and biological weapons.

At this point, Canada has not yet ratified the ICSANT or the CPPNM amendments, as it does not have the legislation in place to criminalize the offences outlined in the ICSANT or some of the offences outlined in the CPPNM amendment. The amendments proposed in Bill S-9 would help to align Canada's domestic legislation with what is required by both of these conventions. Should these amendments become law, Canada would then, presumably, have the ability to ratify both the ICSANT and the CPPNM amendment by the 2014 deadline.

This is a commitment Canada and other countries agreed to work toward at the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. and at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, Korea. This is good to see, as we have witnessed the government not paying much attention to many of our international agreements and treaties. Let us hope that this bill that was started in the Senate is a sign of renewed commitment to our international obligations and treaties. Maybe we will actually see more respect for our treaties with the first nations and aboriginal peoples in Canada.

I digress, but I will go back to Bill S-9 now. The bill introduces definitions of terms such as “environment”, “nuclear facility”, “nuclear material” and “device”. It also amends the definition of “terrorist activity”, which would certainly work to improve clarity for enforcement agencies in Canada.

New Democrats are committed to multilateral diplomacy and international co-operation, especially in areas of great common concern, like nuclear terrorism. For this reason, we need to work with other leading countries that are moving toward ratifying these conventions. Moreover, Canada has agreed to be legally bound by these conventions. It is important to fulfill our international obligations. Canada is unable to ratify these conventions in an official capacity until our domestic implementation is actually complete.

During the discussions on Bill S-9, the committee heard warnings that the dangers of nuclear terrorism are very real. While this is not something that is likely often on the minds of Canadians, they trust that we, as parliamentarian, are working to protect their safety. As such, we must ensure that we are making efforts to fulfill our international obligations to protect Canadians and our international partners.

Safety and security rests not only with these sorts of international protections. I know that in my community of Scarborough, residents are also looking for action to improve the safety of our local communities. There have been far too many occurrences of gun violence in Toronto. The most recent statistics from the Toronto Police Service state that 20 shootings have resulted in five homicides, three of which were young people under the age of 16 in our community. The death of a child or youth is felt throughout a community. It is a tragedy that leaves family, friends and loved ones devastated and also leaves the entire community worried, anxious and on edge.

A week and a half ago, the member for Scarborough Southwest and I met with individuals, community organizations and front-line workers to hear their concerns about how to improve the safety and security of our communities. At this meeting, I heard of the need for a coordinated national youth strategy, dedicated core funding for preventative and productive sustainable youth programming, rather than punitive measures. We also heard of the importance of all levels of government being present at the table and providing the much needed support for the sustainability and increased safety of our communities. Finally, we heard that it was crucial that funders were aware of and in communication with the front-line service providers to truly know how the funding dollars were being spent on the ground. Many of the service providers felt that during their intermittent communications with the funding ministries, the persons responsible did not have a clear grasp of the real situations on the ground.

While the New Democratic Party believes it must seriously address the issue of nuclear security and comply with its international obligations in order to better co-operate with other countries on counterterrorism strategies, this is one area of many that needs to be tackled for Canadians to truly feel safe.

I hope the safety of Canadians in their communities is something that will be reflected in the upcoming budget. I hope to see quality investments in prevention strategies and investments in our youth. Cuts to border services and community programs will not help our communities. Investments in youth gang prevention programs will also help our young people, as some current programs will see their funding expire.

We need to see real action in job creation for our young people. There are nearly 400,000 young people looking for work. It is shocking that in a country such as Canada, youth unemployment is at 13.5%. Helping youth get quality jobs can divert youth away from gang activities and allow them to help build our communities as well as improve their safety. I certainly hope to see some leadership soon from the government on this issue. Our communities truly deserve better.

I digress again. I am very passionate about safety in our communities and when we talk about nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism, I automatically think of safety in my own backyard.

Coming back to Bill S-9, in the committee stage of the bill, one witness, Professor Bunn, shared some thoughts that I believe highlight the necessity of the bill and Canada's role on the international stage. He stated:

—if the United States and Canada are to succeed in convincing other countries to take a responsible approach to reducing the risks of nuclear theft and terrorism at the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands in 2014 and beyond, then our two countries have to take the lead in taking responsible action ourselves.

Canada has always had a reputation as an international leader on the world stage. It is unfortunate that under the Conservative government, this internationally high regard has been depleted in areas such as Canada's environmental policies. However, it is hopeful that through Bill S-9, Canada's international partners will follow its lead in the area of nuclear terrorism protection.

Professor Bunn went on to say:

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

The New Democrats agree that we have an obligation to work with our international partners, as nuclear terrorism will not have an impact in isolation, but it will affect the global community. It seems to me that the sophistication of technology and radioactive devices continues to improve. Therefore, Canada and countries around the world must act in a responsive, proactive and effective manner to ensure the protection of our citizens.

When it comes to terrorism, no country works in isolation. Rather, we require a consistent global response. The New Democratic Party believes we must seriously address the issue of nuclear security and comply with Canada's international obligations in order to better co-operate with other countries on counterterrorism strategies. Canadians and people around the globe deserve to feel safe and secure. It is for these reasons that we will be supporting Bill S-9.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 6:10 p.m.
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NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague referenced the concerns around public safety generally, with regard to gun violence, and she also talked about the importance of ensuring we have a careful eye and scrutiny on nuclear materials.

In terms of her community and the fact that, as I mentioned in my intervention, there are concerns about nuclear materials going through Ontario, has the member heard of this at all as an issue within her community, and is she concerned about the fact that the government to date has not shared with municipal leaders the route that the nuclear materials will take to the United States?

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 6:10 p.m.
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NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, actually I have not heard from any of my municipal counterparts or leaders about their knowledge of the route, their knowledge of where or how this nuclear waste material will be transported.

My home and my constituency community is actually very close to the nuclear reactors we have in Ontario, and I do not know where and how this waste material is going to be transported. It is something of serious concern, especially after the spills, accidental droppings and whatever that we heard happened near Great Bear Lake, and how the community is still feeling the effects of it 60 years later.

I know that members in my community will not want to experience that, especially also because my community has a large chunk of Rouge Park, which is soon to be a national urban park. What a disaster it would be if this nuclear waste were transported through this brand new urban national park, the first of its kind in Canada. What a disaster it would be if material were being transported through Rouge Park, through my community, affecting residents and our environment and our natural history.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 6:10 p.m.
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NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the extended time I have today to speak to such an abstruse topic will allow me to address a number of points that members have unfortunately, or cleverly, not raised in the debates on enshrining the four nuclear terrorism offences in law.

This speech could not have been better timed given that the media this morning were reporting on the failed cooling system at the Fukushima plant. A few minutes ago, a colleague mentioned the Fukushima situation, and I will inform the House of the latest developments.

There was a power failure at the Fukushima plant. Power was cut to cooling systems for the three spent-fuel pools at the Fukushima plant on Monday after a power outage. The Japanese news agency reported that the neighbouring command centres did not record any significant changes in radiation levels after the power outage, which happened on Monday just before 7 p.m. local time.

When industry supporters say that it is possible to contain radioactive waste, I cannot help but be doubtful, especially in the face of such news. Facilities, buildings and structures built by humans have a limited lifespan. The pyramids of Giza are thousands of years old, but they just may be the oldest structures on the face of the earth. Trying to contain radioactive waste for millions of years seems downright impossible to me.

During my last speech, I focused on the procedural aspects of introducing these four new offences into the Criminal Code. I spoke about creating them and enshrining them in law from a practitioner's point of view. As I have said time and time again, I am a criminal lawyer, but I specialized in the areas of health and mental health. That is why I had some misgivings about how these offences were worded.

I thought about cases that I had dealt with up until recently, over the past two years. There is a possibility that some of my clients would be labelled as terrorists a bit too hastily. That is a rather derogatory description for clients with mental health issues.

When I appeared for certain cases, my clients were often in a fragile state and troubled. They might make threats. The judges took note, but they fairly often let things go, considering the state of the individuals who were sometimes dealing with toxic psychosis and who would utter threats right and left. We have already heard that. However, sometimes charges follow when an individual in the dock decides to threaten everyone in the courtroom. I have seen the same type of behaviour with clients.

When I spoke at second reading, I was recalling these cases, knowing full well that some of my clients uttered threats without necessarily having the opportunity or physical ability to put these threats into action and make them a reality. It is sort of on that basis that I said in the House that I had some reservations about the possibility of an individual being given the fairly notorious label of nuclear terrorist. I am just saying that this would not look too good on a resumé.

The scope of this bill gradually directed my arguments at second reading in order to highlight the impact of the provision creating the offence in which someone would:

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;

With the words “cause death”, we see that it is a crime of intention, but it also mentions possessing and disposing of nuclear or radioactive devices. This is not something you buy off the shelf. The last I heard, you had to have very good connections to get your hands on nuclear devices or even radioactive material.

The second clause concerns threats 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;

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;

Still, some degree of preparation goes into each of these offences. I know that it is ultimately up to the crown prosecutor to assess each individual case to see if there are grounds for a lawsuit. However, if prosecutors follow the letter of the law, there could be many more cases. Some clients who are not necessarily of sound mind could be given the label of terrorist and charged. However, a certain degree of organization and preparation are required to acquire a nuclear or radioactive device. It is not easy and it is not just anyone who can do it.

I would now like to talk to you about my own experience with the nuclear industry. The first time I had dealings with this industry was in 2009. At the time, I was a lawyer for my own band council. One morning, we met with a Romanian engineer who owned an engineering firm in Sept-Îles and had come to see the band council to warn us of the potential danger facing our community.

Unbeknownst to band members or leaders, uranium exploration was being conducted near my home reserve. This individual came and made such an eloquent presentation to my band council that, a few weeks later, the council had launched a lawsuit. The band council had documentation and a resolution on the lack of consent for mining exploration on traditional lands.

This was the first experience I had with the uranium and nuclear industries. That year—2009—was a busy one. Among other things, we held many public information briefings. One conference, which lasted several days, was hosted by industry specialists, but opponents were also present. Through the networking I did at that conference, I was able to meet other stakeholders and individuals. Experts from across Canada, as well as from the United States and other countries, came to meet with the people of Sept-Îles for a week.

Certain materials were brought to my attention, including polonium 210. I will come back to that later. We will see that nuclear terrorism is taking a strange twist in 2013, particularly when we look at actual cases of nuclear terrorism and the media coverage of those cases.

My cursory research of the subject we are examining and incidents and examples of nuclear terrorism tend to indicate that media coverage of the real impact of such criminal activity is fairly limited, other than when it comes to the cases involving the poisoning of international political figures that have occurred over the past few years. To my knowledge, there have not been hundreds of such cases, but the number has been fairly high nonetheless.

I will talk about a case discussed in 2009 at the symposium, the case of Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB agent who died in 2006. At the time, he was living in England and was poisoned with polonium-210. This has been proven. Doctors conducted analyses and discovered that he had ingested polonium-210. What is insidious about this substance is that it can be added to drinks or food, and thus be ingested, and it is also possible for an individual to be poisoned by breathing it.

The person in question died within three weeks. He was given a rather massive dose of polonium-210. I learned about this incident this morning while researching this issue, and I committed it to memory. This incident is one of the first hits in a quick search for “nuclear terrorism” on the Internet and also in Wikipedia.

This specific case clearly shows the potential for the misuse of radioactive materials and how it is difficult to detect their harmful effects on the human body. We should also remember that, in Canada, there are obvious deficiencies in the supervision and management of tailings sites and the transportation of radioactive materials, and this opens the door to malfeasance and criminal misappropriation.

This afternoon, I began by mentioning Fukushima to prove that humans cannot control radioactive and nuclear materials.

Industry stakeholders will always tell us that all these materials can be stored and that it is possible to properly manage radioactive waste. But that is not true.

No man-made structure can house this waste for many years. These materials have a half-life. It is so complicated that I cannot explain it. However, I can say that the potential health hazard lasts for thousands or even millions of years. That is what I was told. Reputable scientists came to give us all this information. I got the same information as everyone else on the north shore, but the information provided was so detailed and worrisome that I had to speak today.

There are difficulties. It is almost impossible for human beings to manage this problem. Look at what is happening in Japan. For now, the problem has been contained. There are no major problems. But who is to say that this cooling down is unnecessary and that there will not be other problems?

We must also see that there is a real threat of a terrorist attack in Canada since we store radioactive waste.

Highly radioactive materials, such as contaminated metal beams, are being sent back into the civilian market. I will provide an example of this later on. This is an issue in Canada right now, but the problem is contained. It would be disturbingly easy for a malicious terrorist group to target strategic storage locations in Canada and Quebec.

In Quebec, the topic of uranium mining often represents a serious question of identity. Uranium mining has been criticized and people have spoken out against it. Gentilly-2 is currently being decommissioned. Discussions on uranium mining are taking place and action is being taken.

The Matoush project has also been strongly opposed by the public. This is a topical issue, but there is a dangerous potential for terrorism at our door, near Toronto, as my colleague pointed out.

How much time do I have left, Mr. Speaker?

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 6:25 p.m.
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NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us come back to the materials that are being reintroduced into the market. This information has been brought to my attention in recent years. I do not have any documentation to show you, but the information is out there.

In Quebec, there is a scrap yard owner who has a rather sophisticated machine. I think this is common practice and perhaps fairly standard at scrap yards. I would assume that is the case. One day, as he was analyzing and processing new materials, his machinery detected a very high level of radiation on certain metal beams, on some metal posts. He had rather sophisticated machinery, probably a Geiger counter, that could detect that. Tests were done and they were able to determine that it came from Gentilly.

How did this material and these highly radioactive beams manage to end up in civilian hands? I put it to you, Mr. Speaker. This is a very worrisome situation that was brought to my attention and to the attention of the general public. I simply wanted to reiterate that today.

The biggest nuclear terrorism threat is found in the residue of Canadian nuclear power plants, in the waste that is not protected from physical impacts and attacks. It would be very easy, in Gentilly or from the St. Lawrence River, to get access to the nuclear fuel stored on-site. The buildings are not immune to attacks.

To conclude, I would like to quote Gordon Edwards, one of the professionals who came to meet us on the north shore and who is now a math professor at Vanier Cégep in Montreal. He said:

Obviously irradiated nuclear fuel will be a primary target on any terrorist's hit list, provided it is accessible as a terrorist's target.

Those are the wise words of Gordon Edwards.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 6:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, on that note, there is a wide nature of nuclear material, from medical isotopes to nuclear power plants and other forms of nuclear material.

I wonder if the member might provide comment on the importance of the Government of Canada working with provinces and other stakeholders to ensure there is some sort of plan in place to deal with potential terrorist attacks on our own ground or, for that matter, even accidents.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 6:25 p.m.
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NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his question.

I would like to reiterate the importance of working with all of the stakeholders involved. We need to shed some light on the uranium and nuclear industries. Some people are trying to get their hands on these substances. That puts a lot of people, including lobbyists, in an uncomfortable situation. I know that it is a very powerful lobby that has a direct line to the party opposite. However, the public's opinion and the demands of Canadians will have to be heard because there is strong opposition to the mining and use of these materials.

That is all.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / noon
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Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Conservative

Robert Goguen ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the third reading of debate on Bill S-9, the nuclear terrorism act. This important counterterrorism bill, if passed, will put Canada into a position to ratify and become a state party to the 2005 amendment to the convention on physical protection of nuclear materials, the CPPNM amendment, and the 2005 international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism, the ICSANT.

Let me begin by quoting former United Nations secretary, Kofi Annan, who warned that if nuclear terrorism attacks were to occur, “it would not only cause widespread death and destruction, but would stagger the world economy and thrust tens of millions of people into dire poverty”.

In my remarks today, I will describe the four offences proposed in Bill S-9.. I will also outline how these offences fit within the existing Criminal Code counterterrorism operations with the intent to cause death, serious bodily harm, or substantial damage to property or the environment.

The penalty proposed for a conviction under section 82.3 is a maximum term of life imprisonment. This offence captures the distinct criminalization requirements of both the CPPNM amendment and the ICSANT. It is important to note that in seeking to ratify international agreements, dualist countries like Canada can rely on existing domestic law to achieve compliance with the treaty requirements. In this regard, for the unlawful export or import of nuclear materials where no specific intent is called for by the CPPNM amendment, Canada will be relying on a number of offences which directly target this activity, notably under the Export and Import Permits Act, the Nuclear Safety and Controls Act and the Customs Act.

Second, the bill proposes, at section 82.4, an offence for using or altering nuclear or radioactive material, or a nuclear or radioactive device, with the intent to compel a person, government, or international organization to do or refrain from doing any act. The proposed offence also criminalizes the commission of an act against a nuclear facility or its operations, also with the intent to compel a person, government, or international organization to do or refrain from doing an act.

Common to all the criminal acts in this offence is the intent to compel or influence the behaviour of others. This intent requirement is a characteristic of terrorism. Given the seriousness of these nefarious acts, this offence would carry a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

The third offence in Bill S-9 addresses the commission of an indictable offence for the purpose of obtaining nuclear or radioactive material, or nuclear or radio active device, or to obtain access to a nuclear facility. If convicted under this section, offenders would be liable to a maximum of life imprisonment.

Both the CPPNM amendment and the ICSANT specifically reference criminal conduct such as theft and robbery committed for the purposes of obtaining nuclear or radioactive materials or devices. However, the treaties also specifically prohibit the “use of force or any other form of intimidation”, at article 9(f) of the CPPNM amendment and “use of force”, at article 2(2) of the ICSANT to obtain these materials.

By prohibiting the use of force, the treaties contemplate prohibiting conduct beyond the specified conducts. The notion of use of force is quite broad and could include any acts of violence or force and therefore any number of existing indictable offences could be contemplated as falling within that conduct, such as murder. It is for this reason that the present formulation of section 82.5 has been used. The scope of this offence is comparable to the requirement of the treaties, although formulated differently.

The final offence set out in Bill S-9 proposes a specific offence to threaten to commit any of the other offences in Bill S-9. The proposed punishment is a maximum term of 14 years imprisonment. The 14 year maximum penalty in the new offence recognizes the heightened seriousness of a threat in a nuclear context, with a sentence proportionate to the potential chaos that such a threat could create.

Many existing offences in the Criminal Code use the concept of “threat“ to describe prohibited conduct. I would also note that the Criminal Code contains a general uttering of threats offence at section 264.1. When examining the meanings of threats, the case law in Canada for the uttering threats offence has indicated the words are to be interpreted objectively within the context and circumstances. In other words, would they convey a threat which is a threat to a reasonable person? In addition, the mens rea has been interpreted to require that the accused intended his or her words to intimidate or to be taken seriously.

These four offences that I have just described, combined with the general provisions of the Criminal Code that address different forms of party liability, such as attempts and conspiracies as well as existing Canadian law outside of the Criminal Code, would put Canada in a position to ratify both of the treaties.

When we look at the proposed level of punishment for the offences in Bill S-9, I think members would agree that they are appropriate given the grave nature of the prohibited conduct. They are also consistent with other terrorism acts in the Criminal Code, for example, section 83.2, commission of an offence for a terrorist group, and subsection 83.21, instructing others to carry out terrorist activities. Both of these carry maximum terms of life imprisonment.

Some of the other areas of Bill S-9 that warrant mention are, first, that it would provide for concurrent prosecutorial jurisdiction over the offences between the provincial and federal attorneys general, an arrangement which is consistent with other terrorism offences in the Criminal Code. Second, the bill would provide for new offences to be added to both the wiretap and the DNA provisions of the Criminal Code. Third, by adding the CPPNM amendment and the ICSANT to the definition of terrorism activities under section 83.01(1)(a) of the Criminal Code, a number of existing powers and procedures would apply to the new offences, including reverse onus at bail and one year wiretap authorizations, to name a few. These offences were designed in such a way so as to fit within the existing terrorism provisions of the Criminal Code.

In addition, these treaties require a sentence to assume extraterritorial prosecutorial jurisdiction over these offences. In this regard, Bill S-9 would give Canadian courts the jurisdiction to try these new offences in situations, for example, where the offence was committed outside Canada by a Canadian citizen or when the person who committed the act or omission outside Canada was, after the commission of the offence, present in Canada. Canada can already assume similar jurisdiction to prosecute other terrorism acts in the Criminal Code.

The final technical aspect of the bill that I will note is, as called for by both the CPPNM amendment and the ICSANT, these offences would specifically not apply to a lawful act that is committed during an armed conflict or to activities undertaken by military forces of a state in the exercise of their official duties to the extent that those activities were governed by other rules of international law.

The military exclusion language used in Bill S-9 is similar to that which is present as set out in subsection 431.2(3) and subsection 80.3(1) of the Criminal Code. Notably, the Supreme Court of Canada in the December 2012 Khawaja decision provided guidance on the application of the military exclusion clause used in the definition of terrorist activities in the Criminal Code. In rejecting the application of military exclusion to the defendant, the court found: first, the military exclusion clause functioned as a defence and therefore it was for the defence to raise an error of reality to the claim that it applied; and second, the conduct in question must otherwise be in accordance with applicable international law such as the Geneva Convention.

Over the course of Bill S-9 moving through the legislative process, much has been said about the impetus for Bill S-9 from both a domestic and international perspective. The context in which the bill has been brought forward has been debated and continues to be of vital importance.

The original CPPNM, which was negotiated in 1980, is presently the only legally binding international instrument in the area of physical protection of nuclear material. Canada signed it in September 1980 and ratified it in March 1986. Canada achieved ratification in 1986 through amendments to a range of statutes, including the Criminal Code.

Twenty-five years later the international community, through the International Atomic Energy Agency, recognized the need to revisit the original CPPNM. In this regard, in July 2005, state parties to the CPPNM, including Canada, adopted the CPPNM amendment. One of the key additions to the original treaty is a requirement for state parties to protect nuclear facilities and materials in peaceful domestic use, storage and transport.

Also, in 2005 under the guidance of the United Nations General Assembly, the ICSANT was negotiated and adopted. The purpose of the ICSANT was to cover a broad range of nuclear terrorism acts and possible targets.

Canada is not alone in seeking to become a state party with these two important nuclear security treaties. At a second world leaders nuclear summit held last year in Seoul, Republic of Korea, 53 heads of state, including the Prime Minister of Canada, recognized the importance of multilateral instruments that addressed nuclear security such as the CPPNM amendment and the ICSANT.

The world leaders committed to work together through a universal assurance of a CPPNM amendment and the ICSANT. If Bill S-9 is passed, Canada will be in a position to report this accomplishment at the next world leaders nuclear summit in 2014. The CPPNM amendment at last count has 64 state parties while the ICSANT has 83 state parties.

Some of our closest allies have recently taken important domestic steps in this area. The United Kingdom became a state party to the ICSANT in 2009 and the CPPNM amendment in April 2010. In addition, Australia modified its laws to achieve ratification of the CPPNM amendment in 2008 and the ICSANT in 2012.

Let me conclude my remarks by heightening what Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University said in its 2011 report entitled “U.S.-Russia Joint Threat Assessment on Nuclear Terrorism”. In a short yet powerful statement it warned that of all the varieties of terrorism, nuclear terrorism poses the gravest threat to the world.

Bill S-9 is balanced and timely and, most important, it is designed to target this new reality.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 12:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Goguen Conservative Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is very difficult for me to answer that question, since I do not know all the state secrets, as they cannot be divulged.

However, we are certainly always on the lookout for threats. We know that people go to other countries to be trained by terrorist groups. We must always be vigilant.

Honestly, I cannot give you a list of factors that I do not know myself. It is not because I do not want to.

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March 7th, 2013 / 12:15 p.m.
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Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, humanity has seen, unfortunately, the use of nuclear weapons and we have seen terrorism, especially after 9/11. However, we have never seen the two used in conjunction and it is terrifying prospect.

Would the parliamentary secretary not agree that given our international obligations in this respect, given our leadership on disarmament, on issues of international peace and security and given that Canada produces and exports nuclear materials, this is one case, one bill where achieving the unanimous support of the House would be a very valuable signal. On our side, we could not, and most Canadians could not, see any reason why that unanimity would not be achieved?

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March 7th, 2013 / 12:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Goguen Conservative Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, being part of a ratification of a treaty that has worldwide acceptance against one of the major threats as recognized by most world leaders, nuclear terrorism, is a very important facet of being a world leader. Certainly we are world leaders, not only in the area of protection of our citizens and citizens abroad, but we are also world leaders in the development of nuclear technology.

If we have the capacity to develop nuclear equipment, nuclear technology, we have a further and stronger obligation to ensure our facilities and those areas where such projects are developed are appropriately protected, not only for domestic purposes but also for abroad.

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March 7th, 2013 / 12:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am wondering if the minister would be able to provide some comment in regard to the formal communications relationship that would exist with his provincial counterparts regarding the nuclear program, nuclear terrorism, the potential for nuclear terrorism, or anything of that nature. Does that exist, and if so, to what degree?

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March 7th, 2013 / 12:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Goguen Conservative Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, I regret to advise that I am unable to answer exactly what go-betweens there are with the provinces and the federal government on this issue. However, with regard to the amendments to the Criminal Code and the prosecution, it is a boilerplate issue that basically there be joint jurisdiction in prosecuting such offences.

That is the limit of my answer to that relevant question.

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March 7th, 2013 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was surprised a minute ago when the parliamentary secretary for defence did not make reference to the Pickering nuclear power plant, which is very close to his riding. It is within sight of my riding of Scarborough Southwest as well. That does bring up the provincial issue, again, because the nuclear power plants are provincially run.

Hearing about the negotiations that happened with the Province of Ontario, certainly not details which must remain secure, I wanted to ask in what way the government is evaluating the progress accomplished on the international scene with regard to the questions linked to nuclear terrorism.

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March 7th, 2013 / 12:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Goguen Conservative Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, as I understand it, the question is what we have accomplished with regard to international treaties, working with other countries and how we are measuring that.

Unfortunately, that is something that would be in the realm of CSIS. It would be information that I would not be privy to, and if I were would be unable to disclose.

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March 7th, 2013 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think that Canadians are interested in this debate. One issue that I think concerns a lot of people, certainly in Toronto, is this. The goal of the bill is to take and enforce effective measures to prevent the proliferation of nuclear materials. That does raise a question around the proliferation of handguns and small arms that are awash in big cities in Canada. Largely, they are coming illegally across our borders with the United States. When we see that the Conservative government has failed cities with regard to ensuring their safety from illegal weapons coming across the borders, it does not provide us with the kind of solace we need. Notwithstanding the intent of this legislation, how can we feel secure and safe that the government can find illegal nuclear weapons that are traversing our country, if it cannot find the weapons that are finding their way into the hands of gangs on the streets of Toronto?

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March 7th, 2013 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Goguen Conservative Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, this bill goes well beyond the issue of importing or bringing nuclear weapons or materials into Canada. We are attempting to bring the states that have adopted the important treaties which give extra territorial and possibly prosecutorial rights in line with the rest of the countries so that this important legislation, and treaties, can be ratified. That is really the focus of it, not small arms being brought into Canada, which is also a very important and pressing issue that we have taken measures to conquer.

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March 7th, 2013 / 12:20 p.m.
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NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is good to see some action on the nuclear file by the government. We are still waiting for changes to the Nuclear Liability Act, which would protect Canadians by raising the liability cap.

My question specifically to the member is this. There are fourth generation technologies of nuclear reactors that do not use enriched uranium. A month ago we had someone testify at committee saying that they have this very innovative technology. I asked representatives of TerraPower whether it had any contact with the Canadian government. His answer was that it had zero contact with the government. Therefore, when the member said that the Conservatives are providing leadership on the nuclear file, I fail to see the leadership that is being provided on this.

This is a move in the right direction, but it is a very slow-paced move. I wonder when the member will come forward with the other legislation on this file.

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March 7th, 2013 / 12:20 p.m.
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NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for answering the second part of my question earlier.

However, with regard to the Pickering nuclear power plant, and certainly Ontario generates a lot of its power from nuclear, what role has the Ontario government played in the production of the bill? What role has it played, and how has it been consulted with regard to adoption of this treaty? Has the Province of Ontario been negotiated with regarding this?

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March 7th, 2013 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Goguen Conservative Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, certainly the Province of Ontario has been negotiated with, and has been dealt with very closely, because it is within its jurisdiction. It has to provide security. When we asked questions about the security of nuclear facilities, such as Pickering, the answers we received were very constricted and limited. The reasons for that are very evident. Basically, it is a matter of security.

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March 7th, 2013 / 12:20 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this House to speak to Bill S-9 at third reading stage. Members will recall that, at second reading, we recommended that the bill be passed so that the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights could study it in depth.

I am always skeptical about the Conservative government having a bill introduced in the Senate, which is made up of unelected people who are not accountable to Canadians. The government is bringing some very important bills in through the back door, including this one, Bill S-9, which takes a step required to ratify international treaties.

However, we are talking about something that pertains to public safety, which is an important issue to the NDP in this House, because we believe it is our duty to protect the public. That is one of the main reasons why we are here in Parliament.

That being said, it is also very important to approve the agreements and international treaties that we sign. People must understand that we often proceed a step at a time. The process often takes a long time, even too long. We agree to treaties at international meetings. Then, representatives return to their respective countries and have these treaties ratified, which is the reason for Bill S-9. The purpose of the agreement and the international commitments made was to create a legal framework to ensure that nuclear terrorism would be properly dealt with as a criminal offence. This required a number of amendments to the Criminal Code.

We know that the Senate passed Bill S-9 on March 27, 2012. It amends the Criminal Code in order to implement the criminal law requirements of the two international treaties to combat terrorism. The first is the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which was amended in 2005. We were already a party to this convention, which we initially ratified in 1980. When I say that things move at lightning speed, I am not far from the truth. The other treaty is the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, which was signed in 2005.

The bill contains 10 clauses that add four new offences to part II of the Criminal Code, making it illegal to possess, use or dispose of nuclear or radioactive material or devices or to commit an act against a nuclear facility or an act that disrupts its operation with intent to cause death, serious bodily harm or substantial damage to property or the environment.

The Senate passed an amendment to add making a device to the bill, making it illegal to use or alter nuclear or radioactive material or devices or to commit an act against a nuclear facility or an act that disrupts its operation with intent to compel a person, government or international organization to do or refrain from doing any act; to commit an indictable offence under an act of Parliament with intent to obtain nuclear material, radioactive material or a device; to obtain access to or control of a nuclear facility; or to threaten to commit one of these three offences.

Other amendments have also been introduced that stem from these four new offences and are no less important. The bill adds the definition—and this is important—of certain terms used in the description of the new offences, including “environment”, “nuclear facility”, “nuclear material”, “radioactive material” and “device”, and amends the definition of “terrorist activity”. A new section of the Criminal Code is also introduced to ensure that people who commit or attempt to commit one of these offences when they are abroad can be prosecuted in Canada.

Amendments are made to the provisions of the Criminal Code relating to electronic surveillance to ensure that those provisions apply to the new offences. The four new offences are also considered primary designated offences for the purposes of DNA warrants and collection orders.

Lastly, this bill also amends Canada's rule against double jeopardy, in other words being tried and convicted more than once for the same crime. Accordingly, if an individual has been tried and convicted for any of the four new offences outside Canada, the rule against double jeopardy will not apply when the foreign trial did not meet certain basic Canadian legal standards. In such circumstances, a Canadian court can try this person again for the same offence for which he or she was convicted by a foreign court.

There is a lot of information here. Some have described this bill as a technical bill. Indeed, it might seem quite technical, because it deals with concepts that are not familiar to us. Nuclear terrorism in Canada is not the kind of thing we talk about when chatting with friends. It is definitely not the kind of conversation we have every day.

The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights took its role very seriously, considering the nature of the subject. We heard from some very interesting witnesses, including representatives from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and people from the Department of Transport, since nuclear material is transported in Canada.

People might be shocked to learn what goes on right under their noses, which they are not told about for obvious reasons of national security. Also, we would not want to let potential wrongdoers know when nuclear material is being transported from point A to point B.

The committee also heard from representatives of the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness regarding policies related to managing national security and from the RCMP regarding criminal operations involving national security and related investigations. Representatives from the Department of Justice also appeared, including the Minister of Justice, who spoke about this bill.

We were able to ask questions before the bill was sent to committee. We have mentioned the time it took for the government to introduce Bill S-9 and the fact that the bill was introduced through the back door, through the Senate. We wanted to know why it took so long, especially since this is a huge national and international priority and, according to some, is one of Canada's biggest problems and most serious threats.

We also wanted to know why, when they were drafting the bill, they did not think about the concept of making a device, which came up in the Senate. Nevertheless, I am more or less satisfied. As a lawyer, I appreciate hearing from people at the Department of Justice. They said that the concept of making a device was already included in the bill. However, since we cannot be too careful, they agreed to add the wording, which they had considered included in the existing terminology. That settled that.

We could also leave out the concept of autrefois convict. In other words, if someone is being prosecuted in a foreign country, this law would allow Canada to retain the right to prosecute a Canadian who has committed one of the new offences. The charter includes provisions to enforce this.

The answers provided seem satisfactory, even though there may be some concerns when we see how tests for compatibility with the charter go at the Department of Justice.

In light of our international treaty obligations, we will support the bill, as it stands, at third reading. That is my recommendation. I think that my NDP colleagues will do the same. It is extremely important.

Nuclear terrorism is a difficult concept to grasp. People need to understand. I asked the parliamentary secretary what is the biggest threat in terms of nuclear terrorism. I do not want to scare people here, but we have to be realistic. There are some malicious people out there. There is no doubt about it. We cannot bury our heads in the sand.

Nuclear terrorism threats can come in different forms.

According to the explanations we heard in committee, there are four categories: the use of a stolen nuclear weapon; the use of an improvised nuclear device made of fissionable material; the use of a radiological dispersal device, often referred to as a dirty bomb; and the sabotage of a nuclear facility.

Canada is indeed a country that is rich in uranium, but we must not bury our heads in the sand thinking that we are immune. The article Graham Allison wrote in 2005 entitled “Is Nuclear Terrorism a Threat to Canada's National Security?” comes to mind. The title is quite striking, and in the article, the author makes some comparisons between the United States and Canada.

Having grown up in the Outaouais region, I admit that this article sent a shiver down my spine even though I am not an especially impressionable person. Yet, the fact remains that we need to be realistic about what is happening in the world. The question that Mr. Allison asked on page 717 of the summer 2005 issue of the fissionable material was “What about Canada?” He had this to say:

A nuclear bomb going off on Parliament Hill in Ottawa would cause everything from the supreme court to the Ottawa Congress Centre to disappear; everything for several blocks past the National Archives and the Canadian War Museum would be left in rubble; and fires would consume the Canadian Museum of Nature. Tens of thousands of people would die immediately and the seriously injured would number in the hundreds of thousands. Fallout from the blast would be carried by winds across Canada, contaminating farmland and cities alike and creating thousands of additional casualties.

I mention this to put things into context. Clearly, we would never want something like this to happen. However, as I was saying, we must do our utmost to protect Canadians, particularly when fairly accessible areas are left in the hands of malicious people, which could result in this type of damage.

Given that I am from the other side of the river in Gatineau, reading something like this really put things into perspective for me. We tell ourselves that this would be tragic but that it has never happened and that we are the greatest country in the world and that people here are friendly, open and welcoming. Yet, this is a strange world we live in.

We need to strike a balance. We cannot resort to hyperbole or forget to respect individual rights and freedoms. We need to have balanced policies that protect public safety while respecting human rights. If we manage that, we cannot go wrong.

Ian MacLeod wrote a series of articles in the Ottawa Citizen while we were studying the issue in committee. He wrote:

Nuclear officials are preparing to secretly transport a toxic stew of liquid bomb-grade uranium by armed convoy from Chalk River to a South Carolina reprocessing site.

The “high priority” mission marks the first time authorities have attempted to truck highly-enriched uranium (HEU) in a liquid solution, prompting nuclear safety advocacy groups on both sides of the border to sound the alarm for greater government scrutiny.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has confirmed the plan to the Citizen. It follows Prime Minister[...]’s commitment at last year’s global nuclear security summit to return HEU inventories to the United States to lessen the risk of nuclear terrorism.

I asked the officials from Transport Canada and Public Safety Canada what they thought about that. My objective was not to find out what route the trucks will be taking. Obviously, we do not want to provide malicious people with a map and the details of when a given convoy will be leaving and tell them that no one should be in the vicinity. We are not that naive.

However, I want to be able to respond to questions I get from the people of Gatineau. When they read this news in the Ottawa Citizen, a local newspaper, some of my constituents telephoned or wrote to me, asking if they should be worried. As the member for Gatineau, I want to be able to tell them that they have no reason to be concerned, because our experts are doing everything they can to ensure that we have nothing to worry about and that every possible safety measure is taken.

I sincerely hope that is the case. However, I cannot guarantee it, nor do I think that anybody here in the House of Commons can. We are counting on protocols being followed and we hope that all security and technological measures will be implemented so that nothing serious happens. Canadians are lucky to have so many waterways, but we are well aware that nuclear waste would eventually make its way to us. I have always been worried that, sooner or later, nuclear materials could enter our water and cause problems.

I do not want to make a mountain out of a molehill, but I do want to emphasize the importance of Bill S-9 given the international treaty requiring states parties to take tough measures. We have to look at how we handle this type of material, facilities, storage locations and manufacturing facilities so that we can implement critical security measures. We need to amend the Criminal Code to ensure that the necessary measures will be taken should offences relating to nuclear terrorism occur, although we hope that will never happen.

I have always believed that prevention is key. I am not against harsh and specific indictments in such cases. Some of these new offences are liable to life in prison, which is the maximum penalty available in the Canadian criminal justice system and shows just how serious such cases are.

I would like to talk about one witness who really impressed me during the committee study of Bill S-9. His name is Matthew Bunn, and he is an associate professor of public policy at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. He described the context of this bill:

Since the September 11 attacks in the United States, both countries have improved security for their own nuclear materials, helped others to do the same, helped to strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency's efforts, and worked to strengthen other elements of the global response. But if the United States and Canada are to succeed in convincing other countries to take a responsible approach to reducing the risks of nuclear theft and terrorism at the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands in 2014 and beyond, then our two countries have to take the lead in taking responsible action ourselves.

He also convinced me of the following:

Hence, it is important for both of our countries to ratify the main conventions in this area, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, as the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit called on countries to do. As [we all know], the leaders at the Seoul summit set a target of gaining enough ratifications to bring the amendment to the physical protection convention into force by the 2014 summit.

That is why Mr. Bunn urged us to ratify these two conventions and pass Bill S-9. He was embarrassed by the fact that Canada is further ahead than the U.S in that regard. Canada has shown leadership in this matter, and I am pleased with that.

I will close by reiterating that, like it or not, the threat of terrorism is real. This does not mean that something will happen tomorrow and that we should create mass hysteria. However, we need reasonable and well-drafted measures. For once the government has a good bill, which it could have introduced directly in the House rather than in the Senate.

However, we must encourage the members of the House to work on protecting public safety and strengthening our role as an international leader.

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March 7th, 2013 / 12:40 p.m.
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Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, on our side, we are very grateful for the NDP's previous support of this bill, support that was pointed out by the hon. member for Gatineau. She is right to focus on prevention.

Canada has always defended regimes that regulate the nuclear sector, including the Manhattan project a few decades ago, which had roots not far from here, in the Ottawa Valley.

Dozens of countries produce nuclear material, and some private interests have tried to sell it in central Asia and Africa, and possibly Pakistan, a country that has nuclear weapons. If a nuclear weapon were handed to the rank and file, who knows where it might end up; possibly Iran, since Iran is trying to get nuclear weapons and has harmful ties to terrorist groups around the world.

Does the member agree that these are concrete nuclear threats that countries like Canada might face?

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March 7th, 2013 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not disagree with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence.

I urge people to read the briefing notes on Bill S-9, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Nuclear Terrorism Act. These notes were written by Lyne Casavant, Cynthia Kirkby and Dominique Valiquet from the Legal Affairs division of the Parliamentary Information and Research Service and Holly Porteous from the International Affairs and Defence division of that same service. They do an extraordinary job because they explain things clearly, which the government often does not do.

Rather than attacking the opposition by saying that we are all fools who support criminals, perhaps the government should clearly explain its bills and what they are about.

This research, which was very well done, explains the threats that could come from Pakistan, Iran and other countries. It provides a good summary of the situation: who produces this material and who could be a threat. It is interesting to read and provides background information. These notes make Bill S-9, which seems very dry at first, easier to understand.

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March 7th, 2013 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the New Democrats are committed to international diplomacy. I think it is important that we co-operate with our partners and countries around the world to work on issues that are important to them and to us. The area of nuclear materials and terrorism is an important issue we should be co-operating on internationally at a multilateral level.

My question to my colleague, who made a wonderful speech, is about the environment. We have seen the Conservatives not only gut the environmental regulations in this country but fail to engage in meaningful environmental climate change issues at an international level. I would ask my friend if she has any knowledge as to what can be done to take a leadership role internationally on the issue of the environment.

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March 7th, 2013 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question, but it is not an easy one to answer in the time that I have.

Bill S-9 defines the word “environment”. I understand the skepticism of members on this side of the House because the government does not have a very good track record when it comes to the environment.

Of course, such toxic and dangerous substances can have extremely harmful effects on the environment. Earlier, I quoted an article from the Ottawa Citizen regarding the issue of transportation from Chalk River. There is a very important environmental aspect to all of this.

Subclause 2(2) of the bill clearly states:

2.(2) Section 2 of the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:

“environment” means the components of the Earth and includes

(a) air, land and water,

(b) all layers of the atmosphere,

(c) all organic and inorganic matter and living organisms, and

(d) the interacting natural systems that include components referred to in paragraphs (a) to (c)...

This definition is very relevant. I am not sure that the government still sees things this way.

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March 7th, 2013 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the speech given by my hon. colleague from Gatineau. Since she took part in the work in committee, I would like to ask her a question before we get to third reading.

I read in the committee evidence that when she was questioning the Minister of Justice, who appeared at a meeting of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, she talked about the fact that sections 82.3, 82.4 and 82.6 have a broader scope than what was required to ratify those two international agreements.

I wonder if she could tell us whether she thinks the minister answered her question satisfactorily and whether his arguments were convincing.

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March 7th, 2013 / 12:50 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the short answer is yes; I was convinced.

However, it was not the minister who convinced me, but rather the people from the Department of Justice who were there in the interest of public safety, who clearly explained to me that, in these treaties, sometimes the minimum requirement was the common denominator. However, this does not stop some countries from taking measures that go a little further.

My concern remains ensuring the legal compatibility of these charges, that is, ensuring that the famous balance that I was talking about is not upset because of this kind of situation. So, the answers were very satisfying in that regard.

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March 7th, 2013 / 12:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill S-9, the nuclear terrorism act, which would amend the Criminal Code to implement Canada's obligations pursuant to the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, which I will refer to as the “suppression convention”, and the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which I will refer to as the “amendment”.

The suppression convention is a multilateral treaty, as has been described. It is intended to harmonize the criminalization of acts related to nuclear terrorism across all state parties. Regrettably, Canada has still not ratified this convention, though we originally signed it in 2005. I appreciate that we are finally getting to the point where we can now move to ratify it, but I regret the delay in this regard.

The Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which Canada signed in 1980, established legally binding undertakings on state parties in the area of the physical protection of nuclear material and also established measures relating to the prevention, detection and punishment of related criminal offences.

In 2005, Canada, along with 87 other state parties to the original convention, convened to amend and strengthen its provisions. At this conference, the amendment was adopted by consensus, and it will soon begin to enter into force, though it is yet to be ratified by a sufficient number of signatories, including Canada. We need to move forward in that regard.

Both the suppression convention and the amendment are fundamental components of the international community's approach to the prevention and detection of acts related to nuclear terrorism. Consequently, Bill S-9 would constitute necessary implementing legislation for the suppression convention and the amendment, thereby strengthening this international regime. The bill has been thoroughly debated in the House, studied extensively at committee and thoroughly debated in the other chamber. It represents a positive step forward in this regard.

Moreover, the safeguarding of nuclear material and facilities exists within the domestic implementing legislation, and it must never be forgotten that it exists within the context of the overall threat of expanding nuclear proliferation, as represented by the proliferation activities with respect to Iran and North Korea, and the ultimate imperative, therefore, of achieving nuclear disarmament, for which Canada must be at the forefront.

Because members in this place are by now quite familiar with this bill, and reference was made to it by the parliamentary secretary, as well, in his remarks, I will briefly describe its contents and significance.

Indeed, the prevention of nuclear terrorism and nuclear proliferation will require an internationally coordinated response. Canada must continue to take a leadership role in this regard.

Following preliminary discussion of the contents of the bill, I will then address what has just been raised in this House as the particular issue posed by the proliferation threat of Iran, which also has to been seen in the context of its overall, four-fold threat. It was the subject of an exchange between a previous speaker and the parliamentary secretary. I will address that issue, as well.

Let me very quickly move us to the contents of the bill.

First, Bill S-9 would make it an indictable offence to make a device or to possess, use, transfer, export, import, alter or dispose of nuclear material or device with the intent to cause death, serious bodily harm or substantial damage to property or the environment. It would also criminalize the commission of an act against a nuclear facility or an act that causes serious interference or disruption of a nuclear facility's operation.

Second, Bill S-9 would make it an indictable offence to do any of these acts with the intent to compel a person, government or international organization to do or refrain from doing something.

Third, Bill S-9 would make it a separate indictable offence to commit any indictable offence with the intent to obtain nuclear or radioactive material or to obtain access to a nuclear facility.

All three of the offences are punishable by a maximum of life in prison.

Fourth, Bill S-9 would make it an indictable offence to threaten to commit any of the aforementioned offences, which is punishable by a maximum of 14 years in prison.

Moreover, the bill would classify these new offences as terrorist activities, pursuant to section 83.01 of the Criminal Code, such that the commission of these offences would trigger other provisions of the Criminal Code relating, for example, to electronic surveillance and DNA collection.

It will also implement extraterritorial jurisdiction in relation to these new offences, such that Canadian courts will have jurisdiction over individuals prosecuted for the violation of these offences, even where the particular offence did not occur within Canadian territory. These are relevant steps, as they represent an internationally coordinated approach to the problem of nuclear terrorism.

Indeed, based on the debate that has occurred already, both in this House and in the other chamber, the bill appears to enjoy widespread support in both chambers.

The members in this place all recognize the importance of criminal law enforcement and the international harmonization of the criminalization of acts related to nuclear terrorism. It is precisely for this reason that the absence of any action on this matter for the last eight years, since the conventions were signed in 2005, is particularly regrettable.

In February, just one month ago, my colleague from St. Paul's had the opportunity to ask the Minister of Justice about the reasons for this delay when he testified at the justice and human rights committee. Indeed, the minister's explanation warrants referencing here. It is a lesson about the government's generally inverted approach to the setting of legislative priorities.

My colleague from St. Paul's asked the minister a very direct question to this effect: Since everybody seems to be in favour of this legislation, why did it take so long for the government to introduce the necessary domestic implementing legislation that is now finally being done eight years later?

Indeed, the minister answered that he was dissuaded from pursuing the bill because of what he described as the threat of filibuster in this House in matters relating to the criminal justice agenda. In particular, characterizing the debate on these bills as being a filibuster by the opposition, the minister stated at the justice committee:

...it was very difficult...to try to get any legislation through in the criminal justice area. ...dozens of bills...introduced into the House...opposed by one of the three parties, there was a desire many times by the opposition parties to talk about them incessantly, to go on and on....

The minister's explanation is itself objectionable insofar as it appears to imply that there is something wrong with the opposition parties seeking to address legislation before them, particularly important legislation in the matter of the criminal justice agenda, and particularly when that agenda of more crime and punishment emerges as a priority in the government's legislative agenda as a whole.

It is both wrong and, indeed in this instance, diversionary to equate thorough discussion and debate on the government's criminal law agenda to filibustering and use that as a reason that he did not introduce domestic implementing legislation regarding Bill S-9. I submit that, on both of these counts, the government has it upside down, as I said.

Number one, in the matter of the government's legislative agenda, members of this House have a responsibility to address this legislation, to vet this legislation. It is part of our responsibility of public oversight, as we sought to do whether it was to get costs of Bill C-10 or address an omnibus bill. In fact we could not even filibuster, because in most of these pieces of legislation, we had time allocation introduced in any case.

Leaving that aside, what relationship does the debate on the government's crime and punishment agenda have to do with a delay of eight years before we move to introduce domestic implementing legislation? I suggest that this cannot and should not have accounted for the delay in the introduction of this legislation.

Moving on to the issue of the nuclear threat and now moving to the question of the Iranian situation, which I said I would take up and is a part of the questions and answers, let me just say what we find with regard to what we are witnessing in Khamenei's Iran today—and I use that term because I want to distinguish it from the people and public of Iran, who are otherwise the object of massive domestic repression.

What we are finding in Khamenei's, Iran is really a fourfold threat, but a fourfold threat that is interrelated.

There is the nuclear threat; there is the genocidal incitement threat; there is the international terrorism threat, where the Iranian footprints are replete and evidence has come forward with respect to some 22 terrorist attacks in 2012 alone, spanning five continents with the Iranian Hezbollah connection in that regard; and finally, there is the massive domestic repression, which frankly will be leveraged if Iran should become a nuclear power. There is an interrelationship with all of these matters, because should Iran become a nuclear power, this will enhance the international terrorist threat. It will also leverage its domestic repression activity, let alone the problem of the incitement threat that underpins nuclear proliferation as a whole.

Let me move to the particular role Canada could play with regard to the Iranian fourfold threat. I am speaking about the P5-plus-1 negotiations that have just concluded in Almaty but will be re-engaged again. I want to commend the government's position in this regard, as stated most recently by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

I want to put forth in particular a number of requirements that should underpin the negotiating position of the P5-plus-1 and, because of our chairperson role at the International Atomic Energy Agency as well as our linkage in that regard to the P5-plus-1 negotiations, how we can help frame the negotiations and combat what our own Minister of Foreign Affairs has referred to as the Iranian position of deception, denial and delay and using negotiations as a basis for delay and the period in between the negotiations not only as a pretext for delaying what has to be done, but where the acceleration of the nuclear weaponization program actually takes place in the context of the delay between negotiations, sometimes within the negotiation period itself.

Since I last spoke to Bill S-9 in the House, there has been, as the International Atomic Energy Agency reported, an acceleration of the nuclear capabilities in the Iran program in the installation of advanced centrifuges. All of this has been set out in the IAEA report, so I will not go further in that regard, but will only say that the intensification of the nuclear capability with respect to Iran is bringing us closer to Iran's becoming a nuclear power, with less capacity on our part to not only prevent it but even to detect it happening.

Let me close by making reference to what particular approach we should have to the P5-plus-1 negotiations.

First, Iran must, as a threshold requirement, verifiably suspend its uranium enrichment program, therefore allowing the international community to combat the three Ds of delay, denial and deception, which as I said, Iran has used to accelerate its nuclear weaponization program rather than, in fact, move toward disarmament.

Second, Iran must ship its supply of enriched uranium, and there is more enriched uranium at a higher level, out of the country, where it can be reprocessed and then made available to Iran under appropriate inspection and monitoring for use in civil nuclear programs. We have no objection to the Iranian civil nuclear program. Iran has the right like any other state with respect to civil nuclear program, medical isotopes use of uranium and the like. The objection we have here is to the weaponization program.

Third, Iran must therefore verifiably close and dismantle its nuclear enrichment plant at Fordow, embedded in a mountain near Qom, which Iranians initially denied even existed but where a zone of impenetrability will soon develop unless that facility is in fact dismantled. Iran has delayed any inspection of those facilities, let alone its dismantling as a whole.

Fourth, Iran must suspend its heavy water production facilities at Arak, because it is sometimes forgotten that an essential component for producing plutonium involved in nuclear programs could also be water, which is a nuclear component that North Korea uses for its own nuclear weapons. Simply put, the path to nuclear weaponization need not be travelled by uranium enrichment alone. The suspension of uranium enrichment, however necessary, will not alone ensure that Iran is verifiably abandoning its nuclear weaponization program.

Fifth, Iran must allow, as it is not, International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors immediate and unfettered access to any suspected nuclear site, as is required, as Iran is a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Iran is thereby bound by its obligations not only not to pursue nuclear weapons but also to open its nuclear sites and installations.

Sixth, Iranian authorities need to grant the IAEA access to the parts and military complex near Tehran, where it has been reported that Iran has conducted high explosives testing, and I am referring to the Parchin complex, possibly in conjunction with the development of a nuclear weapon.

Finally, Iran needs to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency—and again I mention Canada's particular role with respect to IAEA, our chairmanship now—to install devices on centrifuges to monitor Iran’s uranium enrichment levels.

These are the kinds of threshold approaches that Canada can assist in framing and thereby assist in combating proliferation and help to underpin the P5-plus-1 negotiations, which are about to be re-engaged next month.

I also want to mention the question of the incitement threat, because the state-sanctioned incitement to genocide is inextricably bound up with the nuclear proliferation program. In fact, an all-party committee of the foreign affairs committee in the House determined already in 2010, and I am really citing from that committee's report, that Iran has already committed the crime of incitement to genocide prohibited under the genocide convention. That all-party committee thereby recommended that state parties to the genocide convention have an obligation—not a policy option, but an obligation—to undertake the mandated legal remedies under the genocide convention to bring Iran to account.

Regrettably, as I speak in the chamber, not one state party to the genocide convention—not our country, not the United States, not any of the European countries—has undertaken any of these mandated legal remedies, which I will briefly summarize in my final remarks. Again, I remind everyone that this comes out of an all-party report.

First, Canada could be among the countries that could seek to simply refer the matter of this state-sanctioned incitement to genocide, the standing prohibition of the genocide convention I mentioned, to the UN Security Council for deliberation and accountability. It is a modest initiative. Certainly we should be able to do that.

Second, Canada could initiate tomorrow an interstate complaint before the International Court of Justice against Iran, which is also a state party to the genocide convention, for its violations of its own undertakings.

Third, Canada could ask the UN Security Council to refer the matter of the state-sanctioned incitement to genocide to the International Criminal Court for prospective investigation and prosecution of Iranian leaders engaged in the violation of this treaty.

Finally, I want to mention the human rights situation. We need to sanction the Iranian leaders not only with respect to the nuclear weaponization program, but we need to sanction Iranian leaders engaged in the massive domestic repression and hold them to account, as well as holding to account those involved in the proliferation of international terrorism.

These four threats, the nuclear threat, the genocidal incitement threat, the human rights violations and the international terrorism threat, are all finding expression in Khamenei's Iran. We need a comprehensive approach to the fourfold threat. The government has identified that fourfold threat. In fact, it referenced the fourfold threat as the basis for closing the Iranian embassy here and ours in Iran. I would like to suggest that the government undertake these particular juridical remedies in the implementation of our international responsibilities.

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March 7th, 2013 / 1:10 p.m.
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Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we on this side would like to congratulate the hon. member for Mount Royal on his excellent speech, on his support for this issue, on his continuing commitment to comprehensive measures supported by the whole international community, with leadership from Canada, to counter the fourfold threat represented by Iran, and to making the world a safer place, in this and other respects.

The debate today is about nuclear terrorism, and while we all agree there has been delay, deception and denial with regard to Iran's ambitions to have nuclear weapons, those three terms also apply to terrorism in a much broader context. Certainly before May 1, 2011, there was a lot of delay, deception and denial about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, for which few, if any, official bodies in Pakistan have taken any responsibility, whatsoever, or shown any remorse.

Could the hon. member give us his personal view of how the international community has done on the macro level over the past 5 or 10 years in creating the legal frameworks and the political will to counter terrorism generally? Are we doing better? Are there still huge gaps? Do we actually find ourselves facing a greater and expanding threat, above and above Iran, globally on this front?

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March 7th, 2013 / 1:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, that question deserves a response, both as to the nature of the threat and what could be done about it.

Number one, in my view the situation with regard to international terrorism has frankly gotten worse. I think part of the problem is that sometimes we have been so focused on the issue of al-Qaeda terrorism that we then repeat the mantra “al-Qaeda is not what it was”, as if that was where all the terrorism resided.

We have seen, taking one case study, the phenomenon of Hezbollah. Here, too, the government has taken the lead in trying to get the European Union and the European community to list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, as we did here in Canada, in 2002.

I mention Hezbollah, because very recently, testimony, in a trial in Cypress and in the apprehension of a prospective terrorist attack in Nigeria, indicated the footprints of Hezbollah, as we have seen them in terrorist attacks from Azerbaijan to India to Bulgaria, which even implicated a Canadian.

In a word, international terrorism is from Central Asia to Central America. We need to implement the existing framework for anti-terrorism law in that regard as well as undertake other responsibilities.

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March 7th, 2013 / 1:10 p.m.
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NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I also want to compliment the member for Mount Royal on his excellent speech and intervention, and for his long career of work in international law and human rights.

I would like to ask him, and I will not get into the specifics of what he is proposing in other areas outside this treaty, whether he would care to comment on what appears to be the dilatory nature of states that are party to these two conventions in actually taking action.

We know the Americans, for example, have yet to ratify this, although they are signatories and support the objectives. Here we are in Canada, having signed one of these treaties in 1980, and we are only now getting around to ratifying it. We were signatories to this 2005 agreement, but it is seven years later and we are only now taking the steps to ratify this.

Would the member like to comment on the government talking about it being urgent but then waiting seven years to bring it forward?

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March 7th, 2013 / 1:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was the minister of justice at the time that we signed the international convention in 2005. It was my hope at that point that we would move to implement that undertaking with the ratification and the appropriate domestic implementing legislation. Regrettably, as the member has said, it has taken us all this time to get to that.

Part of the problem, if I may say, is the government's preoccupation with the justice agenda. I am not saying we do not need a domestic criminal justice agenda. I am saying that a justice agenda has to be more than a crime and punishment agenda on the domestic side, which I have spoken to elsewhere. It also has to have an international justice dimension. We have not seen an international justice dimension from the current government.

In an exchange that took place between the Minister of Justice and my colleague from St. Paul's, when she asked why it took eight years until we moved to ratify, his response was that we had been filibustering on the domestic justice agenda. Even if that were true, which I suggest it is not, what relationship does that have to our responsibility on the international justice agenda, whether that be with regard to the combatting of nuclear proliferation, combatting international terrorism, or whether it be with regard to the promotion and protection of human rights?

In other words, we need to have a conception of justice that is not only domestic, and when it is domestic, that is not just limited to the criminal law area but also has an international justice agenda.

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March 7th, 2013 / 1:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, we recognize the importance of the issue of nuclear terrorism and the potential threat. It is a concern that many people around the world share. The United Nations plays a very critical role in terms of that worldwide leadership.

My colleague made reference to when he was the minister of justice and these two agreements that were signed in good faith. If we reflect on the legislation we have today, my understanding is that the legislation in essence would incorporate the things that were decided back in 2005. It seems that in principle the legislation does have the support of all members of the House of Commons. Could the member provide comment on that and why in his most recent question he was referring to the delay?

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March 7th, 2013 / 1:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I mentioned the exchange that took place and the response by the minister to my colleague from St. Paul's. I do not want to go over it, but I want to make another point.

I believe that the consensus to adopt this domestic implementing legislation in Bill S-9 and the like was there back in 2005. I recommend to the government that rather than accusing us of filibustering on the domestic agenda, to reach out more and engage with the opposition and invite opposition critics to consult. If the minister had done that, he perhaps would have been able to determine, back in 2006, that the consensus was there to adopt the domestic implementing legislation for this convention. We need a little more engagement in this House from across the aisle on both the domestic justice agenda and the international justice agenda. I invite the government to engage with its opposition critics in this regard, so we can move forward where the consensus already did exist and not have to wait eight years.

When they do not take the leadership for eight years on something like this, then it undercuts the ability to take leadership on other issues internationally. We have to have an international perspective, where we move forward as effectively and as quickly as we can, and in a holistic approach, to recognize, again, that issues of nuclear proliferation, international terrorism, international rights violations and incitement are all inextricably bound, one with the other. We need a comprehensive strategic approach with respect to addressing and redressing each and all of these violations.

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March 7th, 2013 / 1:20 p.m.
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NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak to Bill S-9, now before the House. It is called an act to amend the Criminal Code, but it is very directly related to the short title, which is nuclear terrorism act. It is an important piece of legislation on which my colleague, and dare I say friend, from Mount Royal, has said there is a consensus and probably has been a consensus for six or seven years in this country.

Therefore, it is quite a surprise that it has not been brought forward. As he pointed out, there are many instances where there can be a consensus on matters that could come before the House and be dealt with expeditiously, and some are, but there ought to be more of that. If we are going to be combative about certain things, I think that is the nature of politics. However, where there is a consensus, there can be a great deal more co-operation.

An ironic example of that was last year when the justice bill, Bill C-10, was before the House. It went to committee. The member for Mount Royal moved six or seven amendments at committee. They were defeated at committee. The government had to bring them into the House, but they were ruled out of order because they could have been done at committee. The Conservatives had to use the other place to deal with the passage of those amendments. It was quite embarrassing, I should think, that they showed their nature in terms of dealing with legislation and dealing with the opposition. However, that is one example of many.

Mr. Speaker, I was supposed to say at the beginning of my speech that I am sharing my time with the hon. member for Beaches—East York.

The substance of the bill is something that we support. The bill has a number of objectives. It amends the Criminal Code in adding four new offences.The bill was introduced in the Senate a year ago. It could have been brought here earlier than this, but, once again, that is a sign of not moving as quickly as one would have thought on something as important as this.

The bill adds four new offences to the Criminal Code, having to do with possession, use or disposing of nuclear radioactive material with the intention to cause death, serious bodily harm or substantial damage to property or the environment. That is an act against a nuclear facility or any of its operations. One has to do with using or altering a radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device with the intent to compel a person or government organization to do or refrain from doing any act being guilty of an indictable offence. That is a classic example of terrorism. Then, there's committing an indictable offence under a federal law for the purpose of obtaining nuclear radioactive material or a radioactive device or to control a facility, or to threaten to commit any of those other three offences.

These are significant crimes and would be given significant penalties in the Criminal Code as a result of the bill. It would be life imprisonment for the first three, as a maximum penalty, and 14 years as a maximum penalty for the threat to do any of these three things.

It is an important part of following through on two conventions that were agreed upon internationally: the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. Both of these conventions were an important part of a regime to attempt to control nuclear materials throughout the world.

As we were debating the bill this morning, I recalled growing up in an era where there was a real threat of nuclear war and nuclear annihilation. I grew up in the fifties and sixties, and in 1962 we all know there was a Cuban missile crisis.

I distinctly remember hearing air raid sirens being tested occasionally to remind us what they sounded like, and we had instructions. Some people were building fallout shelters in their back gardens in the event of a nuclear war. That was the reality. In schools, children were being told that if they heard the air raid sirens, they should get under their desks or under the stairs in their homes, and so forth. That was the way we thought about the world when we were children.

Happily, that is not something that children think about today, or have to think about, because the world is not in a state in which that is a likelihood or even a remote possibility at this point.

However, we do see proliferation. States such as Pakistan and India, with certain historic difficulties and disagreements that have not been resolved, are becoming nuclear powers. North Korea is attempting to engage in the development of nuclear weapons, as is Iran, as the member from Mount Royal has pointed out. Therefore, there are significant threats.

It is important to note that among the signatories to this convention are some important players, including the United States of America, China, India, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Obviously we would like to see more. However, it is a framework that can be used to control international terrorism or attempts to use these materials for nefarious purposes.

More can and should be done. The area of prevention is extremely important. Canada and the countries who are signatories can play a role in assisting countries to ensure the protection of nuclear materials, because there are countries that do not necessarily have the technical ability to control those activities within their own borders.

Importantly, the 2005 amendments to the treaties made to deal with interstate transport and usage of these materials extended the scope to also cover domestic use, storage and transport and nuclear facilities used for peaceful purposes.

Historically, Canada ratified one of these conventions in 1980. Canada only signed the agreement, which does not make us a party until it has actually been ratified. This step is one of ratification of both these treaties.

What is also interesting as well is that this piece of legislation is called Bill S-9 for a reason. It was started in what we are required to call “the other place”. I think we are allowed to say “senators” and we are allowed to talk about people by name over there, but what are we doing? Are we now the chamber of sober second thought? Have we reversed the constitutional roles? Do we have legislation coming out of the Senate? Is that where we start?

The Senate has looked at this legislation and has fixed it by adding one of the measures that was in the convention but not in the bill. I am sure it could have been fixed here easily before it was sent over there, but the government wants to legitimize the other place somehow, and even though senators are unelected, unaccountable and unapologetic, as we have found out in the last long while, the government seems to rely on the Senate as some sort of an institution where it can start legislation and have it come over here. Are we here to ratify what the Senate has done? Is that the expectation?

I think we support the bill, but it should have been brought here five or six years ago, when the government came into power.

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March 7th, 2013 / 1:30 p.m.
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Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I was happy to hear in my colleague's speech that the NDP is supportive of the bill. However, I will have to disagree with him on one comment he made, that being that Canadians do not worry about nuclear terrorism in the way they used to.

I grew up at the same time he did. I want to read an email I received this morning from one of my constituents, named Chris, who stated:

The elite in North Korea are going nuts over the new sanctions at the UN. They involve yachts (yachts?), luxury cars, racing cars, and jewellery. They also can't use international banking. So, they are cancelling the 1953 ceasefire and have now threatened a nuclear first strike against the U.S.

Along with my constituent, I would argue that Canadians are concerned about this issue. My constituents are very aware of what is happening in the world.

I was wondering if the member could explain to the House whether the NDP feels that nuclear terrorism is a real threat. Also, although the New Democrats are supporting the bill, do they have any suggestions to strengthen the bill further?

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March 7th, 2013 / 1:30 p.m.
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NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I was sorry to hear my colleague across the way mischaracterize my statements about growing up with the threat of worldwide thermonuclear war between states armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons and with red phones sitting on the desks of the President of the United States and the president of Russia during the Cold War. That is what I was talking about.

I did not say that people were not concerned about nuclear terrorism, obviously. I specifically mentioned North Korea, Iran and others. On the threats that people make like that, threats and capabilities are two different things, and we are certainly concerned about that. It is why we are passing legislation like this. It is why we are urging countries like Canada, as well as the United Nations, to impose and increase sanctions to try to find a solution to the acts of states such as North Korea and Iran and to come to a better way of dealing with them. All efforts should be made to try to deal with that. I reject the member's characterization of what I said. Of course people are concerned about nuclear terrorism.

However, I wonder why we waited until now to try to ratify this convention and bring into our domestic law the important aspects that we have here. That is what I am wondering about.

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March 7th, 2013 / 1:30 p.m.
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NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, as in trade, human rights and environmental norms, New Democrats support multilateralism and international co-operation. We support this kind of negotiation especially on such things as nuclear safety and safety from nuclear terrorism. Canada has agreed to be legally bound by these conventions, and it requires domestic implementation before we ratify the convention.

On the record of the government in terms of engaging in international multilateralism and international co-operation, we think of climate change accords and different things on the international stage. How can we have confidence that the current government would look after nuclear terrorism when it has abrogated its duty to stand up for Canada on the international stage so many times when it comes to human rights and environmental norms?

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March 7th, 2013 / 1:30 p.m.
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NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately we have a situation in which Canada has not measured up to the reputation we had in the past for co-operation with other nations, so much so that Canada, unthinkably, lost the opportunity to have a seat on the Security Council of the United Nations.

It was a tradition that Canada would be able to win that seat every 10 years. However, despite vigorous campaigning at the last minute, it was clearly a negative thing. We would certainly want to see more emphasis on that, and this failure is something that we will wear for quite a while.

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March 7th, 2013 / 1:35 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand up and speak a second time to Bill S-9. I would like to pick up where my colleague from St. John's East left off in talking about where the bill comes from. It emanates from the Senate, with the nomenclature “S”.

For seven years, the same Prime Minister has been promising Senate reform. He claims to have an issue with the fact that the chamber is unelected and unaccountable, all the while dragging his feet and ragging the puck on this for seven years. In that time, he has led 58 of his friends to comfortable seats in the Senate at extraordinary expense to the taxpayers of our country.

That is the same old conduct that has been practised in this place by both Liberal and Conservative governments since Confederation. It is cynical politics, and it is breeding a deep concern about our political system in those who can still bear to cast a gaze upon this place and the spectacle that it has become.

It is a particularly sad day today, waking up to the realization that just last night the entrenched interests in this place and in the Senate—those interested in retaining the status quo, the Conservatives and the Liberals—did not just let an opportunity for change slip by, but actually stood on their feet to defeat that opportunity, a motion from my NDP colleague from Toronto—Danforth to usher in real change, to begin a discussion about expunging from our political system unelected, unaccountable power in the hope of bringing a deeper democracy to Canada, one befitting a modern, hopeful country. Instead, we have the party of so-called reform allowing an important bill like Bill S-9 to emanate from that unaccountable chamber.

Suffice it to say that I am disappointed that this important legislation honouring Canada's commitment to co-operate with the rest of the international community in protecting nuclear material and combating nuclear terrorism should have come from the Senate chamber instead of our own.

Bill S-9, also known as the nuclear terrorism act, when implemented, would amend the Criminal Code to comply with Canada's international obligations with respect to two treaties: the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

My NDP colleagues and I support the bill, in the spirit of forging ahead with Canada's fulfillment of these international obligations and commitments.

The Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, or CPPNM, dates back to 1980 and is deposited with the International Atomic Energy Agency. To quote the IAEA:

The Convention is the only international legally binding undertaking in the area of physical protection of nuclear material. It establishes measures related to the prevention, detection and punishment of offenses relating to nuclear material.

Canada is a signatory and had ratified the convention by the time it entered into force in 1987. The CPPNM was amended in 2005 to strengthen the provisions of the convention. The 2005 version seeks to extend protection measures to nuclear facilities in addition to protecting against the proliferation of nuclear materials. As well, it reinforces Canada's obligation under UN Security Council resolution 1540, passed in 2004, to enforce measures seeking to prevent the proliferation of such materials.

It is the strengthened requirements of this amendment that Bill S-9 seeks to fulfill in clearing the way for Canada's ratification of the strengthened agreement.

The second treaty addressed within the provisions of Bill S-9 is the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, or ICSANT. This agreement falls under the auspices of the United Nations and dates back to 2005 as well. This convention deals more specifically with the issue of nuclear terrorism; it calls on its signatories to establish criminal offences within their national laws for acts of nuclear terrorism and also introduces mandatory prosecution or extradition of offenders.

Bill S-9 would amend the Criminal Code to include four new offences that related to nuclear terrorism and thus fulfill Canada's obligation under the above mentioned conventions.

These new offences would make it illegal to: possess, use or dispose of nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device, or commit an act against a nuclear facility or its operations with the intent to cause death, serious bodily harm or substantial damage to property or the environment; use or alter nuclear 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 radioactive material, a nuclear radioactive device, or access or control of a nuclear facility; and, finally, to threaten or commit to do any of the above.

In addition to those four offences outlined above, the bill would amend the Criminal Code to allow for the prosecution in Canada of individuals who committed or attempted to commit these offences outside of Canada.

The bill would also amend the double jeopardy rule so that the person could be tried within Canada for an offence that he or she had previously been convicted of by a foreign court in the event that the foreign trial did not meet certain basic Canadian legal standards. The bill would also make amendments to wiretap provisions and would make the new offences primarily designated offences for the purpose of DNA warrants and collection orders.

Both the convention on the physical protection of nuclear material and the second convention outline in plain language the urgency of action. The CPPNM states:

—offences relating to nuclear material and nuclear facilities are a matter of grave concern and that there is an urgent need to adopt appropriate and effective measures, or to strengthen existing measures, to ensure the prevention, detection and punishment of such offences.

The ICSANT speaks of:

—the urgent need to enhance international cooperation between States in devising and adopting effective and practical measures for the prevention of such acts of terrorism and for the prosecution and punishment of their perpetrators.

This sense of urgency was underscored in 2010 and again in 2012 during the nuclear security summits. The first summit proposed by President Obama in 2009 and held the following year in Washington was known as the global nuclear security summit and called together world leaders from 47 countries for talks regarding the advancement of nuclear security and the responsibility of nations to maintain and enhance this security.

In March 2012 the second summit was held in Seoul, where participants renewed the commitments made in 2010 and again underscored the urgency of the issue. To quote the Seoul communiqué:

We stress the fundamental responsibility of States, consistent with their respective national and international obligations, to maintain effective security of all nuclear material, which includes nuclear materials used in nuclear weapons, and nuclear facilities under their control, and to prevent non-state actors from acquiring such materials and from obtaining information or technology required to use them for malicious purposes.

Bill S-9 would bring us closer to the ratification of those two conventions and thus to the fulfilment of Canada's international obligations with regard to nuclear security. Given the importance of the legislation and the urgency of putting in place an international regime to counter nuclear terrorism, one wonders why the legislation has been seven years in the making. International agreements aiming to prevent nuclear terrorism are not something we should take lightly and our ratification has been delayed for far too long.

The bill has the support of both sides of the House and the lack of legislation thus far speaks more to the apathy on the government side rather than any threat of political interference or controversy.

Canada has long been a leader in the field of international co-operation, although that reputation has been tainted under the Conservative government. We should maintain that reputation. For that reason, we support Bill S-9.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 1:45 p.m.
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NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, the nuclear power plant in Pickering is not far from the member's riding nor mine. We can see it from the lake front in my riding. It is an issue of concern that something could potentially happen down the road. I am happy we are finally moving forward with the bill.

As the member said, the legislation has been many years in the making. I wonder if he has a hypothesis or maybe he might know why it has taken so long for the government to bring this forward. Perhaps he could also elaborate on why it came from the other place, that place of unelected, unaccountable, unapologetic and under investigation senators rather than from the elected members in the House. Perhaps he could comment on that.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 1:45 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from my neighbouring riding and enjoy working cheek by jowl in the east end of Toronto with him.

On the latter question about why the Senate, I am confounded. The government claims to be concerned about the power of unelected and unaccountable officials and, yet, allows such an important bill to come forward from that chamber.

On the issue of Pickering, it has been a great advance in the legislation and the international conventions to include nuclear facilities. I spent a number of years working in the electricity industry in Ontario, representing nuclear workers. One thing one always needs to be careful of in matters of health, safety and public security is the normalization of risks.

While that is a tendency in workplaces and in the public, it is something that we in the House cannot allow to happen to us, especially with respect to issues of nuclear safety and security. I can only guess it is the issue of a normalization of risks that is the cause for the government taking so very long to bring forward this legislation. Public security, especially with respect to nuclear matters, should be a no-fail mission for any Government of Canada.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 1:45 p.m.
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NDP

Jean-François Larose NDP Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is simple. I believe that all Canadians are seeing more and more that the international picture is becoming darker and bleaker. Nuclear proliferation is a growing problem. All the associations that exist among the various governments around the world seem to be saying that there is an increasing amount of negligence in putting meaningful measures in place.

Why did the government, which seems to be so proud of being in touch with all these people around the world, take so long to put such a measure in place? Why is it coming from the Senate and not the government? Why is the government now open to something that has always been obvious and needed to be regulated?

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 1:45 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have suggested it is the issue of normalization of risks that is, perhaps, responsible for the delay by the government in bringing forward the legislation. It is extremely disconcerting and concerning that such a delay exists, when one looks around the world at the fragility of states, the number of states that are precariously potentially failed states, the number of organizations, non-state actors, that advocate terrorist activities to see their objectives through.

In that context, for the government to delay bringing forward this important legislation is a matter of serious concern. I think that is why members hear me express those concerns in my speech. As well, many of my NDP colleagues are expressing that concern very unequivocally in the debate on the bill.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 1:45 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will be sharing my time.

As mentioned a number of times, Bill S-9 deals with nuclear terrorism.

I acknowledge the importance of this threat, but I would like to analyze the issue from another angle and emphasize diplomacy and international collaboration. This bill will change our domestic policy so that Canada can ratify two very important treaties.

I rarely rely on notes, but as I am not an expert, I will consult them for the names of these treaties. We are talking about the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

The objective of these two conventions is to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons and, as we are discussing, nuclear terrorism. The work is carried out within the United Nations and through multilateral relations.

I will focus on this aspect because when I communicate with the people of my riding, Chambly—Borduas, we often discuss Canada's international reputation, which is losing its lustre. Some decisions made by CIDA and the Department of Foreign Affairs are not in keeping with the expectations of the international community.

The very significant threat of nuclear terrorism is not the only reason why the NDP is pleased to support this bill. We are also encouraged by the fact that this bill appears to be a step towards ratifying multilateral conventions.

My colleague from Laurier—Sainte-Marie and my colleague from Ottawa Centre, our international relations and foreign affairs critics, often say that the NDP attaches great importance to multilateral relations. That has always been true. We could even say that about free trade, for example.

We are very pleased to see that Bill S-9 takes a step towards ratifying these multilateral conventions.

There is still one problem, and the member for St. John's East alluded to it earlier in his speech. Canada did not get a seat on the United Nations Security Council, which was a first. That clearly demonstrates just how much respect the international community has lost for Canada. It is a serious issue. A lot of work needs to be done to rebuild our reputation and continue moving in the right direction. Passing measures to ratify these types of conventions is one way we can do that.

A number of countries have not yet ratified these conventions, and a certain number must ratify before they can be implemented. That is why Canada's work is so important. Despite the fact that the respect the international community once had for Canada is plummeting, our counterparts from other countries who sit with us at the United Nations or other organizations still have a great deal of respect for Canada. If we ratify these conventions quickly, we can encourage other countries to do the same, in the hopes of reaching the required minimum.

In 2014, the Netherlands will host a summit to discuss this issue. It will be a wonderful opportunity to talk with other countries, explain the steps we have taken and use the respect other countries have for us in order to encourage them to follow our lead.

Hopefully we can move forward with these important measures.

I must explain that the notion of nuclear terrorism has changed quite a bit. Long before I was born, we had the cold war, as my colleague from St. John's East explained. Now, nuclear terrorism is changing a lot, and the international community has to adapt.

Take, for example, one of the conventions I mentioned that applies to this discussion. This convention was signed in 1980. It was then amended in 2005 because the reality of nuclear terrorism around the world has drastically changed in the past 25 years. So this is something we need to look at. If Canada can play a role in addressing this multilateral issue, we would be very happy to support any domestic measures necessary to move forward with Bill S-9.

As many of my colleagues have mentioned, it is important to note that Bill S-9 addresses a pressing issue. If the topic is so important, if the Minister of Justice thinks that this issue is so important and he is so proud of the outcome, as he said in the Senate committee, why was this bill not introduced in the House? Not to mention that it took a long time. This issue has been dragging on since 2005. The fact that the Senate finally decided to act on something so important is a huge problem.

Last evening, we voted on our motion to abolish the Senate. The Liberals and the Conservatives unfortunately continued to support the institution, which is suffering from institutional arthritis. The fact remains that we must refocus on what we have to do here in this House. If we want to continue to make progress on international affairs, it should not be done in the Senate. It should be done here, in the House, with the elected members who are in the best position to do so.

Since I have this opportunity to discuss diplomatic relations issues, I would like to refer to my own relevant personal experience. I studied political science at McGill University not so long ago. Many people say that political science is not very applicable to actual politics. I do not quite agree with that and I would like to explain why. Even though we are talking specifically about nuclear materials, I believe in the importance of multilateral relations as a general philosophy.

This has to do with the tragedy of the commons, a very important concept in international relations. Allow me to explain. When several countries come together to try to solve a problem, such as climate change, and when all of them expect some other country to make the first move, that is the tragedy of the commons. Nobody does anything because everybody expects somebody else to do something.

Families may experience the same thing. Everybody wants the house to be clean. Everybody expects the little brother or the mother to do the cleaning, but in the end nobody does it. The same concept applies to international relations. Good, strong multilateral relations are critical to preventing these problems. That is true of the issue before us today, nuclear terrorism, and of all other issues.

That is why we are happy to support this bill. This gives us hope that the government will fall into line and continue in this direction. Let us hope that this is a sign of things to come. For the time being, we will support this bill, in the hope that this government will take further measures to restore and reassert Canada's once-excellent reputation on the international stage, a reputation that has suffered so much lately.

I will say in closing that, in 2015, the New Democratic government will work very hard to restore Canada's excellent international reputation. The member for Ottawa Centre and my esteemed colleague from Laurier—Sainte-Marie have a lot to offer in that respect.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 3:10 p.m.
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NDP

Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to speak to this bill on behalf of citizens from Surrey North.

Essentially Bill S-9, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the nuclear terrorism act, would amend the Criminal Code in order to implement the criminal 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. Regarding Canada's treaty obligations under the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, this bill would allow the government to sign to these treaties, fulfilling our domestic obligations.

We as New Democrats are committed to multilateral diplomacy and international co-operation, especially in areas that are common to our partners across this world. We have to work with our partners on issues that are important to their country and also to ours. Examples of these issues include terrorism, climate change, environment and nuclear materials, as well as other issues. It is our duty to consult our partners, whether NATO or the UN, to work on these issues.

Not only does the Conservative government have a very shadowy record on consulting citizens of Canada when making laws, but we have also seen over the years that instead of working with our partners across this world and working through NATO and working with other countries, it is just not working on some of these issues.

One of the areas where we could be working to enhance our leadership in the world has been the environment. Not only have the Conservatives gutted the environment legislation regulations in this country, but they have also failed to work with our partners across this country and across this world to tackle climate change. That is where co-operation is needed. That is where we need to work together to look at issues facing this world, but again the Conservatives have failed on that issue. They have not shown leadership through working with our partners across the world to tackle some of the issues that we need to tackle, such as terrorism and nuclear materials. These are the kinds of issues that we need to take leadership on. That leadership has been lacking over at least the last seven years that I know of, since the Conservatives have been in power.

This is an example of the leadership lacking from that side. We used to have a seat on the UN Security Council. Every time Canadians wanted to be on the Security Council, we were voted in by all of the other countries. What happened the last time the seat became available? It was the very first time in our history that we were not sitting on the UN Security Council. That is because the Conservatives failed in international diplomacy to bring the world together to show leadership on issues that are important throughout the world.

That leadership is lacking not only internationally but also on our domestic front.

I just heard the House leader talk about making our communities safe in regard to the international terrorism bill and the amendments that we have in front of us. Making our communities safe involves investing in our RCMP and investing in crime prevention programs. We all know what Conservatives want to do with the crime prevention programs.

In fact, I have talked to a number of organizations in my community that have supported crime prevention programs. They have received funding from crime prevention programs over many years, but that funding has been eroding over the years. It has been consistently cut by the government.

If we are serious about making our communities safe, as with this bill dealing with nuclear terrorism, we need to also invest in our communities. We need to invest in programs that make a difference at a ground level, such as programs that keep our young people from getting into gangs. Those are the kinds of programs that are needed and that are going to help keep our communities safe.

We heard earlier today that the Sapers report from the correctional office says that one-quarter of our prison population are aboriginal people. Those are the kinds of programs we need to invest in to make sure that our young people are getting the help that is needed to make our communities safe.

We need to invest in the RCMP. Forty staff that support the work of the RCMP were given notices in the last budget. Those workers provide critical services to the RCMP to help them do their jobs. Those are the kinds of programs that we need in order for us to support our communities and make them safe places.

There are many other ways we can make our communities safe. For us to work with our partners is a positive step. We encourage the government to work with our partners, whether the United States or other like-minded countries that want the world to be a safer place for not just Canadians but citizens around the world.

I have given a couple of examples of issues on which the Conservatives could show leadership around the world, including the environment. I have given the example of working with other nations on climate change. Conservatives have not shown leadership there.

There are many other issues that we can be working on locally here. When we talk about ratifying treaties, we could look at it as a contract with voters and with aboriginal people. We could be working toward fulfilling those contracts here in Canada.

When the government was formed in 2011, it had a contract with Canadian voters. I have seen up close, on a daily basis, that it has not lived up to those obligations, whether in treaties or in a contract with the voters for what it was going to do when it formed government. We have seen the types of draconian measures it has taken to gut our environment. We have seen how fast the Conservatives wanted to ram through the budget bills. Those were huge omnibus bills that we could not study in a few days, yet it happens time after time. We saw it today.

I learned a new term from the Conservatives today. This place has many rules and regulations, and one of the rules and regulations I learned very quickly from them was that they can shut down debate, gag the opposition, gag the House and ram these things through. We saw an example last night. We saw another example today.

We need to work with other countries, with our partners, to look at issues of a global nature and we need to resolve those issues. The Conservatives have not taken leadership on many of these international issues, and we are paying the price at the international level, where our status over the last number of years has gone down. That was shown by our losing a seat on the Security Council.

I encourage my colleagues to work at international co-operation, to co-operate with other countries, to take a leadership role and to work on those issues that are important to Canadians.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 3:20 p.m.
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NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague talked extensively about the lack of leadership of the government. I would like to submit to him testimony of one of the witnesses heard during the committee hearing just before third reading. It is from Professor Matthew Bunn, an associate professor of public policy at Harvard University. He said:

If the United States and Canada are to succeed in convincing other countries to take a responsible approach to reducing the risks of nuclear theft and terrorism, at the Netherlands Nuclear Security Summit in 2014 and beyond, then the United States and Canada have to take the lead in taking responsible action themselves.

I would like his comments about the view shared by this very well-known professor.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 3:20 p.m.
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NDP

Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt. The Conservatives have not taken leadership on the issues that are important to Canadians. There was a time when our tourists went abroad and they were proud to wear a Canadian flag and a maple leaf badge. Over the last number of years, the Conservatives have not worked with the international community to take leadership roles. We used to take leadership roles on many issues, whether it was peacekeeping, whether it was providing help after an earthquake or whether it was CIDA needs. We have seen the budget cuts in those places.

We used to be a country everyone looked up to; they said Canadians are good people. Conservatives came in and they are secular. They want to promote international issues at a high level. Like on domestic issues, they have failed on a number of international issues, which is hurting the reputation of our country.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 3:20 p.m.
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Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I will tell the House what lowers Canada's international standing. It is speeches like the one we just heard from the member opposite. We are debating nuclear terrorism here, an issue that everyone in the House, including members of his party, agree is one of great gravity: terrorism, where nuclear weapons might be delivered. Canada has international obligations. Canada has shown leadership on this issue.

Instead, the hon. member chose to talk about climate change, the environment, the Security Council, anything but the issue that is before the House. This is frustrating for our side, because when we have the chance to discuss these issues on which our security globally truly depends, we do not get a serious response from the other side.

Does the hon. member agree that nuclear terrorism is a threat to the world? Does he agree that the measures contained in the bill are necessary and indeed should be dealt with expeditiously? Does he agree that without these measures, we are talking about countries like Pakistan, Iran and others that might literally bring us to the brink of disaster because of nuclear terrorism?

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 3:20 p.m.
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NDP

Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not know if I made myself clear or not, but we are certainly supportive of working with our partners across this world to tackle issues like terrorism, issues like nuclear weapons. We are certainly supportive of the bill at this point.

What I mentioned, and I believe the member failed to see, is that our ability to show leadership on the world stage has diminished under the government. I was giving examples of our inability to lead in the areas of environment, climate change and many other issues where the government has had chance after chance to lead the world the way we used to. Under the current government, that ability has diminished.

The reason I mentioned the Security Council is that we used to get a seat at the Security Council every time we ran for that seat. It is under the Conservative government, because it failed to show leadership, that we did not get the seat at the Security Council.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 3:25 p.m.
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NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to say that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.

It is my pleasure to rise today to speak on Bill S-9, Nuclear Terrorism Act.

Before I begin, I would like to sincerely thank my colleague, the hon. member for Gatineau, who is also the official opposition's justice critic. In my role as deputy critic, I have had the privilege of working with her. She is an extraordinary person and has done extraordinary work on this file, as well as on all the others she is responsible for. She is a true role model for hard work and I hope to emulate her.

Now, with regard to this bill, I agree that nuclear terrorism is a real threat to all countries, including Canada. It is important for us to consider it carefully and take the necessary measures. Thus, we are pleased to see the introduction of Bill S-9. I sat on the committee and I can say that, this time, we have been able to work with the government—I admit it—and with our Liberal colleagues.

Members of the official opposition have been able to work together to move the bill forward. When there are matters of importance to Canada, I think we can work together, and this is a fine example.

I would now like to speak more specifically about this bill. We must not forget that it leads to the eventual ratification of two international anti-terrorism treaties.

They are the 2008 Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. The latter defines the categories of nuclear terrorism offences and the procedures for bringing offenders to justice. The purpose of this bill is to incorporate all these provisions into Canadian law, so that the treaties can later be ratified. One of the problems is that Bill S-9 comes from the Senate.

It was strange to hear the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence ask his question and tell us that it is a priority for them, and so on. When we see that this comes from the Senate, we realize that it is not necessarily the government's top priority. We must keep in mind the dates of the treaties I mentioned: they date from 2005 and 1980 and came into force in 2007. There has been quite a delay in government action on this matter.

I will speak now about the bill's details: it is an attempt to eliminate legal loopholes when launching proceedings against those who commit acts related to nuclear terrorism. There is also an extraterritorial aspect to this bill, to extend the reach of Canadian law.

In the past, legal proceedings could fail because of a lack of legislation; this will solve that problem. Bill S-9 also provides for extradition in cases of nuclear terrorism, even where there are no bilateral treaties between countries, so that legal tools can have a longer reach.

Moreover, new Criminal Code offences are being created. It would be illegal to: possess, use or dispose of nuclear or radioactive material, or commit an act against a nuclear facility or its operations, with the intent to cause death; use or alter 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 compel a person, government or organization; and commit an indictable offence under federal law for the purpose of obtaining nuclear or radioactive material or devices.

Because we are establishing certain international conventions to which Canada is a signatory, all hon. members will agree that this bill will update the Criminal Code and other Canadian legislation. That is why we agree with and support this bill. We have always supported it. When we hear members on the other side say that the official opposition does not work with them and does not move things forward, they really ought to look at the way this has worked.

This is an excellent example of something that should move forward.

Bill S-9 makes other changes to the legislation. Anyone who commits any of the new offences outside Canada can be prosecuted in Canada. This new provision will help ensure that we address the problem. As we have mentioned, nuclear terrorism poses a real threat, and we need to take the necessary steps in that regard. That is why we supported this bill and studied it extensively in committee. We asked some serious questions and obtained some good answers, particularly from people who work on nuclear issues at the Department of Justice. The examination was very interesting and informative.

Nevertheless, we have another criticism of this government. Since it said that this bill is important, and I myself have pointed out just how important it is, we have to wonder why it took so long for the government to introduce this legislation. The treaty was signed in 2005 and came into force in 2007, yet the government is only starting to talk about it now. It blames the opposition, as usual, but it is important to remember that this government has a majority and it controls the agenda. Since everyone agrees on this bill, it could even have introduced it when it had a minority. This file could have moved forward, and we could have resolved these issues. Unfortunately, this government has acted in bad faith.

In fact, when the Minister of Justice appeared in committee, he openly admitted that this was not a priority. Here is what the minister said:

On this particular legislation, this was part of the enumerated bills that I wanted to get to, but yes, most of the focus of the last year or two has been concentrating on cracking down on drug dealers and going after people in the child pornography business and people who sexually assault children. I know most of the efforts of this committee, and certainly of the government, were to push that, but this was always important to us. Again, because most of the activity was already criminalized, I wanted to get it through.

It is a priority, but if you're asking me what I've done with my time, my time has been pushing all the legislation that we have had.

Keep in mind that Bill C-30 made us waste a lot of time. The government had to backtrack so much that the bill was poorly done and was inconsistent with the intent. The government is not moving in the right direction and is not putting its priorities in the right place. We suffered because of that yesterday in the meeting of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. We had to whip through Bill C-55 without really being able to take the time to study it. We knew that we had a deadline because of the Supreme Court decision.

The government is not managing its time well. It improvises by introducing bills that, like Bill C-30, are purely ideological, have no legal basis and waste our time. Meanwhile, we have other bills waiting for us. We could tackle nuclear terrorism, but the government refused in order to move other bills forward, bills that ended up being called into question. The government realized its mistake and backtracked.

What does the NDP want? We are committed to multilateral diplomacy and international co-operation especially in areas of great concern, like nuclear terrorism.

We need to work together with other leading countries that are moving toward ratifying these conventions. Canada has agreed to be legally bound by these conventions, so it is important to fulfill our international obligations. Unfortunately, it took a long time for the government to act on this. Therefore, we must seriously address the issue of nuclear security and comply with our international obligations in order to better co-operate with other countries on countering nuclear terrorism.

Many issues have been put forward, and we would have liked to take action. Once again, the government took its time.

This is what Sabine Nolke, the director general of Non-Proliferation and Security Threat Reduction at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, said:

Furthering nuclear security, enhancing the physical protection of facilities, installing radiation detection equipment, especially at border crossings, reducing the use of weapons-usable materials, is one of the key tools to prevent these materials from falling into the wrong hands.

Those are all things we should act on.

Fortunately, Canada did sign these treaties, but the government once again took too long to update Canadian legislation to include all these offences. It is difficult to understand why the government held back a file that all parties agreed on.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 3:35 p.m.
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NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Brossard—La Prairie, whose riding is next to mine. He did some excellent work in the Standing Committee on Finance. I am sure that he will do the same in the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Let us take advantage of the fact that he was there when the witnesses gave their presentations when the committee was studying Bill S-9, which we are discussing today.

There was concern about certain sections and that the scope went beyond the minimum recommended to ratify these two international conventions.

Since he attended the witnesses' presentations, I would like him to speak about section 82.6 in particular. It states:

82.6 Everyone who threatens to commit an offence under any of sections 82.3 to 82.5 is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years.

I would like him to talk about the risk of convicting someone who would not in reality be physically capable of committing a nuclear attack.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 3:35 p.m.
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NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question and for his work. I am pleased to listen to a colleague, especially one who is practically a neighbour of my riding.

Some of these questions were asked during the committee's study. The fact that there were some witnesses who were going to apply these measures was reassuring to us. In some way, we are going further than the conventions or the treaties would. However, we got some satisfaction from seeing that we were heading in the right direction with respect to counterterrorism.

What was most unfortunate in the committee was the lack of response we had on how the bill will move forward, among other things.

We in the NDP were especially concerned that it took so long to introduce the bill in the House. When we looked at some of the government's actions in other situations with other bills, we saw that there were even more delays. Other treaties, from before 2005 and 2007, have not been ratified. We had a lot of problems with that.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 3:35 p.m.
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Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for participating in this debate. We very much appreciate hearing the point of view of the member for Brossard—La Prairie when we manage to get one.

He wasted a lot of time criticizing us for waiting too long to introduce this bill in the House. We were not able to hear his thoughts about nuclear terrorism. So let us see.

What do he and his party think about the situation with Iran? Iran wants to develop a nuclear army and could represent the biggest threat we have seen thus far in the 21st century. Where does this bill fit in with international issues such as that?

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 3:35 p.m.
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NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence.

I am not sure whether the hon. member heard my speech, but I was saying that nuclear terrorism represents a constant threat to most countries. Yes, it is important.

However, it would also be important to look at what we can do to counter this. I think my colleague is somewhat conditioned by his profession. I admire the fact that he was an ambassador and that he worked in the foreign service. I commend him for that.

However, when we look at how this applies to Bill S-9, I have to ask my colleague to focus on how we can get the tools. If he recognizes that nuclear terrorism is a threat, then he knows we must ensure that Canada has the tools it needs to counter it.

That is why I mentioned that it took too long. If we are saying that this is a threat and we must take action—and we are clearly saying that it is a threat—then Canada needs legislative tools so that it can take action. That is why we are criticizing the government for taking so long to give Canadians and Canada the tools needed to counter nuclear terrorism.

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March 7th, 2013 / 3:40 p.m.
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NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will begin by responding to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence.

For the past hour and more, we have been hearing different views on Bill S-9. We have the impression that he wants to force us to target specific countries. I think that stigmatizing one country in relation to another goes well beyond the scope of this bill. Parliamentarians are not here to stigmatize a particular country.

I rise to speak on Bill S-9, which is at third reading. Its short title is the Nuclear Terrorism Act, which amends the Criminal Code to reflect the requirements of two international conventions that Canada signed in 2005.

Since then, we have been struggling miserably to ratify the two conventions. These are two international conventions: the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

In this regard, we must continue to bear in mind that Canadians in particular have enormous concerns about nuclear weapons, and that they attach great importance to international security. This is true for Canadians, as it is for everyone around the world.

I would also like to point out that international security in general is a major concern for the NDP members.

This bill amends Part II of the Criminal Code to create four new offences.

We mentioned it earlier and we will mention it again: why did the government wait seven years? Everyone may well ask.

Bill S-9 is before us today, but these two international conventions were signed in 2005. Canada signed these conventions, but did not ratify them. Because Canada has not yet ratified these two international conventions, we have lost credibility on the international scene, as my colleagues pointed out.

The Conservatives have been in power since February 2006. Nevertheless, they did not consider it necessary to make this bill a priority, something that was confirmed by the Minister of Justice when he appeared before the committee. I read it in the transcripts.

In fact, even though the previous governments were not majority governments, they did not take reasonable care to make this bill a priority and give Canada an opportunity to be a leader in international security.

I do not want to speculate on why they procrastinated, but the consequence is that other countries think we are weak in terms of leadership.

Ratifying these treaties will encourage other countries to take steps to ratify them as well. We will be taking a step toward enhancing security throughout the world.

We should have made these conventions a priority and ratified them as quickly as possible, so that the rest of the world would see us as leaders, not as followers.

Furthermore, given that we are at third reading, it is relevant to take a look at the work of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. Three meetings were held to consider this bill. The evidence that I read was all very interesting. However, I remember particularly the evidence provided by Matthew Bunn, associate professor or public policy at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

The testimony he gave via videoconference during a committee meeting on February 13, 2013, was very interesting. I would like to share one of his most intriguing statements:

...if the United States and Canada are to succeed in convincing other countries to take a responsible approach to reducing the risks of nuclear theft and terrorism at the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands in 2014 and beyond, then our two countries have to take the lead in taking responsible action ourselves.

It is very intriguing because Mr. Bunn acknowledged that he is somewhat embarrassed by the U.S.'s position on this treaty. As members of the Canadian Parliament, we, too, should be somewhat embarrassed by the fact that previous governments did not exercise due diligence, even if we had no hand in the matter.

I would like to quote another fascinating part of Matthew Bunn's testimony.

The core of al Qaeda is, as President Obama mentioned the other night, a shadow of its former self, but regional affiliates are metastasizing and some of the key nuclear operatives of al Qaeda remain free today. With at least two terrorist groups having pursued nuclear weapons seriously in the last 20 years, we cannot expect that they will be the last.

That statement is particularly worrying when we see what is happening with certain al-Qaeda cells, such as the al-Qaeda cells in Islamic Maghreb, in areas such as Mali or Algeria.

Take, for example, the hostage situation at the Ain Amenas gas plant in southern Algeria, near Mali and Libya that lasted from January 16 to 19 of this year. It was a blood bath; more than 30 people were killed. Situations like that are an incentive to remain vigilant about the risks posed by certain al-Qaeda cells.

That particular attack was planned by an al-Qaeda terrorist group in Islamic Maghreb. According to the Algerian minister of the interior, the abductors were from Libya.

This reminds me of the October 27, 2011, meeting of the Standing Committee on National Defence. I was concerned about the proliferation of weapons trafficking at the border between Libya and Algeria. At the time, I asked an official from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade a question about weapons from the Libyan arsenal being distributed in northern Africa. I asked what the risks were of these weapons being used elsewhere, in a similarly unstable region. It turned out that, less than two years later, we saw exactly that. Members of al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb were carrying out attacks in that region, which is fairly unstable and very difficult to monitor because it is so vast.

Imagine if these terrorists had nuclear weapons. That would have introduced a whole new risk, a whole new danger to the region. That is why, in these conditions, extreme vigilance is necessary.

To conclude, I will say that for all the reasons I have mentioned and that my colleagues mentioned earlier, I will not hesitate to support Bill S-9 at third reading. Once again, I think that Canada was too slow in ratifying these conventions and that it is urgent that the provisions of Bill S-9 be integrated into our Criminal Code to enable Canada to ratify the two international conventions that are essential to better global security.

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March 7th, 2013 / 3:50 p.m.
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Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I thank our hon. colleague for his speech.

This bill is about measures to be taken here in Canada to fulfill our international obligations. We are talking about a treaty that is supposed to govern the behaviour of all countries, and we are talking about the kind of example we want to set for other countries.

Why does my hon. colleague consider any mention of Iran stigmatization? That nation definitely supports terrorism. According to the United Nations and the entire world, Iran wants to illegally acquire nuclear weapons. It is currently pursuing its nuclear ambitions, despite pressure and warnings from democratic countries around the world.

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March 7th, 2013 / 3:50 p.m.
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NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence.

To answer his question, not wanting to name specific countries, like Iran or North Korea, in the context of our examination of this particular bill does not mean we support them.

Not naming certain countries in the context of our examination of this bill does mean we are offering them our moral support. I am simply saying that, in our study of this bill, the scope of the subject is broader than the stigmatization of any given country.

We should be focusing on the impact that ratifying these international treaties will have on our Criminal Code, instead of giving certain individuals the opportunity to use this bill as a platform to stigmatize any specific countries.

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March 7th, 2013 / 3:50 p.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is obviously a very important matter. What troubles me and is evident from what I am hearing in the House is that it was quite some years ago that Canada agreed. In fact, Canada joined on in 2005 to amend the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. In Canada the problem is that in order to ratify these international treaties we must pass legislation. This was very important legislation whereupon we agreed to amend our Criminal Code to criminalize these activities for the domestic use, transport and so on of nuclear material for purposes of harm.

Could the member speak to the fact that it is appalling that it has taken this long to come to the national elected assembly of Canada and why it first went to the Senate? Is it not supposed to be the house of sober second thought? Surely a matter of this severe importance belongs in this House first.

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March 7th, 2013 / 3:50 p.m.
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NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am convinced that international and nuclear security is very important to the hon. member's constituents. I completely share her questions and have no answer why the government decided to first present this bill through the Senate and not the House of Commons. However, I agree with her that the Senate should be a second opinion on laws and bills and should not be the first element to review legislation.

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March 7th, 2013 / 3:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pick up on that last point. It would be wonderful if we saw the Prime Minister and his ministers see the benefits of bringing forward legislation through the House and introducing it for the first time in the House. That would be my first preference.

Having said that, in regard to Bill S-9, it went through the Senate first. Right away, I think of Senator Dallaire who has done a phenomenal job representing our country both in Canada and abroad. I think he has a great deal of background, a level of expertise that he brings to the table to at least get the bill going. That is something we have wanted to see for a number of years. At least the Senate has played some valuable role in ensuring that we have the bill before us today.

When the Prime Minister formed government in 2006, he was presented with a balanced budget, a trade surplus and all sorts of wonderful things of that nature, of which many Canadians would be very much aware. However, he was also provided with other things such as the Kelowna accord and a great child care program policy, and then there is Bill S-9. The bill actually stems from an agreement that would have been signed by the member for Mount Royal. While he was a minister, there was an agreement that was signed and there was expectation that shortly afterward the legislation would be introduced to ratify the agreement.

When the Government of Canada signs an agreement, there still is an obligation for federal legislation. In this situation I believe that Canada ultimately played a role in coming up with what we believe were some fairly important resolutions, with the great assistance of the former prime minister, Paul Martin, and the member for Mount Royal, who were able to work with other world leaders and others who truly cared about this issue with the United Nations. Even though the resolutions were signed, for all intents and purposes they cannot be ratified until the legislation is introduced and passed through the House.

It is unfortunate that it has taken the government this long to recognize the value of what was done back in 2005. We have indicated, whether at second reading or today at third reading, that we would like to see the legislation pass. We recognize that it would ratify agreements that were signed under the former government of Paul Martin.

Many, including me, would argue that Canada has a very important role to play when it comes to the potential of international nuclear terrorism. Canada should be playing a leadership role. We have the expertise. I think there is the political will, for the most part, and many countries around the world recognize what it is that Canada has to offer. Not ratifying or passing a law in a more timely fashion does tarnish that leadership role I am referring to, and that is a loss of an opportunity.

When we think of the impact of the nuclear industry, there is the good and there is the bad. That impact is quite significant here in Canada. We have what I would term as civil purposes or civil use of nuclear power, and then we would have military use. I ultimately argue a third point, that the terrorist today is quite different from many years ago. For all intents and purposes, it was 9/11 that seemed to really awaken the world in a significant way to the degree in which there was a great deal more discussion on the potential harm to large numbers of people in any community throughout the world through terrorist acts.

More and more, we hear about the potential of nuclear terrorism. So it only stands to reason that the United Nations has picked up on that file. From what I understand, between 2001 and 2005, there have been four significant treaties, and I would like to go through those treaties, or at least make reference to them. The United Nations recognized the changing times and the threat of terrorism.

Prior to 9/11 when people thought of war and nuclear bombs, they would think of things like Hiroshima. It was a horrific time in history in terms of how much damage one bomb could cause and the horror stories that came from that. At the end of the day, many would argue that it assisted in ending a war, and hopefully we learned something from the horrors of the two bombs that were dropped. Many of us would recall the Cuban missile crisis and the impact that was talked about back then, when President Kennedy was involved in a critical two weeks.

Today, the talk is quite different. We get ultimately some nations in the world that would love to be able to acquire the technology to have some form of nuclear bomb or use the attributes of nuclear technology to ultimately cause a great deal of harm to a lot of innocent people through terrorist actions. I believe it is very real today. That is one of the reasons it was comforting, I believe, a number of years ago when we saw resolutions being discussed.

There was the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons that took place decades ago, as responsible governments around the world recognized the potential of nuclear bombs and possibly the window of nuclear terrorism, even back then when the idea was to reduce the amount of potential threat in the world. That is the essence, from what I understand, of why that agency was created in the first place.

Again we go back to 9/11. Following 9/11 the UN had a series of meetings, and there were four that I want to point out.

United Nations Security Council resolution 1373, which was passed back in 2001, required member states to adopt certain anti-terrorism legislation and policies, including those to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorists acts: freezing the financial resources available to terrorist organizations; suppressing the supply of weapons to terrorist organizations; and denying safe haven to those who finance, plan, support or commit terrorist acts. It also called on member states to become parties to and to 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 terrorist activity as a result of the Canadian Anti-terrorism Act, back in 2001.

United Nations Security Council resolution 1540 was adopted in 2004 and focused specifically on nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It asked member states to take steps to prohibit non-state actors from acquiring nuclear weapons and to put into 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; to adopt legislation to prevent the acquisition, use or threat of nuclear weapons by state and non-state actors; to extend such criminal legislation to apply to citizens extraterritorial; and to include internal waters, territorial waters and airspace in the territory from which nuclear weapons would be prohibited.

In fact, we can see each of these steps in Bill S-9. As I said, this is a resolution that was passed in 2004 by the United Nations Security Council.

The International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, which was adopted in 2005, was the first international convention related to terrorism open for signature after 9/11. It builds on both the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombing.

The International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism is comprehensive and contains detailed language on what particular aspects of nuclear terrorism should be criminalized. It is the inspiration for, many would argue, the bulk of what Bill S-9 is all about.

The other agreement, the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, came out of a diplomatic conference convened in July 2005, three months after ICSANT, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, actually met. 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 punishment of offences related to nuclear material.

Given the age of the CPPNM, the 2005 meeting was meant to update and strengthen its provisions. The CPPNM amendment would require states to protect their nuclear facilities as well as nuclear material used, stored and transported domestically, rather than protecting only nuclear material transported internationally, as the CPPNM currently requires.

Earlier I posed a question to the minister with regard to the government working with the different provinces. We have provinces that provide power to their citizens through nuclear energy. There are real threats there. I asked the minister the question to get an indication of the degree to which the government has some sort of formal communication with the different provincial jurisdictions this might actually apply to. I was somewhat surprised to hear that the minister was not aware of any. I assumed that it would have been the case. There is a responsibility for us to think not only about outside the country but about within it, where nuclear energy is being utilized.

Bill S-9 also attempts to criminalize certain offences related to acts directed against nuclear facilities.

Nuclear energy and the potential for the scientific research done with this energy is quite significant. It not only provides many jobs, but it saves lives. Medical isotopes, for example, are used throughout the world. Many of the materials come from Canada. It would be a shame for us not to support and encourage that industry, because in many ways, it is a wonderful thing for Canada. Canada can, indeed, play the leading role.

It is important, whether it is isotopes or nuclear power plants, that we carry out the due diligence and work with the provinces and the industry to ensure that we are minimizing any potential threats. It would be wrong for us to believe that we have nothing to worry about. It only takes one person with a corrupt mind to cause a great deal of damage. That is why I think there are things we can do, as a national government, to work with and assist the provinces in coming up with backup and emergency plans. I also believe that Canada can and must play a stronger leadership role on the whole nuclear file, because we have a great deal to offer. We have the science and the technology.

Many might be surprised to know that Canada has been dealing with nuclear energy and materials since the early 1940s. It was in the early 1960s that we actually started to use nuclear power. We have a relatively safe environment compared to many other countries in the world. There is a great opportunity for Canada to demonstrate to the world that the elements of nuclear energy can be a positive thing if used for the right reasons.

Unfortunately, there will always be those who want to cause harm. What we have to do is minimize that. The member for Mount Royal and the efforts he has made, along with many others throughout the world who came up with these United Nations resolutions, went a long way toward making our world a safer place.

To that extent, it would be nice to see the legislation pass so that the deal can finally be ratified.

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March 7th, 2013 / 4:15 p.m.
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NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to hear what the member for Winnipeg North has to say about this statement by Senator Dallaire:

...there is no feeling...of what the delta of gaps are in the security with regard to terrorism or anti-terrorism. It seems to me that it is fine to go through and do our legislative duty; however, without that framework, it seems to me that, as a committee, we are a bit ill-equipped to get a warm, fuzzy feeling that we are going down the road that we feel maybe should be done expeditiously enough by the department or by the ministries with regard to anti-terrorism.

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March 7th, 2013 / 4:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have an immense amount of respect for Senator Dallaire.

One of the roles of the Senate is to study issues when senators have that level of expertise. I know it is an area of interest for him. I believe that when he makes statements like that, whether one is a member of Parliament or the average person living in Canada, one should listen and recognize the expertise he brings to the table.

We need to be aware. We should be taking that as a legitimate warning. There are many deficiencies. That is one of the reasons we need to be concerned about not making this issue a priority. Why did it take so long for us to see this bill come before us, when it could have been brought forward in 2006 or 2007? The government had very little interest in acting on it.

I believe that the New Democrats are also supporting this. Why would we not support it? We are the ones who signed the agreement that ultimately led to the requirement for the bill.

I believe that if we recognize this for the important issue it is, we could tap into the minds of Senator Dallaire and others across Canada and do a better job of dealing with this very important issue.

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March 7th, 2013 / 4:15 p.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I particularly noted the member's comment towards the end, when he said that he would support this bill but that there is much more we can do.

I have the privilege of representing the same riding that former ambassador Douglas Roche represented. He, of course, has shown leadership for many decades on nuclear disarmament. My former colleague Bill Siksay, of course, continuously tried to create the department of peace.

I am wondering if the member thinks that instead of just finally moving to bring forward this legislation to implement an agreement we agreed to quite some time ago, the government could, in fact, take additional measures.

I have a second question for him. I know that the penalty is a maximum of life imprisonment. Interestingly, there is no mandatory minimum for something as serious as this. It is very puzzling to me what the government is thinking.

It is fine to table a serious piece of legislation like this. However, Alberta is crying for more judges and more support for federal prosecutors. Does the member think it would be useful for the government to come forward and also tell us what additional resources and strategies are going to be in place so that we can actually detect these serious crimes and take action?

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March 7th, 2013 / 4:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is a good question. That is the reason I posed a bit of a different question to the minister when he spoke to it. However, I think it deals with a good part of what the member is referring to, that being to what degree the government of Canada has worked with other jurisdictions to develop an overall Canada-wide strategy. We have different levels of governments in Canada that play a lead role in such things as the development of power or electricity. I am referring to the provinces. They have the nuclear power plants, and that requires provincial legislation.

Could the government have done more? I think it has only done the basics. It has had this resolution since 2005. It could have done a lot more. The bill is significant, in the sense that it at least allows us to ratify the agreement. That is the biggest plus. However, I do believe that it could have done more.

What I find surprising, and I made reference to this earlier, is that there does not appear to be any formal communications network that would allow Ottawa to work with the provinces that need support, or just dealing with the whole issue of emergency situations or crises that might arise, especially relating to nuclear terrorism, which could happen in Canada. There are all sorts of situations out there that are very real, and the government could have done a lot more.

At the end of the day, if it took the government six or seven years to bring forward a relatively simple bill, given the previous work that was done on it, I am not sure how much longer it would take it to have a more comprehensive approach at dealing with terrorism, nuclear terrorism or other types of chemicals out there. There are all sorts of disastrous situations.

The federal government could do more, and a part of that is not only outside of Canada. We could play a stronger leadership role outside of Canada, but we also need to be doing more within Canada to protect our own citizens.

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March 7th, 2013 / 4:20 p.m.
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NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have been listening to the debate all day, with great interest. I want to follow up a bit on the events of last night and relate them to what is happening in the House today.

Yesterday, the NDP brought forward a very important motion in the House calling for the abolition of the Senate. We had a very interesting vote. Both the Conservatives and the Liberals voted to maintain the Senate, and only the New Democrats voted to abolish it.

Today we are faced in the House with a debate on a bill that is entitled Bill S-9, as opposed to C-9, indicating that the bill originated in the Senate. I would suggest that when it comes to nuclear safety and we are talking about keeping citizens of our country safe, that this might be something worthy of talking about first in the democratically elected body, which would be the House of Commons. Yet, clearly that did not happen here. Once again, the parliamentary process has been turned on its head. It used to be that we thought of the Senate as the chamber of sober second thought. I am pleased to see that clearly the Conservatives do not think it fills that role either because, in fact, they are now getting the Senate to introduce the bills, not to act as a check. We have been saying all along that the Senate should not, nor does it, fulfill the role of being a check on what happens in the House of Commons.

Since my hon. colleague from the Liberal Party actually voted in favour of supporting the Senate last night, I wonder whether he might explain why he thinks it is appropriate that a bill as important as one that is entitled an act to amend the Criminal Code with respect to nuclear terrorism should originate in the Senate as opposed to in the House of Commons.

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March 7th, 2013 / 4:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question. I am going to let the government defend why it felt it was more appropriate to bring it in via the Senate.

However, with regard to her concerns with respect to the abolishment of the Senate, for a multitude of reasons the NDP is out of tune with what Canadians want to see debated.

At the end of the day, there are many regions in Canada, whether it is Prince Edward Island, Manitoba and others, that do see a great deal of value—

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March 7th, 2013 / 4:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Well, P.E.I. is a province, too. The member might not like it, but it is a province.

Mr. Speaker, at the end of the day, there are many Canadians who want to see more value to the Senate and want to see it reformed.

The New Democratic Party, which is going to prejudge Canadians by saying we are going to abolish the Senate, knows full well that it cannot. The NDP says it is going to abolish it, but it knows it cannot do that. It is not going to happen. It is going to have to have a constitutional round; every province in the region is going to have to agree to it.

The NDP knows it is not true, but it still says it.

Hopefully we will see some form of Senate reform. In the short term, let us ensure they are good solid Senate appointments, individuals like Senator Dallaire, who has contributed immensely to the development of this particular bill. It would have been nice to have had the bill brought in at second reading or introduced here in the House. That would have been the ideal situation.

Unfortunately, it did not happen that way. We can be grateful we have individuals like Senator Dallaire who at least picked up the ball for the government, as ultimately we do have a bill that is somewhat reflective of the UN resolutions that were signed back in 2005.

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March 7th, 2013 / 4:25 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse NDP Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would first of all like to say that I will be sharing my time with my colleague, the member for Hamilton Mountain.

I am pleased to rise today to speak on Bill S-9, Nuclear Terrorism Act. It is an important issue, and one that will allow me to go a little bit beyond the specific subject matter of the bill. The NDP will be supporting this bill at report stage and at third reading. We want to promote the implementation of its provisions in Canadian law.

On the other hand, before I begin, I would like to express some reservations about the fact that the bill originated in the Senate. I will repeat what my colleague, the member for Hamilton Mountain, said when she raised this issue a little earlier and put questions to our colleague from Winnipeg North. I still believe that the Senate has no business introducing this kind of bill, even less so on an issue as important as amending the Criminal Code regarding possible sentences for nuclear terrorism. This should be done by the elected officials. In fact, bills must originate in the House of Commons, period.

International law has an important place in Canada. No one is disputing that. However, there are questions about the adoption and implementation of international conventions in Canadian law. Some countries may have different methods for incorporating standards and rules of international law in domestic law. There are basically two different methods.

Countries with a monist legal system, in general, automatically incorporate the rules of international law once they have been ratified. They become part of the country’s legislation more or less directly, and some states will grant them superior force to any other domestic law. It is a simple and straightforward method.

However, Canada does not have a monist system; we have a dualist legal system. This means that international law is not immediately applicable in Canadian law. The Canadian Parliament must pass implementing legislation before the international provisions are applicable in domestic law. In a sense, this does justice to our political system—something that is not always very simple—for two reasons.

First, our federation is made up of provinces, which have their own areas of exclusive jurisdiction and separate legal systems. Second, it is logical that the legislative body should validate in legislation something that the executive has signed. If this were not the case, it would be as if Parliament were giving a blank check to the government of the day to sign anything and it would immediately come into effect in Canada. Not only would this be unacceptable, but when we look at some of the Conservative government’s foreign-policy directions, I would be afraid of what might emerge.

We could well be told that parliamentarians hold up the implementation of certain provisions by making it mandatory that there be implementation legislation, but frankly, I am extremely pleased that we can give attentive consideration to all the provisions of international law that come in to Canada.

With regard to the subject of debate today, the amendments to the Criminal Code would affect the implementation of the criminal law requirements contained, first, in the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and, second, in the 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

In short, the bill creates four new offences under part II of the Criminal Code, with respect to the possession and use of nuclear or radioactive materials or devices, acts committed against a nuclear facility or its operation with the intent to cause death, serious bodily harm or substantial damage to property or the environment, or attempts to compel a government or international organization to do or refrain from doing anything. I will not be reading all the amendments contained in this bill.

I see two main reasons we can support this bill. First, Canada is a producer of fissionable materials such as uranium. Until recently, Canada was the world's largest exporter of uranium until Kazakhstan reclaimed that title in 2009. Most of our mines are located in northern Saskatchewan. As of October 2012, Statistics Canada says that 15.2% of the electricity produced in Canada comes from nuclear plants. Naturally, these fissionable materials are moved around in Canada. And Canada has nuclear power plants.

Therefore, we in Canada are vulnerable to acts of nuclear terrorism. We cannot hide from that fact. We have been lucky until now that we have not had to face threats, but we will not always be so lucky, not with the new, stubborn, warlike foreign policy the government has adopted.

Second, it is important for Canada to express the provisions of these conventions in Canadian legislation. Then, later, we will be able to ratify them. That is important because it takes a certain number of ratifications in order for international conventions to come into force globally. It seems very complicated at first, but the purpose is simple: if more countries adhere to the treaties, it will be easier to implement them, since all countries will have the same rules to follow.

When we look at the international situation of countries with nuclear capabilities, we quickly see that these conventions are not a luxury. Unstable countries like Pakistan have nuclear weapons; in Russia's vast territory, control and supervision of fissionable materials can be extremely difficult.

Canada has been a model for other nations. The message we are sending, in ratifying these conventions, is clear: we are taking a step forward and inviting other countries to join us. Leading by example is the way to produce tangible change.

Our obligations with regard to nuclear safety are also serious. They began in 1968 when Canada signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Since then, Canada has been a constructive partner in controlling the proliferation of nuclear weapons, working with the UN in Geneva, New York and Vienna.

The subject may seem abstract, but the scientific advances that began with mastering atomic fission in the 1940s have not come without great danger. Even today, North Korea is threatening the United States with a pre-emptive nuclear strike. It is clear: we have a long way to go.

The nuclear security summits in Washington in 2010 and Seoul, South Korea, in 2012 have helped control nuclear weapons. The more supervision and control of the fissionable materials circulating around the world, the less chance that these materials will be misused. That is the stated goal of the next summit, which will be held in the Netherlands in 2014.

However, there is one element that cannot be ignored. In the grand scheme of things, Canada must be a party to these two conventions. There is no question about it. However, I have concerns about this government’s foreign-policy directions that are becoming increasingly belligerent, inflexible and especially devoid of compassion. We used to be recognized worldwide for our moderate and rational stances on international issues. In addition to being seen as an unparalleled mediator, we were the very picture of an older brother, who listened closely, always sought compromise and campaigned tirelessly for peace.

Seven years after the Conservatives came to power, this is really no longer the case. There can be no better example of this than the loss three years ago of our seat on the United Nations Security Council. Furthermore, our development assistance policies are inconsistent, and shot through with a really tight-fisted idea of what helping your neighbour is all about. For this government, helping your neighbour really only means helping the big mining company make a bigger profit at the expense of the developing world.

Managing foreign affairs is a delicate exercise, but the Conservatives simply do not have the skill that it takes. Now they come onto the scene with their big boots and their preconceived ideas, giving lectures to all and sundry and preaching how we are better than everyone else. This is not how you make friends, especially when we regard our partners only from a financial point of view.

Why am I talking about this now? We can tell the Conservative government that we are supporting this tangible initiative on sentences for nuclear terrorism, but we should never lose sight of the global idea of our foreign-policy interests. By acting like coarse, combative villagers in our relations with the other countries of the world, we will end up pouring oil on the fire. There are better ways of doing things, and I believe the legacy of former Prime Minister Pearson must still serve as a guide.

We are not a major world power; we never have been. We are a middle power, with many natural resources, and an educated, resourceful and open-minded populace. I think Canadians are our greatest resource. In international relations, it is not just a question of trade and money. There is what Canada can bring to the table: ideas, responsiveness and compromises. There is still time for Canada to get back into multilateral forums with our international partners. In my view, it would be better for us to reach our goals with our allies, rather than against them.

Unbelievably, very few people agree on the literal definition of terrorism, because it involves unpredictable acts with many different causes. It is not just a question of religion or politics.

I am afraid that we are making the problem worse, with our one-dimensional foreign policy that is oriented solely toward money and that is totally insensitive to cultural, political and social demands. That hurts everyone and, much to the Conservatives’ dismay, it also hurts the economy.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 4:35 p.m.
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Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I thank our hon. colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent for her speech.

Does she not agree that one of the greatest things Canada has to brag about is the fact that it has a nuclear sector that produces a huge amount of energy? This is particularly the case in Ontario, but in other regions as well. This industry has not caused the loss of a single human life in Canada since its inception.

How does she explain that the NDP has traditionally opposed this renewable, healthy and safe energy sector in Ontario, at the federal level and across the country, even though it is a great source of pride for Canadians?

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March 7th, 2013 / 4:35 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse NDP Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for his question. I admire him a lot and admire his career path and background in diplomacy.

As someone from Quebec, where more than 95% of our electricity is produced by hydroelectricity, I have to say that this is not something I am very familiar with. However, it is still important to always ensure that nuclear energy is produced safely, and strict environmental protections must always be a priority.

Since hydroelectricity in Quebec is a very renewable and clean resource, I have nothing more to say about this subject. But I thank him for his question.

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March 7th, 2013 / 4:35 p.m.
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NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I noted with interest that in her speech, my colleague mentioned the next Nuclear Security Summit, to be held in the Netherlands in 2014. This gives me the opportunity to bring up Canada's leadership on the world stage.

I would like the member to talk about what role she thinks Canada should play at the summit. What position should Canada take so that it can try to improve its reputation and regain a little of what it has lost in terms of international leadership?

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March 7th, 2013 / 4:35 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse NDP Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Saint-Jean for his question. He raises a very important point. In recent years, we have unfortunately seen the extent to which Canada's international reputation has been tarnished. For a very long time, it had a sterling reputation as a peacekeeper that helped countries resolve their differences. That is no longer the case. This issue should become a priority for Canada, and we should strive to regain our international stature. We must reclaim the much more peaceful and conciliatory vision that we held for so long in order to solve foreign conflicts and ensure that they do not degenerate.

In my opinion, this should be a priority for the government. Obviously, when we win power in 2015, this will continue to be an important issue for our party.

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March 7th, 2013 / 4:35 p.m.
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NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, on February 28, the Minister of Justice appeared before the Senate committee studying the Anti-terrorism Act. He said:

...these offences do not deal with lawful medical procedures involving radiation, the lawful exchange of material or devices, or other existing lawful activity in the nuclear industry.

Can the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent tell us if the issue of the safety of nuclear waste from medical equipment has been dealt with in the terrorism file?

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March 7th, 2013 / 4:40 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse NDP Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles for her question. A number of amendments were presented at the Senate stage, which makes us wonder why we only saw these additions at the Senate stage. We could also ask ourselves why this bill was introduced in the Senate. This type of important legislation should always be introduced in the elected House, that is the House of Commons.

I find it frustrating that, in 2013, bills are still introduced by people who are appointed, not elected, and who are not accountable to anyone.

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March 7th, 2013 / 4:40 p.m.
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NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today in support of Bill S-9,, an act to amend the Criminal Code, the nuclear terrorism act. As I just said at the outset, I will be supporting the bill.

Before I get into the substance of the bill, I want to take a moment to talk about the corsage that I and indeed all women MPs in the House are wearing today. It was a gift from Equal Voice, an all-party not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to electing more women to all levels of political office in Canada.

On the day before International Women's Day, I am proud to accept and wear the carnation it has so generously given us to celebrate our election to Parliament. However, I also accept it as a call to action, and I would be remiss if I did not note that women's participation in elected politics is still woefully inadequate. Women are more than 50% of Canada's population but currently constitute only 25% of the members in the House, and that is simply not good enough.

In the NDP caucus, that number is significantly better. In fact, at 40% it is the best of any of the recognized parties in the House, but we did not get here by accident. Our party adopted action plans to break down barriers for women in politics, and our leaders have had the political will and commitment to make that happen. My point here is that there is a lot more that the Canadian government needs to do to remove the barriers, so women can realize economic, political and social equality in our country.

I would be less than honest if I did not express some disappointment that on this eve of International Women's Day, we are debating Bill S-9, which could have been debated long ago, instead of focusing on issues like violence against women, the lack of affordable housing, poverty or any of the other myriad issues that are still so pervasive in our country. We all need to be vigilant and tenacious in our fight for further sustainable change when it comes to women's equality.

The treaties we are talking about today could all have been ratified a long time ago. Nonetheless, here we are dealing with the legislation that the government has deemed more important to debate than women's equality today, and that is Bill S-9, an act to amend the Criminal Code, nuclear terrorism. As many of my colleagues have already pointed out, the bill fulfills Canada's treaty obligations under the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. 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 amendments to Canadian legislation, the treaty is ratified only when such amendments or new legislation have been passed. To date, Canada has not ratified either the ICSANT or the CPPNM amendment. That 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 code represent Canada's efforts to align its domestic legislation with what is required by both of those conventions.

If these amendments became law, Canada would be in a position to ratify both the ICSANT and the CPPNM amendment. I would hope we would indeed move expeditiously to do just that as soon as this law is passed. Having laid out what is at stake in the bill, let us now look at it in a little more detail.

The bill introduces four new indictable offences into part II of the Criminal Code. First, it 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.

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

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

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

Frankly, I think most Canadians would have thought that such provisions already exist in the Criminal Code and will have been surprised to learn that they were not. To most of them it would seem like a no-brainer. Like them, my NDP colleagues and I believe we must address the issue of nuclear security and comply with international obligations to better co-operate with other countries on counterterrorism strategies.

We are committed to multi-lateral diplomacy and international co-operation, especially in areas of great common concern, such as nuclear terrorism. Canada, along with our international partners, must do what we can to protect Canadians from all forms of terrorism and protect global security.

I have read through some of the testimony from the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, the committee that studied this legislation, and I would like to draw the attention of the House to the spine-chilling testimony of Professor Matthew Bunn. He is the associate professor of public policy at Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. Let me share what Professor Bunn said to us:

The danger of nuclear terrorism remains very real. Government studies in the United States and in other countries have concluded that if terrorists manage to get enough highly enriched uranium or plutonium, they might very well be able to make a crude nuclear bomb capable of incinerating the heart of a major city. In the case of highly enriched uranium, making such a bomb is basically a matter of slamming two pieces together at high speed. The amounts required are small, and smuggling them is frighteningly easy. Should terrorists succeed in detonating a nuclear bomb in a major city, the political, economic, and social effects would reverberate throughout the world. Kofi Annan, when he was secretary-general of the United Nations, warned that the economic effects would drive millions of people into poverty and create a second death toll in the developing world. Fears that terrorists might have another bomb that they might set off somewhere else would be acute. The world would be transformed, and not for the better. Hence, insecure nuclear material anywhere is really a threat to everyone, everywhere. This is not just an American judgment. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned that nuclear terrorism is one of the most serious threats of our time. Mohamed ElBaradei, while he was head of the IAEA, called it the greatest threat to the world.

As scary as that sounds, the fact is that between 1993 and 2011, the International Atomic Energy Agency identified close to 2,000 incidents related to the use, transportation and unauthorized possession of nuclear and radioactive material, which is why this legislation is so important. Canada must take action to support nuclear safety throughout the world, and the bill is a step in the right direction. We must respect our international obligations.

I am glad that the Conservatives have finally decided to implement the convention. I do wonder why it took them so long to introduce the bill and why they would choose to do it through the Senate. It is perhaps because the Conservatives are also no longer quite sure what the Senate's purpose is. I was taught that the Senate was a chamber of sober second thought. The Conservatives are again turning things upside down. They are now turning the House of Commons into a chamber of sober second thought. It really is Disney on the Rideau here. The Conservatives keep managing to create new illusions to keep Canadians off balance and unable to hold their government to account. I could go on at greater length about that theme, but I see that my time is just about up.

Let me conclude with one quick thought, even if I do not have the time to develop it more fully here. I would be remiss if I did not encourage the Conservatives to stop cherry-picking and get on with implementing all of the conventions that Canada has ratified. Nuclear terrorism and the protection of nuclear material are important, but surely to God so are conventions like the Convention on the Rights of the Child or the convention on indigenous rights. Let us bring the same single-mindedness to these conventions that the government brought to Bill S-9 and let us do it now.

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March 7th, 2013 / 4:50 p.m.
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NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, given that the member listened so intently to my speech, I find his request for unanimous consent a bit troubling. One of the things I said quite clearly in my speech was that I thought it was outrageous that this legislation came from the Senate without being duly debated in the House of Commons first. That, of course, is what we are here for. We are supposed to be examining government legislation. We are supposed to do our due diligence. We are here representing constituents in our ridings on something as important as nuclear terrorism. Why would we not want to discuss the bill in some detail? We are not holding it up. We are not being dilatory. There are some very serious concerns, including the fact that the bill is much broader than it needs to be to implement the two treaties we are debating here today.

When I get my opportunity, I will certainly be putting that question to the government. I appreciate that this is not my turn to ask questions, so I look forward to that opportunity in the very near future.

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March 7th, 2013 / 4:50 p.m.
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NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Hamilton Mountain very ably outlined the reasons why this needs to be debated in the House. It is irresponsible not to take a good hard look at a bill and see whether amendments are required.

In talking about unanimous consent to move this bill along, it is interesting that the Conservatives have been in power since 2006 and have had ample opportunity to bring this bill forward for debate. If we want to talk about delays, let us talk about what they have been up to.

When the member started her speech, she talked about the fact that this week we are celebrating International Women's Day and mentioned specifically that women certainly have a role to play in peace in the world. UN Resolution 1325, which we translate into “no women, no peace”, talks very clearly about how women have to be involved in any kind of peace process. I am a very proud member of PNND.

I wonder if the member could speak specifically to what else she would have liked to have seen done in this particular instance when dealing with Bill S-9.

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March 7th, 2013 / 4:50 p.m.
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NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

I apologize. I have to say that the member for Burlington asked a clearer question.

If the question is about the importance of the voices of women being heard in all parts of public policy, I certainly agree. We bring a different perspective to matters of policy debate. That is why initiatives like Equal Voice, the fight for women's equality in social, economic and political matters, are so critical. I know that the member for Nanaimo—Cowichan has been a huge advocate of that for all of her adult life, and I want to applaud her for those efforts.

In that regard, her commitment is much different than that of the member for Burlington, but we can explore that a little further down the road.

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March 7th, 2013 / 4:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the unfortunate thing in this place is that it seems, on every side, that when we deal with an issue as important as this, we always denigrate the other side by saying such things as, “It may be a good piece of legislation, but they are bad”.

To respond to the member across the aisle, this government, over the past three Parliaments, has brought in a lot of legislation. We cannot bring everything in at the same time. It takes time as we roll out legislation. We also have two Houses of Parliament in this country, both of which traditionally are able to send one item or another to the other level of Parliament. I do not think we should denigrate each other for doing that. If members on the other side come up with a good piece of legislation, we should thank them for that and carry on. Why is it so hard to say, “This is a good piece of legislation and we are going to support it”, or, “We think it's a good piece of legislation and maybe if we did this, this and this, it would make it better”, instead of talking down the other side.

Canadians' poor opinions of politicians is a result of our back and forth and not respecting each other. If we would do a bit of that, maybe when we go into our ridings, politicians collectively would be appreciated more. That is just an intervention.

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March 7th, 2013 / 4:55 p.m.
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NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I really welcome that intervention, because I, of course, started this group hug that the member is seeking by saying that I will be supporting this bill. Let me, in return, commend some of my bills to him where I would really appreciate his support as well, so that it really does become a mutual relationship.

In particular, one thing that is important to people in my community, and the building trades right across the country, in this time of economic turmoil, is a bill that would give tax credits to people in the building and construction trades for their travel and accommodations when they travel to work sites. That is a bill that has been championed by the building trades for over 30 years now, both with Liberal and Conservative governments, and they are chomping at the bit. It seems to me that when the government talks about the skills shortage we are facing in this country, this would be the perfect time. In the spirit of co-operation, I look forward to the member issuing a press release saying that he is onside with that positive initiative at this critical time in our economy.

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March 7th, 2013 / 4:55 p.m.
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NDP

Denis Blanchette NDP Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup.

My first comment concerns the numbering of the bill: S-9. This bill was in fact introduced in the Senate on behalf of the Minister of Finance. I find that regrettable. He could have introduced it in the House. I do not understand why, and I will come back to the reason I do not understand why that was not done.

It is very important to understand the background. I will not address the very specific points in the bill, because they have been covered almost completely, but I will talk about what follows. We are in a situation where we are complying with an international agreement: the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which was drafted in 1980. There was a series of events and meetings in which, under the auspices of the United Nations, countries worked together to reduce the risk related to nuclear issues.

Everyone in fact recognizes that when nuclear material is used for other than peaceful purposes, it is disastrous. First of all, it is not armies that are attacked with nuclear weapons: it is civilians, the environment, and life on our planet. That is where the debate has to begin.

What surprises me greatly—and a number of people have pointed this out—is the time the government has taken to introduce legislation. It is not something that has been discussed only since yesterday. Everyone has spoken about the 2005 Convention, of course, but there was something else that followed. There was brief mention of United Nations Resolution 1540. Mention could also have been made of Resolution 1887 on non-proliferation, the Washington Summit in 2010 or the Seoul Conference in 2012.

On all those occasions, the international community undertook collectively to reduce the nuclear threat. So what was our fine government doing all that time? Nothing, and less than nothing, because this government is not interested in what happens beyond our borders, unless we are talking about trade.

When we talk about anything other than trade, it is slow going. You might say that this government does not understand that Canada is a country with neighbours, and we have to live at peace with each other. How is it that they have taken years to present legislation here to which, on the whole, everyone is agreeable? It was no great labour to prepare this 10-page bill. It was not for lack of time. Years have gone by. You cannot convince me that there was no time to do the job. You only have to look at the time it has taken at the various stages to realize that there is no logical reason why it has required so much time.

The only reason is that the Conservative government is not interested in international politics. It takes an interest only in petty adjustments, or for specific reasons.

It is high time the government gave more consideration to the international aspect. It is one of the government’s responsibilities to see to our international relations. Yet it pays little attention to them.

Today, I am happy that it wishes to secure passage for legislation to ratify an international convention. On the other hand, I would also have liked it to address other international conventions to which Canada is a signatory. I am thinking of, for example, the Kyoto protocol, an obligation we failed to meet.

A word comes to mind: pathetic. It is pathetic that this government is incapable of taking its international relations in hand. It is pathetic that this government is incapable of taking responsibility for its international commitments.

I quite simply do not understand why the government does not understand that this is an important part of its mandate. In 2015, a New Democratic government will pay attention to its international commitments.

We are presented here with a bill that talks about repression, punishing criminals, and the fact that the nuclear issue is dangerous. No problem with that. However, it has to be looked at in a more global context. We can discuss criminalization, but have we also talked about prevention? In our international relations, how do we manage to reduce the risk of problems related to nuclear issues? What have we done in recent years? What has this government done in recent years to develop a dialogue in order to reduce the nuclear threat?

We have to face it: nuclear weapons have become almost affordable. It is frightening to think that this kind of possibility can be available to people who do not think of the consequences it would have for all forms of life on this planet. I do not want malicious people to be given an excuse to use these technologies.

Whenever people talk about non-proliferation or helping people in other countries to emerge from poverty, they will be helping to reduce the problem. That is less repressive.

Lastly, when people work on nuclear weapons, it is because they feel insecure. Insecurity is what makes people seek to barricade themselves. That is what makes them want to attack others. Recently, once again, a spokesperson for North Korea was threatening the United States in this fashion. It is fear that drives people to act.

What is being done to address those fears? What is being done to develop better relations with our neighbours? When you return home, you try to have good relations with them so that things go well, and in order to promote harmony among ourselves and in our communities. When you are responsible for managing a country, your neighbours are other countries. I wonder what this government is doing to make relations with other countries as harmonious as possible.

Rest assured that if we aim at that, if we combat proliferation and if we want to reduce poverty in the world, we will achieve as much as we will with this bill, if not more.

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March 7th, 2013 / 5:05 p.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his speech. He is always very thoughtful and looks much beyond to the bigger picture.

I had the privilege a few years ago of attending a meeting of an all-party organization committee that was looking at identifying triggers for intervention in matters of serious concern. Obviously, one might be preventing nuclear proliferation. It was a committee that included Senator Dallaire and the representative for Ottawa Centre.

To my surprise and delight, one of those five triggers was climate change. It was seen as a serious security threat to the planet. I am pleased that my hon. colleague has raised that issue. Many around the world have identified climate change as the most serious security threat to the planet. As I understand, world leaders and businessmen at Davos, at the meeting this year, identified the greatest security threat and the greatest economic threat as climate change.

I wonder if the member could speak to that and about the fact that the Senate crushed our bill.

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March 7th, 2013 / 5:05 p.m.
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NDP

Denis Blanchette NDP Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.

True, climate change will cause significant disturbances. In the history of mankind, whenever there have been major disturbances on our planet, there have been crises.

As I said in my speech, because nuclear weapons are unfortunately becoming almost affordable for certain groups now, if we do not address all the problems confronting our planet on a global basis, there is no doubt that at some point, someone will blow a gasket and do something irreparable.

I agree with my colleague. It is absolutely essential to tackle all problems not with a top-down approach, but comprehensively. We really have to develop a global vision of harmonious relations among ourselves.

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March 7th, 2013 / 5:05 p.m.
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NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his very humane speech.

Further to the idea of humanity, this bill on nuclear terrorism that comes from the Senate does not necessarily contain minimum sentences. To have those, it would have had to come from the House of Commons, whose members are elected.

Thus, I would like to hear what the hon. member thinks about the fact that this super-important bill ought to have been introduced by the government. In five years, the government has presented no bills on this matter, and here we must take a position on a bill that we have not studied in our own committees.

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March 7th, 2013 / 5:10 p.m.
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NDP

Denis Blanchette NDP Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.

The hon. member's question speaks to the entire issue of governmental irresponsibility. They have had ample time to act. I have the impression that they are now hurrying to pass this bill because there are international treaties to be respected and it would make them look good. Of course, we are looking at the criminal aspect of it and conforming to an international convention Canada has signed—which is the right thing to do—but I would have liked to go further and look at the problem in full.

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March 7th, 2013 / 5:10 p.m.
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NDP

François Lapointe NDP Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, are we debating the colour of margarine today? No, we are not.

Today we are debating an important public safety issue, a major issue. Once again, our colleagues opposite, who unfortunately form a majority government, are not getting up on their hind legs—to put it mildly—to contribute to the debate.

This is a Parliament. Gentlemen, you are parliamentarians. We are very well paid to take part in debates in this House. Like millions of Canadians, I am tired of watching you sit there and do nothing while we are discussing such important matters. Moreover, we are talking about their very own bill—

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March 7th, 2013 / 5:10 p.m.
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NDP

François Lapointe NDP Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, history will describe this government's behaviour during the 41st Parliament as a blot on the history of Canada's parliamentary system. In 5 or 10 years, that is what we will remember of the shoddy work being done by the members opposite and their lack of attention.

We are talking about Bill S-9, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, which was introduced by the current government. We will be supporting this bill, but just because we are supporting it, that does not mean that we are not doing our jobs as parliamentarians or that we will not take the time to make comments and analyze it.

This bill amends the Criminal Code in order to implement criminal law requirements set out in two international treaties designed to fight terrorism: the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which was amended in 2005, and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

Major events over the past decades—events that were turning points in the history of humanity—brought about the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Bill S-9.

In 1942, physicist Enrico Fermi and his team succeeded in developing the first nuclear reactor. The team was not attempting to recover the energy during that experiment, but the nuclear stations that we have been using since the 1970s are based on the same principle.

For fear of seeing Nazi Germany producing an atomic weapon, this experiment was not immediately put to use in the civilian realm, but it did make it possible to begin producing plutonium, a byproduct of uranium or enriched uranium that has undergone a nuclear reaction. Plutonium was used to create the first atomic bombs.

It is disturbing to see that, since day one, there has been no clear line between the civilian industry and the military-industrial complex when it comes to nuclear technology. This shows just how dangerous this industry is. We learned that lesson the hard way. In 1988, the Chernobyl disaster released 400 times more radioactive material into the atmosphere than the Hiroshima bomb and may have killed up to 4,000 people, according to the World Health Organization. Other organizations estimate that 200,000 people contracted cancer and died as a result of this incident.

More recently, on March 11, 2011, there was the Fukushima disaster in Japan. The structure of the reactors was allegedly damaged immediately following the earthquake, before the tsunami even hit. This major nuclear accident was rated as a level 7 incident, the highest rating on the International Nuclear Event Scale, placing it on par with the Chernobyl disaster.

As we were figuring out just how dangerous the nuclear industry was, major events that have now been in the news for decades were emerging, for example, terrorism centred on serious and even mass destruction. An extreme right-wing political movement with paramilitary tendencies blew up a federal building, killing 168 people and injuring 680 others in the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995.

The infamous September 11, 2001, attacks committed by religious fundamentalists killed 2,977 people. Very recently, in 2011, a lone, depraved right-wing extremist, Anders Behring Breivik, perpetrated an attack in Norway. He killed eight people in a bombing, and then used an automatic weapon to kill 69 young people who had committed no crime other than belonging to a political party.

This is what brings us to what I call the fear equation, which is completely justified, in the general population in the west, in Quebec and in Canada. Could a religious extremist group use a plane or any other kind of suicide attack on a nuclear plant? Yes, it is plausible, unfortunately. If someone like a future Anders Breivik had a small nuclear bomb in his possession, because unfortunately it is now technically possible to make small nuclear bombs, would he be so disgraceful or be so lacking in humanity that he would detonate a similar device in the middle of a federal government building? Everyone can see that the answer is yes, unfortunately, something like that could happen.

I would like to digress briefly and talk about something that is extremely important to me. The way of the future could defuse this scenario.

In the 1970s, some technologies were set aside because there was probably a desire for enriched uranium to make nuclear bombs. For example, there is the molten salt nuclear reactor that the Chinese are currently focusing on. It is not developed in Canada. China will surpass us in this area. In this type of reactor, nuclear fuel is in the form of salt with a low melting point. The reactor does not need to be stopped to extract the fusion products. Using the thorium cycle produces only 0.1% of the half-life radioactive waste that a reactor like the ones we are using produces. I repeat, it is 0.1% without enriched uranium.

This is a tangent, but it is very important for the future. If we do not make safe technological choices now, our children—my grandson who may one day be in this House—in 30, 40 or 50 years, will still be debating the potential threats. So let us make choices today that, technologically speaking, will not put our children in terribly dangerous situations in 30 or 40 years.

We will therefore be supporting this bill, which covers four important points. It creates new criminal offences punishable by life imprisonment for the possession of or trafficking in nuclear material, or for committing or forcing others to commit an attack against a nuclear facility. It creates a new offence punishable by life imprisonment for anyone who commits a criminal offence under this legislation. Furthermore, it creates a new offence punishable by up to 14 years’ imprisonment for threatening to commit any of the three new offences.

These clauses reflect the kind of fear—what I called the fear equation earlier—people have regarding these kinds of terrorist acts and such a dangerous technology, which exists in our society. We will therefore be supporting this bill.

However, the cost has not yet been determined. These new criminal offences and the added pressures on Canada's extradition regime could increase public safety costs. Furthermore, measures to improve the physical protection of nuclear material and nuclear facilities will definitely mean additional costs. This bill came from the Senate. The financial cost has not yet been assessed or reported.

It is very important that the Senate work on that aspect during the second phase of work on this bill. I hope that senators will be at work for more than just 50 or 60 days this year and that we will not end up with a botched bill at the end of all this. If that is the case, we will not be able to support the bill, not because it does not address a basic need, but rather because it would have been botched by senators who show up to work for only 50 days of the year.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 5:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, on the speech by the hon. member, as the member of Parliament for Burlington I was not sent here just to make repetitive speeches in the House and say the same thing over and over again. I was sent here to vote and move legislation forward.

If the previous speaker and the hon. member's party are serious about moving this forward, and everyone in the House is supportive, why are we not voting on it? Is it not hypocritical that we could be voting on it and moving on to other legislation? Instead, the opposition put up speaker after speaker. Is that not hypocritical?

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March 7th, 2013 / 5:20 p.m.
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NDP

François Lapointe NDP Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, what can I say?

The contempt for the very essence of the parliamentary system is so great on the other side of the House that the Conservatives are now redefining what a parliament should be. If they were honest in their approach to the parliamentary system, they would adopt a motion in the House to change the name of the House of Commons to something like “Let's botch this quick and pass everything without debating too much!” I do not know how we could sum it up in one word.

If there were any consistency in their way of thinking, they would even refuse to be called parliamentarians and they would move a completely ridiculous motion, one that would be dismissive of 175 years of traditions that have allowed people to speak out about bills. They would at least be somewhat consistent, but they definitely would not have my support for their scornful attitude towards the Canadian parliamentary system and parliamentary government in general.

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March 7th, 2013 / 5:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have a different type of question for the member.

When we talk about nuclear terrorism, there is always the question of what is happening around the world, which is very real. Ultimately, though, many Canadians are also concerned about nuclear plants and other industries located physically here in Canada.

I am interested in knowing to what degree the member believes we need to see the government put more effort into working with the provinces to establish a communication network to ensure that safety is first and foremost here in Canada, that our facilities are being protected in the best way they can be, that there are very real emergency scenarios and that the government could minimize any threat of nuclear terrorism right here in Canada.

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March 7th, 2013 / 5:20 p.m.
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NDP

François Lapointe NDP Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the questions posed by my colleague from Winnipeg North are often very general. I will try to do my best based on a general understanding of the situation.

I wonder if members remember the isotope crisis. A certain commission president suggested that a nuclear facility be closed. The government intervened, inappropriately in my opinion, and went against her recommendations.

More specifically, I believe that my colleague is right to be concerned by this government's lack of judgment when it comes to nuclear safety. We should ensure that the recommendations and operating mechanisms are strictly observed in future so that we do not end up with a situation that is as disturbing as the one where a member of the nuclear safety commission is overruled by someone who is by no means an expert, but just an elected member.

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March 7th, 2013 / 5:25 p.m.
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NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to speak to this important bill. Obviously my colleagues have shared some of the key points surrounding the bill and the important steps it takes when it comes to something as vital as violent nuclear acts that harm people to the point of actually taking people's lives. We truly support the expansive approach and the changes that were made to strengthen Canada's legislation when it comes to these kinds of acts.

Since I have limited time, I would like to focus on the fact that the government took so long. I heard members previously ask why we are debating this. The irony is that we are now in 2013, the government was first elected in 2006, and it took seven long years for the government to bring this kind of bill forward to this stage in spite of being in a majority position for the last two years.

Our point is it should not have taken this long if it was so important. However, at the moment that it does come to the House, our role as members of Parliament is to debate the issues ahead of us, make sure that due diligence is done when it comes to the legislation in front of us and raise the voices of Canadians, whether they agree or disagree with the legislation being put forward.

Unfortunately, the government has not paid much respect to that approach. We have seen the government apply closure, I believe 28 times, in the House on various pieces of legislation. It has essentially silenced MPs from bringing forward key concerns—and more importantly, the voices of Canadians—when legislation is in front of us.

That is not acceptable. It goes against our basic reason for being here as members of Parliament. It raises the question of why Canadians would be interested in the work of Parliament if we are not here to speak out on their behalf and if they cannot tune in to Parliament to hear the positions of their communities and organizations being put forward on these bills.

Debate is clearly important, and we would like to highlight some of the important pieces of the bill. Bill S-9 reinforces Canada's obligation under UN Security Council resolution 1540 to take and enforce effective measures to prevent the proliferation of nuclear materials, as well as chemical and biological weapons. If the implementation of a treaty requires amendments to Canadian legislation, the treaty is ratified only when such amendments or new legislation has been passed.

Unfortunately, Canada has not ratified either the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material nor the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. This is because Canada does not yet have legislation in place to criminalize the offences outlined in both of these documents.

Today is an important step. The debate here is an important step in giving a bill like this its due diligence. I know hard work was done by our members and the NDP at the committee level. We certainly encourage the government to take seriously our need to be leaders at the international level, whether it is dealing with nuclear weapons or whatever it may be, and to truly show leadership.

Canada is well-known for the leadership it has taken in the past on the international stage. We hope that the Conservative government will change course, support healthy debate, and take the steps, without waiting for years to go by, to make sure that Canada is once again showing leadership on the issues that matter for us and for people around the world.

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November 30th, 2012 / 10:05 a.m.
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NDP

Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Scarborough—Rouge River.

Today, I am pleased to rise in the House to speak to Bill S-9, introduced by the hon. Marjory LeBreton.

I would like to being by recognizing the work done by the senator on this initiative, the purpose of which is to ensure that Canada honours the international commitments it made in 2005 in relation to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

Historically, Canada has been an important leader on the international scene, in spite of the pitfalls encountered in recent years. This country has distinguished itself by its proactive approach, by honouring its commitments and by its significant support for international law. It is therefore important to lay the legislative groundwork for ratifying these two conventions.

These conventions are the product of negotiated agreements and extensive work done with the objective of making our world safer and more secure. In 2005, Canada committed itself to enhancing security around activities relating to nuclear energy. At the nuclear security summits held in 2010 and 2012, Canada reiterated that commitment, with a view to the 2014 summit. In terms of both physical protection and potential acts of terrorism, Canada has committed itself to taking action to contain these problems.

By signing these two conventions, Canada committed itself to ratifying the agreements negotiated by the international community.

At present, 56 countries have already ratified the treaty, but Canada has still not done so. Bill S-9 is therefore a welcome initiative, since it will eventually bring us closer to formally implementing these conventions and ensuring a more uniform enforcement internationally.

Seven years have passed, and it is now time for action to honour those agreements. Usually, our parliamentary caucus is not open to bills coming from the Senate, because that institution is not elected. However, we agree that the technical aspect of this legislation, in the sense that it is a matter of honouring our international commitments, makes it more acceptable.

Bill S-9, the Nuclear Terrorism Act, is a step toward eventual ratification of the commitments relating to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

There are many aspects to this legislation. First of all, it makes it formally and explicitly illegal to possess, use or dispose of nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device. It also makes it illegal to use or alter nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device. At the same time, it formally prohibits the commission of any act against a nuclear facility or its operations. Finally, it makes it illegal to threaten to commit any of the other three offences.

Bill S-9 introduces and defines several key terms related to nuclear and radioactive concerns, including “nuclear facility”, “nuclear material”, “radioactive material” and “device”.

It also amends the definition of “terrorist activity” and broadens the legal scope of these measures, meaning that an individual can be prosecuted in Canadian courts even if the offences are committed outside our borders.

It is also important to note that wiretap provisions have been introduced so that warrants can be issued in the event of offences related to this legislation.

This legislation also amends the notion of double jeopardy. Therefore, if someone is prosecuted by a foreign court for a crime under Bill S-9, but that trial does not meet certain basic Canadian legal standards, that person can be tried again in Canada for the same crime.

In short, Bill S-9 covers several legal issues and therefore warrants careful consideration and a more thorough examination in committee, especially since it is a question of defining new legal terms and broadening the application of Canadian laws. Our parliamentary branch recognizes how important it is for Canada to meet its international obligations, which Bill S-9 largely does. However, certain deficiencies have been identified and warrant careful consideration.

On the one hand, in some respects, the proposed measure goes too far. Some components of the bill have an overly broad scope. We want to make sure, for instance, that the provisions related to wiretaps do not go too far, and more importantly, that they do not violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The crimes outlawed by this legislation are serious, but we must respect the surrounding legal framework.

On the other hand, Senator LeBreton's initiative does not go far enough. All the same, we commend the Liberal amendment that aims at prohibiting the production of nuclear or radioactive devices, without which the bill would not comply with the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

We also have reservations about the penalties. We want to make sure that the penalties will be appropriate and that they will correspond to the convention's expectation that these offences will be dealt with severely. At the same time, we believe it is necessary to take steps to strengthen the security of nuclear facilities. We do not want government action to be based solely on the legal aspects. We must also be sure that measures are taken to guarantee the security of facilities themselves.

Our position on Bill S-9 is going to be pragmatic and conciliatory. As has been stated, the bill does contain some positive elements, but there are also some not insignificant shortcomings, which could be remedied through amendments. This is why we will be voting in favour of this measure, so that the process will run its course. I would like to remind my colleagues how important it is that the initiative by the hon. Marjory LeBreton be sent to committee for discussion.

Together, we will be able to work on improving it and strengthening its positive impact. When we have an opportunity to debate and discuss this issue, parliamentarians will also be able to understand the proposed policy more fully. The legal scope of this bill and its complexity demand that parliamentarians give it particular attention.

On the other hand, the government must also show good faith by accepting the opposition's amendments, intended as they are to improve Bill S-9. Such multi-party dialogue will lead to better legislation for Canadians, as well as for national and international security.

To conclude, I want the members of this House to give some thought to how they will vote on Bill S-9. They should give some thought to the importance of complying with international conventions, the importance of filling the gaps in the senator’s initiative and the importance of pinpointing the problems relating to nuclear and radioactive issues.

Let us send this bill to committee, so that we can implement a just and effective policy.

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

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the speech by my colleague from Saint-Lambert concerning this important bill.

Every time we discuss the international convention on nuclear safety and that there are international concerns in that regard, we always talk about the urgent need for action. This convention was signed in 2005 and it is now 2012. Legislation to ratify this convention will probably not even pass before 2013.

The years are passing and the urgent need for action is always at the forefront of discussions. Therefore, can my colleague talk about the fact that the government has not been very proactive and has not set a good example internationally in terms of ratifying this convention and amending legislation in order to proceed with ratifying this convention in a more reasonable timeframe?

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

Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. The nuclear issue is truly very important. The time it takes for this government to ratify international conventions is a major problem.

Many countries have already taken a position on this nuclear issue, and some of them are real leaders in this area. It is truly regrettable that Canada has not taken a position on this issue sooner.

However, today we are debating a bill that will really allow us to make up for lost time and to take the most appropriate course of action.

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November 30th, 2012 / 10:15 a.m.
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NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, of course, it is important for us to conform to the treaties to which we are a party. However, it seems that some modifications may be made, and we are supporting the bill to go to committee.

I note that the bill has been amended already in the Senate, to add a provision to make the manufacturing of a radioactive device a criminal offence. I wonder if that means a little more study is required. There are many types of radioactive devices, some of which are medical in nature and used for purposes of X-rays and different types of medical procedures. Is this one of the reasons we need to have further study on the bill, because it is highly technical in nature?

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November 30th, 2012 / 10:15 a.m.
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NDP

Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. The issue of safety and criminal offences is an important one. In my speech, I emphasized that this bill must be referred to committee in order for us to truly have the opportunity to study it and to make constructive and positive suggestions about this bill and different nuclear devices. It is very important that this bill be improved and that new provisions also be heard.

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November 30th, 2012 / 10:15 a.m.
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NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague's speech. It