Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act

An Act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and other Acts

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.

Sponsor

Steven Blaney  Conservative

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 Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act to give greater protection to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s human sources. Also, so as to enable the Service to more effectively investigate threats to the security of Canada, the enactment clarifies the scope of the Service’s mandate and confirms the jurisdiction of the Federal Court to issue warrants that have effect outside Canada. In addition, it makes a consequential amendment to the Access to Information Act.

The enactment also amends the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act to allow for the coming into force of provisions relating to the revocation of Canadian citizenship on a different day than the day on which certain other provisions of that Act come into force.

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

Feb. 2, 2015 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
Jan. 28, 2015 Passed That Bill C-44, An Act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and other Acts, {as amended}, be concurred in at report stage [with a further amendment/with further amendments] .
Jan. 28, 2015 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-44, An Act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and other Acts, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at report stage of the Bill and one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at report stage and on the day allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the Bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
Nov. 18, 2014 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-44, An Act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and other Acts, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2015 / 10:50 a.m.
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NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Saint-Lambert for raising that question in the House. I think it is very important because the time is right. We will be talking about public safety and national security a lot in 2015. This issue is extremely important to most Canadians. It is important to talk about it now in the House, to try to find a consensus and to come up with good ideas for the solutions we need.

The first step is to look to our communities to see what is happening there. Many of our colleagues want to know what is going on in their community. Is radicalization happening? Are things different on the ground? There are also people who go to observe what is happening outside the country. The Charlie Hebdo attacks had a profound impact on us. The French are going through similar experiences to ours. People went to see what was happening there and to talk to people in these communities, and they realized, in the end, that the problems we are seeing here are very similar to those experienced by our French colleagues, friends and cousins across the ocean. Our fight against radicalization should be founded on an understanding of exactly what is happening on the ground .

Furthermore, we need to place more trust in our police forces, whether we are talking about the RCMP, provincial police forces, border services officers or CSIS agents. These people work on the ground and they understand the dynamics. We must give them the tools they need.

In conclusion, my colleague mentioned at the beginning of her comments that the NDP is a champion of balancing public safety and civil liberties. We demonstrated this in committee with the various amendments we proposed to ensure that there would be a balance between the two.

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January 30th, 2015 / 10:55 a.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I assume that the House is continuing the discussion on this bill following question period. My remarks then will certainly be curtailed because for some reason the government has called a briefing on the new combating terrorism act, or whatever it may call it, at 11:30, which is halfway through question period, and that will go through to 12:30 p.m. Because of the actions of the government, I will not be able to conclude my speech. It is startling that the Conservatives would call a briefing during question period when members are supposed to be here.

Instead of taking time to duplicate the discussion, the member for Alfred-Pellan talked about what happened at committee. I agree with her comments. The ability of the committee to do its work was certainly curtailed. I think we had six witnesses, which is just not adequate to do the job, especially with all the pomp and ceremony by the government and its line that it is fighting terrorism and that the bill is so important. We will see what is in the new bill coming forward this afternoon.

This bill really does absolutely nothing to address the national security concerns that resulted from the recent events in Quebec and Ottawa. It simply amends legislation to meet current CSIS practices and expedites amendments to citizenship and immigration from Bill C-24. We raised with the minister in the House and at committee the point that the government must explain why it is not using existing legislation and the relevant provisions of the Criminal Code. Here I refer to preventive arrest and section 83 of the Criminal Code, whereunder someone, if they are planning, attempting to, or leaving the country to operate with a terrorist entity abroad, can face from 10 to 14 years in prison. We have never had an answer from the government why those sections of the law are not being utilized, specifically subsection 83.18(1). Peace bonds have only been used very rarely, but they are another way of taking people off the streets.

The bill contains provisions related to clarifying CSIS' ability to operate internationally, although according to the deputy commissioner of CSIS in testimony to the Senate national security committee, it will not alter its ability to operate internationally, which it has been doing historically. The bill as well does provide protections to sources abroad. These are similar to the protections provided to informants in domestic cases. We are supportive of that. We have to be supportive of those who work with CSIS in carrying out its duties.

I will close by saying that we will be supporting the bill. We have some concerns about the bill in that the Minister of Public Safety is not required to inform the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of National Defence on activities abroad. That is a concern we raised and we stand by it, but we will be supporting the bill.

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January 30th, 2015 / 12:10 p.m.
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Scarborough Centre Ontario

Conservative

Roxanne James ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour.

I am very pleased to be here today to join in the debate on Bill C-44, the protection of Canada from terrorists act. Before I go into the particulars of the bill, I would like to speak about how our government has been committed to keeping our streets and communities safe by supporting the global fight against terrorist threats since we were first elected in 2006.

As we have seen, the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada and her allies. In fact, several hundred Canadians have been killed or injured in terrorist attack incidents in Canada and abroad over the past number of decades. This includes the 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182, which was planned and executed on our soil and killed 280 innocent Canadians. It also includes the terrorist attacks of 9/11, in which 24 Canadians lost their lives.

To guard against these domestic and international terrorist threats, our government is using a multi-pronged approach. For example, in 2007, our government implemented the passenger protect program, which identifies individuals who may pose a threat to aviation security and disrupts their ability to cause harm or threaten aviation by preventing them from boarding aircraft.

As we are all aware, on October 7, 2014, the House passed a motion to support the government's decision to join coalition efforts to counter ISIL. Canada's military mission is in addition to the significant humanitarian, development, and security assistance Canada is already contributing to Iraq. Like all peace-loving nations, Canada has put a clear focus on countering terrorist acts and on working together with our international allies in all aspects.

Over the past several years, global conflicts and the factors that drive terrorism have continued to evolve. Our efforts to combat terrorism include strengthening our laws to deter terrorist-related activities within our borders and to support Canadians who fall victim to these acts.

For example, our government has listed terrorist entities under the Criminal Code. This sends a strong message that Canada will not condone terrorist activity. We also passed the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and related amendments to the State Immunity Act, which allows victims of terrorism to sue perpetrators of terrorism and those who support them, including listed foreign states, for loss or damage that occurred as a result of an act of terrorism committed anywhere in the world.

Canada continues to work hard to secure its borders at home while also working with international partners to combat terrorist threats overseas. These actions are laid out clearly in Canada's counterterrorism strategy, launched in 2012, entitled “Building Resilience Against Terrorism”. It speaks frankly about the terrorist threats we face at home and abroad and the importance of strong partnerships and collaboration with government, security agencies, law enforcement, and community groups, among others. It underscores our contribution to the global effort to counter the terrorist threat.

Canada's counterterrorism strategy is composed of four elements: prevent, detect, deny, and respond to terrorism. It sets out a clear approach for Canada to address terrorism, with a focus on building community resilience. A resilient society challenges and rejects the ideas and values associated with violent extremism and works together to mitigate the impact of a terrorist attack.

While governments today are better prepared to detect and prevent these acts, terrorist groups continue to evolve and develop their capabilities just as rapidly and to plan attacks against new targets and interests.

Without a doubt, the threat posed by homegrown violent extremists, individuals who seek to harm others in pursuit of overtly political, religious, or ideological objectives, is an important challenge facing many democratic nations today, not just Canada. There is a real concern that new and evolving conflicts in the world may lure young people to engage in violent extremist activities at home and abroad.

Canada, like all nations, has a responsibility to guard against its citizens travelling to areas of turmoil and to prevent its citizens from participating in terrorist acts abroad.

We must also be prepared for those who return home. Battle hardened and imbued with real-life terrorist ideology, some of them will be highly skilled potential domestic terrorist actors. Perhaps more importantly, they will have tremendous legitimacy in the eyes of other aspiring foreign fighters. They will have acquired both the credibility and charisma required for them to act as guides, mentors, and radicalization agents in their own right.

That is why our government passed the Combating Terrorism Act, legislation that ensures that Canada has the tools it needs to combat crime and terrorism to protect its citizens.

Particular to that legislation was a provision intended to deter persons from leaving Canada to attend terrorist training camps or to engage in other terrorist activities abroad. Through this provision, our government closed an important gap in the current laws.

Recent court decisions, however, necessitate that we amend the CSIS Act to address important questions that have been raised about CSIS's mandate and investigative authorities. That is why we have introduced Bill C-44, the protection of Canada from terrorists act.

By amending the CSIS Act, Bill C-44 would do a number of things. It would confirm both CSIS' s authority to conduct its investigations outside of Canada and the Federal Court's jurisdiction to issue warrants authorizing CSIS to undertake certain activities abroad to investigate threats to the security of Canada. It would clarify that the Federal Court only needs to consider relevant Canadian law when deciding whether to issue warrants that give CSIS the authority to undertake certain intrusive activities to investigate a threat to the security of Canada from outside our borders. It would also protect the identity of CSIS human sources from disclosure, akin to those same protections afforded to police informers, and it would protect the identity of very important CSIS employees who are likely to become engaged in future covert activities.

Additionally, Bill C-44 introduces technical amendments to the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act that would enable the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens who are convicted of terrorism, high treason, and treason or spying offences, depending on the sentence received.

Our government believes that this legislation will help us uphold the fundamental rights and liberties of Canadians and that these powers will be used judiciously.

The reality is that no government can guarantee that it will be able to prevent all terrorist attacks each and every time. Nevertheless, we are taking strong action through our counterterrorism strategy and through legislation that is before us today, Bill C-44, to address terrorism in its many forms to ensure that our streets and communities are safe.

I therefore urge all members to support the swift passage of this legislation.

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January 30th, 2015 / 12:20 p.m.
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NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, there was a briefing this morning, I believe, on this legislation. Of course, on a Friday morning, as anyone familiar with Parliament would know, a third of all members are here and at least two-thirds, from all sides, are not in the city. We tend to return to our ridings.

The briefing also took place during question period, so of those members who were actually in the capital, I would imagine that almost all of us were engaged here in question period doing our job holding the government to account.

My question is twofold. One, is the government open and available to having a briefing for MPs that could happen at a time when MPs are actually able to attend so we can understand what is often a complex piece of legislation?

The second piece is a more broad question. I listened to the hon. member's comments, but I did not hear this aspect. It is about the radicalization piece and stopping the flow of sometimes Canadians, sometimes young people, who end up radicalized. This has been a struggle that has perhaps had more conversation in Europe and among some of our other allies yet not necessarily as much as it needs to here in Canada.

We have heard some of the aspects of the bill. I still have to read the briefing report, because I was here in question period, on denying travel and intervening for those who seek to go abroad. Yet we saw that the incidents, as best we know, that happened here on Parliament Hill and at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu did not have those elements of international radicalization. They were, as we say, homegrown terrorists.

The first question was around the government's willingness to provide a briefing that MPs can actually attend, including Conservative MPs, of course. The second is around the idea of how we stop the radicalization of people in the first place, be they from Canada or abroad.

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January 30th, 2015 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Roxanne James Conservative Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the question speaks to the fact that the New Democrats are not attuned to the real threat of terrorism in this country.

The member asked about a briefing that he said took place today regarding the bill. There was no briefing on this bill today. We are here in the House debating Bill C-44, the protection of Canada from terrorists act.

I will go back to the reasons that this bill was brought forward.

The bill was actually supposed to be tabled on the same day that the terrorist attacks took place in Ottawa. Sadly, events unfolded, and the legislation was brought forward a short time thereafter. The bill seeks to clarify the act to allow and give the authority for our Canadian Security Intelligence Service to continue operating overseas.

Can members imagine for a moment if our Security Intelligence Service were limited by the borders that surround Canada? In committee, members of the opposition voted against this bill, and I am sure they are going to vote against it again when it comes to a vote in this House, even though the opposition members bring up questions about radicalization overseas.

There was a question brought forward by an NDP member on that committee with regard to revocation of a passport from someone who has travelled overseas. The question asked was, “What if they wanted to come back?”

Terrorism is not about a day at the beach. This is a serious issue, and I wish that the New Democrats would actually take this serious issue—

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January 30th, 2015 / 12:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Adam Vaughan Liberal Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, if there is one issue for which we would hope partisan sniping would be suspended, it is this one. All of us in this House want to make Canada more secure.

The issue in front of us is that we know there is a second piece of legislation that is supposedly being tabled and perhaps unveiled in another part of the country today. The briefing for this companion piece of legislation was held simultaneously with question period and at a time when most members of Parliament from all sides of the House are not in Ottawa.

A legitimate question that did not get an answer was this: will you hold a second briefing so that we can understand the complexity and the nature of the legislation, legislation that you are talking about outside the House and outside the capital region? It is a fair question, and it deserves a fair answer, rather than a cheap shot back.

My second question is very similar to my colleague's as well. The critical issue is trying to figure out what is creating this circumstance. What is creating the conditions that lead to radicalization, which in turn leads to acts of terrorism? This is a significant question. In fact, the leader of the Liberal Party has often spoken about dealing with the root causes of terrorism, as opposed to simply dealing with the symptoms of terrorism.

What would this bill do about root causes, and why, when your party talks about root causes, is it proactive, but when we do, is it something to be criticized?

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January 30th, 2015 / 12:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Roxanne James Conservative Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, as that member knows, we have already publicly said that we would offer additional briefings on the future bill, which is certainly not the one we are talking about today in the House, which is a bill we have been debating for quite some time. I would like to make sure that all members who are present are aware that we have already said we would offer additional briefings.

The briefing that was offered was offered out of courtesy, and it was offered today with regard to the future bill, which has been tabled, in order to avoid offending the conventions of parliamentary privilege. I think everyone in the House already knows that.

With respect to the bill we are debating today, it is important to complete this bill and have it receive royal assent. We have to do everything possible to ensure that our security agencies have the authority to operate overseas and to protect their informants in the same way as other police and law enforcement agencies do across this country.

The measures that are included in Bill C-44 are common sense measures. The bill is a result of recent court questions that called into question the authority of CSIS to do these types of things. The reality is clear. This act had not been changed for almost 30 years.

The bill that is before us is important. Why the NDP continues to vote against something as common sense as the measures included in this bill, I have absolutely no idea.

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January 30th, 2015 / 12:25 p.m.
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Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo B.C.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour and for Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, first of all I want to clarify that we are discussing Bill C-44 today. Bill C-51 was recently tabled, and we look forward to some very important debate on this complementary legislation for protecting Canadians.

I rise in support of the protection of Canada from terrorists act, which is another important step taken by our government to protect Canada against terrorism. We are looking at amending two key pieces of legislation. This bill would strengthen our response to so-called extremist terrorist travellers and confirm the tool kits of our security agencies.

Before highlighting the most important amendments, let me situate this legislation within a global context and explain how it would build on our existing legislation and policy.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, has become a household name around the world. It is destabilizing Iraq and Syria while carrying out horrific acts against innocent people. As members know, as part of international coalition, Canada's CF-18 fighter jets are targeting ISIL forces in Iraq. We have joined our allies in this fight because we know that groups like ISIL pose a serious threat not just to regional security but to the citizens of Canada as well.

However, the fight against terrorism does not take place only under foreign skies. Every day, along our borders, in front of our computer screens, within our communities, and with our partners, Canada's intelligence security and law enforcement agencies are standing on guard against terrorism. They carry out their work guided by the four tenets of Canada's counterterrorism strategy, which are prevent, detect, deny, and respond. They are supported by legislation passed by Parliament, which includes the Combating Terrorism Act, for example, which makes it illegal to leave or attempt to leave Canada with a view to committing certain terrorism offences outside the country. Indeed, the RCMP laid its first charges under that act last summer.

The landscape for terrorism, however, is rapidly evolving, and our agencies need better tools to keep Canadians safe and secure. Members may want to consider the findings of the 2014 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada. In 2013, Canada added six groups to the list of terrorist entities, bringing the total to 53. Moreover, as early as 2014, the government had identified approximately 145 individuals with terrorism connections who may have been involved in terrorism-related activities in foreign countries. These are Canadians that groups like ISIL are trying to recruit through sick propaganda.

When Canadians are lured into fighting for a terrorist cause, they can inflict harm on innocent people in a foreign country. What is more, with the training that they receive and the propaganda that they are subjected to, extremist travellers may return home motivated to carry out terrorist acts on our own soil. Thus, while our brave men and women take part in combat missions overseas, it is our responsibility here to prevent, detect, deny, and respond to terrorism in all of its forms.

This brings me to Bill C-44, the protection of Canada from terrorists act.

This act addresses two key pieces of legislation that are essential in our fight against terrorism. As members will recall, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act received royal assent in June and expanded the grounds for the revocation of Canadian citizenship. It also streamlined the process for making those decisions. Once in force, there will be authority to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens convicted of terrorism, high treason, and treason or spying offences, depending on the sentence that is imposed. It will also provide authorities with the authority to revoke citizenship from those who have served as members of an armed force of a country or an organized armed group engaged in an armed conflict against Canada.

Those convicted cannot get time off for good behaviour. These individuals will never be allowed to become Canadian citizens again.

The amendments of Bill C-44 introduced technical changes to the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act that would allow the government to bring into force the revocation provision of the act earlier than, and separate from, the remaining provision.

I would also note that there is a second important change included in the strengthening Canadian citizenship bill. It relates to the process for revoking citizenship. Without these new provisions, the process for revoking citizenship can take up to three years, which I believe, and I believe many Canadians believe, is much too long. Let us imagine a dual citizen who has been radicalized. We may have the evidence to revoke citizenship, but we cannot do it in a timely way because the process is so lengthy. It was vital to streamline the process for revoking citizenship, while respecting the rights of the people involved.

To that end, depending on the grounds for the decision, once the provisions are in force, there would be authority for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration or the Federal Court to decide on revocation cases.

These amendments to our citizenship laws introduced in the strengthening Canadian citizenship bill would protect the safety and security of Canadians and value and safeguard of value of Canadian citizenship.

Bill C-44 would also amend another piece of legislation, the CSIS Act. We heard earlier that when the CSIS Act was introduced 30 years ago, the expression “extremist traveller” was not part of our lexicon, and neither was “social media.” Who could have imagined that messages of intolerance and hate would one day be transmitted without filters to a mobile telephone? Who could have foreseen how this propaganda could turn someone with mainstream views into an extremist?

However, this is the world we now live in. We must adapt, and adapt quickly, to ensure that CSIS has the tools it needs to investigate threats in a new world. To do this, we must affirm key elements of CSIS' mandate that have been brought into question by recent court decisions. That is really what Bill C-44 is all about. It is not about new powers.

First, this bill would confirm CSIS' existing authority to undertake investigative activities outside of Canada in relation to the security of Canada or to security assessments.

Second, it would confirm the existing jurisdiction of the Federal Court to issue warrants to authorize CSIS to undertake certain intrusive investigative activities outside of Canada.

Third, it would clarify that in determining whether to issue warrants for activities outside of Canada, the Federal Court need only consider relevant Canadian law.

Fourth, it would ensure that the identities of CSIS' human sources would not be disclosed in legal proceedings, except in certain circumstances. This provision is similar to the common law privilege protections that already exist for front-line police informers.

In addition to protecting the identity of CSIS sources during legal proceedings, it would also protect the identity of CSIS employees who are likely to become involved in future covert operations.

Taken together, the amendments proposed in Bill C-44 address recent court decisions related to CSIS and ensure that CSIS has the tools it needs to fulfill the mandate it was given by Parliament 30 years ago.

Canadians depend on our government to protect them from terrorist activities, and we must not fail them. I urge all members to join me in offering unconditional support for Bill C-44, a much-needed response to a rapidly changing security environment.

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January 30th, 2015 / 12:35 p.m.
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NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, I will have the honour of speaking to this debate a little later this afternoon. I thank my colleagues for their remarks. I will have the chance to explain why the NDP is opposed to this Conservative government bill, even though we supported it at second reading.

I would like to ask my Conservative colleague why the Conservative government refused to accept any of our amendments in committee.

Why did the government refuse to consider comments and criticisms from stakeholders and experts? Why did it refuse to enhance oversight of CSIS, which is a major flaw in this government bill?

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January 30th, 2015 / 12:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, what we created with Bill C-44 is a strong piece of legislation that needed all its elements to do the tasks we set out for it. The opposition proposed amendments, but in general the amendments would have eroded the ability of this piece of legislation to take on the responsibilities it needed in responding to the court decisions.

I note that there are complementary pieces of legislation. The member talked about some gaps and some additional needs; I welcome her response, and I also look forward to the support that I hope we get from the NDP on Bill C-51.

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January 30th, 2015 / 12:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not have the benefit of being a lawyer, as I believe my colleague on the other side is. The Minister of Justice has a number of lawyers within the justice department and all legislation that we bring forward has had a full analysis in terms of the protection of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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January 30th, 2015 / 12:40 p.m.
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NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague's speech.

Since the Conservatives keep referring to the murder in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu committed on October 20, 2014, can my colleague explain how, to her knowledge, a change in the way CSIS operates would have prevented the act committed by a person who was being tracked and assessed by the RCMP, which found that this person was no longer a threat to the public?

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January 30th, 2015 / 12:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I find it strange how the NDP cannot look at the definition of terrorism and call a spade a spade in what happened in both events in Canada last October.

More important, lone wolf attacks are difficult to prevent and our law enforcement agencies need modern tools to do the job that we want them to do with respect to protecting us.

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January 30th, 2015 / 12:40 p.m.
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NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Northwest Territories, NT

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles.

I am speaking today to Bill C-44, a terrorism bill. However, before I get into the more technical aspects of my speech, I want to talk a bit about the threat of terrorism in Canada.

I have heard my colleagues across the way describe the events of last fall as being one of the most egregious terrorism acts that we have seen in Canada, but I do not think it actually deserves that title. The most egregious act of terrorism that occurred in Canada was Air India in 1985. It was a very tragic occurrence. CSIS at the time was tracking the terrorists, and we did not have very good oversight over CSIS and its operations then. For many years, Parliament was unable to get to the bottom of it, and required quite extensive action on the part of government to do that. What we saw in 1985 was a large act of terrorism, in which hundreds of people were killed. That is, in my mind, the primary event of terrorism in Canada in the time I have been here.

We have seen other acts of terrorism. We have seen it in the Alberta gas fields, where people have blown up gas wells on numerous occasions. We have seen acts of terrorism on the west coast against hydroelectric facilities. Terrorism has shown up in Canada quite often over the course of our lifetimes.

Only today do we see this kind of knee-jerk reaction to incidents for which we have much difficulty understanding as pure terrorism, because the individuals involved had mental and social issues. They may well have been influenced by ideology from one ethnic group or the other, but they were not driven or coerced by that. They acted on their own and in some ways acted haphazardly and in a way that suggested they were simply emotional outbursts. To me, that is not the same type of thing as a carefully planned and executed destruction of an airliner, killing hundreds of people. That is truly a definition of, if not terrorism, the relative degree of importance of the acts that take place.

It is unfortunate that in the events we have seen in the last few months, we now will make decisions about the way we run Canada that we did not choose to make in 1985 or at other times when we were faced with acts that we could justifiably call terrorism. Therefore, why are we doing it now? Why are we taking these actions now? What is the larger threat that we see and perceive that will curtail more human rights and the basic freedoms we have in Canada, those that we have worked very hard to maintain? What are we doing?

With the latest bill, we would increase the powers of Canada's spy agency. We are offering it up as another international body to engage in espionage and spy on other countries. We have created this situation in the law. Clause 8 of the bill calls for enabling “the Service to investigate, within or outside Canada, a threat to the security of Canada or to perform its duties and functions under section 16”. The important words are “outside Canada“. Now we will give our intelligence service more latitude to pursue its objectives outside of Canada.

Section 21 of the act asks that we also give the agency the ability to act without regard to any other law, in other words, any other law of another country. We are asking our intelligence service to open up the opportunity to spy on other countries, to disregard the laws that other countries might have toward their citizens and pursue our intelligence system in that regard. We are taking a step to a more confrontational approach to other nations based on one single perceived threat of ISIL, or al Qaeda, or those foreign agencies that we see as being the prime international threat to the stability of the world right now.

We are on a fairly slippery slope and this is simply the first piece of legislation that the government is coming forward with, and we are going to see some more. We were given public notice of another bill today, and I have not had the opportunity to review it. However, certainly we are moving in that direction. It is something that we have to take very seriously. It is not simple. It is not simply to jump on the bandwagon and let us go after increased surveillance abilities our intelligence service overseas. Within Canada we will see our intelligence service taking other kinds of actions which would not have been permitted in the past.

Is the threat of that significance why we need to move in that direction? I would argue that after the larger incident of terrorism that occurred in 1985, we made some changes to our airport security system. We did some things to help reduce that threat. We did not really provide that same coordination within the country that perhaps was required. I think we are all in favour of greater coordination between our protective services. However, at that time, we did not see the need to give our intelligence service these types of powers to take out of the country. Yet we have seen incidents far less serious than that which are now driving us in that direction. Why? Is it simply by politics?

That is a concern that we all have on this side of the House, that we are moving ahead with restrictions of the rights and privileges of Canadians based on the political necessity of creating this threat in the Canadian political process. It is unfortunate that we would then choose to change our laws, laws that have been in place for a long time.

In some ways, politics is important in terms of our international relationships. When we see a Canadian foreign minister abroad being pelted with eggs and shoes, that is an unusual occurrence for Canada. Perhaps we should look at the politics of what we are doing rather than simply looking at ways that we can intervene militarily. We have moved away from a Canadian position of enlightened centralism into one that picks sides. That is the greatest threat to Canadian security in this day and age.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2015 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I want to better understand what the member said. In his speech, he said that he was uncertain whether ISIL, or ISIS, was a real threat to Canadians, both at home and abroad. He was also arguing about the degree to which an event or a terrorist act should cause us to strengthen our security services.

I wonder if the member could clearly identify for me at what level of death, destruction, and terror does he suggest that Canada should begin to strengthen its laws. Would it be if 300 people died, or one person, or 50 people?

Specifically, since he is suggesting that the attack on Ottawa and the death of Corporal Cirillo do not necessitate this and that Air India was not at a level he believed warranted our strengthening the laws, what level of terror, death, and destruction does this member and his party believe would warrant the Government of Canada reviewing and strengthening the security laws and apparatus?