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

November 4th, 2014 / 1 p.m.
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NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister across the floor. I saw that he took the time to listen to my speech, and I also really appreciate that he took the time to ask this question.

Yes, co-operation is often difficult, especially between the official opposition and the government. We are very far apart on the political spectrum. There are often times, however, when we manage to find common ground. We do agree on some things in committee. With regard to the events of October 22, I am still really shaken up. My daughter goes to day care on Parliament Hill. Like many of my colleagues in the House, I have to come to terms with what happened.

We have to let the investigation take its course. Questions remain unanswered, as is the case for many other events that have taken place here in the past. I want to see what comes out of the investigation. I trust our police services to find the answers to our many questions.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 4th, 2014 / 1 p.m.
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NDP

Alain Giguère NDP Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her eloquent speech.

Basically, in Canada, under the rule of law, not only must justice be done, it must appear to be done. If these laws are considered too repressive, is there not a risk that people will think, and rightly so, that the government is using the terrorist threat as a pretext for restricting their rights?

Would my colleague agree that there could be this extremely dangerous perception in this case?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 4th, 2014 / 1 p.m.
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NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Marc-Aurèle-Fortin for his question.

I mentioned the importance of balancing security and civil liberties. We cannot put one ahead of the other, and one cannot exist without the other. Unfortunately, the bill before us does not provide balanced civilian oversight of CSIS.

In 2006, the Maher Arar inquiry made recommendations in that regard and called for new accountability measures for CSIS. However, to date nothing has been put in place. The introduction of this bill would have been a good opportunity to move in that direction and implement those recommendations.

The Security Intelligence Review Committee, which works part-time, consists of members that are appointed and not elected. What is worse, two of the five seats have been vacant for several months. Civilian oversight is not very functional at CSIS. This could have been corrected to strike a balance between security and civil liberties.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 4th, 2014 / 1 p.m.
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NDP

Paulina Ayala NDP Honoré-Mercier, QC

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

I am very concerned that as we are discussing granting more powers to a crown corporation, the government wants to cut its budget. It will have to do more with less.

To return to the tragic events that unfolded two weeks ago, the individual who acted in such a brutal manner needed psychological and psychiatric help. The government is taking action on security. However, when there are cuts to health services, the number of people with mental illness increases and such events can take place at any time.

What was behind this man's behaviour was not necessarily an organization, but drug addiction, drugs, crack. He had been asking for help for a long time and he finally acted.

Does my colleague believe that we should solve Canada's social problems instead of making more work for an organization that does not even have the means to do its job?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 4th, 2014 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Honoré-Mercier for her question. She talked about a lack of resources. That is one of the three things we are calling for, which I did not have a chance to mention.

We want increased civilian oversight. This needs to be reviewed in light of the new powers being granted to CSIS. We need to find a balance. We are also calling for better protection of our civil liberties, which is just as important, as I mentioned earlier, but we also need to ensure that the appropriate resources are there. Stakeholders need to be able to take meaningful action and avoid events like the ones that happened two weeks ago. We need to ensure that there are more resources.

I mentioned that different positions had been eliminated in crucial areas. I hope that the Conservative government will take this seriously and ensure that the resources are there to prevent radicalization in this country.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 4th, 2014 / 1:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Gary Goodyear Conservative Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was actually appalled by the last member's question. Regrettably, I want to ask my colleague this. Given the fact that it does take a certain amount of displaced mental capacity, whether it is drugs or whatever, to take the head off a living human being, does the member believe that the ISIS terrorists are simply suffering from an addiction of some kind, or lacking of a hug when they were children? Is this normal behaviour, to cut off a human being's head? This is not an addiction problem. Will the member please address that question?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 4th, 2014 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

I think there may have been a problem with the translation of my colleague's comments. He may want to review exactly what she said. I unfortunately did not get that from her question. I think she was talking about mental health resources and resources in general that are affected in connection with Bill C-44.

I can tell my colleague on the other side of the House that we take radicalization very seriously. Regardless of what happens, I have faith that our police forces will conduct good investigations and pass along the important information. I am sure that they will do so very quickly. Then we can address the situation and look at what happened. However, until then, I think we should wait for the results of the investigation before commenting.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 4th, 2014 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for a very reasoned presentation of the NDP position. She did touch on it briefly, but one of the issues that the NDP has raised is with regard to civilian oversight of CSIS. I wonder if she could expand on that particular point because we have a current oversight body that is under-resourced. There are a couple of members who have not been reappointed. Could she speak to the importance of having that kind of civilian oversight?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 4th, 2014 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Nanaimo—Cowichan for her question.

It is really a very important point and I do not mind opening up the debate on this. Nonetheless, we must ensure that civil liberties and public safety go together in all this and that one is not given more weight than the other. We have to strike a good balance and make sure the two go hand in hand. That is extremely important in this debate. That is what is so unfortunate about Bill C-44; it does not address this adequately. If we want to modernize CSIS, we must also improve oversight and modernize its review service. There are a number of things to point out.

For example, during their annual meeting, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Information Commissioner of Canada asked the government to ensure that it always had civilian oversight with regard to its bills. Unfortunately, that was not the case with this bill. That is something that we will keep asking for every time a new bill is introduced, whether for CSIS or other government bodies.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 4th, 2014 / 1:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Edmonton Centre.

It is a great privilege for me to stand today to speak to Bill C-44, the protection of Canada from terrorists act. As we have heard in these debates, the bill includes amendments to the CSIS Act and technical amendments to the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act. My remarks today will focus on the amendments to the CSIS Act and why we must take steps to give this vital agency the tools it needs to conduct investigations outside of Canada related to threats to the security of Canada itself.

First, I would like to speak to the global terrorist threat, its impact here at home, and the steps Canada is taking to address that threat. Acts of terror and murder have been carried out across the globe by extremist groups that have no regard for the lives of innocent people. In fact, as we all witnessed in the past weeks, Canada was a victim of two terrorist attacks within the span of one week. Due to radical Islamist terrorism, we lost two fine soldiers, Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who was laid to rest this past weekend.

Terrorists kill people from all walks of life, including people from communities they claim to represent. Significant work has been done over the last decade, particularly since September 11, 2001, to counter terrorist activities. Canada has been a leader in global counterterrorism efforts. We have seen citizens and civil society organizations representing people of all faiths and beliefs work among themselves and with our government to prevent terrorism by building stronger and more resilient communities.

All of these measures are captured within the four pillars of Canada's counterterrorism strategy: prevent, detect, deny and respond. That strategy will serve us well on the difficult road we face ahead as our Canadian Armed Forces engage in a campaign to degrade and destroy the threat that ISIL poses to western civilization, and it is a threat to western civilization.

Indeed, our security agencies have been monitoring groups such as al Qaeda and ISIL closely for years and we have taken concrete measures to disrupt and prevent violent and extremist activities. This takes a comprehensive approach. While we join our allies in air strikes, we are also taking other measures that are working to isolate ISIL and deny it and its partners resources, including funds and new recruits. Let me explain.

As we know, terrorists need money, media access, weapons and explosives, among other resources, to sustain themselves. We want to make sure that all groups that would assist terrorist organizations are restricted from doing so. Preventing terrorists from using the global financial system to commit their acts of terror is essential to help suppress these groups. Therefore, we have certain provisions under the Criminal Code that we can use to deal with the assets and operations of groups that support terrorist activities.

Listing an entity under the Criminal Code is a public means of identifying a group or individual as being associated with terrorism. It carries significant consequences. Once listed, an entity's assets are frozen and may be subject to seizure, restraint or forfeiture. Further, it is an offence for Canadians at home or abroad to knowingly participate in or contribute to, directly or indirectly, any activity that facilitates the activities of a listed terrorist entity.

We know that terrorist groups are inspiring some westerners to take up arms with their cause. In order to reach these individuals and guard against these tactics, we work closely with diverse communities, including through the cross-cultural round table on security. We are working with leaders and communities right across the country to help engage Canadians in a long-term dialogue on matters related to national security, particularly in countering violent extremism.

Through the round table, we have reached out to hundreds of respected cultural and religious leaders who have their fingers on the pulses of their communities. These leaders have been integral in helping law enforcement and security agencies address threats and identify the best ways to reach individuals who may be leaning toward violent behaviour and to redirect them from pathways of radicalization leading to violence. However, the rapid changes in technology, the ease of communications, and mobility of terrorist travellers have created new and complex challenges for Canada and all of our allies as we work to keep our citizens safe.

As in other countries, despite everyone's best efforts, a small but significant number of individuals have left Canada to join terrorist groups in the Middle East. Denying ISIL its new recruits also means using Canadian law to crack down on these so-called extremist travellers. We brought forward the Combating Terrorism Act to make it an offence to leave Canada to take part in terrorist acts. We have laws in place to revoke the passports of Canadians who travel abroad to join extremist groups.

Both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness have stated clearly that our government will continue to look at ways to help our national security agencies investigate and track the activities of terrorists at our borders and beyond. One of these ways is the legislation that is before us today to amend the existing CSIS Act so that we are better able to provide CSIS with the tools it needs to investigate threats to the security of Canada, wherever they occur, and ultimately to protect the security of Canadians.

It is important to note that the CSIS Act was created three decades ago. That was in the age of rotary phones, when our world was under the shadow of the Cold War. This act is in need of updates and upgrades that would confirm CSIS' authority to investigate Canadian extremists and other threats abroad. That is why I urge the House to support the bill that is before us today.

The protection of Canada from terrorists act would confirm that CSIS has the authority to operate outside Canada when investigating threats to the security of Canada or conducting investigations for the purpose of security assessments, and that the Federal Court has the authority to issue warrants authorizing CSIS to conduct activities outside of Canada without regard to the laws of other states. This new legislation would also reinforce CSIS' statutory authority to investigate threats abroad and to ensure that judges would only need to consider relevant Canadian law, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the CSIS Act, and not foreign laws when issuing a warrant.

Clearly there are a number of ways our government protects the safety and security of Canada against terrorism, but first we must ensure that we have the right tools in place for our security intelligence agency to do so. There is no time to waste. We must amend the CSIS Act and allow this vital agency to continue its work. I urge members of the House to join me in supporting the bill.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 4th, 2014 / 1:15 p.m.
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NDP

Alain Giguère NDP Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, my old geostrategy professor told me that a terrorist act is, first, an act of violence or intimidation for political, religious or social ends; second, a structured act; and third, the symbolic act of a perpetrator trying to make his mark. He shared a famous quotation about how terrorism and the media have an incestuous relationship. There was also an element of exclusion in that definition of a terrorist act. Personal motivation was not part of it.

That means that a crazed gunman who climbs a tower and starts shooting people because he is mad that a judge took away custody of his kids is not committing a terrorist act. What he is doing is dangerous and can kill or injure many, but he will be punished under the Criminal Code for premeditated murder.

It seems clear that, when my distinguished colleague defined a terrorist act, he forgot an essential element, which is that terrorism does not include actions that are personally motivated.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 4th, 2014 / 1:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, again the members opposite, the NDP socialist party, always make excuses for terrorists. They do not call them terrorists. They use convoluted language all the time to somehow excuse what these evil people do. The difference between us as Conservatives and the far left or the left over there is that we believe that evil exists and evil needs to be confronted. That is what we are doing with our actions and our legislation.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 4th, 2014 / 1:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the other day the Liberal member from Vancouver brought forward Bill C-622, which was a bill to provide oversight. There is no doubt there is a great deal of interest in ensuring that certain rights are being protected, and it is a good way also to just hold everyone in check. It would appear as if the government is not going to be voting in favour of the oversight role that the private members' bill is proposing.

Therefore, to what degree does he believe it is important that the Parliament of Canada have oversight over the many different agencies that are there to protect society?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 4th, 2014 / 1:20 p.m.
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NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity on Saturday night to visit the mosque in Burnaby, which has been connected to some of these events, and speak with the new imam there, as well as the head of the BC Muslim Association. What is happening in many parts of Canada is that the rather inflammatory language, which is being used by the other side, is unfortunately splashing on to the rest of the Muslim community. Therefore, I wonder if the member might care to comment on that and perhaps apologize for some of his inflammatory remarks.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 4th, 2014 / 1:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, we applaud the leaders and members of all religious communities who are confronting these kinds of activities. They deserve our praise and honour for what they do. I am sure the mosque the member visited acts in that particular manner. However, it is very important that we do everything we can to ensure that radicalization does not occur.

Again, I want to thank the cultural and religious communities in our country for stepping up to the plate and doing what needs to be done in this regard.