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.