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 a.m.
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Conservative

LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak about the protection of Canada from terrorists act. This is an important bill that would allow our government to move forward on our commitment to keep Canadians safe from terrorist threats.

The international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada and her allies. That is why our government has committed the Canadian Armed Forces to the broad international coalition against the so-called Islamic State. No Canadian government should ever stand on the sidelines while our allies act to deny terrorists a safe haven, an international base from which they could plot violence against us.

Recent events of terror around the globe, and particularly the two tragic attacks last October in Quebec and Ottawa and the recent attacks in Paris, have pushed this issue to the forefront of the government's agenda in a way never before seen in Canada's history. It is now abundantly clear to all Canadians that terrorism is no longer a threat in a faraway land. We must degrade and destroy the terrorists before they bring their barbaric, violent ideology to our shores.

In light of the atrocities carried out by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, and the deteriorating situation in Iraq and Syria, the world is rallying against the threats of violent extremism. That is why we have introduced the protection of Canada from terrorists act. Now, more than ever, we must ensure that CSIS can undertake its work as it was originally intended by Parliament.

While this legislation is important, it is not lengthy or complicated. In fact, the proposed amendments are targeted and common sense. However, any time a government introduces legislation concerning national security, there are those who raise concerns, which can lead to misunderstanding. As a result, there has been some confusion about what this legislation would do.

Allow me to start with what it would not do. It would not, as some have suggested, hand broad, sweeping powers to CSIS. Just as importantly, it would not create new authorities or infringe on the rights of Canadians. We have been abundantly clear on these points. With this legislation, as with all bills that have passed through the House, our government has worked diligently to strike a proper balance between public safety and civil liberties.

Thirty years ago, when the CSIS act was passed, the Parliament of the day ensured that this balance was adhered to in the authorities given to CSIS. That is why the act put in place robust safeguards, oversight, and review mechanisms to ensure that CSIS's investigative work is done with full respect of its governing laws.

As we know, Bill C-44 responds to court decisions that are having a significant impact on CSIS operations. Before I go into the provisions of the bill, I would like to provide some context on these decisions and why they necessitate the amendments before us today.

Just last fall, the Federal Court of Appeal unsealed its July 2014 decision related to the government's appeal of Justice Mosley's decision that was issued by the Federal Court in November 2013. This decision has raised important questions about certain aspects of CSIS's mandate and investigative authorities, particularly in relation to CSIS's ability to conduct investigations outside of Canada.

It is self-evident that Parliament always intended CSIS to be able to take reasonable and necessary measures to investigate threats to the security of Canada outside of Canada. The protection of Canada from terrorists act introduces targeted amendments to the CSIS act to ensure that CSIS can continue to do just that and do so in a manner that is consistent with relevant Canadian law, the Charter, and Canadian values.

To start, the bill would confirm CSIS's authority to conduct investigations outside of Canada related to threats to the security of Canada and security assessments. At the same time, the bill would also confirm the authority of the Federal Court to issue warrants authorizing CSIS to undertake certain intrusive activities outside of Canada, and it would give the Federal Court authority to consider only relevant Canadian law, primarily the CSIS act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, when issuing warrants for CSIS to undertake certain intrusive activities outside of Canada.

Why are these amendments important? It is because threats to the security of Canada do not stop at our border. Many threats, in fact, may develop entirely outside of Canada.

In order to fully investigate these threats, CSIS must be able to use intrusive investigative techniques outside of Canada, and it must have a clear means to obtain authorization to do so. The Federal Court of Appeal effectively found that, as currently written, the CSIS act may require CSIS to demonstrate that its activities will be lawful in the country where the activity will take place. This is not a reasonable threshold to require CSIS to meet. CSIS, and indeed the Federal Court, cannot reasonably expect to track the legislation of all 170 countries in the world to determine which kinds of activities are lawful in those countries and which ones are not. It is also unreasonable because subjects of investigation move around from country to country and CSIS cannot reasonably be expected to predict to which countries a subject of investigation might travel. It is clear that Parliament did not intend CSIS to meet such a threshold when it originally passed the CSIS act, and neither should we here today.

Just to re-emphasize the fact that CSIS must have a clear authority to conduct investigative activities outside of Canada, let me say this. At a time when we are witnessing Canadians travelling abroad to take part in terrorist activities, we simply cannot have ambiguity or questions about CSIS's authority to take reasonable steps outside of Canada to investigate the threat to the security of Canada that they may pose.

Turning to the second court decision affecting CSIS operations, in May 2014, as part if its decision on Mohamed Harkat, the Supreme Court of Canada stated that CSIS human sources do not benefit from a common-law class privilege similar to the informer privilege applicable to police informants. While this does not necessarily mean that these CSIS sources will be revealed during court proceedings, it has weakened CSIS's ability to provide human sources—a critical source of information for CSIS—with a credible assurance that their identity would be protected. The implications of this are serious, as those human sources may decide not to provide CSIS with information that could be vital to an investigation of a terrorist threat to Canada. To address this issue, the bill provides that the identities of CSIS human sources would be prohibited from being disclosed in legal proceedings.

However, it is worth noting that this is subject to certain exceptions to preserve the right of Canadians to fair legal proceedings. To this end, the legislation includes three measures under which this protection could be lifted.

First, the human sources could, of their own accord, agree to the disclosure of their identity in court, subject to the consent of the director of CSIS.

Second, parties to the proceedings could ask a judge to make a ruling regarding the human source. For example, is the individual in fact a human source, and could the information in question actually reveal the identity of the human source?

Third, in criminal proceedings, defendants and any other party to the proceedings would be able to ask a judge to declare that the disclosure of the identity of a human source or information from which their identity might be inferred is essential to establish the innocence of the accused.

More important, these amendments would not in any way interfere with the ability of judges to take other measures to ensure the fairness of legal proceedings beyond revealing the identity of a CSIS human source. Judges also have broad discretion to determine the weight to give to information provided by CSIS human sources in legal proceedings. The proposed amendments would not affect this discretion in any way.

The protection of Canada from terrorists act would also make technical amendments to the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act. These amendments would allow earlier implementation of provisions that ensure that dual citizens who have been convicted of terrorist acts and sentenced to a prison term of at least five years would not continue to benefit from Canadian citizenship.

The amendments that our government has proposed through the protection of Canada from terrorists act are reasonable, necessary, and consistent with the values of Canadians. The Federal Court of Appeal and decisions from the Federal Court have raised important questions about CSIS's mandate and investigative authorities, and the Supreme Court of Canada's decision has weakened CSIS's ability to protect the identity of human sources.

Parliament must respond to these decisions by affirming CSIS's existing authority to conduct investigative activities outside of Canada, clearly stating that the Federal Court does have jurisdiction to issue warrants for activities outside of Canada, including certain intrusive activities that may be unlawful in the jurisdiction where they would take place, and stating that Parliament wishes the identity of CSIS human sources to be protected from disclosure in legal proceedings, subject to certain exceptions.

CSIS would, as always, continue to be required to obtain judicial authorization to undertake certain intrusive investigative techniques in relation to Canadians, and also remain subject to robust review by the Security Intelligence Review Committee, CIRC, which has access to all information in the possession of CSIS, except cabinet confidences.

CIRC's powers of review are among the most far-reaching of any body reviewing any intelligence agency in the western world. I believe that these amendments are critical to ensuring safety and security of Canadians.

Canadians expect us to ensure that our law enforcement and national security agencies have the tools to keep them safe. That is why we have trusted our Conservative government to deliver on these important issues. Unlike the NDP, whose leader has refused to call the atrocities that occurred in late October a terrorist attack, we have taken strong action, except when he asked for 24-hour, 7-day-a-week police protection.

I have a question for the NDP leader, and perhaps some of his colleagues could answer me today. If what happened in this place was merely caused by a drug addict who was mentally unstable, why did the NDP leader demand additional RCMP security? I can tell him why. It is because, despite his leftist rhetoric, he knows that there is a real and present terrorist threat.

I was pleased to see earlier this week that the Liberals have finally adopted our approach on national security. Hopefully they have rejected their ill-advised approach of looking for the root causes of terrorism, as their leader suggested after the bombing at the Boston Marathon. I can tell the Liberals exactly the root cause of terrorism in plain language that all Canadians can understand. The root cause of terrorism is terrorists.

I hope all members will join me in supporting this very important legislation.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2015 / 10:15 a.m.
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NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague opposite for his speech. We have frequently worked together as members of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. Even though we have often disagreed about various bills, we have always preserved a sense of collegiality in the committee.

During meetings of that committee, whether attended by witnesses and experts or private citizens, people had lots of questions. There is one question in particular that the government never answered; it was about the constitutionality of Bill C-44. We repeatedly asked the Minister of Public Safety, his parliamentary secretary and his colleagues on the opposite side of the House whether they had received any legal opinions confirming that Bill C-44 is well and truly constitutional because we do not want to end up debating the constitutionality of a bill before the Supreme Court yet again.

Can my colleague across the way tell me for sure whether Bill C-44 is well and truly constitutional?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2015 / 10:15 a.m.
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Conservative

LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from across the way. We do work together well on the public safety committee. Certainly we have had the opportunity to have a lot of discussion on various issues, and I appreciate her presence and her question.

I can tell the hon. member that, in fact, any of the legislation that our government puts through the House of Commons has to go through a rigorous process to ensure that it does meet all constitutional requirements, as well as those ensuring the freedoms and protection of all Canadians.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2015 / 10:15 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the member might be able to respond to a letter, or it may have been an email, that was actually sent to one of his colleagues in regard to exploding targets. The letter says, “I continue to find it very surprising that the Conservative government seems unable to understand that the easy availability of this explosive [referring to exploding targets]—ammonium nitrate and aluminium powder that can be simply scaled up to a very powerful bomb—is a threat to the safety of Canadians. There is no control on a radicalized person acquiring a large quantity of this explosive, once they have obtained a firearms licence. I hope that someone in the existing government will realize the major blunder made by making this powerful explosive so widely and easily available before it results in the injury and death of Canadians.”

It is regarding exploding targets, and apparently the government has done something to make it more available, that one only requires a firearms possession certificate to acquire large quantities of it.

This is a letter that I just bring to his attention, and I would be interested in his thoughts on it.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2015 / 10:15 a.m.
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Conservative

LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would not mind getting a copy of that letter from my colleague across the way. It is an interesting concept that people can buy a whole bunch of different products to potentially make bombs. I do not believe that is in the interest of Canadians in ensuring the protection of all our citizens.

I have not seen anything in particular with respect to the legislation, but I would be more than happy to work with him on that issue and come to some resolution.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2015 / 10:15 a.m.
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NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely no doubt that public safety and national security are a priority for every person here.

I think it is important to point out that this highly important question is, once again, being discussed in a hurry under a time allocation motion that restricts our speaking time. To me, that is completely unacceptable.

To be sure, we cannot pretend that we have not seen the Conservative Party's tasteless and partisan ads about these very issues.

I would like to know if the government introduced this bill for partisan reasons and is trying to ride roughshod over reason. We agree that the issue is pressing, but the government could make it a priority instead of limiting our speaking time.

If they did not do it for partisan reasons, then why is there once again no place for the amendments put forward in committee by, for example, the NDP official opposition, which, like the Conservatives, cares deeply about public safety?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2015 / 10:20 a.m.
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Conservative

LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that those members have suggested that this is a political manoeuvre. It is the responsibility of the government of the day, which happens to be our Conservative government, to ensure that Canadian citizens, whether they are parliamentarians or everyday citizens, are protected from terrorists. That is our prime concern.

If we do not get the legislation through, people will ask why. This is important legislation that would protect Canadians and our country from these jihadist terrorists. It is extremely important. I would not say that this is any kind of political move.

If we talk about a political move, the leader of the NDP and his colleagues suggested that the attack in the House was because of a drug addict. Let us get real. We know what it was. The real question is this. If the NDP members think this was just a drug addict, why did the NDP leader ask for 24-hour a day police protection? I do not see the reality in his question.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2015 / 10:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Adam Vaughan Liberal Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, as members know, we support this bill insofar as it explores and seeks to strengthen provisions to ensure the safety of all Canadians. However, we have concerns, when the Conservatives say “a robust debate” and “a robust process”, that closure will not be used, and that when it comes to committee, they will not be scoping the input from learned Canadians to ensure the bill is improved.

My question is centred on the concern that the member had about a political leader who talked about root causes as being somehow inappropriate. My understanding is that the Prime Minister is today announcing measures in Richmond Hill that explore how we stop the root causes from creating the dangerous circumstances and how we work with our friends and neighbours in the Muslim community, who seek peace and a just world, to ensure that radicalization does not happen, and that the elements and conditions that create radicalization and dangerous circumstances are addressed before terrorism exists.

Surely, terrorism does not just create terrorism. There are root causes. That is why the Prime Minister is making his announcement. Does the member not support his Prime Minister?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2015 / 10:20 a.m.
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Conservative

LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is an interesting question. Of course I support the Prime Minister.

Throughout these activities, including this bill, we have talked about what we need to do to try to ensure that terrorists are stopped before they come to Canada. We already know we have about 130 individuals who have gone abroad to participate in terrorism.

I know the leader of the Liberal Party had suggested that the bombing in Boston was because we did not understand the Muslims and we needed to get to the root cause of that. The root cause of it is that those terrorists do not want to see Canadians and people across the globe have the freedoms and values that Canadians appreciate.

We have freedom of speech. We have the opportunity to work and travel abroad. These are the rights that Canadians want. In fact, our government, and all our agencies and legal authorities, such as the police, are working with Canadians right across the country to try to stop terrorism before it hits here.

I certainly do support our Prime Minister. I do not have the items that the Prime Minister will be releasing, but I am sure we will get that information in short order. However, it will be to ensure that Canadians are safe from terrorists.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2015 / 10:25 a.m.
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NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate this opportunity to participate in the third reading debate on Bill C-44. Bill C-44 was introduced shortly after the events of October 22, 2014, which shocked us all.

I know that this bill was not a response from the government to those events, something that was not clear in the speech that my colleague just gave. It seemed like he was saying that it was a response to the attacks that took place in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa, but it was not. Bill C-44 had already been drafted well before those attacks took place. This bill is therefore not a response on the part of the government.

We expect better answers from the Conservative government on what it wants to do to combat terrorism today. There was talk of an announcement around noon. We are anxious to see whether the government is going to present a balanced approach. I am still holding out hope.

With regard to Bill C-44, which is before us today, I would like to say from the outset that the official opposition, the NDP, is going to oppose this bill at third reading. I will try to explain why in my remarks.

I have a few things to say to my colleagues opposite after listening to their speeches. I noted a few things that they said. The sad thing about Bill C-44 and the pressure that the government is putting on the Canadian Security Intelligence Service is that the government would have us believe that giving CSIS more power is a good thing. It would be if the government also gave the agency the resources and tools it needs. However, unfortunately, the Conservatives decided to go it alone and did not hold the necessary consultations on Bill C-44. There has also been talk about a balance between public safety and civil liberties, something that we do not see at all in Bill C-44.

The whole national security context is undergoing rapid changes. The nature of the attacks we are facing has changed, and in general, the attackers are not the same either. The problems are changing extremely quickly, particularly because of the new tools that terrorists have and their access to social media.

This brings me to the issue of resources within the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. This is a fundamental part of the problem, but the Conservatives refuse to address it. All departments have been affected by austerity measures over the past few years. For example, cuts totalling over $100 million have been made to the Department of Public Safety. In 2012-13, cuts totalling about $15 million were made to CSIS.

When my colleague talks about striking a balance between security and civil liberties, I also think about the fact that the inspector general of CSIS position was scrapped, even though it was crucial to accountability at CSIS. That was not done in 2012-13, but because of cuts totalling around $24.5 million that will be announced in future budgets, it will be done in 2014-15. That was an extremely important position that helped balance civil liberties and national security.

In addition, we were disappointed to hear about some questionable spending, to say the least and to avoid unparliamentary language, by Michel Coulombe, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Here is just one example: during a trip, the director of CSIS actually spent over $750 on a hotel room for one night—this at a time when we are in the middle of an austerity program and his agency is suffering significant cuts. This kind of behaviour is unacceptable. The director of CSIS is spending more on himself right now than the Minister of Public Safety. It is totally unacceptable to see taxpayers' money spent like that. What are we hearing from the Conservatives right now? Nothing, radio silence. They have no response when we ask what will happen next. Will the director of CSIS be reprimanded for misusing public funds? We still do not know.

As far as Bill C-44 is concerned, many things were discussed in committee. In fact, I will come back to what happened, but to give my colleagues a sense of what is in Bill C-44, I would add that it does nothing to improve civilian oversight of CSIS, as promised. As the official opposition, we thought it was an excellent opportunity to correct the situation and work together to ensure that the government kept its promise and did more for civil liberties while sorting out the existing problems at CSIS.

Unfortunately, all of our amendments to that end were rejected. In fact, I will go even further: all the amendments that the official opposition, the third party and other members of the House proposed at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security were rejected by the government. That is absolutely unacceptable after members said they would try to work together, especially at such an important stage as review in committee, where witnesses give extremely important opinions.

I was also shocked by something else. This bill is only six or seven pages long, which is not very long. Under the Conservatives we have become accustomed to seeing bills that are often 100 or so pages long, so five or six pages is not very much. However, the Conservatives managed to create an omnibus bill out of those pages. I commend them. That is quite a feat. Bill C-44 affects not just CSIS, but also part of the Citizenship Act, which has nothing to do with what we are interested in here, namely the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

In fact, the Conservatives are playing petty politics. They passed legislation concerning the Citizenship Act and they want that legislation to come into effect sooner than they planned. They therefore included a provision in Bill C-44 to make the legislation they introduced come into effect sooner. In fact, no one in the House except for them agreed to that. This is absolutely unacceptable and illogical when we are dealing with something as important as our public safety and national security.

This brings me to the work in committee in general. We moved 12 very reasonable amendments to this bill. A number of expert witnesses were behind us. Our proposed amendments were mainly based on the evidence provided by experts to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security and also that of groups of stakeholders that we managed to meet with over what I must say was a short period of time. In fact, Bill C-44 was rushed through committee very quickly. The number of hours of debate in the House of Commons was reduced, as often happens with this government, and we did not have many committee meetings. There were only two meetings where we were able to listen to witnesses and experts. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the director of CSIS, Michel Coulombe, and stakeholders associated with the minister and the director attended the first meeting. That left us with only two hours to question witnesses and experts not directly associated with the government.

As for the work in committee, I must say that the Conservatives allowed us to invite only a small number of witnesses. Clearly, you cannot have a large number of witnesses in two hours, but we had very limited time.

The committee did not hear from a lot of witnesses, and most of the witnesses came from the Conservative government. As a result, we heard very little from people who were not from the government side. This made the work very difficult because I would say that over the course of an hour, we had about six witnesses at once. This prevented us from really going into great detail on Bill C-44. The government had told us that we would all work together, that we would develop a good bill and come to a unanimous consensus on something. Unfortunately the government disappointed us yet again.

We voted in favour of this bill at second reading because we wanted to send it to committee. We thought that the Conservatives were serious about Bill C-44 and that they truly wanted to work together and put partisanship aside. There is no place for partisanship in discussions on public safety and national security or in discussions on civil liberties, when we are talking about CSIS.

It is sad to see that the government has disappointed us yet again and that we were not able to work together to create the best bill possible. Because the bill before us is not the best it could be, I want to talk about its constitutionality.

I asked the Conservative member who just spoke on Bill C-44 whether they had received legal opinions confirming that the bill is well and truly constitutional. He managed to evade the question just as well as the Minister of Public Safety and all the people who dealt with this bill. No one was able to offer any legal opinions to prove that this bill was constitutional.

This is therefore highly likely to be yet another bill that ends up before the courts in a test of its constitutionality. If that happens, millions of taxpayer dollars will be spent on something that could have been taken care of before the bill was introduced. The government is being irresponsible by introducing bills that it does not know for sure are constitutional. When we are trying to address public safety in the current global context, it is a very bad idea to introduce something that is not constitutional and that will probably be unusable until its constitutionality has been proven in court. This is extremely disappointing.

I talked about what is in Bill C-44. I would like to go back to that because I want to make one very important point about something in it. Bill C-44 contains one very important clause that will make significant changes to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, namely with respect to the protection of all the sources listed.

Bill C-44 ensures full protection of identity for all of CSIS's human intelligence sources. Those of you who know a little bit about the Canadian Security Intelligence Service will see that that is a very good thing: people doing secret work on the ground and sources will be protected. That is very important, and it is already being done. Sources involved in sensitive and delicate cases are already being protected. At any time, on a case-by-case basis, judges can already protect CSIS sources.

Under Bill C-44, all employees who are currently working, used to work, or may someday work for CSIS can be protected. That might seem right on the surface, but here is what is changing: this is directly related to what the government did not do, to the balance between public safety and civil liberties.

Should CSIS end up in court for criminal proceedings, CSIS human sources may well have to testify, if necessary. Legal experts have expressed concern that full protection of identity for human sources will make it more difficult to test CSIS evidence in criminal cases, which may create obstacles to the successful prosecution of those involved in threats to national security on the basis of CSIS information.

The ability of the accused to confront their accuser and to test evidence in court is a fundamental part of Canadian criminal law.

This will add complications, as it will require a separate process in Federal Court. This unnecessarily complicates many things. We can protect sources working on extremely important investigations on a case-by-case basis. This measure is then a rather grandiose way of protecting a lot of people at the head of CSIS.

After the events in Ottawa and the attacks on Charlie Hebdo or in Australia, a few weeks ago, people are worried and expect Canadian parliamentarians to work together to find the right solutions to national and international security problems. They expect us to work with our counterparts around the world to find tangible ways to deal with radicalization and terrorism.

Unfortunately, partisan measures and a box full of unnecessary tools are not going to be the solution. There are concrete ways to address radicalization and terrorism. First of all, we need to give more resources to people on the ground. Huge cuts are being made to important programs. For instance, the Conservative government did not renew the $400 million that used to go directly to police forces in Quebec. One of the things they used that funding for was to tackle the problem of radicalization in our street gangs. This is extremely serious.

In recent months, police forces have been telling us that they are seeing people become radicalized, but they do not have the resources to do anything about it. It is all well and good to give them a nice, big tool box, but if they do not have the personnel needed do something with it, it is pointless. We are not tackling the problem directly, and that is extremely serious.

We can also address radicalization and terrorism by working on the ground with people from certain communities, regardless of their nationality and their field of work. However, this government has never included this solution in any of its bills or plans. We need to look at what is happening on the ground and understand the needs that exist in order to come up with a consensus. The Conservative government does not do that.

I am very disappointed in this bill, which has many flaws and is probably unconstitutional. It does not improve civilian oversight of CSIS and only introduces measures to further protect CSIS when it finds itself in hot water.

I would like to stress how very disappointed I am, because I wanted to give the government the benefit of the doubt. Following the events that shocked us all, I thought we would be able to agree on a positive measure that would still allow us to preserve civil liberties. It is our duty as parliamentarians to ensure the public safety of the communities and people we represent.

Unfortunately, the official opposition cannot support this bill because of how it was put together and the blatant lack of consultation of experts and communities. I am saddened to see that we have once again been presented with an omnibus bill and, even worse, that the RCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency and CSIS employees are not being given the resources they need to address the real problem of radicalization. Their budgets keep getting cut, which decreases the number of employees on the ground who could do the work and properly use the tools.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2015 / 10:45 a.m.
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NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Alfred-Pellan. I especially want to thank her for explaining what happened in committee because we are not necessarily privy to what happens at every meeting. She spoke of the abysmal process in committee.

That reminds me, for example, of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, where the deposition of the minister who appears before the committee is considered to be that of an actual witness, whereas in reality it is just the minister's statement.

I am pleased that she explained this flaw in the system and the Conservatives' use of this absolutely dishonest method.

I also thank her for reminding us that Bill C-44 was drafted before the incidents that took place in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and elsewhere.

That incident directly concerns my riding and so I would like the member to remind us that Martin Couture-Rouleau, who was dealing with mental health issues, was already being monitored by the RCMP. He was assessed just a few months before he committed this crime. In the assessment, the RCMP concluded that he was no longer a threat.

Can my colleague explain how amending a law that governs CSIS would not have prevented this tragedy or changed it in any way? In fact, this person was already being monitored, he had been assessed and the assessment had concluded that he was no longer a threat.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2015 / 10:45 a.m.
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NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Saint-Jean for his question.

I know that these incidents have had a direct impact on the people that he represents and that this has been a very tough time for him. It is an extremely sensitive subject and for that reason, I thank him for asking that question in the House. I believe that this is an extremely important topic.

That brings me to the fact that the Conservatives are using these incidents to promote the idea that bills like Bill C-44 are very important.

We need to talk about this for the good of the people that we represent. If we do not look at the specifics of the bill and do not talk about exactly what it contains, people will not know. They will think that Bill C-44 is about CSIS and that it will actually have an impact should other other similar incidents occur.

My colleague from Saint-Jean is completely right: this bill has nothing to do with those incidents. It is sad that the Conservatives are using those incidents to promote this type of bill, which ultimately does not have the proper focus.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2015 / 10:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member's comments and the previous question.

One of the things we do need to emphasize is that even though there might be some concerns regarding Bill C-44, it is a step in the right direction. It does provide clarity on a number of different issues, in particular by allowing for a greater sense of comfort with CSIS and the individuals it has to deal with. It provides some greater sense of security.

As a whole, Canadians are very concerned about the issue of terrorism and want to see the government bring in necessary legislation that will to make a difference and allow CSIS and other security measures to be more effective. We in the Liberal Party recognize that this bill is somewhat of a step forward and therefore will be voting in favour of it.

Do the New Democratic members recognize that our security agency is also looking at what is being provided through this legislation? Do they recognize that at the very least, even though there are shortcomings in the legislation, it has some value and that Canadians as a whole recognize that value and want to see the bill passed?

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

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is an example of the difference between the NDP and the Liberals. At the beginning of his remarks, the member said that Bill C-44 provides clarity on a number of issues. I strongly disagree with that statement simply because most experts that we heard from told us that they did not know whether the bill was constitutional or whether it could even be used.

What is happening with Bill C-44 is not necessarily clear. It does not necessarily address all of the issues associated with radicalization and terrorism in Canada and throughout the world. I would like to talk a bit more about the lack of clarity concerning the direction the Conservatives and the Liberals want to take. What is their position on the tools and resources available to ensure public safety and national security?

I do not think that we can talk about clarity here because the bill does not address civil liberties, does not protect Canadians from CSIS and does not allocate the necessary resources. What is more, the bill deals with issues that are not necessarily even related to the general subject of the bill.

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

Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague on her speech. On matters of public safety and civil liberties, the NDP is at the forefront and will do everything in its power to ensure that a bill such as Bill C-44 helps as many people as possible. We will make sure that there is a truly democratic dialogue among all members to further this very important cause.

Regarding the relationship between radicalization and terrorist acts, my colleague showed that this bill lacks concrete measures to create conditions that will prevent radicalization from taking root in our communities.

Can my colleague comment further on that and give the House some ideas for dealing with the phenomenon of radicalization?

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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.
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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?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

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

Dennis Bevington NDP Northwest Territories, NT

Mr. Speaker, to put a number on it in that regard is really difficult.

However, what I was trying to point out was that after the Air India incident, in which 300 people were killed, we did certain things. Most of them dealt with the physical security of our airports. We tried to better coordinate the agencies engaged in dealing with terrorist incidents within our country. We took some actions there; we did not change the law. We took actions within the services that we provide to Canadians to protect them to ensure that we did manage to maintain the same level of personal liberties and freedoms through that time.

Now, we are in a different time and we have had a number of deaths. They were terribly unfortunate and no one wants to see any of this happen, but, of course, it is part of any society that these things do happen. Now, as a result, are we going to make these changes? Now, are we now going to reduce these freedoms? Now, will we send out our intelligence agency to play a larger role in the international community? I do not find that appropriate.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

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

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is about the oversight of CSIS. Bill C-44 would give significant new powers to CSIS, yet significant new oversight is not proposed.

In fact, I remember that when I was finance critic, in one of the many omnibus budget bills the Conservative government brought forward, one of the provisions was to eliminate the position of inspector general, the person charged with full-time oversight of CSIS. We heard expert testimony—ironically at the finance committee, even though it was a national security issue—from the person who had been in charge of setting up the machinery of CSIS when it was first created. The witness warned the government not to remove that position because it was the government's eyes and ears on CSIS. The witness said it was the only way the government could prevent the people charged with securing and protecting the public, people who had unique powers, from not exceeding their powers.

Would the member comment on the lack of oversight of CSIS, especially now that the government wants to increase the powers of CSIS?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2015 / 12:55 p.m.
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NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Northwest Territories, NT

Mr. Speaker, I am very much in favour of greater oversight of these bodies by Parliament in a fashion that would provide us with quicker answers than we received in regard to the Air India incident. That showed me how important it is to interact continually with the intelligence agency to understand what it is doing, why it is doing what it is doing, where its shortfalls are, and how the agency can be improved. Without that, I think there is extreme danger to Canadian values because it simply does not give the intelligence agency the opportunity to look carefully at what it is doing and to ensure it is doing things according to every law we have in place now. I think that goes without saying.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2015 / 12:55 p.m.
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NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, this is the second time I have spoken in the course of this debate, since I spoke at second reading of Bill C-44. If members would like to know more about my feelings on this bill, they can have a look at my other speech.

I would also like to thank my colleague from Alfred-Pellan for the work she has done on this issue. She made an excellent speech this morning. Anyone watching at home should watch my colleague's speech if they want more information.

Bill C-44, An Act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and other Acts essentially makes three substantive changes with regard to CSIS.

First, it clarifies the legal authority of CSIS to conduct security intelligence operations abroad to respond to threats from outside Canada.

Second, it confirms the jurisdiction of the Federal Court to issue warrants that have effect outside Canada.

Third, it provides for protection of identity for CSIS human intelligence sources in judicial proceedings.

The NDP does not deny that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act is in need of some changes. We do not deny that the world has changed in recent decades and that Canada's commitments abroad have also changed. The realities we face have changed. Naturally, we need to amend this act so that CSIS can act abroad in a way that is adapted to today's realities.

That is why we voted in favour of this bill at second reading. We had hoped to work with the government to improve this bill and make amendments, because even at second reading we saw some huge flaws in the bill. We had a lot of concerns about the bill, especially with respect to protections, civilian oversight of CSIS and the fact that the government does not give CSIS adequate resources.

I would like to point out that the NDP participated in the committee's study in order to improve this bill so that it would meet Canadians' criteria for civilian oversight.

We moved several amendments in committee but, unfortunately, even though we wanted to work in good faith with the government, it rejected all our amendments without even studying them. That is truly deplorable.

The amendments we proposed addressed the concerns expressed by witnesses and experts who appeared before the committee. With respect to warrants for overseas covert actions, we moved an amendment that would require the director, and not an employee designated by the minister, to make the application in every case. It is simply a question of transparency.

I know that all Canadians want CSIS to be as transparent as possible. The purpose of our amendment was to ensure that covert activities do not become routine. We wanted the director to be accountable.

I listened to the debate very carefully today, and the Conservative government has still not explained why it rejected this amendment, which would have resulted in more transparency and accountability.

Additionally, we put forward an amendment to delete the following from clause 8(2):

Without regard to any other law, including that of any foreign state,...

It is important that we remove this part of the bill because we wanted to remove any contradiction with international law and the explicit granting of power to Canadian courts to authorize illegal activity in other states. Canadian activities must comply with international law. Unfortunately, the government also rejected this amendment without consideration for the opinions of experts.

We also proposed another amendment to add specific accountability for the use of warrants to authorize activities of CSIS abroad to the CSIS director. We would like the director to submit an annual report to the Security Intelligence Review Committee specifying the disposition of all such warrant applications and the activities carried out under the warrants.

In my opinion, this is simply about accountability. That is why MPs are elected. It is our job in this place to ensure that there is accountability. The committees are an important mechanism for ensuring that the government is accountable to Canadians. That is why we moved this amendment, which once again was rejected by the Conservative government.

Lastly, in order to prevent possible abuse regarding surveillance warrants, we asked the government to accept one of our amendments, which was about clarifying exactly when a foreign surveillance warrant was necessary. That is very important.

This is a concern not only for Canadians, but for citizens of the United States and other countries who are worried about the extent of surveillance and activities of organizations like CSIS.

If the investigative activity was supposed to take place in Canada and required a warrant under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or if the activity violated international law or the laws of the country where it was to take place, the Federal Court of Canada would have to issue a warrant for that activity to take place outside of Canada.

We examined this bill very carefully and, unfortunately, we cannot support it as it stands, because our amendments were not accepted.

I would also like to explain to the House the criteria we use to assess all legislative measures intended to combat threats to public safety.

Our analysis is based on three criteria. The first criterion is enhanced civilian oversight. It is absolutely crucial that enhanced civilian oversight accompany any new powers for CSIS. The second criterion is the protection of civil liberties. Having spoken with my constituents in Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, I know that they are very worried about this. They strongly believe that civil liberties must be protected. Yes, we need to increase security measures, but not at the expense of civil liberties. This is an important criterion. The third criterion we use to assess public safety legislation has to do with adequate resources. We know that the Conservative government continues to cut resources in terms of funding and personnel. CSIS can definitely be given the tools it needs to do its job.

However, if CSIS does not have the resources and staff it needs, this whole exercise is pointless, and the agency will not be able to properly tackle the problem of terrorism.

Some cuts have been made. The Conservatives have cut as much as $600 million and $87.9 million from our public safety agencies. There have been cuts everywhere.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2015 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

Denis Blanchette NDP Louis-Hébert, QC

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

She mentioned something that I believe is critical to democracy. When a power is granted, there must be control over it. We need a balanced approach between security and the ability to make sure that there are no abuses once that power is granted.

I would like my colleague to comment further on the need for a balance between granting powers to ensure security and the ability to ensure that there are no abuses of those powers.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2015 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, that is actually a concern that many of the witnesses raised in committee. We have to take a close look at that issue. During the committee's study, the Conservative government prevented officers of Parliament, such as the Privacy Commissioner, whose job is to protect Canadians' privacy, from appearing before the committee. He was unable to appear before the committee to express his concerns about Bill C-44, and I find that deplorable.

This also shows the Conservative government's contempt for officers of Parliament and the people who are responsible for protecting Canadians and their privacy. The government also refused to accept their submission. It acted in bad faith at the committee stage. Unfortunately, the government did not take a balanced approach, and the bill does not contain enough measures to protect Canadians' privacy.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2015 / 1:10 p.m.
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Portage—Lisgar Manitoba

Conservative

Candice Bergen ConservativeMinister of State (Social Development)

Mr. Speaker, of course all of the laws we have introduced, and this bill specifically, balance the rights and privacy of Canadian citizens. They also do something that Canadians have asked us to do, which is a full commitment and full responsibility of any government, and that is to protect citizens from threats, whether from abroad or direct threats right here on Canadian soil.

Although the New Democrats in one sense talk about protecting Canadians, when it comes to supporting strong legislation like the bill we are introducing today, they will not support it with their votes.

How dire would the situation have to be and under what circumstance would the New Democrats support giving our law enforcement the tools they need to fight threats, whether at home or abroad? What would they see as warranting this kind of protection for Canadians?

We believe it is warranted and warranted now. We need it. It is disappointing that they will not support it. Under what circumstances would they support this kind of legislation?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2015 / 1:10 p.m.
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NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, frankly, I find the question by the hon. parliamentary secretary insulting. The government's rhetoric on how many deaths there would need to be before we would act, frankly, enrages me. They seem to suggest that we did not deeply grieve the events that happened in Ottawa and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

This rhetoric is extremely problematic. The government is presenting legislation that is not balanced. It does not protect the private life of Canadians and it does not actually ensure civilian surveillance of our security organizations. The government bill is completely problematic and yet at the same time the Conservative members are accusing us of being complicit with terrorists. That is completely inappropriate rhetoric for this kind of debate.

In closing, I would like to quote Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien, who expressed serious concerns over this bill. He said:

It is understandable that the government would want to consider boosting the powers of law-enforcement and national security agencies to address potential gaps.

But any new tools should be accompanied by a beefed-up role for the watchdogs who keep an eye on spies and police.

The NDP agrees with Privacy Commissioner Therrien.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 30th, 2015 / 1:10 p.m.
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Essex Ontario

Conservative

Jeff Watson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise on Bill C-44, the protection of Canada from terrorists act.

If Canadians have been listening for the last half hour or so, or even longer, they will have heard the official opposition, the NDP, and the Liberal Party members become increasingly more concerned about the conduct of our security agencies than they are about the conduct of terrorists and terrorist threats to Canadians.

That is not the case with our government, our Prime Minister and our Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, who work every day to ensure that Canadians are kept safe, that our security agencies have the tools they need to investigate threats, and that our police agencies working in concert with them have the tools they need to apprehend and ultimately successfully prosecute those who are threats to our country.

The clarification in the bill being brought forward is important, particularly in light of a recent court case, which if one can imagine—and I will put it in layman's terms for Canadians to understand very clearly—rendered our security agency effectively an island with respect to the rest of the world. That is, it was not able to share intelligence with other foreign intelligence agencies or receive it and, therefore, able to successfully investigate threats abroad or receive intelligence on threats against Canada here at home.

We are clarifying that, to ensure they can ultimately do the job they need to do and keep Canadians safe. The opposition should get on board, not worry and obsess about the wrong priorities. They should get with Canadians, give our agencies the tools they need, and support this bill.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 3:55 p.m.
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York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved:

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 of the report stage and one sitting day shall be allotted to the third reading stage of the said bill and, fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for government business on the day allotted to the consideration of the report stage and on the day allotted to the 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.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 3:55 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, sadly, this is the 85th time that the government has invoked time allocation and closure.

We are now talking about a sad record that we hope will never be repeated in Canadian parliamentary history. Invoking time allocation and closure seems to be the only thing the government has been able to run up.

We have lost 400,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector. There has been a lack of respect for Parliament by the government. The government has managed to outdo the former Liberal government by invoking time allocation and closure 85 times, showing its lack of respect for Parliament, which so many Canadians are seeing.

Bill C-44, which is very controversial, heard only four hours of witness testimony in committee by experts who came forward and identified problems with the bill. Only a handful of members of Parliament have been able to speak to this bill and, already, after only a handful of speakers, the government wants to ram the bill through.

As we know, the government also has another record, having more recalls of bad pieces of legislation than any other government in Canadian history.

My question for the minister is very simple. Why does the government not get it right? Why does it not listen to experts, and look at and entertain the kinds of amendments that have been brought forward by members of the opposition? Why is the government always trying to ram through legislation that has controversial aspects and should be fixed?

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4 p.m.
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Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

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

I must say that I feel a sense of relief to be preparing for debate this afternoon on the final stage of Bill C-44, which seeks to protect Canadians against terrorists.

Our government had originally planned to introduce this bill on October 22, the very day that this place was targeted by a terrorist attack. I am sure that my New Democrat colleague would agree with that, since that is what John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State, as well as President François Hollande called the incident.

Obviously, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police also said that this act of violence against a symbol, the house of the Canadian people, was committed for extremist and ideological purposes.

Canadians want us to take action. We have a responsibility to take action against the terrorist threat, and the proposed measure will give our intelligence services tools to better track high-risk travellers who pose a threat to our society.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, time allocation is a form of closure and can be a very effective tool in the right situation.

What we have found is that other administrations, whether they be provincial New Democrats or federal Liberals or other levels of government, have used time allocation or some form of closure to get legislation through.

What makes the government unique is the number of times it uses time allocation. Ever since the Prime Minister was given a majority, he has demonstrated a lack of respect for the House by constantly bringing in time allocation after time allocation on virtually all pieces of legislation, whether for the budget or a rather nominal bill that all parties would support. They are all time allocated.

It has become a part of the process, and that is wrong. My question is not for the minister responsible for the bill, but for either the government House leader or the Prime Minister, who should explain to Canadians why the government has chosen time allocation as a tool of standard practice to pass legislation.

It is undemocratic and and a type of abuse, as a rule, of the House of Commons of Canada.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, Parliament has already taken 20 hours to consider this bill on protecting Canada from terrorists. During that time, we have seen that this is a very clear and simple bill. It seeks to confirm the ability of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to operate abroad and make sure that witnesses—an essential source of intelligence—are protected. It also includes very clear provisions to protect privacy.

A debate was held at first reading. The bill was sent to committee. Every clause of the bill was discussed for nearly 92 minutes. Elected officials must ensure that our law enforcement agencies have the tools they need to protect us against terrorism. We are taking that step. It is not the last. This bill will have to be introduced in the Senate as well, and it will once again go through a legislative process. It will be once again debated and examined in committee.

That being said, from what we heard in debate—and my opposition colleagues were there—the political parties believe that this bill is well founded in principle and that it is based on a solid legislative argument. That is why I hope that we can count on their support to quickly pass this bill so that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service will have the authority it needs to continue to protect Canadians and respond to the invitation made by the courts to clarify its mandate. That is what this bill does. We need it. I encourage my colleagues to support this bill in order to ensure that it is quickly passed because it is necessary tool.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:05 p.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am a bit astounded by this debate. First we have the Liberals endorsing the concept of time allocation, and now we have the minister telling us not to worry, that it can be debated in the Senate.

When this bill was introduced, time allocation was used at second reading. At that time, the minister told us that there was time to fully debate and consider the bill, and that was at committee. Then the parliamentary secretary and the majority on the committee limited debate severely. When he said there were 92 minutes for each clause, we were left with about a minute and a half per amendment and limited to four expert witnesses.

I think the government is afraid of a couple of things that came up. One was that some expert witnesses said that some parts of this bill might be unconstitutional and that if these were declared unconstitutional by the courts we were wasting time here.

The other issue we raised was this. Is the government providing sufficient resources to agencies like CSIS and the RCMP to make use of the tools they already have?

The government is afraid of debating those two questions. I think that is why it is introducing time allocation.

Therefore, my question for the minister is this. If it is not the time to debate the bill at report stage, at second reading, or at committee, when is it time for a full public debate of this bill?

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, the member is wrong. First, this bill is not addressing the police or the RCMP, but clarifying the role of our national security agency. It is to clarify and make sure that CSIS, our Canadian security service, continues to do what it has always done, which is to share information with our partners. We do not need a decade of debate to say that it is quite logical that CSIS shares information on Canadian-born individuals who represent a threat, whether they are abroad or return.

I am sure that Canadians and constituents across the country are telling politicians to make sure that our national security agency has the appropriate tools to do its job and protect us. What is in front of us is a fairly clear bill that has two main goals, to clarify—which is probably something that should have been done when we created CSIS, but at that time it did not seem necessary—that CSIS has a mandate to operate, and to be able to track and share information on those individuals who are either in Turkey or Iraq and willing to commit terrorist attacks, or even worse, who are willing to come back and commit terrorist attacks elsewhere and on our own ground.

That is a fairly good reason to proceed, to move forward, and to have this bill adopted by the House so that CSIS can have the tools needed to protect and keep Canadians safe.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:10 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, as we have now had the 85th motion for time allocation in the House, breaking all historic records, with all due respect to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, this is now a debate on the anti-democratic tendencies of the Conservative administration to consistently shut down debate time after time.

Last week in my riding of Saanich—Gulf Islands, when the Right Hon. Joe Clark addressed a non-partisan event sponsored by my riding association, he said that the Canadian Parliament and the Canadian Prime Minister are currently in violation of the Magna Carta. We have violated our fundamental connection to representative democracy, and it is evidenced by the continual use of measures to shove through bills without adequate debate, particularly to the detriment of members such as myself, who are not able to have time in debate to present a speech.

It is not the minister's decision. I know that. This decision was made by others within the Conservative administration.

It is time to stop shutting down debate. A free and democratic society is what terrorists do not want. Shutting down debate is not in the interests of democracy.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, let me reassure the member that I am fully comfortable that there is a balance between debate and action. Canadians expect politicians from all parties to debate in a democracy, and we are all going to debate. We are not done. Once we adopt this motion, hopefully, we will have time to debate. We are just saying that we will not debate over and over or time and time again. Why? It is because we need action.

We have CSIS at this point in time. We do not want those who protect us to be blind. We want them to share information. Actually, that is one principle of democracy. To protect our democracy, we have to provide those who protect us with the legal authority, and that is exactly what this bill would do.

I will mention again, though I have mentioned it over and over again through the previous 20 hours of debate, that there are provisions not only to protect witnesses but to protect their privacy. This bill fully complies with the Constitution, contrary to what I would call the ridiculous assumption made by my colleague in the NDP. I can reassure the member that when the government tables legislation, it makes sure that it complies with Canadian law.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:10 p.m.
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NDP

Denis Blanchette NDP Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is the 85th time allocation motion.

Once again, the government is disrespecting the people's house. In the parliamentary process, there are steps we have to follow. I do not understand why a minister would not want to listen to the experts and accept amendments to improve his bill. I do not understand what he is trying to achieve with all of this. He says there has to be a balance between action and debate. That is great, but only if there is a real debate.

My question for the minister is therefore very simple. What is he afraid of that is prompting him to prevent and restrict debate? What is he afraid of?

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Louis-Hébert for his question.

I am certain that this bill will allow the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to allay Canadians' legitimate concerns over the terrorist threat. This bill will allow our protective services to share information and will confirm their ability to operate outside Canada. It is quite simple. I am pretty sure my colleague agrees with the substance of the issue. That is what is at the heart of the bill.

The other part of the bill is about ensuring that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has reliable sources. There is always a bond of trust that is established between the source and the service, and it is important to protect that because those people put their lives at risk when they agree to turn over information that can save lives here and elsewhere.

This bill clarifies the role of the service and confirms its ability to operate abroad and, more specifically, and I want to repeat this, share information about and track people, potentially Canadians, who may have left the country for terrorist purposes.

We will share this information with our partners and allies, such as the French. All nations throughout the world are bringing in measures in keeping with their constitutional framework in order to protect democracy. That is the purpose of this bill.

This bill will help allay Canadians' legitimate concerns over the terrorist threat. I am sure that the people of Louis-Hébert will be pleased and will sleep better at night once this bill passes, because these services will then have the legal authority they need to protect Canadians.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, this place is all about process. I do not just mean Parliament, but Ottawa. It is all about process. That is important. There needs to be process, but there also need to be results and action, especially when something is critical and especially when Canadians are demanding something like their personal safety.

October 20 and October 22 were wake-up calls. They should have been wake-up calls for even the sleepiest of Canadians. It could have been so much worse on both of those days, especially on October 22, if the people involved had been better organized, better equipped, and so on. They were not, and we are thankful for that, but they were bad enough.

There is a whole bunch of other people out there who are probably better organized and better equipped, and the clock may be ticking. We do not know that. We know that there are at least 140 out there. If CSIS and others say that there are 140, we can bet that there are a whole lot more than that.

I would like to ask the minister about the urgency of this matter. In the American experience after 9/11, one of the biggest problems the Americans had was that there so many silos and disconnects between all of the different parts of the apparatus of the American security system. When they looked back on it, it was all there. Everything about 9/11 was there, but they just had not talked to each other. They just had not shared.

I know that the same situation exists among Canada's security services, whether it is CSIS, CSEC, the DND, or the CRA. Those disconnects exist.

I would like to ask the minister about the urgency and the timeliness that is required to connect those disconnects, because the clock is ticking.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Edmonton Centre for his question and also tell this House I feel privileged to sit with a member who is not only serving his constituents now as a remarkable member of Parliament but who has also served our country under the flag and has had a remarkable career in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

I was given the privilege of travelling with the member. He is a strong advocate not only of the Canadian Armed Forces but of the men and women who wear and have worn the uniform. He is very involved with veterans, especially with those who fought and flew during the Second World War.

As of today, Mr. Cauchy is in Quebec. He is a proud Quebecker who flew during the Second World War and fought for liberty and freedom. He is not that young, but he is in pretty good shape, and friends of mine were able to give him a tribute today.

My concern now is that when our law enforcement agency and our national security agencies do not have the tools necessary to protect us, every day that passes in this country is a concern. This is a concern for this House. This is a concern for all Canadians, and it is also a responsibility for politicians of all party stripes to take action.

We have been given an opportunity to take action. At the end of this day, this bill will not have been adopted. We still need to get it through the Senate and get royal assent. However, this is an important bill to protect Canadians, and I believe we should do our utmost to get it through.

We will have a fair debate, but once we have a debate, we need action, and it is time for action in this country to fight terrorism.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:20 p.m.
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NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is going to be a problem having the Senate act as a safeguard because of the number of empty seats at present.

First, I am going to correct the minister because he obviously has a short memory when it comes to the speech given by French President François Hollande in the House on November 3. Mr. Hollande absolutely did not say what the minister reported. He spoke about a terrorist-inspired attack, which is a very important nuance.

I hope that the minister will recognize that. I believe that the minister is twisting words in order to take a very simplistic approach to a very important debate.

The right of all Canadians to be properly represented in the House and to have a full debate on fundamental issues that will truly affect their lives is being violated for the 85th time.

Bill C-44 will profoundly change Canadians' ability to understand the extent to which secret activities are carried out and the consequences this will have. This could lead to very serious abuses.

Clearly, the minister is dismissing the concerns people may have about the consequences of actions taken by a government agency.

How can the minister once again justify this time allocation and the end of debate in the chamber that represents the people, the chamber of the truly elected, here in this Parliament?

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my colleague that the purpose of the motion is not to put an end to the debate but to manage and limit it. That being said, it is urgent that we pass this bill. Since the tragic incident in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in mid-October and the events here in Ottawa, which resulted in the death of Mr. Cirillo, we have unfortunately seen terrorist attacks in Australia and more recently in Paris.

We are working closely with the French authorities. Obviously, President Hollande is working with our Prime Minister. My counterpart, Minister Cazeneuve, is taking action on the ground. We have seen it. The minister has proposed legislative measures and arrests have been made recently in southern France.

Like us, the French are working together to combat terrorism. More specifically, we are working together on the ground in Iraq, using air strikes to eliminate this terrorist threat. It is a threat on all fronts. We have law enforcement agencies and a national security agency to protect Canadians and Canadian soil. It is important to give those agencies the tools they need, restore their abilities and make sure that they are not completely in the dark when working outside the country. This bill gives those agencies the tools they need to protect Canadians.

I encourage my colleague to do the right thing this once by setting aside partisanship and supporting a bill that will reassure Quebeckers and all Canadians.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, those were great remarks by the Minister of Public Safety. The problem is that the remarks do not relate to Bill C-44, on which the government has introduced closure. The bill he is talking about sounds to me more like the bill that may be coming on Friday.

This bill really does nothing to address the national security concerns that have been raised as a result of the Quebec activity, the incident in Ottawa, or what has happened in Paris. We expect that to be in a new bill. This bill basically brings into law some of the practices that CSIS is now utilizing and protects CSIS sources. What the minister is trying to put urgency on is not in this bill.

This is advice for the government. If the government would work with us at committee and seriously look at some of the recommendations and the amendments we make, take them seriously to improve the bill and allow us to bring in more than just a couple of witnesses to try to satisfy our needs, bring in witnesses with expertise, then it might find the opposition parties more accommodating. It would allow Parliament to operate like it is supposed to rather than running roughshod over the opposition parties with closure when it wants.

My key point, Mr. Minister, is the bill is not talking about the issues you have been talking about in response to the last questions. It is different from that.

Bill C-44--Time Allocation.Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 4:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

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

I agree with him on one point, which is that this is an important bill. This bill targets high-risk travellers and terrorists who could be abroad. The bill also increases our ability to monitor them, so that if they return to the country, we will be in a position to intercept them and prevent them from carrying out terrorist attacks. This bill is very relevant.

However, I agree that other measures are needed, and we intend to propose legislative measures in the House that comply with Canadian laws and that will ensure that our police forces are better able to crack down on this evolving terrorist threat.

I want to take this opportunity to inform my hon. opposition colleague that a technical briefing will be given on these legislative measures. We will contact the offices of the members of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to offer them a technical briefing, as we did with this bill.

Furthermore, during the discussions we had in committee, I noted that the members were knowledgeable about the ins and outs of this bill, which is very clear.

I would like to remind the hon. member for Malpeque that the purpose of this bill is to clarify the role of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. Frankly, this is something we should have done long ago.

In my opinion, the service has the right to operate and conduct its activities outside the country. I do not think we need to spend hours debating that, and the same goes for witness protection. This is a basic principle of justice. Having held very senior positions, the member for Malpeque can see that for himself.

All that being said, I am eager to see this bill move forward so that it can become law in Canada. People sent us here to protect their safety. We have to make sure that they are absolutely safe. We will do that by passing effective laws, and this one is eminently justifiable.

Report StageProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 5:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am not only pleased but proud and privileged to be with a government that has an unwavering commitment to protecting Canadians from radical jihadi terrorists. I am proud of our government's decision to stand with our allies in an international mission to combat the threat ISIL poses to the Middle East, and by extension, to the world. I am proud that when our government says it is committed to giving our security agencies the tools they need to keep Canadians safe, we follow through with decisive action.

In that spirit, I am pleased to rise today in support of the protection of Canada from terrorists bill. As all hon. members know, this bill contains two main measures.

First of all, it will make technical amendments to Canada's Citizenship Act to allow revocation of citizenship provisions to come into force earlier than anticipated. These provisions, which are part of an act that has already received royal assent, include expanded grounds for revocation. This includes authorizing the revocation of the citizenship of individuals engaged in armed conflict with Canada as well as those who have been convicted of terrorism, high treason, or spying.

The bill also provides for a streamlined decision-making process. It will authorize the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration or the Federal Court to make decisions on revoking citizenship from traitors or terrorists.

The second part of this legislation, and what I will focus my remarks on today, are the changes being proposed to strengthen the CSIS Act.

For the last 30 years, CSIS has played a vital, and I would say, valuable role in ensuring a safe and secure Canada. The threats we face as a country today have changed significantly since then. I think all we have to do is look at world events to realize that we do not live in the world of yesterday.

The CSIS Act and the legislation that governs CSIS activities has not changed. With the bill before us, we are taking a critical step toward ensuring that CSIS is well positioned.

Report StageProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 5:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, we are taking a critical step in this government toward ensuring that CSIS is well positioned to confront the terrorist threat as it exists in 2015.

I think it is useful to provide a bit of context about CSIS's work and the associated sections of the CSIS Act that govern that work. Section 12 of the CSIS Act mandates CSIS to collect and analyze intelligence on threats to the security of Canada, and in relation to those threats, to report to and advise the Government of Canada. These threats are specifically defined in the CSIS Act as espionage or sabotage, foreign-influenced activities that are detrimental to the interests of Canada, activities directed toward the threat or use of acts of serious violence, and activities directed toward undermining the system of government in Canada.

Section 16 of the CSIS Act authorizes CSIS to collect within Canada foreign intelligence related to the capabilities, intentions, or activities of any foreign state or group of foreign states. This is subject to the restriction that its activities cannot be directed at Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or corporations.

Sections 13, 14, and 15 authorize CSIS to provide security assessments to the Government of Canada, provincial governments, and other Canadian and foreign institutions, to provide advice to ministers of the crown on matters related to the Citizenship Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and to conduct investigations required to perform all these functions.

Clearly, all of these are very challenging mandates. Fulfilling these mandates means that CSIS has to use a suite of investigative techniques that can include, for instance, open-source research, physical surveillance, interviews, and analyzing intelligence from a wide variety of sources, among others. What is particularly important to note here is the importance that human resources play in allowing CSIS to fulfill its mandate to investigate and to advise on threats to Canada's security.

Other techniques used by CSIS are more intrusive in nature. These techniques may include, among others, searches of a target's place of residence and analysis of financial records or telecommunications intercepts.

CSIS is required to obtain warrants under the CSIS Act to pursue intrusive investigative techniques. In order to obtain a warrant, CSIS must satisfy a designated Federal Court judge that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a warrant is required to enable CSIS to investigate a threat to the security of Canada or to perform its duties and functions under section 16 of the CSIS Act. The CSIS Act also requires the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to approve warrant applications before they are submitted to the Federal Court, which is a very sold failsafe method. In addition, co-operation with domestic agencies is also critical.

Section 17 of the CSIS Act authorizes CSIS, with the approval of the minister, to co-operate with any department of the Government of Canada or the government of a province or any police force in a province. Therefore, CSIS works closely with the RCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency, other government departments, and police forces across Canada.

When it comes to investigating threat-related activities occurring outside of Canada, CSIS's relationship with the Communications Security Establishment Canada, or CSE, is particularly important. CSIS relies heavily on the capabilities and the expertise of CSE to conduct telecommunications intercepts outside of Canada. CSE's legal authority to provide assistance to CSIS stems from subsection 273.64(1)(c) of the National Defence Act.

The CSIS Act authorizes CSIS to enter into an arrangement or to otherwise co-operate with the government of a foreign state, or an institution of that state, with the approval of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness after consulting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Co-operation with foreign entities is critical to CSIS's ability to fulfill its mandate. Individuals being investigated often leave Canada to engage in a range of threat-related activities, and no country can assess the full range of threats on its own. CSIS must be able to work with foreign partners, subject to oversight by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and review by the Security Intelligence Review Committee.

Now that I have outlined some of the important work that CSIS does and how the CSIS act allows for it, I will speak to how this bill would allow CSIS to more effectively operate in the evolving threat environment.

Specifically, this bill would confirm CSIS' authority to conduct investigations outside of Canada related to threats to the security of Canada and security assessments. It would also confirm that the Federal Court can issue warrants for CSIS to investigate, within or outside Canada, threats to the security of Canada. It would also give the Federal Court the authority to consider only relevant Canadian law when issuing warrants to authorize CSIS to undertake certain intrusive activities outside of Canada. It would protect the identity of CSIS human resources from disclosure, and it would protect the identity of CSIS employees who are likely to become involved in covert activities in the future.

These are all measured changes that would amend the legislation governing CSIS' activities so that it has the clear ability and authority to investigate threats to the security of Canada wherever and whenever they may occur.

It is clear that our Conservative government does take the protection of Canadians most seriously. Unfortunately, it seems that some of the other parties do not share our view that these are most serious issues in need of most serious solutions.

The leader of the NDP has determined that our government is playing politics with the issue of terrorism, and he is not convinced that Canada was the victim of two terrorist threats in late October. It is incredible. These views, offensive as they may be—and I do find them offensive personally—are certainly predictable. Remember, this is the same NDP leader who said he did not believe that the U.S. military had really killed Osama bin Laden.

Where can we start with the Liberal Party? It was the Liberal Party leader who recently said we should not fight to destroy and degrade ISIL because he does not believe that we can win against a barbaric group of deranged jihadists.

Despite all of this, I believe that we, as a government and as parties respectively, can come together. I urge all members to support this legislation to allow us to move to the earlier implementation of certain changes to Canadian citizenship laws and to allow CSIS to carry out its vital work in the threat environment of the present day.

Report StageProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 5:20 p.m.
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NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech, despite the insults that he threw in at the end.

The really important thing about this bill is that in the committee process, the NDP proposed a number of very reasonable amendments that the government could have accepted or at least discussed or debated. As things stand now, in fact, CSIS cannot legally conduct extraterritorial surveillance activities. This bill aims to correct that.

There is another important aspect. The amendments we proposed were meant to make the director of CSIS accountable for secret surveillance activities conducted abroad. This will not be the case, because under the bill as it stands, an employee designated by the minister will be accountable for those activities.

I would like to ask my colleague why it is not the director of CSIS who would be accountable for secret activities conducted abroad, and why a straw man should be chosen to do it instead?

Report StageProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 5:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, with all respect, the member is wrong. There would be three levels of accountability that can and will and must take place.

First of all, there has to be a warrant from the Federal Court. The judge must rule that there is valid evidence to conclude that it would be beneficial. It also has to be approved by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Of course, it is also subject to the scrutiny of the Communications Security Establishment.

Report StageProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 5:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I listened closely to the remarks by the member for Prince Edward—Hastings, who is also chair of the public safety committee. I enjoy working with him, and he did a good analysis of the various authorities that CSIS has.

I would say that he took a lot of liberty in his remarks about the Liberal leader's comments, and the things he quoted are simply not true. It does not do much for the integrity of the member or his party when they constantly misquote people in the House.

The question I want to raise with the member is a serious concern. As he knows, the Liberal Party will be supporting this bill. Wesley Wark, when he was before the committee, had this to say about Bill C-44:

Bill C-44 does not add any new provisions to the CSIS Act to ensure proper consultation between the service and its minister, the Minister of Public Safety, and the two departments most likely to be impacted by expanded CSIS overseas operations—the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development and the Department of National Defence.

Liberals proposed an amendment. With the additional protection of sources and the additional powers granted in this act for work overseas, does the member not see it as a problem if activity takes place by CSIS abroad that could impact our trade relationship or the Minister of Foreign Affairs? If CSIS folks are caught in illegal activities, or whatever, as a result of a warrant issued in Canada, does he not see the dangers that situation could cause, such as trade and diplomatic problems? Why not put into the act a requirement that consultation has to take place?

Report StageProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 5:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will also give the member for Malpeque the courtesy of stating that I enjoy working with him. Quite frankly, I take significant counsel from his tremendous experience coming from his many years in Parliament, having worked as a former solicitor general and being involved with the administration of justice and the realities that we all have to face in various legislation.

I think he would also admit, quite frankly, that in dealing with the direction of government, he, as a former cabinet minister, understands that complete dialogue takes place on a consistent basis. Not only do CSIS and Public Safety have to confer with Foreign Affairs, but on cabinet decisions all cabinet ministers talk on a consistent basis. Whether we are talking about trade or foreign affairs, they absolutely interact on a consistent basis, and the communication lines are always open. Whether it is defence, foreign affairs, or trade, the member for Malpeque knows full well that communication happens on an ongoing daily basis. He suggests it does not; maybe it did not happen in the Liberal Party, of which he is a member, and I cannot comment on that, but if it did not happen, it sure as heck should have.

Report StageProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 5:25 p.m.
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NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, this speaking time I have been given allows me the opportunity to share my initial thoughts on the routine nature of the government's surveillance activities. Why routine? It is simple. In the past few years, we have been introduced to a number of government initiatives that would allow the government to intrude into Canadians' private lives. It has become recurrent, hence the routine nature. It has become so routine that even in the north, environmental activists came to see me recently for some legal and political advice on the chances of their being investigated and followed simply because of their actions during demonstrations and their environmental activism. Slowly but surely, Canadians have become paranoid. In a way, that paranoia is justified and has been fuelled by these initiatives that have been gradually introduced over the past few years. I have seen a number of them, and this bill, this initiative before us today, is no exception.

Bill C-44, An Act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and other Acts, contains amendments that will considerably enhance the power of our intelligence agencies to act abroad in the context of investigations related to threats to Canada's security.

I will now stress that certain isolated incidents are hastily labelled as terrorist acts so that they can be fitted into a narrative to instill fear in the population for electoral purposes.

I will provide a very simple example of an event that was hastily labelled an act of terrorism. The day after the October incident in the House of Commons, I was invited to a televised debate at a television station. I was accompanied by a Liberal colleague and a Conservative colleague. The Conservative colleague did not hesitate, at every turn, barely 24 hours after the incident, to label it terrorism. He already had speaking points, a prepared and spoon-fed message. It was already deemed an act of terrorism.

We should also realize that although there was media hype and biased reporting by some media, one English newspaper reported the information a few days later and mentioned that the person who had gone to Parliament Hill with a hunting rifle was first and foremost a drug addict. I think that should be mentioned. In fact, he was a crack user. Crack is a crystallized form of cocaine that is made using ammonia.

This is my bailiwick. At the risk of repeating myself, as hon. members know, I am a criminal lawyer and I worked mainly with mental health-related cases. The vast majority of my clientele was made up of hard drug users. They can be unpredictable at times. During a court appearance, a client might decide to sing, cry, shout or utter threats. Even judges in our legal system are used to seeing that. When you see thousands of people like that in a single year, you start to get used to it. When a client like that is put on trial, the defence lawyer will often tell the judge that he thinks that his client is currently in a fragile state of mind and that he is not necessarily in full possession of his faculties. The lawyer then suggests that the hearing or trial be postponed for a few days to give his client enough time to come back down to earth, because he will utter threats to everyone and he is currently aggressive. It often takes a number of police officers to control these people. Clients on freebase, or crack, are hard to control.

Accordingly, regardless the individual's allegiance, origin, or even religion, he was above all a hard drug user who had mental health problems. I think we also have a societal duty, because the individual is in very good company. I have been in Ottawa for four years, and I have seen that there are countless hard drug addicts. A few minutes' walk from Parliament Hill, in front of the shopping centre, you will see people selling crack in front of McDonald's in broad daylight. Young people can see this go on all day long. Hard drugs are being sold near Canada's Parliament. We have seen situations like what happened here, where an individual blows a fuse—if I can put it that way—and decides to wave a shotgun around in public.

We have seen others in Ottawa. It is not limited to this city. You can see this kind of thing everywhere. However, a distinction needs to be made here.

Rather than talking about terrorism, we should be talking about addiction to hard drugs and mental health. That is a lot more relevant. People living in Ottawa who see that on a regular basis will probably agree. This is a social problem.

What measures and resources would help drug addicts? The media reported that the individual in question used a shelter not far from here and that he was in contact with other drug addicts. This is a societal issue that deserves a little more thought than labelling something terrorism 24 hours later.

The Conservatives have used recent events to justify giving the Canadian Security Intelligence Service more powers. They claim that this bill is necessary to prevent terrorists and violent extremists from carrying out attacks in Canada.

Still, we should consider the warning that Justice Iacobucci issued about the spillover effects that rushing to expand police powers can have on freedom of religion, freedom of association and freedom of expression; the possible tainting of Canada's Muslim community; and the risk of overreaching by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service when sharing information in a global fight against terrorism.

I just want to point out that Justice Iacobucci, a former Supreme Court judge, is studied in law faculties across the country. I studied him for six years, and he is highly respected. He says that there is a risk of tainting Canada's Muslim community because that information is sensationalized by media outlets of dubious repute just to sell copies. Some people try to blame everything bad in the world on the Muslim community, and because of Islamophobia, we end up with situations like the one going on in Sept-Îles right now.

There are not many Arabs or Muslims in my home town. There is one who is tyring to build a mosque, and a few times now, some misguided individuals have smashed the walls of his building. He was forced to put up a barbed wire fence. We are talking about the 51st parallel. It is -25 degrees Celsius there today. While conditions are already difficult for someone from the Middle East or the Arab world, he also has to put up with the fact that the local media and our own government are misinforming the population and trying to demonize that community. This is not good for Canadian unity or for the intellectual evolution of our country and our youth. We need to put an end to this kind of discourse.

Report StageProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 5:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Roxanne James Conservative Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I have been listening to the full context of this member's speech and I have yet to hear any correlation to the bill we are debating before the House. There is absolutely zero relevance. I am still waiting. Time is almost up. I see you have given the member the final couple of minutes to go, Mr. Speaker, and I honestly have no idea whether the member even knows what we are debating here in the House right now.

Report StageProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 5:35 p.m.
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NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will briefly address the need to prevent our media and politicians from descending into xenophobia and populism.

The gunman here in Ottawa, regardless of his ethnic origin or religion, was first and foremost a drug addict. There are some reals risks associated with giving CSIS these new powers without proper oversight. Rather than clarifying things, this bill opens the door to a number of legal problems and could very well be struck down by the courts. In addition to legal problems, this initiative exploits a certain social malaise fuelled by a populist, sensationalist narrative that feeds the gutter press and the most base form of politics.

Report StageProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 5:35 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 still did not hear a whole lot to do with the bill and so perhaps I can help the member out.

The bill before the House today that we are debating was actually to be tabled on the day of the attacks here in Ottawa on Parliament Hill and against our Canadian Armed Forces. It was not a knee-jerk reaction as some in the opposition have said. It was actually a bill that was to be tabled that day. It was in direct relation to recent court decisions that called into question the authority of our security agencies to actually be able to operate overseas, communicate with our allies, and have the ability to provide their informants with the same protection that law enforcement agencies have across this country. I thought I would add this as general information for the member, possibly for his answers.

However, I am not surprised that NDP members voted against this legislation. They voted against it in committee and will certainly vote against it again. They have not supported a single measure that we brought forward.

This is common sense. It was in the works prior to the attacks. The attack on Parliament on that day is a clear indication that this legislation is needed and why it is needed quickly.

The member's party was not able to support the Combating Terrorism Act. It certainly did not support revoking citizenship from those who commit acts of terrorism against our allies or here in Canada. NDP members are voting against this bill and voting against standing shoulder to shoulder with our allies in the global fight against terror.

My question is very general. Does the member even understand the severity of terrorism in this world, the direct threat that groups like ISIL and those who have created a jihadist movement pose against our country, and what that means to Canada?

Report StageProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 5:40 p.m.
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NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

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

The problem is that the Conservatives are twisting the concept of terrorism to suit their own interests. They are doing so quickly and abruptly, simply for election purposes.

They have trademarked themselves as the “tough on crime” party. Now they are using terrorism to pursue their agenda, because it fits in nicely with the narrative they have presented. A large portion of the Canadian population responds to that kind of message.

However, using this kind of concept in such a twisted sense and for purely elitist and election purposes is highly questionable and reprehensible.

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January 28th, 2015 / 5:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the critic for the Liberal Party, has had an opportunity to address the House regarding why the bill does have some value. It is a bit of a step forward, but there is also an argument to be made that the government has lost an opportunity in terms of the whole idea of parliamentary oversight. When we think of the Five Eyes security nations, of which Canada is one, there was the idea of having a parliamentary oversight committee to deal with security services.

I wonder if the member might provide the House with the NDP position on parliamentary oversight for an organization like CSIS.

Report StageProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 5:40 p.m.
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NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

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

According to information that has been brought to my attention, members of civil society must be allowed to contribute and really examine the powers given to the authorities—powers that ultimately allow them to infiltrate and intrude into the private lives of Canadians.

It is essential that a third party ensure that this system works properly and that no wrongdoing is committed in this type of situation.

Report StageProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 5:40 p.m.
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NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his eloquent remarks and for enlightening us about this bill.

With regard to CSIS's activities abroad, various federal courts have already ruled that section 12 of the act does not contain extraterritoriality provisions that cover covert surveillance. This issue has been brought before the courts on a number of occasions.

It is troubling that, ultimately, CSIS is still conducting extraterritorial activities. Clearly, rather than remedying the situation by reining CSIS in, the government is trying to condone that behaviour by amending the act and establishing such provisions.

Would my colleague care to comment on that?

Report StageProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 5:40 p.m.
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Conservative

LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is my great pleasure to rise today for one minute and add my voice to the protection of Canada from terrorists act. Recently, we have seen acts of terror not limited to troubled areas of the world, such as Syria, Algeria, Iran and Iraq.

I listened to the previous member's speech who thought this was a Conservative ploy. I would ask that member in particular why it was that his leader asked for 24/7 protection from the RCMP if this was not a terrorist act? That is really beyond my comprehension.

These individuals are carrying out these acts in groups in cities right across the globe. All of these actions are done for different motives and different means but have a common goal: to strike terror and fear into the hearts of governments and citizens.

That is why our Conservative government has pushed ahead with the legislation before us because nothing is more important than keeping Canadians safe from harm and fear, whether it is in the streets of their communities, when travelling, or when living abroad. That means our Conservative government makes every effort to prevent, detect, deny and respond to terrorist threats.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

January 28th, 2015 / 6:25 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am in the same position as my friend, the member for Ahuntsic. When the members in favour were called upon to rise, the vote was cut off to move to the members opposed. A number of members were not able to rise. It is difficult to rise to vote in this corner. I would like to record my vote and the vote of the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North. We support the NDP motion.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 3:25 p.m.
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Green

Bruce Hyer Green Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to deletions to Bill C-44, the so-called protection of Canada from terrorist act. While we all agree that Canadians must be protected and that reforms to the way CSIS operates are certainly necessary, I question whether the bill would move us any closer to safety from terrorists.

The way the bill is being rushed through the House of Commons, it looks like the Conservatives are trying to ensure that we parliamentarians do not have the chance to finally read it. After the Conservatives imposed time allocation on the bill at second reading, the committee heard from witnesses for one meeting, two hours, and not a single opposition amendment was accepted.

The Privacy Commissioner had serious concerns. He wrote to the committee that he would, “welcome the opportunity to speak” to the committee. He was not invited. Again, we see the Conservatives' contempt for expert advice, even from their Privacy Commissioner.

It is possible to find a balance between our safety and our freedoms, our security and our rights. However, the government seems to want to weaken our privacy laws without achieving any security objectives.

Further, as our intelligence operations increasingly involve working with other countries, the bill would potentially undermine the possibility of any meaningfully safe co-operation. In the words of the Canadian Bar Association:

—Bill C-44 would undermine established practices that balance national security against fundamental rights, and potentially call into question Canada's compliance with its international law obligations.

In committee, the minister himself proudly stated, “I think this is the most constitutional bill we have introduced”. That probably speaks less favourably to the government's record than the minister quite intended. It is quite ironic.

Apart from quite serious democratic issues, my concerns also relate to the provisions in the bill amending the way the CSIS Act would treat human sources and the bizarre wording regarding activities beyond Canada's borders. The bill would redefine the privilege given to human sources, but according to legal experts, Bill C-44 would actually lessen the protection given to sources. I am also concerned the bill would seriously interfere with the proper administration of justice in Canada.

Although the stated purpose of these amendments is supposedly “is to ensure that the identity of human sources is kept confidential”, the new wording would limit this protection to only apply “in a proceeding before a court”.

According to the Canadian Bar Association:

—disclosure of information relating to confidential human sources appears to be limited to disclosure of information during the course of judicial proceedings. The proposed amendments to section 18 do not include any general prohibition against disclosure of information outside the judicial proceedings, such as found in section 18(1) [of the Act]. Accordingly, if a confidential human source provides information about a matter that does not result in a judicial hearing, the CSIS Act would no longer prohibit disclosure of either the information or the identity of the source.

Human sources risk their lives for our safety. The bill would reduce their protection unless the matter was before the courts.

The second major issue is a serious constitutional one. The place where we need to be most careful when granting confidentiality is in the justice system. The charter guarantees that every person be granted “a fair and public hearing”. The wording of the definition of “human sources” is so vague that it may become even more difficult to convict any terrorists at trial.

The definition in clause 2 does not require that the promise of confidentiality be explicit or written for a source to effectively veto proceedings. May I remind members that the Supreme Court ruled just last year that a promise of confidentiality may even be “implied”.

In the context of police informants the court wrote:

An implicit promise of informer privilege may arise even if the police did not intend to confer the status or consider the person an informer, so long as the police conduct in all the circumstances could have created reasonable expectations of confidentiality.

Expert witness Professor Kent Roach testified before committee. He said:

—I have a concern that virtually every human source CSIS talks to under the proposed legislation would then have the benefit of the privilege and a veto on any identifying information being disclosed, whether it's to defend a search warrant in a terrorist investigation or to be called as a witness in a terrorism prosecution.

He went on to say that these ambiguous promises could “hinder or even thwart subsequent prosecutions”.

There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that CSIS informants are not given enough protection. This is a solution in search of a problem. It would actually open informants to new vulnerabilities and handcuff our justice system in the fight against terror.

I also want to address the wording of clause 8 and highlight some of the serious consequences that could arise.

I am a former police officer and I am not naive. I know that for the sake of protecting Canadians, we sometimes do need to investigate outside of Canada. However, it is absurd and belligerent to require that the federal court grant warrants for actions in another country, “Without regard to any other law, including that of any foreign state”.

Even if we ignore the highly questionable notion that our courts have the jurisdiction to authorize activities outside of Canada, this language is highly problematic. The wording is so bold and so broad that it opens up serious questions. Does it apply to international law? What are the limits? When is a warrant even needed here? Did anybody think about how this would look, how it would affect our international co-operation and, especially, how it could invite other countries to violate and disregard our laws?

I am shocked but not totally surprised by this anti-democratic piece of legislation from a government whose party has shown itself to be repeatedly anti-democratic here at home.

Our intelligence regime certainly does need changes. CSIS could definitely use an update. We seek more effective measures to prevent terror and we desperately need to overhaul our barely existing oversight program. If we take a look at evidence and listen to the experts—what a novel thought—there is no reason why we need to give up the search for balance between a strong legal system and national security.

We can have oversight and safety, rights and protection. The amendments the Green Party proposed in committee, which were rejected out of hand, could have helped to do that.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 3:35 p.m.
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Green

Bruce Hyer Green Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we know, repeatedly, it is up to about 80 times now that we have had an abbreviated discussion and debate on a variety of bills in closure.

It was not quite as bad in committee as it was in the Rouge River debates. In those debates, Conservative members on committee were playing with their BlackBerrys and not even looking up when they raised their hands to oppose amendments without really listening to them. This time they did have some alleged reasons why they opposed our amendments, not terribly significant reasons, but they did verbalize some reasons.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 3:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member's remarks as well. I know he was at the committee.

He made mention of this quote in the legislation, and I will quote it again. It is under subclause 8(2), proposed subsection 21(3.1). It states:

Without regard to any other law, including that of any foreign state, a judge may, in a warrant issued....

That, as the member said in his speech, is extremely extraordinary language. We know for a fact, and it was stated at committee, that none of our Five Eyes partners—New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, or the United States—have that kind of language, although they do the same endeavours abroad as we do.

Could the member comment further on that? Does he think maybe that could even cause us problems internationally with some of our allies, and with some countries that are not our allies, or whether there could even be a challenge under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms with that kind of clause in this bill? We issued a warning to the government.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 3:35 p.m.
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Green

Bruce Hyer Green Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the concerns of the member for Malpeque. This is extremely worrisome.

Canada's reputation internationally has suffered and declined in a variety of ways over the last six years, but doing something like this invites other states, and other want-to-be states—can members think of one?—to ignore our laws if we are going to go ahead and legally feel, without real justification, that we can interfere with and ignore their laws.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 3:40 p.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise with some regret today to speak to Bill C-44 at report stage. This comes from the fact that when the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness introduced this bill, he said he wanted all-party support on a very important national security matter. On this side of the House, we took him seriously and looked forward to having a full debate and discussion about what we could best do to combat some of the serious problems we face.

Instead, when we came to debate at second reading, there was a severe time allocation motion imposed. During that debate, I asked the hon. minister, who had said that he thought committee was the proper place for the debate to occur, for assurance that in committee, there would be adequate time to consider this bill. He then pretended, I would have to say, that his parliamentary secretary and his majority on the committee would be completely independent and free to make sure there was adequate time in committee. Of course, that was not the case.

On this side, we believe that with co-operation and full debate, we might actually have been able to come to a consensus on this bill. The actions of the Conservatives show that they were really never interested in doing that. Instead, what they wished to do, which I think the House will hear a lot from the Conservatives following my speech, was try to divide Canadians for their own partisan advantage.

Why do we need full debate? I have said many times in the House that we are a diverse country, with representatives who have very different interests in their constituencies and very different points of view and backgrounds, and when we bring all of that experience together in the House, we can get better and more effective legislation and legislation that would actually accomplish what it sets out as its goals.

We waste time in the House, and later waste time and resources in the courts, if bills are defective, if they are not well designed, and if they do not take into account the question of whether they are going to ultimately be found constitutional.

As I said, New Democrats had great hopes that the minister was serious and that we would have a full debate on this bill. It has been 30 years since CSIS was established, and obviously, it is time now to look at what we could do better.

Instead, in committee, there was the same kind of severe restriction on time. There were just four hours to hear witnesses, and after the minister and his officials had taken their two hours, there were just two hours for non-government witnesses. This meant that the official opposition was only allowed to call two witnesses and the third party one witness. Then there was a large group of people who actually approached the chair of the committee and said they would like to appear before the public safety committee on this bill. Of course, that left zero time for any of those witnesses.

The witnesses the committee heard were very valuable. We heard professors Wesley Wark, Craig Forcese, and Kent Roach, who raised some very important concerns about the bill, which I will return to in a minute. However, who did the committee fail to hear from? The Information Commissioner and the Privacy Commissioner wanted to appear and talk about the impact of the expansion of CSIS powers on information and privacy law. The Canadian Bar Association wanted to appear. The Federation of Law Societies of Canada wanted to appear, and civil liberties associations, including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the BC Civil Liberties Association, also submitted requests to appear.

Probably the most important group of witnesses the committee could have heard and did not have time for were the commissioners who investigated incidents like the Air India bombing, the hon. Justice John Major; the Maher Arar case, Justice Dennis O'Connor; and the El Maati, Almalki, and Nurredin cases, Justice Frank Iacobucci. In all of these cases, there were recommendations from former Supreme Court judges and senior judges on how to make CSIS more effective and make sure that there was proper oversight of a body that necessarily has to do a lot of its work in secret. There could have been a chance to see if recommendations from those three inquiries could have been incorporated into this bill, but instead, no time was allowed to call them as witnesses.

Having used their majority in the committee to limit discussion and the hearing of witnesses, the committee also limited discussion of any amendments to this bill to just one two-hour session. There was one two-hour session to deal with 12 substantive amendments from the NDP and 11 substantive amendments from other members of Parliament. The government proceeded to reject all of them one by one in a fashion that so rapid, one could hardly turn the pages fast enough, let alone have a good debate.

I want to draw attention to just one of those amendments that was rejected, to give members an idea of what happened in this committee.

The NDP's first amendment was an amendment that would have required CSIS to provide its oversight body, SIRC, the security intelligence review committee, with complete and accurate information in a timely manner. That is something we would presume a government body would do. It is something that is not specifically required anywhere in the legislation. Why were we putting forth such an amendment? It was because in its last annual report, SIRC, the supervisory body, said that CSIS repeatedly failed to provide the oversight body with complete and accurate information and failed to do so in a timely manner.

What possible harm could there have been in such an amendment? Obviously, a lot of good could have been done by having the oversight body able to cite responsibility, in the legislation, for providing them with the information they request in a timely manner.

The Conservatives went on to reject 11 more amendments that focused, again, on increasing accountability, improving oversight, making sure the bill is effective, and making sure the bill is constitutional. The result is a flawed bill that we cannot support on this side of the House.

The amendments we introduced today take out a piece of the bill that I think is fairly egregious, when we are talking about CSIS. In fact, it makes the bill almost an omnibus bill. It has in it amendments to the Citizenship Act to bring forward the coming into force date of the ability of the government to remove citizenship from dual citizens convicted of serious offences. This really has nothing to do with the topic in the CSIS bill.

We have suggested that those be removed today, but I have no confidence that the government will be any more willing to consider amendments here than it was in committee.

What is the bill about? One day the minister assured us that it was one of the most significant bills we could possibly have on national security and that it was absolutely necessary. On his appearance at the committee, the minister said the bill was just clarifying what CSIS already does.

It is very hard for me to get a sense of whether the minister believes that this is important and significant legislation or housekeeping legislation, since he said both of those to the committee.

The minister also said that the courts had invited the government to bring in this piece of legislation. I think that is an interesting interpretation of the court decision. The court said that some of the things CSIS is doing lack legal authority and that if the government wished to correct this, it needed legislation. It did not in fact invite the government to present this kind of legislation.

What we see again and again in this bill is over-reach by the government, whether it is with regard to the warrants it is asking the superior courts to issue or whether it is with respect to protecting the identity of CSIS staff. We presented a very simple amendment that would have said that we recognize that staff who are, or are about to be, involved in covert operations might need to have their identities protected. However, what this bill says is that CSIS could keep all of its employees' names secret for all time. The person who is the receptionist could have his or her name kept secret. It is over-reach. It is overkill in this bill.

When it comes to the question of constitutionality, I specifically asked the minister if he would table in the committee the advice he had received that this bill was constitutional. We hear the Minister of Justice and we hear the Minister of Public Safety assuring us that they always check and get such advice. Well, if they do get such advice, I would like to see them share it with us on this side of the House.

We have seen, in other bills that have been passed through the House, when we had that assurance, that the courts eventually found that the bills were not constitutional. I think it is an important question, because it causes us to waste time in the House and waste the court's time later on.

When it comes to oversight, which is probably our major concern, we missed the opportunity in this bill to turn SIRC into something much more substantive. Right now it has a temporary chair. Two of its positions have been vacant for months. It is a part-time, non-specialist committee, yet any amendments we had to strengthen the qualifications of the members of SIRC and also to get all-party agreement on the appointments to SIRC were rejected by the government.

I know my time is drawing to a close. I just want to say, first of all, that we believe we need strong oversight for our national security agencies. We believe that we can protect national security and civil liberties at the same time. We believe that we have to provide adequate resources to do that.

What we will hear from the Minister of Public Safety in just a few moments is how the NDP is weak on national security and how we failed to support certain interventions in the Middle East. None of that has anything to do with this bill.

This bill fails on the grounds of providing the kind of oversight we need and providing an effective bill that would protect national security and civil liberties at the same time.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 3:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the remarks and the work of the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca on the committee. He went to fairly substantial lengths in his remarks to talk about how democracy is basically failing at committee.

There were substantive amendments brought forth at committee, all of which were rejected out of hand. I want to ask the member this question with respect to one of those amendments. I think all opposition parties—the Green Party, the Liberal Party, and the NDP—agreed on an amendment to proposed subsection 3.1 that would have removed the words “Without regard to any other law, including that of any foreign state,” and commenced that subsection with “A judge...”.

I wonder if the member would talk about the implications of the government not listening to the opposition parties on a very well-thought-out and needed amendment in terms of our reputation on the international stage, as well as about the possibility of a charter challenge as a result of the government leaving that clause in.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 3:50 p.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is another example of overreach by the government. There are many that I could have talked about during my speech if I had had the time.

The government is saying that the courts should issue a warrant without respect to any law or the law of any foreign state. That is not what the courts invited it to do when it introduced this legislation. This is language that does not exist in any other place we can find. It certainly does not exist in the legislation of any of our Five Eyes partners. Of course, the risk is that when it gets to court, it would be found unconstitutional. This language is so broad and so offensive in many ways to international law that I cannot imagine the courts would look favourably upon it.

However, I must also say that I am a little confused, because I understand that the Liberal Party, despite having moved these amendments and having them rejected, is supporting this legislation.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 3:50 p.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member just has to wait a few moments until the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness gets up to speak and she will see what I mean by dividing Canadians.

The idea that the minister has set out is that if we do not support this bill, we are somehow bad Canadians and are not in favour of protecting national security, while what we set out to do with the amendments in this bill and in our debate was to make it a better bill, one that all Canadians could support and one that would be more effective in protecting our national security interests. Instead, we got back a flawed bill that we cannot support.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 3:50 p.m.
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NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his interesting intervention today. It speaks to the quality of the research he has done on this bill.

It should alarm a lot of Canadians that we seem to yet again be going down a road with a bill that could likely be challenged in the courts. It is a bill that we yet again have spent insufficient time drafting in this House, and it is likely to fail in front of our tribunals. Quite frankly, I wonder why the government seems to want to support our esteemed lawyer friends instead of the Canadian public in its pursuit of rights and freedoms.

Be that as it may, I am interested in the member's discussion on SIRC and the recommendation that a new oversight committee should be established that may be more forceful and have more of a role to play than the current oversight committee, which we know as SIRC. I wonder if he could elaborate.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 3:55 p.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, it will be tough to give a short answer on that one.

We tried to do two things. One was to improve the existing SIRC. That was rejected. The other thing we wanted to do was along the lines of a motion that was introduced almost a year ago by the member for St. John's East. We wanted to examine the oversight of all of our national security agencies, because as they increasingly co-operate, it is difficult for a side-load agency like SIRC to provide the kind of supervision we need. Along with the elimination of the inspector general, which was an internal accountability mechanism inside CSIS, we perhaps need to take a broader look at the whole question of oversight of national security agencies.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 3:55 p.m.
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Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to speak in the House today, particularly because recent events have reminded us of how real a threat terrorism still is for us all, and that is why we have to remain vigilant.

We know that terrorist entities have tried to attack our country. That started well before Canada joined a coalition of countries to deal with this threat in the Middle East that is displacing tens of thousands of people facing atrocities and savagery.

Obviously, we are also aware that this threat may have repercussions inside our borders, and that is why, even before the attacks of October 22, we had planned to introduce the bill that is before us today, which has just come back from the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

Today, we are taking another important step toward passage of the bill, since the Canadian Security Intelligence Service does not have the same tools now as it had when the courts made their decisions. This means that as parliamentarians, we are being invited to clarify the powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to protect us.

This bill, which deals with the protection of Canada from terrorists, will enable us to take another important step toward ensuring that the country is secure against terrorist attacks.

Let us be clear: we will be introducing another bill to give both law enforcement agencies and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service additional tools so they are able to adapt to the evolving terrorist threat.

However, at this point in time, I would like to take a moment to thank the members of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security for giving their prompt attention to the bill, although I am disappointed to see that the members of the New Democratic Party opposed this legislation. We know that in the past they have also opposed the Combating Terrorism Act. This is unfortunate, but we can take some comfort in the fact that at this point in time there are individuals who are being accused under this new law of being willing to commit terrorist acts. We are committed to making sure that as politicians we make the laws that allow and enable all our enforcement agencies to track in particular those individuals who are travelling abroad.

It seems odd that the NDP supports tracking all of the firearms owned by law-abiding Canadians through a new gun registry but is opposed to tracking terrorists. I guess this should come as no surprise, given that the NDP member for Scarborough—Rouge River stood in this place to make statements comparing a day celebrated by the Tamil Tigers terrorist group to the solemn Canadian occasion of Remembrance Day. These types of actions show that the NDP cannot be trusted on matters of national security.

I would also like to touch briefly on recent events. As I just said, an individual Canadian convert was included in a terrorist propaganda video calling for attacks on Canada. These disturbing events show a clear need for Canadians to be vigilant in the face of the real and serious threat of terrorism.

In Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, and right here in mid-October, we were, in a way, victims of terrorist attacks that we did not foresee.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police recently filed charges for terrorism-related offences against an individual in Montreal. That person has been charged with committing robberies for the benefit or at the direction of a terrorist group, and he apparently planned to leave Canada to engage in terrorist activities abroad.

Yes, terrorism is still a real threat to our country, and that is why we, as legislators, have to continue to ensure that we adapt to that threat.

On the international side, we must degrade and destroy this terrorist organization power at its source and reduce its ability to rally its followers to carry out terrorist attacks on western nations, including Canada.

We are at a critical moment in our counterterrorism efforts. We must take action in a measured but decisive manner. We must not overreact to terrorists, but neither can we afford to under-react. If we delay, defer, or vacillate, we put Canada at risk for more horrific acts of terrorism. Of course, nobody in this House wants this to happen.

That is why we cannot hesitate when the time comes to pass bills that guarantee that our law enforcement and national security agencies have the tools they need. We must provide them with the strong legal foundation they need to do their essential work.

That is why all members of the House are invited to help us protect Canadians against terrorist threats by passing this bill without delay. After hours of debate, here and in committee, there is no need to reiterate that this bill allows any individual who has been charged with an offence to have a just and fair trial.

In addition, subclause 4 on page 3 of the bill, which is only seven pages long, clearly states that an amicus curiae or special advocate who is appointed may apply to a judge in a proceeding for an order declaring that an individual is not a human source or that information is not information from which the identity of a human source could be inferred, or, to establish the accused’s innocence, that it may be disclosed in the proceeding.

There are mechanisms elsewhere that ensure that this bill both meets all the requirements of the Canadian constitution and allows for a just and fair trial. Most importantly, this bill clarifies matters for the authorities in the intelligence services so that they are able to perform their role of protecting Canadians.

As we have heard during debate and the study of this bill, we are proposing targeted amendments to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, which has not in fact had any major amendments in 30 years.

All our efforts to make our national security system robust and effective adhere to the rule of law and respect the rights and freedoms that are dear to all Canadians. I will repeat: our efforts to make our national security system more robust and to better protect the Canadian public against terrorists adhere to the rule of law and respect the rights and freedoms that are dear to all Canadians.

That is why I hope this bill will move quickly through the House, go to the Senate for consideration and come back to us, so that the security services can do the job assigned to them at a time when we are fully aware that the terrorist threat is real.

This bill is a response to two court decisions that have major consequences for the mandate and operations of CSIS. Our measures only address ambiguities in the CSIS Act that have created uncertainty concerning how the Act is to be interpreted. They also provide protection for the sources that are at the very origin of information, but again, within a framework of complete respect for rights and freedoms and with access to a just and fair trial.

I could give many more examples, but we know that there are individuals right now who want to commit terrorist acts outside Canada or here at home. It is important that we be able to exchange information with our international partners. It is important that CSIS’s mandate be clearly laid out in the law. That is what this bill does, and that is why I urge all parties, all political parties and elected members of the House, to support it, since it is an important step in protecting Canadians against the terrorist threat.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 4:05 p.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister gave the speech I expected to hear from him, again trying to create some kind of divide on national security that does not exist. The divide is on the proposed legislation, and the fact that it is flawed legislation.

I would like to know whether the minister has thought very seriously about something that was raised by two of the witnesses at committee, and that has to do with the protection of sources.

Right now, the courts can protect the identity of human sources for CSIS on a case-by-case basis, and they do so. However, the bill proposes to give blanket protection. Two of the witnesses in committee warned us that there would be two problems if we grant that blanket protection: one, it might be found unconstitutional; and the second more specific problem is that it might make it more difficult to prosecute people who are actually guilty of terrorist acts using CSIS information.

Does the minister not think that this problem is important enough to pause on and solve, so that we could make sure we prosecute those who are actually guilty of terrorist acts?

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question. Unfortunately, a number of the amendments he is proposing go beyond the scope of the bill. I do not think they are in order.

I would like to talk about the essence of his question, which is the protection of sources—a very important topic. In its May 2014 ruling on the Mohamed Harkat case, the Supreme Court of Canada found that the service's human sources are not protected by privilege similar to common law privilege and similar to the privilege granted to police informants. It is important to clarify the legal authority in this case, since human sources could decide not to provide information to CSIS, which would pose an even greater threat to our country's security. This is essential information that could protect Canadians from a terrorist attack. That is why we are bringing in automatic protection, subject to certain exceptions. I urge my colleague to reread clause 7 of the bill, which clearly describes the procedure enshrined in our Constitution and in our laws to provide for exceptions and to ensure on one hand that there is a fair and just process and on the other hand that the act complies with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This is an opportunity for the New Democrats, who seem to care a lot about civil liberties, to help pass a bill that will enshrine them in law.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, before I ask my question, I do not think it is helpful for the minister to suggest that there is anyone in this House who is opposed to tracking terrorists who are putting Canadians at risk. I do not think the minister should be saying that, and he should apologize for making that statement. Although the statement was not directed at me, it was directed at MPs elected in this House, and I think it is wrong. For this kind of discussion, we should be able to have a legitimate debate with legitimate concerns. I ask the minister to withdraw that statement and apologize to whomever it was directed towards.

The minister talked about the video and the need for Canadians to be vigilant. We agree, but there is also a need for law enforcement authorities to be more aggressive against those individuals who have returned home after being involved in terrorist activities abroad. The minister is so often called the top cop in the country, but the legislation before us would do nothing to deal with that or add more authority. However, there are authorities now. Why is the minister not using them?

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 4:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, before us today is the direction being proposed by our government to all parliamentarians. At first reading, there were very positive comments about the fact that it equips the Canadian Security Intelligence Service with tools to protect Canadians. I have no doubt that everyone in the House wants to protect Canada from terrorism. Will we differ on how to do that? Probably.

However, I think I clearly demonstrated, over the course of numerous debates, that the provisions in this bill—which are in keeping with the Canadian Constitution—will ensure that any individual who is charged on the basis of information from our intelligence services will have the right to a just and fair trial. That is why the fundamental principles of this bill are worthy of each member's scrutiny and support.

That is the answer to my colleague's question. Obviously, as my colleague knows, I am a politician and I have a background in engineering. To ensure that police officers can do their work to the best of their ability, I know that it is important to give them tools. How can we, as politicians, do that? By passing effective laws, and that is exactly what we have before us. That is why I appreciate that my colleague supported this bill in committee. I hope that we will have his support at third reading. This is a democracy. I fully intend to support this bill.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 4:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin this debate at report stage of Bill C-44 by registering the concerns of the Liberal Party with respect to the manner in which the government has proceeded with this legislation. This was mentioned by my colleague from the NDP a moment ago as well.

The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has made a great deal about the importance of this legislation, and suggests that it is well thought out. I will mention a couple of points in that regard in a moment.

However, first, the minister has left the impression that if we adopt this legislation, it will be effective in dealing with the situation we are currently facing. On page 14 of the minister's own report, “2014 Public Report On The Terrorist Threat To Canada”, it states:

The Government is aware of about 80 individuals who have returned to Canada after travel abroad for a variety of suspected terrorism-related purposes.

That number ranges from 80 to 93 individuals. The fact is that although the government tries to leave the impression with the public that Bill C-44 would deal with that issue, it would not.

What I cannot understand for the life of me is why the government is not using the current authority that it has to get these terrorists off of Canadian streets. I asked the minister that question in the House today. I believe the government has the authority under section 83.181 of the Criminal Code, which covers leaving or attempting to leave Canada for the purpose of participating in any activity of a terrorist group outside of Canada. Under that section, they are eligible for a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, and that can go up to 14 years, depending on the offence.

It is very specific. It says “leave or attempt to leave Canada”. The minister went on at length, talking about the individual who released the video over the weekend. He is a Canadian who became radicalized abroad and is trying to inspire other Canadians to join ISIL and fight Canadians. I cannot understand why that authority has not been used to get those individuals off the streets. It is somewhere between 80 and 93 people.

The legislation we are dealing with would not deal with that problem, so why are the minister and the agencies he is responsible for not using what is currently available to them and at least testing it in the courts? Get these people off the streets and test it in the courts. If we have to fix something else, let us fix it, and ensure that we do not have terrorists operating within our own borders who were either home-grown radicalized or radicalized abroad. I have to make that point.

Bill C-44, on the other hand, is basically a bill that would ensure that CSIS, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, has the authority to do what we always thought it could do. Its authority has been somewhat jeopardized, though that may not be the right word, by previous courts' decisions. This bill, to the government's credit, would try to address the concern outlined by the courts, and I believe that it does. As my colleague in the NDP said earlier, the government is overreaching in some aspects of the bill, which we tried to have amended and were not successful in doing.

The other aspect of the bill relates to protecting informants who are necessary for CSIS in order to operate.

The bill deals with those points, and not the current crisis that we face within Canada as a result of radicalized individuals taking on terrorist acts.

I said that I would note two things relating specifically to what happened during the process in bringing this legislation back to here.

First, the committee process was rigged by the government to prevent any serious consideration of the legislation. Canadians will note that no amendments were passed, even though it would have made good sense to pass some of the amendments that either the Liberal Party, the NDP, or the Green Party put forward. We all had one amendment, and it was the same amendment. The government did not see the wisdom in adopting those points.

The bill would enshrine in Canadian law, provisions that declare that our lead intelligence agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, will be empowered to seek a warrant from a federal court to conduct operations in any foreign country that would be in violation of the laws of those countries. That is an undertaking that requires far more scrutiny.

Incredibly, the committee, more precisely the Conservative majority on committee, permitted only two hours for witnesses to appear on this legislation. For example, we did not hear from the Security Intelligence Review Committee, which oversees CSIS, in spite of the fact that this legislation would broaden the powers of the service. It would have been interesting to hear from SIRC, considering that in its most recent annual report for 2013-14, the review body found that “[...] the Minister of Public Safety is not always systematically advised of such activities”, referring to sensitive intelligence gathering, “nor is he informed of them in a consistent manner”.

Of even greater concern, and an issue on which the committee was denied the ability to question SIRC, is that the bill could permit possible illegal international operations. This was of great concern. We tried to propose an amendment that the Minister of Foreign Affairs be informed. We felt we needed to hear from SIRC on that issue. There could be an illegal operation that violates the laws of another country and our operatives are found out. If we are in a trading relationship or a security relationship or whatever with that country and the Minister of Foreign Affairs is not even informed, would it not put our country's trade and commerce in a bad position?

The Conservatives would not accept a simple amendment asking for the Minister of Foreign Affairs to be informed of such illegal activities by CSIS in other countries. SIRC was making the point that before Bill C-44 was even tabled, the Minister of Public Safety was apparently willing to be kept ignorant of much of what CSIS might actually be doing.

The last point I would make is that there needs to be national oversight over all of our security agencies, as all of our Five Eyes partners have in place. Parliamentary oversight makes sense. We would be doing our job and being held responsible for the oversight of these national security agencies.

We have some concerns with the bill, in that the amendments were not accepted, but for the greater interest of our country and the authorities of CSIS, the bill does need to go through in order to protect our sources and to implement the other measures in it.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 4:20 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am a bit confused about the hon. member's position. It sounded like a fine and thorough analysis of the bill, yet he ends up saying that we really need certain types of oversight. When one uses that type of language, about needing certain oversight of CSIS and yet the bill does not provide that oversight, I am left wondering how it is that he ends up reconciling that requirement for oversight with his support of a bill that does not have it.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 4:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service is, I believe, one of the better security agencies in the world. What is in the bill is required as a result of court decisions and to give CSIS the authority to do what it has done in the past, protecting Canadian citizens who are informing the ministry of some serious endeavours that may be going on in Canada or around the world

The member asks a good question. In terms of oversight, there is at the moment SIRC, which does, after the fact, review the activities of CSIS. It has reported on that.

However, I believe there must be more robust oversight of all our national security agencies, CSIS, CSEC, et cetera, and even in terms of policing as it relates to terrorism and international affairs. All of our other Five Eyes partners have parliamentary oversight. The committee members are sworn to secrecy when seeing classified information. They would have information in a proactive way to ensure that our security agencies are doing their job under the law and are also not overreaching and violating the privacy of citizens.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 4:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, the minister's answer, as usual, was basically a non-answer.

The question related to the fact that the minister claimed, some two months ago now, that a number of individuals had returned to Canada after engaging in suspected terrorist activities abroad. At that time it was 80. It is now up to about 93. He said at the time, “These individuals...have violated Canadian law”.

The minister is very clear on the violation. He is also the top cop. He is in charge of law enforcement in our country. The agencies that are under his authority, CSIS and the RCMP, work with other law enforcement agencies. If the minister claims these individuals have violated Canadian law, then why has the government, with all its authority, not taken these terrorists off Canadian streets?

That is the issue here. It does have the authority, in my view, under section 83.181 of the Criminal Code, which states that leaving or attempting to leave Canada for the purpose of participating in any activity of a terrorist group outside of Canada is indictable for 10 to 14 years. Why has the government not used that section? It has not answered that question. It continues to go around it. We need some answers.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 4:25 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-44, an act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and other acts.

In a sense, this bill has been a long time coming. It has been 30 years since this place turned its mind to the CSIS act. Much has changed. It makes sense to update or modernize this legislation.

We, on this side of the House, supported this bill at second reading, not because it was perfect, far from it, but out of recognition that there are many issues swirling around this and through the courts on matters of national security and intelligence services.

The bill has been returned to us, however, from committee unamended, in spite of the age of the current legislation and the issues confronting us on matters related to intelligence and national security. The bill had but four hours of scrutiny at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. True to form, amendments put forward by the opposition, recommendations put forward by expert witnesses, and cautions issued by experts were all turned aside, dismissed, and defeated.

We have before us a flawed bill, one not worthy of support. What this bill betrays is a government unprepared, unable, or incapable of doing the difficult but necessary work of ensuring that Canadians have both security and their civil liberties. Indeed, in this bill, and in the government's world view it would seem, civil liberties must wait for security.

It is arguable that in this bill and all that the government does, it tends to see civil liberty itself as a security risk. This would explain why the government so unflinchingly tramples over the rule of law, our own as well as that of others, and has such little concern about and does so little to provide civilian oversight of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Here is my case for this. First, the bill provides blanket protection of identity for all CSIS human sources in legal proceedings, including criminal and immigration cases. There is no opportunity provided for the accused or respondent to confront the accuser and test the evidence. Such an opportunity is considered a fundamental part of our justice system.

How courts respond to such a denial in practice is left to be determined. It is unclear from here. Will the courts respond so that this becomes an obstacle to successful prosecution, will they allow this to enhance their probability of successful prosecution, or will the courts challenge the constitutionality of this provision? All of this is to be determined.

Second, the practical implications and, indeed, the threat of this amendment, become clear when one notes that this bill amends the Canadian Citizenship Act by accelerating the timeline for the revocation of citizenship for dual citizens found to be engaged in terrorist activities and other serious crimes.

It is out of our deep concern for the expedited revocation of citizenship in the broader context of this bill that we have proposed amendments before the House at this stage relating to these provisions.

Third, this bill tries to escape the views expressed by the courts starting in 2007 with respect to CSIS actions and surveillance abroad. Those views were eventually set out in a decision by the Federal Court in 2013 that declared illegal the practices of CSIS for obtaining warrants for conducting surveillance of Canadians abroad.

The response by this government through this bill comes in the form of essentially continuing its practices under the cover of the following language in the bill: “Without regard to any other law, including that of any foreign state...”.

Fourth, and perhaps most tellingly, while the bill gives CSIS new powers, it does nothing to enhance civilian oversight of the organization. More than that, it does nothing even to repair existing age-old shortcomings in civilian oversight of CSIS. The Arar commission concluded in 2006 that improved civilian oversight of CSIS was needed, but was ignored.

Privacy and information commissioners of Canada have asked the government to ensure that effective oversight be included in any legislation establishing additional powers for intelligence and law enforcement agencies, such as this one. That too has been ignored.

We echo their call. Civilian oversight is our means of ensuring that security and intelligence services can do their part to provide for the security and safety of Canadians without diminishing our civil liberties.

Under the bill, the government gives civilian oversight not even secondary consideration. It gets no consideration. Under Bill C-44, civilian oversight, such as it is, staggers forward. The current review agency, the Security Intelligence Review Committee, is a part-time committee of the Prime Minister's appointees. We have been through Chuck Strahl and Arthur Porter as chairs. Now we have former Reform MP Deborah Grey as interim chair. Two of the five vacancies on the committee have in fact been vacant for months.

In the 2012 budget, the Conservatives eliminated the position of inspector general of CSIS. The inspector general was the internal monitoring unit within the service, responsible for checking all CSIS activities for compliance with the law. The inspector general's responsibilities were passed along to the Security Intelligence Review Committee with its rotating chair and vacant seats.

NDP members of the public safety and national security committee proposed three very reasonable amendments to enhance civilian oversight of CSIS. The first of these flowed from the recent SIRC report. It called simply for a requirement that CSIS provide complete and accurate information to SIRC in a timely manner in order to facilitate proper oversight of the service.

The second proposed amendment would have ensured that those appointed to SIRC had the expertise necessary for the role, such as in the administration of justice and national security and so on.

The third proposed amendment called for appointments to SIRC to have the support of the Leader of the Opposition so as to extract ourselves from this process of partisan appointments to such critically important oversight roles.

These are all simple, reasonable amendments to a very important component of the security intelligence services, all rejected by the Conservatives, leaving civil liberties at risk, easily and unnecessarily sacrificed under a government that seems not to believe that civil liberties and national security ought, indeed, co-exist if we are to live in the kind of Canada that we desire.

Our democratic values must not be compromised in the pursuit of enhanced public safety. They need not be compromised. Protecting civil liberties and public safety are both core Canadian values, and improvements to one must never, and should not and need not, come at the expense of the other.

As Privacy Commissioner Daniel Carrion put it, it is understandable that the government would want to consider boosting the powers of law enforcement and national security agencies to address potential gaps, but any new tools should be accompanied by a beefed up role for the watchdogs who keep an eye on spies and police.

The fact is that despite all its shortcomings, this bill could have been improved when it went through committee, a process by which we can arrive at well-informed policy. Instead of giving the bill the careful study it deserved, it was rammed through committee, which only heard four hours of testimony from independent experts.

The Conservatives have once again rushed legislation through the House with total disregard for any recommendations for improvement. This, unfortunately, has become a defining characteristic of the government.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 4:35 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 comments on the issue of process. We know, as a whole, there is a significant percentage of Canada's population that follows very closely what is happening internationally, and the fear factor for terrorism is actually quite high.

Let us look at the government's behaviour regarding this bill. It says that it is such an important issue for the House and yet it limits debate, whether it is time allocation or, as the member has pointed out, a very limited amount of time in committee, with no recognition of opposition amendments. Again, that is fairly typical of the government.

I would ask him to provide some commentary on the following. If the government genuinely believes that terrorism is an important issue, why does it not allow for good, solid, legitimate debate in the chamber and allow, for example, additional presenters to appear in committee who have really excellent understanding and comprehension of the issue before us today?

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 4:35 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member is quite right. There are some stark contradictions between identifying this issue of national security and intelligence services as one of great importance to Canadians and to the House, yet not providing the House and the public safety committee with sufficient time to discuss the matter, given the importance that it warrants.

There are a number of contradictions. The government, in fact, tracks a risky course by assuming that it has the correct answers on these matters. There are committees and committee processes for some very good reasons, and that is to allow outside expertise into this process to provide the benefit of its experience and expertise. By not giving sufficient time to allow people to comment on the bill before us, it puts this process at great risk, and that too is a contradiction to the importance the government says it provides to this issue of national security.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 4:35 p.m.
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NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his very interesting and and telling speech.

I would like to ask the member a question regarding the process. Indeed, there was very little time in committee, as he quite rightly mentioned in his presentation, to discuss the terms of this bill. We have heard from many experts in the field that a legal challenge is highly likely, meaning there will be an awful lot of wasted time and energy in front of the courts challenging the terms of this bill, likely meaning we will have wasted a lot of taxpayer money defending the undefendable.

Would it not have been a more judicious use of our time and energy in the House to put the bill through more exhaustive discussions instead of forcing individuals to spend their hard-earned money in front of the courts, perhaps having to ultimately bring it to the Supreme Court, a truly supreme waste of resources?

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 4:40 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, I certainly agree. It is true of everything that we do in the House. It is worth taking the time to get it right. However, continuing the theme of contradictions with the government, on this of all issues one would have thought it would have taken the time to get it right and to ensure there was ample study and expertise allowed to inform the bill.

On that same issue of contradiction, the government says that this is an incredibly important issue and yet over the last three years, it has cut almost $700 million from security agencies in Canada. Those cuts will continue into next year with respect to CSIS in particular, another $25 million or so.

The government purports to have great concern for the security and safety of Canadians and yet the process for this bill betrays its other interests. The way it budgets for security agencies also suggests that, indeed, it is not a priority for the government.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 4:40 p.m.
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NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, I have the honour to rise to speak to Bill C-44.

The bill would amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and other acts. It is a troubling bill, one that I do not believe I can support.

I will start by citing a recent article in The Globe and Mail, October 27. In that article, it states:

In recent rulings from several courts, Canadian judges had prevented CSIS from getting new powers through legal decisions, saying that these could only be conferred by Parliament.

For example, the Supreme Court last year declined to give CSIS informants a “class privilege” intended to better shield their identities in court proceedings. And, last year, Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley reined in a telecommunications-intercept power--known in CSIS lexicon as a...domestic interception of foreign telecommunications” warrant.

CSIS officials have said the Federal Court ruling created a “black hole” obstructing their pursuit of “homegrown” terrorism suspects migrating to foreign war zones.

C-44 allows CSIS to better shield informants’ identities.

It would also allow CSIS--with a judge’s approval--to capture conversations involving Canadian suspects taking place abroad.

I will end with the final part, which states:

“Without regard to any other law, including that of a foreign state, a judge may in a warrant …. authorize activities outside Canada to enable the Service to investigate a threat to the security of Canada,” the legislation reads.

It is a very clear exposé of what this bill intends to do, so I encourage people to read that article. It shows exactly where we are going.

Let us go through a short history of why this bill is being presented in the House.

Back in the day when CSIS was created, it was assumed that because its enabling legislation made threats to Canadian security abroad, there may be an implicit right to do some of the things that this bill pretends to deal with. We will remember that CSIS was created after a barn burning ceremony in Quebec where the RCMP was found to have overextended its rights and obligations, and investigated Canadian citizens without legal warrant and legal cause. The Keable Commission in Quebec then was struck and the McDonald Commission, its parallel commission, was struck by our Parliament. After that, CSIS was born.

It has been a work in progress ever since. The government argues that we have not modified the legislation in 30 years. Perhaps a review is warranted. Certainly the Canadian public is becoming more conscious of security threats and having a more exhaustive debate on this subject is probably warranted. The problem is that we do not have an exhaustive debate; we have an express debate. We have a very fast debate and we do not have a lot of input from the experts.

If we look at the short history of why this is being brought forward, we can bring forward the question of the Supreme Court decision in 2007, where CSIS was seeking surveillance assistance from our allied spy services, which we have mentioned a few times in the House as the “Five Eyes”, the allied security services in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom and United States.

There was a further court case in 2008 by Federal Court Justice Blanchard, which specifically stated that the CSIS Act did not contain extraterritorial provisions with respect to covert surveillance. There starts the slippery slide toward the new legal status quo where we do not believe CSIS has the overseas powers that it may need to do its job. However, the problem is that we may have gone too far. I will get back to that in a moment.

We further went on in 2013, where Federal Court Justice Mosley, as was referred to in The Globe and Mail article, not only suggested that CSIS had overstepped its bounds with extraterritorial powers, but if it continued, it would be illegal and he would take steps.

There was reason to bring the bill forward, and I do not discount that. Unfortunately, the government seems to not want to hear from the experts. One of those experts is the Canadian Bar Association, which is surely one of the better organizations to get an interpretation regarding current bills.

I will start with the statement that representatives of the Bar Association tabled with the committee, but were not able to present as they did not have time. Nor was the committee open to extending the time to give the representatives the chance to actually testify.

The Canadian Bar Association made it very clear that, in its opinion, section 18 of the proposed act would actually reduce the protection that Canadian citizens had. In fact, if a confidential human source provided information about a matter that did not result in a judicial hearing, the CSIS Act would no longer prohibit disclosure of either the information or the identity of the source. The proposed section 18 of the CSIS Act would protect disclosure from sources, but only if they were disclosed in judicial proceedings. However, the current article 18 of the act will actually protect those same informants regardless whether proceedings are in play or not.

Therefore, the question is this. Why in the world are we removing a protection that allows people to speak to CSIS without fear of their name being disclosed? The confidentiality may very well help, but in the case of the proposed legislation, we would actually reduce the confidentiality.

I remind people in the House of the Plame Affair back in the day of the Bush administration in the United States when the identity of a CIA worker was fully disclosed. I wonder if this amendment is not trying to replicate that disaster.

I would also point out a question that has been brought up many times in our courts. With the changing attitude toward international terrorism and international threats to public security, for good or for bad, we created the security certificate proceedings, and within that we created the special advocate regime. The special advocate, again for good or for bad, is an advocate for a person who is accused, such as Charkaoui or Harkat, which are recent cases that have made it to the Supreme Court. Individuals are detained by security certificate and they are named a special advocate who is well trained and well versed in security matters.

I really wish the representatives of the Canadian Bar Association had a chance to speak to the committee, because their presentations and concerns are well-founded and certainly worth listening to. However, I will point out, as did the Canadian Bar Association, that in Charkaoui, the Supreme Court accepted that the national security concerns could justify procedural modifications, including limits on the open-court principle, but indicated that those concerns could not be permitted to erode the essence of section 7 of the charter, and that meaningful and substantial protection would be required to satisfy section 7.

If members will recall, section 7 is the section that provides some protections, and I will read it into the record. It has been said but I will say it again:

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

The problem with the bill as it stands now is that it seems to be going in a direction where we would removing people's fundamental rights as protected under section 7 of the charter. These matters would almost certainly be challenged in the courts.

I do not have a lot of time to bring other matters forward regarding the bill, but the only protection we seem to have is with the Security Intelligence Review Committee, SIRC, which has been challenged on many occasions as being simply a part-time committee. It is not a committee of the House, but a committee appointed by the Prime Minister. Currently, two of the five seats are vacant. There is only an interim chair of the committee who has not had the opportunity to call meetings of the committee nearly as frequently as there should be.

I would like to have brought more issues forward, but I will leave it at that for now. I am open to questions if members have more concerns that they would like to raise.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 4:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I think the member's remarks show clearly why more time needed to be taken at committee, because the member does raise some very valid points.

I want to put into the record what Wesley Wark had to say in his testimony. Wesley Wark is a professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa and is a quite well-known expert on these matters.

The member said there is certainly reason to bring the bill forward, but I think, as he indicated in his speech, there is so much more that we could have done. As Wesley pointed out before committee:

Bill C-44 does not add any new provisions to the CSIS Act to ensure proper consultation between the service and its minister, the Minister of Public Safety, and the two departments most likely to be impacted by expanded CSIS overseas operations—the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development and the Department of National Defence. Both of these departments engage in their own overseas intelligence and information collection through dedicated branches.

Does the member believe that we should have looked into that area and ensured that there is more information exchanged between government branches?

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 4:50 p.m.
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NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is a very valid question. I think there are an awful lot of improvements we could have made to the bill. His suggestion is certainly one that I think we should have taken much more seriously at the committee. Regrettably, although amendments were brought forward, none were retained by the current government. I think we should have taken a lot more time to review this bill.

I would remind the members that the Arar commission also made a series of recommendations, including recommendations to improve parliamentary oversight and to improve SIRC with a new agency, INSRCC. None of those proposals has been retained by the current government. We have not heard from the government how it plans to implement any of the recommendations from the Arar commission in any meaningful sense.

I wish the government would just allow the bill to go back to committee at this point and start over, because, frankly, the government botched it and we need to have another go at it.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 4:55 p.m.
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NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, do we all agree that the protection of civil liberties and public safety are two fundamental Canadian values that are not a suggestion or something on which we can compromise? They are both necessary.

Too often, the current government asks us to choose between civil liberties and stronger public security. Too often, we are being asked to choose between economic development and the environment. We should not have to make those choices. We should be able to accommodate both values that we cherish and with which we work to progress.

What does my colleague think about that? Is it not time to stop pitting these values against each other? Could we not simply establish that both of these values must be present when bills are introduced and worked on in the House?

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 4:55 p.m.
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NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Québec for her question. I think she is absolutely right. This is not about balance. This is about two rights, two obligations that need to be respected.

Bills have to pass the test and justify themselves as laws in a free and democratic society. Unfortunately, I do not think that the bill before us passes that test. It should have been debated more thoroughly and improved in committee.

It is unfortunate that the government is in such a hurry to pass a bill that does not respect the rights and freedoms of Canadians or of parliamentarians, who have to ensure that all bills stand up to scrutiny.

As we all know, governments are supposed to ensure that their bills are constitutional. Unfortunately, in this case, perhaps the government's lawyers provided bad advice or made a mistake. Frankly, this bill does not deserve our support.

I hope that the Conservative Party members will take the time to read this bill closely so they can see how harmful it is in terms of taking rights away from Canadians, who do not deserve this.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 4:55 p.m.
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NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-44, an act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, concerning the much talked-about CSIS.

This bill makes three important changes regarding the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. First of all, it clarifies CSIS's legal authority to conduct security intelligence operations outside our borders in order to address threats to Canadian security. Second, it confirms the jurisdiction of the Federal Court to issue warrants that have effect outside Canada. Finally, it ensures greater protection during legal proceedings for human sources that provide information to CSIS.

Before looking at the specific provisions in Bill C-44, it is important to put the bill into context. The Conservatives had already planned to introduce Bill C-44 before the events that took place in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu on October 20 and of course before the events that we all remember and that took place here in Ottawa on October 22.

As we have done in the wake of other tragic incidents, we need to carefully examine legislation and security procedures to ensure that they are adequate, while making sure that our civil liberties are protected.

The government claims this bill is intended to modernize the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, pointing to the fact the CSIS Act has not been amended since CSIS was created. In 1984, Parliament passed legislation to create a civilian security intelligence service. This legislation not only gave rise to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, it also gave CSIS the mandate to gather intelligence on threats to Canada's security. CSIS provides that intelligence to the government so that it may put in place the necessary measures. Now, 30 years after its creation, CSIS is not the same organization it was in 1984. As it celebrates its 30th anniversary, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service is concerned about its rapid expansion and the increase in missions abroad.

The government says that C-44 will allow CSIS to act abroad to improve the effectiveness of its investigations into threats to Canada's security. For many years, it was assumed that CSIS’s security intelligence mandate was not limited to operations in Canadian territory, because the enabling legislation makes reference to threats to the security of Canada that originate from both inside and outside the country.

In fact, CSIS has been conducting intelligence operations abroad by using a loophole in the CSIS Act regarding what constitutes Canadian soil and a section of the Act which allows CSIS to provide technical assistance to the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of National Defence.

Another important part of this bill deals with protection for our sources and informants abroad. We would have appreciated receiving more detailed information to determine how this protection will be provided. Legal experts have expressed their concerns about the fact that it will be more difficult form this point forward to examine CSIS evidence in criminal cases in particular. This could create an obstacle to the successful prosecution of those involved in national security threats. The ability of an accused to confront their accuser and to test the evidence in a court is a fundamental part of Canadian criminal law.

It is not appropriate or constitutional to considerably expand the powers of a civilian intelligence agency without having a debate, here in the House, and considering the advice of the many experts who are concerned about the changes that will be made by Bill C-44.

The recommendations of the 2006 Maher Arar commission of inquiry called for new accountability measures for Canada's intelligence agencies. However, eight years later, these have yet to be implemented.

At their annual meeting, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Information Commissioner of Canada called on the federal government to ensure that effective oversight was included in any legislative measure that would grant new powers to intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

Mr. Daniel Therrien, the Privacy Commissioner, said that it was understandable that the government would want to consider boosting the powers of law enforcement and national security agencies to address potential gaps, but that any new tools should be accompanied by a beefed-up role for the watchdogs who keep an eye on spies and police.

This is why it is very important, before increasing powers for CSIS, to create oversight mechanisms. At this point, there is no mechanism in place to act as watchdog and provide oversight for our intelligence agencies. Claiming that there is, as the government is doing, is simply dishonest.

In the 2012 budget, the Conservatives abolished the position of Inspector General of CSIS. He took care of internal oversight by ensuring that all the work of the agency was in conformity with the law. To find the balance between national security, civil liberties, and individual rights and freedoms in Canada, the government should be bringing in accompanying legislation that provides that parliamentary oversight. On the one hand, it would ensure that the agencies are doing their jobs, and on the other, it would ensure they are not going too far and violating the civil liberties of Canadians.

The Conservatives are cutting funding for public safety agencies by a significant amount over three consecutive years, for a total of $687.9 million by 2015. The CSIS budget is being cut by $24.5 million in 2015, while the position of CSIS Inspector General was abolished in the 2012 budget.

We are concerned about the impact the cuts will have on the government’s ability to exercise adequate oversight over these agencies. If the Conservatives want to ensure that Canadians are protected, they should review the resources available to public safety agencies, such as CSIS, after three consecutive years of budget cuts.

Protecting civil liberties and public safety are both core Canadian values. As I mentioned earlier, these are two essential obligations. They are not suggestions or compromises. New Democrats want legislation that improves public safety and strengthens our civil liberties. We also want a real debate. The government rejected all of the amendments the NDP proposed to improve Bill C-44 and did not provide any real reason.

In conclusion, I want to share a quote from the Information Commissioner of Canada and the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, who addressed the tragic events that took place in Quebec and in Ottawa. They called on us:

To adopt an evidence-based approach as to the need for any new legislative proposal granting additional powers for intelligence and law enforcement agencies; to engage Canadians in an open and transparent dialogue on whether new measures are required, and if so, on their nature, scope, and impact on rights and freedoms; to ensure that effective oversight be included in any legislation establishing additional powers for intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

We have talked a lot today about public safety. As I said, there are a number of Canadian values that we must honour in this Parliament.

I urge the government to consider these values and to ensure that civil liberties will be respected as much as public safety. We cannot make compromises.

Unfortunately, I am disappointed that the amendments proposed by experts who work in the area and who are familiar with the situation were not incorporated into the bill.

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December 8th, 2014 / 5:05 p.m.
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NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague said that this bill is about civil liberties and national security, two very important issues.

However, to my utter dismay, I learned earlier that committee had only four hours to hear witnesses, including two hours for the minister and the department. That left only two hours for other witnesses.

Does my colleague feel that is sufficient for such a sweeping bill?

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December 8th, 2014 / 5:05 p.m.
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NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question from the hon. member for Hochelaga.

We have no time, in committee or in the House, to debate and find common ground for everyone here and for Canadians. I find it regrettable that the government uses so many gag orders. It is a game to them. Debate is cut short and bills move from one stage to the next. It is really unfortunate because we are unable to delve into the details.

The impact of cuts to public safety organizations can be felt in each of our ridings. I am disappointed that we cannot look at the details and talk about specific examples. Again, there are experts on the ground who know what the needs are. We need to listen to them so that we know which priorities cannot be compromised. Budget cuts are one thing, but we cannot skimp on the essentials.

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December 8th, 2014 / 5:10 p.m.
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NDP

Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her speech.

She spoke about public safety as well as rights and protection of civil liberties. On October 28, the Prime Minister said this:

Canadians do not have effective rights unless we can ensure their security...

Would the hon. member like to comment on the Prime Minister's remarks?

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December 8th, 2014 / 5:10 p.m.
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NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have a Prime Minister who focuses far too much on security.

We talk constantly about public safety here in the House of Commons. Granted, it is an issue, but it is not the only one. I would like it if we could talk more about economic development, about our small and medium-sized businesses and our great tourism industry, which unfortunately is being cut by the Conservatives. Tourism benefits every one of our ridings. I would like these matters to be debated in the House and more bills to be introduced on this issue.

Public safety is important but we talk for too much about it. We should be talking about the environment, economic development and other issues, rather than being obsessed with public safety. I read in the Hill Times that terrorism and security are two of the three issues that Canadians are starting to become tired of. I would suggest that we discuss it in small doses.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 5:10 p.m.
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NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

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

One has to be passionate to be the Member of Parliament for Québec, so I congratulate her on defending her points of view loud and clear. During the incident last October, I was in my riding. That was of great concern to my constituents, who wondered where we were and what was going on. We cannot deny that security is important, whether it be on Parliament Hill or somewhere else in Canada. However, as our national anthem says, we need to keep our land not only strong, but free.

Could my colleague tell us whether Bill C-44 has reached that balance?

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December 8th, 2014 / 5:10 p.m.
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NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is, in fact, the problem with this bill.

At this point, as it is currently worded, as all the NDP amendments have been rejected, the problem with this bill is that it does not balance civil liberties with strengthening national security. Things could get seriously out of hand and that worries me. This is why I am encouraging this government to take another look at these amendments and give them some consideration.

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December 8th, 2014 / 5:10 p.m.
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NDP

Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is always an honour to speak in the House on behalf of my constituents from Surrey North. This is an important bill that we are debating today. Bill C-44 amends the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and other acts.

I remember getting up in the House during second reading of the bill. I actually supported it at second reading, along with other members. We were hoping that the government would allocate proper debate on the bill in committee and allow for very detailed scrutiny of some of the changes being proposed. It is a very serious matter. When we are dealing with public safety and civil liberties, we need to ensure that all angles are looked at so that any bills or laws passed in the House take into consideration those two core Canadian values of public safety and civil liberties.

What did we see from the government? I was hoping it would entertain some of the expert testimony. We had four hours on the bill at committee. Two of those hours were taken by the members of the staff and two hours were allocated for so-called scrutiny. That is not acceptable to Canadians. They expect us to scrutinize and to look through bills for any holes, to ensure that we thoroughly go through important bills that increase the powers of our spy agencies. That was not done.

We had two hours. There were a number of amendments introduced at committee stage. I have seen this movie before where we come up with some insight and some amendments that would improve a bill and the Conservatives somehow do not want to see any changes, whether from the NDP, the Liberals, or anyone else. I have seen this over the last three and a half years. Surely, of the thousands of amendments we have offered as suggestions to improve bills, the Conservatives would accept some. No, not even one has been accepted. If it is really straightforward, they may entertain it, but they do not want to see any suggestions by the opposition to improve any of the bills.

In this case, the government did not accept any of the amendments we had proposed. Basically, Bill C-44 is making significant changes to expand the powers of CSIS, but instead of giving the bill the careful study it deserved, it was rammed through in four hours. That is not enough time. Giving CSIS new powers without providing adequate oversight presents real dangers; rather than clarifying things, this will only lead to more legal problems and may ultimately be struck down by the courts.

We have seen this movie before too. There are many bills passed by the government that have been struck down by the Supreme Court. It seems to be a regular occurrence where things are rushed through the House without proper oversight or debate. Whether it is in the House or committee, we are forced to rush. We have had over 84 closures on a number of bills that have been rammed through the House. Closure basically shuts down debate. That is not what Canadians expect us to do; they expect us to debate in the House.

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December 8th, 2014 / 5:10 p.m.
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NDP

Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I know they are chirping because they do not want to hear the truth. They do not want to hear the facts.

People in my constituency expect me to bring their views to the House. Those members can talk as much as they want, but they are not going to stop this member from speaking for his constituents.

What are some of the things we need? I feel strongly about the need for strong civilian oversight. It is critical that enhanced civilian oversight accompany any new powers that we give CSIS. The Security Intelligence Review Committee, SIRC, does not have the powers necessary to properly oversee CSIS, and the Conservatives used an omnibus bill in 2012 to eliminate the position of inspector general at CSIS.

Let me give the House a bit of history as to where we are and where we need to go.

Bill C-44 proposes to modernize CSIS and provide additional powers to the organization. However, there are no proposed improvements to the oversight that is desperately needed in the modernization of the service. Recommendations were made in 2006 by the Maher Arar commission of inquiry calling for new accountability measures for Canada's intelligence agency. Eight years later those recommendations have yet to be put in place by the government.

The Conservatives talk about protecting public safety and civil liberties, but when it comes time to deliver on some of these public safety issues, such as civil liberties for Canadians, time after time the Conservatives have failed to deliver. This was another opportunity to bring in more transparency, accountabilit,y and oversight of our intelligence community but again the Conservatives have failed.

The privacy and information commissioners of Canada at their annual meeting asked the government to ensure that effective oversight be included in any legislation that would establish additional powers for intelligence and law enforcement. I am not making this up. I will quote the privacy and information commissioners of Canada: “We acknowledge that security is essential to maintaining our democratic rights...”. All of us in the House would agree with that and I would say that 99% of Canadians would agree with that as well. But, they continued, “At the same time, the response to such events must be measured and proportionate, and crafted so as to preserve our democratic values.” That is where the government has failed.

Daniel Therrien, the Privacy Commissioner, also said that it was understandable that the government would want to consider boosting the powers of law enforcement and national security agencies to address potential gaps, but that any new tools should be accompanied by a beefed-up role for the watchdogs who keep an eye on spies and police.

To me, it is not either/or. To me, it is pretty clear if additional powers are to be granted to our spy agency.

Six years ago we heard calls for proper oversight but that is not proposed in this legislation. Here, I could go on and on about this legislation, about the lack of oversight, the lack of commitment by the Conservatives to ensuring the protection of Canadians and civil liberties.

I will be voting against this particular legislation. The Conservatives had an opportunity to make improvements, but have failed again.

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December 8th, 2014 / 5:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, the NDP has such a strange way of showing different priorities. Those members would rather bring in a registry for law-abiding farmers, hunters, and sportsmen than tracking terrorists.

Could the member please explain to me why that is more of a priority than giving tools to our RCMP and our law enforcement officers so they can do their jobs and track these terrorists down?

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December 8th, 2014 / 5:20 p.m.
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NDP

Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, here are the facts, which the Conservatives actually do not like.

This is providing resources to our security agency. What have the Conservatives done? They have actually cut the funding for these organizations that provide for the security and safety of Canadians. This is what the Conservatives have done. I know these are facts. This is taken from the ministry of Public Safety. The Conservatives have been cutting funding for our public safety programs for three years now, for a total of $687.9 million by 2015. There are ongoing cuts. For CSIS, it is $24 million by 2015.

How is the government planning to protect Canadians and provide resources to these agencies if it is cutting their funds?

I thank the member for his question.

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December 8th, 2014 / 5:20 p.m.
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NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, in a bill that talks about civil liberties, there are opportunities for civil liberties to be breached. It is possible.

Does my colleague think it is logical that the Privacy Commissioner has not even been invited to appear before the committee? Could this be because he said that any new tool must be accompanied by an enhanced role for the watchdogs who keep an eye on spies and the police? Are the Conservatives afraid of this?

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December 8th, 2014 / 5:20 p.m.
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NDP

Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt.

The Conservatives rammed this bill through the committee. It would have been nice to hear the Privacy Commissioner. He stated his position. He basically said that any new tools should be accompanied by a beefed-up role for the watchdogs who keep an eye on these spy and police agencies.

I do not think the Conservatives wanted to hear this in committee. The commissioner has been very clear, as have a number of inquiries looking into some of the lapses over the years. Unfortunately, Conservatives do not want to hear these kinds of issues about civil liberties and protecting Canadians' rights.

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December 8th, 2014 / 5:25 p.m.
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NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his eloquent speech and his knowledge of the matter.

We know that the public feels it is the government’s duty to protect both public security and civil liberties.

However, we see that, in terms of this bill, the government has chosen to ignore all of the amendments that the official opposition put forward in order to improve the bill and to prevent costly legal wrangling. I would like to hear my colleague’s views on this issue.

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December 8th, 2014 / 5:25 p.m.
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NDP

Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, protecting civil liberties and public safety are both Canadian core values. We can do both. They are not either-or propositions. I think we can do both at the same time. I know the Conservatives have trouble doing that.

As parliamentarians, people send us to this House in Ottawa to scrutinize the bills being passed by the government. We had an opportunity to listen to the witnesses. We could have brought in more witnesses, but this bill was actually rammed through the committee in only four hours. Two of those hours were for the ministerial staff. There was no opportunity to properly look at the bill and some of the implications of the changes being offered by the government.

Time after time we have seen time allocation in this House and legislation being rammed through at the committee stage. That is not what Canadians expect from us. They expect much better.

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December 8th, 2014 / 5:25 p.m.
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NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill C-44, an act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and other acts. It is always a pleasure to stand in the House and represent the voices from the riding of Newton—North Delta.

I want to get something on the table right at the beginning. There is no one on this side of the House who supports terrorists or any acts of terrorism. Before my friends across the way start to have conversations and yell things, I wanted to make that clear. All of my life I have worked for peace. I am a mother. I am a grandmother. I have been a teacher for most of my life, and I can say that I abhor acts of violence.

Occasionally members are accused of liking terrorists, but those kinds of things do not help us when we debate in the House.

I want to talk about the substance of this bill today. First, I supported this bill at second reading. Why? It was because New Democrats, like everyone else in the House, want measures that will enhance public safety. It is because of this that we supported this bill at second reading, and it went to committee. Once it got to committee, the government repeated the same mistakes it makes over and over again. It limited hearings.

When there is such critical legislation that has not been debated or had any changes for decades, some major changes need to be made. The committee needed to hear from witnesses. As much as we all like to think we are experts on everything, there are great experts out there we need to hear from who know far more about public safety than we do. They know what works. They have evidence of what works in other jurisdictions and of what would be good in Canada. Our job is to listen to it.

Two hours to hear from officials from the department was fair enough, but two hours for all other witnesses was just unacceptable. I can assure the House that when trying to address public safety in a serious way, the government once again used the hammer of its majority to push through legislation without giving it the due process and oversight it needed. I do not hesitate in opposing this legislation any more because of what happened at committee.

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December 8th, 2014 / 5:25 p.m.
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NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague across the way says, “Surprise, surprise”. I am surprised that when it came to the critical issue of public safety, the members of the government cut off debate and did not accept amendments that were very reasonable and well informed and that actually would have improved this legislation, but no, the government knows everything and does not need to hear from anyone else, because it is its way or the highway. That is the way it brought the legislation forward.

The Conservatives are then surprised when opposition members stand and say that there are flaws in this legislation that need to be addressed.

New Democrats never give up. We will keep trying to improve this legislation and will hope that the government will wake up one day and realize that there is a different way of doing things if it is really serious. We are really serious.

What would Bill C-44 do? It would make significant changes to expand CSIS's powers, but instead of giving this bill the careful study it deserved, once again the government did not feel the need to hear from experts. It knew what it wanted to do. It is its way or the highway. Independent experts and other witnesses were ignored.

The bill would give powers to CSIS without providing adequate oversight, and it presents real dangers. I fear that the government is going to end up spending taxpayers' hard-earned money fighting more legal problems and having this legislation stuck in court. However, the government does not seem to mind doing that. It would rather pay the money to the courts than provide services and good legislation to Canadians.

Even the witnesses who appeared put forward recommendations and suggestions. They were ignored.

This bill is fundamentally flawed. It is going to be very hard to support. What would we have wanted to see? We should always say what it is we want to see in legislation. I can point to lots of things that are wrong with the bill. What I wanted to see in the legislation that is not there is strong civilian oversight. It is critical that enhanced civilian oversight accompany any new powers for CSIS.

Everyone knows that the Security Intelligence Review Committee does not have the powers necessary to properly oversee CSIS. The Conservatives used an omnibus budget bill in 2012 to eliminate the position of CSIS's inspector general. Once again, anyone who questions anything the government does is deleted and the government gets rid of the position.

Something else the bill needs and that we want to see in it is strong protection of civil liberties. Some people say that we have to choose between public safety and civil liberties. I say that this is a false dichotomy. To have good public safety, we need to have protection of civil liberties. To have protection of civil liberties, we need to ensure that we have strong public safety. They are both core Canadian values, and Canadians do not have to choose A or B. It is possible to have both, and once again, the government failed to address that. There are no trade-offs here. It is not one or the other. We can have both, and that is what needs to be in this bill. We, as New Democrats, want legislation that both improves security and reinforces our civil liberties. That is essential.

My colleagues across the way always talk a good game. All the rhetoric is there. However, it is also a party that keeps cutting resources. It wants to have all these enhancements, but it has cut funding for our public safety agencies for three straight years, for a total of almost $688 million by 2015. That is not a figure I have made up. That is a figure the government can verify.

How can the government say it wants to make improvements yet at the same time take millions of dollars in resources out of the CSIS budget? CSIS will face ongoing cuts of $24.5 million by 2015, while budget 2012 scrapped the CSIS inspector general position altogether. At the same time we have this rhetoric that the government is going to make everyone safer and that public safety is going to improve, it is taking away the tools and resources our agencies need to do that. As with many other things, it is all talk. When it comes to what the government actually does, it underfunds, it cuts, or it just does not spend the money, even when it allocates it to certain programs.

A myriad of validators absolutely support the position we are taking as the NDP. I wish I had time to read all of them into the record, but I know I am short of time.

Let me say that this legislation can be fixed to get our support. First, put strong civilian oversight in place. Second, put in protection for civil liberties. Third, let us give them the resources and get the job done.

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December 8th, 2014 / 5:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member opposite saying that she abhors terrorism and acts of violence. On this point, we could not agree more.

For that reason, will the member call on the member for Scarborough—Rouge River to apologize for her comment, comparing a day celebrating Tamil Tiger terrorists to our solemn Canadian occasion of Remembrance Day. These comments were shameful and must be retracted.

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December 8th, 2014 / 5:35 p.m.
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NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her speech, her passion and her commitment to her family and her community in her riding.

She very clearly mentioned that all of this is reflected in her deep beliefs, as it is a matter of ensuring the safety of the community and of all Canadians and of being engaged within our communities. It is also a matter of ensuring this balance among all the values that we hold dear, that consist of keeping our land not only strong, but free.

However, how is all this reflected in the member's very diverse riding? How do her constituents feel about the importance of public safety and the protection of rights and freedoms?

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December 8th, 2014 / 5:40 p.m.
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NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for the very thoughtful question that she asked about my community of Surrey, Newton and North Delta. She is absolutely right. I live in a beautiful Canadian mosaic of a riding. It is very diverse and very concerned about public safety.

On Saturday, we had another meeting with the RCMP and the members of our community, including the members from the masjid, the representatives from the BC Muslim Association, the local mufti, and other communities leaders and service providers, to talk about the kinds of things we need to do in our community to tackle the issue of radicalization.

What came through was a real will on the part of the Muslim community in my riding that we need to tackle this. However, at the same time, what also came through was the fear that is instilled in many of them. Every time they hear of a bombing or a shooting, immediately there is a sort of frozen second when it happens and their hope that it is not anybody associated with the Muslim faith. They are scared of all the repercussion in the community.

We have been working on this on an ongoing basis. What we are really talking about is how to provide resources and support for our kids, and how to build safe and inclusive communities in such a way as to prevent any windows of opportunity for radicalization of youth.

I can assure the House that every one of those members abhors any acts of terrorism. They are Canadians. They live here and they want to do their part, but they are also telling me that they are distressed at having fingers pointed at them all the time.

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December 8th, 2014 / 5:40 p.m.
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NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-44, especially after my colleagues have been speaking very eloquently with respect to the concerns we have with the bill. As I was reading through the notes on the bill, it struck me that it is a similar pattern to one we experienced on Bill C-2, which was also before the public safety committee very recently, having to do with safe consumption sites.

The bill was only approved at second reading on November 18. Here we are in early December, and already we are at report stage. That means the bill was rushed through the House and it was then rushed through the committee. In fact, there were three committee meetings. Witness testimony happened over two days, and then there was clause-by-clause at the third meeting. We have to remember that committee hearings are only two hours. We basically had four hours of testimony from witnesses and one meeting of clause-by-clause consideration.

I want us to stop and think about that.

What has happened to the legislative process in Parliament is really quite shocking. I do remember the days when a bill would have adequate debate in the House. When a bill went to committee, it was considered a very serious proposition. We might hear witnesses for a couple of weeks, over several meetings.

I know that you, Mr. Speaker, would remember. You were part of the justice committee and a very able representative for the NDP. I know you dealt with umpteen bills. Even when you were dealing with them, they were being rushed through. However, prior to that, there was a sense that as parliamentarians, as legislators, we were doing our job and we were really examining a bill.

Now we have come to this place where the attitude and the pattern of operation is to basically rush everything through, and if we dare to criticize and say that something needs a little more time, then we are told we are holding something up, that we are doing it for political reasons.

However, these are very significant bills that we debate. This one in particular has to do with the powers of CSIS. This is an organization that Canadians read about from time to time when something might come forward in terms of a particular case or situation. However, basically Canadians have very little knowledge about CSIS and how it operates, other than individuals who may have had direct contact with the organization because they were being investigated in some way.

When we look at the modernization of CSIS, and we understand that is what the bill is meant to be about, that is certainly very important. After 30 years, there is no question that it needs to be modernized. However, it does require full scrutiny. It absolutely requires full scrutiny by members of Parliament, by a committee, and by the witnesses who are called to committee.

It is shocking that of all the amendments that were put forward—I believe the NDP put forward 12, the Liberals put forward 5, and the Green Party put forward 6—as was similar to Bill C-2, none were approved. Not one.

I think we have a very serious situation. We have a majority government that basically calls the shots and does not even pretend to be interested in a legislative process and examining a bill as to whether it might be improved upon, or whether there are legitimate criticisms, flaws in a bill. In fact, what is concerning about the bill is that, as we have heard with other bills that have been before the House, if it goes through in its current form, it too may end up in some kind of constitutional challenge. Again, it is a pattern that is emerging.

I did want to put that on the record because it worries me. We come to work here to represent our constituents. We come into the House to participate in a process in good faith, but we find out that the process has been completely jigged. There is no space, no room, no engagement, to have a constructive review of an important piece of legislation. That bothers me.

In my riding of Vancouver East, I was at a very important gathering of aboriginal people, who were speaking about the missing and murdered aboriginal women and the need for a national inquiry. We think of the impact of that issue in terms of public safety, and yet we see very little movement from the government on the issue. We see a bill being rushed through here that would also have an impact on public safety and an impact on the public interest, and we see virtually no debate. It is a very sad day.

As many of my colleagues have pointed out in the debate at report stage today, the NDP did support this bill at second reading. New Democrats actually agreed that it should go to committee, that we should take a look at it. We worked diligently at committee, and I certainly want to congratulate my colleagues on the committee who brought forward the amendments. It takes a lot of time to bring forward amendments. They heard the witnesses. The witnesses themselves made a number of suggestions to improve the modernization of CSIS. With any expansion of powers, the most critical thing is to ensure that there is proper oversight.

We can go back as far as the Maher Arar commission, which surely is one of the pivotal moments in Canadian political history in terms of security. I was in the House when that travesty took place, trying to understand what happened to Maher Arar and calling for a national inquiry. Of course, that finally did happen and the recommendations of the commission of inquiry came out in 2006. I wonder what happened to those recommendations. In fact, we know that the inquiry called for a number of recommendations and urgently pointed out that measures needed to be put in place to have oversight of Canada's intelligence agencies. That was eight years ago. No one can forget the Maher Arar inquiry. No one can forget what happened to that Canadian, and the hell that he went through. If we have learned anything, surely it is an examination of our own intelligence procedures and methodologies. We have to live up to the recommendations of the commission of inquiry, and yet they have not been implemented. How awful is that?

Here we are with another bill that would change the way that CSIS operates overseas, and yet we have not addressed the fundamental question with CSIS that has been pointed out to us again and again, which is the need for proper oversight. We hear this, as well, from the privacy and information commissions of Canada. These are folks who need to be paid attention to. These are folks who pay close attention to privacy and information in Canada, and they know the balance on what is required in terms of privacy and information. Yet at their annual meeting, they also brought forward the need to have effective oversight included in any legislation established for any additional powers for intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Where is it? Why are we dealing with this bill in isolation?

Now we are at report stage, and suffice it to say that New Democrats will be opposing this bill because the oversight has not been brought in. The Security Intelligence Review Committee, which has ended up being a part-time committee, is not adequate. We have seen that the position of inspector general of CSIS was eliminated in 2012, so even the internal monitoring of CSIS has greatly diminished. We are in a bad state of affairs.

We want to ensure that if there is any expansion of CSIS, that it be done by protecting civil liberties and it be be done with proper oversight. This bill would do neither, and therefore it deserves to be voted down. There should be a proper examination that takes place.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 5:50 p.m.
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NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are debating an important bill that could have a major impact on a lot of people, especially in terms of civil liberties. My colleague said that the Conservatives were not interested in a constructive debate and that they were not taking things seriously. She did not say it, but it seems that all they want to do is impose their way of thinking. When I heard her say that, it occurred to me right away that only one Conservative member had spoken, and that was the minister, who did not have a choice because it is his bill. There was also one Liberal member who spoke. It seems as though this is not being taken seriously in the House of Commons.

I am really disappointed about that, and I would like to know what my colleague thinks.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 5:50 p.m.
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NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her perception. All I can say is thank God there are NDP members in the House who are willing to make sure that this debate takes place and that at least there is some public airing.

Our responsibility is to go through bills and to hold the government to account. We are the official opposition. We believe there is meant to be other opposition too, but apparently on this bill it has somehow gone silent. It is quite astounding that we have only had one government member and one Liberal member speak to this bill. What is with that? Why are we not going through this bill and debating it properly at report stage? Why are we not taking note of what happened at committee and thinking about what those witnesses said and why that was not reflected in an amended bill?

What does report stage even mean any more? Amendments come forward and are just summarily thrown out because, as my colleague has said, the government wants to impose its view of things. She is entirely correct in her assessment, and it is a very unfortunate day for Parliament.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 5:50 p.m.
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NDP

Craig Scott NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my hon. colleague if she agrees with something one of the witnesses said in the session that I happened to attend. In fact, there were only two witness sessions, and I was there for one as a substitute. Professor Forcese, from the University of Ottawa, talked about the fact that warrants are now required for overseas activities, but no standards are written into the legislation. He said that the standards would have to make sense in order for the courts to interpret them.

He stated:

I also believe the amendments may be interpreted as requiring a warrant any time an operation may violate international or foreign law. These would be sensible standards....

Our critic from Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca had an amendment ready that said:

For greater certainty, a warrant under this section is required for any investigation outside of Canada that

(a) involves an investigative activity that, were it conducted inside Canada, would require a warrant by reason of the Canadian Charter...or

(b) may be inconsistent with international law or the law of the foreign state in which the investigative activity is conducted.

He did not move it because a similar amendment had already been moved by one of the other opposition members.

I am wondering if my colleague would agree with me that “For greater certainty...” would have been a very good amendment to accept, but at the same time those are eminently sensible standards that we would expect the courts to interpret into the law to ensure that those are the standards applied when warrants are sought.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 5:55 p.m.
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NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comment and the very specific attention to detail that the member for Toronto—Danforth has brought forward. It serves as a good example of how some committee members do due diligence. We listen to witnesses and the suggestions they put forward. They are often experts, and my colleague has named one here.

Then we put forward amendments, but they just do not seem to mean anything anymore. What we end up with is a bill that has very broad powers, has extraordinary generality, and raises the possibility that either it will be challenged or that those powers will be abused. That is the problem, and that is what we are here to protect against. Unfortunately, when they are overruled by a majority in the House, those protections do not exist anymore.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 5:55 p.m.
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NDP

Élaine Michaud NDP Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join my colleagues in debating a bill on a very important subject. This bill would modernize the Canadian Security Intelligence Service for the purpose of increasing its powers.

However, as several of my colleagues pointed out, adopting the bill as written could have very serious consequences for our citizens and change the way things are done in this country. This bill is deeply flawed, and it is unconstitutional.

That being the case, it is impossible for me and the rest of my colleagues to support such a fundamentally flawed bill. We had hoped for a more co-operative approach in committee so that we could amend the more problematic elements and ensure that the bill truly met Canada's needs. However, the Conservatives exhibited their usual rigidity and dogmatic blindness and flatly rejected all of the good amendments that were proposed. That is how we ended up with the flawed document before us today.

In short, Bill C-44 proposes three major changes to the powers of CSIS. It clarifies the legal authority of CSIS to conduct operations abroad. It is basically a legal confirmation of what is already being done. It confirms the jurisdiction of the Federal Court to issue warrants that have effect outside Canada and it makes changes to the protection of the identity of CSIS human intelligence sources in judicial proceedings. In other words, the proposed changes will significantly increase CSIS's powers.

However, as per the criticisms my colleagues have expressed here in the House, this bill does not contain any provisions to strengthen civilian oversight of CSIS even though that is an essential principle that should be defended by all members of the House, regardless of what party they belong to. Nevertheless, we have heard very little from the Liberals and I have a hard time imagining that a Conservative backbencher would question a measure presented by the eloquent Minister of Public Safety or any other Conservative frontbencher.

Any new power bestowed on an oversight body such as CSIS must be accompanied by increased civilian oversight. That is very simple, but such oversight offers better protection for Canadians. We understand that the role of CSIS is to try to protect Canadians through its various activities, but we also have a responsibility as parliamentarians to protect Canadians from various invasions of their privacy. This bill seems to completely ignore that responsibility, which is nevertheless an integral part of our mandate.

Right now, the Security Intelligence Review Committee serves as the oversight body for CSIS. The members of this committee work part time, are unelected and are appointed by the Prime Minister. Since we know how he appoints senators, we all have reason to be concerned.

The interim chair used to be a Reform MP, which does not really inspire confidence either. What is more, two of the five seats on this committee are vacant. This committee is clearly deficient and needs to be improved, but there is no mention of that in Bill C-44.

Furthermore, in the Conservative budget 2012, they eliminated the position of inspector general of CSIS. The individual in that position was responsible for the internal oversight of CSIS, ensuring that the service's activities complied with the law. Now all we have is a puppet review committee that can be stacked with whoever the governing party wants. Past appointments to the position of chair of that committee have been less than inspiring.

Consider, for example, Arthur Porter and Chuck Strahl. Those names are not associated with generally commendable actions. However, that is the kind of committee that is currently overseeing CSIS's activities. The Conservatives want to give it even greater powers, but have no interest in addressing the problems that exist within the review committee.

We in the NDP have a serious problem with that. We take our duty to protect Canadians' civil liberties very seriously, but that unfortunately does not appear to be the case for the other parties of this House. We proposed a number of amendments in committee to try to strengthen the civilian oversight of CSIS, but as usual, the Conservatives unfortunately would not listen.

In fact, it is far worse: they ignored all the amendments presented even though they were all justified. Experts submitted their evidence in committee even though they were given very little time. They suggested to the government different ways to ensure that the legislation is constitutional and that the civil liberties of Canadians are protected. The Conservatives believe that because they have been elected and have a majority, they do not have to do anything with the proposals, even though they are based on many years of experience and research in the area. They tell themselves that they know better. They presented the current bill before us and chose to completely ignore any piece of advice that ran counter to their ideas.

Quite frankly, I have trouble understanding this attitude. We see it at every committee and in every parliamentary debate. I have lost track of the number of time allocation motions that have been introduced in the House and the number of in camera committee meetings where we were unable to make various submissions, even in respect to the witnesses that were to appear before a committee. It is quite difficult for opposition parties to make sure certain of their witnesses are heard in committee, just because the government is somewhat of a control freak. If someone knows the right French term, let me know.

Nevertheless, that is the context we are working in and it is frankly too bad, especially when we are dealing with a bill as important as Bill C-44. We all agree that we have to take measures to protect Canadians and fight terrorism, both abroad and at home. I talk to the people in my riding and they are concerned about what is happening in the world and what is happening here at home. Nonetheless, they also still want to live under the rule of law, as we do now. These laws are being eroded all the time under the current government. Still, everyone in the country is concerned about this. The government should listen to these concerns and take them into account. This should be reflected in one way or another in the bills it introduces in the House.

When expert witnesses are given just four hours in committee hearings, the various opinions of Canadian citizens are not being taken into consideration. These witnesses know the subject matter and care deeply for the common good of their fellow citizens. The government completely ignored these testimonies when it could have benefited from them. It might have saved itself a tremendous amount in legal fees. Those are coming.

In any event, the Conservatives do not seem to be particularly concerned about this. They found a way to balance the budget. They will simply not spend the money that is allocated for veterans or others, which will leave more money to cover the legal fees when various bills are challenged. I am thinking about their prostitution bill, or Bill C-44, which will inevitably end up before the courts. This awareness does not seem to be part of the Conservative mindset, and that is too bad.

One of the NDP's main concerns is protecting Canadians' civil liberties while guaranteeing their safety. That was our focus when we worked on Bill C-44 in committee and that will continue to be the focus of our work in the House. We tried to improve the bill. Now we will have to see what happens in court. In fact, I think that is where we will end up. I think it is unfortunate that we have to deal with such an attitude. I cannot say it enough.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 6:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I could not help but notice that the member, or the former member, might have been a little upset that perhaps there had been one speaker from the Liberal Party, which is not true. She also expressed concern as to why the Liberal Party might not be concerned about oversight. Again, that is just not true. I have raised the issue on several occasions.

Oversight has consistently been an issue. We have been advocating for that for a long time now. One of the ways we can provide oversight to CSIS is through Parliament. We are one of the Five Eyes countries, and the only one that does not have parliamentary oversight, where the politicians provide oversight. Having a parliamentary oversight committee would go a long way in ensuring more accountability and providing assurances to Canadians.

Could my friend from the NDP benches expand on why she would possibly support what we and other stakeholders have been suggesting, which is for a parliamentary oversight committee to deal with issues such as ISIS?

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 6:05 p.m.
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NDP

Élaine Michaud NDP Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

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

I am very happy to hear him speak on behalf of his colleagues in favour of civilian oversight at CSIS. It would have been nice to hear more Liberal members say so today in the House. I think it is too bad to see this member rise and speak on behalf of all of his colleagues. There is time allocated for debate in the House, and that is the time to rise.

As for the rest, the NDP has stressed the importance of increased oversight at CSIS, and we are working to achieve this. We need to ensure that there is oversight, whether it is by parliamentarians or civilians. As I mentioned earlier, we tried to increase the existing civilian oversight in committee, more specifically with respect to the qualifications of the members on the oversight committee.

There are different things we could do now to improve oversight, without necessarily creating another committee. That is something to look at, of course. I am always open to debate. That is what the House is for—debating.

However, the most important issue for us is that we want to increase civilian oversight of CSIS.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 6:10 p.m.
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Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, sometimes I am surprised that the NDP often takes positions that are so radically detached from reality and the public security and safety environment in which we live.

In fact, the hon. member has Valcartier in her riding, the proud Canadian Forces base. For over 12 years, the men and women from that base saw the face of terrorism in Afghanistan. No doubt some people who are serving Canada right now have come through that base and are seeing it in other parts of the world.

Bill C-44 is intended to provide for security and keep Canada safe from some of these global networks that would do us harm.

In the case of Bill C-44, when the Canadian public is quite accustomed to protection being given to law enforcement sources, why would we not extend that same protection to sources that provide information and intelligence on national security? It would keep our men and women in uniform safe.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 6:10 p.m.
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NDP

Élaine Michaud NDP Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to know that my colleague knows where my riding is and which military base is there. My grandfather served there. I come from a military family. So I clearly understand about the service and the sacrifices that the members of our Canadian Forces are asked to make. Wanting to protect them is one of my priorities.

On the other hand, when we listen to this government, we cannot just talk about protection and the importance of security agencies. We must ensure that they are given the resources they need to carry out their mandate. When we look into what the Conservatives have done since they came into power, we note that in the 2012-2013 fiscal year, CSIS had to reduce its budget by $15 million. This year, from now until 2015, their budget will be cut by $24.5 million. That is on top of the cuts of $687.9 million by 2015. They will have cuts to their budget over three consecutive years. I will take no lessons from the Conservative government on protecting Canadians. They are not able to give the necessary resources to the organizations that are in charge of doing that.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 6:10 p.m.
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NDP

Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, here we are at the report stage of Bill C-44. It is therefore the perfect time to discuss the Act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and other Acts. Of course, this Conservative government never does one thing at a time. It always does many things at the same time, quite superficially sometimes, before moving onto the next thing. This is what we have become used to over three and half years.

We are going to try taking a rather more holistic approach, to look at the wider picture, and to steer our discussions toward more specific points. I always wait with bated breath to see the short titles the Conservatives give to their bills. The short title of Bill C-44 is the Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act. One could dare to think that Bill C-44 would not contain only provisions like the ones we talked about concerning the protection of human sources, since this is a huge issue.

To implement its good intentions, we would expect the government to set aside the human, financial and material resources, but it has taken no such measures. Furthermore, it will not be conducting any studies to find out whether CSIS will need additional assistance in carrying out its mandate and its mission, which is to protect Canadians and Canada.

The Conservatives had already planned on bringing in Bill C-44 long before the recent events of October 20 and 22. The government claims that the bill is intended to modernize the Canadian Security Intelligence Service in a few pages, and points out that the law establishing the mandate for CSIS has not been amended in 30 years.

We must keep pace with the resources available to gangs and criminals everywhere in the world, whether they be financial, human or especially material resources. If we are working with obsolete hardware, it is too late. We cannot intercept crime- or terrorism-related information if our equipment is not up to date. We are talking primarily about technology, telecommunications and computers. It takes enormous resources to monitor all the gangs, terrorist cells, criminals and mafias in the world.

Clearly, the drafting and introduction of this bill are completely opportunistic. From coast to coast, Canadians were deeply affected by the events that disturbed the public order. The minister understood this very well and he played his part. His statements following these incidents could not have been more scripted. These events were very moving, and he was well aware of what he was doing by bringing in this bill at this point in time.

They say they are going to modernize CSIS with a 12-clause bill. With Bill C-44, they want to change CSIS’s powers. However, rather than submitting the bill to rigorous scrutiny, the Conservatives rushed its passage in committee by allowing only four hours of hearings with independent experts. This is an insult, because there are very real dangers in giving CSIS new powers without proper oversight. Rather than setting the record straight, this bill paves the way for new legal challenges and, as a number of experts fear, it could well be struck down by the courts.

This bill is inadequate. Consequently, we cannot support it. Witnesses warned us that the bill may be unconstitutional in its current form and that the courts may strike it down.

When we talk about security and the fight against terrorism, we need to talk about resources. The Conservatives have cut funding for public safety organizations for three consecutive years. Those cuts will amount to $687 million. CSIS alone will be on the receiving end of $24 million in cuts, and the government has not yet determined how much these new measures will cost or what additional resources they will require.

We are concerned about the impact these cuts will have on the government's ability to properly monitor these organizations, which will ensure that human information sources are protected. That is important.

When we talk about resources, we also need to talk about the Canada Border Services Agency and the RCMP, which are also facing hundreds of millions of dollars in various cuts. Those cuts account for $400 million of the $680 million.

Since coming to power in 2011, the government has chosen to ignore a certain aspect of national security: our borders. The government has abandoned border services officers and RCMP officers. In my riding, a single patrol covers seven border posts every day. That is 120 kilometres of border, including 80 kilometres of forest and dirt roads throughout.

The workers responsible for public safety in our great country have a huge job to do: they have to protect our borders and entry points with minimal resources. They are given minimal resources to keep our great, proud country safe. The government seems only marginally interested in how they manage to do their job, which we know to be a complex and difficult one. These officers have to be ingenious as they apply their skills and abilities with the resources at their disposal.

Can anyone explain to me how we can talk about a bill to protect Canada from terrorists without making sufficient resources available to protect our territory? That is not only inconceivable; it is incomprehensible. Just incomprehensible.

This bill amends the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, enhancing the protection of CSIS's human resources. The bill deserved and should have received much more serious weight and attention, within a democratic debate.

We do not have the CIA or MI5 here. However, our border services officers and CSIS agents carry a heavy burden when it comes to protecting Canadians.

In that regard, the bill amends Canadian citizenship so that the effective date of the revocation provisions is different from other provisions in the legislation. We would have liked this change to be studied more carefully.

In closing, we are extremely disappointed that the government rejected our amendments, as reasonable as they were. Once again, we put our trust in the democratic process of the House, so that the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security could reach a model consensus.

We all aspire to a Canada that is just, but has sovereign authority over its borders, because, as our national anthem says, we want to keep our land strong and free.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 6:20 p.m.
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NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague was saying, the amendments were dismissed out of hand. I was not in committee, but I heard that even some witnesses said they had doubts about the constitutionality of Bill C-44.

The NDP introduced a bill that could have improved the situation. Instead, this will likely lead to legal battles that will cost Canadians a lot of money.

What are my colleague's thoughts on all of that?

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 6:20 p.m.
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NDP

Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has the frustrating habit of doing just about anything it believes is right and then stupidly putting it in the hands of the Supreme Court. It brings in regulations and legislation that ignore expert opinions, knowing that, in any event, the Supreme Court will hand down a ruling and make a decision. What a monumental mistake.

This approach has a high price tag for taxpayers. There are still several cases at the Supreme Court that cast doubt on the government's ability to do the right thing when it comes to, in this case, protecting human sources and, above all, ensuring that Canada is a country where the fight against terrorism is fair and just and protects the rights of individuals. As a result, the decision is placed in the hands of the Supreme Court. That is a shameful approach. It is truly bone-headed of the government to act that way.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 6:25 p.m.
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NDP

Alain Giguère NDP Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, before studying Bill C-44, I took a look at the debates of October 1970 out of curiosity.

At that time, Tommy Douglas opposed the War Measures Act, which was invoked in response to the information circulated by Minister Marchand that the FLQ had 3,000 members who were ready to overthrow the democratic Government of Quebec. History has shown us that a threat was invented, promoted and exaggerated to curtail the democratic rights of a people.

I have a bad feeling that we are about to do exactly the same thing. Why do I feel that a terrorist movement is being invented and promoted? We are turning a junkie into a terrorist connected to al Qaeda. We are transforming a poor mentally ill person into a religious fanatic, even though he was not even able to earn a living.

Are we not destroying our rights because of a non-existent threat?

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 6:25 p.m.
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NDP

Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for that excellent question. Making judgments like that really trivializes the issue.

The government thinks that its ideology is the right one and that it overrides everything else. Judgments are being made because of that. It is very disappointing to see that people are sometimes being judged just because they disagree with this government. I am not saying that the belligerents or recent events confirm that. I am simply saying that things are being trivialized. People are being stereotyped and they are all being painted with the same brush. As soon as someone disagrees to some degree with the government or what it thinks, the government introduces a bill to prevent that.

Mental illness is among one of the heaviest burdens people are called upon to bear in our society. Such illnesses can completely derail people on all sorts of subjects; they allow themselves to be influenced. If only we had a stronger social fabric and more humane living conditions for everyone, then justice and equity would be present in our society every day. Equity and everyone's rights must be respected. However, we need a social fabric that includes measures such as employment insurance and other programs that help people in need. We do not want people to abuse these programs, but we need to meet people's needs. The Conservative government has abandoned Canadians and the results are sometimes unfortunate and disagreeable. They are painting everyone with the same brush and saying that they are all terrorists. That is unfortunate.

Motions in amendmentProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2014 / 6:25 p.m.
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NDP

Craig Scott NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make one simple point with my two minutes.

I would like to draw attention to the witness testimony from Professor Craig Forcese of the University of Ottawa. He said:

I think in the final analysis a warrant will be required whenever foreign surveillance involves covert interception of telecommunications. I also believe the amendments [to the law] may be interpreted as requiring a warrant any time an operation may violate international or foreign law. These would be sensible standards, but because the bill is not emphatic, establishing these standards may require another round of litigation. Therefore I strongly urge the committee to pre-empt the necessity of another half-decade of uncertainty by adding clear language on the trigger for seeking a foreign surveillance warrant.

In committee, we tried just that. We wanted to introduce an amendment, but in the end it was not needed, because another member of the opposition tried something similar. However, it started with the words “for greater certainty” and then said that a warrant would be needed where investigative activities conducted outside of Canada would normally require a warrant if conducted inside of Canada—by reason of the charter—or if the activity may be inconsistent with international law or the law of the foreign state.

Therefore, in tandem with what Professor Forcese said, the official opposition is firmly of the view that this is already implicit in the law, even though the government has chosen not to clarify what standard is needed for a warrant to be requested on a mandatory basis. It is very clear, at a minimum, that the standard I just read out, and which was offered up by Professor Forcese, is what clearly the courts will read into the law. This is the official opposition's understanding of the very minimum requirements for a warrant.

Bill C-44—Time Allocation MotionProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 10:05 a.m.
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York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I move:

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 tum, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-44—Time Allocation MotionProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 10:05 a.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is another sad day in the House of Commons. The government is using the guillotine for the 81st time since coming to power. Eighty-one times. Never in the history of Canada has any government shown such disrespect for the work of parliamentarians and the need to review the bills that are introduced in the House of Commons.

We are talking about a bill that the government itself has said is an important one, a complex one that requires proper scrutiny; yet after only a few hours of debate and after only a handful of members of Parliament have had the opportunity to speak, the government is imposing closure for the 81st time. Perhaps this time more egregiously than any time before, the government is simply refusing to have the proper scrutiny that needs to take place in the House of Commons. Given the impacts on Canadian society, the bill needs to be properly scrutinized.

My question is very simple. Eighty-one times now, the government has imposed closure. It does it at the drop of a hat, after only a few hours of debate. Why is it trying to do it this time when it is well aware that it has the sad record of having more pieces of legislation rejected by the courts than any other government in our history? Given the fact that the government has had shoddy legislation that needed improvement and has been rejected by the courts, why is it imposing closure yet again?

Bill C-44—Time Allocation MotionProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 10:10 a.m.
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Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking the member for Burnaby—New Westminster for his question. I used to work with him on the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. I am glad to have the opportunity today to rise in the House to answer his questions and make some progress on a bill that is, frankly, very straightforward.

I have the bill here, and it is just four pages long. It is really very simple. We have already spent more than six hours debating it in the House, and basically, its purpose is to clarify the scope of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's mandate so that it can protect Canadians.

Of course I will be happy to answer my colleagues' questions for the next few minutes, but the best place for that is at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, which can study the bill and bring in witnesses.

At the outset, I would like to express my gratitude to my colleagues from the official opposition and the other opposition party for supporting this bill in principle. I hope that we will be able to move it forward quickly because the service needs this clarification right now so that it can protect Canadians.

Bill C-44—Time Allocation MotionProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 10:10 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, what has become very clear over the last few years is that, ever since the Conservatives obtained majority government, the current government House leader seems to have one mode in passing legislation here in the House of Commons, and that is to use the tool of time allocation. To list few of them, there was the Canadian Wheat Board pool registration, copyright legislation, back-to-work legislation, free trade agreements, first nations legislation, and massive budget bills, which are an abuse in themselves.

As has been pointed out, no government in the history of Canada has used time allocation as much as this government has. It is almost like a normal part of the process. It is wrong. It is disrespectful to democracy and the functionality of the chamber.

My question for the government House leader is this. Why does he believe his government needs to use time allocation on its legislation as opposed to allowing members of Parliament—through the normal, traditional practices that the House used prior to the majority Conservative government—to adequately debate the bills before they go to committee or even pass at third reading?

Bill C-44—Time Allocation MotionProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 10:10 a.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, the bill is seven pages long, which, as I said before, makes it a very simple bill.

We want to send it to committee for debate because we need to pass it in order to protect Canadians. Furthermore, both opposition parties expressed support in principle for this bill, which would clarify the powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

The service has been around for 30 years, but it was never explicit that the people in charge of keeping us safe could operate here in the country as well as abroad. This is all the more important considering a growing phenomenon related to terrorist threats: high-risk travellers and foreign fighters.

That is what makes this bill so important: it will enable judicial authorities to clearly define the scope within which authorities and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service can exercise their powers while remaining in compliance with Canadian law.

As we have seen, this bill already contains provisions for court oversight of the process.

Bill C-44—Time Allocation MotionProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 10:15 a.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, once again I am disappointed in the government's attitude. As I have said before in this House, it seems that the government regards debate as something it has to suffer through until it gets its way, instead of an exchange of ideas that are important not only to improve legislation but also to let Canadians know what issues are at stake here in the House of Commons.

My question for the minister has to do with the fact that he has referred to the committee as the right place to examine this bill. What I would like to hear from him now is a commitment that the government will not impose time allocation and severely limit the number of witnesses at committee, because although it is a short bill, it is quite an important bill in terms of national security. Will the minister give a commitment today that the government will not impose time allocation in committee or try to limit the number of witnesses who appear?

Bill C-44—Time Allocation MotionProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 10:15 a.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

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

As he knows, committees are masters of their own destiny. It will be up to the committee to make decisions. However, there is consensus on this bill.

As legislators, we have the responsibility to provide the tools required by both the police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to protect us in compliance with Canadian laws.

Freedom requires a safe and secure environment. This bill very clearly seeks to provide that. It will define the powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service at home and abroad, and provide a clear definition of “witness”, the very basis for the information on which CSIS files are based.

It is also important to have reliable information, because the information collected by CSIS is precisely what enables us to build cases and collect evidence leading to the indictment and incarceration of convicted terrorists, so that they are brought to justice.

Unfortunately, the NDP did not support our bill to combat terrorism. However, this time, it is interesting to note that they are more receptive to the bill. They have indicated that they will support it. It is therefore very important to closely examine it now. The parliamentary committee is the best forum in which to do so, and we will have the opportunity to comment on it and debate the final version of the bill once it returns to the House.

Given that this bill is important to the safety and security of Canadians, that parliamentarians support it and that there are no significant objections, I invite the opposition parties to support it so that we can go to committee and move forward with this bill, which is important for the security of Canadians.

Bill C-44—Time Allocation MotionProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 10:15 a.m.
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NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is the 81st time the government has imposed time allocation on the study of a bill. I take issue with this, particularly in the case of Bill C-44, because ever since the events of October 20 and 22, Canadians have been asking themselves a lot of questions about the way Parliament works and especially about the laws it wants to pass to deal with radicalization and give more tools to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and about what is happening with regard to the RCMP and border services.

Many people across Canada are asking themselves many questions and would like their MP to be able to take part in this debate to share their questions or thoughts on such an important bill. Of course, Bill C-44 is just a few pages long, but those pages are extremely important and will change the way CSIS operates. The question I have for the minister is the following: why muzzle the opposition MPs, and government MPs for that matter, and prevent them from properly representing their constituents, especially when Canadians are concerned and want us to make better laws following the events of this past October?

Bill C-44—Time Allocation MotionProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 10:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my opposition colleague for the question.

Why act? We must act because we all witnessed the tragic events that occurred near here and an attack that ended in this Parliament on October 22. We also know that on October 20, a Quebecker, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, lost his life because he was wearing a Canadian Forces uniform in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

These events remind us that the terrorist threat in Canada is real. An act of terrorism is an act committed by a person who attacks a symbol of Canada, a symbol of power, or a symbol of our democracy. It is an act committed for political, ideological or religious purposes. That is what happened here, in Parliament. President François Hollande talked about that not far from here, and he condemned these acts of violence. He said that together, we must take action. That is why we are working with the French minister of the interior, Bernard Cazeneuve, and with our U.S. counterpart, Jeh Johnson.

As legislators, it is our job to put the necessary tools in place. It is important to take action. Let us be clear: we indicated that we would not over-react, nor would we stand by and leave Canadians defenceless against evolving terrorists threats. That is why we introduced Bill C-44, and that is why we plan on implementing other measures to protect Canadians and democracy. That is why, and in particular with this bill, we always do so in compliance with our country's fundamental laws. That is why, in this bill, clause 7 provides that anyone facing charges based on information from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has the right to an amicus curiae, a friend of the court, and access to legal provisions and also provides that everything is overseen by a court. This is a balanced bill, and my colleague will have the opportunity to ask questions in committee as soon as the House decides to send this bill to committee.

Bill C-44—Time Allocation MotionProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 10:20 a.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness made some interesting comments, but in my opinion they were way off base, simply because Bill C-44 was not introduced in response to the events of October 22. This needs to be clear to anyone watching us.

I am still trying to understand, from the lengthy remarks he has made since the debate on the time allocation motion began, why the motion was moved. Was it because the official opposition and the second opposition party are dragging their feet and getting carried away? No. To date, there has been six hours of debate at second reading. If anything, it is the government that is dragging its feet, and I would like to hear the minister's comments on the fact that since 2007, since the Supreme Court's decision in R. v. Hape, the government has known that it had to change certain laws and some of CSIS's powers. Why did the government take so long to do that and now, all of a sudden, it is introducing this legislation in order to give us the impression that it introduced the bill as a result of the events of October 22? Why use a time allocation motion to suggest that the only way to examine this major bill, which grants very significant powers to some of Canada's law enforcement agencies, is to bypass the entire parliamentary process, which is different from the process in committee? I have not heard any convincing arguments, besides the fact that the government is the one that has been dragging its feet for all these years. The Conservatives have had a majority since 2011, and if they really cared about the country's security, they would have taken measures long before now.

Bill C-44—Time Allocation MotionProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 10:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, the answer to the question posed by the member opposite is quite simple. She agrees with the bill. The Liberals agree with the bill. We have already debated it for six hours here in the House. Committee is the best forum in which to amend bills.

Today, the debate is not about passing the bill. It is simply about moving it on to the next step so that it can be thoroughly debated. Why? Because, whether we are members of the government or an opposition party, Canadians elected us to pass bills once they have been debated. That is what we have done in the House and that is what we are going to do in committee.

I understand that the two opposition parties support this bill. For that reason, which seems very clear to me, we should immediately adjourn this debate and send the bill to committee so that we can take action to protect Canadians. That is why we were elected to Parliament.

Bill C-44—Time Allocation MotionProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 10:25 a.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think we all know that haste is rarely a wise advisor. Before I address the House, I must say that I am really confused. I am wondering whether I should be talking about the bill or the time allocation motion, given that the time I have to speak will be cut short, perhaps even drastically reduced, in the next few hours, and this is true for many of my colleagues in the House. That is the fundamental problem we should be talking about first, before we begin discussing Bill C-44.

The Conservatives are telling 308 members, minus the few who have already had a chance to speak, that they only have a few hours left, they are to share the time that remains, and that is just how our democracy works. They are also telling members that the best way to advance a bill is through committee. What is the message here? The message they are sending is that the opinions, views, expertise and knowledge of all the members of the House, who were elected to debate each and every bill, do not matter.

After 81 time allocation motions, this has to stop. There is absolutely no reason why parliamentarians should not have the right to speak and why this bill should not take its course, even though, for now, we agree that it should be sent to committee and we plan to support it at second reading. This means that we want to be able to discuss it in committee and presumably propose amendments. However, let us face it, if the past is any indication, amendments are rarely accepted, as though the government always knows better.

Would Bill C-44 not be a perfect opportunity to show all Canadians that the parliamentary system can work, and that there are some subjects that transcend partisanship and should be allowed to go through the process, allowing all authorities to have their say, within reason and within the confines of our parliamentary system, and ensure that in the end, it is no longer a government bill but in fact a bill of this Parliament?

Bill C-44—Time Allocation MotionProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 10:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service appeared before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. He reminded us that 140 individuals with connections to the country are currently suspected of having been involved in terrorist activities abroad.

Under current rules, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service does not necessarily have the authority to investigate these people who are a threat to our safety. This is about clarifying powers, as I said. The court invited us to clarify those powers. Opposition colleagues had the opportunity to attend a briefing before the bill was introduced.

This bill was scheduled for introduction on October 22. It is on schedule. We have the support of both opposition parties. This balanced bill contains provisions that clarify the service's roles and protect citizens' rights.

I am eager to see this bill go to committee, and I am eager to see it come back to the House so that we can pass it and it can go to the Senate, where it will be debated again, become law, receive royal assent, and become an effective tool for protecting Canadians. The terrorist threat is undeniably real. We have to take meaningful action against it and make sure Canadians are protected.

Bill C-44—Time Allocation MotionProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 10:30 a.m.
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NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Northwest Territories, NT

Mr. Speaker, of course on this side of the House we are concerned about the protection of Canadians, but this is an ongoing thing. The greatest terrorist act committed in this country was Air India decades ago. We have not seen an incident like that since. We need to look with a great deal of scrutiny at the types of powers that we are giving to the state. The symbol of Canada, really, I think to most people, is the rights of Canadians. That is the real symbol to Canadians. That is what Canadians hold most dear.

The debate that we are having today and that we should be having on any increased security is a matter of principle. That is what we talk about at second reading of bills in the House of Commons. We talk about the principles that we are acting on in this country. We speak about the reasons we do things. This is important. This brings out the debate for Canadians. Canadians have a right to hear the debate about security and the nature of security as it impacts on our rights as Canadians. They absolutely have a right to that debate, and we should have that debate today, because, of course, the subject is very topical with the incidents that have occurred in Parliament.

Why would we close this debate off when it is such an interesting and important one for Canadians? Why would we want to send the bill to committee immediately when we are are talking about the principles involved in the relationship between security and human rights? Why would we want to foreclose that debate? Why would Canadians not want to hear us talk about this in their House of Commons?

Bill C-44—Time Allocation MotionProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 10:30 a.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, let me remind my hon. colleague what I said in my very first speech in support of this bill in the House a few weeks ago. I said that we will never turn our backs on the fundamental Canadian values of respect for individual rights and the rule of law. While this bill gives our national security agencies some of the tools they need to protect Canada from terrorists, clause 7, on proposed subsection 18.1(4), of the legislation I introduced then ensures that the right to a fair trial is protected in all cases.

I invite my hon. colleague to take a look at proposed paragraphs 18.1(4)(a) and (b). There are also some provisions in the bill that go in exactly the same direction, suggesting that we clarify the role of our intelligence agencies while protecting the rights of Canadians. That is exactly what this bill would do. That is why the hon. member's party has indicated it is willing to support this bill. So is the second opposition party.

This is a great bill that would help improve the safety of Canadians while protecting their rights. That is why we need to have this debate. We need to send the bill to committee so that we can go more in depth and make this the law of the land.

Bill C-44—Time Allocation MotionProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 10:30 a.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, I believe that this NDP member has a great deal of respect for the power of committees and elected officials, and it is up to the committees to discuss this issue. I had the opportunity to do so when I was chair of the Standing Committee on Official Languages.

Now, I have the opportunity to invite my colleague to support this bill. It will ensure the safety and security of Canadians and is in keeping with our policy direction since the events of September 11, 2001, which made terrorism the greatest threat to the security of our country.

Thanks to CSIS and our police forces, we foiled terrorist plots in Canada, including the attacks of the Toronto 18, and the attacks on the British Columbia legislature and VIA Rail. We thwarted those attacks with the laws we put in place and those terrorists are facing charges. Some have been sent to jail because of the laws we instituted.

Therefore, it is important to debate bills, but it is also important to take action, especially when the terrorist threat is real and, unfortunately, has already created victims in our country. As parliamentarians we have the responsibility to act.

I have full confidence in the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security and all its members, and I trust they will review this bill and bring it back to the House so that we can adopt it at third reading, send it to the Senate and make it a law that will protect Canadians.

Bill C-44—Time Allocation MotionProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 10:35 a.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to the minister, I think there are a couple of things in his statement that may inadvertently mislead the public. One is that the government likes to talk about six hours of debate. How many people does that actually accommodate in the House of Commons? It is 16. Sixteen people means that about 5% of the members of the House of Commons have actually been able to debate the bill. Six hours sounds long until we actually look at the number of people participating.

The second way I think he might inadvertently mislead the public is the question of committees being the masters of their own houses. His parliamentary secretary came to the public safety committee on Bill C-2 the last time with very severe limits on the debate, limiting the opposition to four witnesses and actually limiting the time we could spend debating each clause of the bill to one and a half minutes per member. This was obviously a travesty of a debate in committee.

Again, I am asking the minister for a commitment from the government that it will not use its majority on the committee to restrict debate in the committee on this important bill.

Bill C-44—Time Allocation MotionProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 10:35 a.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I already answered my colleague's question. The committee is master of its own destiny, that much is clear.

I am not a member of that committee, but any time the committee so desires, I make an effort to take part. I had the opportunity to go to committee meetings and have productive discussions. That is what we did a few weeks ago, when the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service came to present a status update on the terrorist threat.

It is important to take a sensible and responsible approach. That is what we are being asked to do today by supporting this motion, so that this important bill, which has the approval of all the political parties in the House, may go to committee. Then we could debate it, do a clause-by-clause review, and bring it back to the House to enact it and give the country a new law.

Every parliamentarian was shaken by what happened on October 22. That is one of the reasons we have this opportunity to pass a well-constructed, balanced bill that will ensure the safety of Canadians.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 11:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Joe Daniel Conservative Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River.

It gives me great pleasure to stand today and speak to Bill C-44, the protection of Canada from terrorists act. We have heard in these debates that this bill contains amendments to the CSIS Act and technical amendments to the Strengthening Canada's Citizenship Act. My remarks today will focus on the amendments to the CSIS Act and why we are taking steps to give this vital agency the tools it needs to conduct investigations out of Canada related to threats to the security of Canada.

First I would like to speak to the global terrorist threat, the impacts 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, we have all witnessed in the past weeks that Canada was the victim of two terrorist attacks within the span of one week. Because of 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 past decade, in particular since September 11, 2001, to counter terrorist activities. Canada has been a leader in global counterterrorism efforts. We have citizens and civil society organizations representing people of all faiths and beliefs. They work among themselves and with our government to prevent terrorism by building stronger and more resilient communities. All of these measures were 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.

Indeed, our security agencies have been monitoring groups like al Qaeda and ISIL closely for years. We have taken concrete measures to disrupt and prevent violent and extremist activities. This is a comprehensive approach. While we join our allies in air strikes, we are also taking other measures that are working to help 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 their 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 an act of terror is essential in helping to suppress these groups. Therefore, we have certain provisions under the Criminal Code that we can use to deal with the assets and the operations of groups that support terrorist activities. Listing these entities under the Criminal Code is a public means of identifying a group or an individual as being associated with terrorism, and listing 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 activities that facilitate the activities of a listed terrorist entity. We know that terrorist groups are inspiring westerners to take up arms in support of their cause. In order to reach the individuals and guard against these tactics, we work closely with diverse communities, including through cross-cultural round tables on security.

We are working with leaders in 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 finger on the pulse of their communities. These leaders have been integral to helping law enforcement and security agencies to address threats and identify the best ways of reaching individuals who may be leaning toward violent behaviour and redirecting them from the paths of radicalization that lead to violence.

However, rapid changes in technology, ease of communications, and the mobility of terrorist travellers have created new and complex challenges for Canada and all 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 those so-called extremist travellers. We brought forward the Combating Terrorism Act to make it an offence to leave Canada to take part in terrorist activities, and laws are 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 to investigate and track the activities of terrorists at our borders and beyond. One of the ways to do this is with the legislation that is before us today, which would amend the existing CSIS Act so that we would be better able to provide CSIS with the tools it needs to investigate threats to the security of Canada wherever those threats occur and ultimately to protect the security of Canadians.

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

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

Clearly there are a number of ways our government protects the safety and security of Canada against terrorism, but first we must be sure that we have the right tools in place for our security intelligence agencies 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 in this House to join me in supporting this bill.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 11:25 a.m.
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NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to ask my colleague opposite a question about Bill C-44, particularly since we just voted on the 81st gag order imposed by the Conservatives, which I find very sad for our democracy.

Let us come back to Bill C-44 and the proposals it contains. I had the opportunity to examine it in a bit more detail and to see what measures it contains. We still have a lot of questions about some extremely technical terms. What caught my attention about this bill is the fact that it is about the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and, although it is only four or five pages long, it is an omnibus bill. It is very disappointing that the Conservatives did this. Part of this bill deals with the Immigration Act and has nothing to do with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

I would like to know whether my colleague opposite would be prepared to divide the bill so that we can address only the aspects that deal with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and not those that deal with the Immigration Act.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 11:30 a.m.
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Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question for my colleague relates to the good work done by my colleague from Vancouver Quadra and her private member's bill.

This is a wonderful opportunity for the government to join the ranks of most industrialized countries and our Five Eyes partners, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. The government can pick up the import of the bill that my colleague from Vancouver Quadra is bringing forward and insert it into this bill or bring it forward as another legislative instrument. The government could thus set up an all-party parliamentary committee to oversee the work of CSIS.

This is the case with Capitol Hill in the United States, with Westminster in the U.K., and with all of our Five Eyes partners. Why is the government not taking advantage of the wonderful work in the member's bill to join the ranks of our partners and get this right?

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 11:30 a.m.
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Conservative

Joe Daniel Conservative Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is quite a bit of oversight already for CSIS through the various committees, et cetera, that we have, so there is no need for creating a new system. In my personal opinion, I do not think we need to take up the member's colleague's input, mainly because we already have these things under control, and there is no need to do that.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 11:30 a.m.
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NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am reflecting on my friend's previous comments because there have been a number of concerns over the lack of public oversight for CSIS, and these concerns come from the authorities that deal with Canada's spy agency.

I am not sure if my Conservative colleague across the way is suggesting that the public oversight is sufficient right now. The experts who have been dealing with CSIS and some of the audits of that very program by those in charge of its oversight have noted gaps in oversight in general.

My question to the member is very specific. This large and complicated bill represented an opportunity to ensure and restore the public's faith in our spy agencies and to enhance it by having better public oversight. I have an analogy for him that might work out in this case.

After a number incidents with the RCMP, a number of us had advocated for public oversight of that particular police force. There was a desire to have the public as the arbitrator of incidents in which there was violence or potential death involved in interactions with the RCMP.

There was resistance from the Conservatives at the time, to be fair, yet the public had moved to a place where that change was seen as a way to enhance our police system and to enhance public support for the police. If that was true and if it works with the RCMP and with the various provincial police forces, why would it not also be true for our national spy agency? Why would we not enhance public oversight, which is not properly done in this legislation?

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 11:30 a.m.
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Conservative

Joe Daniel Conservative Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the best definition I have for an expert is a drip under pressure. I would be very interested to find out who these experts are that my colleague is talking about who are asking about these things.

Clearly, this bill is in place to protect Canadians and Canada for the future and for the long term. It is a fine bill that needs to be put through as soon as possible.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 11:35 a.m.
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Conservative

Rob Clarke Conservative Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be here today to speak to very timely and important legislation. The protection of Canada from terrorists act is a critical bill that would enable us to do what is fundamental for any government to do, and that is to protect its nation and citizens. That is why we are taking part in the coalition that is currently conducting air strikes against ISIL and supporting the security forces in Iraq in their fight against the terrorist scourge of ISIL.

However, not all terrorism occurs abroad. Indeed, the global terror threat hits close to home, especially for members of Parliament and those in Ottawa, as well as our Canadian Forces members in Quebec. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Patrice Vincent and Nathan Cirillo. The families and friends of these Canadian heroes know painfully well that we face the very real threat of terror here at home.

As the Minister of Public Safety has stated, we will not overreact in response to recent terrorist attacks, but it is also important that we not under react to threats against us. We know we are not overreacting when just this past week a leader of ISIL called for “volcanoes of jihad” against Canada and our allies. We are taking these threats seriously and have joined our allies in actions that are degrading ISIL's capabilities.

As the Prime Minister stated last Friday, our military fight is with ISIL. Because of the real and present danger of ISIL, we have brought forward balanced and clear measures that would strengthen the tools available to the law enforcement community in areas of surveillance, detention and arrest.

The protection of Canada from terrorists act is the first reasonable step in our efforts to do that. We are working diligently to strengthen tools available to the law enforcement community.

Why is this necessary? Recent court decisions called into question the role of our law enforcement agencies and invited the government to respond. As reasonable and transparent legislators, we brought forward legislation that would clarify the roles and activities of our law enforcement agencies that track and monitor terrorists abroad. While opposition members will argue that it is not necessary, or complain that we are overreacting or overreaching, we know there is nothing more risky than losing track of terrorist threats. Once they are in the wind, or even back in Canada, we are at a greater risk.

Canadians can know this about our government. When law enforcement agencies require additional tools to keep Canadians safe from terror threats, we on this side of the House will respond. We will give them the tools they need. We will not apologize for it and we will not support doing nothing. We will not defend inaction with fancy language about privacy and claims that we should protect the privacy concerns of terrorists over the safety of our Canadian citizens.

Safety and privacy are not competing interests. Canadians know this. Without security, we would not have the privilege of privacy. Our government has confidence in our national security agencies. The men and women of our national security agencies are working overtime, and around the clock, to keep Canadians safe.

It is not only our security agencies that our protecting us here and abroad. On November 11, we commemorated the sacrifices of the many Canadian heroes who have fought to keep us safe for the freedoms we hold dear.

We live in a dangerous world. We are not immune to the threats that our allies face. For this reason, we continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies against the very real threat that ISIL poses. I am proud of the Canadian Forces for their concerted efforts to degrade ISIL and maintain the security of Canadians. I am thankful they are working diligently to eliminate these threats so Canadians at home and abroad are safe.

Our government remains focused on ensuring the safety and security of Canadians. The crucial role that our security and intelligence service plays in keeping Canadians safe cannot be overstated. We will continue to equip the brave men and women, who put their lives on the line to protect Canadians, with the tools they need to address terrorism in an increasingly dangerous global environment.

Another key piece of the protection of Canada from terrorists act is early implementation of the revocation of citizenship provision from those who are convicted of terrorism, spying or treason, found in the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act. We passed this legislation, which will strip the Canadian Citizenship from dual nationals who engage in acts of terrorism of fight against the Canadian Armed Forces, in order to protect Canadians. The Liberals and the NDP voted against the bill, and that is a shame.

We then passed the Combating Terrorism Act and introduced Canada's first counterterrorism strategy, a four-pronged approach to prevent, detect, deny resources and respond to terrorist activity and threats. This legislation has already led to criminal convictions. Again, the NDP opposed these common sense measures.

The new provisions in Bill C-44 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. This action would reinforce the high values of citizenship to ensure that dual citizens who had been convicted of terrorist acts would not continue to benefit from Canadian citizenship.

These measures demonstrate our Conservative government's continued commitment to do what is necessary, within the law, to prevent terrorists and violent extremists from carrying out vicious attacks against Canadians.

Bill C-44 is important because it is legislation that would provide the necessary tools for law enforcement to do the job it does now. a job it needs to do.

I cannot imagine being asked to come to Ottawa as a member of Parliament and not being afforded the tools to do that job effectively. My constituents would not be well-served if I were not given the tools to do the job.

In the same way, we know Canadians will be safer and more secure if law enforcement is able to do an effective job, and not just any job, the job of tracking terrorist threats, ensuring that witnesses are safe and ensuring that threats to Canada are not allowed free rein to strike fear in our communities.

As we continue to debate the legislation, I hope all members of the House will carefully consider this important legislation and will join me in supporting our law enforcement agencies and pass the protection of Canada from terrorists act.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 11:40 a.m.
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Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to my colleague's comments. As a former peace officer, I know he swore an oath which transcends his time as a peace officer to his time now, as an MP in the House, to uphold the rule of law. Therefore, I want to ask him a couple of questions about the rule of law and a couple of questions around what we heard from expert testimony from CSIS and the RCMP itself.

The deputy commissioner of CSIS came to committee and said that there was a large resource question problem, and that is the financing, the capacity to do the job that CSIS is being asked to do is compromised.

The experts from CSIS and the RCMP combined also testified that although the government brought in the Combating Terrorism Act in 2013, which amended the Criminal Code, 80 Canadians had gone abroad and had participated in terrorist activities on foreign soil, and not a single Canadian of those 80 had been prosecuted.

When the member talks about upholding the rule of law, when he talks about ensuring we come to Ottawa to give our security forces and agencies the powers and the resources they need, why is the government fixated on getting additional powers when the front-line practitioners in our intelligence services and agencies are telling us it is not so much power as it is money and resources to do the job?

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 11:40 a.m.
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Conservative

Rob Clarke Conservative Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr Speaker, one thing I want to point out for my colleague is that since 2006, we have increased the budget of the RCMP and CSIS by one-third.

I also want to make one thing very clear. As a former member of the RCMP, I did take an oath. The oath was to keep the peace and protect Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Going back to my RCMP days, there was an an unfortunate incident in which three of my members were shot, two passed away. I remember that to this day.

The legislation before us, which would protect Canadians and give CSIS the additional powers in the toolbox that it it needs to do its job, makes sense. A loss of any Canadian in Canada due to a terrorist extremist threat cannot be underestimated. They are there. It does not matter where they are. They could be next door to my colleague. We do not know. That is why we have to give the powers to CSIS.

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November 18th, 2014 / 11:45 a.m.
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NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the question is not directly related to this bill, but it still pertains to public safety.

Following the events that occurred in October, we all agreed to review how our security system works and look at how we can address radicalization in Canada. That is extremely important.

I am pleased to see that Bill C-44 has been introduced and to be able to examine it in committee. However, I do not think that providing tools is the only solution in this case.

The Conservative government has made over $690 million in cuts to public safety since 2012. The Canada Border Services Agency and other organizations lost front-line jobs. The RCMP had to deal with drastic cuts and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service experienced cuts as well. These front-line workers who exchanged information with our international allies lost their jobs. It is therefore extremely difficult to act under such circumstances.

It is all well and good to give tools to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. However, could my colleague tell me whether the Conservative government also intends to give our law enforcement agencies the resources they need to properly enforce the law?

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 11:45 a.m.
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Conservative

Rob Clarke Conservative Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

I am sorry, Mr. Speaker. I am very passionate about the RCMP. I come from that background and I take offence when I hear about cost reductions.

It is ironic that my colleague mentioned underfunding. Our government has increased funding by one-third, and that is about $700 million more than when the Liberals were in power. We are looking at and studying the backroom. There is a high level of officers in the higher ranks of the RCMP. We are trying to get grassroots police officers and investigators on the streets. We are trying to give Canadians, from coast to coast to coast, the protection they deserve.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 11:45 a.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to start by saying that I will share my time with my colleague from Rivière-des-Mille-Îles. As a gentleman, I would normally say that I am pleased to share my time with the member, but this morning I am holding back a bit. It is not because I do not want to hear from the member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, but this morning, for the 81st time in this 41st Parliament, the members of the House are being forced to share their time if they want a chance—and not everyone will have a chance—to share a comment, thought or opinion about a bill as important as the one we are currently studying, Bill C-44. This is a serious breach of our democratic rules.

Time allocation motions should be used in exceptional circumstances, but they have become the norm here. I wanted to take a few moments to protest this, knowing full well that this would cut into my time to speak to the substance of Bill C-44, but also that I have far too little time to really cover the issue. Even if we were to add up all of the speeches made by my colleagues in the House, we would never manage to fully address the issue, in light of this government's narrow-mindedness.

First of all, I will say that I will vote in favour of this bill at second reading. There are enough elements in this bill that are worthy of consideration and discussion in the committee that handles these issues. This committee has the necessary expertise and will, I hope, hear from relevant witnesses who are much more qualified than yours truly, and who can perhaps bring a different perspective than my own, which is to reflect the vision of my riding—the mandate that we all have as members of Parliament.

Nevertheless, I do want to point out that I have some concerns, as big as this House, that the committee could also end up under a gag order, as have many others. We do not even have any assurance that the debates will be public; however, if there is one topic that it of interest to the general public, it is public safety and civil liberties in this country.

It is quite ironic to have this 81st time allocation motion on a bill as fundamental as this one.

Furthermore, we must be able to make some amendments in order to highlight the fact that what we are looking for in the bill, which I do not think is present at this time, is not some sort of balance or acceptable compromise between public safety, or what we need to put in place to guarantee it, and civil liberties. Our thinking is not focused on compromise. Rather, our thinking is more about seeing how we can do more to defend and protect the rights of all Canadians, as well as to ensure their safety, since it is the government's duty to do so.

Furthermore, the tragic events that occurred right here and in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu sharply frame the debate on public safety and civil liberties. However, as tragic as those events were, they should not be an excuse to rush the discussion that we need to have on how to respond to them. Haste is rarely a wise advisor in these matters.

In these matters, as in many other areas, the devil is often in the details, and we have a duty to make sure that the measures we want to put in place are relevant and effective. The repercussions that our decisions will have on the public safety and civil liberties of Canadians are far too important for us to rush this kind of bill through. Is it not true that enlightenment comes when ideas collide? For heaven's sake, let us take the time we need to look into, understand and analyze every aspect of this bill in light of the expertise shared by the many competent stakeholders in the field.

For the benefit of those who watch our debates and are concerned about the very nature of Bill C-44, I will provide a summary of the measures it includes. This bill was described to us this morning as being relatively simple because it has only four pages, as though the number of pages had anything to do with the complexity of the issues we have to debate.

The first element of Bill C-44 provides a legal framework to the intelligence operations conducted by CSIS abroad. As such, CSIS' activities will no longer be limited by national concerns. Second, under this bill, the Federal Court could henceforth provide CSIS with warrants that have effect outside Canada.

Third, Bill C-44 guarantees the protection of human sources who provide intelligence to CSIS in the context of legal proceedings. Finally, the fourth element speeds up the process for revoking the citizenship of those individuals who have dual citizenship and whose activities are linked to terrorism or any other serious offence. That is probably the element that bothers me the most because I wonder how it is relevant to this bill.

I have a funny feeling that the Conservative government has managed to recreate in this four-page bill, its legendary approach, namely to introduce omnibus bills that combine as many issues as possible. I think the issue of citizenship should be dealt with differently. Will this mean that the status of a Canadian citizen by birth will be different from that of a person who became a Canadian citizen through immigration?

I spent years trying to make my students understand that there is just one Canadian citizenship status. Today, the government is opening the door to a shift in perspective that would now distinguish between Canadians from here and those who came from elsewhere. It is hard to create a perfectly cohesive society or one that strives for cohesion, with comments like that. This simple clause makes me shudder and deserves in-depth discussions backed by expertise and not ideology.

Mr. Speaker, you are already motioning that my time is drawing to an end. I will therefore comply with your instructions as the timekeeper and moderator of our debates, but I think that you are once again proving that we do not have enough time in the House to clearly express our ideas. Therefore, I will skip several pages and get to my conclusion and some things that I believe to be of even greater importance.

A broad coalition of stakeholders support our position, which is that both the powers of CSIS and civilian oversight should be enhanced. The two must go hand in hand. I would not say that they must work in parallel, because then they would not talk to one another, which is an all too frequent problem. For example, both the Privacy Commissioner and the Information Commissioner recognized that security and civil liberties requirements are inextricably linked.

Mr. Speaker, as long as I can see the fingers on your hand indicating that I have some time left, I have hope. As they are disappearing at a furious rate, I will summarize my initial position with the following comments.

I said initial position on purpose because it will change as a result of meetings and discussions. I hope that we will all be open-minded so that we can find the best idea and not try to prove that our idea is the best, which unfortunately is all too often the case in Parliament. I hope that in the end, Bill C-44 will truly be Parliament's bill and not just the government's bill.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 11:55 a.m.
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NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of my colleague's speech, he referenced the fact that, once again, we are debating this particular bill under time allocation. An Inter-Parliamentary Union document put out celebrating the International Day of Democracy says:

The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.

It goes on to say that political tolerance implies freedom of expression, open dialogue and a diversity of views. It also indicates that the rights of the opposition include:

[The] Right to contribute to the legislative process, such as the right to submit bills and amendments, and to put questions to members of government.

I wonder if the member could comment on how important this bill is and that we as parliamentarians representing Canadians from coast to coast to coast have the right to speak in the House of Commons to this very important matter.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 11:55 a.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her question.

Of course that is a fundamental right, and I am having a hard time understanding. The next election is just around the corner, and I hope that a majority of Canadians will understand and recognize the skills and experience of the member for Outremont, who would be the best prime minister. I find it hard to imagine how, under Conservative ideology, we would bring in 30 new MPs, congratulate them on being elected and tell them that they are now the proud representatives of the people who elected them and that now they should sit down and shut up.

That is exactly what is going on in this Parliament. When they use closure for the 81st time and when they make committees sit behind closed doors and refuse to televise the meetings, what are they telling the people's representatives in the House if not to shut up? This is a clear perversion of democracy that we have to fight with all our strength. I hope people will hear this message. Maybe Bill C-44 will be the first bill to earn unanimous consent because it is off to a good start now that there is consensus at second reading to send it to committee.

Why not ensure that at the end of the day, Parliament will unanimously pass this bill? It might take a bit longer, but it will send a message to Canadians that their democracy is working.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / noon
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Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for my colleague. It is essentially the same question I asked the government.

We heard expert testimony from the heads of SIRC and the RCMP. In committee, they explained that this was not about getting additional powers. They are not asking for these so-called additional powers. They need resources to implement and oversee the existing measures in the Criminal Code of Canada, for example.

I have a question for my colleague. He will recall that since the government came to power, it has spent more than $600 million to advertise its economic action plan. Meanwhile, our security and intelligence agencies are telling parliamentarians in committee that they need additional resources to do their jobs.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / noon
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question and for the context.

If I had more time, I would go into all of this government's expenses that I would call inappropriate. Governing a country involves making choices. For a government, as with personal finances, the main obstacle to pursuing dreams and plans is the availability of funds. Good managers are those who are capable of making good choices.

When it comes to public safety and civil liberties, many things are already possible under the existing legal framework. However, it is difficult to do anything if the resources are not there. As my father would always say, if you do not walk the talk, nothing will get done.

A study needs to be done about the funding that is available so that the agencies already on the ground can do their job effectively before they are given new tools, which will probably not be properly funded either.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / noon
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NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-44, an act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and other acts. It is important to note that, unfortunately, the government just limited the time we will have in the House to discuss this huge bill that will have a rather serious impact on Canada's oversight bodies. The government decided to gag the House. The House adopted a government motion to limit the time for debate on Bill C-44. It is very disappointing. That move limits parliamentarians' ability to do their job in the House and properly debate Bill C-44, a huge bill that proposes some fairly significant changes to CSIS.

I hope that this bill will be examined in depth in committee. That is very important since fairly major amendments need to be made to this bill. Basically, the bill increases the authority of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service or CSIS and makes three significant changes. First, the bill clarifies the legal authority of CSIS to conduct security intelligence operations abroad in response to threats to the security of Canada. Second, it confirms the jurisdiction of the Federal Court to issue warrants that have effect outside Canada. Third, it protects the identity of CSIS human intelligence sources in judicial proceedings.

It is also important to mention that Bill C-44 amends the Citizenship Act by fast-tracking the revocation of Canadian citizenship in the case of dual citizens who are linked to terrorist activities and other serious offences.

There are three very important elements to underscore in this debate. Any legislative measure passed by the House aimed at dealing with threats to the security of Canada must reflect three principles. It must provide for greater civilian oversight, the protection of civil liberties and appropriate resources. Any bill passed by this government must take those three criteria into account. First of all, greater civilian oversight is crucial if we want to give CSIS new powers. Many stakeholders have expressed concerns about this. As we know, the Security Intelligence Review Committee does not have the necessary powers for proper oversight of CSIS. In addition, as they have been known to do, the Conservatives used an omnibus bill, the 2012 budget bill, to eliminate the position of inspector general of CSIS.

The fact that CSIS lacks civilian oversight was raised at the time of the Maher Arar affair. In 2006, the commission of inquiry on the Maher Arar case made some recommendations. One of the recommendations called for new accountability measures for Canada's intelligence agencies. Eight years have passed since Justice O'Connor made those recommendations. The government still has not implemented them.

Although the Conservative government introduced this bill, which makes huge changes to the powers of CSIS, it did not do its homework. It did not consult the experts or take seriously the recommendations of the Arar commission, which date back to 2006.

It is not just this commission that called for more civilian oversight. The Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Commissioner of the Environment, two officers of Parliament, called on the federal government to ensure that effective oversight was included in any legislative measure that would grant new powers to CSIS and law enforcement agencies. Unfortunately, we see nothing in Bill C-44 in response to this call for increased civilian oversight of CSIS.

It is crucial and non-negotiable that greater oversight go along with any new powers granted to CSIS. As several of my colleagues mentioned, the oversight is inadequate.

The Security Intelligence Review Committee is the oversight body for CSIS. For the Canadians who are watching, the members of this committee work part time, are unelected and are appointed by the Prime Minister. Two of the five seats on this committee have been vacant for months, and it seems that the Conservatives are dragging their feet on filling these positions.

In addition, SIRC merely has an interim chair, Deborah Grey, who used to be a Reform MP. This committee does not have enough members; only three of the five seats are currently filled. That is inadequate for oversight of CSIS.

In the 2012 budget—another omnibus budget with dozens of pages—the Conservatives eliminated the position of inspector general of CSIS. The inspector general was in charge of internal oversight, ensuring that the service's activities complied with the law. We can all agree that it is a very important role. Since 2012, however, the inspector general's responsibilities have been transferred to SIRC, the committee I just spoke about that functions on a part-time basis and is lacking resources.

I would like to quickly speak about the two other principles that I mentioned. As I said, three principles must be taken into consideration each time we study a bill concerning Canada's security.

I already spoke about greater oversight, but we also need to protect our civil liberties. When I spoke to my constituents in Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, they repeatedly said that we need to ensure that Canadians are safe, but at the same time, we need to protect civil liberties. That is crucial because protecting civil liberties and ensuring public safety are both fundamental Canadian values that are non-negotiable. We want legislation that strengthens our civil liberties, and this bill does not clearly do that.

What is more, every measure or bill that is designed to improve security must be coupled with the appropriate resources.

The government can give CSIS more power, but if the organization does not have the resources needed to get the job done, we are no safer. The Conservatives have cut funding to our public safety organizations for three consecutive years, for a total of $687.9 million in cuts by 2015. That concerns me. This bill must be coupled with the necessary financial resources.

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November 18th, 2014 / 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 would like to thank the hon. member for that speech.

I want to speak just a moment about the CSIS Act. It was first passed into legislation back in 1984, which was 30 years ago. The things CSIS has been doing, obviously, operating overseas, tracking terrorism, protecting its human sources, are all things that have recently been called into question by court decisions.

The purpose of the legislation before us is to bring further clarity to the act to ensure that CSIS could continue operating as it has always done. I wonder why the member assumes that is not the case.

The legislation is very clear and to the point. It hits a number of issues regarding protecting human sources and the ability of CSIS to operate overseas. I wonder why the member thinks CSIS should not be able to continue operating as it always has been.

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November 18th, 2014 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, I get the feeling that the member opposite did not really listen to my speech.

I am proud to say that I will vote in favour of the bill at second reading because it should go to committee. Committee members should also study the opposition parties' proposals, including the NDP's. I will vote in favour of this bill because it contains important measures.

However, there are many flaws in the bill. The Conservative government made a mess of this because the bill does not provide for increased civilian oversight, which the 2006 commission of inquiry into the Maher Arar case recommended. The Conservative government needs to do its homework.

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November 18th, 2014 / 12:15 p.m.
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Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment further on something I mentioned a few minutes ago. This bill does not address concerns about national security related to the events in Quebec City and Ottawa earlier this month. That is for sure.

First, can my colleague tell us what she thinks of that? The government needs to explain why existing legislation, particularly the Criminal Code, was not used against individuals who pose a threat to our country. We heard about how 80 Canadians were involved in terrorist activities abroad. Even so, not a single Canadian has been charged in relation to that.

Second, can my colleague help us understand why the bill authorizes judges to issue warrants to CSIS regardless of any other laws in effect, specifically laws in foreign countries? That is an absolutely enormous power.

Can she tell us what she thinks of these two troubling measures?

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November 18th, 2014 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

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

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

However, I hesitate to make the same connection he did between this bill and the events that occurred in Parliament on October 22. We know that it takes the government months to prepare its bills and that this bill was in progress well before those events occurred.

Despite what happened a few weeks ago, we still need to take a sensible approach that protects our civil liberties. That is what is missing from this bill.

I did not really have time in my speech to talk about the fact that CSIS lacks resources, so I would simply like to quote Jeff Yaworski, who appeared before a Senate committee on Monday, October 20. He is the assistant director of operations at CSIS. Mr. Yaworski indicated that CSIS does not have the resources needed to do its job. In fact, we know that $24.5 million in cuts have been made to the agency.

It is therefore all well and good to give CSIS more powers, but the Conservative government is refusing to give CSIS the resources it needs to do its job properly. That is very disappointing.

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November 18th, 2014 / 12:15 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 sharing my time with the hon. member from Don Valley West.

I am honoured to be here today to speak in support of the protection of Canada from terrorists act.

We all know that the work we are doing here is extremely important. There has been much discussion about balancing the tools the security agencies need with broader privacy concerns. I completely agree with that position. We must not overreact to horrific attacks, such as those that occurred on October 20 and October 22, but it is also time that we as Canadians stop under-reacting to the very real threat of terrorism.

The bill before us today strikes an appropriate balance. All the measures put forward in this bill are common-sense tools that would enable the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, otherwise known as CSIS, to continue keeping us safe without infringing on any of the freedoms that make this country great. To highlight this fact, I would like to discuss the three core elements of the proposal before us.

First, this bill makes minor adjustments to the CSIS Act to provide anonymity for CSIS human sources. It would confirm CSIS's mandate to investigate threats to Canada both at home and abroad and would provide anonymity to CSIS employees who may engage in covert activities.

Protecting the identity of human sources clarifies what has been an operational assumption for many years. Earlier this year the courts ruled that because this power was not legislated within the act, CSIS sources did not have that anonymity. This was a surprise to our national security agencies, and to probably many of us in the House, given that police informants have this type of protection. It is common sense that an informant for CSIS should be afforded the same protections under the law as an informant for the RCMP. This amendment would be invaluable for the brave men and women at CSIS in their work keeping all Canadians safe. We know that human sources are instrumental in CSIS's intelligence-gathering activities. Protecting their identity in court would facilitate prosecutions, future operations, and the recruitment of sources.

To illustrate the necessity of this measure, let us discuss a hypothetical example. Let us say that an individual becomes aware of a radicalized person or people within their social circle who the individual believes may be planning a terrorist attack on Canadians. Let us say that this person does the right thing and informs authorities about these individuals. Then suppose CSIS establishes a relationship with this person, who agrees to become a human source for the service to protect Canada and our citizens. Again, for the sake of this argument, let us assume that this source begins informing on not just one but on 10 suspected terrorists, if there are more players involved. Let us imagine that one of these 10 targets tells this source that he or she plans to commit an act of terror in the immediate future. In a world where CSIS can protect its source's identity, the next step in this case becomes very simple. CSIS would inform the RCMP of the imminent threat, and the RCMP would leverage the human source's information, along with other available evidence, to lay charges against the terrorist or suspected terrorist. The human source would then continue to gather evidence on the other nine individuals.

Now let us consider the decision-making process if CSIS cannot protect the identity of that human source. First, disclosing the source's identity in court would put that person at risk of retribution from the associates related to that one individual. Second, CSIS would lose the source's future value against the other nine individuals under investigation.

Our intelligence authorities cannot control the rate at which investigations proceed. It may very well be the case that the threat posed by the group of nine individuals is greater than the immediate threat posed by the lone wolf. However, if they do not have enough information to prosecute all 10, the service must make a choice: leverage a human source's information to arrest one individual who may pose an immediate threat, or wait and continue investigating a potentially larger and greater threat to Canada.

I do not think CSIS should be asked to make that choice, and I do not think Canadians across this country would expect it to. That is why I support this common-sense reform. Furthermore, I do not believe that this infringes on privacy rights or the right to a fair trial, as a judge may force the crown to disclose a source's identity if this is crucial to proving the innocence of the accused.

The other issues in this bill are, I would argue, also easy decisions. There are several proposed amendments that confirm CSIS's ability to operate abroad. This merely provides clarity in law to support CSIS's presence abroad. This is both timely and appropriate, as we know that there are individuals outside of Canada's borders who seek to do us harm here in Canada.

The terrorist threat knows no borders. We should not make our security agencies fight this threat with one hand tied behind their backs, let alone two. I am supportive of allowing CSIS to pursue warrants against Canadians abroad. This measure is particularly timely given that we know that approximately 145 Canadians have travelled abroad for terrorist purposes. CSIS should have the ability to seek warrants against these individuals and to monitor them, regardless of where their location might be. This is an important operational tool that we can provide to CSIS without hindering an individual's privacy, as CSIS will still require a warrant from a judge to use intrusive investigative techniques. I just want to reinforce that: CSIS would need a warrant from a judge.

Finally, this bill would provide anonymity to all CSIS employees who may become engaged in covert activities. Currently only CSIS employees who are engaged in covert activities are afforded anonymity before the courts. CSIS analysts and trainees are not protected and could have their identities disclosed in open court. One can imagine that this would jeopardize its employees' utility in future operations.

Providing anonymity to employees of an intelligence agency makes all the sense in the world. I do not believe for a single minute that this measure would impact the privacy rights of Canadians.

All the measures proposed in this legislation would enhance CSIS's ability to do its job effectively and efficiently. These are key to enabling CSIS to protect Canadians from those who seek to do us harm, whether it is here in Canada or abroad.

I am proud that our Conservative government has brought forward common-sense reforms while respecting the rights and freedoms that make this country so great. I encourage all members of the House to support this common-sense legislation.

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November 18th, 2014 / 12:25 p.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the parliamentary secretary's speech on this legislation.

We on this side of the House have said that we support the bill in principle, but we have concerns about the details in the bill, in particular its granting of additional powers to CSIS without strengthening accountability measures.

My question to the parliamentary secretary goes along with the question I asked the minister earlier. Since we are under time allocation, and the minister has said that the committee is the proper place to deal with our concerns, will the parliamentary secretary commit now to allowing the committee to have a full range of witnesses appear and a full debate of possible amendments to the bill?

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 12:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Roxanne James Conservative Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister answered that question clearly in the House earlier today. Committee business is done in committee. This is certainly not the public safety committee. That will be a decision made by members of that committee.

It is interesting to note that the NDP member opposite indicated that his party will be supporting this legislation going to committee. As in the past, that is the pattern of what the NDP does. Those members support sending bills to committee, and then when the bills come back, they vote against them.

This is a common-sense bill. It would not give CSIS any more powers than any other law enforcement agency across this country has. It would ensure that CSIS has the ability to continue to operate abroad, to track terrorists to keep Canadians safe, and to ensure that its human sources, or informants, have protection under the law, as do other law enforcement informants.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 12:25 p.m.
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Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary may describe this as a common-sense bill, but what the government has missed here is a common-sense opportunity to improve the overall situation in Canada with respect to our intelligence and security agencies.

First, the government still has not explained why it refuses to join its partners under the Five Eyes structure. That is, why is it not joining the U.S., Britain, Australia, and New Zealand in ensuring that there is a parliamentary committee of all parties, parliamentarians together, to oversee the important work of CSIS? That is an outstanding question. The government has an opportunity to improve the situation, but it seems to be refusing to.

Second, we heard from CSIS at committee that the biggest problem it is facing right now is resources, not additional legal powers. It did not come to committee saying that it needs these precise powers. It is true we have had a series of judicial rulings, but CSIS said it needs resources.

We need to remind Canadians of two things. While the government says it has increased the budget for CSIS and the RCMP, it is not telling Canadians that it spent over $600 million in advertising and over $600 million in outside legal fees, this despite the fact that Justice Canada has 2,500 lawyers on staff.

Could the parliamentary secretary help us understand why the government is not meeting the real needs of our intelligence and security agencies on the resourcing side while speaking constantly about the need to give new powers to these agencies?

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November 18th, 2014 / 12:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Roxanne James Conservative Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, first of all, this government is doing what the previous Liberal Party, when in office, could not do. We have increased the budgets and funding for both the RCMP and CSIS. In fact, since the Conservatives came to office, we have increased funding for the RCMP by $700 million and CSIS by $200 million. This is above and beyond what the Liberals did in the last year they were in office.

When the member talked about our partners in the Five Eyes, he listed several countries. First of all, Canada is not one of the other countries. This is Canada. I wish that member, when comparing us with other countries such as our partners, New Zealand, Australia, Britain, and the United States, had considered the same argument when he stood in the House and voted against standing shoulder-to-shoulder in our fight against global terrorism.

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November 18th, 2014 / 12:30 p.m.
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Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand in this place and offer my support for Bill C-44, the protection of Canada from terrorists act. Over the past few months, Canadians have been rightly outraged by the atrocities committed by ISIL. Its barbarism cannot and should not be ignored. To do so would be to leave a ticking bomb with a lit fuse, one that stretches from Iraq to our shores.

We saw this on October 20 and October 22, when two Canadian Armed Forces soldiers were killed in cold blood. The terrorists responsible for these atrocities did so in a planned and calculated way in an attempt to intimidate Canadians into bowing to the terrorist caliphate known as the Islamic State. This is the very definition of terrorism. The President of France, the U.S. Secretary of State and most importantly, the Commissioner of the RCMP, have all confirmed this point.

We must at all costs degrade and destroy the threat posed by ISIL. That is why our government joined our allies to defuse the threat of ISIL at the source. However, military action is only one element of our response to terrorism. The other is gathering intelligence to confront the diverse array of threats to our security. That is easier said than done. The landscape for intelligence work is rapidly evolving and we need to ensure that our security and intelligence agencies have the tools they need to keep Canadians safe and secure.

The world of terrorism has changed dramatically since the 1980s. The CSIS Act, which today's legislation seeks to modernize, was originally written in the era of the Cold War and the rotary telephone. Violent extremism has taken new forms and the threats to Canadians are both more numerous and more sophisticated.

The 2014 public report on the terrorist threat to Canada identified more than 130 individuals with Canadian connections who were abroad and suspected of supporting terror-related activities. As we heard recently from CSIS, this number includes some 50 individuals who are known to be working directly with ISIL and other extremist groups in the region. These extremist travellers pose a threat both to people in foreign countries and to the citizens of Canada. We must stop them from inflicting harm on others. That is exactly what we are doing with the legislation before us today.

We know that we must approach the threat of terrorism and extremist travellers from many angles. This means bringing into force on an earlier timeline the new citizenship revocation provisions that help protect the safety and security of Canadians and safeguard the strong values associated with Canadian citizenship.

That is the goal of the first part of the protection of Canada from terrorists act. We are proposing technical amendments to the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, which received royal assent on June 19, 2014. These amendments will allow for earlier implementation of provisions related to revocation of Canadian citizenship.

These provisions include expanded grounds for revocation of citizenship and a more streamlined decision-making process to allow the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to make revocation decisions depending on the grounds. Our government firmly believes that we must move quickly to implement provisions that permit the revocation of Canadian citizenship from those radicalized individuals who are convicted of an act of terrorism or who travel overseas to engage in armed conflict with Canada.

We will not hesitate to do what is necessary to protect our country and other innocent citizens of the world who may fall victim to acts of terrorism overseas. Revocation is an important tool to safeguard our strong Canadian values and the integrity of our citizenship program. While we have strengthened our citizenship laws, we know that there are already individuals who have left Canada to join extremist groups and that we must ensure that we can track and intercept those individuals before they commit acts of terrorism.

With the second part of this legislation, we will work to do just that. The proposed amendments to the CSIS Act will add another tool to our counter-terrorism toolbox.

CSIS is a highly professional organization that has succeeded in adapting its tactics and tools to keep up with the ever-changing environment. However, the time has come to amend its governing legislation, the CSIS Act. In doing so, we can ensure that CSIS is well positioned to take reasonable and necessary measures to investigate threats to the security of Canada, wherever they may occur. Reasonable people can agree that CSIS must have this ability. Threats to the security of Canada are more global and complex than they were when the CSIS Act came into force.

Allow me to highlight the major amendments proposed by this legislation. The first major amendment is to confirm CSIS' authority to conduct investigations outside of Canada related to threats to the security of Canada and security assessments. CSIS has always had the authority to undertake investigative activities outside of Canada. However, this authority is not as clearly stated in the CSIS Act as it needs to be. It is important that Parliament provide clarity on this matter. This is a limited and focused amendment, one that merely confirms CSIS' existing authority and makes it even more explicit in law. We cannot afford to leave any gray areas with respect to the scope of CSIS' mandate.

Equally important, we need to clarify the jurisdiction of the Federal Court to issue warrants authorizing CSIS to undertake certain intrusive activities outside of Canada. To enable CSIS to properly investigate threats outside of Canada, the proposed amendments would clarify that the Federal Court need only consider the CSIS Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms when determining whether a warrant is required.

A third major amendment concerns the protection of sources. Common law has long afforded protections for the identity of police informants. Without such protection, witnesses may be reluctant to come forward and criminals may not be prosecuted. The stakes are just as high when it comes to threats to Canada's national security. Through the information of human sources, CSIS may be able to help thwart an attack on Canadians and Canadian interests. Obviously the ability to recruit human sources depends on their confidence that their identity will in fact be protected.

Some hon. members may be surprised to learn that the current CSIS Act does not explicitly protect the identity of intelligence sources during court proceedings. This bill would fill that gap. This protection will of course be consistent with Canadian values of the protection of individual rights and the rule of law. If the information is required in a criminal proceeding to demonstrate the innocence of the accused, the protection can be overturned.

The CSIS Act also has shortcomings that must be addressed with respect to protecting the identity of CSIS employees. Currently, it is an indictable offence to reveal the identity of a CSIS employee who is or has been involved in covert operations. However, the existing legislation does not protect those employees who are not yet but may be engaged in covert activity in the future. Another amendment addresses this oversight. In this way, CSIS employees who are training to become covert officers can be assured that their identity will be protected.

In summary, the amendments proposed today would allow for earlier implementation of citizenship revocation provisions, protect Canadians and other innocent citizens from the acts of violence carried out by extremist travellers, and give our intelligence service more effective tools and clearer authorities to fight violent extremism, including violence perpetrated by Canadians themselves.

I urge all hon. members to join me today in supporting the protection of Canada from terrorists act.

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November 18th, 2014 / 12:40 p.m.
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NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned earlier when I asked one of the Conservative members a question, Bill C-44 is an omnibus bill. In their speeches, members on the other side of the House are talking a lot about the fact that this bill affects the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, but that is not all that it does.

At the end of the bill, there is a provision regarding the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that has nothing to do with the rest of the bill. That provision moves up the coming into force date of a bill the Conservatives passed a few months ago that makes changes to the immigration system. It has nothing to do with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Perhaps my colleague can provide a better answer to my question than his predecessor. I would like to know whether he is prepared to divide the bill in two in order to ensure that we are talking only about the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and that we are working on this issue, which is extremely important, particularly given the events that occurred in October. Canadians deserve to know what the government wants to do about this.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 12:40 p.m.
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Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians from coast to coast to coast will agree that we are in changing times. We are under threats from global terrorism and we must adapt with legislation and momentum that will give Canadians comfort that their security is seen as paramount by the House.

This bill would do just that. It would bring current the CSIS Act, which I spoke to at length, filling gaps where there need to be protections afforded to CSIS employees and their informants, et cetera, thereby giving our officers and security forces the comfort and the ability to do what is necessary to protect Canadians.

The member opposite brought up the question of the immigration act and the ongoing reformation of that act. Clearly, I believe that the parts of that act that are incorporated into this bill merely bring common-sense timing into place to ensure that the respective acts are aligned so that Canadians can have the comfort that, whether it is a citizenship issue covered under that act or the CSIS portion under that act, the provisions are aligned and would work together to the betterment of Canadian security.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 12:40 p.m.
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Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member says that this bill would fill gaps. Let us talk about a few of those gaps.

The first gap is this. Why is the government not ensuring that Canada join its four partners under the Five Eyes structure to ensure that we have proper parliamentary oversight over CSIS? That is one question.

The second question is this. Given the legislation that is already on the books, for example, the Criminal Code and the amendments made to it by the government under the Combating Terrorism Act, the government has to explain why so many of these existing provisions of the Criminal Code have not been used in response to those who represent a threat to this country, and explain whether it was actually informed of this problem by our security agencies.

Here is yet another gap. We know that as recently as October 15, the Conservative government failed to implement provisions of the 2011 border security agreement with the U.S. on information sharing with respect to the travel of potential terrorists. It is troubling to hear the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Prime Minister talk about new legislation and new powers when the government has not complied with the international agreements it has already signed, in this case on the international movement of those suspected of being associated with terrorist entities.

If we are to talk about filling gaps, can the government provide answers to those three simple questions?

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November 18th, 2014 / 12:45 p.m.
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Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have heard the member opposite's questions asked several times today. Clearly, I thought they had been well answered on all counts.

Most importantly, Canada is a sovereign nation. We determine our own future. We have oversight that is adequate, professional, and committed to ensuring that CSIS meets its objectives. In that oversight, we should be more than comfortable as Canadians that our oversight body is getting the job done to ensure that CSIS meets its objectives.

As far as working with other countries is concerned, all countries work together as allies in some form or another, but this country will determine its own direction. It is only right that as Canadians we would want to see that maintained and that Canada maintains its control over its own security direction in the future.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Charmaine Borg NDP Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in the House of Commons to speak to this bill. As my colleagues before me have already indicated, the NDP plans to vote in favour of this bill.

However, I am very disappointed that we are debating this bill under a time allocation motion. This is the 81st time that a gag order has been imposed on debate on a bill, even though this is a very important bill that deals with security and gives CSIS greater powers. It is therefore very important that we have an extensive debate on this, but a time allocation motion was adopted this morning. This is very frustrating. I think this may even be a record, for I cannot remember any other government having imposed as many gag orders in such a short time.

The bill before us, Bill C-44, makes three important changes regarding CSIS. The first change is that it clarifies the legal authority of CSIS to conduct security intelligence operations abroad in response to threats to the security of Canada. It also confirms the jurisdiction of the Federal Court to issue warrants that have effect outside Canada, and it protects the identify of CSIS human intelligence sources in judicial proceedings.

I think it is very important to talk about a number of cases that were brought before the Supreme Court, where warrants were issued that did not expand CSIS' capacity to spy or conduct national security related activities in other countries. A number of Supreme Court and Federal Court rulings raised that matter.

The amendments being presented are quite interesting. However, it is important to note that we are effectively telling CSIS that it can increase its co-operation activities in the Five Eyes community. I am not sure what the French term is for Five Eyes. We usually use the English term. We are allowing CSIS to seek warrants for this purpose. This process was clarified to some extent to respond to the legal void raised by the Supreme Court.

We are in the process of increasing CSIS' powers, but this bill completely misses the boat on strengthening oversight of CSIS' operations. This bill could have included better protections and better oversight, such as civilian oversight. Many people made requests to that effect. As far as oversight is concerned, we currently have the Security Intelligence Review Committee. This committee only meets part time and is made up of un-elected individuals appointed by the Prime Minister. At this time, there is an acting chair. There is no official committee chair. What is more, two out of the five seats on the committee are vacant. In other words, we have a group of three, un-elected, appointed people who are assuring us that everything is fine. I think that Canadians expect better than that, and rightly so, because this is totally inadequate.

We hear all kinds of stories about abuses. We want to ensure that their operations are justified. Of course, much of what they do is secret. Clearly, we cannot give away national secrets or jeopardize national security. We are well aware of that, but there are ways to put legitimate oversight systems in place in order to ensure that there are no abuses and that all operations comply with Canadian law. There is absolutely nothing about that in the bill. For years, both the opposition and the community at large have been calling on the government to increase oversight of CSIS operations.

For example, during the Maher Arar inquiry, recommendations were made for improving accountability at CSIS. However, eight years later—that was in 2006—nothing has been done.

As well, the Privacy Commissioner recommended that each time a bill that increases CSIS's powers is introduced, oversight measures should automatically accompany it. If the government wants to increase powers, it must also improve the system, the accountability mechanism that ensures there are no abuses. That is very important, yet it is very much lacking.

It is also important to point out something else. The government eliminated the position of inspector general, who played an internal role, ensuring that the service's activities complied with the law. Instead of increasing oversight—which is what should be happening—the government is decreasing it. That is very problematic.

I should point out that it is very important that our agencies have the tools they need to protect public safety. However, this is not a negotiation. We cannot completely ignore our civil liberties and rights just because more security is needed. That is not how it works. These aspects are very important, and we need to ensure they are protected. As parliamentarians, we have a duty to protect our country and to examine national security issues. However, we also have a duty to protect civil liberties and rights. That is why oversight is so important and why it should be a mandatory part of any proposal to increase powers. Even if we were not increasing CSIS's powers, civilian oversight would still be very important. This oversight certainly deserves more resources than three people sitting on a committee part time. It is is very important.

We absolutely want the appropriate resources. However, the Conservatives have cut funding for our public safety agencies for three straight years, since 2011. By 2015, this will represent a total of $687.9 million. As a result, CSIS will see $24.5 million in cuts in 2015, while budget 2012 scrapped the CSIS inspector general position altogether, as I already mentioned. We are concerned that these cuts also impact the government's ability to exercise appropriate oversight over these agencies. The service is being asked to do more and more, but its budget is being cut. It is a little hard for this agency to implement an adequate oversight system.

I want to share what Daniel Therrien, the Privacy Commissioner, had to say. He said that it was understandable that the government would want to consider boosting the powers of law-enforcement and national security agencies to address potential gaps, but that any new tools should be accompanied by a beefed-up role for the watchdogs who keep an eye on spies and police.

That is what the commissioner said, and that is what we are asking for today. It is all well and good to increase powers, but we also need to increase oversight, because we need to ensure that civil liberties and rights are not violated. As I mentioned, we cannot sacrifice one for the other. It is a two-for-one special, if you will. The protection of civil liberties and rights goes hand in hand with national security. They are both possible if there is meaningful, enhanced oversight.

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November 18th, 2014 / 12:55 p.m.
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NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by thanking my colleague from Terrebonne—Blainville for her excellent speech. I know that she does really important work on digital issues and she is particularly concerned about Canadians' privacy, as she mentioned in her speech.

In this debate, there is a very fine line between civil liberties and public safety. However, as my colleague mentioned, they go hand in hand. Does my colleague believe that it is important for the Privacy Commissioner to appear before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, where we will be discussing the bill, to tell us what he thinks of it? Does she believe that we should closely examine certain elements of the bill and perhaps add others to ensure that we have excellent or at least better civilian oversight of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service?

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 12:55 p.m.
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NDP

Charmaine Borg NDP Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question. I would also like to congratulate the member on her excellent work as our deputy public safety critic.

I agree that we should invite all of the experts on protecting our rights and freedoms. We cannot be ministers or critics of everything. We cannot know everything. We have to rely on experts. We in Canada are very lucky to have amazing experts and world-renowned academics, so we have to invite them, have a genuine consultation with them and ask them good questions.

Given the quote I read from the Privacy Commissioner, I am sure that the experts will recommend increasing civilian oversight and implementing measures to ensure that the police and spies, among others, obey the law. I know that some things have to be done in secret, but that does not mean we should violate people's freedoms or privacy.

Therefore, let us invite the experts. I hope that all committee members will do their best to ensure that all of the experts come to the table, including the Privacy Commissioner, who has an important part to play in this debate.

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November 18th, 2014 / 12:55 p.m.
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Selkirk—Interlake Manitoba

Conservative

James Bezan ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I rise to add my voice of support for Bill C-44. This is an important piece of legislation that would give more powers to policing agencies in Canada to protect Canadians from terrorists.

I keep hearing from the opposition about the need to protect civil liberties, especially from a privacy standpoint, and we want to do that. We want to find the right balance. However, what it is proposing is that it should trump protecting Canadians from terrorists. We have to make sure, first and foremost, that we identify risks to the Canadian public and ensure that Canadians are not harmed.

I am wondering if she actually believes that terrorists deserve to have the same rights as law-abiding citizens.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 12:55 p.m.
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NDP

Charmaine Borg NDP Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, the member's lead-up had very little to do with his question. I would like to talk about something that my colleagues have not talked about today.

We are not asking for one to be more important than the other. This is not about choosing between national security and our rights and freedoms. No. We want both, and the two can coexist. That is already the case in some countries, which already have enhanced oversight in place.

We can do it. We do not have to choose one or the other. We can choose both. If the government cannot understand that, it is a good thing we are going to study the bill in committee.

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November 18th, 2014 / 1 p.m.
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Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure and privilege to rise today to add my voice to the debate on the protection of Canada from terrorists act.

As members know, the bill was not tabled in haste, and it has not been tabled as a stopgap measure in reaction to the terrible acts of violence our nation has witnessed in recent weeks. Indeed, as the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has made abundantly clear, this legislation was drafted and ready for tabling on the very day that a terrorist killed one of our Canadian Armed Forces members who was standing watch over the tomb of the unknown soldier, on the very day that this same terrorist ran down the hallways of this building before our brave law enforcement and House of Commons security forces brought him down. This bill was drafted with much thought and consideration in the light of the evolving terrorist threat facing all western democracies.

The two Canadian Armed Forces members who were murdered on October 20 and October 22 were the victims of individuals who had the same goals: to terrorize Canadians and frighten us into losing our resolve for doing that which is right and just.

Today we are debating Bill C-44, which would make amendments to the CSIS Act. These amendments include, among others, ensuring that CSIS has the tools it needs to investigate threats to the security of Canada outside of Canada, as well as creating a means to protect the identity of CSIS' human sources from disclosure. The bill would also make technical amendments to the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act to allow our government to seek earlier implementation of the citizenship revocation provisions, which received royal assent on June 19.

These amendments are critical to clarify the role of CSIS in light of recent court decisions that have addressed the important aspects of the mandate and investigative authorities of CSIS.

However, legislation is only part of the solution to countering terrorism and violent extremism.

A key part of our government's counterterrorism strategy involves building partnerships with Canadian communities over the long term. The focus of these partnerships is to develop resilience and foster critical thinking about extremist messaging and to help devise effective means to intervene during the radicalization to violence process.

The troubling phenomenon of individuals travelling to commit terrorism is a fast-emerging component of radicalization to violence. As we have heard from CSIS and the RCMP recently, we know of a significant number of Canadians who have travelled to hot zones like Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria to join terrorist organizations, to undergo terrorist training and to conduct terrorist activity.

This is of grave concern for many reasons.

We are concerned because we care about young Canadians dying abroad. We are concerned because we want to prevent the damage that may cost human life and to societies struggling in the face of deep divisions. We are also concerned about what happens if these foreign fighters return home. Battle hardened and fully radicalized, they have tremendous potential as terrorist actors in Canada, and, even more important, real credibility as agents of radicalization in their own right.

However, we are tackling this issue in a number of ways.

One way is the revocation of citizenship of dual citizens who have, for example, served as members of an armed group engaged in conflict with Canada or have been convicted of terrorism.

Another way is to attack the movements and activities of those who have managed to leave the country in order to engage in activities that are a threat to the security of Canada. Again, this is part of the bill before us, which is to ensure the authority of CSIS is clear and is able to investigate threats outside of Canada.

Still another way is through initiatives like the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security, CCRS, jointly led by Public Safety Canada and the Department of Justice. The CCRS is an excellent example of collaboration between the federal government and diverse communities across Canada. It brings together leading citizens from their respective communities, with extensive experience in social culture issues, to regularly engage with the government on long-term national security issues.

The CCRS meets three times a year to cover a wide scope of issues under the national security umbrella: resiliency, cybersecurity and airport security, among many others.

Over the past several years, the CCRS has focused much of its attention on the topic of countering violent extremism. It has been key in providing guidance and shaping how we talk to Canadians about this issue.

Through this forum, we look to our leaders and communities to help us better understand how to build trust with diverse communities, identifying the tools that communities need, and identifying contributing factors and intervention programs for persons who may be at risk to radicalization to violence.

CCRS members have also helped bridges into communities. Most recent, Public Safety undertook dedicated dialogues with communities on the topic of radicalization leading to violence. Communities are often the first to see suspicious signs or behaviours by others if they are planning something such as travel, attack planning, radicalization and recruiting others. We value the input we receive through these regular meetings.

Countering violent extremism is a defining challenge of our times, a challenge facing Canada and all nations that believe in the rule of law and the rights of our citizens to live in a safe and secure society.

As members can see, our government has been actively pursuing a robust strategy to counterterrorism activity and violent extremism well before the recent attacks on the Canadian Forces members last month.

We have been open in discussing that threat with the citizens of Canada through our counterterrorism strategy released in 2012 and two subsequent public reports on the terrorist threat to Canada which were released in 2013 and 2014.

Today, I have shared just a vew of the measures we are taking that speak to the “prevent, detect and deny” pillars of our strategy. This includes fostering trust and encouraging collaboration between government and communities. It includes preserving the integrity of Canadian citizenship by allowing certain provisions found within the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act to come into force earlier than planned. It also includes getting our society and intelligence agencies the tools they need to protect the safety and security of Canadians.

We must move ahead with these amendments with purpose and without delay.

I ask all members to join us in supporting the legislation. I ask all members to join us in protecting Canadians.

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November 18th, 2014 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

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

The history of national security in Canada is one of long debate and a lot of study. However, it seems as though the bill is not only being rushed through the House but, from the minister's statements this morning, it will also be rushed through committee, with as few as eight witnesses called to discuss the act.

We are talking about significant increases in the power of CSIS to not only protect Canada, but also to possibly intrude in lives of Canadians.

Does my colleague think that eight witnesses are enough or does he think we should perhaps show more diligence in the review of this act?

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November 18th, 2014 / 1:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the events we have seen around the world, especially when it concerns the radicalization of citizens within their own countries, and the evidence we have already received from the RCMP and CSIS before the public safety and national security committee just a few weeks ago, before the terrible events of October 20 and 21, shows us that we have had this conversation. We have talked about these issues and discussed them.

If we listen to the member's adjectives and adverbs, the powers we would be giving CSIS are no greater than the powers we already give our police officers. We want to put them on a level playing field. I firmly believe we have the checks and balances in place with our police forces. They would be the same checks and balances that exist with CSIS. It has an oversight body that would ensure this legislation would meet with the desired results.

CSIS is there to keep us safe. CSIS is not the enemy of Canada. CSIS is our friend, our protector and is there to ensure the safety and security of Canadians. This is why we need to ensure we give that organization the tools it needs to do its job.

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November 18th, 2014 / 1:10 p.m.
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Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would remind my colleague across the floor that when he says CSIS has an oversight mechanism, it has something like an oversight mechanism, but it is certainly not to international best standard. That is why my colleague, the member for Vancouver Quadra, has a private member's bill in the House. It could easily be migrated into this bill if the government were so inclined. It would actually create a parliamentary all-party committee to oversee CSIS. That is the case with our four partners in the five eyes structure that we so robustly support. That is one thing I would like him to address.

The second is this. Why has the government not already enforced the legislation it has in place? We were told at committee by CSIS and RCMP that at least 80 Canadians, and we heard a parliamentary secretary say today that number was 145, have been involved in terrorist activities outside of Canada on foreign soil. Why has there not been a single prosecution with respect to those 80 or 145 Canadians, depending on the number the government is now putting forward?

Finally, along the same lines, why did the government reveal on October 15 that it had failed to implement provisions of the 2011 boarder security agreement with the U.S. on information sharing with respect to the travel of potential terrorists?

There is a lot of explaining that needs to be done, which is why the bill has to go to committee and have a very thorough hearing.

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November 18th, 2014 / 1:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I find the member's comments interesting. The Liberal Party was the government for some 13 years before this. If the oversight body is that bad, why did the Liberals not do something about it? It is funny how when it is the third party, it begins to see the light and things happen. Quite frankly, it was good enough in their 13 years, and I accept that. I believe this oversight body is good enough for us now. It has done, and is doing, a fine job.

With regard to why the police, CSIS or someone not laying charges against this person or that person, after 30 years of policing and people sitting back quarterback judging, I would like the police and the authorities do their jobs. There are reasons things happen and there are sometimes reasons things do not happen. I leave it up to the people who do the job. It is not members of Parliament who are investigating these 80 or 140 people.

When we stand here and begin to criticize authorities because they did not do something or should be doing something, we are meddling in affairs about which we have to be careful. Let us let the police and CSIS authorities do their job as to when it is appropriate for charges to be laid, or not laid. There is intelligence going on here and we should not be second-guessing the people who are here to make us feel safe. I trust their judgement and will support them from this very chair. From this side of the House, our Conservative government supports our law enforcement agencies.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 1:15 p.m.
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NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are having a decent debate here, but I would like to have more. It is too bad we now have time allocation on it and will also not get much discussion on it at committee. However, with the time I do have, I want to touch on a key theme, which is accountability and how it applies to this act.

Of course national security is an important issue that we all take seriously, especially after recent events. However, over the past decades it has been something that all countries have taken seriously. We have had to balance national security and what keeps us safe versus accountability to ensure things do not go too far in terms of protecting privacy and the rights of citizens.

There are two kinds of accountability. With CSIS, there is the idea of accountability to the public and to the legislature. That is one general aspect. However, there is also our accountability to the Canadian public to ensure we are doing our due diligence when we are considering these laws. Therefore, the history of the previous reviews of national security are worth looking at, because they show us how past parliamentarians have shown respect for the public in considering these issues. Professor Reg Whitaker, who is a famous expert in this area, has done a lot of work reviewing this in the past, and I will borrow from some of his work today.

In the review of this, my colleagues may come across the 1969 MacKenzie report, which was really the first major review of Canadian security that we have done in this country. It was an extensive report. However, even the generation of the report was difficult, because the government could not decide how much to keep public and how much to keep private. The 1969 MacKenzie report did not come out with much of a recommendation. However, a few months later we had very serious incidents occur in the province of Quebec—the FLQ crisis and the murder of a cabinet minister. Some had viewed the actions by what was then the RCMP security forces as a huge overreaction, because not only were the separatists in Quebec investigated but it was if they threw a giant net over anybody who might be deemed suspicious. Therefore, people who were in union or left-wing organizations were under surveillance and in some cases detained, which led to a huge scandal.

I think that still sticks with many of us today, seeing as how an overreaction by a security force can not only endanger those who are involved but can cause huge national strife. Therefore, the McDonald commission reported on that in 1977. It was set up to review what had happened in Quebec and to also look at our national security service in general. It was from the McDonald commission that we had the suggestion of the creation of CSIS.

What is interesting about this report is that it came out in 1977 but it took a full three years for the government to respond. There was not a response until 1980 because these kinds of issues require serious attention and consideration: the setting up of an entirely new security body, determining which powers stayed with the RCMP and which went with the security service, deciding how this was all supposed to be administered and funded, and those types of things. It took a full three years before there was even a response to the report. It was another four years before CSIS was officially created in 1984.

This was a major undertaking but also showed the amount of consideration past parliamentarians have shown when it comes to issues of security. It stands in stark contrast to what is happening in the House today, where we have a limit on debate on this bill and these changes, and we will also have limits at committee. It is important to note that, if we are to make any changes to this body, much more consideration and time should be given for all aspects of society to come in and explain their points of view.

What I found astounding from the questions earlier was that the members on the other side were essentially saying that the committee is totally irrelevant. They are saying we have heard everything we had to hear and we do not have to worry about committee work at all because we have already heard it. They are saying there is nothing that could possibly be said that would be of interest or that could help.

I find that arrogant. I do not think there is any other word for it. When we are dealing with something that is so important that we have to get the balance right, hearing from more than eight people would seem to be a good idea.

I will give an example from the bill. CSIS would now be empowered, if there is a warrant granted, to break the laws of other countries when it is carrying out surveillance of people of whom it might be suspicious. We can think about how that may cause trouble. This is, of course, a clause that would be written into the act. If we think about it, a security intelligence officer might go to a Canadian judge and get a warrant for surveillance of somebody in another country; and that might be fine. This person may be of particular interest, but what is concerning to me is who that person is talking to.

For instance, let us say that CSIS is carrying out surveillance on an international businessperson who is from another country and flies to Washington, D.C. That businessperson then starts to talk to different members of American organizations, perhaps the government or other business interests in Washington, and all of a sudden, we have a warrant that has been issued to a CSIS officer who can then apply that warrant in the national capital of the United States. The officer could carry out surveillance not only on this businessperson who is under suspicion but also on whoever that businessperson is talking to.

We can see how we could run into considerable difficulty there. If this is allowed to go ahead and it is not changed through our very short committee considerations, we could see how it could cause difficulty, because the United States also has security forces and they might notice this. We then have international incidents that would, of course, cause us considerable difficulty.

It may also mean that other security forces may be less inclined to co-operate with us. This is the kind of thing we should be conscious of. It is one example of how extra consideration of these powers is warranted.

What we are seeing is a bit of a rush. We hear all kinds of rhetoric from the other side about the very serious events we had here and how they prompt this legislation; but this legislation was drafted before all of those events. This has been on the government's agenda for some time. Again, we should have had ample time to have full consideration of this, but there seems to be a great disrespect for this place and for others who may want to comment on this bill by again shutting down debate in the House and within committee.

I cannot tell members how much consideration to give the balance between accountability and efficiency or effectiveness of security services, in order to get it just right. Although we are supporting this to go to committee, I would urge the committee to take some time to make sure we have the proper witnesses, not just government witnesses who will back up what it wants to do. I know that the committee has some jurisdiction to this. It is not just told by the PMO exactly what to do. I urge the committee to have witnesses who will challenge this and bring up scenarios and situations that members perhaps have not spoken or thought about, so that we get this right and do not face some kind of international incident that causes embarrassment.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 1:20 p.m.
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Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to commend my colleague for a very sincere and thoughtful speech. He has raised a number of important, probative questions around the bill, which seemingly the government does not want to answer. The government has had a series of questions put to it here again today. The minister, several parliamentary secretaries, and countless MPs have refused to answer.

I want to ask how risky the member thinks that is. I am reminded, very much, of what happened in the United States post 9-11, in terms of the American response to a lot of the security challenges that, at that time, Congress and Capitol Hill were facing.

There has been a lot of backtracking in the United States. There has been a lot of concern about the amount of power and authority vested in its intelligence and security agencies and collection services, for example.

Maybe the member could take a moment to explain to Canadians why it is so important for us to take the time we need to improve. Everybody in this House wants to improve what we are trying to improve today. Collectively, everyone wants to make it better.

What are some of the inherent risks in going too quickly and not hearing from some of the best minds available in the country?

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 1:25 p.m.
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NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, it has been a pleasure working with my colleague on various committees. My colleague is right. “Haste makes waste” may be the proper term here if we try to rush this through and do not properly investigate the possible ramifications. We could run into all kinds of problems.

Actually, the history of CSIS itself shows that in the past there have been considerable problems; for example, with CSIS providing evidence in court. There have been investigations of how CSIS was not providing proper information during court hearings. Again, that is where proper oversight could come into play.

If there were proper oversight, if we did not just have an oversight committee that is often packed with government cronies rather than actual folks who are dedicated to the job, then we would not have these mistakes. That is a concern, not only international embarrassment but actually serious infringements of Canadians' rights.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 1:25 p.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to my colleague's speech. He raised a really essential point about this bill: if we are expanding CSIS' powers when the organization was established because of abuses of authority, then we certainly have to be looking at increasing accountability for CSIS.

I wonder if the member has any remarks about the current system of accountability in CSIS, especially in view of the annual report this year in which SIRC said that CSIS did not provide full and complete information in a timely manner to allow it to exercise its responsibilities for oversight.

That is a key of the hon. member's speech and of the essence of this bill.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 1:25 p.m.
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NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for the excellent work he has done on this and other bills in his role as the public safety critic.

The key here is prudence. Why risk a large mistake? Why not have increased oversight initially? If it is found to be too onerous and there are a few problems, then perhaps it could be adjusted at that point. It is better than doing it the other way around, which is to really limit oversight, have a problem, and then correct it later.

The history of CSIS has shown that is the case. There have been problems that had to be corrected. I would say that prudence in this case would be a better response: perhaps make some accountability changes to make sure that CSIS fully discloses information to the oversight body and is compelled to do so; appoint good people who know what they are doing and who are objective; then review that oversight later to see if it is indeed too onerous.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 1:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I am proud of our government's unwavering commitment to protect Canadians from terrorism and I am proud of our government's decision to stand with our allies in an international mission to counter the threat ISIL poses to the Middle East and, by extension, to the world. I am also proud of the fact that when our government says it is committed to giving our intelligence services the tools they need to keep Canadians safe, we follow through with decisive action.

In that spirit, I am pleased to rise today in support of the protection of Canada from terrorism act. Before I begin the substantive portion of my remarks, I would like to take the time to mention a couple of the recent events that brought the terrorist threat home for many Canadians.

On October 20, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was killed by a jihadist just outside of Montreal. The individual responsible for this terrorist attack was known to authorities, but because of the lack of appropriate legislative tools, he was able to execute his sadistic plot. On October 22, just steps from where we stand today, Corporal Nathan Cirillo was killed by a jihadist bent on terror. These horrific terrorist attacks—and, indeed, they were terrorist attacks—underscore the need for new tools for our security agencies.

Some may say that there are already tools on the books right now and that we need not overreact. To that I would make two comments.

First, two brave Canadian heroes are dead and families are ripped apart. It is clear to me that the status quo is unacceptable.

Second, we will not overreact. We will not give up our fundamental Canadian values of respect for individual rights, but we must stop under-reacting to the threats that we are facing. The bill before us today is an important first step in doing just that.

This bill contains two separate sets of amendments. First, it proposes certain technical amendments to the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act to allow revocation of citizenship provisions to come into force earlier than anticipated. These provisions, which are already part of an act that received royal assent, include expanding the grounds for revocation. This includes authorizing the revocation of citizenship of dual citizens who have served as members of an armed force or an organized armed group engaged in armed conflict with Canada, as well as those who have been convicted of terrorism, treason, or spying. It includes as well a streamlined decision-making process that would authorize the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to make decisions on revoking Canadian citizenship, depending on the grounds.

The second part of the legislation, which is what I will focus most of the rest of my remarks on today, are the amendments being proposed to the CSIS Act.

For the last 30 years, CSIS has played a vital role in ensuring a safe and secure Canada. The threats we face as a country today have changed significantly since then, but the CSIS Act, the legislation that governs CSIS, has not. With the bill before us, we are taking a critical step forward in ensuring that CSIS is well positioned to confront terrorist threats as they exist today.

It is useful to provide a bit of context about the work of CSIS and the associated sections of the CSIS Act that govern that work.

Section 12 of the CSIS Act mandates CSIS to collect and analyze intelligence on threats to the security of Canada and, in relation to those threats, to report to and advise the Government of Canada.

Section 16 of the CSIS Act authorizes CSIS to collect within Canada foreign intelligence relating to the capabilities, intentions, or activities of a foreign state or group of foreign states. This is subject to the restriction that its activities cannot be directed at Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or corporations.

Sections 13, 14, and 15 authorize CSIS to provide security assessments to the Government of Canada, provincial governments, and other Canadian and foreign institutions; to provide advice to ministers of the crown on matters related to the Citizenship Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; and to conduct investigations to perform these functions.

Clearly these are all very challenging mandates, and fulfilling them requires that CSIS use a suite of investigative techniques. These techniques can include, for example, open source research, physical surveillance, interviews, and analyzing intelligence from a variety of sources. What is particularly important to note here is the importance that human sources play in allowing CSIS to fulfill its mandate to investigate and advise on threats to Canada's security.

Other techniques used by CSIS are more intrusive in nature. These techniques may include, among other things, searches of a target's place of residence, analysis of financial records, or telecommunication intercepts.

CSIS is required to obtain warrants under the CSIS Act to pursue intrusive investigative techniques. In order to obtain a warrant, CSIS must satisfy a designated Federal Court judge that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a warrant is required to enable CSIS to investigate a threat to the security of Canada or to perform its duties and functions under section 16 of the CSIS Act.

In addition, co-operation with domestic agencies is also critical. Section 17 of the CSIS Act now authorizes CSIS, with the approval of the minister, to co-operate with any department of the Government of Canada or the government of a province or any police force in that province. Therefore, CSIS works closely with the RCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency, and other government departments and police forces across our nation.

When it comes to investigating threat-related activities occurring outside of Canada, CSIS's relationship with Communications Security Establishment Canada, or CSE, is particularly important. CSIS relies heavily on the capabilities and expertise of the CSE in order to conduct telecommunication intercepts outside of Canada. CSE's legal authority to provide assistance to CSIS stems from paragraph 273.64(1)(c) of the National Defence Act.

The CSIS Act authorizes CSIS to enter into an arrangement or otherwise co-operate with a government of a foreign state or an institution of that state with the approval of the Minister of Public Safety after consulting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Co-operation with foreign entities is critical to CSIS's ability to fulfill its mandate. Individuals being investigated often leave Canada to engage in a wide range of threat-related activities. No country can assess the full range of threats on its own, and CSIS must be able to work with foreign partners, subject to oversight by the Minister of Public Safety and a review by the Security Intelligence Review Committee.

Now that I have outlined some of the important work that CSIS does and how the CSIS Act allows for that work, I will speak to how this legislation would allow CSIS to move effectively and operate in the evolving threat environment.

Specifically, the bill would confirm CSIS's authority to conduct investigations outside of Canada related to threats to the security of Canada and to conduct security assessments. It would confirm that the Federal Court can issue warrants for CSIS to investigate, within or outside of Canada, threats to the security of our nation.

The bill would give the Federal Court authority to consider only relevant Canadian law when issuing warrants to authorize CSIS to undertake certain intrusive activities outside of Canada.

The bill would protect the identity of CSIS human sources from disclosure and protect the identity of any CSIS employees who may engage in covert activities in the future.

These are all measured changes that would amend the legislation governing CSIS's activities so that it would have the clear ability and authority to investigate threats to the security of Canada wherever those threats might occur.

I urge all members to support this legislation. It would give our security agencies much-needed tools to protect all Canadians and our nation.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 1:35 p.m.
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NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Northwest Territories, NT

Mr. Speaker, we in the NDP agree with most of what is in this bill. We look forward to getting it to committee to make some amendments.

One of the things we are most concerned about is the oversight of CSIS activities. My colleague talked about the evolution of the threat of terrorism; in fact, the largest terrorist occurrence in Canada was some 20 to 25 years ago, the Air India incident. That was a major terrorist attack on Canadians in Canada.

We have dealt with terrorism in the past. We have done certain things, and if we look at the record of CSIS during that time, we would think that civilian oversight would have served Canada well in determining how that particular large and tragic incident occurred and how things transpired between the agencies that dealt with it. Civilian oversight by Canadians would have made a difference in how we viewed that event and how we moved on from it. Would my colleague not agree?

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 1:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, what I would say is that Canadians and the security intelligence agencies, whether CSIS or any others involved, including Canadians affected by that tragedy, would have benefited far more from the tools that we would provide today in this legislation than they would from an oversight committee to explore how it happened. Preventing that activity would have been far more beneficial to Canadians than reviewing it and trying to find lessons learned.

This body of legislation would take lessons learned from that event and from the most recent terrorist events in North America right here in our country to ensure we are not reviewing them to see what we could do better the next time it happens.

The intention of this legislation is to give the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency the opportunity, the means, and the tools it needs to stop these events from occurring. It is not to review them, in effect, but to prevent them. That is what Canadians deserve, that is what Canadians expect, and that is what this government is going to deliver for our nation.

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 1:40 p.m.
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Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a question that goes back to the beginning of my colleague's comments.

He made a rather incredible assertion, one I have not heard before from anyone in any party, and certainly not from the government. I want to read back his words. He said that the events last month, which occurred here in my home city of Ottawa, “occurred because of the lack of legislative tools available.” That is the first time this House, I believe, has heard that kind of assertion.

He then went on to say in his closing remarks that he was looking forward to learning from what transpired here with these unfortunate events last month, and improving the situation, which we all agree is the objective of Bill C-44.

Can the member explain to Canadians precisely how he has concluded that it was a lack of legislative tools that led to the tragedies that took place in this city a month ago?

Second ReadingProtection of Canada from Terrorists ActGovernment Orders

November 18th, 2014 / 1:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, it is well known that when law enforcement agencies and security intelligence agencies have the tools that we are going to be able to provide—whether it is intercepts, utilization of human sources, or carrying on with investigative techniques that they did not have the ability to do—these tools are going to help these agencies recognize a threat before the threat manifests itself in a very real way, as happened not only in Quebec but here in Ottawa. It only stands to reason that providing the agencies with these tools is going to help them cut off these kinds of threats before they happen.

Will they prevent absolutely everything in our country? No, that is pretty clear. The tools will not stop every single threat that we face, but I do not think anybody is proposing that we are going to eliminate absolutely every threat in the nation. What we do recognize clearly is that this legislation would provide the tools that law enforcement and security intelligence agencies are telling us they need in order to gather appropriate information in an effective manner and to share that information with one another so that they can start to act on that information in a more meaningful way to try to