Anti-terrorism Act, 2015

An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make related and consequential amendments to 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.

Part 1 enacts the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, which authorizes Government of Canada institutions to disclose information to Government of Canada institutions that have jurisdiction or responsibilities in respect of activities that undermine the security of Canada. It also makes related amendments to other Acts.

Part 2 enacts the Secure Air Travel Act in order to provide a new legislative framework for identifying and responding to persons who may engage in an act that poses a threat to transportation security or who may travel by air for the purpose of committing a terrorism offence. That Act authorizes the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to establish a list of such persons and to direct air carriers to take a specific action to prevent the commission of such acts. In addition, that Act establishes powers and prohibitions governing the collection, use and disclosure of information in support of its administration and enforcement. That Act includes an administrative recourse process for listed persons who have been denied transportation in accordance with a direction from the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and provides appeal procedures for persons affected by any decision or action taken under that Act. That Act also specifies punishment for contraventions of listed provisions and authorizes the Minister of Transport to conduct inspections and issue compliance orders. Finally, this Part makes consequential amendments to the Aeronautics Act and the Canada Evidence Act.

Part 3 amends the Criminal Code to, with respect to recognizances to keep the peace relating to a terrorist activity or a terrorism offence, extend their duration, provide for new thresholds, authorize a judge to impose sureties and require a judge to consider whether it is desirable to include in a recognizance conditions regarding passports and specified geographic areas. With respect to all recognizances to keep the peace, the amendments also allow hearings to be conducted by video conference and orders to be transferred to a judge in a territorial division other than the one in which the order was made and increase the maximum sentences for breach of those recognizances.

It further amends the Criminal Code to provide for an offence of knowingly advocating or promoting the commission of terrorism offences in general. It also provides a judge with the power to order the seizure of terrorist propaganda or, if the propaganda is in electronic form, to order the deletion of the propaganda from a computer system.

Finally, it amends the Criminal Code to provide for the increased protection of witnesses, in particular of persons who play a role in respect of proceedings involving security information or criminal intelligence information, and makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Part 4 amends the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act to permit the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to take, within and outside Canada, measures to reduce threats to the security of Canada, including measures that are authorized by the Federal Court. It authorizes the Federal Court to make an assistance order to give effect to a warrant issued under that Act. It also creates new reporting requirements for the Service and requires the Security Intelligence Review Committee to review the Service’s performance in taking measures to reduce threats to the security of Canada.

Part 5 amends Divisions 8 and 9 of Part 1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to, among other things,

(a) define obligations related to the provision of information in proceedings under that Division 9;

(b) authorize the judge, on the request of the Minister, to exempt the Minister from providing the special advocate with certain relevant information that has not been filed with the Federal Court, if the judge is satisfied that the information does not enable the person named in a certificate to be reasonably informed of the case made by the Minister, and authorize the judge to ask the special advocate to make submissions with respect to the exemption; and

(c) allow the Minister to appeal, or to apply for judicial review of, any decision requiring the disclosure of information or other evidence if, in the Minister’s opinion, the disclosure would be injurious to national security or endanger the safety of any person.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

May 6, 2015 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
May 6, 2015 Failed That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word "That" and substituting the following: “this House decline to give third reading to Bill C-51, An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, because it: ( a) threatens our way of life by asking Canadians to choose between their security and their freedoms; ( b) provides the Canadian Security Intelligence Service with a sweeping new mandate without equally increasing oversight, despite concerns raised by almost every witness who testified before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, as well as concerns raised by former Liberal prime ministers, ministers of justice and solicitors general; ( c) does not include the type of concrete, effective measures that have been proven to work, such as providing support to communities that are struggling to counter radicalization; ( d) was not adequately studied by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, which did not allow the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to appear as a witness, or schedule enough meetings to hear from many other Canadians who requested to appear; ( e) was not fully debated in the House of Commons, where discussion was curtailed by time allocation; ( f) was condemned by legal experts, civil liberties advocates, privacy commissioners, First Nations leadership and business leaders, for the threats it poses to our rights and freedoms, and our economy; and ( g) does not include a single amendment proposed by members of the Official Opposition or the Liberal Party, despite the widespread concern about the bill and the dozens of amendments proposed by witnesses.”.
May 4, 2015 Passed That Bill C-51, An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, as amended, be concurred in at report stage.
May 4, 2015 Failed
April 30, 2015 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-51, An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make related and consequential amendments to 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.
Feb. 23, 2015 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
Feb. 23, 2015 Failed That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “this House decline to give second reading to Bill C-51, An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, because it: ( a) threatens our way of life by asking Canadians to choose between their security and their freedoms; ( b) was not developed in consultation with other parties, all of whom recognize the real threat of terrorism and support effective, concrete measures to keep Canadians safe; ( c) irresponsibly provides CSIS with a sweeping new mandate without equally increasing oversight; ( d) contains definitions that are broad, vague and threaten to lump legitimate dissent together with terrorism; and ( e) does not include the type of concrete, effective measures that have been proven to work, such as working with communities on measures to counter radicalization of youth.”.
Feb. 19, 2015 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-51, An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, not more than two further sitting days 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 second 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.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 11:10 a.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have already said, as I have done many times both in committee and here, that I cannot understand the Liberal Party's position, because it speaks against the bill but is voting for it. It simply makes no sense to me.

The other part of the Liberal promise, to fix this later, really passes over the damage that could be done in the interim. For people who end up subject to terrorist threats because we collected too much information and have missed the real threats, it is not much comfort to say that it will be fixed later on, two years down the road. For those who say we can go to court and challenge it, well, that would be four or five years down the road.

I believe we have a bill that actually interferes with our ability to meet terrorist threats and compromises our civil liberties. It is not good enough for me to say we will fix it down the road. It is time to defeat this bill now.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 11:10 a.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I completely agree with my hon. friend, and I want to underscore this point because, as he will know, the Green Party has opposed the bill from the very beginning. We are very glad that the official opposition has taken this up and is fighting it in a principled way. We lament the fact that the Liberal Party, while understanding the bill is dangerous, is still prepared to vote for it.

What I want to underscore is the testimony from former Supreme Court justice John Major, who conducted the Air India inquiry. I am astonished that earlier today the minister would quote John Major, clearly out of context. What John Major actually said is, “The system just doesn’t work if there isn’t some way of ensuring that you have information-sharing”. By this he did not mean information sharing about all Canadians as in part 1 of the bill, but information sharing between CSIS and the RCMP. He went on to say, “...there’s no way from what I’ve seen that the present proposed legislation is going to do that”.

We have also seen expert testimony from the Senate side where Joe Fogarty, a British security expert, said that currently because of this lack of oversight, because of the lack of exchange of information between the RCMP and CSIS, we are “...sitting on top of a tragedy waiting to happen”.

I want to ask my hon. colleague from Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca if what I just heard him say is the position of the official opposition, because that is the position of the Green Party, that the bill, if passed, must be repealed.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 11:15 a.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands is quite right about former justice John Major. As I mentioned in my speech, the minister has only quoted part of what he had to say. What he had to say was what we continue to say: not only does the bill threaten civil liberties, but it also threatens our ability to deal with threats to security because of its inefficiencies.

I appreciate that the Green Party is opposed to the bill, although I have to say last night, unfortunately, when the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands introduced two amendments to improve the bill, we were unable to support that because we believe the bill at this point is unfixable and should be defeated.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 11:15 a.m.
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NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the unfortunate events of last October, there have been a number of arrests involving either people who subscribe to the jihadist philosophy or people who have no such affiliation but are considered a terrorist threat. That got me thinking.

Since the new measures in Bill C-51 are not yet in force, as we are still considering them, I wonder whether this is just a problem of resources. After what happened in October, the government realized that it may have neglected to put certain resources in place. Since our budgetary philosophy on these potential threats was reviewed, the authorities have been able to arrest people who are considered a threat without the need for any legislative change.

The question is this: does the problem have to do with the legislation or with budgets and resources?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 11:15 a.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister likes to say we should support the budget because it would provide more money for national security. When in fact, after cutting more than $300 million from the budget last year, Conservatives would put back $57 million, it is some kind of new math to think that people received more resources out of that.

The RCMP Commissioner and the director of operations of CSIS appeared before parliamentary committees and said they did not have enough resources to combat the terror threats, and this will remain the case in the next budget year.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 11:15 a.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to outline our position on Bill C-51 at the third reading stage of this debate.

We see areas of the bill which are important for the public safety of Canadians and we see areas of the bill where the government has gone much too far with respect to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and a fair balance with civil liberties and freedom of expression versus public safety and national security.

If Parliament were allowed to function the way it should, the bill could have come out of committee a much better one. There were four amendments at committee, three of which were along the lines of the Liberal Party's proposals, and I will get to those in a moment. However, there other amendments were direly needed, and we will propose those in our forthcoming our platform for the perceived election this fall.

Legislation similar to Bill C-51 is required and is in evidence in virtually every country with which Canada is allied or has shared values. Countering the growing threat of foreign and domestic terrorism is a reality that must be confronted by the modern state. In saying that, it must be confronted in a joint way by countries around the world as well.

However, in combatting that threat, it is important for any government to ensure that the steps taken to combat it do not propose a different threat to its citizens. That is partly what the debate was about with the NDP remarks as well, and I recognize that.

The Liberal Party supports provisions of Bill C-51 and has made that position clear from the outset.

We have also maintained there are provisions of Bill C-51 that are excessive and would, in our opinion, represent an intrusion by the state security agencies into the lives of Canadians, which are far too severe.

First, let me make note of those who have participated in a very public campaign and who are strongly opposed to Bill C-51. I think people who pay attention to their emails, and I have tried to respond to them all, have to recognize that we get thousands of letters, emails and phone calls from people across the country who are opposed to Bill C-51. Some of them, of course, do not know the amendments that have been made. I have asked them that question when I talked with them recently and they still think the bill is just as it originally was, and that is fine. However, I want to thank them for participation.

Even though we may be somewhat on opposite sides of the arguments, I am one who firmly believes that a demonstration of activism of opposing or supporting legislation is a good thing and it is important in a healthy democracy.

Here is one of the most important amendments made to the bill, because there are too many of those who are opposed to Bill C-51. Obviously some people, for political purposes, are saying that we should throw the bill out, to heck with security. Some continue to say that there have been no changes made to the bill. Yes, there have been.

One of the most egregious sections of the bill, under the interpretation section, states, “For greater certainty, it does not include advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression”. A lot of letters of concern were related to that.

What do we consider a lawful protest? I was also concerned, as a former activist in the farm movement. Everything we do in a demonstration, whether it is shutting down a highway with tractors or blocking a road in a union protest or demonstration, is not exactly lawful. We were concerned about that, as were other parties, and we moved an amendment to take the word “lawful” out, and that passed. That gives some certainty, or at least some satisfaction, to those who were opposed to that clause in the bill.

A lot of people have been writing us letters are saying that this is a new secret police. No, it is not. There is an infringement on liberties that go overboard, but this is not a new secret police. Therefore, an amendment was moved by the government, due to the concerns it and others had expressed, to clarify that. It reads, “For greater certainty, nothing in subsection (1) confers on the Service any law enforcement power”.

There was a narrowing of the no-fly list and on how information could be shared. Those were the two other amendments.

For those who been demonstrating and strongly opposing Bill C-51, congratulations, they did make some gains. Some of the amendments they asked for are in fact in the bill. To not recognize that would be wrong. I support all those amendments. I only wish the government would have gone further in some of the other areas that we would liked to have seen addressed in the bill, but it failed to do that.

When we look at the witnesses who came before committee, I would have liked there to have been a longer hearing process with greater time for each witness, and the government failed to allow that. We did hear from 46 to 48 witnesses. However, if people, both on the government side and the New Democrats, were really listening to the witnesses, none of those witnesses said that they wanted the bill as it was, and very few of them said that the bill should be thrown out. They wanted it balanced. Witnesses and Canadians believe, and I certainly believe, that it is possible for this chamber, the House of Commons, to find the balance, to do what needs to be done on the security side and balance it to ensure that the civil liberties and freedom of expression, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms are enhanced and protected as well. That did not happen.

The New Democrats, just in their remarks, can be as pure as they like, but the fact is that even those who were opposed to the bill, also suggested that we needed to take measures on the national security side.

What do we do as parliamentarians when security agencies and police forces, both within Canada and around the world, say that to us that there needs to be additional measures taken to enhance the national security of Canadians? Do we ignore them, as the New Democrats do? I do not think we can. We have a responsibility in that regard. The government failed in its responsibility to make amendments to be absolutely sure that those powers did not go too far.

The government has absolutely failed in the past in not utilizing the already existing laws in section 110. It failed to use those authorities when, as the minister said, there were somewhere around 80 individuals who the government knew had violated Canadian law. What were they doing, and what are they still doing out there on the street, when the government already has some authority within the law to detain and arrest them?

My point is that witnesses asked for better balance. That did not happen, and that responsibility rests with no one else. I meant what I said earlier. The government is too far on the security side. For the Prime Minister to take the attitude, which he has taken with the promotion of this bill from the beginning, and to foster the fear that there is a terrorist under every rock is absolutely the wrong approach.

Fear will divide Canadians and pit them against each other. Yes, Canadians need to be watchful and ensure that there are no problems that could lead to terrorism or to individuals getting involved in terrorist activities. However, to use the fear factor is not the proper way to go.

The NDP, on the other hand, has taken the approach of saying “be very afraid of civil liberties”. People should not worry about national security. They should be afraid of their civil liberties. Both those parties have gone to extremes at both ends. Ours is, at least, a balanced position and would work if, under the Conservative regime, Parliament were allowed to exercise its rights, allow amendments, real debate and changes to legislation, as this place should work.

We do have an advantage, because there is an election, likely on October 19. Those measures that we were unsuccessful in getting through committee will be in our election platform. Canadians will have the opportunity at that time to decide if they want sunset clauses that would make the bill cease to exist in certain areas after three years, a mandatory statutory review after three years that would look at the good, the bad, and the ugly in the legislation, and national oversight of all of our security agencies, as all our Five Eyes partners do, by parliamentarians. I will come to that in a moment. We will have those measures in our election platform.

Early in the debate about Bill C-51, my colleague, the member for Mount Royal and I joined four former prime ministers, including three Liberal prime ministers, and others to issue an open letter underscoring two fundamental responsibilities of government to ensure the safety of Canadians. These are:

—protecting Canada from terrorist attacks; and ensuring that initiatives in this regard are consistent with the rule of law and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and, particularly, are subject to comprehensive oversight, review and accountability mechanisms.

However, in the course of committee hearings, when we proposed amendments to those three essential areas, they were either ruled out of order or rejected.

In that letter, the former prime ministers said:

The four of us most certainly know the enormity of the responsibility of keeping Canada safe, something always front of mind for a prime minister.

They went on to talk about oversight more than anything else. That letter was signed by prime ministers, former attorney generals, ministers of justice, retired Supreme Court justices, and so on.

They know the need for accountability. They know that proper oversight actually protects the government and ministers from agencies that may go astray. I am disappointed that the government failed to recognize that fact.

When we listened to the responses of the minister and the parliamentary secretary at committee when we brought those issues up, it was as if they do not trust their own members. Every other country around the world thinks that parliamentarians are capable of doing those responsible tasks. Why is the Conservative government so opposed, especially when its own current Minister of Justice, you, Mr. Speaker, and its own Minister of State for Finance, along with myself and some others, sat on the committee and recommended just that, a parliamentary oversight committee of all security agencies, based on a study that we did in the U.K., the United States and Australia? Why has the Minister of Justice changed his mind? He was one of the key promoters on that committee, and now for some reason he no longer believes in what he calls partisan oversight. It does not have to be partisan. It is really just in the last eight years under the current Prime Minister that this place has become a place of almost hate, fear and partisanship to no end, rather than looking at what good we can do for Canadians as a whole, and how to build legislation for Canadians as a whole. That is one of the sad realities of this particular Parliament.

The issue of oversight of our security intelligence agencies has long had the support of the Liberal Party. In the wake of 9/11 and the first anti-terrorism legislation, it was a Liberal government, with the support of the members of the government and the NDP, that brought forward Bill C-81, legislation to create a committee of parliamentarians who would provide that oversight.

What did the current committee hear from witnesses with respect to that at the hearings which just concluded? Hugh Segal, a former Conservative senator and chair of the special anti-terrorism committee of the Senate, said:

Accountability on the part of our security services to the whole of Parliament is not needless red tape or excessive bureaucracy. In fact, it is the democratic countervail to the kind of red tape and bureaucracy which might unwittingly lose sight of the security mission appropriate to a parliamentary democracy, where laws and constitutional protections such as the presumption of innocence and due process must protect all citizens without regard to ethnicity or national origin.

Ron Atkey, a former Conservative MP and first chair of SIRC said:

I have been both a parliamentarian and a watchdog, a professional watchdog. The answer to whether Parliament or a specialized agency should have the power to review our security agencies is easy for me. Canadians should have both. Under our system of government, Parliament is the ultimate watchdog and is directly accountable to the people. The party having the most number of seats at each general election usually is called on to form the government, but Parliament itself remains the watchdog.

As I said earlier, the Minister of Justice and the government as a whole rejected that particular proposal.

Let me conclude by saying that there is no question there is a lot of debate around this bill in the community, which is a good thing. As I said, I welcome that debate with those who have different views and are willing to express them. There have been some minor amendments proposed, I think some that would take the word “lawful” out, et cetera, which would go some distance to satisfying that expressed concern over an infringement on civil liberties.

I still believe there are some problems relative to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and at some point in time the court may in fact rule on that. Regarding those measures that the government failed to accept and put in the bill, such as oversight, sunset clauses and mandatory statutory review at the end of three years, the Liberal Party will put those measures in our election platform and Canadians can decide at that point in time.

We need a balance between national security and civil liberties. Parliament should be able to find and exercise that balance. The government failed to allow that to happen.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 11:35 a.m.
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NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to make it very clear that every one of us sitting on this side of the House, and I am sure on both sides of the House, are absolutely opposed to any acts of terrorism. To imply anything else through speeches just does not do us any good. It undermines the work we do in the House.

Second, like others, I am very concerned that we have not had the kind of robust committee study or debate in the House that is needed in order to have good legislation. I respect my colleague down the aisle here, but I am really puzzled by the speech he made. He talked about what is wrong with the bill and yet the Liberals said right from day one, even before they read the bill, that the bill is bad and it has flaws, although I do not know how they could have known that. Even after looking at the bill they were willing to say that they would support it anyway and fix it later.

The leader of the Liberal Party has said that he is willing to compromise and support the legislation during this session of Parliament, but propose amendments during the next federal election campaign. That begs the question as to why we have Parliament anyway, if we are going to let those who have the majority run over us. Do Liberals believe that giving the Conservatives a blank cheque is the best way to protect Canadian freedoms?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 11:40 a.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, one thing the Liberals have never done is give the government a blank cheque. That is a myth which the NDP is trying to portray, but not all that successfully. New Democrats can do all the propaganda they want, but the fact of the matter is, as I have said many times in this place, the Liberal Party has been the only party that has proposed balance in the House.

Yes, when the bill was introduced, we did say there needs to be additional national safety and security measures. We would propose those and amendments to the bill to try to fix the imbalance as it relates to civil liberties and freedom of expression.

With regard to what the member said in the initial part of her remarks, I would point out that no one has ever said, at least from this end, that anyone in this place is in favour of acts of terror. Certainly, no one in this place would be in favour of that.

The question, though, is what do we do to the full extent possible to ensure that those who would be involved in acts of terror do not have the ability to do so and that we prevent those acts of terror from happening. Some of the measures in the bill would actually do that. That is why we support that part of the legislation.

Given how Parliament works under the leadership of the current Prime Minister, we have no choice but to put the measures necessary into our election platform, because the House does not operate as a place of debate where compromise and amendments are allowed. There is no choice for us but to put those amendments in our platform so that Canadians can see them and see what we would actually like to do.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 11:40 a.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend from Malpeque knows that I am heartbroken that his party has chosen to do the wrong thing on Bill C-51. It will not be fixable later. It will need to be repealed, and that is the position that all opposition parties should take.

We just heard the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness say that this is the only legislation in the world that would ensure that a judge oversees decisions about allowing CSIS agents, or intelligence agents in other countries, to take the steps that are proposed in the legislation.

I would ask the member if he would agree with me, as someone who was listening to the evidence and looking at the bill, if this is because no other country in the world, no other democracy would imagine such a thing as a secret hearing, with only the government represented, to allow for a warrant for an intelligence officer to violate the constitution. No such constitutional breach warrant has ever been contemplated by any other democracy. That is terminology that I have lifted from the testimony of Professor Craig Forcese. A constitutional breach warrant is so deeply offensive that that is why only Canada has a judge overseeing it. No other country would allow it.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 11:40 a.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, in response to the question from my colleague, the leader of the Green Party, I have two points.

The member said that all opposition parties would repeal the bill. No, that is not true. The leader of the NDP made it clear in the beginning that, no, the NDP will not repeal the bill. I see an hon. member looking quizzically at that, but I can table those remarks at some point in time if she should wish me to. On the one hand, NDP members are saying that they are strongly opposed and would defeat the bill, but on the other hand, they are not making a commitment to repeal it.

On the point of judicial oversight, a very important point, the member is absolutely right. All of our Five Eyes partners, with the exception of us, have proper parliamentary oversight, as we should have, but the government is failing in terms of allowing that.

The minister tries to claim that there is judicial oversight. There is no such thing. There is judicial authorization for CSIS officers and security personnel to be able to do certain things, but there is no secondary review on that. When that warrant walks out the door, that is where it ends.

There is no counterbalance in terms of the CSIS official coming before a judge. There is no counterbalance there to argue the other side, as we see in our normal legal arrangements in this country. Simply put, the judicial oversight is not oversight at all. Rather, it is authorization for CSIS to do certain things, and some of it is authorization to break the law, which puts judges in an extremely difficult position, which I do not think any of them really want to be in.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 11:45 a.m.
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NDP

Dany Morin NDP Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am a bit bewildered to hear my Liberal colleague's comments because I think that the NDP was very clear. We think this legislation has no place among our Canadian laws.

I think that Canadians will not be fooled by the Liberal member because they know that the NDP fights tooth and nail for Canadians' rights and freedoms and that security and liberty must go hand in hand.

That being said, a number of experts who testified said that Bill C-51 is inconsistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Why do the Liberals want to vote against the charter by supporting this extremely flawed bill?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 11:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, that is kind of a joke when he asks why Liberals are voting against the charter. We are not. This is a piece of legislation. We are the party of the charter. I know the government does not want to talk about the charter very often, but we are the party of the charter. The leader of my party often talks about the charter and the rights provided to Canadians as a result of that charter.

There very well could be problems with the charter in this bill. I do not accept the assurance given by the Department of Justice because too many other legal opinions have concerns that if this bill in any way infringes upon the charter, the Supreme Court or other levels of the courts will certainly turn it back. If the bill is in violation of the charter, as six other bills have been, the government runs the risk of losing cases that have been started under this bill in terms of the protection of Canadian people and losing them down the road. All the work by security agencies and police authorities could be lost. Why the government would run that risk I do not understand, but it seems willing to do so.

I would tell the hon. member that maybe he should go back to the speech by his leader and see what he said he would do if the NDP was to form government. New Democrats did not say they would repeal this bill, so they are playing a bit of a game within the NDP itself. The Liberal Party has balance, and we know that.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 11:45 a.m.
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Edmonton—Sherwood Park Alberta

Conservative

Tim Uppal ConservativeMinister of State (Multiculturalism)

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

It is my honour to be here today and to speak in support of this very crucial national security bill, the anti-terrorism act, 2015. I am proud of the manner in which our Conservative government has managed this important file of national security.

Whether it be the response to the tragedies of late October, which we along with Canadians recognized instantly as terrorist attacks, or our measures to protect the value of Canadian citizenship, it is an honour to stand with our government on issues of national security.

It is a privilege to advocate for measures that keep Canadians safe, which is of course the first priority of any government. Regardless of the bill or motion that has been up for debate in this House, I feel a strong sense of duty when advocating for positions that Canadians truly care about, such as the mission in Iraq and Syria. Canadians will not tolerate the scourge of terrorism on our shores, which is why we must not allow the evils of ISIL to spread.

I would like to take this opportunity to first thank the members of the Canadian Armed Forces, to whom we are all very grateful. I would also like to thank the men and women who keep us safe on our shores, the RCMP, CSIS and police authorities across the country, who work tirelessly to keep us safe.

We, as parliamentarians, have an obligation to do what we can to help them in that very important job that they have. We have passed the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act to protect the sacred values of Canadian citizenship. We have passed the Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act to clarify the ability of CSIS to operate overseas.

Now, we are advocating for the anti-terrorism act, legislation that would enable our national security agencies to keep pace with the ever-evolving threats to our national security. Canada, like our allies, needs to modernize our laws to arm our national security agencies in the fight against Jihadi terrorists who we know have declared war on Canada.

The anti-terrorism act would protect Canadians by allowing the federal government to share information that the government already has across departments, within government, for national security purposes. Today's threats evolve too quickly to risk vital information being trapped in bureaucracy. For example, if a consular services officer has information of suspicious activity that could actually prevent an attack, he or she must be able to inform the appropriate authorities.

The anti-terrorism act would protect Canadians by expanding the passenger protect program, also known as the no-fly list, to allow the government to deny boarding to all terrorist suspects, not merely those who we can prove are a risk to that specific flight. Today, radicalized individuals can board planes so long as they are not a risk to that aircraft. These people could disappear into terrorist training camps and fall off our radar, and then make their way back to Canada after receiving training. I do not know how the opposition could advocate against something so simple, something that makes so much sense.

The anti-terrorism act would protect Canadians by criminalizing the advocacy and promotion of terrorism and allowing the federal government to seize radical jihadi propaganda. Canada is a free and accepting society but that does not mean we must tolerate hateful propaganda that advocates violence against Canadians. Canadians recognize that terrorist propaganda is dangerous and contrary to Canadian values, and that the government should do all it can to ensure that it does not poison the minds of our young people.

The anti-terrorism act would also enable CSIS to disrupt threats to our nation. This is an important part of the bill that, again, just makes sense. In fact, when I speak to Canadians across the country in roundtable discussions, they cannot believe that CSIS does not already have the power to disrupt threats.

It is inconceivable that a CSIS agent cannot take a very minor action, such as intercepting mail to prevent a meeting between a radicalized individual and a known terrorist group, to protect Canadians. Again, this is a common sense policy proposal that the opposition willingly and wilfully exaggerates the powers being proposed.

CSIS is not and will never be a secret police force. The opposition members know that. CSIS cannot and will not operate without strict oversight and review. That is why disruption powers would be subject to judicial review and also why the government's new balanced budget that we proposed would double SIRC's resources. The Security Intelligence Review Committee, or SIRC, is a robust Canadian model that has provided effective expert oversight of CSIS for decades. CSIS agents are often in the right place at the right time to disrupt threats early. Given the increased number of foreign fighters and jihadi terrorists threatening our nation, it is very important that we empower the men and women of CSIS to keep Canada safe.

Finally, the anti-terrorism act would further strengthen Canadian citizenship by ensuring that national security agencies are better able to protect and use classified information when denying entry and status to non-citizens who pose a threat to Canada. Again, that is another proposal that Canadians would see to be very important and just makes sense. Canadians know that only the Conservative Party, led by this Prime Minister, can be trusted to keep Canadians safe from the threat of terrorism.

Whether it is on the issue of citizenship; our international security obligations; budget increases to national security agencies, which they continually vote against; or on a crucial bill that would modernize our security tools, the New Democrats and Liberals oppose, confuse and obstruct.

That is why I am proud to be a part of this Conservative government. I am proud of our strong record and the leadership of the Prime Minister on issues of national security. I will be voting in favour of this very important bill, and I encourage all other members to do the same, to help keep Canadians safe from terrorists who wish to do us harm.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 11:55 a.m.
See context

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, clearly we are very concerned about the scope of this bill. Many very competent expert witnesses, from outside the House, came to tell us that this bill goes much too far.

I would like to ask a specific question: would the law allow CSIS to disrupt environmental groups, first nations or any other activist groups whose tactics include blockades to bar access to infrastructure?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 11:55 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Tim Uppal Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear from the outset that average Canadians who take part in law-abiding protests to make their views known to the government or some other agency would not be a concern here or to CSIS. I would ask the opposition members to make it clear. Which part of the civil liberties of average, law-abiding Canadians would be intervened upon and restricted by this bill? The opposition members come up with scenarios that are not very clear.

What is very clear is that this bill is intended to give the RCMP and CSIS the tools they need to keep Canadians safe from terrorists, those terrorists who wish to do us harm here on Canadian soil or possibly have put together plots in other parts of the world to hurt Canadians here. That is exactly what this bill would do. It is why most Canadians support this bill and that is why we will be voting for this bill.