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 / 11:55 a.m.
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NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, what really scares me about this bill is the extent to which it can restrict people's rights in the name of security. We recently saw what can happen. On October 22, life in Parliament completely changed because of an individual who probably suffered from a mental health problem. We must act to ensure that the government does not restrict MPs' rights. During the October crisis in Quebec, we also saw the Liberals put in place war measures because of possibly 30 to 35 people who were making threats.

It is a disproportionate reaction. I am very scared. Canadians are scared. People in my riding of Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles are afraid that the reactions will be excessive. Can the member reassure us about that?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

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

Tim Uppal Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think the concern is that the NDP continuously talks about not being able to do two things. We believe that it is important to have security to protect our freedoms, and the NDP just does not.

I would ask the member to maybe sit down with those constituents who are concerned and talk about the fact that we would be criminalizing the advocacy or promotion of terrorism offences. Why does the member not agree to counter terrorism recruitment by giving our courts the authority to order the removal of terrorist propaganda online? How could she be against enhancing the power of CSIS to address threats to the security of Canadians, while ensuring that the courts have oversight, or of providing law-enforcement agencies with an enhanced ability to disrupt terrorism offences and terrorist activity?

When I speak to Canadians, they cannot understand why CSIS does not have the power now to disrupt possible terrorist attacks. The bill would allow CSIS to do that. The bill would give the RCMP, CSIS, and other security agencies across the country the tools they need to keep Canadians safe. I would encourage the member to speak to her constituents. If she explains this properly to them, how could they be against something like that? If they read over the bill, they would end up supporting it.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / noon
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Conservative

Corneliu Chisu Conservative Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in this House today to support the anti-terrorism act, 2015, because the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada.

From the time I fought in Afghanistan as a military engineer in the Canadian Armed Forces in 2007, a lot of things changed on the international scene, with an increase in terrorist attacks against our civilization and freedoms. Canadians are being targeted by these terrorists simply because these terrorists hate our society and the values it represents.

Jihadi terrorism is not a human right. It is an act of war. This is why our government has put forward the measures we are discussing today to protect Canadians from these terrorists who seek to destroy the very principles that make Canada the best country in the world in which to live. That is also why Canada is not sitting on the sidelines, as some would have us do, and is instead joining our allies in supporting the international coalition in the fight against ISIS.

I am very proud to stand in this place to support this historic legislation.

Our government has already increased the resources available to our police forces by one-third. The Liberals and the NDP voted against those increases each step of the way. Economic action plan 2015 would further increase the resources to CSIS, the RCMP, and CBSA by almost $300 million to bolster our front-line efforts to counter terrorism. Our government will continue to ensure that our police forces have the resources they need to keep Canadians safe.

Tom Quiggin, of the Terrorism and Security Experts of Canada Network, said that Canada has a series of deep networks whose aim is to create further extremism in Canada by recruiting young Canadians overseas to die in places like the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Somalia, and elsewhere. These networks have been set up by the Muslim Brotherhood. He said that confronting these extremist networks in Canada will be the work of a generation and that budgetary support for the RCMP, CSIS, and CBSA is a positive step in the right direction,

Canadians are speaking loud and clear. They know that our Conservative government, led by the Prime Minister, is on the right track to protect Canadians from the threat posed by the so-called Islamic State.

I would like to focus my comments on the first part of the bill, the security of Canada information sharing act.

Knowledge is power, as the old saying goes. In this day and age, the government has a lot of information about a wide swath of activities of the people of Canada. While some may argue that a succession of Liberal prime ministers expanded the size, scope, and reach of government far too intimately into the lives of Canadians, that is a question for a different day.

The fact of the matter is that whether it is an examination of tax records, information obtained by officers at the border, or things observed by consular officials, there is a great deal of information under the control of the Government of Canada that could be relevant to national security investigations.

Shockingly, right now it is prohibited for agencies of the Government of Canada to share most information with their counterparts in the national security field.

Let me give members an example given by the Commissioner of the RCMP.

An individual who has travelled abroad to engage in terrorism arrives at a Canadian embassy to seek consular assistance. The individual in question has recent bullet wounds and clearly looks as if he has been engaged in fighting. The individual asks for Canadian travel documents so he can return home immediately. The embassy employee is prohibited from passing on their concerns that this individual may be involved in terrorism to the RCMP. They have to orchestrate a chance meeting with their RCMP liaison officer in the hallway so that they can become aware of the risk posed by this individual.

It is completely ridiculous that the right hand of government cannot know what the left hand is doing. This is why I am pleased to support the bill.

Some, particularly members of the NDP, will tell us that this legislation would go too far. It would cause information to be given to CSIS regarding peaceful and legitimate dissent, and ordinary people would find themselves accused of being terrorists.

To that I respond with a question. How?

As I read the bill, it in no way targets protesters. In fact, it prohibits the sharing of information regarding protest or dissent.

Further, even if somehow a peaceful protest spontaneously turned into a threat to national security, I fail to see what possible information the government could be sharing that would cause such great offence.

What seems to be happening here is that the New Democrats' continuing talking points about civil liberties are a fig leaf to hide their real agenda. They are simply opposed to any measure at all to increase national security. We do not have to look far to see this. Every time our government brings forward new financial resources for security, they vote against it. They voted against the Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act. They even voted against making it a criminal offence to travel overseas for the purpose of engaging in terrorism. I hate to say it, but I believe this stems from the fundamental NDP left-wing ideology.

The NDP member for Pontiac was previously a candidate for the Communist Party of Canada, and part of his platform was the repeal of all national security laws, including the no-fly list. This is absolutely preposterous, but it does explain their opposition to the common-sense measures before us today.

Let us listen to what credible Canadians are saying about the bill. Ms. Raheel Raza, president of the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, said that this legislation is important to combat radicalization and that we need better tools to track jihadis who travel overseas. She said:

...unfortunately we are living in a post-9/11 world, and times are such that personal information needs to be shared. That's the reality and I don't have a problem with it.... Again, the larger picture is that of the security and safety of Canada.

Tahir Gora, of the Canadian Thinkers Forum, said:

The government's proposed Bill C-51, when passed by Parliament, shall help Canadian Muslims to curb ex2tremist elements

Canadian experts support this important legislation. I will vote in favour of this legislation, and I encourage all my hon. colleagues to do the same.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 12:05 p.m.
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NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think we should put that on YouTube to show the idiocy of the Conservative Party position on that.

We are told that the willingness to defend the charter of rights, which is a fundamental of our country, and I do not know if my colleague has ever read the charter of rights, stems from a leftist ideology that he says comes from the Communist Party. I would say that sounds moronic, but I know that might not be parliamentary. However, it shows the level of ignorance the government will go to to attack people who are not afraid to stand up for basic civil rights in this country.

I notice the government has had zero money in four years to deal with deradicalization. There has been nothing. There is no money to go after terrorist financing, yet it will go after charities. The Conservatives have consistently attacked charities. Why do they go after charities? It is for the same reason they are going after New Democrats. They say that charities that stand up for the environment are some kind of foreign radical threat.

This is an attack on civil liberties, and that man should be the poster boy for it.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 12:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Corneliu Chisu Conservative Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I did not hear any question from the member regarding the bill. He made preposterous allegations against the bill and against Canadians who are working in the police, the RCMP, and CSIS. They have an allegiance to respect the laws of this country.

This member was implying that these members will somehow not respect the charter of rights.

Regarding the fact that the NDP voted against any measures regarding the security of Canadians, I do not have another way to say it except to encourage the members to vote this time for the security of Canadians.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 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 can tell you why the NDP did not have a question about the statement he just made, and it is because the NDP has not read the bill.

It has been very clear since Bill C-51 was first introduced that there has been a lot of misinformation pushed out by the NDP, whether it is intentional or whether it is because of a complete lack of understanding. It is also interesting that yesterday one of the members of the NDP actually referred to the two terrorist attacks that took place in Canada back in October as very unfortunate incidents. New Democrats simply cannot come to terms with the term “terrorism” quite yet.

I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his commitment to keep Canadians safe. I would like to ask him how dangerous it would be if Canadians actually listened to the rhetoric from the opposition party instead of the credible witnesses that we brought to committee who had more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement and security intelligence and also those who have been studying terrorism for more than 10 years.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 12:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Corneliu Chisu Conservative Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to outline a few of things that this bill would do. It would allow Passport Canada to share information of potential terrorist travellers with the RCMP. It would stop known radicalized individuals from boarding planes bound for terrorist conflict zones. It would criminalize the promotion of terrorism in general. For example, statements like “kill all the infidels wherever they are” would become illegal. It would allow CSIS agents to speak to the parents of radicalized youth in order to disrupt terrorist travel plans. It would give the government an appeal mechanism to stop information from being released in security certificate proceedings if it could harm a source. All of these elements are opposed by the NDP.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 12:10 p.m.
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NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

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

I would say that it is a pleasure to rise to speak to Bill C-51 were it not for the contents of this bill and the direction in which the government is taking us in such a worrisome fashion.

Let me pre-empt my comments by confirming that the primary role of government is to keep its citizenry safe from threats, both domestic and foreign. Those are threats that can be borne out by groups. They can also be threats to our liberties and security borne out by a government itself that no longer has the ability to maintain any semblance of balance and understanding of what it is to live in a free and fair democracy.

The Conservatives were so concerned about privacy and freedoms that they cancelled the long form census because it was such an intrusion on the privacy and rights of Canadians, yet they are now embedding in Bill C-51 the right of the state to have warrantless search and seizure powers without any oversight from a judge. Consider that for a moment. The Conservatives did not want the government knowing how many bathrooms Canadians have in their homes, but now they say that they want to legitimize and legalize the act of a warrantless search not only on homes, but on people's emails and phone conversations in their very private lives. There was no extension of power granted of oversight to the public or to any oversight body at all when handing out these extraordinary powers to the spy agency of Canada.

The Conservatives have made no case whatsoever of the need for this bill. They have not been able to cite an incident where a terrorist activity took place but would have been prevented had this bill been in place. In fact, there have been a number of arrests in Canada over the last number of years involving potential terrorist threats well before they even happened, yet the Conservatives say that they need to hand CSIS these broad powers.

If it is not for legitimate security reasons, then what is it for? One does not have to go too far back into the Conservative history to realize that the Conservatives do have an agenda here.

The Conservatives time and time again have shown who their enemies are. We all recall the famous enemies list. The Prime Minister's Office called it the list of friends and enemy stakeholders, back in 2013. This was a memo from the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada asking government officials to compile a list of stakeholders who were friends and stakeholders who were enemies, in their words. Fast forward to the then natural resources minister, now the Minister of Finance, who, in attacking opponents of his pipeline dreams in northern British Columbia, said that opponents were foreign-funded radicals and enemies of the state.

Take those two comments for what they are, that people are enemies of the state for opposing an industrial project, a pipeline that is highly controversial and in fact opposed by two-thirds of British Columbians. Is that what enemies of the state have become? Are they anybody who happens to have an opinion and anyone who happens to have the audacity to be against a government's policy or industrial proposal which, by the way, threatens our very way of life in northern British Columbia?

There are three points of this bill that are most worrisome.

First of all, the definition of terrorism has been vastly expanded to include things like economic interests and countering government policy. If the net is cast so broadly to include anything as a terrorist activity that happens to contravene something that the government of the day wants to push forward, we have to ask ourselves what type of country we are living in and what type of country is imagined by the Conservatives.

The second point is something that has already been struck down in court from a previous bill that tried to counteract money laundering and terrorism, but here the Conservatives go again with warrantless search and seizure. The ability to go in without a warrant and conduct searches was struck down recently by the Supreme Court, but here the Conservatives go again, trying it again. At the foundation of what this democracy and any free and right-thinking democracy stands for is that the state simply cannot, without the purview of a judge and without rational and proper discourse, go in and interfere with the private lives of Canadians.

The last point is an important one. The level of oversight is already so weak that we have heard from commission after commission looking into the Air India bombing, for example, that oversight needs to be improved. What have the Conservatives done? They have expanded powers but they have not improved any oversight.

After some tragic events in my riding, one involving Ian Bush, a young man who when interacting with the RCMP in a confrontation was killed, the Bush family and many right-thinking British Columbians fought for years to bring more public oversight to the RCMP. The Conservatives rallied against this saying that public oversight of our police forces was unnecessary and that we were somehow demeaning security and police forces by even asking for it. Lo and behold, British Columbia was able to bring in public oversight of the RCMP just as police oversight has been brought in in Alberta and Ontario. The United States is finally contemplating the very same thing. With extraordinary power comes extraordinary responsibility and it is right for the public to ask for some level and measure of oversight.

We see in this bill that if the lawyers for CSIS, the spy agency itself, determine that CSIS may contravene our charter or interfere with people's civil liberties by some action it is undertaking, such as spying on them, tapping their phone or breaking into their email accounts, then under this law CSIS may go to a judge and seek a warrant. Some would say that is enough for oversight, but the judge never sees CSIS again, and off it goes on its merry way. Did CSIS expand its search and investigation of Canadians or go beyond? The judge and the public would never know because Parliament has no oversight capacity.

We have implored the government through dozens of amendments to take on some of these basic and reasonable requests. Of the 48 witnesses who appeared before the committee, many of them called by the Conservatives, 43 said that this bill is flawed and needs major fixes. Many witnesses, experts in matters of security and civil rights, said that the bill had to be scrapped entirely. Former Supreme Court judges, former prime ministers, both Liberal and Conservative, called this bill what it is, which is an affront to basic Canadian values. For me, as someone who has great faith and pride in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to see the impact on those rights and freedoms proposed by this bill, with little to no justification at all, is incredibly worrisome.

We would think with all of the terrorist threats and certainly with all of the rhetoric we hear from the Conservatives that going after money laundering and terrorist financing would have been the first order of the Conservative government. In the last four years we have not seen any increase in CRA's budget to do just that, to go after money laundering and terrorist financing. There has been nothing, no increase at all. However, there has been an increase in Canada Revenue Agency's budget to go after charities, birdwatchers, environmental groups, first nations groups, anybody who had the audacity to suggest an opinion that was different from that of the government, who had the audacity to suggest that they disagreed with some Conservative policy or another. Here we are with a government that claims to have the security interests of Canadians, yet so often and so consistently it disregards our civil liberties, our rights and freedoms, and infringes on the values that Canadians so cherish.

Coming from the northwest of B.C., I will suggest this. The Conservatives have managed to pull off some rare feat. They have managed to bring gun owners, environmental groups, first nations, loggers, and groups from across the political spectrum in my part of the world to come to a place of agreement in their opposition to this bill. It is a rare feat in politics to bring so many different divergent groups together in unity in opposition to an idea. That idea is expressed in Bill C-51. It is an idea that is abhorrent to Canadian values, is contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and is contrary to any sound policy-making.

If the intention is to protect Canadians, let us protect Canadians from true threats to our security and from threats by a government that wishes to abuse its powers.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 12:20 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, once again, that speech proves that NDP members have either not fully understood the bill, perhaps did not read it, or they are intentionally misleading Canadians.

When I hear such things, that the bill contains the ability for CSIS to conduct warrantless searches and seizures, it is absolutely ridiculous. Actually, right in the bill, there is a requirement that CSIS would have to obtain a warrant.

In fact, we heard from many witnesses on this particular issue. One of them was Ray Boisvert, who is the former assistant director of CSIS. He talked extensively on the warrant process, and that it is one of the most onerous warrant processes of any of its kind. He also went on to say that, “My sense from reading the legislation is that those safeguards are protected and are further enhanced.”

Once again, we have a situation where NDP members are perhaps woefully misleading Canadians, whether it is intentional or because they just simply have not read the bill.

I would like to ask the member specifically if he could point to the page, the clause and the sentence so that Canadians can actually reference this bill and see exactly where he is misleading Canadians.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 12:25 p.m.
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NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, of course, to suggest an hon. member would mislead Canadians is contrary to the rules of this place.

We look through the bill and we find numerous instances in which the requirement of CSIS to seek a warrant is at the discretion of CSIS. My friend says, do not worry, the spy agency in all matters will seek out a warrant before it infringes upon the rights of Canadians. Who is going to determine that? Not Parliament, not a judge, but CSIS would determine it first. CSIS may wonder if they would break anyone's rights, maybe, maybe not, but if CSIS determines it, then CSIS goes ahead.

I do not know what happened to the Conservative Party. I remember there used to be a certain libertarian streak within the party that thought about the sanctity of individual rights and freedoms. Privacy was an important thing for Conservatives. I remember that was their main argument on the gun registry. It was certainly their argument on cancelling the long form census, which was an idiotic move that was condemned on all levels and across the political spectrum.

Privacy was paramount to the Conservatives, yet without any justification, any proof that there are certain threats that would require this type of extension of government powers over Canadians, this type of intrusion into our private lives, we have a government that says if we oppose its policy one is an enemy of the state. Those are not our words. Those are the words of the current Minister of Finance.

Well, a+b=c in this case, and it is clear where the Conservative agenda is. Conservatives are spending more money going after charities than they are terrorists. One wonders what the true agenda of the Conservative Party is in this matter.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 12:25 p.m.
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NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am concerned that the Conservatives are misleading Canadians by claiming that it is crucial to pass Bill C-51.

The measures adopted after the 2001 legislation were only used after the events in October. Recently, there have been more arrests of people who represent a threat.

Does my colleague think the issue was a legal problem that tied the hands of those involved or the poor use of existing resources and options and the underfunding of certain agencies responsible for security? Did we need more money or more laws?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 12:25 p.m.
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NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, we know that between 2009 and 2014, the Conservatives cut the RCMP budget by $420 million. That is a fact. I wonder how Conservatives square that with their need for this bill. Between 2012 and 2013, CSIS itself had its funding cut by $44 million. Therefore, bleed them of resources, bleed them of expertise, and claim that there is a crisis so great that we have to trample over the rights of Canadians. That is the situation that the Conservatives have claimed.

Parenthetically, my disappointment, the only word I can use properly today, with where the Liberals stand on this is devastating, simply because I am looking for the justification as to why a party that brought in the charter, with our help and support, is now so willing to join with the Conservatives in taking out vast sections of the charter with the bill. The Liberal leader said that this conversation might be different if we were not months from an election campaign, but we are. Therefore, there is is a political element to this entire conversation that is worrisome.

We can do much better than this. We can defend the rights of Canadians and protect Canadians from threats. Those two things have to happen at the same time as they are born from the same root. It is what Canadians expect legislators to do, rather than play the kinds of politics that we see the Conservatives doing day in and day out.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 12:25 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-51 at third reading. Of course there was only ever one proper way to dispose of the bill and that was some time ago in the legislative process at second reading and as per the reasoned amendment put forward by my NDP colleague, the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, which suggested that we decline to give second reading to the bill. I was pleased this morning to second another such reasoned amendment, which was in effect to throw the bill out so that we did not discuss this and the bill never became law.

I want to take a moment to thank the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca and the member for Alfred-Pellan for leading our caucus in vigorous opposition to the bill, because the bill is unworthy of any Canadian government to lay before the House, as the Conservative government has done. Certainly it is unworthy of any opposition support, as the Liberals have done. It is so because what is rotten about the bill lies at its very heart, with the bill's premise that it is only by way of sacrificing the rights and freedoms of Canadians that we are able to make Canadians safe.

I have listened carefully to Conservatives and Liberals trying to rationalize this premise. They cannot. They compensate with hyperbole, with an extremism in their language, all of their own. Liberals, the self-proclaimed party of the charter are the Conservatives' allies in this. They are afraid of what the Conservatives might do to them if they disagree. They have turned on the charter and have agreed to support a bill in which our rights would not be rights anymore, because if we considered them so, goes the logic of the bill and of the Conservatives and Liberals who support it, we could not and would not be safe here in Canada.

This is what it has come to, their consent to a bill that would give the Canadian Security Intelligence Service new radically altered authorities. CSIS was originally charged with a broad mandate but limited power, certainly, no so-called kinetic powers, no powers to disrupt, arrest or, in the terms used by Forcese and Roach, “to do things to people in the physical world”. This is not only no longer the case, but through the bill CSIS would be provided with such kinetic powers with little constraint, restricted only from committing bodily harm, obstructing justice and violating a person's sexual integrity.

The provisions of Bill C-51 would provide CSIS with the authority to take measures both at home and abroad to disrupt threats when it has “reasonable grounds” to believe that “there is a threat to the security of Canada”. Activities to disrupt threats are not to contravene a right or freedom guaranteed under the charter, unless authorized by a warrant under the act. Here, the bill turns the idea of judicial warrants on its head. In the normal course, judicial warrants are designed to ensure the preservation or integrity of charter rights, specifically to protect against unreasonable searches and seizure. The special warrant system laid out in Bill C-51 would pre-authorize the violation of absolute rights such as, for example, the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.

This represents a departure from our constitutional tradition in Canada and the role of the judiciary in that tradition. Section 1 of the Charter allows rights to be violated where such violation is considered “reasonable” in a free and democratic society, but only when prescribed by law, which usually means specified by statute, which is something determined, democratically, here in the House. It depends in turn on some rigorous, legal justification. This tradition does not permit a judge to make a new exception to a charter right, but the bill would, or at least it seeks to.

Let me heap a few complications on top of this situation. First, the bill does not provide for any oversight of CSIS' own determinations of whether or not it ought to, or needs to, seek a special warrant. The bill leaves such decisions to CSIS absent any check or scrutiny of those decisions.

It is only in the instance that something goes wrong or when its activities morph into criminal investigations led by the RCMP that such decisions may come under some scrutiny, potentially, it is worth noting, threatening the prosecution of the case. It is worth noting, too, that where warrants are brought forward by CSIS, seeking pre-authorization by the court of the violation of a charter right, such considerations are to be dealt with in secret.

Forcese and Roach illustrate the problem by way of their comparison of the open and public discussion in the British Parliament of the validity of exclusion orders for British citizens who have joined ISIS or ISIL. Whatever one might think of those exclusion orders, the fact of parliamentary debate stands in stark contrast to the provisions of this bill, which would have such discussions take place with only a judge and the government side present, and in the absence of any person or representative body to argue against the charter breach.

Perhaps a system of special advocates and advocacy will emerge or be adopted by the courts, to be seen. We are left most certainly, inevitably under this bill with the decisions of the judiciary to deny or permit violations of the absolute rights of Canadians being made in secret and being kept secret, far from the scrutiny of anybody.

Another problem is the matters before the judiciary, under this special warrants system, are not restricted to matters of terrorism. It is a far broader scope of matters and conduct that fall subject to this system. Terrorism is only one such form of activity that falls under broadly defined security concerns of the bill; so does interference with critical infrastructure, and so does interference with the capability of the government in relation to, for example, the economic or financial stability of Canada.

This broad language, potentially at least, brings first nations most obviously but also any civil society group making territorial claims in response to development projects, such as mining or other extractive activities, into the ambit of this bill and subject to the special disruptive activities of CSIS and special warrants process of the courts.

This broad language again, potentially at least, brings any civil society group, environmental groups for example, that Conservative ministers have been known to refer to as eco-terrorists, engaged in civil disobedience activities investigations with respect to energy infrastructure, for example, into the ambit of this bill and subject to the special disruptive activities of CSIS and special warrant processes of the courts.

None of this, none of what I have said today, is to deny the very real threat of terrorism to the safety and security of Canadians. How can we? From 9/11 onwards at least, we have recognized the threat, our vulnerability and the need to respond to protect ourselves.

Whatever that hate is that moves ISIL to do what it does, we cannot but acknowledge that it has inspired some Canadians to leave here and join them, and it has inspired at least a couple of Canadians to turn that hate on their own here at home. We cannot forget Corporal Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. We cannot forget October 22, when all of us in this place wondered, for at least a moment, if that was to be our last moment.

The impossibility of supporting Bill C-51 was captured most simply and elegantly by the Leader of the Opposition when he said that we cannot protect our freedoms by sacrificing our freedoms.

Our challenge is not to forsake who we are and what we believe in when we are afraid, when we are tested. Our challenge is to ensure that Canadians are safe and secure in a Canada that protects their rights and freedoms. That vision of Canada is the New Democrats' vision of Canada. It is different from the Conservative vision represented by Bill C-51. It is different from the Liberals' vision represented by their fear of not supporting Bill C-51 and by their fear of Conservatives.

It is the only vision offered here today in this House that is consistent with the long, proud history of this country, and the only vision that will ensure that we have a long, proud future.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 12:35 p.m.
See context

Scarborough Centre Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again we are hearing about the bill containing unreasonable search and seizure, which is absolutely not the case. In the NDP member's speech, we heard that this would give CSIS the powers to do whatever it wants. That is absolutely not the case. In fact, to inform the member opposite, right now law enforcement makes the decisions when warrants are required. Police have to apply for a warrant, and the same process would occur with CSIS.

I want to clarify for the record that, once again, the NDP is pushing out information that is inaccurate, whether it is intentional or whether it is simply because of a lack of understanding of the bill. With respect to the bill itself, there are multiple conditions that would have to be met for someone to apply for a warrant and, as well, the judge might place conditions on that warrant. So all of those safeguards would be in place.

Does the member believe that our national security agencies, including local law enforcement in his area, are incapable of determining when a warrant is required?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 12:40 p.m.
See context

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, it would most certainly not be the same case as the current system of judicial warrants that are sought by police. Those warrants are sought to ensure that there is no invasion of charter rights, that the integrity of the charter is upheld, and that is what judges determine, and those warrants are monitored by judges from the beginning of the criminal process to the end. This would not be that process. This, in fact, would turn that process on its head. These are warrants explicitly intended to seek a breach of somebody's charter rights or freedoms. That process would occur not in open court subject to the scrutiny of the public, but in secret courts, in secret trials.

The Conservative Party is a party that has turned Canada, through this bill, into a country of secret trials and secret hearings, and this is not the Canada we support and believe in. The parliamentary secretary would be wise and would make a far better member of Parliament by acting in good faith and speaking honestly in this House about what is really in the bill and not continuing to misrepresent what Conservatives are doing to Canada, to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of this country, through the bill.