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 / 12:40 p.m.
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NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Beaches—East York for his very thoughtful presentation today. He talked about threat disruption, and said activities to disrupt threats would not contravene a right or freedom guaranteed under the charter unless authorized by a warrant under section 21.1 of the act. It would be left, as he pointed out, to CSIS to determine whether such a warrant should be sought from a judge, in secret, without the benefit of a special advocate or others who might know the security-tested information and participate effectively.

I had the honour of being appointed by the former minister of justice, now Minister of Foreign Affairs, to play the role of special advocate. I ask my hon. friend, as a lawyer, if he thinks this is consistent with Canada's commitment to rule of law to have no one there except CSIS and a judge talking about these unprecedented powers, without the benefit of someone like a special advocate to test the evidence, which was found to be constitutionally required elsewhere. I wonder why not here, and does he think this squares, therefore, with the rule of law?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

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

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a fine question, probably better addressed to an actual lawyer, which I am not. However, most clearly, the bill is very simple in what it ultimately puts forward. It puts forward a judicial system in this country that is not consistent with constitutional traditions of Canada in that it does not respect the rule of law. We have seen judges under current law criticize CSIS for not seeking warrants when it should have. For the government to suggest that no oversight is required of CSIS to ensure that it is not seeking warrants when it knows full well that there is a potential breach of someone's charter rights is extraordinarily naive or misleading.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 12:40 p.m.
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Scarborough Centre Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Thornhill.

I am very pleased to provide my views on the important subject of what our Conservative government is doing to combat terrorism. Terrorism is not some far-off problem for others to deal with. It hits us right here at home.

That is because the international jihadi movement has declared war on Canada and its allies. The members of that movement hate our values, our freedom, and our prosperity. In fact, Canadians have been targeted specifically for our values that make Canada the best country in the world to live, work, and raise a family. Tragically, we saw the most horrific manifestations of this in late October. Two brave members of the Canadian Armed Forces were killed in cold blood by jihadi terrorists. That is what brought about the legislation that is before us today, the anti-terrorism act, 2015.

I am proud to support this important legislation that builds on our strong record of protecting Canadians from violent terrorists. We have taken action to limit the ability of terrorist organizations to fund-raise within Canada, through the Criminal Code terrorist-listing process. We passed the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, which allows victims of terrorism and their families to hold state sponsors of terror financially accountable. We passed the Combating Terrorism Act, which makes it a criminal offence to travel overseas to engage in terrorist activity. We also passed the Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act, which modernizes the tools available to our national security agencies. This is a record of which Canadians can all be proud.

It is shocking but certainly not surprising that the NDP has opposed us every step of the way.

There are four key elements in the legislation before us today: one, this bill would allow for information sharing internal to the government; two, it would enhance the passenger protect program, known as the “no-fly list”; three, it would criminalize the distribution of jihadi terrorist propaganda; and four, it would give CSIS the tools to disrupt terrorist plots before they end in tragedy. These are very common-sense changes that would protect us from the real jihadi terrorism threat. On this side of the House, we know that this threat is real. We have heard it in witness testimony. It has evolved, it is growing, and it is real.

We have also seen attacks planned and carried out both in Canada and in other western countries. I would remind this House of the chilling words of the Islamic State:

If you can kill a disbelieving American or European—especially the spiteful and filthy French—or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be.

That threat is very real, and we must take action to degrade and destroy this threat. That is why our government will not sit on the sidelines, as the Liberals would have us do, and why we are joining the international coalition to defeat ISIS. Credible Canadians know that we must take action to deal with this threat, specifically the action outlined in our bill, the anti-terrorism act, 2015.

Professor Elliot Tepper of Carleton University said:

Bill C-51 is the most important national security legislation since the 9/11 era.

[It] is designed for the post-9/11 era. It's a new legislation for a new era in terms of security threats. While it's understandable that various provisions of the legislation attract attention, we need to keep our focus on the fundamental purpose and the fundamental challenge of combatting emerging types of terrorism.

Professor Salim Mansur of the University of Western Ontario said:

Bill C-51 is directed against Islamist jihadists and to prevent or pre-empt them from their stated goal to carry out terrorist threats against the west, including Canada.

...the measures proposed in Bill C-51 to deal with the nature of threats that Canada faces, I believe, are quite rightly and urgently needed to protect and keep secure the freedom of our citizens.

Scott Tod, deputy commissioner, investigations, organized crime, Ontario Provincial Police, said:

Bill C-51 offers improvements for the federal police to share information among our justice sector partners, security partners, but more importantly and hopefully, with the community partners and government situational tables designed to reduce the terrorist threat and improve community safety and well-being.

It is clear that our measures would protect Canadians from those who wish to harm us.

The first duty of any government is to protect the safety of its citizens, and that is exactly what our Conservative government is doing. The anti-terrorism act 2015 would ensure that our police forces have the tools they need to protect Canadians against the evolving threat of jihadi terrorists. We reject the argument that every time we talk about security, somehow our freedoms are threatened. Canadians understand that their freedom and security go hand in hand. Canadians expect us to protect both, and that is exactly what we are doing with this legislation because there are safeguards in this bill.

The fundamental fact is that our police forces are working to protect our rights and freedoms and it is jihadi terrorists who endanger our security and would take those freedoms away. What is more, we will never apologize for taking jihadi propaganda out of circulation. In fact, if companies that provide website content hosting services or other businesses are profiting from this type of horrific material, they should seriously reconsider their business models and lack of commitment to the values we cherish here in Canada.

Across this country, businesses, large and small, depend on a strong economy, clear rules of marketplace conduct, dependable transactions, and secure data. The reality is that there is no profitability without a stable security environment, both physical and virtual. This legislation would strengthen our national security and would benefit businesses, as well as all consumers.

It is clear that our Conservative government can make the tough decisions necessary to keep all Canadians safe, and I hope that when this bill is voted on tomorrow night, all members of the House will stand with me in supporting this very important piece of legislation.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 12:50 p.m.
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NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, I listened closely to the hon. member's speech, and I would really like her to explain the difference between keeping Canadians safe and expanding the rules that restrict our rights and take away our freedoms.

As we speak, an online group has gathered 205,000 signatures from people who oppose this bill. Some 82% of people were in favour of it, but after just two days, now only 33% support it. The more Canadians know about the bill, the less they want it.

Why is the government refusing to amend the bill or agree to any amendments?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 12:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Roxanne James Conservative Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we heard from credible witnesses throughout the testimony, those with law enforcement and security intelligence experience and those who deal with terrorism. Every one of the individuals who went before the committee agreed that the threat of terrorism is real, it is evolving, and we need to deal with it on an urgent basis.

The legislation before us has the safeguards to protect both the privacy and the freedoms of Canadians. This bill targets terrorism. It targets terrorists. Again, we are dealing with misinformation that has been pushed out by the New Democrats, whether intentionally or because they completely do not understand the contents of the bill. If we read the legislation, we see the safeguards are very clearly there, and I am very proud to say that I will be supporting this piece of legislation.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 12:50 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will say the Green Party completely agrees with the NDP and is actually committed to ensuring this bill is repealed after an election, not just amended or fixed. It cannot be fixed.

I am not surprised to hear the parliamentary secretary repeat that somehow those of us in opposition who oppose this bill do not understand it. I can assure everyone that I understand it fully. This bill is dangerous, and it is dangerous precisely because it would not make us safer from terrorists, as we have heard from many security witnesses, both in the House committee and now before the Senate committee.

The bill would create silos. RCMP operatives and CSIS operatives would be given powers to disrupt, with no pinnacle control or command, no one to know whether the CSIS operatives were giving permission or commitments to witnesses that they would never be called, who may be part of an RCMP investigation that needs that witness' testimony. The way in which this is being set up, in the words of security experts, particularly Joe Fogarty, who is a British security expert, is that we are “sitting on a tragedy waiting to happen”. This is not good legislation to protect us from terrorists, and it would certainly be unacceptably intrusive and destroy charter rights and freedoms through secret trials.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 12:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Roxanne James Conservative Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely false. There are measures contained in this bill. Again, she referred to the activities of CSIS. CSIS would have to obtain a warrant from a judge. A section of the charter would actually be applied in order to determine whether a warrant is required. CSIS would have to provide pages and pages of documentation with respect to the activity it would undertake. Therefore that is absolutely false.

I have to say that in committee the officials tried to explain something to the member, and she completely disregarded what the officials said. Again, I stand on this side of the House speaking very clearly about the importance of this legislation, what the measures are that are contained within it, and why is so important to make sure Canadians are kept safe.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 12:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Roxanne James Conservative Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, most Canadians would expect that this is already being done, but it is not.

When I spoke to my constituents about this issue, they found it completely unbelievable that our current security agencies did not have the ability to share pertinent information. The provisions in Bill C-51 would create a new information sharing act which, just as the hon. member mentioned, would allow agencies to share information pertinent to national security.

Witnesses in committee spoke about the importance of pieces of information coming from various sources that, when pieced together, created a puzzle. With this, they are able to determine more with regard to security threats.

This is absolutely crucial to national security and to keeping Canadians safe. That is why I am supporting the bill.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 12:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to participate in this important debate today.

Recent polls have shown us that national security and the fight against jihadi terrorism is one of the most important issues for Canadians from coast to coast. I regret that so many of my hon. colleagues on the other side of the House refuse to use that modifier to describe this new and very dangerous form of terrorism and they refuse to recognize this as one of the most important issues facing Canadians.

The vast majority of my constituents in Thornhill share that concern. I have received any number of phone calls over recent months, from folks who want to know precisely what we will do to keep our communities safe from jihadi terrorists.

I am proud to respond to each and every one of those phone calls to explain the content of the bill before us today, the anti-terrorism act, 2015, because it gives me an opportunity to highlight the strong record of this Conservative government.

First, we tabled the economic action plan 2015, which would invest nearly $300 million in the fight against jihadi terrorism. This is above and beyond the fact that we have increased the resources available to our national security agencies by one-third since coming to office. We have listed dozens of new groups as terrorist entities to prohibit them from operating, from recruiting, from fundraising and from doing business in Canada. These include the Islamic State, Jabhat al Nusra, al Shabaab and al Qaeda.

We passed the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act to allow the families of those who had been killed in terrorist acts to seek compensation from state sponsors of terror.

We passed the Combating Terrorism Act to give new tools to stop individuals from travelling overseas to engage in terrorism.

We passed the Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act to modernize the tools available to CSIS when investigating threats to Canada.

Also, we introduced the bill which is before us today, the anti-terrorism act, 2015.

The bill, I would remind the House, would do four key things. It would create a system for internal government information sharing. It would improve the passenger protect program, colloquially known as the “no-fly list”. It would criminalize the dissemination of terrorist literature and propaganda. It would also give CSIS the ability to disrupt planned terrorist attacks before they happen.

These measures are just good old-fashioned common sense. It makes no sense that the right hand of government should be prohibited from knowing what the left hand is doing. That is why we are eliminating the silos and the roadblocks that potentially act as roadblocks to the safety of Canadians.

It makes no sense that individuals we suspect may be travelling abroad to engage in terrorism would be allowed to board an airplane. It makes no sense that we allow terrorist recruiters to post propaganda online with impunity. It makes no sense that we would prohibit our national security officials from taking action to foil a terrorist plot.

That is why we are moving forward with the legislation. It simply makes good, common sense. However, as the old saying goes, common sense is not always all that common.

The NDP member forBeauharnois—Salaberry said, “Bill C-51...will only increase this disproportionate representation in our prisons”. That is ridiculous.

Let me clear. The bill would be targeted at terrorists. It would not be targeted at protesters, or environmentalists or whatever other voter bloc the NDP wants to confect. To fearmonger by suggesting that the legislation would somehow lead to the incarceration of aboriginals is simply irresponsible. Any individual who is not engaging in terrorist activities or distributing jihadi propaganda would be able to continue to go about their daily lives without feeling the slightest impact of the legislation.

Members do not have to take my word for it. Former Supreme Court Justice John Major had this to say, “citizens who are not validly under suspicion will not have some manufactured reason for their private lives to be interfered with”.

Going even a step further, Ray Boivert, a former senior official at CSIS, said, “anybody who had an issue they'd like to protest will now become a target of the security establishment. I think you should not...flatter yourself to that degree”.

A fundamental fact is that we are taking action to prevent Canadians from being targeted by jihadi terrorists.

Not long ago, barely six months ago now, we suffered two terrorist attacks on our own soil. We lost two brave members of the Canadian Armed Forces. We must never forget those attacks, particularly in the context of discussing the modernization of our national security legislation.

While the NDP and the Liberals put their collective heads in the sand and wish that national security was not an issue that we are faced with, our Conservative government will continue to make the tough decisions.

While the NDP leader has fantasized any number of times of conspiracy theories, most notably his skepticism over the death of Osama bin Laden, and while the leader of the official opposition has refused to accept that Canada has in fact been attacked by terrorists, our Conservative government will continue to make the tough decision.

While the Liberal leader makes juvenile one-liners about whipping out CF-18s, our Conservative government will continue to make the tough decision.

The fact is that Canadians know they can only count on the Conservative government to make the tough decisions to keep Canadians safe from terrorists threats, from specifically jihadi threats.

As my times draws to a close, I am reminded of comments at the public safety committee by Louise Vincent, the sister of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who was killed in cold blood by a jihadi terrorist. She said:

If C-51 had been in place on October 19...Martin Couture-Rouleau would...have been in prison and my brother would not be dead today.

When I vote on this important legislation, I will be keeping those words in mind. I hope my NDP, Liberal and other opposition colleagues will do the same.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 1 p.m.
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NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, I care about what happened to Warrant Officer Vincent's family every bit as much as my colleague does. In that regard, of course, everyone in the House feels the same.

However, if I had as much time as my colleague to ask my question and if I wanted to be as insulting as the countless examples he hurled at us for 10 minutes, things could get ugly in the House today.

The Conservatives like to say that they are tough on crime and that they are making tough decisions, and I have to wonder if the reason they have refused to accept any of the amendments suggested by anyone in the House is in order to appear tough.

Is it to please their electorate, to appear tough, or is there actually a valid reason behind all this?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 1:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

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

I think it is very clear, and we have heard any number of times during the debate today and in previous days of debate in the House, that our government listened very closely to the spectrum of witnesses that came before the committee. We have been listening to those concerns and responding with a number of amendments. We have listened as well to the expert advice that in fact this new phenomenon of jihadi terrorism requires new abilities within the security agencies of our country.

I and our government are convinced that Bill C-51 would provide a balance between recognizing and protecting essential Canadian rights and also ensuring the security of our country against these new threats of terrorism.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 1:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to take the opportunity to pose a question regarding the government's inability to incorporate parliamentary oversight into the legislation. That is sad, given that other countries and Canada's allies, in particular the Five Eyes, already have parliamentary oversight.

When the member for Mount Royal was the Liberal minister of justice, he brought in legislation and the current Minister of Justice actually supported parliamentary oversight.

It seems to me that this legislation could have been much better had the government simply adopted what seemingly all of the stakeholders and people before committee acknowledged was needed, which is more oversight. Maybe the member could provide some comment as to why he believes that parliamentary oversight was not provided for in this bill when so many people wanted to see it.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 1:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague has asked a very thoughtful and reasonable question.

As we have explained in the House any number of times, we believe that third party, non-partisan, independent, expert oversight of our national security agencies is a better model than political intervention in the process.

The member has referred to any number of times in this debate our Five Eyes partners. I would remind him of something said recently by the former legal chief of Military Intelligence, Section 5, and Military Intelligence, Section 6, or MI5 and MI6 as they are popularly known. The former legal chief said that judicial oversight is something which is lacking in the British system. At the time, the former legal head of MI5 and MI6 praised the French system, because it does have exactly that, and said that it removes the non-expert, political contamination of some national security cases, and in fact, through the expertise, knowledge, and maturity of a judge, it provides the right to balance the interests of national rights, human rights, civil rights, and security issues.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 1:10 p.m.
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NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to talk about Bill C-51. It will be an honour for me to represent the people of Pierrefonds—Dollard over the next 10 minutes. I have received many emails and inquiries about this bill.

I recently visited the Gérald-Godin CEGEP. I was surprised at how interested the students there were in certain political issues, including federal ones. Sometimes we get the feeling that this stuff is not very relevant to their everyday lives. I was especially surprised to see that they know this bill by name and were able to provide a brief summary of Bill C-51 when I mentioned it. This means that the bill is quite important to them and that people in the community are talking about it.

Before I continue, I would just like to say that I will be sharing my time and that I will give a 10-minute speech on Bill C-51.

Today, as I have done for the past four years, I am speaking on behalf of the people I represent. I would like to share their concerns with the House and the Conservative government.

I was in this place, with my baby, during the shooting last fall. The next day, I even returned to this place with my baby, because I knew that it was important not to give in to fear and intimidation. I was also confident in Parliament's ability to protect the parliamentarians, tourists and Canadians who were here. If there was one hope that sustained us following those tragic events, it was the hope that parliamentarians would work together to find a solution that was really in line with the seriousness of the situation, while avoiding a knee-jerk response to this threat, this intimidation, this fear.

Unfortunately, I get the impression—and I am not the only one—that Bill C-51 is the kind of response that many of us were hoping to avoid following those tragic events. It is a reaction that makes use of arguments based not only on fearmongering and partisan politics, but also—and this is the most important part—arguments that have not swayed the official opposition and that ignore all of the criticisms, comments and suggestions made by experts and community groups across Canada.

In such an important and sensitive debate, a responsible government has a duty to unite people around a fight and intelligent measures, instead of creating divisions and spreading information that can seem partisan and inflammatory.

Earlier I mentioned my constituents, those who have written to me.

I have received approximately 50 emails, letters and phone calls in the last few weeks from people I represent in the House of Commons who are concerned about Bill C-51. I want to thank them for participating in their democracy, but also for sharing their concerns with me.

Madam Fine wrote:

I'm writing to call on you to take a firm stand against the government's reckless, dangerous and ineffective Bill C-51. I'm asking you to side with Canadians and vote against this legislation.

I will do just that. I will vote against Bill C-51. She said also:

If this bill passes, the government could spy on anyone, at any time, and we wouldn't even know when we've been a victim. Surely we don't want to create a shadowy and unaccountable secret police force that will trample on our freedoms.

I thank Madam Fine for writing to me. She is not the only who wrote to me with those kinds of concerns. Those concerns are based not only on what the opposition is saying, because the government tried to blame the opposition for scaring people about Bill C-51, but experts and groups have also raised concerns and informed the Canadian population about Bill C-51.

There was a study done at committee recently. It is a shame that the government did not consider or pay more attention to the advice that was given by our Canadian experts on that matter.

I have another email from someone who does not live in my riding, which is interesting. He lives in Baie d'Urfé, which is a municipality represented by a Liberal member of Parliament. Of course, he did not have an open discussion with his member of Parliament because the Liberals said vaguely that although they were not in favour of Bill C-51, they would indeed vote in favour of the bill. We do not necessarily understand why, but we know that his member of Parliament would not support him.

Mr. Lahey writes:

Many people--I include myself--are deeply concerned about Bill C-51 passing.

I have reviewed the bill itself and have concerns over the loss of privacy that will be hard to reverse, the implications for active covert operations...and even the allowance of torture seems covered.

Further on he writes:

The bill is clearly taking advantage of that event—

He is talking about the tragedy that happened last fall in Parliament.

—to drive this massive redesign of the intelligence system, at the expense of every citizen's personal sovereignty and privacy.

Further on he wrote:

Please--make a bit of noise over this issue during this final reading and debate period.

The nation does not need and does not WANT this bill to pass. Of this I am pretty sure.

I thank Mr. Lahey for taking the time to look at the consequences. I fully agree with him that this bill has to be stopped.

Mr. Mojtahedi wrote, “I wanted to thank you and the NDP for standing against Bill C-51”.

He continued:

We should not remain silent when the government spends massive amounts of public resources and most importantly limits our civil liberties instead of fighting more serious threats to public security.

Another constituent wrote:

I note now that certain polls are indicating that support for the bill is falling, and that continued criticism is increasing. Mr. Allan Gregg, former Conservative pollster, has just come out strongly against it. Could you reassure me that you are continuing the good fight in Parliament and would you please inform me of any further actions on a local level that might help you?

I can assure Mr. Roloff that I will continue to fight against Bill C-51 with my NDP colleagues. The fight is not over.

We went door to door with a lot of volunteers to inform people about Bill C-51. We asked them what they thought about it, and we showed them a petition. One man specifically told me that he was totally against Bill C-51 but he did not want to sign the petition. He was scared to give his personal contact info, because he was scared that the government would spy on him with the passage of Bill C-51. That shows that people are scared of those new powers and the impact of Bill C-51.

Many other people wrote to me to share their concerns. They want Parliament to oppose Bill C-51. They at least want parliamentarians to think carefully and listen to the concerns of Canadians and experts. That is why the NDP is here, and that is why we want the Conservatives to pay closer attention to the concerns raised all across the country.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 1:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

David Wilks Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member's statement quite intently. We hear the words “secret police” a lot from the opposition, which just baffles my mind. The reason it baffles my mind is that as a retired police officer, I know that I can walk out these doors and speak with an RCMP officer who is not secret. I can go to any border crossing and speak to CBSA officers. They are not secret.

CSIS is a spy agency, it is not a police agency. I wonder if the member could clarify to the House what the secret police is. I would like to meet them as well because I do not know who they are.