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 / 1:20 p.m.
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NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. He obviously paid attention to certain parts of my speech, and I am sorry if the words I used offended him or anyone else. I was quoting a number of people in my riding who wrote to me. I am not saying that there is a secret police force or a conspiracy of some kind.

However, what we need to take away from the emails from the constituents who wrote to me is that they are concerned that these new powers are being given without the oversight system required to ensure that these new powers for our law enforcement agencies, which play a very important role in our communities, are used in a fair way and do not violate any rights or freedoms.

Bill C-51 does not provide this guarantee, and that is why people are concerned.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

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

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member making reference to reflections on constituents and what they bring to her and how she is bringing that to the House. I would like to add to those reflections.

The incident that occurred here on the Hill last fall was followed by numerous discussions among my constituents. When I say numerous, I could not think of an issue in the last four or five years that was more talked about by my constituents, whether it was at the local McDonald's restaurant, public meetings, one-on-ones at doors or groups of seniors. They talked a great deal about what was happening in Ottawa and they were genuinely concerned about the issue of terrorism.

In addressing the issue of terrorism, there are some aspects of Bill C-51 that deal with some of the concerns that were raised. Does the member not agree that the legislation could have been a whole lot better if the government had accepted amendments? The one amendment that I would have loved to have seen is parliamentary oversight. Because of the government's refusal to accept amendments, we do not have the robust legislation that we could have had.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

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

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comments. I agree with him.

If the government had been more open not only to what the experts said in committee, but also to the opposition's amendments, then we might have been able to come up with a bill that everyone could agree on and that responded to people's concerns.

I agree with my colleague that the threat is real and that concrete and effective measures need to be taken to protect all Canadians. It is Parliament's duty to do so, and it is an important one. We agree on that. The thing we disagree on is the approach. Bill C-51 is a threat. Canadians should not have to choose between their safety and their right to privacy. We can and must have both. This bill imposes severe restrictions.

For example, Mr. Mercier told me that very vague terms are used to define some key words in Bill C-51, which leaves room for abuse by people in high places. Mr. Mercier asked that I oppose this bill.

That was one of the dangers pointed out by our experts. The wording of this bill opens the door to abuses. Instead of reviewing the wording used in Bill C-51 and making significant changes to respond to the concerns, the Conservatives moved forward, which is regrettable.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 1:25 p.m.
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NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, this week we are commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, in which the allies fought to defend freedom and democracy. I cannot help but make a link to the bill we are debating, because it will reduce our hard-won freedoms. Did we learn nothing from those ordeals? Today, this government is showing all Canadians that it thumbs its nose at the central tenets of democracy. The government is muzzling the opposition by shortening debate on a bill about something as important as security.

The reason for this gag order is simple: in committee, 45 witnesses indicated that the bill as it now stands is flawed and should be amended. We are talking about 45 witnesses. That is a lot, particularly when we know that most of them were government witnesses. Given this testimony and such overwhelming opposition from civil society and experts, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Prime Minister should have understood that Bill C-51 was not the best solution to the public safety issues we are facing. This bill was not developed in consultation with the other parties, all of which recognize the terrorist threat and support the adoption of effective, concrete measures to keep Canadians safe. That is not what Bill C-51 does. Instead, it violates our rights and freedoms, the fundamental rights of first nations and the right of various groups in civil society to protest, just to give a few examples.

When we received the budget, almost two months late, I was hoping to see a big envelope for the fight against terrorism. When I looked to see what was allocated in the budget I was surprised to see that the money was not there. For the Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the envelope was a little less than $300 million over five years. Five years. Before 2017, these agencies will collectively receive less than $20 million to combat terrorism. That is a drop in the bucket and it is an insult to the work being done by our police services. These agencies are overburdened and are being forced to reassign staff to do the work they are being asked to do. This budget gives them nothing but crumbs to do their job.

When a government claims to want to protect our communities, our cities and our entire country, in order to serve Canadians and to protect our national security, it needs to put its money where its mouth is. It needs to allocate the money needed. The government needs to redirect money and ensure that our law enforcement agencies have the funding they need to take action. However, there is nothing to this effect in Bill C-51 or in the 2015 budget tabled by the Conservative government. I am extremely disappointed to see the lack of leadership from this government and its obvious failure to take seriously the fight against terrorism and radicalization. There are a lot of things missing in the Conservatives' botched approach. For example, it would have been nice to see the Conservatives propose ways to combat radicalization. Various stakeholders have spoken about this. This kind of work is being done in some of our regions and communities, as well as in the United States.

The language of the act is both extremely vague and extremely broad at the same time. It is so broad that any act of protest could be considered an act of terrorism.

The bill defines terrorism as:

...any activity...if it undermines the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of Canada...interfere[s] with critical infrastructure...or the economic or financial stability of Canada.

At first glance, it is hard to see terrorism in there. This definition casts its net far too wide, so much so, that anyone in the House could be convicted of terrorism for opposing a pipeline. The problem is similar to the one with preventive detention. I have to hand it to them, the Conservatives know how to play with words.

More specifically, a judge could authorize preventive detention, and not just when he is absolutely certain that it is a matter of terrorism, because a suspicion will do: “believes on reasonable grounds that a terrorist activity may be carried out”. The judge can thereby order the arrest of a person if it “is likely to prevent the carrying out of the terrorist activity”.

Therefore, absolute certainty will no longer be needed to determine the action to be taken. Instead, that decision will be based on suspicions. That is not how the legislation is supposed to work. Intelligence on law-abiding citizens will be compiled and forwarded to the police. What we have here is the listing of people. People will be listed! One of the worst instruments of totalitarian regimes is indeed seeing the light of day here, in Canada. Big brother is watching us. What about the right to privacy set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

I am hearing members on the other side of the House argue that it is for the security of Canadians. However, who will provide strict control over this collection of information if no judge verifies the practices and if no mechanism or authority controls the agency's work? It is like having a fox guarding the henhouse. Countermeasures and safeguards need to be put in place to prevent any excesses and abuse.

With this bill, the Conservatives want us to believe that there is a conflict between security and freedom. They want Canadians to have to choose between their rights and their security, claiming that the two do not go together.

That is not the NDP's position. We feel there is no choice to be made. Both are possible. They always have been, and they always will be.

Ultimately, terrorism has won. By using fear, the Conservatives have succeeded in making us give up our freedom. If the Conservatives believe they are acting in the public interest, they are completely wrong. They are headed in the wrong direction, and it is our duty to take a stand against any measure that will be detrimental to our most fundamental principles.

More security, yes, but at what cost? The Conservative government is betraying this country's most fundamental commitments, betraying our historic values and betraying all Canadians.

What will we tell our children?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 1:30 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, again, misinformation is being relayed to Canadians from the NDP. Whether it is intentional or because of a complete lack of understanding is still up for debate. Even in committee, with the very first amendment that was brought forward by the NDP critic, the officials who were present at committee had to correct him and indicate he was wrong. It is absolutely unbelievable that we are still hearing the same things from the NDP, that the bill targets protesters and whatnot. Very clearly, New Democrats do not understand the bill.

Also, I would like to point out that the information sharing act would be the responsibility of the privacy commissioner, who could review any of those agencies respecting the information sharing act, as well as the auditor general. In addition, internal processes would be developed.

I have been hearing throughout debate with the NDP that somehow the ability of CSIS to obtain a warrant is going to be done in some private court and there would be no representation from the other side. When law enforcement officers obtain warrants, it is not in a public forum. There is no representation from the person they are seeking a warrant against. Imagine for a moment that a police officer seeking a warrant for a wiretap has to bring in the person he wants to do the wiretap against, to defend himself.

I would like to ask the member whether she believes that our national security agencies have the intelligence and capability of determining when warrants are required?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 1:35 p.m.
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NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the preamble of my colleague's question. We are telling the truth. Forty-five witnesses commented on the bill, among them former prime ministers. We are not relaying misinformation, as my colleague claimed.

As for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, in the past it misled its oversight body. In 2014, the Security Intelligence Review Committee stated: “This investigation also found that SIRC had been seriously misled by CSIS on this same point.”

It is right there in black and white. I am not making anything up, these things do happen. That is why we are asking for guidelines and safeguards to at least protect the collection of this information and to see what the agency is doing. Organizations always need oversight and monitoring.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 1:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, in the member's concluding comments, she stated that the terrorists have won. I beg to differ. I believe that the resilience of Canadians is something we can all learn from. I would suggest that Canada, more than most countries, has weathered the issue of terrorism exceptionally well. When we look at specific situations that have arisen over the last decade, we can be very proud of the way things have evolved.

I would agree that there are many shortcomings in this piece of legislation. The legislation could have been better had the government been more receptive to listening to Canadians, other stakeholders, and members of the Liberal caucus. I know that the critic for the Liberal caucus did a fabulous job bringing forward amendments. Had the government accepted the amendments, we could have had some of the most robust legislation in the world to deal with terrorism.

Would the member agree that with amendments, this could have been a much better—

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 1:35 p.m.
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NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to what my Liberal colleague said. However, I am sorry to see that, even though the Liberal Party is saying that the bill is not good, it still plans to vote with the Conservatives. The Liberals need to get their story straight.

Next, let us talk about consultation with the other parties and about the amendments that the government should listen to. I said it in my speech: unfortunately, as usual, the Conservative government does not want to listen to experts, scientists or members of Parliament. What is more, the Conservatives are not giving us enough time to debate an issue as important as security.

When I say that terrorism has won, it is because these two parties are unfortunately playing on the fear of voters and saying that only they have the power to protect Canadians.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 1:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Joan Crockatt Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

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

Tonight we vote on this important legislation, the anti-terrorism act, 2015, and I am very proud today to stand in support of it. This is really an important bill that would protect Canadians from those who have openly vowed to do us harm, particularly the international jihadi movement.

This bill has strong support from my constituents in Calgary Centre and from Canadians from coast to coast to coast in every province and in every single demographic. Still, there are a lot of myths being perpetuated about this bill, many of them by the opposition, and we have heard that today. Today I would like to debunk them.

Here is the reality. Unfortunately, we all know that the threat environment we face in Canada today has escalated considerably from what it used to be. We have seen the recent ISIS-inspired acts of terror against soldiers in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and here in Ottawa. In the House, we all lived through the shooting on Parliament Hill on October 22, 2014. Believe me, it brought home to me and to many Canadians the need to take these threats on our soil very seriously.

Thankfully, authorities have foiled planned attacks in places as close to home, for my constituents, as the West Edmonton Mall.

This bill would protect our security by giving CSIS the authority to act on serious threats to protect Canadians.

In the past, if CSIS had information on a planned terrorist attack that was about to take place in Canada, it had no authority to go out and disrupt that terrorist plot. This legislation would not only give it the power to disrupt terror plots but would allow the security agencies to receive information from other government departments so that they could protect Canadians from terrorists. It is important to note that CSIS's actions are subject to a review afterward by a committee of experts in the field, SIRC, the Security Intelligence Review Committee.

Contrary to what we keep hearing from the NDP, the right to protest would be protected. In fact, we have listened to Canadians, and we specifically excluded protests from this legislation right from the get-go. To make it crystal clear, in response to feedback from Canadians, after the fearmongering of the opposition, when the anti-terrorism act, 2015 came to committee, we reviewed it and reworded the bill. The bill was changed from allowing lawful advocacy, protest, and dissent to removing the word “lawful” so that Canadians' right to protest in general or to participate in civil disobedience would not be affected.

We listened. The right to protest is an important freedom to Canadians, and this bill and our government fully recognize that.

We also recognize our duty to update our laws in the face of new threats so that we can keep Canadians safe.

There are four key measures contained in this bill. The first would create a system for internal government information-sharing. The second would improve our passenger protect program, known as the no-fly list. The third would make it a crime to disseminate jihadi terrorist propaganda. The fourth would give CSIS the ability to disrupt planned terrorist attacks before they happen. This is absolutely common sense, and Canadians get that.

People in my riding are concerned about the threat to Canada by the jihadi terrorist movement, and they told me again as recently as last weekend. They are also concerned, frankly, about the response of the NDP and the Liberals to terrorists.

The NDP has consistently put its head in the sand about the fact that Canadians are being directly targeted by jihadi terrorists that oppose our values and our way of life. The NDP leader even refused to call the horrific attacks in October what they were, jihadi terrorism, despite very clear evidence. The Liberal leader made juvenile jokes about Canada wanting to show the size of its CF-18s when it moved to confront this terrorist threat.

Let us debunk some other misconceptions advanced by the NDP and the Liberals. If it is through lack of doing the homework Canadians expect of them, I can help them with that.

Some have said that aboriginal and environmental protests could come under surveillance by CSIS, so let us read the text in the bill. It says that information could be shared between government institutions regarding “interference with critical infrastructure”. If one read that and only that, one might suppose that protesting the construction of a pipeline could, in theory, meet that definition.

However, if one read slightly further, one would see that it would not meet the core of the definition, which is an activity, or activities, that “undermines the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of Canada or the lives or the security of the people of Canada”. That is a very different measure and distinguishes between peacefully protesting against a pipeline, which is protected, and bombing a pipeline and endangering the lives of Canadians, which is not.

I have already debunked the myth that CSIS would not require warrants to disrupt this kind of serious threat. That is just not true.

Right now, CSIS is restricted from engaging in any disruption activities. It could not even approach parents of a suspected radical and encourage them to dissuade their son from his radical beliefs. Without Bill C-51, CSIS can only talk to parents to gather intelligence. Under Bill C-51, CSIS could talk to parents and ask them to speak to their children to help stop a threat or to stop their engaging in conversations in online chat rooms.

This hits really close to home for me and my riding of Calgary Centre. In my riding, several young men, born and raised there, have been radicalized into flying to Syria to join jihadist terrorist groups, including ISIL. Their parents are understandably distraught and have asked for help from the government. Christianne Boudreau, one of those distraught mothers, whose son went to Syria to fight with ISIS, where he was killed, called on the government to go further than just taking away the passports of radicalized young people. While she does not like all aspects of this bill, as I have said, she has called on Canada to start educating families so they can intervene before young people get to the point of radicalization. This bill would enable that.

She went on to say, “The propaganda is out there on social media and on the Internet and it's readily accessible”.

This bill would tackle that problem by removing terrorist materials from the Internet. It would make promoting or advocating a terror act a crime, punishable by up to five years in prison. By the way, the RCMP has also been embarking on deradicalization strategies to help combat youth being lured onto a deadly path.

Here is another myth. Some people have said that this bill would curb free speech. Canada already has hate laws, but they apply only to hate speech against an “identifiable” group and as such can exclude general threats against Canada or all Canadians. These are exactly the kinds of threats used by ISIS and al Qaeda when referring to “the west” or “infidels” in their hate propaganda. The new definition would allow us to pursue the people who are radicalizing others through their propaganda and are advocating violence.

These are the tools our law enforcement agencies say they really need to face down this terrorist threat. Credible experts have widely come out in support of this bill. Scott Tod, the Deputy Commissioner of Investigations and Organized Crime for the OPP, had this to say:

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.

That is something we all want.

Professor Salim Mansur, of the University of Western Ontario, said, “the measures...I believe, are quite rightly and urgently needed to protect and keep secure the freedom of our citizens”.

The Heritage Foundation said that Bill C-51 is, “a balance between greater physical protection without loss of civil liberties.... There is transparency and openness”.

This is an excellent bill that would help to protect Canadians. I am proud of this legislation. I am proud of the new investments we made in the budget, and I am grateful for the nearly $300 million earmarked to fight jihadi terrorism, which the NDP seems to pooh-pooh. I am pleased that we have doubled the budget of SIRC to allow for more robust review and accountability.

I believe that Bill C-51 would give Canadians what they want and expect from our government: a law that would protect both their safety and their freedom. The majority of Canadians support this bill, and when it comes to a vote tonight, I urge everyone in the House to vote in favour of it.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 1:50 p.m.
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NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not doubt the sincerity of my hon. colleague across the way, but the government really has its head in the sand on this. I do not know how the member can ignore the hundreds of emails she has been receiving from constituents, hers and others from across the country, who are expressing profound disappointment in the government and profound worry about what this bill means for our civil rights. We are talking about experts across the country. We are talking about people who really know how legislation should be crafted.

Hundreds of my constituents have contacted me. They are worried about this particular bill. I feel a responsibility to listen, and I think the government should also be listening.

How can she explain that the government just will not accept Canadians' opinions on this bill and change this badly drafted legislation?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 1:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Joan Crockatt Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member across the way knows that we all understand the New Democrats are trying to circulate their form letters out there right now.

We also understand that The Globe and Mail has said that there has hardly been a bill before Parliament that Canadians have been as strongly in support of as Bill C-51. That was before the four amendments we made after listening to what Canadians said.

This is what is being said against Canadians by ISIL:

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.

This is ISIL spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani. Canadians understand that threat, and that is why they support this bill.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 1:50 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, for my hon. friend from Calgary Centre, it is true that CSIS did not have the powers to disrupt plots, but the RCMP did. We have not been powerless. Nor have been helpless. We have measures to confront terrorist plots. That is why the members of the Toronto 18 were arrested and that is why the VIA Rail plot was disrupted.

We have consciously and deliberately set the RCMP up as the police agency in our country. CSIS was consciously and deliberately set up as intelligence gathering only. This is for the very good reason that we can create a lot more mischief and danger by having different police forces operating differently and not controlled by any pinnacle control. That is why so many security experts have said that this still makes us less safe.

On the point about propaganda, and it is the same point I would have hoped to have made for the member for Thornhill when he spoke, the bill does not specify that it is about jihadi propaganda. In fact, it uses terminology that is so vague that none of the legal experts appearing before committee could understand what it was intended to catch. It is about terrorism in general. Unlike our laws on hate speech and unlike our laws on child pornography, this bill would not exclude private conversations. Experts are concerned that the language in the bill around propaganda would prevent people from reaching out to others and preventing their radicalization.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 1:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Joan Crockatt Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to relate a little story for the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands because it might help her understand this bill more when she says that the RCMP already has powers of arrest.

There was an example in an airport where CSIS knew there was somebody who was a radical Islamic jihadist who was in the airport security. The agents could not do anything to arrest the individual, who was about to get on a plane. They had to have an offline conversation with the RCMP or with the security forces in the airport, telling them that they may want to walk through the waiting room and see if there was anyone they recognized there. Fortunately, that was done. That information was passed on and the person walked through the waiting room and was able to detain a radical about to get on a flight, who could very well have posed an extreme danger to Canadians.

This kind of thing just does not make sense to Canadians. Canadians wonder whether we already can share that kind of information between our security agency and our RCMP. The answer to that is no, but under this bill we could.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 1:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Ted Opitz Conservative Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House to speak in favour of this very important bill before us today.

The anti-terrorism act, 2015, is all about making Canadians safer. We must remember that the international jihadi movement has declared war on Canada and her allies. We heard my hon. colleague say that a little earlier in her speech. Canadians are being attacked; we have been attacked. We are being targeted solely because the jihadi terrorists hate our values. They hate our freedom and they do not want us to have it.

We must also remember what brought about this discussion. If we had asked most Canadians a year ago or more whether they wanted more action to protect our national security, they would likely have said that the previous strong actions by our Conservative government would have been enough. However, October 22 changed all of that. We were attacked twice in three days by admitted jihadi terrorists, in their own words.

Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo were killed in cold blood by jihadi terrorists. These attacks made it clear that our security legislation had to change and evolve with the times. Evidently, that is not clear to some.

The NDP member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin said that these attacks were merely unfortunate events. These comments are shocking and quite frankly offensive. I hope the member or the NDP leader will do the right thing and stand in his place and apologize to the families of the victims of these attacks.

Back to the topic at hand, I would like to highlight the fact that budget 2015 has invested nearly $300 million to combat jihadi terrorism. This is above and beyond the fact that we have increased our funding for national security agencies by one-third since coming to office.

Given that there has been a substantial amount of misinformation spread by the opposition, I would like to highlight, in the simplest terms, what exactly Bill C-51 would do.

The bill would allow for information possessed by one agency of the government to be shared by another agency of the government when national security would be at risk. It would modernize the passenger-protected program, colloquially known as the no-fly list. It would criminalize the production and distribution of jihadi terrorist propaganda. It would also give CSIS new tools to stop terrorist attacks before they happen. These are very common-sense measures that strike the right balance.

As members know, there is no liberty without security. Contrary to what has been suggested by many members of the NDP, it is ISIS and not CSIS that poses a threat to the lives and security of Canadians, and we in the House have a duty to look to that.

The first duty of any government is to protect the safety of its citizens, and that is exactly what our government will do. The bill would ensure that our police forces would have the tools they need to protect Canadians against the evolving threat of jihadi terrorists. I have spoken to police officers in Toronto and they have told me just that. They need this bill to pass. They need these tools.

We reject the argument that every time we talk about security, our freedoms are threatened. Canadians understand that their freedom and security go hand in hand. Canadians expect us to protect both, and there are safeguards in the legislation that would do exactly that.

The fundamental fact is that our police forces are working to protect our rights and our freedoms, and it is the jihadi terrorists who endanger our security, who would take away our freedoms in a heartbeat. We have only to look overseas to see what ISIS has been doing.

What is more, we will never apologize for taking jihadi propaganda out of circulation. In fact, if websites that provide content hosting services or other businesses are profiting from the dispersal of this type of horrific material, they should seriously reconsider their business model and their lack of commitment to the values that bind us as Canadians.

Across the 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. The bill would strengthen our niche in security and would benefit businesses as well as consumers.

I have heard the members of the NDP say that no experts support this important legislation, and that is simply not true. I would ask them if they do not believe that Justice John Major is an expert. He said, “I don't think Parliament is equipped as a body to act as an oversight, which is what is being proposed.”

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 3:05 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Ted Opitz Conservative Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I left off by remarking that I had heard members of the NDP stand in this place and say that no experts support this important legislation, Bill C-51.

I would ask them if they do not believe that Justice John Major is an expert, and he said:

I don't think Parliament is equipped as a body to act as an oversight body, which is what is being proposed.

I would ask what they think about former assistant director of CSIS Ray Boisvert, when he said C-51:

...will be a very effective tool to get...[jihadist propaganda] material off the Internet.

I would ask what they think about the Canadian Thinkers' Forum, which said:

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

The fact of the matter is that credible experts are fully in support of this very important legislation.

As my time is drawing to a close, I would like to draw my colleagues' attention to the most important thing I heard from witnesses who came to speak on the anti-terrorism act 2015. Louise Vincent, sister of slain Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent said:

Had Bill C-51 been in force on October 19...Martin Couture-Rouleau...would have been in prison, and my brother would not be dead.

That is probably the most poignant quote. That is what I will be keeping in mind when I vote on this legislation. I call on all members to put aside their ideology and support this important legislation on behalf and for all Canadians and all of Canada.