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 / 3:05 p.m.
See context

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am quite astonished that the hon. member would cite former Supreme Court justice John Major as someone in favour of this legislation. He is, as an expert, someone who does not think Parliamentary oversight is as effective as a national security advisor. That is what he repeated multiple times in his testimony, that this bill should not be passed without a national security advisor. In his own words he said that, from what he has seen with the present proposed legislation, nothing in the present proposed legislation is going to ensure adequate information sharing between the RCMP and CSIS.

In other words, the hon. member, no doubt through talking points about legislation with which he is barely familiar, has ignored the actual testimony of a former Supreme Court judge who has urged this House not to pass Bill C-51 in its current form.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 3:10 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Ted Opitz Conservative Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am astounded that the hon. member understands so very little. I used to be a member of the Canadian Forces and worked in a domestic operations cell, so I understand something of how our agencies work together and the co-operation and intelligence sharing that happens. I can say from my experience then and my experience today as a parliamentarian that this legislation is needed. It is common sense. We have arrived at a very different point in our history and we have to be nimble in our legislation and in the defence of our nation, our democracy, and our citizens. We have to modernize our security protocols so that all of our security agencies interact, so that all of our coordination is done with the sole intent of keeping Canadians safe and maintaining our security, our prosperity, and above all, our liberty.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 3:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member across the way, and he made reference to a specific quote by an individual. Therefore, I would like to get a sense of the government's position. Is it the government's position that, had this legislation that we are currently debating been in place, it would have prevented a life from being taken in either of the terrorist attacks last fall?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 3:10 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Ted Opitz Conservative Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is a distinct possibility, because as I spoke to this individual, it was noted and noticed that where the peace bond process comes in, if there is an opportunity to seize upon an individual ahead of the commission of a crime, or a potential crime in a terrorist context, that is indeed possible. I have spoken to our police in Toronto, in my area, and others who are involved in the intelligence field, and friends I have amongst police officers through long acquaintance and service with them, and I learned that this very important legislation would allow them to identify early anybody who is suspected of being in commission of a potential terrorist act and to intervene and interdict in order to protect Canadians.

I do not want to be the guy to have to explain why a whole bunch of people got killed when law enforcement would have been able to act sooner.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 3:10 p.m.
See context

NDP

Craig Scott NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am just following up on the question from our colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands.

I would like to ask my colleague from Etobicoke Centre whether or not he realizes that Mr. Justice John Major was one of the signatories to the letter from the four former prime ministers, including the Right Hon. Joe Clark, criticizing this bill and indicating that oversight and review must accompany the bill or it should not pass. Is he aware that Mr. Justice Major, whom he cited in support of the bill, was a signatory to that letter?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 3:10 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Ted Opitz Conservative Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have multiple quotes from multiple stakeholders across Canada, Justice Major being just one of them. We have all kinds of testimony from other stakeholders such as the former assistant director of CSIS, people in universities, and those who are acquainted with security protocols and study this for a living, including, as I just pointed out, Louise Vincent, who is possibly and probably the most poignant of these folks.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 3:10 p.m.
See context

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House once again to speak out against Bill C-51. Today, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl. I am proud to rise to make the Conservative government acknowledge the thousands of Canadians who are demonstrating against this bill every day.

On this side of the House, we hear them and we will not forget them. We are still trying to get the Conservative government to listen to reason and we will fight Bill C-51 to the end. We will not give up.

We have heard all kinds of surprises on both sides of the House with respect to Bill C-51, especially in the last few minutes, when one of my Conservative colleagues spoke about the witnesses who appeared before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

I cannot help but to respond to that, since my colleague claimed that former Supreme Court justice John Major was in favour of Bill C-51. This is a great example of how the Conservatives like to twist words in the debate on the content of the bill, the real consequences of Bill C-51 and the testimony given at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

John Major also signed a letter with other former Supreme court justices and former prime ministers in which they outright opposed Bill C-51. I would suggest that my colleague look at the blues to see what was said in the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

He could also simply read the letter that Mr. Major signed with other eminent Canadians who fiercely opposed Bill C-51. This led to an in-depth study, among others, carried out by other people who originally supported Bill C-51 but who then opposed it, explaining that they wanted to support a measure that protects us against terrorism and radicalization, but not a bill that goes this far and that violates our civil rights and freedoms.

I hope that members on the other side of the House will do their homework. Since we vote tomorrow evening, they still have a chance to change their minds and to vote with the official opposition to get rid of this bill, go back to the drawing board and come back with a more effective measure to truly combat terrorism and radicalization.

I do not have a lot of time to discuss the bill, but I really want to emphasize that more and more people across Canada are getting angry about this so-called anti-terrorism bill. What the Conservatives have really introduced is an anti-rights and anti-freedoms bill. Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Vancouver, Montreal and Quebec City. People have been demonstrating loudly in every city.

Thousands of people have signed online petitions against Bill C-51, and we have presented those petitions in the House of Commons. Eminent Canadians, former prime ministers, first nations leaders and aboriginal communities, members of environmental movements and very high-profile people also oppose Bill C-51. Recently, business people have also spoken out against this bill. Since the government likes to go on about how it always consults business people, it should consider their expert opinions on the consequences of this bill. Most of these people agree that Bill C-51 is both useless and dangerous.

Also, as I mentioned earlier during question period, I am concerned about the Conservative-Liberal alliance on this bill. Some Conservative members are boasting about protecting individual rights and freedoms, when they are completely undermining these same rights in this bill. Frankly, it is astonishing. In addition, the Liberals keep saying that they are staunchly defending the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, there are no similarities whatsoever between Bill C-51 and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Conservatives and the Liberals are talking out of both sides of their mouths.

Honestly, it is disappointing to see that the Liberals are trying to score political points with Bill C-51. Initially, people were in favour of the bill. However, the more we talked about it, the more people realized that the bill made no sense. Now, their strategy is backfiring on them.

I also deplore that the Conservatives are not listening to what the opposition has to say in the House, which is really regrettable. They have decided to limit debate several times and forced us to vote on time allocation motions. Therefore, we were required to limit debate on Bill C-51. In addition, we had to fight bitterly in committee to get a few hours with witnesses. If the Conservatives could have acted alone, without consulting anyone in committee and without conducting any studies, they would have. In fact, 45 of the 48 witnesses who testified before the committee told us that Bill C-51 should be amended or completely scrapped, and that we should go back to the drawing board. What did the Conservatives do?

All the opposition parties proposed over 100 amendments, and only three were accepted. What party proposed those three minor amendments? Of course, it was the Conservative Party. None of the amendments put forward by the opposition was accepted. There is nothing in the bill that was mentioned by the witnesses. We, on the other hand, based our proposals on what the witnesses said. We tried to fix anything in Bill C-51 that could have been fixed. The Conservatives systematically refused every amendment put forward by the opposition. Clearly, they want to go it alone. They absolutely refuse to listen to any criticisms of this bill. It is sad, because ultimately, this is going to backfire on them. I am thinking of the extremely important discussions we had with eminent professors. Craig Forcese and the Canadian Bar Association come to mind, as well. At committee, I asked them if the bill was constitutional in its current form. That is perhaps the very first thing the government should examine closely before introducing a bill. The witnesses told me that large parts of the bill are unconstitutional. The bill will not stand up in court.

That raised the ire of Canadians across the country. This bill will end up before the courts and they will show that it is unconstitutional. As a federal government, its first order of business was to verify whether the bill it is introducing is constitutional and this government did not even do that. According to experts, Bill C-51 is unconstitutional. I hesitate to say that this is incompetence, but it is not far from it.

The members across the way keep saying that Bill C-51 contains vital tools that the police have been asking them for. That is not so. The number one thing that the police forces and our institutions have been asking for is money. I talked to a number of police officers. We could restart the study and rehear the experts in committee. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Border Services Agency, and the municipal and provincial police are saying that the police services desperately need money. Some even told us that they could see that certain actions could well lead to terrorism. Unfortunately, they cannot do anything about it because they do not have enough manpower to deal with it. It is very serious.

There have been several arrests. I must point out the incredible work done by members of the RCMP, among others, in recent months. Several preventive arrests related to acts of terrorism have been made. We must point that out. Arrests are being made, but there could be more if they had the money they need.

Personally, I was expecting that there would be a sizeable amount of money in the 2015 federal budget in order to fight terrorism. Unfortunately, that is not the case. There is an envelope of less than $300 million for the RCMP, the Border Services Agency and the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency. This will not be disbursed before 2017. In the meantime, these three agencies have less than $20 million to combat terrorism.

I do not want to be lectured about how Bill C-51 contains vital tools. The basic problem is funding. This shows that the government is unwilling to listen to the agencies that work on the ground.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 3:20 p.m.
See context

NDP

Marc-André Morin NDP Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, for the past few days, we have been treated to a show of mental gymnastics. The government is trying to convince us that our rights will be protected by a law that actually seeks to eclipse them. That makes no sense. We have learned one thing, and that is the difference between the Liberals and the Conservatives. In fact, they both want to make the same mistake, except the Liberals claim that they are aware of it. That is all we have learned to date.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 3:25 p.m.
See context

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Laurentides—Labelle for once again pointing out that the Conservatives and the Liberals are united on Bill C-51.

When it comes to rights and freedoms, there is a less obvious problem that comes to mind. I did not get much of a chance to talk about it in my speech. I am talking about the Security Intelligence Review Committee. Although the members of this committee are good at what they do, their powers are not broad enough. This has to do with our rights and freedoms. Bill C-51 gives a lot of powers to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, as was the case with Bill C-44 a few months ago. The problem is that the additional powers given to CSIS do not come with a proper oversight mechanism. In its current form, the Security Intelligence Review Committee only conducts a review after the fact. From the beginning we have been asking for ongoing oversight to ensure that our rights and freedoms are protected at all times.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 3:25 p.m.
See context

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague who was fortunate enough—I am not sure if that is the right word—to sit on the committee. It is clear that this is a partisan bill, to say the least, if not outright propaganda. I would say that normally, one great thing about our democratic system is that bills are sent to a committee, where each party is called upon to improve it. If we did not choose to introduce the bill, we can at least try to improve it.

My question is very simple. I know that the NDP proposed some amendments to improve this bill, even though the party essentially agreed with it. How many amendments were accepted by the Conservative government?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 3:25 p.m.
See context

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Trois-Rivières for his question. This is a problem we have run into in most committees during studies of most Conservative government bills.

How many NDP amendments were accepted? None. How many Liberal Party amendments were accepted? None. How many Green Party amendments were accepted? None. How many Bloc Québécois amendments were accepted? None. How many amendments from independent MPs were accepted? None. How many amendments were accepted in total? Three. Who proposed them? Conservatives, of course. Moreover, they were minor amendments that changed absolutely nothing about Bill C-51.

Anyone can see that this is clearly a bill that we should all have been able to work on together, especially since we are constantly being reminded about what happened on Parliament Hill on October 22. When that happened, we all agreed to work together to combat terrorism, radicalization and incidents like that one. However, the Conservatives decided to work in isolation, all by themselves. They made all kinds of lovely promises and kept bringing up that incident. They started by politicizing the debate. Then they decided not to work with the opposition, which is totally unacceptable. They also decided not to listen to the majority of the witnesses. I would like to remind my colleagues across the way that 45 of the 48 witnesses clearly stated that the bill needed to be amended substantially or sent back to the drawing board. If that is not working in isolation, I do not know what is.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 3:25 p.m.
See context

NDP

Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, I stand in opposition to Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism act, 2015. Unfortunately, terrorism is a real threat. It cannot be denied. It is a reality of life, even here in Canada.

Public safety must be a top priority of government. There is no debate on that point. However, what the whole debate comes down to, in its simplest form, is summed up in a quote from the leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, the leader of Her Majesty's loyal opposition, that I repeat often: “[W]e cannot protect our freedoms by sacrificing them”. We cannot protect sacred Canadian freedoms by sacrificing those sacred Canadian freedoms.

This bill would give more power to the government agencies responsible for protecting Canadians, but it would give that power without increased oversight. It would be unchecked power, and that is a threat to freedom.

I was a journalist in my previous life. I was a newspaper man. I liked to say that if you cut me, I would bleed ink. These days, I would probably bleed a radio clip. I savour the freedom I had as a journalist and as a columnist to go where the story took me, to write what needed to be written, and to say what needed to be said. I was not in the business for the money, that is for sure. That is not what drove me.

In the mid 2000s, I was the editor-in-chief of a weekly newspaper called The Independent. My last task every week, after the rest of the paper had been edited and put to bed, was to write my own column, an opinion piece called “Fighting Newfoundlander”. Before I wrote that column, I would ask myself one simple question, just one, and it was this: What am I afraid to say? Then I would say it. I would write it.

I miss that freedom as a member of Parliament. There is no freedom I hold in higher regard. However, I savour freedom in general. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, the people I represent in St. John's South—Mount Pearl, and all Canadians should not have to choose between their security and their rights, or their security and their freedom. That is the Prime Minister's false choice. The Prime Minister goes too far in putting politics ahead of principle and in putting fear ahead of freedom.

I want to return for a moment to October 22, 2014. It was my oldest son's 19th birthday. It was also the day of the shootings on Parliament Hill. I remember speaking to my son on a telephone from a safe room in the East Block after the gunfire in Centre Block. We had been evacuated from the caucus room. I remember telling my son that I was safe and that everyone around me was alive, and happy birthday.

I remember what I call my foxhole moment, lying on the floor of the caucus room, hiding behind an overturned table and locking eyes with Glenn Thibeault, the then-member of parliament for Sudbury. Like everyone else around us, we did not know what was happening. We knew that there was gunfire just outside the door. I imagine that Glenn Thibeault saw in my eyes what I saw in his eyes: terror, the fear of being shot, and the fear of being killed. That is what I mean by my foxhole moment. My foxhole moment was, of all places, in the Parliament of Canada.

The next day, Parliament resumed sitting, and I was proud. I could not be prouder of the way the country responded in the wake of such terror and tragedy. All leaders spoke in the House. All leaders embraced the nation. The nation embraced them. The Prime Minister made a statement that I have repeated often. He said:

In our system, in our country, we are opponents but we are never enemies.

In this House, we are united by the desire to better our country. As opponents, we disagree on how to get there, but we all strive for a better Canada and a better Newfoundland and Labrador. I like to think that anyway. We are opponents, but we are never enemies.

However, the Prime Minister said something immediately after the October 22 attack on Parliament Hill. He gave a statement that I thought foreshadowed where we are today and why I have such reservations about the bill. The Prime Minister called the shooter a terrorist, and he described the terrible event as a terrorist attack. In fact, in a statement, he said:

...this will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts and those of our national security agencies to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats, and keep Canada safe here at home.

He said “all necessary steps”, but this bill is a step too far. It was almost as if the government was looking for an excuse to proceed with its agenda, and it had found an excuse in the October 22 shooting.

Bill C-51 would allow all federal departments and agencies to share information that may be relevant to national security, information not just on terrorist attacks, and to share that information with Canadian intelligence and law enforcement agencies. However, Bill C-51 would still compromise the basic principle of privacy rights in Canada. That basic principle is this: information should only be used for the purpose for which it was collected.

Although our spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and the RCMP are governed by the Privacy Act in their collection, use, and disclosure of information, many of the departments and agencies that would now be allowed to share information with them are not covered by these laws. The Privacy Commissioner is concerned that the bill would allow information on many law-abiding Canadians, as most of us are, to be collected and shared with law enforcement without reasonable cause and would potentially allow the government to build personal profiles on each and every one of us.

An even bigger concern is who exactly would keep an eye on who is keeping an eye on us. Bill C-51 would give CSIS greater powers but would not correspondingly expand oversight of CSIS, and without proper oversight, the door would be wide open for abuse, the abuse of our basic Canadian freedoms.

On top of the lack of oversight, the Conservative government continues to cut the budgets of those agencies on the front line against terrorist threats, including the RCMP and CSIS. They have both had their budgets cut each year, starting in 2012. The RCMP saw its spending decrease by $420 million between 2009 and 2014. The budget at CSIS was cut by $44 million between 2012 and 2013. The government cut the tools it already had to fight terrorism, and now it is increasing the scope of CSIS but would provide no further oversight of the process.

Questions have also been raised about the bill with respect to the question of what constitutes a threat to the security of Canada, especially with the terms being so broad and oversight being so inadequate. There are concerns that under the legislation, environmental or first nations groups that set up a picket line or blockade could be interrupted by CSIS. Experts warn that legitimate dissent could be lumped in with terrorism, and that is not very Canadian. It is absolutely un-Canadian. It may be Conservative, but it is not Canadian.

Questions have been raised too about how journalists, satirists, artists, and others who report on or mock statements about terrorism may be impacted by the bill. Could there come a day when a columnist asks himself or herself, “What am I afraid to write”, and then makes sure that he or she does not write that? In the words of Benjamin Franklin: “People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both”.

We must not allow that to happen. Our Canadian freedoms are not for trade. The Conservative government has forgotten that, which is why it has to go.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Conservative

Robert Goguen ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the hon. member's speech. He spoke much about terrorists and satirists. I wonder, perhaps, if he may be a satirist himself. I noticed that he commented that he was amazed to hear the Prime Minister say that the October 22 incident was a terrorist attack. I guess I have three questions for the member.

Was he in the opposition room on October 22? Has he seen the bullet holes that have been left in the door of that same room? If this was not a terrorist attack on October 22, exactly what was it?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, I was in this place on October 22 when the attack occurred. I was in the caucus room, down the Hall of Honour, right across from the Conservative caucus room.

I have had many tours. I have brought many people from St. John's South—Mount Pearl for tours of Parliament since then. What everyone wants to see are the bullet holes, the bullet hole in the door to the Library of Parliament and the bullet hole from the bullet that went right through the door of our caucus room and lodged in the soundproofing cushioned door on the inside. People want to see that.

Have I seen the bullet holes? I have seen the bullet holes. Was that a terrorist attack? The Prime Minister made a statement on the night of the shooting, and he called this man a terrorist. He called this a terrorist attack, but as far as anybody knew right then, this was a deranged individual, an individual with problems. The red flags went off in my mind immediately.

It was immediately branded as a terrorist attack. We did not know that. From my perspective, it was the Conservative government using this for its own agenda. Its own agenda is what we have in front of us today, Bill C-51.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 3:40 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is in regard to oversight. The government seems to want to give the impression to Canadians that oversight is being provided through our judicial system. Yet in other nations, particularly the Five Eyes nations, of which Canada is a part, as opposed to judicial oversight there is parliamentary oversight, something we in the Liberal Party have been advocating.

I wonder if the member might comment as to why it is important that Canada have parliamentary oversight as opposed to the judicial oversight model the government is proposing.