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 / 3:40 p.m.
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NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, what is parliamentary oversight? I guess it is the ability of parliamentarians to provide oversight on bills.

I have seen so many examples of how this Prime Minister and the government have complete contempt for Parliament, complete contempt for parliamentarians. There is the number of times it has introduced closure or time allocation on bills, which I understand is the most in history. It has done it 100 times, more than any other government in history. The government, all it has is contempt.

Nothing could come sooner than October 19, election day, when we will get rid of the majority Conservative government. Parliamentary oversight? What is that?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

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

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, in a sense, the bullets that were fired in this place have gone through the heart of our very charter.

The reality of the damage being done here is that this shooter has succeeded. His attack on Parliament was meant to diminish this Parliament, to diminish the value of this Parliament, and by putting this law into place, that is exactly what we are doing.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

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

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

Mr. Speaker, the member just made a statement. The bullets fired in this place went right through the very heart of the charter.

They went through doors. There were bullets lodged in walls. However, the damage done that day, done to this Parliament, is what we are seeing manifest in Bill C-51. It is unforgivable.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

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

Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to engage in this debate. Before I do, I will let the House know that I will be splitting my time with the hard-working member for Edmonton Centre.

I have before me the bill. One of the important pieces of Bill C-51 comes in the preamble of the bill. It says:

Whereas activities that undermine the security of Canada are often carried out in a clandestine, deceptive or hostile manner, are increasingly global, complex and sophisticated, and often emerge and evolve rapidly...

We have an obligation in Parliament to ensure that when we ask our law enforcement agencies and our security intelligence services to deal with these ever-evolving, complex and changing threats, we provide them the mechanisms to do so. To ask them to keep up with the evolution of these threats and the sophistication of them with one hand tied behind their backs is irresponsible as a government, unfair to them and unfair to all Canadians.

To assure everyone, and the Canadians participating by watching this debate, in the preamble itself and embedded throughout the 63 pages of Bill C-51, all of which I have read, studied and gone over multiple times, it states that information that is relevant to “the security of Canada is to be shared in a manner that is consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the protection of privacy”. That is embedded in the very beginning of the legislation and it is consistent throughout the bill in a number of the sections. I am sure I will have time to go over those with some of the questions members may pose for me.

Canadians want strong action to deal with the jihadi terrorists who exist today globally and who are affecting our country. That is exactly what we would do with the anti-terrorism act, 2015 and why I am proud to support it.

The bill would do four concrete things. It would create a mechanism for internal government information sharing for the purpose of protecting national security. It would modernize the passenger protect program that is colloquially known as the “no fly list”. It would criminalize the production and dissemination of jihadist propaganda. It would also give CSIS some new tools to stop terrorist threats before they end in tragedy.

The fact is that the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada and her allies. Canadians are being targeted by terrorists simply because they hate our society and the values it represents. Jihadi terrorism is not a human right; it is an act of war.

It is why our government has put forward measures to protect Canadians against jihadi terrorists who seek to destroy the very principles that make Canada the best country in the world in which to live. That is also why Canada is no longer sitting on the sidelines. Some of us would prefer that we do that instead of joining our allies in supporting the coalition in the fight against ISIL. Our government believes it is not right to sit on the sidelines, that we have an obligation and a duty to act, and we will.

Our government has increased resources available to our police by one-third and we have allocated more resources to CSIS, the RCMP and CBSA by almost $300 million to bolster our front-line services in our efforts to counter terrorism. Our government will continue to ensure that our police forces have the resources they need to keep Canadians safe.

I would like to focus my remarks on the new powers for CSIS to disrupt threats before they happen. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, some of these changes are very much common sense.

Oftentimes CSIS agents are positioned to intervene at an early stage because they primarily operate in the pre-criminal space when the terrorist attack is being planned. However, shockingly, in current day agents are prohibited from taking any action to disrupt those plots. They can only collect information.

I will read a quote from Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, the president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. He said in committee, “It's amazing to me that disrupting is currently prohibited. Remember, disrupting doesn't mean you're arresting these individuals. You're not violating their personal property rights. You're just taking them out of commission. You're actually disrupting a plot”.

I think to all Canadians, it would seem common sense, that when our security intelligence services have information that they have reasonable grounds to believe there is a terrorist plot in the making, they would then have the ability to somehow disrupt that plot.

Sometimes that kind of action boils down to things as simple as approaching parents and speaking with them about a family member or a child who CSIS believes is becoming radicalized. Imagine, present day, when our security intelligence services knows this information, there is no provision in law for them to go into the home, engage in discussion and then engage in a plan to deal with that information and stop the radicalization to prevent it from manifesting itself further. I think Canadians would be alarmed to know that information could not allow our security intelligence services to take a simple step of talking with families or people in our country to prevent a terrorist threat.

We might hear instances where they currently do that, but that is in the context of their present mandate of intelligence gathering rather than actual threat disruption. These are examples of threat disruption that do not require a warrant and are currently legal for anyone to do. It would not make sense for CSIS officers to require warrants in order to ask parents to speak to their children or engage in conversations in online chat rooms, which are becoming more and more the mode of communication in our present day technological world.

As clearly outlined in the bill, CSIS would need a judicially-approved warrant for anything that would infringe on the rights of an individual or any activity that could be contrary to law. Furthermore, the judge would need to be convinced that such powers were reasonable and proportional to the threat. In fact, in those sections there are more than four stages of approach that officers have to go through prior to those warrants being authorized. Those stages are far more onerous and detailed than any other provision in criminal law that a regular law enforcement officer needs to go through. How do I know that? I have done those myself as a law enforcement officer.

The provisions contained in the bill in terms of the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency first even reaching the approval stage to take that matter before a judge is one full stage. The officers then have to demonstrate to a judge that all of the conditions would be met for a warrant to be authorized. There are no less than eight conditions for that step to take place. The judge then has the opportunity to accept or deny that request or ask for greater information and modify it. If a warrant is authorized by the judge, CSIS officers who have sought the warrant then have to ensure, under legislation, that the conditions for which the warrant was granted still exist prior to taking any action. Therefore, there are four different levels with multiple conditions under each level to ensure effective and proper oversight of the granting of any action.

I know the opposition wants to fearmonger and suppose that now CSIS can all of a sudden get warrants to interrupt and access the information of Canadians or stomp all over their rights. This is a four-stage process, including final judicial review, that puts onerous and legislative conditions on CSIS officers.

I know I have limited time left, but I know Bill C-51 would ensure the right balance between the protection and preservation of the freedom of Canadians, while at the same time ensure that our law enforcement and security service agencies have the tools they need in a modern context so they can stop these threats that, as I mentioned in the preamble of this bill, are ever-evolving, global in nature and changing daily. It is our obligation as a responsible government to ensure they have the tools to do their job to keep Canadians safe, while preserving everybody's collective freedom.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 3:50 p.m.
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NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was just at a meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance, where they are currently studying the obviously illegal financing of terrorist activities.

In preparation, I read the testimonies of people who had appeared, including a former RCMP officer who said that RCMP officers simply do not have the knowledge required to fight illegal financing, for instance. They are not specialists, but rather generalists. When they become specialists, they are promoted elsewhere.

He also said that there was no money. Bob Paulson, the RCMP commissioner, said the same thing, that the RCMP does not have the funds it needs. It has to transfer resources from the organized crime section to the fight against terrorism. It seems to me that there is a problem here.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 3:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes the need to continually invest in the front-line law enforcement service, but, as the member rightfully pointed out, in every aspect and on every occasion, the RCMP does not have all the tools it needs to combat terrorism. One of the tools we are able to provide it is greater legislation. That is part of it. It is not all about money. It is not all about financial resources. Sometimes it is about policies and legislation, and Bill C-51 reflects that.

Bill C-51 also has an essential element, which is to build critical partnerships between law enforcement and security service agencies. If we were to ask the RCMP to do this on its own, it is already behind the game. However, the bill would allow information sharing between departments so all departments in the Canadian government could ensure they were partnered in this to identify and help protect and prevent these threats.

That is why we have allowed additional authority for CSIS, so one agency is not on its own trying to deal with a threat that is global in nature, sophisticated and rapidly evolving. It is not responsible for us to expect one agency in the Government of Canada to do it on its own and the bill would ensure that all agencies could work together effectively. That is what Canadians expect, and that is what we are delivering.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 3:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I believe a great number of Canadians were quite surprised at the degree to which we had seen the radicalization of Canadian citizens. One of the areas of concern that my constituents and, I suspect, many people have is how the legislation would impact websites and the Internet.

Given the member's background, I would ask him, in layman's language, to best explain how he feels this legislation would help law enforcement officers, in particular, and others to deal with the issue of the Internet and the potential radicalization through the Internet.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 3:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, in layman's terms, it would allow different agencies, such as CSIS, on one hand, to identify propaganda information that tries to recruit or promote terrorism activity that is being disseminated online or being utilized in blogs for a direct or generalized targeting of Canadians for the purpose of terrorism growth, enhancement and recruitment. Where law enforcement agencies did not have the ability in the past to intercept or act on them, whether it is CSIS or the RCMP, this legislation would allow those agencies to identify them. There is a portal now, and a hope and a reason, for Canadians to report the online dissemination, promotion or recruitment of Canadians using these new technologies.

As the bill states, the ever-evolving threat is coming more and more in the form of this broad-based dissemination in the technological world, in any form of social media, whether it is Facebook, the Internet, Twitter, whatever it happens to be. This would give our law enforcement agencies the tools to identify and interrupt that when they arrive.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 3:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise today to discuss the anti-terrorism act, 2015, or as we know it, Bill C-51.

I am proud to support this legislation. It is important legislation that would keep Canadians safe from jihadi terrorists. It is a part of the puzzle.

The focus of my remarks today is Canadian values.

Some members of the opposition have said that the bill before us today would somehow violate Canadian values, that it would stop protests, and that it would cause the incarceration of aboriginals and environmentalists. These arguments are, of course, nonsense. The vast majority of people who have complained to me about Bill C-51 have never even taken the time to read it. They get their information from the Internet, which is not exactly the font of all knowledge.

If we look at the text of the legislation, in several parts it states clearly, for all those who bothered to read it, that protest, dissent and artistic expression are not to be targeted. They are not to be targeted by any part of this bill. The only thing that is targeted is terrorism.

Let us look at amendments to the Criminal Code regarding the distribution of jihadist propaganda. It says right in the bill that it is about promotion of terrorist offences. These are violent acts that put the lives and property of Canadians in danger.

The opposition has said that we are limiting freedom of speech. Well, freedom of speech does not include promoting the killing of innocents simply because they have not adopted the killer's perverted view of religion. We will never apologize for taking jihadi propaganda out of circulation, and in my view, the opposition should certainly not advocate for retaining it.

Several NDP members have cited an op-ed by some high-tech business owners critical of the bill. I admit that it is nice to see the NDP supporting business in some way, but I digress. I would suggest that if websites providing 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 lack of commitment to the values that bind us as Canadians.

Let us look at what experts had to say about this portion of the bill.

Ms. Raheel Raza, President of the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, said, “legislation is important” to combat radicalization and that we need better tools to track jihadists who travel overseas. She also said:

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

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy said, “By beginning to focus on those who “may” commit, you will begin to hold accountable not just the jihadists on the field of armed jihad but the jihadists in the stands who are cheering on the field warriors about to plant an explosive. You will begin to finally hold accountable the neo-jihadists at the pulpits and in the social media who glorify militant Islamism and demonize Canada, Canadians, your protection forces and your government.”

Mr. Ray Boisvert, former assistant director of CSIS said:

I think it will be a very effective tool to get that material off the Internet.

Those are the facts. We must take this material out of circulation. The culture that accepts and normalizes the transmission of material like “kill the infidels wherever they may be” is not compatible with Canadian values. The fact that members of the opposition reject this common sense argument is simply astounding. These types of comments coming from the NDP, and the Liberals to some extent, simply underline the fundamental difference in how we approach the protection of Canadians and Canadian values.

The Liberals, who I believe are going to support the bill, have said that revoking the passports of those who are seeking to travel for the purposes of committing acts of terrorism runs against Canadian values. Well, for me, a Canadian value is not cutting off the head of those one disagrees with, like the so-called Islamic State.

If the Liberals reject that value comparison, I guess that speaks for itself. However, I suspect it is not terribly surprising that the Liberal Party may have such a shallow view of legislation to protect national security. After all, this is the same party whose leader made juvenile phallic quips about the size of CF-18s during the debate on sending our young women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces into battle in Iraq and Syria.

The NDP members are certainly no better. They have voted to allow terrorists to travel overseas to engage in terrorism without criminal consequence. They have voted against allowing victims of terrorism to receive compensation, and they have voted seven times against increasing resources for the RCMP and CSIS.

This is a shameful record that Canadians will remember for quite some time. We have not listened to them and we are taking action to dramatically increase the resources available for the RCMP, CSIS and SIRC.

The fact of the matter is that the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada. Canadians are being targeted by jihadi terrorists simply because these terrorists hate our society and the values it represents and the actions we have taken to protect the people who share our values.

Jihadi terrorism is not a human right; it is an act of war. That is why our government has put forward measures to protect Canadians against jihadi terrorists who seek to destroy the very principles that make Canada the best country in the world to live in. It is also why Canada is not sitting on the sidelines as some would have us do. It is instead joining our allies in supporting the international coalition in the fight against ISIL.

I am extremely proud of the men and women serving the cause of freedom in Iraq and Syria from their bases in Iraq and Kuwait. I am proud to know many of them personally.

Further, our government has already increased the resources to our police forces by one third. The Liberals and NDP voted against those increases each step of the way.

Now, budget 2015 will further increase resources to CSIS, the RCMP and CBSA by almost $300 million to bolster our front-line efforts to counter terrorism. Our government will continue to ensure that our police forces have the resources they need to help keep Canadians safe.

In the aftermath of 9/11, we learned that if only the security and other agencies in the United States had been talking to each other and sharing information, that awful tragedy would not have happened. Can we all imagine what the world would look like today without 9/11? It is hard to imagine. Regrettably, I think that the perpetrators of 9/11 would have simply tried to find a different soft spot through which to inflict their poison and terror. We cannot let Canada be that soft spot.

What we are proposing with Bill C-51 will simply bring us up to the same level of institutional capacity and operational interaction that is enjoyed by our Five Eyes allies: Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Our Conservative government is standing up for the protection of Canadians from those who wish to harm us. We will continue to take strong action in this regard, while the NDP and Liberals obstruct and oppose these important measures every step of the way.

The issue of the security of Canadians today and in generations to follow is too important to not be taken very seriously.

I hope that some members on the other side of the House will reject the demands of the big union bosses in the opposition leader's office and will vote with their constituents and with their consciences in support of this important legislation.

What Canadians can count on is this government's support for the values that brought us through many dark days of other conflicts, like the Second World War in Europe, the end of which, 70 years ago, we celebrate this week. The people of the Netherlands could count on Canadians then and Canadians can count on us now.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 4:05 p.m.
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NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, I just heard the words “vote with their constituents”. The timing is good because in only a few minutes, I received a dozen tweets from people in my riding asking me to vote against Bill C-51.

I will vote the way the people are asking me to, and they are asking me to vote against it. The more people hear about this bill, the more they oppose it.

I imagine that the hon. member also has constituents in his riding who wrote him to ask him to vote against Bill C-51.

Well, will he vote “for his constituents”?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, our constituents will react to whatever we have been telling them in a lot of respects. Frankly, I have been telling the truth to constituents. Here is the bill and here is what they have objected to.

First of all, I ask my constituents if they have actually read the bill and can identify the part of the bill that gives them concern; and 99 times out of 100 they cannot because they have not read the bill. They are listening to special interest groups or people with ideologies that they are perfectly within their rights to have. I do not deny that.

However, when people actually read the bill, actually understand it, actually sit down and debate it, most Canadians agree that we do need to protect Canadians from terrorism, that just because we are taking measures to enhance national security does not automatically mean that we are decreasing freedoms. That just does not compute.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened attentively to the member's speech. He seems to have forgotten that it was a Liberal government that brought in the anti-terrorism act and he seems to have also forgotten that two or three years ago, the Liberal opposition supported the reintroduction of preventative arrests, which had sunsetted under the anti-terrorism act.

My question has to do more with how we ensure that any bill meant to protect the safety and security of Canadians is effective in the sense that it would not create an abuse of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which would then lead to the bill being challenged and weakened. That is a problem. When we have a bill that aims to achieve something, if it is then challenged and struck down by the courts and weakened, we have not achieved our objective.

I think it is very important that measures be taken to ensure that the bill would be solid against a challenge.

I would like to hear why the member feels the bill will not be challenged and that the courts will always agree with the bill, in all aspects.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 4:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I was too hard on the Liberals. I should not do that because I believe they are going to support the bill, ultimately, and I do acknowledge that, at times in the past, they have done the right thing. We hope they will continue to do that.

With respect to challenges, we cannot tell somebody not to challenge a bill. That is perfectly within anybody's rights. If they feel strongly enough about it, they can do that. We believe the bill would withstand that kind of challenge. There is oversight in the bill and we do trust the judiciary. There is judicial oversight before the fact. There is SIRC review after the fact. We just doubled the SIRC budget and the complement of people on SIRC is now up to full strength. There is considerable oversight before and review afterwards, so we believe that the bill would withstand a challenge, which I agree is probably inevitable. This is the kind of measure that does not sit with everybody.

This may sound odd, but the great thing about Canada is we have never had to face this kind of challenge on our shores. Please do not take this the wrong way, but I guess the difficulty with Canada, or Canadians, is we have never had to face this kind of challenge on our own shores and we just do not get it yet. We started to get it on October 20 and October 22. I think most Canadians continue to get it, and we do have to do something about it in a preventative way so that we do not have to face this kind of thing on our shores.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 4:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and speak again to Bill C-51, which is drawing to the conclusion of the parliamentary process.

I have had a lot of feedback from constituents in Vancouver Quadra. There has been positive feedback. There have been people who have said that the measured approach which the Liberals have taken gives them confidence, that the Liberal Party is the only party whose members are really talking about both the importance of improving security measures for our country and the importance of privacy and civil liberties, and how that balance would go forward together, hand in hand, under a potential Liberal government. Others have communicated with me their concerns about Bill C-51 and so I want to address those concerns.

Before I get into that, though, I do want to say that this bill is a signature strategy of the Conservative government and the Prime Minister. That strategy is to package some positive elements of public policy together with some negative elements of public policy in one bill for political and partisan reasons. The reason would be to make an effort to divide the progressive vote.

The government wants to fragment the centre-left voters for the purpose of holding onto power. That is the intention of the Conservatives' omnibus bills. They put positive elements in a bill that has some very negative elements, and they force other parties to choose apparently to reject the positive elements by voting against the bill because of its negative elements, or to choose to accept unacceptable elements in order to signal support for the positive elements. The Conservative government has taken the view that bad public policy of packaging bills this way is worthwhile to pursue its own partisan interests for its own potential re-electability.

I would say to any citizen who is following this debate to think very carefully about what the Conservative government and the Prime Minister are trying to do with this bill. What the Prime Minister wants the progressive voter to do is to split the centre-left vote so that the Prime Minister can be returned to power in the next election. Voters should think very carefully about whether they are falling into that trap, and whether their vote and campaigns on this bill are exactly what was intended by the Prime Minister, for whom partisan gamesmanship always trumps good public policy.

I can think of several other bills that were this kind of packaging of positive elements with negative elements in order to jam opposition members and to be able to later say that members voted against this, that and the other, should the opposition members decide not to support a bill because it has some landmines in it, some points of bad public policy.

One of the examples of that kind of tactic is what I would call the Internet snooping bill. That is the bill on which the Conservative minister of the day stood in this House and asserted that opposition members were either with the Conservatives or they were with the child pornographers. That kind of approach did not sit so well with the Canadian public. There was an outcry at that kind of partisan simplification, especially on a bill such as that, which had some real weakening of Canadians' rights and which eventually the government had to withdraw because of the outcry.

The government has done the same thing with the cyberbullying bill. Again, it packaged positive things, defending young people from cyberbullying, but also included attacks on their rights and privacy with respect to access to the Internet and social media.

In the first example that I gave, the Internet snooping bill, the Liberals were positioned to vote against the bill. In the second case, the cyberbullying bill, the Liberals elected to vote for the bill because of its positive elements to protect young people from cyberbullying, although we were not in favour of some of the elements of enhanced access to Canadians' private information.

This bill, Bill C-51, is part of that long lineage of the shamelessly bad public policy on the part of the Conservative government in order to pursue partisan objectives. The Liberals are voting for this bill because of the positive elements, and we have laid out our amendments, representing our concern about the undermining of charter rights and freedoms and privacy in Bill C-51.

Permit me first to reinforce that the Liberal Party of Canada is the party that brought in the first anti-terrorism legislation after the 9/11 attacks, so we do support reasonable provisions for our security services. The Liberals have been in government, unlike the NDP, so we have members who have been inside with top security clearance and who are aware that there are real security threats to Canadians, and that it is important for a government to respond to that. After all, it is a primary objective of any government to provide for the collective security of the members of its society, and the Liberals take that responsibility very seriously.

While the Conservatives may inflate the true risks to members of our society here in Canada based on the instances of the terrorist attacks last fall, there have been some real changes to the threats to Canadians, and the Liberals accept that. We acknowledge that, and we want to see security improved to reflect that.

It used to be that a terrorist threat was more like the one that occurred on 9/11, with an organized attempt to create damage here in our country. That is still a threat that we need to guard against. In addition, the use of social media and the kinds of campaigns to radicalize young people that are being conducted by Daesh, or ISIS, are new channels for terrorist activities and threats. Therefore, it is reasonable and appropriate, and I would say it is necessary, for the government to respond and to reduce access to those channels. That is what Bill C-51 would do. That is why the Liberals are supporting this bill.

The kinds of provisions that would be brought in by this bill include provisions which, had they been in place last fall, could well have saved the life of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. In thinking about how to respond to a bill that deliberately puts security improvements in with other measures that are not respectful of the privacy and other rights of Canadians, it is important to think about human life. The provisions for privacy and for human rights could be amended by a future government that acknowledges the importance of those principles. Clearly, the Conservative government does not, because it has never talked about them as a priority in any way.

However, should someone die as a result of an incident that could have been prevented by improving security, that is something that can never be undone. That is one reason we believe that this bill should go forward.

The Liberals brought forward a number of amendments to make this bill better and to address our concerns with respect to security and civil liberties. After all, we are the party of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We are the party that brought in the charter, and celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2012, unlike the Conservatives who refused to acknowledge the anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

What many citizens are not aware of is that the government did approve a number of amendments in response to issues raised by the public and by the Liberal Party of Canada. The government removed the word “lawful” from before the words “advocacy and protest” so that legitimate forms of demonstration are not captured by this legislation.

The government's amendments narrowed the scope of information sharing from “with any person for any purpose” to 17 government departments and agencies, therefore restricting the possibility for abuse. It amended this bill to limit and clarify the minister's intervention powers over Canadian airlines. Furthermore, the government clarified in law that CSIS is not a police agency and has no power of arrest.

The government has come partway toward the public's and the Liberals' concerns about lack of protection of privacy and charter rights. These are necessary and welcome changes, but they are not enough. Additional changes are needed to protect citizens' rights and privacy.

Canada is the only nation of its kind without national security oversight being carried out by parliamentarians. Canada's response to terrorism must also include a robust plan for preventing radicalization before it takes root.

The current government has not adequately legislated transparency and accountability measures into this bill. The Liberal Party is committed to making those improvements. We are committed to providing national security oversight, not just for CSIS but for the collection of government agencies and departments that have security and intelligence responsibilities.

We are committed to bringing in a robust form of prevention so that young people, usually young men but more and more young women, who are at risk of being attracted to radical ideologists and promoting terrorism here at home can actually have the support that is needed to change that path. Engaging with rather than marginalizing communities, for example the Muslim community, is a very important objective of the Liberal Party. Our party has committed funds, as well as having a plan to strengthen protection and prevention of radicalization in Canada.

Furthermore, the Liberal Party would sunset this entire bill in three years. That would provide a time period to see which of the concerns the public and the experts have are actually real concerns and which ones are theoretical. Within three years, there would be a full review of this bill under a Liberal government with improvements put in place as necessary.

I would like to point out that when the Liberals brought forward stronger security measures after 9/11, it was a completely different approach than the one taken by the Conservative government. It was an approach based on good public policy. It was an approach based on really addressing the weaknesses in the security regime in Canada, but working with members of the public and opposition to ensure that that balance with privacy and human rights and freedoms was protected.

The Liberal government of the day had a robust set of committee hearings. I believe there were 19 separate days of hearings. It brought in a full set of amendments to reflect any concerns that were heard. That contrasts directly with the Conservative government's approach of cutting off debate, using time allocation in debate and in committee, and essentially adopting a few amendments but ignoring others that are necessary changes.

That is why the Liberal Party will campaign with a commitment to address the full range of concerns of experts and Canadians alike, should Liberals form government.

What should be underpinning this kind of legislation are principles, such as democracy, and the role of the Canadian public in engaging in public policy changes that would affect them. That principle was not respected by the government's process. The government is tipping the scales away from the principle of humanity and of thinking about the rights and freedoms of Canadian citizens. That is part of a pattern with the government. It eliminated the mandatory long form census, which provides real data on which to found public policy changes and address human needs in our society, reflecting the needs of newcomers, people of various cultures, religions and languages. The mandatory long form census was an important tool that we no longer have.

The government has muzzled scientists, the very people who provide evidence on how to move forward with good public policy to address the issues that face us as a society. The government has the responsibility to work with citizens and respond with law and policy to address the evidence.

I am pleased to say that it was a Liberal initiative to strengthen privacy and rights in a private member's bill. That was my private member's bill, Bill C-622. I invite anyone following this debate to go to my website and find the material on Bill C-622. It was a bill whose timing coincided with the attacks last fall, in October, so it is not surprising that it did not receive the support needed to pass. I will acknowledge the opposition members who supported this bill. One Conservative member supported it as well, but the rest of the Conservatives did not. It was a bill intended to increase the accountability and transparency of our signals intelligence agency, CSE.

Bill C-622 was developed in concert with the very experts who have been providing commentary in committee on Bill C-51, so I had the privilege of working for a number of months with experts in security in the Canadian Armed Forces, the intelligence community and the privacy community to develop Bill C-622. I am grateful for the support that I received by all Liberal members in the House.

Bill C-622 would have taken away the minister's power to secretly authorize the interception of Canadians' protected information, including metadata. It would have placed the authority in the hands of an independent judge of the court. It would have strengthened accountability and transparency internally at CSE, and established new requirements, a new mandate for the commissioner and a list of improvements for privacy and rights. It would have established the intelligence and security committee of Parliament to oversee our security agencies.

The Liberal Party is the only party committed to both strengthening security provisions as needed, as the world changes around us, and protecting and enhancing privacy and charter rights of Canadians. I invite members of the public concerned about this bill to look at the Liberals' record and the reasons for supporting Bill C-51 so that we can prevent the death of a Patrice Vincent in the future.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 4:30 p.m.
See context

NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to raise a couple of contradictions. The member talked a fair bit about principles and about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Just at the end she was saying that the Liberal Party is there to protect both privacy and the charter. However, we know that Bill C-51 is actually an attack on the charter and the rights and freedoms of people yet the Liberal Party is supporting it. We also know that, in terms of the reasoning behind the Liberal Party supporting this, the Liberal leader said, while he was in British Columbia, that the Liberals were supporting the bill to not give the Conservative government a stake to whack them over the head with during the election campaign. That is not taking a principled stand.

With the changes to privacy and information sharing there is also the potential for a large database of information on law-abiding Canadian citizens to end up being stored in one location for some potential nefarious use down the road. In Toronto, we are dealing with something very similar to that with the issue of carding, where many individuals are being stopped by the police for no reason and having their information taken down. I would like to ask the member her opinion on that behaviour.