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, 2015Routine Proceedings

May 5th, 2015 / 10:05 a.m.
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Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of State and Chief Government Whip

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House at the conclusion of the debate later today on 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, all questions necessary to dispose of the third reading stage of the said bill be deemed put and a recorded division deemed requested and deferred until Wednesday, May 6, 2015, at the expiry of the time provided for government orders.

I believe you will find unanimous consent for that motion.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 10:10 a.m.
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Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

moved 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, be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, today as we enter the final debate after months of discussion and amendment that have been brought to the anti-terrorism bill, I am convinced more than ever that our country needs this bill. Our country needs tools for our police and those who are there to protect us and to keep us safe.

To begin today, I would like to quote from an article that was written in the National Post last week by Danny Eisen. He is the co-founder of the Canadian Coalition Against Terror, and lost a relative on the American Airlines flight on 9/11.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 10:10 a.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would invite the opposition members to listen to this important speech for the safety of our nation and to feel free to comment afterward during their period for questioning, and to show respect for someone who stands up for our country and who actually lost someone from an act of terrorism. I know the opposition members have a hard time calling a spade a spade, but in this very place on October 22 we were under attack by a terrorist.

Let me go back to my speech and quote Mr. Eisen. I thank him for coming to this Parliament in support of those important measures. I would invite those members who seem not to take the terrorism issue seriously to listen to what he said and what was written last week in the National Post:

The assaults on the World Trade Center; the slaughter in India’s business centre [in] Mumbai; the thwarted plans of the Toronto 18 (which included an attack on Toronto’s business district [here in Canada]); and the attacks on Kenyan malls, to name a few, were designed, not only to kill, but to target countries by undermining their economies.

Members have heard me many times saying that there is no liberty without security. I would add that there is no prosperity without security. That is why we are now being given the opportunity to support those anti-terrorism measures. This morning, I am given the opportunity to present them, and I would like to thank my colleague, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, who is the member for York—Simcoe, as well as my Conservative colleagues who have been supportive through this journey where, since October 22, we have crafted measures that are specifically designed to face the international jihadi threat that our country is facing.

Through its actions and commitments, our government has demonstrated that it will stand up to those who want to spread fear, and that it will respond in a measured fashion. It will not remain idle against this threat. That is why we introduced measures to combat terrorism.

One of the first measures came from the recommendations made following the most serious terrorist-inspired aviation disaster Canada has ever experienced, the Air India crash. We are responding to a recommendation that was made at the time to allow the various federal government agencies to share information related to national security.

That is why we want to move forward with the security of Canada information sharing act. This legislation proposes much-needed changes to how federal departments and agencies can share information that could be crucial in identifying potential threats to national security.

Some critics have falsely claimed that this legislation would target protesters or would drastically expand the size and scope of the government. This is not the case.

Let me quote Justice John Major, the author of the Air India commission report, who said, “...citizens who are not validly under suspicion will not have some manufactured reason for their private lives to be interfered with”.

Our government organizations have always complied with privacy laws, as well they should. However, it has become very clear that legal impediments to information exchange can, in some cases, interfere with the government's ability to detect national security threats. The question is simple: are we going to let terrorists use the fact that the government operates in silos to attack Canadians?

The answer is clear: no.

We are doing this while respecting people's privacy and the Constitution and by giving federal agencies the ability to share information that could threaten national security. I would like to point out that in the amendments to the bill, it was made clear that protesters will not be affected by this ability to exchange information.

The threats we are facing today are increasingly diverse and complex. It is time we implemented a stronger security framework that will enable information exchange in support of our national security objectives. We know that government organizations will wield these powers responsibly, with respect for privacy and security, and in accordance with Canadian laws.

What is more, there are appropriate mechanisms already in place that would counterbalance the new authority created by this act, such as review by the Privacy Commissioner and the Auditor General.

I will turn now to the second improvement to the bill, the passenger protect program. There are two significant changes in this regard. The first is to put the program on its own solid, legal foundation—namely, the secure air travel act.

As the House has heard, so far the program has been operating under the authority of the Aeronautics Act because it has been used solely as a tool to ensure air security. Its current mandate is to identify individuals likely to pose a threat to air security and take measures to counter that threat, such as preventing them from boarding an aircraft.

Basically, right now, if a person wants to attack a plane, the law makes it possible to put that person on a high-risk passenger list and prevent him from boarding a plane. However, if we are in a situation such as the one we saw a few weeks ago, when some young Montrealers wanted to fly to the Middle East to commit terrorist acts, and that information comes to the attention of the relevant agencies, this law will make it possible to prevent them from boarding a plane. People leaving the country to commit terrorist acts is anathema to Canadian values. Moreover, if they return to Canada, they pose an even greater threat to our national security.

Jihadi terrorist travellers are now an increasing threat, both to populations abroad and to Canadians, if and when these jihadi extremists return home to Canada as hardened jihadi warriors.

That is the reason why we need to improve our current law; that is what our anti-terrorism measures are doing; and that is why I certainly invite all members to reconsider their position and support this important legislation.

This will strengthen our ability to respond to this growing concern by giving the authorities the ability to take action in cases where it is not yet possible to arrest people and lay charges.

This broader mandate will necessitate the use of appropriate security measures, such as refusing permission to board or carrying out additional inspections at the airport.

Of course these changes are supported by the airline industry. Let me quote Marc-André O'Rourke of the National Airlines Council of Canada, who said that they:

...understand the need to update Canada's passenger protect program in light of the evolving nature of security threats, and we continue to support the program under...

Bill C-51, our anti-terrorism measures, which are so needed to increase the capability of our police and our intelligence officers to keep us safe from those threats.

Additionally, this bill would make an important enhancement to the mandate of CSIS. CSIS is the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, whose members are there to protect us. We want to help them have better tools to fight the modern terrorist threat.

At this time, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's role is strictly limited to collecting intelligence concerning threats to our security. CSIS has been doing this in a very professional manner for over 30 years now. It collects intelligence and forwards it to the Canadian government. CSIS investigators do this by conducting their activities in Canada and abroad.

As a result, they are often the first to detect threats to the security of Canada. They are at an early stage of the process, which makes it possible to detect security threats, particularly terrorist threats.

However, as we speak, they have neither the mandate nor the legal authority to take action to disrupt threats that come to their knowledge in the course of their investigations.

I had the opportunity to clarify that the Canadian service is practically the only one among our allies that is unable to exercise this capacity to reduce the threat and take action early on to avoid unfortunate, if not disastrous or fatal, consequences.

Frankly, this limitation results in important missed opportunities to disrupt threats early, before they have had time to develop. It also neglects the full potential of CSIS' expertise at a time when we can least afford it.

Let me remind members of what Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President of American Islamic Forum for Democracy said:

It is amazing to me that...disrupting...is...[currently] prohibited. Disrupting doesn't mean arresting these individuals or violating their personal property rights or taking them out of commission. You're actually just disrupting a plot.

Many Canadians believe that CSIS could do this, while it cannot. However, with this bill, CSIS would be able to disrupt the threat, like any other similar agency of our allies. Its officers will also be able, for example, to talk to the parents of young individuals who are lured by radicalization, to prevent them from falling into that path, even at a pre-criminalization sphere.

That is an important part of the bill that addresses the four pillars of our counter-terrorism strategy, the first of which is prevention. Anyone who would be willing to support prevention measures when talking about radicalization has a very good reason to support and be in favour of this bill, because CSIS officers will be able to disrupt this threat at an earlier stage.

These officers are another real example to show that the measures of the bill are sensible, reasonable and balanced. We currently have these resources and these officers, but they are prohibited by legislation from carrying out these actions. We are going to enshrine in law the capacity of service officers to act and, should there be a violation of privacy or rights, the officers, much like police officers in Canada have been doing for decades, can seek a warrant from a judge, who will have the latitude to authorize, modify or even refuse the requests.

Contrary to the many misleading statements that have been made in recent weeks and months, there is nothing really new in Canada, particularly since provisions already exist that allow the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and police forces to routinely gather intelligence. Do those who are opposed to these provisions lack confidence in our justice system? Do they lack confidence in Canadian judges? Are they questioning our judges' independence and skills? We need to ask them that. On this side of the House, we have confidence in our institutions, and we have complete confidence that Canadian judges will be able to continue to do what they have been doing for intelligence officers and police for decades with regard to intelligence gathering.

It is also clear in the bill that some activities, such as those that could cause death or bodily harm, are prohibited and will never be authorized or undertaken. It is important to remember that CSIS has been serving Canadians for 30 years. It is also important to remember that CSIS and its activities are very closely scrutinized by another Canadian body that is the envy of the world, the Security Intelligence Review Committee. The SIRC is an extension of parliament. During the debate, we heard some parliamentarians express the desire to address security issues. They can do that here. We have a security committee where parliamentarians are free to call any witnesses they see fit to call. They can also do that in the Senate. As we saw earlier, there is the Privacy Commissioner and the Auditor General. It is important to remember that other countries do not have the same model as Canada, which allows access to the field of operations. Other oversight bodies where parliamentarians are sometimes involved are only able to meet with senior officials and do not have the opportunity to observe what is happening on the ground. The Supreme Court recognized this model as one that strikes a balance between rights and national security.

Today and in the days ahead, parliamentarians will have the opportunity to rise and take action to ensure that those who protect us have the tools they need. For example, we are going to criminalize the promotion of terrorism. We have had hours of debate. I want to thank all of the witnesses who testified in committee and who spoke so eloquently, like Louise, the sister of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who came to tell us that Canada needs Bill C-51. Let us step up and not disappoint Canadians, who expect us to protect them from the terrorist threat.

That is exactly what the measures before us in the House today do.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 10:30 a.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am extremely disappointed that the minister launched this third reading debate with an attack on the opposition by saying that somehow we are not concerned about terrorism. As one whose partner lost one of his best friends in the plane that went from Boston into the twin towers, and as one whose own mother was on a plane that day and we did not find out for many hours whether she was safe, and as one who has worked in international human rights where some of my best friends have been killed by terrorism, I resent the remarks of the minister saying that because we disagree with him, we somehow do not take terrorism seriously. There are other members in this caucus who had friends and acquaintances who were on the Air India flight that was bombed, which was one of the largest terrorist attacks. I take great exception to the minister's remarks that we do not either understand or take terrorism seriously.

The minister cited witnesses and he likes to cite partially what witnesses said at committee. By my count, there were 45 out of the 48 witnesses at committee, including the government's witnesses, who said that Bill C-51 was flawed. He likes to cite Justice John Major. John Major said in answer to a very specific question that the bill was incomplete without additional oversight. The minister also likes to cite Raheel Raza from the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow. She said that the bill needed better oversight for SIRC and appropriate limits on CSIS' disruption powers.

Why is it that the minister cannot take seriously the people who have come forward in good faith and said that this bill was flawed and that while we need to do something about terrorism, we also need to make improvements and changes? Why have the Conservatives rejected all 112 opposition amendments to this bill?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 10:30 a.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, in my comments I was referring to an article printed in the National Post when I heard heckling from the other side of the House. Let me finish quoting what Danny Eisen, the co-founder of the Canadian Coalition Against Terror, said:

Put plainly by Osama Bin Laden, “The enemy can be defeated by attacking its economic centre.” This tenet was evidenced just recently by threats from Somali terrorists — not against synagogues, churches or MPs — but against malls in England, the U.S. and Canada.

I believe this is a serious debate, and I always welcome constructive comments.

Raheel Raza spoke strongly in favour of the bill. May I remind my hon. colleague that had he listened to my comments, he would have been made aware that SIRC has the authority to look into the additional powers that this bill enables, particularly for CSIS to operate and disrupt threats. There is a specific mandate for SIRC to look into those extended powers. Therefore, the powers of SIRC, a Canadian watchdog model, are enhanced. At the same time, I would invite the member to consider the fact that in the budget, we are doubling the funding for SIRC, which is a good reason for the member not only to support Bill C-51 but also to support the budget of our Canadian Conservative government.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 10:35 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, what is clear is that the government has lost the opportunity to provide good, solid, robust legislation that would have had more of an impact in fighting terrorism in Canada while at the same time providing parliamentary oversight and protecting the rights and freedoms of individuals and groups in Canada.

The Liberal Party supports the bill because we recognize that Bill C-51 does have some positive attributes that would provide safer communities as a whole.

However, I want to go back to the issue of the government's refusal to recognize the important role that parliamentary oversight could have provided all Canadians. It is a major flaw. All of the Five Eyes countries, which are Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, and the United States, have recognized the importance of parliamentary oversight. They already have parliamentary oversight, except for Canada, which stands alone on this issue.

The current Minister of Justice used to support parliamentary oversight. We listened to the presentations at committee and the debate in the House. The issue is why the government did not allow for parliamentary oversight. We see this as a fundamental flaw within the legislation and it could have improved the quality of the legislation had the government incorporated it. The Liberal Party is committed to incorporating it into our election platform in the next election.

Why will the minister not allow for parliamentary oversight in this legislation?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 10:35 a.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are no strangers to Liberal promises, and this reminds me of a European song about empty words called Paroles, paroles.

However, I would still like to take this opportunity to point out that my colleague and his political party support this bill. To answer his question, my colleague could ask his own party the same question, since when the Liberals were in power they never bothered to make the changes that they now want to make. Now, all of a sudden they have woken up and decided to make these changes.

On this side of the House, we continue to move forward. Just last Friday we appointed Pierre Blais, a Quebec judge with an impeccable reputation, to the committee. He is a representative of the riding of Dorchester and Bellechasse. He is joined by four expert members. This is a team made up of judges and investigators.

Once again, it is important to remember that the review committee is a model that is the envy of our partners, the United States, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand, because it has the ability to investigate at all levels of the intelligence agency.

I therefore urge my colleague to do the right thing and support the bill, which will double the budget allocated to the review committee, an international model.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 10:40 a.m.
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Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, we understand that freedom and security go hand in hand and that Canadians expect us as parliamentarians to protect both. Our Canadian model of third party, non-partisan and independent oversight of our national security agencies is superior to the political intervention in the process, especially when we see the opposition's attitude on this file.

Would the minister share with the House the safeguards included in the bill to ensure that the privacy of law-abiding Canadians is respected?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 10:40 a.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Fleetwood—Port Kells comes from the great community of Surrey, a community that is faced with a lot of challenges. That is why in the last budget we increased resources, so while we are tackling terrorism, we are also continuing to work with the Province of British Columbia to ensure the safety of the town of Surrey, which is an important issue for that community.

In answer to the question, it is fairly simple. When CSIS or the police are operating, they have to seek consent from the Attorney General, for the police in the case of making preventive arrests, and in those cases, they can move forward and seek a warrant.

Once again, that is a Canadian exception. To my knowledge, CSIS is the only intelligence agency in the world that will have to seek a warrant from a judge to conduct certain types of operations. We are going to great lengths to show how seriously we take the privacy of Canadians and their rights.

As I have just said, once those operations are conducted, we have this robust oversight and review mechanism, SIRC, which is the envy of the world. For the last 30 years, it has examined and scrutinized the activities of CSIS. In the meantime, they have increased their accountability and have been referred to by the Supreme Court as a model that is doing a great job of being the watchdog of our intelligence agency for Canadians.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 10:40 a.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand and speak today to one of the most significant pieces of legislation to come before the House, certainly while I have been a member of Parliament. It is indeed a piece of legislation touching on the two most important topics that we ever deal with in this chamber: national security and our civil liberties.

I am proud to speak to Bill C-51 as the member of Parliament for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, a riding which plays a key role in our national security as the home of CFB Esquimalt and our Pacific fleet. I am also proud to speak today as the NDP public safety critic and as a member of the official opposition. Ours is a party whose leader has taken a strong and principled stance in opposition to Bill C-51, even when at the outset the bill appeared to be overwhelmingly popular.

I remember quite clearly the first scrum on Bill C-51 that I faced as the NDP public safety critic after we announced our opposition to the bill. Journalists asked me how we could oppose something that was so popular, when 82% of Canadians polled said that they supported the bill. My answer to the media that morning was that I believe it is the the role of the official opposition to inform public opinion, not to run away from it.

It was clear that the government intended to marshal the politics of fear to stampede Bill C-51 through the House. We knew this would be an uphill struggle, but I trusted at the time that few Canadians knew exactly what was in the bill. I also trusted that when they did know what was in the bill, they would likely not like what they saw.

What the poll told us at the time was that Canadians believed that the threats from terrorism are very real, and we all acknowledge that fact. It also told us that Canadians believe that the government has a responsibility to do something about those threats. It told us nothing about what was actually in the bill.

I believe, as most Canadians do, that the government's responsibility is to protect both public safety and our fundamental freedoms. Instead, the Conservative government has chosen to risk sacrificing our freedoms for security.

What the Conservatives are proposing in Bill C-51 fails on two grounds. Incredibly, it manages at one and the same time to constitute a threat to our basic civil liberties while also putting forth measures, many of which would be either ineffective or unnecessary. Unfortunately, the government is pressing ahead, refusing to listen to legal experts, civil society organizations, and the tens of thousands of Canadians who have turned out at rallies across the country to express their concerns about Bill C-51.

Unfortunately, the Liberal Party wilted almost immediately in the face of the pressure created by the government to stand with it or stand with the terrorists. We heard yet another example of that this morning from the minister in his opening remarks. Before Canadians had any chance to find out what was in the bill, the Liberals had already promised to vote for the bill and to do so even if the Conservatives refused to amend the parts of the bill that the Liberals said they were concerned about. The Liberals were even heard saying publicly that they did not want to get on the wrong side of public opinion on terrorism. Well, I firmly believe that they now find themselves on the wrong side of Canadian public opinion.

As the debate on this bill draws to a close under the 94th use of time allocation by the Conservatives to limit debate, let me review my major concerns about both the ineffectiveness of Bill C-51 and the threats it poses to our civil liberties. In the time I have, I want to focus on four major problems that I see in this bill.

The first has to do with information sharing. The Conservatives pretend that Bill would correct problems with sharing information on the use of violence and involveC-51ment in terrorist activities. This information sharing within government is of a kind with which few would disagree. If someone is involved in terrorism or the use of violence, obviously, government organizations need to be able to share that information.

What Bill C-51 does instead is it creates sweeping new powers to share information among a vast array of government departments and agencies on almost anything, not just on terrorism and violence. Yes, there would be information sharing on terrorism, but also on national security, which is given a new and very broad definition, one which includes threats to Canada's economic stability, threats to Canada's infrastructure, such as pipelines, and even threats to Canada's diplomatic relations with other countries. The list goes on for an entire page of legal descriptions of the kinds of things about which information could be shared.

It is quite easy to see why Canadians are legitimately concerned that there would be a significant loss of their privacy contained under the excuse of necessary information sharing about terrorism. The information sharing proposed is so broad that the Privacy Commissioner concluded that it would potentially allow the government to create a personal profile on each and every Canadian.

We tried to have the Privacy Commissioner appear before the committee. He is an officer of Parliament. He is officially our advisor, as parliamentarians, on privacy rights. Therefore, we put the motion to the committee that he should come so we could discuss his concerns about the bill. The Conservatives blocked the Privacy Commissioner's appearance at the public safety committee.

Conservatives like to insist that legitimate dissent could not possibly be caught in this information sharing, yet we had a police witness testify in committee that this was exactly his concern. He also raised the question of the ineffectiveness of collecting too much information on Canadians. The argument is often made, especially in the law enforcement community, that looking for terrorists is like looking for a needle in a haystack, and the last thing the police need when they are doing this is more hay. Collecting information about all of us would pile up information so that we would risk missing the real threats to our public safety.

The Liberals, on this point, say that the bill could be fixed later, after the Conservatives are defeated. However, it is important to note that the information-sharing part of the bill is not one of the parts they propose to fix. They actually support this broad information-sharing, even though it presents a great threat to our civil liberties.

The second area about which I have great concern is the granting of new powers to CSIS to disrupt terror threats before they take place. This is also a provision of Bill C-51 supported by the Liberals. These activities of CSIS, first and most importantly, would conflict with the existing activities of the RCMP. The very reason CSIS was set up was to divide information-gathering from the disruption of terrorist threats. There is a redundancy created here that is a great danger, which even Justice Major, whom the government likes to cite, acknowledged might create confusion about who is actually responsible for what when it comes to disrupting terror threats.

What is most disturbing about this is the very broad granting of power to CSIS this bill proposes. Bill C-51 specifically says that CSIS's new powers would only be limited by prohibiting murder, sexual assault, and interference with the justice system. This is an amazing granting of power for secret activities in a democratic society and would be of great concern to all Canadians.

The government likes to say not to worry, because it requires a warrant. Well, these CSIS activities do not always require a warrant. It is left to CSIS to decide. If it believes its activities might violate a charter right, then it would apply for a warrant. What is allowed without a warrant? There are a whole range of things that would clearly be allowed.

One of the concerns that has been raised by those who work in the Internet industry is that it might involve CSIS going online and changing people's posts or deleting their posts, things that may not necessarily violate a charter right and therefore, in CSIS's mind, would not require any kind of warrant.

The government goes further and asks why we are concerned, as these warrants are just like the warrants now used by the police. The problem is that they are not at all like the warrants used now by the police. The warrants police seek now in criminal cases are to make sure that their activities comply with the charter. They are not warrants to violate the charter. What is proposed in the bill is exactly that: a judge would be asked to authorize, in advance, charter violations. This raises serious questions about the role of the judiciary in our society and very serious questions about the rule of law.

The other thing that is different in these warrants is that when police seek a warrant in a criminal case, that warrant ends up back in front of the courts as part of that criminal case, so there is supervision both at the front end and at the back end by police when it is a warrant under the Criminal Code. There is supervision at the front end by a judge and at the back end by a judge when it is a warrant under the Criminal Code. Neither of those things are true when it comes to these new warrants, which would authorize CSIS to violate the charter. They would be carried out in secret and judges would never see what has happened to a warrant should they grant one.

The third concern I want to talk about today is another favourite of the government. It would create a new offence of supporting terrorism in general and recklessly. “Recklessly” is a term we do find in the Criminal Code, but supporting terrorism “in general” is not a term we find anywhere in the Criminal Code. This would create a criminal offence lacking the basic requirements of a normal criminal offence. A criminal offence involves intent plus action. What is the intent involved in supporting terrorism in general? It is very difficult to see that there is an intent to do anything. What is the action? Clearly, there is no action involved here.

Some have concluded that this new offence really amounts to a kind of thought crime, that for one's opinions, one might be subject to a criminal prosecution. It is certainly an offence that would produce a chill on free speech in this country as Canadians tried to understand what on earth this new offence would mean.

It also raises a question about why it is needed. Given the record we have in Canada of successful prosecutions under the existing Criminal Code, why do we need a new offence that would produce such a chill on free speech? It has simply not been established.

In committee, I asked the Commissioner of the RCMP if he would have been able to prosecute the perpetrator of the attack here in Ottawa last October. He said very clearly that, yes, the existing legislation would have been sufficient to prosecute him.

We had successful prosecutions of the Toronto 18. We have a prosecution going on in British Columbia right now. Clearly, the police do not lack powers to pursue those who are actually involved in violence and terrorism.

A fourth concern I have is one that runs in several places in the bill. This is about lowering the standard for police action from reasonable grounds to suspicion. It particularly applies to the idea of preventative detention and recognizance with conditions.

Currently, for the police to detain someone, there have to be reasonable grounds. In common language, that means that there has to be evidence. However, the bill proposes to allow the police to detain someone preventatively on the basis of mere suspicion.

I think this is another element that is of great concern to many Canadians, because we have a disturbing record in Canada on detention in times of crisis. We need only look at the detention of Ukrainians, Germans, and Italians during World War I; or in World War II, at the detention of Japanese Canadians; or even in the 1970s in Quebec, at the detention of many people under the War Measures Act, some 500 people, who were never subsequently charged with any offence, let alone convicted.

Many of the concerns we have expressed about the bill involve this apparent conflict with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and many witnesses expressed those same concerns.

We asked the government to table in committee the advice it received on the constitutionality of the provisions in Bill C-51. We expressly asked the Minister of Justice, and he used a very strange excuse. He said that this advice could not be tabled in committee, because it would violate solicitor-client privilege. What he did was stand solicitor-client privilege on its head. He is not the lawyer; he is the client, and clients can always waive that privilege. He could have very easily tabled the advice, and it makes one wonder how firm the opinion of the Department of Justice experts was on the constitutionality of Bill C-51.

The Conservatives were clear, on Bill C-51, from the beginning, about two things. The first, I would say, is that they really did not want Canadians to know what is in the bill. Second, they did not intend to listen to Canadians when they actually talked about what is in the bill.

When I allege that the Conservatives did not want Canadians to know, how do we know that? Well, they both rushed and limited the debate in this House. It is an important part of democracy that Parliament allows the public to know what the content of a bill is through the debate we engage in within this chamber. The debate was limited at second reading to three days. That sounds long, but when we look at how Parliament functions, it means that the official opposition, with 90-some members, was limited to six speakers on a very important bill.

The Conservatives attempted to limit the witnesses appearing at the public safety committee. They initially proposed three meetings and 18 witnesses. Now, I cannot, of course, talk about discussions that went on in camera, but at the end of those discussions, we ended up with eight meetings and 48 witnesses, but that was still fewer than half of those who wanted to appear before the committee. The Conservatives also insisted on a very short deadline for those witnesses to appear. In the end, we ended up having 36 witnesses appear before the committee in four days.

If we wanted the public to be able to follow the debate and understand what witnesses were saying about the bill, we would not schedule 36 witnesses in four days.

This schedule also meant that some very important witnesses were not able to appear before the committee, because they were given only a very limited choice of dates: four days. Some witnesses were not available because of personal and other obligations on those days. One very important witness had a medical procedure scheduled, while another had professional obligations outside the country. If they were not available during those four days, they could not appear as witnesses.

It was clear last Thursday, when we began report stage and third reading debate, that the government was determined not to have the full ability to debate this bill, because it introduced time allocation for the 94th time. Conservatives prefer to call this scheduling, but in fact, we know what it is. It is closure. Therefore, we ended up with only two days of debate at report stage and with only today for third reading debate on this bill. I know that many of my colleagues in the NDP caucus who would like to stand in the House and represent their constituents are going to be denied that opportunity because of this limit on the debate.

I have also alleged that the Conservatives did not intend to listen to what Canadians had to say. Let me give some examples of why I believe that to be the case.

First, there were limits on the number of witnesses and a refusal to hear some witnesses. I have already talked about the government blocking the Privacy Commissioner from appearing before the committee.

Second, there was the treatment of witnesses before the committee. Some of it was reminiscent of the tapes I have seen of the U.S. McCarthy hearings in the 1950s. Shamefully, government members asked representatives of Greenpeace if they were or were not a threat to national security, and then they were told there was no time for them to answer that question.

The first Muslim witness who appeared, from the National Council of Canadian Muslims, was accused of being soft on terror, and Amnesty International was accused of supporting terrorist organizations and was given no opportunity to reply to that smear on its reputation.

Finally, of course, I would cite the fact that all 112 opposition amendments put forward were rejected by the government. The only changes to Bill C-51 came when the government adopted three of its own very minor and deceptive amendments.

On information-sharing, the Conservatives agreed to an amendment that says that information will have to be shared according to law. Of course it does. That is a meaningless amendment to this bill. They agreed to put in a provision that said there would be no arrest powers for CSIS. Of course, no one ever thought there were arrest powers under the Criminal Code for CSIS.

New Democrats moved a subamendment to put a ban on detention and rendition by CSIS, the taking of people into custody abroad and turning them over to other powers. Government members said there was no intention to have CSIS have detention and rendition powers, so we asked them to vote for this amendment and put in the bill that CSIS would not have the power to detain Canadians inside or outside Canada and would not have the power to turn Canadians over to foreign governments. They voted against that amendment.

As to the no-fly list, which the minister mentioned in his speech, it is going to be expanded, but it remains just as ineffective, and without a good appeal process, as it is now.

On the amendment the minister talked about, representatives of the airlines appeared at committee and said they had some problems with the bill. First, they had not been consulted before it was introduced, and second, there was a clause in the bill saying that the minister would have the power to order airlines to do anything to meet threats to national security. The airlines felt that the power to order them to anything was just a bit broad, so the government's amendment now says that they can be ordered to do anything that is reasonable, in the opinion of the minister. It is not much of an amendment.

Here we are now under time allocation, just one day away from the passage of Bill C-51. It is clear that the Conservatives have not been listening, but it is clear that Canadians have been listening. They have seen what is in the bill, and they do not like what they see.

The Conservatives are stubbornly pressing ahead with Bill C-51 despite ongoing opposition from four former prime ministers, five former Supreme Court justices, almost all witnesses at committee, including their own witnesses, and despite the clear opposition of the vast majority of Canadians. This will leave Canadians opposed to Bill C-51 little choice in October but to defeat the Conservatives while at the same time remembering that electing the Liberals will not help on this one, because it is only the NDP that has pledged to repeal this dangerous and ineffective bill.

The good news is that 2015 is here, and in a few months, Canadians will get a chance to replace the Conservatives with the first national NDP government.

In conclusion, New Democrats believe that Bill C-51 is unfixable in its current form. That is why we moved to delete all of its clauses at report stage and voted against the bill. It is also why I am going to move the following amendment.

I move:

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 the 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.

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May 5th, 2015 / 11:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I enjoy working with my colleague on the public safety committee, as he would know, and oftentimes we work together. However, he did go a little far in his remarks by saying that the Liberal Party had wilted, and he used some other adjectives, I might admit.

What his motion does is spell out where the NDP really is. He said that the bill would threaten our way of life. I hope the member did not have selective hearing at the committee, because witnesses have come forward who have been opposed to this bill but have also said that we need the security aspects of it.

What I find absolutely troublesome is that on the government side we have the government that is all about security and to heck with civil liberties; on the NDP side, what we have is all civil liberties and to heck with national security. The only party that has a reasonable and responsible position is the Liberal Party, which wants to find some balance.

My question for the member is this. The NDP amendment would throw this bill out. Does the member not believe that we need balance, that we need better security and protection of our civil liberties, which is the position of the Liberal Party? Does he not believe that we need balance in this bill and that throwing it out could put Canadians at risk?

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May 5th, 2015 / 11:05 a.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I guess the simple answer is no. I do not think we trade off security and civil liberties. The government's responsibility is to protect both at the same time.

Do I support this bill? No, the amendment is trying to prevent this from going forward. This bill is so seriously flawed that it cannot be fixed.

We need a government that will actually devote the resources needed to combat terrorism, not continue cutting the budget. We need a government that will stop cutting the budget of the RCMP, CSIS, and the Canada Border Services Agency. We do not need a Liberal government that promises everything and does the opposite.

On this bill, although the Liberals say they are going to fix it, they do not plan to do anything about CSIS powers and they do not plan to do anything about the information sharing powers. These are two fundamental threats to our civil liberties that would do nothing to address the terrorist threat. I simply cannot understand the Liberal Party's position on this bill.

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May 5th, 2015 / 11:10 a.m.
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Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I have a very simple question for the NDP critic.

I have here a quote from the NDP member for Brome—Missisquoi who said:

I am confused about what motivated the government to introduce—

—the combatting terrorism act.

...because, since 2007, nothing has happened in Canada. The country has not been subject to terrorist attacks.

Where was the member on October 22 and October 20, and what about all those plots that have successfully been derailed by our intelligence service?

My question for the hon. member is this. Does he agree with the member with the false statement, or would he ask him to apologize, set the record straight, and call a spade a spade, and call the terrorist attack on October 22 a terrorist attack for what it is?

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May 5th, 2015 / 11:10 a.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, one of the things I have learned from the minister is to watch his partial quoting of witnesses and members of Parliament.

It is very clear that he is back to the same thing he tried in the beginning, to say that the NDP does not take terrorism seriously. Once again I have to say very strongly that I have a great deal of personal experience with terrorism. I have lost friends to terrorism.

I resent the minister continually standing in this House and implying that we do not see terrorism as presenting any kind of threat. We have said that there are effective ways to meet terrorism in this country and that Bill C-51 is not one of those.

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May 5th, 2015 / 11:10 a.m.
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NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think what is very disturbing in this all-out attack on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is that the leader of the party that founded and brought forward the Charter of Rights and Freedoms stands up and says that he will not defend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it would be difficult for him. It does not matter that it is difficult for all the Canadians who lose their rights and freedoms.

I remember Pierre Elliott Trudeau from when I was young. He would never shy away from standing up in a fight for individual liberties, civil liberties, and the rule of law.

Why does my hon. colleague think that the Liberal Party over in the corner has become such a spineless shadow of a once-proud party?

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May 5th, 2015 / 11:10 a.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have already said, as I have done many times both in committee and here, that I cannot understand the Liberal Party's position, because it speaks against the bill but is voting for it. It simply makes no sense to me.

The other part of the Liberal promise, to fix this later, really passes over the damage that could be done in the interim. For people who end up subject to terrorist threats because we collected too much information and have missed the real threats, it is not much comfort to say that it will be fixed later on, two years down the road. For those who say we can go to court and challenge it, well, that would be four or five years down the road.

I believe we have a bill that actually interferes with our ability to meet terrorist threats and compromises our civil liberties. It is not good enough for me to say we will fix it down the road. It is time to defeat this bill now.

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May 5th, 2015 / 11:10 a.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I completely agree with my hon. friend, and I want to underscore this point because, as he will know, the Green Party has opposed the bill from the very beginning. We are very glad that the official opposition has taken this up and is fighting it in a principled way. We lament the fact that the Liberal Party, while understanding the bill is dangerous, is still prepared to vote for it.

What I want to underscore is the testimony from former Supreme Court justice John Major, who conducted the Air India inquiry. I am astonished that earlier today the minister would quote John Major, clearly out of context. What John Major actually said is, “The system just doesn’t work if there isn’t some way of ensuring that you have information-sharing”. By this he did not mean information sharing about all Canadians as in part 1 of the bill, but information sharing between CSIS and the RCMP. He went on to say, “...there’s no way from what I’ve seen that the present proposed legislation is going to do that”.

We have also seen expert testimony from the Senate side where Joe Fogarty, a British security expert, said that currently because of this lack of oversight, because of the lack of exchange of information between the RCMP and CSIS, we are “...sitting on top of a tragedy waiting to happen”.

I want to ask my hon. colleague from Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca if what I just heard him say is the position of the official opposition, because that is the position of the Green Party, that the bill, if passed, must be repealed.

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May 5th, 2015 / 11:15 a.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands is quite right about former justice John Major. As I mentioned in my speech, the minister has only quoted part of what he had to say. What he had to say was what we continue to say: not only does the bill threaten civil liberties, but it also threatens our ability to deal with threats to security because of its inefficiencies.

I appreciate that the Green Party is opposed to the bill, although I have to say last night, unfortunately, when the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands introduced two amendments to improve the bill, we were unable to support that because we believe the bill at this point is unfixable and should be defeated.

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May 5th, 2015 / 11:15 a.m.
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NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the unfortunate events of last October, there have been a number of arrests involving either people who subscribe to the jihadist philosophy or people who have no such affiliation but are considered a terrorist threat. That got me thinking.

Since the new measures in Bill C-51 are not yet in force, as we are still considering them, I wonder whether this is just a problem of resources. After what happened in October, the government realized that it may have neglected to put certain resources in place. Since our budgetary philosophy on these potential threats was reviewed, the authorities have been able to arrest people who are considered a threat without the need for any legislative change.

The question is this: does the problem have to do with the legislation or with budgets and resources?

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May 5th, 2015 / 11:15 a.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister likes to say we should support the budget because it would provide more money for national security. When in fact, after cutting more than $300 million from the budget last year, Conservatives would put back $57 million, it is some kind of new math to think that people received more resources out of that.

The RCMP Commissioner and the director of operations of CSIS appeared before parliamentary committees and said they did not have enough resources to combat the terror threats, and this will remain the case in the next budget year.

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May 5th, 2015 / 11:15 a.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to outline our position on Bill C-51 at the third reading stage of this debate.

We see areas of the bill which are important for the public safety of Canadians and we see areas of the bill where the government has gone much too far with respect to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and a fair balance with civil liberties and freedom of expression versus public safety and national security.

If Parliament were allowed to function the way it should, the bill could have come out of committee a much better one. There were four amendments at committee, three of which were along the lines of the Liberal Party's proposals, and I will get to those in a moment. However, there other amendments were direly needed, and we will propose those in our forthcoming our platform for the perceived election this fall.

Legislation similar to Bill C-51 is required and is in evidence in virtually every country with which Canada is allied or has shared values. Countering the growing threat of foreign and domestic terrorism is a reality that must be confronted by the modern state. In saying that, it must be confronted in a joint way by countries around the world as well.

However, in combatting that threat, it is important for any government to ensure that the steps taken to combat it do not propose a different threat to its citizens. That is partly what the debate was about with the NDP remarks as well, and I recognize that.

The Liberal Party supports provisions of Bill C-51 and has made that position clear from the outset.

We have also maintained there are provisions of Bill C-51 that are excessive and would, in our opinion, represent an intrusion by the state security agencies into the lives of Canadians, which are far too severe.

First, let me make note of those who have participated in a very public campaign and who are strongly opposed to Bill C-51. I think people who pay attention to their emails, and I have tried to respond to them all, have to recognize that we get thousands of letters, emails and phone calls from people across the country who are opposed to Bill C-51. Some of them, of course, do not know the amendments that have been made. I have asked them that question when I talked with them recently and they still think the bill is just as it originally was, and that is fine. However, I want to thank them for participation.

Even though we may be somewhat on opposite sides of the arguments, I am one who firmly believes that a demonstration of activism of opposing or supporting legislation is a good thing and it is important in a healthy democracy.

Here is one of the most important amendments made to the bill, because there are too many of those who are opposed to Bill C-51. Obviously some people, for political purposes, are saying that we should throw the bill out, to heck with security. Some continue to say that there have been no changes made to the bill. Yes, there have been.

One of the most egregious sections of the bill, under the interpretation section, states, “For greater certainty, it does not include advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression”. A lot of letters of concern were related to that.

What do we consider a lawful protest? I was also concerned, as a former activist in the farm movement. Everything we do in a demonstration, whether it is shutting down a highway with tractors or blocking a road in a union protest or demonstration, is not exactly lawful. We were concerned about that, as were other parties, and we moved an amendment to take the word “lawful” out, and that passed. That gives some certainty, or at least some satisfaction, to those who were opposed to that clause in the bill.

A lot of people have been writing us letters are saying that this is a new secret police. No, it is not. There is an infringement on liberties that go overboard, but this is not a new secret police. Therefore, an amendment was moved by the government, due to the concerns it and others had expressed, to clarify that. It reads, “For greater certainty, nothing in subsection (1) confers on the Service any law enforcement power”.

There was a narrowing of the no-fly list and on how information could be shared. Those were the two other amendments.

For those who been demonstrating and strongly opposing Bill C-51, congratulations, they did make some gains. Some of the amendments they asked for are in fact in the bill. To not recognize that would be wrong. I support all those amendments. I only wish the government would have gone further in some of the other areas that we would liked to have seen addressed in the bill, but it failed to do that.

When we look at the witnesses who came before committee, I would have liked there to have been a longer hearing process with greater time for each witness, and the government failed to allow that. We did hear from 46 to 48 witnesses. However, if people, both on the government side and the New Democrats, were really listening to the witnesses, none of those witnesses said that they wanted the bill as it was, and very few of them said that the bill should be thrown out. They wanted it balanced. Witnesses and Canadians believe, and I certainly believe, that it is possible for this chamber, the House of Commons, to find the balance, to do what needs to be done on the security side and balance it to ensure that the civil liberties and freedom of expression, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms are enhanced and protected as well. That did not happen.

The New Democrats, just in their remarks, can be as pure as they like, but the fact is that even those who were opposed to the bill, also suggested that we needed to take measures on the national security side.

What do we do as parliamentarians when security agencies and police forces, both within Canada and around the world, say that to us that there needs to be additional measures taken to enhance the national security of Canadians? Do we ignore them, as the New Democrats do? I do not think we can. We have a responsibility in that regard. The government failed in its responsibility to make amendments to be absolutely sure that those powers did not go too far.

The government has absolutely failed in the past in not utilizing the already existing laws in section 110. It failed to use those authorities when, as the minister said, there were somewhere around 80 individuals who the government knew had violated Canadian law. What were they doing, and what are they still doing out there on the street, when the government already has some authority within the law to detain and arrest them?

My point is that witnesses asked for better balance. That did not happen, and that responsibility rests with no one else. I meant what I said earlier. The government is too far on the security side. For the Prime Minister to take the attitude, which he has taken with the promotion of this bill from the beginning, and to foster the fear that there is a terrorist under every rock is absolutely the wrong approach.

Fear will divide Canadians and pit them against each other. Yes, Canadians need to be watchful and ensure that there are no problems that could lead to terrorism or to individuals getting involved in terrorist activities. However, to use the fear factor is not the proper way to go.

The NDP, on the other hand, has taken the approach of saying “be very afraid of civil liberties”. People should not worry about national security. They should be afraid of their civil liberties. Both those parties have gone to extremes at both ends. Ours is, at least, a balanced position and would work if, under the Conservative regime, Parliament were allowed to exercise its rights, allow amendments, real debate and changes to legislation, as this place should work.

We do have an advantage, because there is an election, likely on October 19. Those measures that we were unsuccessful in getting through committee will be in our election platform. Canadians will have the opportunity at that time to decide if they want sunset clauses that would make the bill cease to exist in certain areas after three years, a mandatory statutory review after three years that would look at the good, the bad, and the ugly in the legislation, and national oversight of all of our security agencies, as all our Five Eyes partners do, by parliamentarians. I will come to that in a moment. We will have those measures in our election platform.

Early in the debate about Bill C-51, my colleague, the member for Mount Royal and I joined four former prime ministers, including three Liberal prime ministers, and others to issue an open letter underscoring two fundamental responsibilities of government to ensure the safety of Canadians. These are:

—protecting Canada from terrorist attacks; and ensuring that initiatives in this regard are consistent with the rule of law and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and, particularly, are subject to comprehensive oversight, review and accountability mechanisms.

However, in the course of committee hearings, when we proposed amendments to those three essential areas, they were either ruled out of order or rejected.

In that letter, the former prime ministers said:

The four of us most certainly know the enormity of the responsibility of keeping Canada safe, something always front of mind for a prime minister.

They went on to talk about oversight more than anything else. That letter was signed by prime ministers, former attorney generals, ministers of justice, retired Supreme Court justices, and so on.

They know the need for accountability. They know that proper oversight actually protects the government and ministers from agencies that may go astray. I am disappointed that the government failed to recognize that fact.

When we listened to the responses of the minister and the parliamentary secretary at committee when we brought those issues up, it was as if they do not trust their own members. Every other country around the world thinks that parliamentarians are capable of doing those responsible tasks. Why is the Conservative government so opposed, especially when its own current Minister of Justice, you, Mr. Speaker, and its own Minister of State for Finance, along with myself and some others, sat on the committee and recommended just that, a parliamentary oversight committee of all security agencies, based on a study that we did in the U.K., the United States and Australia? Why has the Minister of Justice changed his mind? He was one of the key promoters on that committee, and now for some reason he no longer believes in what he calls partisan oversight. It does not have to be partisan. It is really just in the last eight years under the current Prime Minister that this place has become a place of almost hate, fear and partisanship to no end, rather than looking at what good we can do for Canadians as a whole, and how to build legislation for Canadians as a whole. That is one of the sad realities of this particular Parliament.

The issue of oversight of our security intelligence agencies has long had the support of the Liberal Party. In the wake of 9/11 and the first anti-terrorism legislation, it was a Liberal government, with the support of the members of the government and the NDP, that brought forward Bill C-81, legislation to create a committee of parliamentarians who would provide that oversight.

What did the current committee hear from witnesses with respect to that at the hearings which just concluded? Hugh Segal, a former Conservative senator and chair of the special anti-terrorism committee of the Senate, said:

Accountability on the part of our security services to the whole of Parliament is not needless red tape or excessive bureaucracy. In fact, it is the democratic countervail to the kind of red tape and bureaucracy which might unwittingly lose sight of the security mission appropriate to a parliamentary democracy, where laws and constitutional protections such as the presumption of innocence and due process must protect all citizens without regard to ethnicity or national origin.

Ron Atkey, a former Conservative MP and first chair of SIRC said:

I have been both a parliamentarian and a watchdog, a professional watchdog. The answer to whether Parliament or a specialized agency should have the power to review our security agencies is easy for me. Canadians should have both. Under our system of government, Parliament is the ultimate watchdog and is directly accountable to the people. The party having the most number of seats at each general election usually is called on to form the government, but Parliament itself remains the watchdog.

As I said earlier, the Minister of Justice and the government as a whole rejected that particular proposal.

Let me conclude by saying that there is no question there is a lot of debate around this bill in the community, which is a good thing. As I said, I welcome that debate with those who have different views and are willing to express them. There have been some minor amendments proposed, I think some that would take the word “lawful” out, et cetera, which would go some distance to satisfying that expressed concern over an infringement on civil liberties.

I still believe there are some problems relative to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and at some point in time the court may in fact rule on that. Regarding those measures that the government failed to accept and put in the bill, such as oversight, sunset clauses and mandatory statutory review at the end of three years, the Liberal Party will put those measures in our election platform and Canadians can decide at that point in time.

We need a balance between national security and civil liberties. Parliament should be able to find and exercise that balance. The government failed to allow that to happen.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 11:35 a.m.
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NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to make it very clear that every one of us sitting on this side of the House, and I am sure on both sides of the House, are absolutely opposed to any acts of terrorism. To imply anything else through speeches just does not do us any good. It undermines the work we do in the House.

Second, like others, I am very concerned that we have not had the kind of robust committee study or debate in the House that is needed in order to have good legislation. I respect my colleague down the aisle here, but I am really puzzled by the speech he made. He talked about what is wrong with the bill and yet the Liberals said right from day one, even before they read the bill, that the bill is bad and it has flaws, although I do not know how they could have known that. Even after looking at the bill they were willing to say that they would support it anyway and fix it later.

The leader of the Liberal Party has said that he is willing to compromise and support the legislation during this session of Parliament, but propose amendments during the next federal election campaign. That begs the question as to why we have Parliament anyway, if we are going to let those who have the majority run over us. Do Liberals believe that giving the Conservatives a blank cheque is the best way to protect Canadian freedoms?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 11:40 a.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, one thing the Liberals have never done is give the government a blank cheque. That is a myth which the NDP is trying to portray, but not all that successfully. New Democrats can do all the propaganda they want, but the fact of the matter is, as I have said many times in this place, the Liberal Party has been the only party that has proposed balance in the House.

Yes, when the bill was introduced, we did say there needs to be additional national safety and security measures. We would propose those and amendments to the bill to try to fix the imbalance as it relates to civil liberties and freedom of expression.

With regard to what the member said in the initial part of her remarks, I would point out that no one has ever said, at least from this end, that anyone in this place is in favour of acts of terror. Certainly, no one in this place would be in favour of that.

The question, though, is what do we do to the full extent possible to ensure that those who would be involved in acts of terror do not have the ability to do so and that we prevent those acts of terror from happening. Some of the measures in the bill would actually do that. That is why we support that part of the legislation.

Given how Parliament works under the leadership of the current Prime Minister, we have no choice but to put the measures necessary into our election platform, because the House does not operate as a place of debate where compromise and amendments are allowed. There is no choice for us but to put those amendments in our platform so that Canadians can see them and see what we would actually like to do.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 11:40 a.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend from Malpeque knows that I am heartbroken that his party has chosen to do the wrong thing on Bill C-51. It will not be fixable later. It will need to be repealed, and that is the position that all opposition parties should take.

We just heard the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness say that this is the only legislation in the world that would ensure that a judge oversees decisions about allowing CSIS agents, or intelligence agents in other countries, to take the steps that are proposed in the legislation.

I would ask the member if he would agree with me, as someone who was listening to the evidence and looking at the bill, if this is because no other country in the world, no other democracy would imagine such a thing as a secret hearing, with only the government represented, to allow for a warrant for an intelligence officer to violate the constitution. No such constitutional breach warrant has ever been contemplated by any other democracy. That is terminology that I have lifted from the testimony of Professor Craig Forcese. A constitutional breach warrant is so deeply offensive that that is why only Canada has a judge overseeing it. No other country would allow it.

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May 5th, 2015 / 11:40 a.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, in response to the question from my colleague, the leader of the Green Party, I have two points.

The member said that all opposition parties would repeal the bill. No, that is not true. The leader of the NDP made it clear in the beginning that, no, the NDP will not repeal the bill. I see an hon. member looking quizzically at that, but I can table those remarks at some point in time if she should wish me to. On the one hand, NDP members are saying that they are strongly opposed and would defeat the bill, but on the other hand, they are not making a commitment to repeal it.

On the point of judicial oversight, a very important point, the member is absolutely right. All of our Five Eyes partners, with the exception of us, have proper parliamentary oversight, as we should have, but the government is failing in terms of allowing that.

The minister tries to claim that there is judicial oversight. There is no such thing. There is judicial authorization for CSIS officers and security personnel to be able to do certain things, but there is no secondary review on that. When that warrant walks out the door, that is where it ends.

There is no counterbalance in terms of the CSIS official coming before a judge. There is no counterbalance there to argue the other side, as we see in our normal legal arrangements in this country. Simply put, the judicial oversight is not oversight at all. Rather, it is authorization for CSIS to do certain things, and some of it is authorization to break the law, which puts judges in an extremely difficult position, which I do not think any of them really want to be in.

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May 5th, 2015 / 11:45 a.m.
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NDP

Dany Morin NDP Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am a bit bewildered to hear my Liberal colleague's comments because I think that the NDP was very clear. We think this legislation has no place among our Canadian laws.

I think that Canadians will not be fooled by the Liberal member because they know that the NDP fights tooth and nail for Canadians' rights and freedoms and that security and liberty must go hand in hand.

That being said, a number of experts who testified said that Bill C-51 is inconsistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Why do the Liberals want to vote against the charter by supporting this extremely flawed bill?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 11:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, that is kind of a joke when he asks why Liberals are voting against the charter. We are not. This is a piece of legislation. We are the party of the charter. I know the government does not want to talk about the charter very often, but we are the party of the charter. The leader of my party often talks about the charter and the rights provided to Canadians as a result of that charter.

There very well could be problems with the charter in this bill. I do not accept the assurance given by the Department of Justice because too many other legal opinions have concerns that if this bill in any way infringes upon the charter, the Supreme Court or other levels of the courts will certainly turn it back. If the bill is in violation of the charter, as six other bills have been, the government runs the risk of losing cases that have been started under this bill in terms of the protection of Canadian people and losing them down the road. All the work by security agencies and police authorities could be lost. Why the government would run that risk I do not understand, but it seems willing to do so.

I would tell the hon. member that maybe he should go back to the speech by his leader and see what he said he would do if the NDP was to form government. New Democrats did not say they would repeal this bill, so they are playing a bit of a game within the NDP itself. The Liberal Party has balance, and we know that.

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May 5th, 2015 / 11:45 a.m.
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Edmonton—Sherwood Park Alberta

Conservative

Tim Uppal ConservativeMinister of State (Multiculturalism)

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

It is my honour to be here today and to speak in support of this very crucial national security bill, the anti-terrorism act, 2015. I am proud of the manner in which our Conservative government has managed this important file of national security.

Whether it be the response to the tragedies of late October, which we along with Canadians recognized instantly as terrorist attacks, or our measures to protect the value of Canadian citizenship, it is an honour to stand with our government on issues of national security.

It is a privilege to advocate for measures that keep Canadians safe, which is of course the first priority of any government. Regardless of the bill or motion that has been up for debate in this House, I feel a strong sense of duty when advocating for positions that Canadians truly care about, such as the mission in Iraq and Syria. Canadians will not tolerate the scourge of terrorism on our shores, which is why we must not allow the evils of ISIL to spread.

I would like to take this opportunity to first thank the members of the Canadian Armed Forces, to whom we are all very grateful. I would also like to thank the men and women who keep us safe on our shores, the RCMP, CSIS and police authorities across the country, who work tirelessly to keep us safe.

We, as parliamentarians, have an obligation to do what we can to help them in that very important job that they have. We have passed the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act to protect the sacred values of Canadian citizenship. We have passed the Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act to clarify the ability of CSIS to operate overseas.

Now, we are advocating for the anti-terrorism act, legislation that would enable our national security agencies to keep pace with the ever-evolving threats to our national security. Canada, like our allies, needs to modernize our laws to arm our national security agencies in the fight against Jihadi terrorists who we know have declared war on Canada.

The anti-terrorism act would protect Canadians by allowing the federal government to share information that the government already has across departments, within government, for national security purposes. Today's threats evolve too quickly to risk vital information being trapped in bureaucracy. For example, if a consular services officer has information of suspicious activity that could actually prevent an attack, he or she must be able to inform the appropriate authorities.

The anti-terrorism act would protect Canadians by expanding the passenger protect program, also known as the no-fly list, to allow the government to deny boarding to all terrorist suspects, not merely those who we can prove are a risk to that specific flight. Today, radicalized individuals can board planes so long as they are not a risk to that aircraft. These people could disappear into terrorist training camps and fall off our radar, and then make their way back to Canada after receiving training. I do not know how the opposition could advocate against something so simple, something that makes so much sense.

The anti-terrorism act would protect Canadians by criminalizing the advocacy and promotion of terrorism and allowing the federal government to seize radical jihadi propaganda. Canada is a free and accepting society but that does not mean we must tolerate hateful propaganda that advocates violence against Canadians. Canadians recognize that terrorist propaganda is dangerous and contrary to Canadian values, and that the government should do all it can to ensure that it does not poison the minds of our young people.

The anti-terrorism act would also enable CSIS to disrupt threats to our nation. This is an important part of the bill that, again, just makes sense. In fact, when I speak to Canadians across the country in roundtable discussions, they cannot believe that CSIS does not already have the power to disrupt threats.

It is inconceivable that a CSIS agent cannot take a very minor action, such as intercepting mail to prevent a meeting between a radicalized individual and a known terrorist group, to protect Canadians. Again, this is a common sense policy proposal that the opposition willingly and wilfully exaggerates the powers being proposed.

CSIS is not and will never be a secret police force. The opposition members know that. CSIS cannot and will not operate without strict oversight and review. That is why disruption powers would be subject to judicial review and also why the government's new balanced budget that we proposed would double SIRC's resources. The Security Intelligence Review Committee, or SIRC, is a robust Canadian model that has provided effective expert oversight of CSIS for decades. CSIS agents are often in the right place at the right time to disrupt threats early. Given the increased number of foreign fighters and jihadi terrorists threatening our nation, it is very important that we empower the men and women of CSIS to keep Canada safe.

Finally, the anti-terrorism act would further strengthen Canadian citizenship by ensuring that national security agencies are better able to protect and use classified information when denying entry and status to non-citizens who pose a threat to Canada. Again, that is another proposal that Canadians would see to be very important and just makes sense. Canadians know that only the Conservative Party, led by this Prime Minister, can be trusted to keep Canadians safe from the threat of terrorism.

Whether it is on the issue of citizenship; our international security obligations; budget increases to national security agencies, which they continually vote against; or on a crucial bill that would modernize our security tools, the New Democrats and Liberals oppose, confuse and obstruct.

That is why I am proud to be a part of this Conservative government. I am proud of our strong record and the leadership of the Prime Minister on issues of national security. I will be voting in favour of this very important bill, and I encourage all other members to do the same, to help keep Canadians safe from terrorists who wish to do us harm.

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

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, clearly we are very concerned about the scope of this bill. Many very competent expert witnesses, from outside the House, came to tell us that this bill goes much too far.

I would like to ask a specific question: would the law allow CSIS to disrupt environmental groups, first nations or any other activist groups whose tactics include blockades to bar access to infrastructure?

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

Tim Uppal Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear from the outset that average Canadians who take part in law-abiding protests to make their views known to the government or some other agency would not be a concern here or to CSIS. I would ask the opposition members to make it clear. Which part of the civil liberties of average, law-abiding Canadians would be intervened upon and restricted by this bill? The opposition members come up with scenarios that are not very clear.

What is very clear is that this bill is intended to give the RCMP and CSIS the tools they need to keep Canadians safe from terrorists, those terrorists who wish to do us harm here on Canadian soil or possibly have put together plots in other parts of the world to hurt Canadians here. That is exactly what this bill would do. It is why most Canadians support this bill and that is why we will be voting for this bill.

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

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

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

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

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

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

Tim Uppal Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

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

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

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

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May 5th, 2015 / noon
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Conservative

Corneliu Chisu Conservative Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To that I respond with a question. How?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tahir Gora, of the Canadian Thinkers Forum, said:

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

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

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

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

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

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

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

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

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

Corneliu Chisu Conservative Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

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

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

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

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May 5th, 2015 / 12:10 p.m.
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Scarborough Centre Ontario

Conservative

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

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

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

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

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

Corneliu Chisu Conservative Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

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

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

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 12:20 p.m.
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Scarborough Centre Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again, that speech proves that NDP members have either not fully understood the bill, perhaps did not read it, or they are intentionally misleading Canadians.

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

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

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

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

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

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

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

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

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

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

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

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

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

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

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

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 12:35 p.m.
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Scarborough Centre Ontario

Conservative

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

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

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

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

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

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

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

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

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

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

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

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

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

Conservative

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Professor Elliot Tepper of Carleton University said:

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

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

Professor Salim Mansur of the University of Western Ontario said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roxanne James Conservative Scarborough Centre, ON

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

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

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

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

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

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

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

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

Roxanne James Conservative Scarborough Centre, ON

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

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

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

Roxanne James Conservative Scarborough Centre, ON

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

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

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

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

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

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

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

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

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

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

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

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

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

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

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

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

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

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

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

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

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

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

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

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

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

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

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Madam Fine wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Lahey writes:

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

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

Further on he writes:

The bill is clearly taking advantage of that event—

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

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

Further on he wrote:

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

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

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

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

He continued:

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

Another constituent wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

David Wilks Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

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

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

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

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

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

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

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

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

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

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

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

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

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

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The bill defines terrorism as:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What will we tell our children?

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May 5th, 2015 / 1:30 p.m.
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Scarborough Centre Ontario

Conservative

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joan Crockatt Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is something we all want.

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

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

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

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

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

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

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

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

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

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

Joan Crockatt Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

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

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

This is what is being said against Canadians by ISIL:

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

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

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

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

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

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

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

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

Joan Crockatt Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

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

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

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

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

Ted Opitz Conservative Etobicoke Centre, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ted Opitz Conservative Etobicoke Centre, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member bringing up the issue of contradiction. I will note that his party, the NDP, is voting against this bill but has not committed to repealing it, should it be in a position to do so.

In my remarks there was no place where I said that this bill is perfect. There are improvements that need to be made, and this bill was deliberately designed this way by the Conservative Prime Minister and government as a political partisan tool. There are improvements that need to be made. We in the Liberal Party have committed to making those should we be in a position to do so. We are clear and transparent about our commitments and we will deliver on those should we have an opportunity to form government.

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May 5th, 2015 / 4:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague has done some exceptional work on the issue of oversight of our national security agencies. I would like her opinion as to why the government is so doggedly committed to avoiding oversight. For example, we know that the government will not create an oversight committee, but there is also another issue which the Liberals tried to resolve through an amendment in committee. That issue revolves around SIRC's mandate to review operations undertaken by CSIS to reduce threats to Canada.

The bill requires that the committee, SIRC, study “at least one aspect” of CSIS' activities. Why only one aspect? Why not more than one aspect? Why not all aspects?

Why is the government doing all it can to avoid oversight? What is it hiding?

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May 5th, 2015 / 4:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is mystifying why, against all expert advice and against the examples shown by the other nations of the Five Eyes, the current government has been blocking proper oversight of the security agencies. One can only speculate. Possibly, that is part of my contention that this is a politically partisan-driven bill. It is deliberate bad public policy to strengthen a security agency while not equally strengthening the oversight. Therefore, it is about partisan objectives and not about good public policy.

What the government is missing is the fact that a parliamentary oversight committee of all of the agencies and departments that deal with security and intelligence would actually make those functions far more effective because the oversight committee would reduce the siloing that currently exists with the different agencies, would identify where there are gaps and duplications, and would make security far more effective. Why the Conservatives would not want that is beyond me.

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May 5th, 2015 / 4:35 p.m.
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NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, twice in her remarks the member for Vancouver Quadra used the word “mystified”. I was a child of the sixties. My first vote was in 1968. I did not vote Liberal. I know members are shocked, but I have to say at the time we were inspired by the words that came out of Pierre Trudeau. When the Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into place it was a good thing for Canada and I give recognition to that.

However, what is interesting is we have had four previous prime ministers, three of them Liberal, 100 professors and lawyers say that this is a flawed bill and should be withdrawn. I am very much mystified as to why the Liberals would support something where the history of their own party rails against it.

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May 5th, 2015 / 4:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, when the NDP member mentions the word “freedoms” I would like to remind the member that freedoms do not exist when there are attacks that could have been prevented or guarded against. Those freedoms would be simply eroded. That is why it is important that a government keep up to date with security requirements that our changing security environment requires. That is why the Liberals are supporting the bill.

I would ask the member whether he would want it on his conscience should there be an attack that leads to deaths of Canadians because of the loopholes that the bill is attempting to fix. The Liberals are clear that the privacy and rights sides of the equation are not properly respected by the Conservative government on purpose and those can be fixed. The Liberal Party has made a commitment to do that. We have been open and transparent about our intention to do that. It will be in our platform and it will be an urgent mandate for us should we form government after the next election.

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May 5th, 2015 / 4:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pick up on the question that was just posed to my colleague about recognizing that the Liberal Party is the party that brought in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Pierre Elliott Trudeau recognized the importance of the issue. It is the Liberal Party today that is recognizing that Canadians are concerned about the radicalization that has been taking place in different ways, about the potential threat of terrorism. Canadians as a whole are very much concerned and want government to do what it can to make sure that we are combatting terrorism and at the same time providing assurances in terms of rights and freedoms.

We know the Liberal Party's position is very clear. We will vote in favour of the legislation. If the government continues to fail to make those amendments, as it appears to, such as parliamentary oversight, the Liberal Party will take it as a part of its election platform where we are committed to making those changes.

The leader of the New Democratic Party on the other hand is saying that if he forms government, he will not scrap the legislation but will make changes. Could member explain the difference?

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May 5th, 2015 / 4:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, the difference ties into a comment I made early on in my remarks that the Liberal Party is the only party that is concerned about having both effective security measures to protect Canadians in a changing threat landscape and provisions to ensure privacy and the protection of rights.

Bill C-622 that I had the privilege of leading the debate on in the House last fall, which was supported by all of the Liberal members, is an expression of how our party sees not just protecting rights and freedoms, but actually enhancing them in the face of changing technologies and the changing situation in our society. That is what Bill C-622 would have done had the Conservatives not voted it down. It is the kind of measure that we strongly believe in. It can be taken as an example of our commitment to not just protecting, but actually enhancing and improving transparency and accountability of the agencies that hold our rights and privacy in their hands.

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May 5th, 2015 / 4:40 p.m.
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Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted that I will be sharing my time today with the member for York Centre.

There is no liberty without security. This is a principle that is fundamental to accept when we discuss the important bill before us today. I want to bring this debate back to principles. We must ensure that Canadians are protected from terrorism. The security of a country is the first responsibility of any government.

Let us not beat around the bush. The international jihadi movement has declared war on Canada and its allies. We have seen it in Paris, we have seen it in Copenhagen, we have seen it in Sydney, we have seen it in Quebec and we have seen it right here in Ottawa. In fact, just as recently as Sunday night, two jihadi terrorists tried to attack a free speech convention in Dallas.

These jihadi terrorists want to kill every westerner. Every Canadian is on their hit list. They hate us for our freedom, our tolerance and our prosperity. We need not go any further than the source to know that this is true. A spokesman for the so-called Islamic State said:

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

That should send chills down the spine of every member of the House. What is more, spreading this type of jihadist propaganda in Canada is not illegal under the current law. That is why we brought forward changes in this legislation to more effectively target the material that is used to recruit Canadians to go to join terrorist groups like the so-called Islamic State.

The talking point for opposition members in the House today seems to be that there are no examples of things that would be crimes under this bill that are not crimes now. I would note that this type of hateful propaganda is exactly what is meant to be targeted.

Let us listen to the experts. Here is what Salim Mansur, a professor at the University of Western Ontario, had to say:

Bill C-51 in my reading is not designed to turn Canada into some version of Hobbes’ Leviathan or Orwell’s 1984, despite at times the fevered imagination of its critics.

Let us take a look at the five key measures that this bill would take.

It would allow Passport Canada to share information on potential terrorist travellers with the RCMP. It would stop known radicalized individuals from boarding a plane bound for a terrorist conflict zone. It would criminalize the promotion of terrorism in general. For example, statements like “kill all the infidels, wherever they are” would become illegal, as I have already discussed. It would allow CSIS agents to speak with parents of radicalized youth in order to disrupt terrorist travel plans. It would also give the government an appeal mechanism to stop information from being released in security certificate proceedings if it could harm a source.

If we put aside the heated rhetoric and the misinformation that is out there, and focus purely on the facts, we can see that this is a common sense bill that protects Canadians. I fail to see the reasons why members on the other side of the House would fail to support the bill.

Let us take a minute to examine the ideology.

We have seen before that the NDP has taken every possible step to stop our Conservative government from improving our national security. It voted against making it a crime to travel abroad to engage in terrorism. It voted against stripping citizenship from those convicted of terrorism. It also voted against any new resources for our front-line law enforcement and national security officers. It seems as though it is fundamentally opposed to any measure that would add to the protection of Canadians. This is the same party that as part of its election platform promised to repeal all national security legislation.

The Liberal Party simply does not take these discussions seriously. Its position on the bill is unintelligible. It will repeal it, it supports it; no one really knows for certain, although we just heard from the last speaker that it planned to support the bill.

Clearly, only our government is able to make the tough decisions that are necessary in this very uncertain world. We will never waiver from our commitment to take strong actions to keep Canadians safe, particularly from jihadi terrorists. We will do so through legislation, such as we are discussing today. We will also do so through financial resources, like the nearly $300 million that we have invested in the fight against terrorism through economic action plan 2015.

As I said at the beginning of my comments, we must bring this back to the first principle: the desire to keep Canadians safe. 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.

Jihadi terrorism is not a human right; it is an act of war. That is why our government has put forward measures that 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 not sitting on the sidelines, as some would have us do. We are instead joining our allies in supporting the international coalition in the fight against ISIS.

I urge all of my colleagues, on both sides of the House, to support the bill. It is an important bill and we need to see this legislation enacted.

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May 5th, 2015 / 4:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my great pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism act.

The anti-terrorism act, 2015, contains a range of needed anti-terrorism measures, including, for example, provisions that will enable important improvements to the passenger protect program. The proposed legislation complements measures included in the Combating Terrorism Act, which came into force in July 2013. It enhances Canada's ability to address threats to air transportation security, while also establishing strong safeguards to protect civil liberties.

The Combating Terrorism Act created four new offences of leaving or attempting to leave Canada for the purpose of committing certain acts of terrorism. Leaving Canada to participate in terrorist training, for example, is now an offence punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Shockingly, the NDP voted against these measures. Evidently it does not believe that travelling for terrorist purposes ought to be criminal.

The changes we are making to the passenger protect program would complement this by allowing the government to potentially prevent certain people from travelling by air under specific circumstances where arrest and prosecution may not yet be possible.

Let me explain. It was this government that established the passenger protect program in 2007 to screen air passengers more effectively. The program uses measures such as denial of boarding when necessary to respond to threats to aviation security.

While the program currently operates on the basis of authorities in the Aeronautics Act, Bill C-51 would create a stand-alone framework to support the passenger protect program. This new framework would expand the program's mandate in a very important way to address both individuals who posed a threat to aviation and security and those who attempted to travel to engage in terrorist offences.

I wish to emphasize here that it would also establish safeguards with respect to information sharing and find mechanisms for review and appeal of decisions.

To accomplish all this, the bill would define new authorities for two ministers.

The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness would establish a list of persons under two categories: first, those who may pose a threat to transportation security; and, second, those who may travel by air to engage in terrorist offences. Having the Government of Canada, not international air carriers, screen passengers against the list would better protect the security of the program and the privacy of those on the list.

Under the anti-terrorism act, 2015, the minister would also have the authority to respond to such threats in a reasonable and appropriate manner. Operational directions would be tailored to the specific threat. For example, in some cases, the minister could direct an air carrier to designate an individual for additional screening at the security check point. In other more high-risk cases, the minister could direct the carrier to prevent a listed person from boarding a flight.

In implementing these authorities, the Minister of Transport would serve as the primary contact with air carriers, including responsibility for: first, disclosing the list to air carriers for the purpose of screening passengers; second, collecting information on listed persons from air carriers; third, communicating response directions to air carriers on behalf of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness; and, finally, overseeing industry compliance with the new legislation

In response to concerns raised in committee, our government moved an amendment that would clarify the minister's authority when giving direction to air carriers. We believe the amendment would respond to those concerns, while ensuring the original intent of the bill would remain intact.

Let me say a few more words about information sharing.

For security and privacy reasons, the names of people who are, or were, on the list would not be disclosed, except when authorized for specific purposes. Specifically, it would authorize certain entities to disclose and collect information to help the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness administer and enforce the act. For example, under the act, the Canada Border Services Agency would be able to collect information related to air travellers who were coming to or leaving Canada, as well as screen them against the list.

The act would also authorize the minister to enter into written arrangements to share information with foreign states. Such disclosure, however, would always be subject to applicable Canadian law.

There are other safeguards that would respect the privacy of individuals and would give them a fair process to challenge the minister's decisions. For example, any listed person who has been denied the right to board an aircraft could apply within 60 days to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to be removed from the list. The minister would have 90 days, or a longer period agreed upon by the minister and the applicant, to review the case. If after this review the minister decided to keep the individual on the list, that individual could apply to the Federal Court for a review of the minister's decision.

Given the national security objectives behind this legislation, decisions made under the new authorities could involve sensitive information that, if disclosed, would be injurious to national security or endanger the safety of a person. Therefore, the legislation would define special streamlined procedures for judges to review decisions that relied on sensitive information, similar to the procedures that are used to review other national security programs, such as the terrorist entity listings under the Criminal Code.

Finally, let me highlight compliance and enforcement provisions.

For consistency with the existing regulatory framework for civil aviation, the bill would mirror the Minister of Transport's inspection and enforcement authorities under the Aeronautics Act. Contraventions of the new act, whether they relate to the duties of air carriers, the prohibition on disclosure of information, or the obligation for passengers to undergo screening, are all offences punishable on summary conviction. Contravening the clause related to obstruction can be punished either as an indictable offence or by means of summary conviction.

An individual who contravenes the provisions under the act could be fined up to $5,000 or be liable to up to a one-year imprisonment term, or both. Meanwhile, a corporation that is convicted of an indictable offence is liable to a fine of up to $500,000.

The proposed legislation would balance the need to address air transportation security and terrorist travel by air with safeguards that give individuals the right to administrative recourse and appeal. These amendments are also in line with the recent UN Security Council resolution on foreign terrorist fighters, aimed at stemming the flow of extremist travellers, as well as the measures being put in place by many of our international partners to address this threat.

The anti-terrorism act 2015 is an important step in expanding our tools to address extremist travellers who participate in terrorist activities, and I call on all members of this House to support it.

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May 5th, 2015 / 4:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, as we get closer to the dying minutes of debate on this particular piece of legislation, I would like to again highlight what I believe the government has really messed up on, which is the issue of parliamentary oversight.

I ask the member quite simply, when we have our Five Eyes partner countries, the United States, England, New Zealand, and Australia, all recognizing the importance of parliamentary oversight, all having in place parliamentary oversight, why it is that only the current Prime Minister and current Conservative government feel that parliamentary oversight is not necessary.

I would remind the member that the current Minister of Justice actually used to support parliamentary oversight. Why does the Conservative government stand alone in believing that parliamentary oversight is not necessary?

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May 5th, 2015 / 5 p.m.
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Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am really perplexed by the Liberal Party, and I continue to be. Remember, the Liberal Party is rooted in the belief of conscription if necessary but not necessarily conscription.

Here we see the Liberals again getting up in this House with regard to Bill C-51, ranting and raving and complaining against the bill, yet at the same time saying that Canadians should not worry, because they can read public opinion polls too and they are going to support it.

One of the Liberal Party members from a downtown riding—I do not recall which one exactly; Trinity—Spadina, I think—actually appeared at Toronto City Hall in a rally against Bill C-51.

My question to the Liberal Party is this. Which is it? Do you support the bill or do you not support the bill, or is this another typical Liberal ruse where you just kind of gauge public opinion and just go with the wind on this one?

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

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, I listened to the speech of one of my Conservative colleagues, and I am finding it increasingly difficult to not see it as propaganda. What would really get my attention is seeing a kernel of coherence.

My question is very simple. Given that the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness had its budget cut by a total of $688 million in the last three years, and that the $300 million or so that was presented to us in the last budget will be disbursed in 2017, how could this bill be anything but rhetoric if we do not have the means for what is being put forward?

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May 5th, 2015 / 5 p.m.
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Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, if that is not rhetoric, I do not know what is.

We on this side of the House know exactly what we are doing. Our foreign policy is based on principle.

The radical jihadists declared war on this country, Canada. If there is one thing we can count on terrorists to do, that is to keep their word. They said they are coming to the west to drink our blood. It was this House that went to debate over whether or not we should be sending our forces to Syria and Iraq to bomb ISIS positions. It is this side of the House that voted to send our brave men and women to Iraq and Syria to bomb ISIS positions.

We on this side of the House are protecting Canadians. That is a solemn oath we took and a guarantee we have given the Canadian people. We put their national security and the security of people here in Canada first and foremost, unlike the NDP members who cannot even utter the word “terrorist”.

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May 5th, 2015 / 5 p.m.
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Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, international jihadi terrorists recognize no border. If frustrated in their will to travel overseas to join their so-called caliphate, they will seek to commit acts of terrorism here in Canada.

We do not believe in exporting terrorism. Can the member expand on the tools this legislation would provide our law enforcement agencies to help them get the job done?

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May 5th, 2015 / 5 p.m.
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Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, finally, this is an intelligent question.

I would say that this legislation is absolutely necessary. The world is not the same place it was decades ago. It is not the same world it was in 1970 when the Liberal Party brought about the biggest breach in civil liberties in the history of our country, when it imposed the War Measures Act.

Our government's job is to protect Canadians. We take that job very seriously. Bill C-51 would give the national security and law enforcement officials the tools and resources they need to protect Canadians here in Canada.

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

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to participate in debate on this important move by the government to do a number of things. One of the things it cites is that it is trying to take serious measures to deal with the terrorism threat in this country.

I was, frankly, struck by the testimony at committee of the Commissioner of the RCMP when he was asked repeatedly whether there is anything in this legislation that would have prevented the unfortunate incidents that took place in and around the House of Commons and in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu in October of last year, and he said no. He was also asked whether they had sufficient powers now to be able to properly enforce and properly protect Canadians, and he said yes.

What I heard repeated time and time again from experts at committee who raised a number of different concerns about this legislation—and I will get to those concerns—was the fact that part of the problem we are facing, whether it is the Canada Border Services Agency, whether it is the RCMP at our airports or their ability to surveil, or whether it is CSIS itself and its ability to carry out its responsibilities, a big part of the problem we are facing in this country is this. While the government likes to pat itself on the back for all of the tough-on-crime legislation it has introduced and all the rhetoric the Conservatives spout about making communities safer, what they in fact have done is the opposite, and they have done that through failing to properly fund these important public security agencies in our country.

We heard the Commissioner of the RCMP talk about how he has had to redeploy 600 officers from other duties—and the majority of the files, he testified, had to do with major crime—and assign them to the terrorism initiatives of this government. Let us not forget that this is on top of the 500 personnel that are to be cut from the RCMP this year as a result of the 2014-2015 budget.

Clearly, a big issue at play when it comes to the government fulfilling its responsibilities is that it is a responsibility we appreciate, we understand, and we agree with: to keep Canadians safe. That is our number one responsibility, but the government has been falling short in that respect because of the fact that it has been failing to fund those agencies properly. Whether it is ensuring, for example, that for cross-border travel or travel to other countries or from other countries to North America, the agencies responsible, whether they be CSIS, the RCMP, or the Canada Border Services Agency, just simply do not have the resources to properly do the job.

That is kind of at the heart of this issue, because the government has trotted out this legislation as being a response to the terrorism threat we are facing here in this country.

Yet we recognize at the outset that the government is failing to do enough now with its ability to enforce the laws and powers that already exist, without this legislation being brought into force.

I have heard from a lot of Canadians and from a lot of my constituents from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour about this bill. People are concerned about the intrusion of the government and its various agencies and departments into their personal lives. In essence, they would be mining their personal data as CSIS, with its new mandate, went about sifting through everything to try to find a particular threat.

People are concerned. We have already heard about personal data being released, metadata being released, by communications companies to government agencies. We have already heard about those intrusions into the privacy of Canadians, and this bill would be that level of intrusion on steroids.

Let me quickly go over some of the main issues.

This bill, a 62-page omnibus bill, would expand the mandate of CSIS without strengthening existing oversight mechanisms. We have had debate in this country about the mandate of CSIS. It was determined, after incidents when CSIS tended to overstep the boundaries from time to time, that it was important to limit CSIS to the role of surveillance. If, through its surveillance activities, it had sufficient evidence that laws were being broken, and the RCMP needed to carry forward with an investigation, CSIS would then hand that information over to the RCMP. However, under this legislation, CSIS would be able to do both. CSIS would be able to continue the surveillance activities, the spying, and it would have the power, under this legislation, to disrupt. There has been some discussion as to what that would mean and who would be targeted.

It would make it easier to put people in preventative detention for longer periods. It would make it a crime to promote terrorism. It would allow police to seize terrorist propaganda. It would make it easier to share information between government departments. It would change the system for establishing a no-fly list. It would amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Nothing is said about the current government actually being involved in counter-radicalization programs, which have already been seen to be effective.

There is a lot that can be said about this bill. A lot of my colleagues have been eloquent in their arguments as they presented, as have people in my constituency who have talked about why we should not support this piece of legislation. We should not commit to people by saying, “Do not worry. We will fix it when we are in government”. If one stands on a principle, then one has to stand on it and argue it. That is the way I will be voting as it relates to Bill C-51 on behalf of my constituents.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 5th, 2015 / 5:15 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to begin, of course, by thanking all parties in this place and all members. If even one voice had said no, I would not have had this opportunity to speak to Bill C-51 at third reading. I am genuinely grateful for the generosity of spirit in accepting this as a motion by unanimous consent.

Having participated in the debates on Bill C-51 from the very beginning, and having been the first member of Parliament to declare firm opposition to the bill, I am enormously concerned that we have made such little progress in addressing those concerns.

Let me acknowledge at the outset that one of the first concerns I had was the use of the word “lawful” as a modifier for protests and actions in civil society. That word “lawful” has been removed, and that is a small improvement, but it is insufficient to deal with the dangers that are embedded in this act.

Sitting here today through third reading, I heard a great number of propositions from Conservative members of Parliament. I have no doubt that they believe those propositions in their speaking notes to be true, but they are consistently repeating fallacies that I would like to try to explain and deconstruct so that Canadians will understand why these repeated bromides are just not true.

The three fallacies I want to address in the time I have are the following. One notion is that information-sharing, which is part one of the bill, is designed to ensure that our security services, which are the RCMP, CSIS, Canada Border Services Agency, and CSEC, the agencies of policing and intelligence, share information with each other. That was put forward earlier today several times, and that, indeed, is something that must be done, but this bill does not do it.

The second fallacy is that there is judicial oversight in this bill, because judges are involved in one section. I want to deal with that one as well.

The other fallacy is that the terrorism and propaganda sections in the amendments to the Criminal Code in this omnibus bill would actually make it more likely that we could stop youth from being radicalized.

There are some things that are not in this bill, and I want to mention those, because I do not understand why, if the Conservative Party and administration were serious about avoiding radicalization, they would not have followed the example of the United Kingdom. Not everything the U.K. is doing in this area do I endorse. However, in December of last year, the U.K. came up with a very specific anti-terrorism bill, with proactive programs to go into schools and prisons to find those people at risk of radicalization and stop them, prevent them, dissuade them. We know that the horrific attacks recently in Europe were by people who were allegedly radicalized in prison. Why do we have nothing in Canada to deal with that?

On the other hand, and I will get to this by starting with my last point first in terms of fallacies, the fallacy that the provisions in the act to take terrorist propaganda off the Internet will in fact stop radicalization needs to be understood in the context of a legal analysis of the words that are used. In the section of the bill that deals with the Criminal Code and what I now call the thought-chill section in part three of the act, what it says is that this bill would deal with something called promoting terrorism “in general”, which is not a defined term. Terrorism and general propaganda would include any visual image or general language.

Legal experts have looked at this and are concerned about a couple of things. This business of getting things off the Internet is not brand new to Canadians. We have hate speech laws that take things off the Internet, and we have child pornography laws that take things off the Internet. In what way have we constructed these provisions on terrorism in general that are fundamentally different from what we did about hate speech and child pornography, which I think we would all agree we take very seriously? Those kinds of laws have statutory defences, and more significantly, those laws specifically exclude private conversations. This one does not.

A person could be arrested and go to jail for a private conversation, for discussing things that, in general, and it is very vague, could be seen to promote terrorism or might be reckless as to whether they promoted terrorism or not. Legal experts are concerned that this chill provision would make it harder for a community to continue to converse with people who are at risk of radicalization to stop them, to argue with them, to say that their understanding of Quran is entirely wrong and that they need to talk about this.

By failing to exclude private conversations, we increase the likelihood that no one will reach out to that person, and we have no programs to deal with it.

The second fallacy, going backward, is the notion that we have judicial oversight. We have no judicial oversight in the bill. First, one needs to understand what oversight means. For this, I quote from a paper by the very dedicated law professors who took this bill on and have published hundreds of pages on it, Professor Craig Forcese and Kent Roach, who wrote the following:

“Review” and “oversight” are often confused. Oversight is a real-time (or close to real time) operational command and control strategy. Review is a retrospective performance audit....

We can say that SIRC provides review, although it has part-time employees and part-time members of the SIRC board and a very inadequate structure, but there is no oversight. We used to have an inspector general for CSIS. The inspector general for CSIS was done away with in omnibus Bill C-38 in spring of 2012.

The term “judicial oversight”, as used by members of the Conservative Party in this debate, is truly a perversion of reality. It is one of the most offensive sections of the whole bill. It is the notion in part 4 that CSIS agents with an operational role now, what Roach and Forcese describe as “kinetic” functions, would go from collecting the data in the information to taking up disruptive activities themselves. If they thought they were going to break a domestic law or violate the charter, they would go to a judge in a secret hearing and ask for permission to violate the charter. Do not take it from me. Every legal expert who testified before the committee said that this was outrageous and that no other government, and certainly none of our Five Eyes partners, allows their spy agencies to violate the Constitution through the simple expedient of going to a federal court judge in a secret hearing.

Earlier today, the parliamentary secretary for public safety ridiculed a speech from the official opposition when it pointed out that no one would be there. How could anyone be there, she asked.

That brings me to a brief from a group that was excluded from giving testimony to the committee, the special advocates. Special advocates are security cleared lawyers who operate in secret hearings, usually on security matters, to ensure that the public interest is protected. These experts who were not heard before committee did submit written evidence urging that the bill be changed to ensure that we do not have secret hearings with no one present other than the minister and CSIS.

This kind of secret hearing, by the way, is particularly egregious, because it is very unlikely to ever be subjected to judicial challenge. It would be hard to ever find out what happened in a secret hearing. It would not come before the Supreme Court of Canada and be struck down. Establishing standing, for instance, for a civil liberties organization to challenge this would be nearly impossible. That is why my position is so firm that the bill must be repealed if it should ever pass.

The last fallacy is the really large one. It is part 1, about information-sharing making us safer. First, another witness who was not allowed to testify was the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Daniel Therrien. He was very clear. He said that he was:

...concerned with the breadth of the new authorities to be conferred by the proposed new Security of Canada Information Sharing Act. This Act would seemingly allow departments and agencies to share the personal information of all individuals, including ordinary Canadians who may not be suspected of terrorist activities....

This is an important point. However, what the information-sharing section does not do, which is critical if we want safety, if we want to ensure that Air India does not happen again, is ensure that the spy agencies and the policing agencies are talking to each other so that they are not letting critical information be hoarded.

By the way, Joe Fogarty, a U.K. expert in security, testified before the Senate about recent examples, on the public record, where CSIS found out that the RCMP was tracking the wrong people and decided not to tell it, or where CSIS found out there was a training camp for terrorists and decided not to tell the RCMP. We need to ensure that these agencies share the information.

Part 1 of the bill would allow agencies of government to share information about individual Canadians, but there is no requirement and no pinnacle control to ensure that an RCMP operation tracking terrorists has information and the benefit of information from CSIS. As a structural matter, experts, from John Major, who was the chair of the Air India inquiry, to former heads of CSIS and former heads of SIRC, have all urged that the bill not be passed as is.

It is not too late. I ask my colleagues to vote no to Bill C-51.

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

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's comments and the assessment she has made on the bill. Previously I spoke in the House after the member for Vancouver Quadra gave her remarks saying that when I was 21 years old and voted in 1968, I stressed I did not vote for Pierre Trudeau, but later when the Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into place, I really respected the effort that was made to bring that to Canada.

At this juncture, when we have four former prime ministers saying no to the bill, when we have 100 law professors and lawyers from across the country saying that this bill is a shambles and should not be proceeded with at all, the warnings of court challenges and a number of things, would the member agree with me that this perhaps has gone much further than even the Conservative members understand in the damage it could potentially do to Canadians?

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May 5th, 2015 / 5:25 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do indeed agree. I would like to point out to members, as I did not have time in a 10-minute speech, but so often we have heard that those of us on this side of the House who oppose Bill C-51 and oppose it passionately somehow are ideologically opposed to the agenda or come from a place where we have never agreed with the Conservatives ever. However, I remind them of the editorial pages of the National Post and The Globe and Mail, articles and columns by people whether it is Rex Murphy or Conrad Black which say that if we do not stop this bill, we will wake up in an unrecognizable despotism. The opposition to the bill is widespread, non-ideological and is based on the fact that the bill is badly drafted and will make Canada a less safe place.

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May 5th, 2015 / 5:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have two questions for my colleague. I want to commend her for remarks.

The member made reference to the absence of judicial oversight. Is there any oversight capacity in this legislation?

The second question has to do with the provision regarding the seizure of terrorist propaganda. There is an offence just before that in the Criminal Code which criminalizes the promotion and advocacy of terrorist acts. I ask the member whether that also seeks to criminalize private conversations, et cetera.

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May 5th, 2015 / 5:25 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will be brief and I appreciate the questions from my hon. colleague from Mount Royal.

First of all, is there any oversight in the bill? It is a short answer, no. There is no oversight in the bill. We have oversight again being specific operational knowledge of what agencies are doing. By the way, there is no supervisory agency for the Canada Border Services Agency. The RCMP does have a review agency, but no oversight. CSIS has review, but no oversight. CSEC has no oversight. Now we are giving CSIS brand new powers that could interfere with and actually derail RCMP operations with no oversight. As one security expert who testified before the Senate recently said, we will be “sitting on top of a tragedy waiting to happen”.

The second question is very different. The section that we find on page 26 of Bill C-51, proposed section 83.221, as amended, changes very definitely what propaganda is, what terrorist propaganda is. We have now enough law and jurisprudence to understand the meaning of the word “terrorism”. It is well defined. There is no definition provided for this new term “terrorism in general”. Neither is there any adequate explanation because none was offered at all as to why private conversations are not excluded. Nor does it make sense to say that terrorist propaganda means any writings, signs, visual representation or audio recording that promotes terrorist offences in general. No one will know how to operationalize this act and as a result, it could actually allow people to be prevented from stopping someone from engaging in terrorist activity.

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May 4th, 2015 / noon
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NDP

François Lapointe NDP Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, I could have spoken for 20 or even 30 minutes on this bill. It is always a great honour to be able to address the House; however, I cannot say that I am pleased about the subject we are addressing here today, Bill C-51.

The bill has a very long title because, basically, it is an omnibus bill related to security issues that affect all Canadians. Of course, I am referring to 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.

The government in power is going to ram this very cumbersome piece of legislation down our throats this week, even though the bill is being criticized to a virtually unprecedented extent in the history of committees, as we will see later.

Bill C-51 would considerably expand the mandate of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. That is what people at home need to understand, aside from the fact that this bill has a ridiculously long title and that it is an omnibus bill. We are once again faced with the same problem with this government. A majority of Canadians, and even a majority of representatives from the official opposition, could support the main objective of the bill, which is to improve protections for Canadians, especially in light of some recent, troubling events associated with the threat from the Islamic State. In principle, we can understand the desire to do better.

Once again, the problem is in how the government is going about it. Once again, the government has introduced an excessively large bill, manipulated the debate, moved time allocation and presented positions that are completely out of touch with what Canada's leading experts are saying. The official opposition will therefore present 64 amendments to try to give a voice to the overwhelming number of experts who are systematically demanding that Bill C-51 either be withdrawn altogether or be significantly amended.

I am skeptical though. I doubt that the government will even look at our amendments. Unfortunately, there is no mistaking its intention to steamroll the bill through this week. Even so, I will try to bring forward some of the arguments these experts have made in the hope that the government in power will set aside its overly strong tendency to show contempt for the work of Parliament. In making an effort to present these legitimate arguments, I hope that someone on the other side will adjust even slightly his or her position on a bill that so many say is bad.

I would like to highlight the attempts that my NDP colleagues on the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security have been making in recent weeks to do what I am trying to do today. I particularly want to draw attention to the work of my colleague from Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca. We are now at third reading, and we will soon run out of ways to try to prevent Bill C-51 from being passed. Nevertheless, my colleague from Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca has been proposing amendments ever since second reading. He made a number of very good points that, unfortunately, still apply after the committee's study.

Bill C-51 threatens our way of life by asking Canadians to choose between their security and their freedoms. There is something my friend, the leader of the NDP, often says. He points out, and rightly so, that in the French version of Canada's national anthem, it says that we must “protect our homes and our rights”. They are given the same priority. Even our national anthem notes the importance of applying our collective intelligence to ensure that we protect these two aspects of our lives. The remarks from across the way are veering more and more off track, suggesting that in order to protect our homes, some of our rights, including our right to privacy, may have to be negotiated or diminished. Let us not forget the wisdom of our national anthem, which emphasizes that the government has a duty to balance these two aspects and must never promote one at the expense of the other.

Another point that was made at second reading, is that Bill C-51 irresponsibly provides the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, CSIS, with a sweeping new mandate without equally increasing oversight. Later we will see how dire this problem really is. The bill also contains definitions that are broad and vague and that threaten to lump together legitimate dissent with terrorism. This point comes up all the time. The bill gives CSIS tremendous powers. If the net is cast that wide, are we really responding to an imminent problem of a potential terrorist threat or are we facilitating abuses that could violate Canadians' rights? The answer to that question is quite worrisome.

The Liberals voted against these amendments—and that is typically the Liberal way—despite the fact that former Liberal prime ministers wrote a letter stating that they strongly disagree with Bill C-51. From the beginning, the current Liberal leader painted himself into a corner by saying that he would vote for the bill, probably for a very sad reason. In fact, the first poll showed that 80% of Canadians were in favour of the bill. Support for the bill has subsequently collapsed and now 60% of Canadians do not support Bill C-51. However, the Liberal leader painted himself into a corner and unfortunately will vote for the bill.

There are some worrisome observations in the amendments presented by my colleague, and they are now shared by more than 60% or 70% of Canadians. I have never seen that. This is one of those rare bills that people know by name. In federal politics, it is very rare for people to ask me to assure them that I will vote against Bill C-51. It is obvious just how much Canadians are interested in and concerned about this bill, given that they are calling it by its official name.

In our opinion, not enough leading experts on privacy and personal information were invited to appear before the standing committee. However, most of the witnesses who did appear said that this bill should be struck down or heavily amended.

The debate on Bill C-51 is so important that I want to highlight some of what the witnesses said because this is an issue that goes beyond party lines. We need to have an opportunity to raise awareness of the fact that Bill C-51 should not be passed, particularly as it now stands. I will begin by quoting Daniel Therrien, the Privacy Commissioner. He said:

...the proposed changes to information sharing authorities are not accompanied by measures to fill gaps in the national security oversight regime.

That is what he said and he is very knowledgeable about the subject. The truth of his statement is obvious given that, in the 2012 budget, the Conservatives eliminated the position of inspector general of CSIS, who was responsible for internal oversight by ensuring that all of CSIS's activities complied with the law.

When an organization is granted vast surveillance powers, we always have to ask ourselves who watches the watchers, when their powers could, for example, threaten a person's right to privacy. Who watches them? Experts agree that the minister's and the government's answers are completely inadequate.

The Minister of Public Safety rejected the need for additional oversight of CSIS, calling it needless red tape. I fell off my chair. It is unbelievable that the minister would consider the need for proper oversight of those who have surveillance powers to be red tape. I am prepared to work 60 hours a week to ensure that business owners do not lose too much time to red tape. However, referring to the need to watch the watchers as red tape floored me. That is unacceptable.

Here is one last quote from the commissioner:

This Act would...allow departments and agencies to share the personal information of all individuals, including ordinary Canadians who may not be suspected of terrorist activities.

This is what the NDP and my colleague fear. Those were the words of the Privacy Commissioner. Canada's top privacy official concluded that there were some serious concerns with Bill C-51.

To conclude, in the debate on Bill C-51, we were faced with a string of time allocation motions and we had a limited number of witnesses in committee, despite the fact that almost all the experts demanded that Bill C-51 be withdrawn or significantly amended. I fear that this is not what will happen this week.

Bill C-51 will be rammed through the House and will be a threat to Canadians' privacy.

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May 4th, 2015 / 12:10 p.m.
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Scarborough Centre Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, a wide array of information has been pushed out by the NDP, whether it be intentionally or through a complete lack of understanding of the bill. Even in committee, when we were going through clause by clause, the critic for the NDP actually felt that the information sharing act, not the CSIS Act, would determine the subject of CSIS's activity. The officials who were on hand at that committee had to correct him, on the record, and tell him he was wrong.

The fact that the NDP still is pushing out information that is inaccurate is very harmful to this country with respect to national security and the protection of Canadians.

I will just ask the member a very brief question. Is that member intentionally pushing out information that is inaccurate, or is it because he has a complete lack of understanding of the bill?

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May 4th, 2015 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

François Lapointe NDP Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, when more than 80% or 90% of the competent individuals and experts associated with matters relating to protection of privacy and personal information strongly criticize the bill, the government has to start reconsidering how it sees things.

It is not people like the NDP members who are spreading false information. There is a huge amount of information from competent individuals about how Bill C-51 is troubling and inadequate and should be amended or withdrawn.

I wish I had the exact number from my colleague's last count, which was about 14 of the first 15 witnesses. They stated that Bill C-51 should not be passed as is and asked the government not to pass it.

The last ones on the list—who could in no way be described as far left—were part of an association of entrepreneurs in emerging technology and said that Bill C-51 as currently written is completely unacceptable. That is factual information.

Will I repeat that so all Canadians hear it? Yes, I will keep saying it until the election and make sure that we take power and overturn these decisions that are literally a threat to the privacy of Canadians and small and medium-sized businesses working in emerging technology.

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May 4th, 2015 / 12:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I believe that the NDP is confused on this issue. The member just finished saying that if it forms government, the NDP is going to dismiss it, implying that it is going to get rid of it.

Let me tell him what his leader says about the bill. Tom Clark, on Global TV, asked, “If you become the government, would you scrap this piece of legislation?” That is what he asked the leader of the New Democratic Party. His response was, “We would change it for sure”.

That does not mean they are going to scrap it. In fact, members of this House have stated that when they form government, they are going to change it.

I believe that the NDP is in a very awkward position. It recognizes that this legislation would build on powers of preventive arrest and that it would make better use of the no-fly list.

There is no doubt that there is a need for serious amendments, and in about 15 minutes, I am going to talk about that. However, my question is this: Who is right here, the member of who just made his statement or the leader of his party?

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May 4th, 2015 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

François Lapointe NDP Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, one expression that I have never used in the House is “a desperate attempt”. This looks very much like a desperate attempt.

The Liberals now totally disagree with former Liberal prime ministers. They realized in committee that this bill cannot be supported by basically anyone who has expertise in this field.

For the benefit of those at home, there is no question that we will change a law and that my friend the Leader of the Opposition will continue to say that we will change a law, because that is how Parliament operates. You have to take the existing law and turn it into something completely different, even if we want to transform it altogether.

There is no inconsistency in the NDP's position on this issue, not at all. The most—

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May 4th, 2015 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

François Lapointe NDP Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Yes, Mr. Speaker, pathetic.

The most pathetic inconsistency that we have seen in this House in quite some time is the Liberals' inconsistency. They plan to stand up and vote for Bill C-51 even though the greatest leaders in the history of their own party have said that we should not vote for such a thing.

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May 4th, 2015 / 12:15 p.m.
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Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley Nova Scotia

Conservative

Scott Armstrong ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism act, 2015. During my time today I will be addressing the elements of part 4 of the bill. These elements would broaden CSIS's mandate to include the authority to disrupt threats to Canada's national security. In particular, I would like to outline the legal parameters of this new authority as well as the robust accountability framework from which threat disruption measures would be taken by CSIS and how these would be authorized and reviewed.

I want to be clear. The international jihadi movement has declared war on Canada and its allies. Canadians are being targeted by terrorists simply because these terrorists hate our society and the values it represents. That is why our government has put forward these 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.

Throughout its history, CSIS has played a vital role in investigating and advising the government on national security threats, but it has also been limited to those functions of collection and advice, even as it has encountered early opportunities to disrupt threats in the course of these investigations. How frustrating that must be.

Today we must reconsider this narrowly constructed mandate and the tools required to protect Canadians. The threats from terrorism we face today demand that we do this. These threats are also the reason we are investing $292 million over the next five years in our intelligence and law enforcement agencies, as announced in this year's budget.

In the context of this bill, and specifically of the new mandate for CSIS, we must consider the rigorous framework in which CSIS's threat disruption activities would take place.

CSIS has established a 30-year history as an intelligence service. It is respected globally and is known for its rigorous framework of ministerial accountability, judicial authorization, and independent review. I want to expand on that point.

Canada is unique in that judicial, not executive, authorization is currently required for CSIS to engage in intrusive investigative techniques. That means, for example, that for the past 30 years, before CSIS has tapped a phone, it has been required to seek a warrant from the Federal Court, which is a rigorous and thorough process. The key tenets of the current warrant process are laid out in the CSIS Act. Among other things, the law requires that warrant applications to the Federal Court first be approved by the minister.

All of the activities of CSIS are also subject to ministerial direction, and the minister is kept apprised of CSIS's operations, routinely and through a detailed annual report. These reporting requirements are laid out in both the CSIS Act and through ministerial direction. In addition, as set out by the CSIS Act, all CSIS activities are subject to review by SIRC. This model of judicial authorization review is routinely cited as embodying the best practices in the area of intelligence service governance.

I would like to direct members to the 2010 report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on good practices in legal and institutional frameworks for intelligence agencies, in which CSIS received positive mention several times. It is in this context, and in today's threat environment, that we introduce this legislation to expand CSIS's mandate.

Pursuant to this bill, CSIS would have the authority to disrupt threats to our national security. This would provide the government with an invaluable and flexible new tool to combat threats to our security and safety, which we know have now increased, both in tempo and in complexity. We saw another tragic attack in the United States today.

Make no mistake, this bill would not give CSIS a blank cheque to do whatever it wishes; far from it, in fact. This legislation, in numerous provisions, would require that all threat disruption measures undertaken by the service be reasonable and proportionate. These measures would not be arbitrary, and they would be narrowly focused on disrupting a particular activity that constituted a threat to the very security of our nation. This threshold is clearly articulated in law.

Ray Boisvert, the former assistant director of CSIS, said:

...the warrant process is the most onerous warrant process of its kind, in my estimation, around the world.... The enhancements being proposed will add layers of requirements, giving direction to the judiciary and...those who are composing the warrant.... [Seizure] warrants typically go on for hundreds of pages per target, explaining the rationale and making the case to be able to obtain those powers that allowed us...to lawfully intercept some of these communications.... I am still encouraged that this will not change. My sense from reading the legislation is that those safeguards are protected and are further enhanced.

I would also like to point out the key differences between CSIS's collection mandate and the proposed disruption mandate of this legislation.

CSIS may investigate activities suspected of constituting threats to the security of Canada, an entirely appropriate threshold for its investigative mandate. The threshold for engaging any threat diminishment activity, however, would be much higher. For CSIS to disrupt a threat, the bill states that there would have to be reasonable grounds to believe that a given activity constituted a threat to the security of Canada. That is an important distinction between those two roles and those two activities.

Let me be frank. Some have raised the spectre of what are, quite frankly, disturbing scenarios or outcomes due to this legislation. I want to put those concerns to rest here and now.

The legislation would specifically prohibit certain activities. Let me emphasize that this bill would also not make CSIS a law enforcement body. Our Conservative amendments have reinforced this point for greater clarity.

Further, this new threat disruption mandate would be subject to new ministerial direction, managed within a rigorous framework and subject to an independent review by SIRC.

The bill clearly states that when a warrant was required, a judge would determine if a measure was reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances in regard to the nature of a threat, the nature of the measures, and the reasonable availability of other means.

In addition, the judge could include any terms or conditions deemed advisable in the public interest: judicial authority; judicial power. Further, these warrants would be narrowly time bound, with a maximum duration of 120 days, and would only be able to be renewed twice, as they would be time limited.

To provide added assurance about the nature and implementation of the threat disruption measures, this legislation would also impose specific reporting requirements on both CSIS and SIRC. CSIS would be specifically required to report to the minister on the measures it has taken. SIRC would then be required to annually review at least one aspect of the service's performance in taking these measures and to report on the number of warrants issued for these activities.

For added assurance, as members will know our government just announced its intention to double the budget of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, providing an additional $12.5 million over five years to further strengthen SIRC's capacity to review the activities of CSIS. This is on top of announcing $300 million that we put in place to combat terrorism here at home. These elements combined, namely our rigorous system of judicial authorization, enhanced independent review by SIRC, and specific statutory prohibitions, are designed to assure Canadians that this mandate would be exercised by CSIS responsibly.

This is a regime Canadians can feel confident is in keeping with their values and is a framework in which the imperatives of national security will always be duly balanced with the rights of an individual.

This legislation would protect Canadians, enhance our national security, and keep in place what we value dearly: our rights and freedoms.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 4th, 2015 / 12:25 p.m.
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NDP

Craig Scott NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate some of the effort by my colleague to indicate some of the safeguards in the bill. Nobody is saying that safeguards were not written in, in certain ways. However, this bill lacks adequate oversight and review and equivalent powers for oversight agencies to match the beefed-up powers in this bill for CSIS and other agencies that can now exchange information more broadly than they could before. It does not beef up their powers; it just means that they have more information to use their powers with. That is a huge problem.

I would ask my colleague this. Would he accept that one of the strongest critiques of the sharing of information act is that these new provisions do not come with the corresponding power for review bodies to share information for a more integrated form of review? That is one of the central concerns of the commissioners who have spoken out against the bill.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 4th, 2015 / 12:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, in my discussion I talked about the supervision, the authorization and how we had increased the resources for review agencies like SIRC to ensure CSIS followed its mandate appropriately. With every step of the way, there is ministerial and judicial review, and we have an enhanced SIRC to provide enhanced authorization to enhance CSIS.

The nature of the bill is solely to protect Canadians from an international terrorist threat that we have all seen both in Ottawa and in Quebec, but also in the nightly news around the world. This government must protect the citizens of this nation. It is one of the primary things a government is expected to do. Canadians would expect that different departments in this government would share information with the ability to stop a potential threat.

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May 4th, 2015 / 12:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, why did the government not recognize the value of having parliamentary oversight on this issue? It has surprised a great number of Canadians. For example, our Five Eyes partners, New Zealand, England, Australia and the United States, all recognize the importance of parliamentary oversight, yet the Conservative government does not seem to understand or appreciate the importance of parliamentary oversight.

Why has the member's government changed its opinions on parliamentary oversight and is not prepared to incorporate that into the legislation we have today?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 4th, 2015 / 12:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government has been clear that there is oversight for the bill; it is judicial oversight. Canadians from coast to coast to coast and in my riding would put their trust in the judiciary to oversee CSIS's activities before they would put it in the hands of a bunch of elected politicians. We believe the judicial oversight is in place. It is robust and it will ensure that CSIS operates well within its mandate to ensure that the rights and freedoms of Canadians are protected.

At the same time, we have to give our security agencies the tools they need to keep us safe. That is what we are doing. We have judicial oversight. We believe the mandate of CSIS will have proper oversight both for CSIS and the minister.

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May 4th, 2015 / 12:30 p.m.
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Scarborough Centre Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I am glad parliamentary oversight was brought up and the fact that my colleague spoke about the importance of having judiciary oversight for review of warrants for the activities of CSIS. I cannot imagine for a moment that CSIS would have to come to partisan politicians to determine whether it could carry out an activity. Through this bill, we would give that to a non-partisan body, the courts, the judge, to make those decisions. When Canadians think about that for a moment, they will recognize the importance of that and the reason for it.

I also want to clarify this for the record. When it comes to the information sharing act, that there will be review of that. The Privacy Commissioner as well as the Auditor General have the ability to review any aspects of that as well as internal processes. Therefore, that is certainly not an issue.

Again, this is misinformation being pushed out by the opposition parties. Could my colleague comment on what that really means to national security if we actually start to listen to the opposition?

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May 4th, 2015 / 12:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is one thing to have criticism of legislation based on fact. It is another thing to twist the facts to try to put someone in disrepute. This legislation has been put forward by the government in response to an international threat of terrorism. Jihadi terrorists have declared war on our country. They have declared war on our allies. They are encouraging people to take violent action against our military and our police. In response to that, we need to put the measures in place so our security agencies have the powers to deal with this threat.

This effort by the NDP to try to say that somehow we are trying to beef up CSIS so it can spy on the average everyday citizen in our country is totally false. In fact, I believe it is totally irresponsible. The target of this legislation is terrorists. The target is terrorism and the target is to ensure that we keep Canadians safe.

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May 4th, 2015 / 12:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I believe a majority of Canadians were shocked to find out the number of young Canadians being radicalized and leaving Canada to work with ISIL. It is important for our country to recognize that we need to deal with a very real, tangible issue.

We now have before us legislation that attempts to deal with the issue of security and, at the same time, impacts the freedoms of Canadians. The Liberal Party's approach in dealing with this issue has been very straightforward, transparent and, most important, consistent. We are a party of the Charter of Rights. We recognize the importance of individual rights. At the same time, we are very much concerned about the safety of Canadians.

The legislation before us is a step in the right direction. There are things incorporated in the legislation that would make our society safer. However, there are major flaws and shortcomings in it that the government has failed to act upon, which means the legislation will not be as robust as it could have been if the government had been more sensitive to the need to make more amendments to the legislation. Had it chosen to do that, we would have far better legislation.

I will not try to rationalize the NDP's approach to dealing with Bill C-51. It appears to be more political in trying to position itself with the Liberal Party, quite honestly, than it is about the safety of Canadians. However, I will let the New Democrats reconcile their inconsistencies on it. What I am concerned about is the lost opportunity by the government, but it is still not too late. The government can still make a difference.

Let me provide a specific example, which I posed in the form of a question for the previous speaker. Why did the government not choose to bring in parliamentary oversight? It is a legitimate question. It is a concern that Canadians have. It would deal with a lot of the issues that have been raised with regard to Bill C-51. If the bill included parliamentary oversight, it would be better legislation, and the government knows that.

In fact, the member for Mount Royal, when he was the minister a number of years ago, brought in legislation and the Minister of Justice supported the idea of parliamentary oversight. When the Conservatives were in opposition and the Prime Minister was the leader of the official opposition, he supported parliamentary oversight, and for good reason. Canada is not asking to go it alone on the issue of parliamentary oversight. It is not an issue of politicians versus judicial oversight. Canada has very strong allies in fighting terrorism. The United States, Australia, New Zealand and England are all part of the Five Eyes, of which Canada is one. There is a great deal of coordination among those countries, yet Canada is the only one that does not have parliamentary oversight.

A few years ago, today's Minister of Justice argued that we should have parliamentary oversight. Therefore, I do not understand the government's change of attitude. I do not believe it is the answer that the member across the way provided. I do not quite understand it. I would have appreciated a better explanation from the government on its flip-flop on this very important issue. To be honest with Canadians on this issue, the government should bring in parliamentary oversight. It is not too late to do that.

If the Conservatives are a little confused in what mechanism to use or how to put it in place, the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada has provided great detail as to how parliamentary oversight would look and work. I would suggest the government give serious consideration to that. It is not too late.

When we talk about the opportunity to bring in robust legislation, the Conservatives would be doing a disfavour by not acting on that amendment. We have argued for it since second reading of the legislation.

Back at second reading, we were fairly clear on the issue. We indicated that we would support the legislation because it would build on the powers of preventive arrest. It would improve and make better use of the no-fly list. It would allow for more immediate and coordinated information sharing by government departments and agencies. Those are all positive things that would assist us. We should not be fearful of that.

However, I have had concerns. I have had the opportunity in Winnipeg North to meet with many constituents regarding this issue. They are very much aware of these concerns. I have had the opportunity to meet with Cindy Woodhouse and others regarding the issue of how the definition of protests would be deemed and dealt with by our security agencies. We brought forward a series of amendments that would have dealt with some of those concerns.

I have indicated very clearly that if the government fails, and continues to fail, to make those important changes and amendments, the Liberal Party is prepared to make the issue a part of an election platform. In other words, on the big issue of parliamentary oversight, if the Conservatives continue to resist it, as it would appear they will, it will become a part of the Liberal Party's election platform for the following reasons.

First, we recognize that it is very important to have robust laws that will have an impact on the issue of terrorism in our country and abroad. Quite frankly, Canada has a leadership role to play on this issue, but it has failed to meet that leadership role.

Second, where the government has failed to recognize the importance of bringing in some of those amendments to provide those assurances, whether perceived or real, the Liberal Party will make those necessary changes. However, it would be a mistake to prevent the legislation from passing in order to make some of those changes.

We realize we live in a world that has changed. Over the last numbers years, we have seen legislation brought forward to try to deal with the issue of terrorism across the world. The events of 9/11 had a profound impact in a very real way in the minds of Canadians. Their expectation is that good government will provide sound laws that will give Canadians the confidence that it knows what it is doing and that is moving in the right direction.

As I indicated, many Canadians were shocked when they found out the degree to which we have young people who are becoming radicalized. Even that aspect, in part, has some dealings in the legislation.

In closing, I have appreciated the opportunity to share those few words with members.

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May 4th, 2015 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Craig Scott NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague from Winnipeg North if he could firmly go on the record one way or the other about what the position of the Liberal Party is, considering the general position is in favour of the bill. A huge part of this bill has to do with the pre-authorization by judges of violations of Canadian law or of infringements of the charter, with no limits in the act other than that they could not engage in bodily harm, affect the sexual integrity of a person, or obstruct justice.

There are all kinds of problems. There would be secret judicial proceedings. CSIS itself would decide whether or not to go to a judge. There would be no oversight after a judge's pre-authorization of interference in the form of disruption. All commentators with a legal background have completely panned this provision as completely incompatible with the role of judges.

As the party of the charter, as the member likes to say, I would like to know whether or not my colleague is in support of this new system.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 4th, 2015 / 12:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I for one believe in Canada's institutions, our judicial institutions and our many different law agencies, that are out there. It does not necessarily mean that checks cannot be put in place. I believe that checks need to be in place. Some of those checks range from a simple regulation to our Constitution in the frame of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

There is no doubt there are aspects to the legislation we currently have that could have been amended to narrow some of those definitions, maybe even exclude some. The Liberal Party critic had the opportunity extensively through the committee stage to make suggestions on ideas for potential amendments to the legislation, to bringing forward amendments in itself.

I would not argue that this is perfect legislation, but I do believe it is in Canadians' best interests that the legislation pass. However, it needs to be changed and a Liberal government—

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 4th, 2015 / 12:45 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it grieves me to hear my hon. colleague from Winnipeg North take a partisan jab at the official opposition for what is a principled position opposing dangerous legislation. The Green Party opposes this legislation and does not believe it would make us safer.

I have learned a lot about security since this bill was first brought forward. I have heard a lot of experts from our Five Eyes partners who talk about how Canada has a system with the least oversight of any of the Five Eyes partners and actually has adopted a system that would make us less safe, more vulnerable to terrorist attack as a result of Bill C-51, and the creation of disruption activities from CSIS agents without any requirement to report them to RCMP or have any pinnacle level of oversight.

I still hold out the hope that the Liberals will change their minds and vote with the official opposition, and that some Conservatives of conscience will vote with us so we can stop this monstrosity before it becomes law.

On the subject of radicalization, we have not done what the U.K. did in creating anti-terrorism law that actually creates anti-radicalization programs in institutions like prisons and schools. As well, we have done something unprecedented in Canadian law. We have not exempted personal conversations. We have created thought chill around radicalization and will make our youth less vulnerable to being able to hear from those who would talk them out of it.

Does my hon. colleague from Winnipeg North not think this legislation, once it has passed, should be repealed if an election takes place?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 4th, 2015 / 12:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, we will have to agree to disagree. The Green Party would be on its own in regard to the member's last statement that the legislation should be repealed. There is somewhat of a need for aspects of the legislation, and even the New Democrats, with all their failings, recognize that they would not repeal the legislation. The leader of the New Democratic Party has said that.

The leader of the Green Party made reference to radicalization. Maybe she can honestly say that she might actually believe it, but I do believe that there are aspects of the legislation that would in part deal with the radicalization of our young people through websites and so forth. There is reason for us to appreciate that there is value to the current legislation, even though there are a number of issues on which the government could have improved the legislation and there are a number of things that it could have been introduced.

There is the need for amendments to change some of the wording and for bringing in something else, such as parliamentary oversight. Had the government done that, the bill would have been far more robust in dealing with terrorism. That is what Canadians would have wanted.

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May 4th, 2015 / 12:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise and speak to Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism act, 2015. I will most certainly be supporting it.

First, I would like to digress and congratulate the Minister of Finance on economic action plan 2015. This is a balanced budget, but it also invests in one of the key priorities of my constituents, namely, national security. The budget set aside almost $300 million to counter terrorism in Canada, funds which our security and law enforcement agencies will use to keep all Canadians safe.

During my time today, I would like to speak about the threat environment in Canada and globally, how it has changed since the inception of CSIS and why we must respond accordingly, particularly by allowing CSIS to disrupt and prevent terrorist threats from developing further.

Let me be perfectly clear. The international jihadi movement has declared war on Canada and her allies. Jihadi terrorists have stated their intent to target Canadians because they hate our values, our freedom, and our prosperity.

In 1984, when the CSIS Act entered into force, the primary national security concerns were cold war era espionage. The actors were well known. The threat environment today is much more complex. Enhanced by technology, the threats are global and can develop very quickly. While this applies to the full range of threats, espionage, foreign interference and proliferation concerns, we know all too well that the twin spectres of violent extremism and international jihadi terrorism in particular require a robust, and very importantly, flexible response.

Our Conservative government is tackling this important issue. That is why we have tabled the legislation which is before us. It is why we have made significant investments in the budget to protect national security.

The legislation contains a critical new tool for the government to improve our capacity to act, to deter and to diminish threats at an early stage. It is a threat disruption mandate for CSIS.

Creating a new threat disruption mandate for the service to take authorized and focused action against threats would increase the range of response options that may be brought to bear against those who would do us harm. However, let us be clear. In no way does threat disruption amount to police powers. This is a complete falsehood spread by the opposition. Policing would rightly remain with the RCMP and local law enforcement. The amendment adopted by the public safety and national security committee provides even greater clarity on this point, which I strongly support.

For 30 years, CSIS has been singularly charged with investigating, assessing and advising on threats to Canada's national security. In doing so, it has proven itself to be a respected and highly professional Canadian institution. In fulfilling the new mandate to disrupt threats to the security of Canada, CSIS would build upon its existing capabilities and expertise. CSIS develops and maintains unique and unparalleled access to intelligence on threats to Canada, which provides it with unique insights and operational leads.

The director of CSIS has been quite clear in his appearances before parliamentary committees, stating that the jihadi terrorist threat to Canada has never been as direct and immediate as it is today. Unfortunately, this is no longer simply a threat. In recent months and years, Canada and most of our close allies have been directly impacted by the scourge of terrorism. Our citizens have been both perpetrators and victims of terrorist attacks here at home as well as in allied countries and in conflict zones.

Canada has a responsibility to the international community to prevent and deter our citizens from engaging in such activities both at home and abroad, and the anti-terrorism act, 2015 would accomplish these tasks. As we have seen, such activities can destabilize countries and whole regions and cause significant harm.

We must also be concerned about individuals who return to Canada after having spent time abroad engaging in terrorist activities. While their terrorist experience abroad may vary greatly, we must consider their radicalizing influence on others, their ability to facilitate other people's terrorist activities, or the potential for such individuals to engage in attacks here.

We should not be so naive to think that Canada is immune to such threats in this age of global travel and ubiquitous communications technologies. It is incumbent upon us in such an environment to reassess our approach and ensure appropriate authorities are in place so that we may take reasonable and necessary steps to protect the safety of Canadians.

Many of our closest allies already exercise similar authorities and view them as vital to their own investigations. We must ensure that the tools at our agencies' disposal keep pace so that Canada can work effectively to address threats and contribute to global efforts to combat terrorism. To do so, we are harnessing all relevant capacity and expertise to build a robust and agile system that allows us to bring the right tools to bear at the right time.

I think all members can agree that preventing terrorist acts proactively is certainly preferable to a reactive posture, and this bill would ensure that.

While I have focused my remarks on terrorism, I would remind members that authorizing CSIS to diminish threats would allow it to take measures to address all threats to national security identified in the CSIS Act. These threats include not just terrorism, but also proliferation, espionage, sabotage and foreign interference. This new mandate would allow CSIS to take authorized measures to disrupt the threat posed by sophisticated and determined cyberspies whose activities are contrary to the security of Canada.

These measures could also be used against proliferation networks active in Canada which seek to covertly and illicitly export our technologies and expertise to weapons programs.

When CSIS was created, the threats we faced as a country and as a global community were markedly different from those we must combat today, threats that are agile, diffuse and evolving rapidly. The terrorists' ability to use modern social media is becoming very well known, as we see on almost a daily basis around the world.

I think all my colleagues must agree that we cannot expect CSIS to fulfill its duties and functions with dated legislation crafted for another era, another environment, and indeed, a more innocent time.

I would also remind members opposite that CSIS is not the enemy. ISIS is the enemy. It is important that we focus on who the real enemies are in these threats to our country.

We must take the necessary steps now to ensure that we as a government and as a nation can protect the safety and security of our citizens at home and abroad. This new legislation creates a clear mandate for CSIS within a well-established and rigorous system of accountability and review by the Security Intelligence Review Committee, or SIRC, whose budget our government doubled through economic action plan 2015. Yet again, this is another measure from one of the finest budgets that a government in Canada has ever brought in, as is evidenced by the widespread support for economic action plan 2015. Such an increase in funding for SIRC will provide it with greater capacity in order to assure both Parliament and Canadians that CSIS will appropriately exercise its threat disruption mandate.

It never ceases to amaze me that members in the opposition view this as a zero-sum game. They automatically assume any measures that we take to protect Canadian security come at the expense of personal liberties. Clearly, this is nonsense. The measures we are taking under Bill C-51 would not only improve security, but they would also increase the freedom of Canadians.

Most important, the bill would provide the necessary tools for CSIS to play its part in protecting Canadians and in being a responsible international partner in the fight against global terrorism.

I am very proud to be part of a party that labels terrorism and terrorists for what they actually are, and we are not afraid to use those words.

In conclusion, I hope all members will rise in this House to support the bill.

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May 4th, 2015 / 1 p.m.
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NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the Conservative member's speech. I am really concerned because Bill C-51 is an omnibus bill.

Neither the government nor the member's speech has shown why this bill, which is very broad in scope, is necessary. When this bill was examined in committee, almost all of the witnesses expressed serious reservations about it. What is more, the international community is watching Canada very closely when it comes to this bill.

Did the Conservatives look carefully at what was being done elsewhere when they drafted this bill? We need to keep Canadians safe, but this bill does not take Canadians's safety into account and especially not their fundamental freedoms.

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May 4th, 2015 / 1 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, it never ceases to amaze me. The NDP opposite claims to want to protect the security of Canadians, but each and every time that this and any other government moves actively against terrorism, it is automatically against it.

I would remind the member opposite of the history of her party. One of the founding fathers of the party, J.S. Woodsworth, actually voted against Canada's participation in the Second World War. Can members imagine that? Had Canada followed that advice, who knows what the consequences for the world would have been. The NDP's sorry track record on protecting Canada's security is there for all to see.

In terms of the opponents of our particular bill, I would quote Justice John Major regarding the letters from the lawyers on the bill. He said the criticism goes “way over the top. You’ve got to come back to what we’re dealing with – a serious problem of terrorism in Canada. You can’t have a halfhearted war against that”.

I agree.

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May 4th, 2015 / 1 p.m.
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Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I first want to say that the fact that the committee accepted the Liberals' request for removal of the word “lawful” from Bill C-51 is a good step forward when it comes to allowing people to protest. I want to acknowledge that.

However, my concerns continue to be on the issue of parliamentary oversight.

The government knows that there is huge opposition to Bill C-51. Why is that it continues to be so resistant about putting some dollars into the budget to provide that and to committing to parliamentary oversight? Every other country has it. It is a common thing that should be there to ensure people's rights are protected.

I would like to hear from my hon. colleague as to why he and his government continue to refuse to do that.

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May 4th, 2015 / 1 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, first, we want to dispense with the point that there is massive opposition to Bill C-51 because there is simply not. My constituents in Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette are strongly supportive of the security measures.

Again, as a member of the governing party, and thankfully so, I see no lack of criticism, or commentary and demonstrations and opinions, on what this and any other government does. Therefore, to suggest that Canada is less free or would become less free is complete nonsense.

In terms of the oversight for the CSIS, I would again quote Justice John Major, who said, “I don't think Parliament is equipped as a body to act as an oversight...which is what is being proposed”.

Clare Lopez, from the Center for Security Policy, said, “the use of an intermediary review committee rather than direct parliamentary oversight has advantages..”.

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May 4th, 2015 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

Alain Giguère NDP Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all, let us look at what is really happening.

Just because the NDP does not blindly follow the dictates of the Conservative Party does not mean that we are in favour of insecurity and letting the terrorist movement do whatever it wants. We want to combat the terrorist threat and do so in an effective manner, not make terrorists our allies.

I had an internationally recognized strategy teacher, Professor Garant. He said that terrorism has an incestuous relationship with the media. Terrorism scares people, and the media and politicians avidly repeat the message that it sends and make the threat seem bigger than it really is. This is the same problem that arose in the debate between Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Tommy Douglas on the invocation of the War Measures Act in October 1970.

Bill C-51 seeks to make permanent the measures that that legislation sought to impose in October 1970. Under the War Measures Act, 400 Canadians were imprisoned for absolutely no reason. No charges were laid against them. Tens of thousands of Canadians had their rights restricted. For what? For nothing.

The FLQ, which was a real threat, was dismantled by a classic police operation. The police did not use any special laws or illegal means; they simply did their police surveillance work to look for and find the suspects. The FLQ was dismantled. I want to stress that the special laws served absolutely no purpose.

Why was the War Measures Act invoked? A minister said it was outrageous that thousands of FLQ members were preparing to overthrow the government, as though here in Canada the Islamic State were preparing to invade with tens of thousands of big bad Muslims. Well, no. It is not true.

Two unfortunate events unfolded. The first involved a young man whose father begged the authorities to commit his son for psychiatric reasons. The young man did not have a gun. He used a motor vehicle and a knife. Everyone around him knew how he was and therefore removed any chance for him to use a firearm. The second event involved a young addict who wanted to go to prison for detoxification treatment.

Now, the government wants to deprive us of our rights because of those two incidents. However, everyone is saying that the new laws in Bill C-51 never would have prevented those two unfortunate incidents from happening. That speaks volumes.

The famous sentence uttered by the then Liberal prime minister was “Just watch me”. Well, we are watching the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, and we see that he has an image, but not much more than that. There is no substance to his message, and when we try to listen to what he says we are dismayed that there is nothing there.

Later on there was the debate on the charter, which was a protection. In the debate between Ed Broadbent and Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Ed Broadbent said that economic rights needed to be replaced by human rights. Thank goodness that debate took place. We would be at a disadvantage today if it had not occurred.

Claude Ryan, a man of common sense, said that the charter was there to protect citizens from the worst and most dangerous abuses, those of the state, and he was right.

I remind members that 1,000 aboriginal women—not two—are currently missing in Canada. That is a big number, yet there is still no special legislation. However, we are not asking for special legislation. We are asking for an inquiry into why the police have failed to prevent these crimes and whether there are any social programs in which we could invest to combat this problem. Unfortunately, there is absolutely nothing. We are so used to seeing first nations people being systematically dismissed that it has almost become routine. It is hardly newsworthy.

However, when two Canadians die, it is a whole other story. It is unfortunate, but at some point it needs to be said. How can this government make a big issue out of two sad events that need to be addressed, yet it does absolutely nothing to find 1,000 missing women? It does not care. It is just looking for media coverage. It has an incestuous relationship with the media.

Furthermore, organized crime is still a problem. Attempts to settle scores among criminals—and sometimes their victims—account for about 100 murders in Canada every year. About 5,000 people fall victim to illicit drugs every year. For example, there are people who sell low-quality heroin in Montreal. It is hard to get accurate data, since there are always a number of suicides, but thousands of Canadians still die.

What does this government do? It withdraws police personnel tasked with combatting organized crime and assigns them to combatting terrorist activities, which have so far been far less effective than organized crime. In fact, organized crime causes much more harm in Canada.

A majority of experts—even those from the government—agree with us and believe that this is not good legislation, that it will not combat terrorism and that it will not pass the charter test. That will make this law illegal. The government is currently batting zero at the Supreme Court. All of its laws have been deemed ultra vires. Unbelievable.

Even though 48 witnesses, including jurists and former prime ministers, told them that they would get in trouble again with this, they say the Supreme Court will side with them this time. When it comes to credibility, I am more inclined to trust all of the experts, prime ministers and eminent jurists who say that the government will get in trouble than I am to trust the government's legal opinion, which is not worth much.

Don Quixote tilted at windmills believing they were giants. Well, my distinguished Conservative Party colleagues have the mental age of Don Quixote. Once again, they are inventing giants and trying to fight them.

Clearly you do not like what I am telling you, but here is something even better: the vast majority of Canadians agree with me and reject your position.

Polls indicated that you had 85% support, but now that Canadians realize you are attacking their rights, they are withdrawing their support.

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May 4th, 2015 / 1:15 p.m.
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Scarborough Centre Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again, the NDP has proven that it has sympathy for the perpetrators of these terrorist acts. Throughout the member's entire speech, he talked about them being, more or less, victims, including the two jihadi terrorists who came to Montreal and Ottawa and took two lives. He referred to those two lives as simply “unfortunate incidents”.

I absolutely cannot believe what I just heard.

A lot of what he said in his speech was absolutely untrue. He also mentioned that none of the measures in this bill would have stopped those incidents, but I would read a quote from testimony that we heard before committee:

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

Who said that? Louise Vincent, sister of slain Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent.

My question for the member is would you like to explain to Louise Vincent why the person who killed her brother is a victim, and why her brother is just an unfortunate incident?

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May 4th, 2015 / 1:15 p.m.
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NDP

Alain Giguère NDP Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, the same arguments apply to what happened in October 1970 when Pierre Laporte was killed during a terrorist attack.

Should all Canadians have been punished because the FLQ murdered a man? No, only the FLQ should have been punished. That is what we are saying. We want to protect all Canadians, not just those who think they share the government's view.

I will provide a very specific answer because I like answering questions, unlike the Conservatives. My colleague indicated that the only person who spoke in favour of Bill C-51 said that she wished that her brother were still alive. I understand and accept that. Her brother would not have been killed if that man had been committed.

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May 4th, 2015 / 1:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, this member and other members have made reference to the FLQ crisis and painted it in such a way that they say, with hindsight, that it was a terrible thing that occurred in terms of the War Measures Act that was put into place.

Given that the member likes to answer questions directly, does he believe that Prime Minister Trudeau, back then, made a mistake by listening to the premier of Quebec and the mayor of Montreal when they asked for the federal government to do just what he did? Is there an obligation for the Prime Minister of Canada to actually listen to the premier of Quebec and to the mayor of Montreal?

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May 4th, 2015 / 1:15 p.m.
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NDP

Alain Giguère NDP Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, Jean Marchand told the House that he had information indicating that 4,000 terrorists were threatening the government.

Then, the people of Quebec, the Premier of Quebec, and the Mayor of Montreal were asked what they thought about that. They said that the government needed to respond. However, the 4,000 terrorists was something the Prime Minister made up at the time. He lied to the House.

This is evident because none of the 400 people arrested were prosecuted. The FLQ was completely dismantled. It had less than 30 members. Where are the 4,000 terrorists? They exist only in the active imagination of the Liberal Party representative.

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May 4th, 2015 / 1:20 p.m.
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Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, today I am happy to rise in support of the anti-terrorism act, 2015 and our Conservative government's ongoing efforts to protect Canadians. In my remarks today I would like to discuss the value of information sharing between federal government departments and why this is a necessary and important tool for CSIS in particular.

However, before I address the substance of the bill before us today, I would like to take a moment to applaud our hard-working Minister of Finance for our government's investments to enhance national security through this year's budget by almost $300 million. Such funding will give the tools to our police and our national security agencies to keep our families and our communities safe.

Now I will turn to the bill. The security of Canada information sharing act is an important new tool. This would ensure a coherent framework is in place for our intelligence and security agencies to reliably gain access to important information they need to investigate threats against Canadians. It will also be done in accordance with the mandate and lawful authorities of our intelligence and security agencies. Having such information sharing capabilities will allow and help CSIS to fully investigate and provide advice on terrorist plots and related activities before they develop, helping to ensure our national security.

Over the last several years, the national security landscape has changed considerably. The threats we face today are more complex, more widespread and can materialize more quickly than ever before. Accordingly, efficient and responsible information sharing across federal institutions is crucial. In today's complex and connected world, timely and effective information sharing is essential to the identification and investigation of these threats. Co-operation between a range of institutions, including those not traditionally part of the national security community, is required for investigative bodies such as CSIS to fulfill their mandate.

The CSIS Act sets out legal authorities for the service to investigate and advise on threats to the security of Canada. CSIS collects information to the extent that it is strictly necessary from a wide variety of sources, including in some cases other government agencies. Many government departments collect information of direct relevance to active CSIS investigations. This information can be vital and yet, while CSIS has a clear authority to collect information to fulfill its national mandate, many other government departments face uncertainty when deciding whether or not they have the authority to disclose information relevant to national security. This is an issue we need to address. The legislation we are talking about today will address this shortcoming in our current security framework.

To date, agencies and departments have operated in an ambiguous environment, having relied on a patchwork of authorities not designed to facilitate information sharing for such purposes. This lack of certainty surrounding disclosure can cause delays and it can even prevent access to information directly relevant to protecting Canadians. With this current legal landscape in mind, with its delays and hurdles and uncertainties, I am happy to say I am speaking in favour and support of this legislation designed to ensure effective and responsible information sharing.

The security of Canada information sharing act, which is included as part of Bill C-51, is the latest effort of our government's ongoing efforts to protect Canadians and our national security. In recognition of the impediments to the sharing of vital national and security-related information between government departments, our government is taking clear action to protect Canadians. The security of Canada information sharing act would provide a clear authorization to Government of Canada institutions to disclose information related to national security purposes.

I really want to stress this next point, especially after what the opposition has been saying today. This act has been specifically tailored to incorporate safeguards in order to ensure the privacy and rights of Canadians are protected and respected. One such vital safeguard is that institutions can only disclose information to other Government of Canada institutions that have jurisdiction or responsibilities relating to activities that are relevant to the security of Canada. In effect, the act would encourage and facilitate domestic information sharing in order to aid in lawful and authorized investigations.

As I have said, CSIS has the legal mandate and authority to collect information from a variety of sources. The collecting of information must be done to the extent that is strictly necessary to the investigation of threats to the security of Canada. This would ensure that federal departments have a clear and unambiguous authority to share information relative to our national security. To be clear, it does not alter nor does it expand the mandate of designated recipients.

Over the past several weeks, I have had the opportunity to speak with many residents in my riding of Macleod. I can say that they are overwhelmingly in support of Bill C-51. However, some of the feedback I did receive was on ensuring that the right of lawful protest was protected. With that in mind, I am pleased the public safety and national security committee passed an amendment to make it clear that protest, dissent and civil disobedience are not activities targeted by this legislation.

I am in support of this amendment as it would provide greater assurance for Canadians' civil rights. Their civil rights will be protected and respected. That is essential, and I know the residents in my riding of Macleod are going to be pleased that we have listened to their feedback.

The anti-terrorism act, 2015 would ensure a reliable and effective framework is in place for CSIS to request access to the information it needs to investigate threats against the security of Canadians. In addition to those safeguards, this legislation would not affect or override any existing statutory prohibitions that govern domestic information sharing. Therefore, safeguards against the disclosure of particularly sensitive information remain in place. CSIS will continue to collect only the information strictly necessary to carry out its mandate. That is the law.

In addition to the safeguards contained within the legislation, there is also an important existing safeguard in the form of SIRC, the Security Intelligence Review Committee. SIRC has a robust and wide-ranging mandate with access to all of CSIS' holdings with the exception of cabinet confidences. Canadians can be sure that SIRC plays an important review role in the activities of CSIS, including in relation to the new measures proposed in Bill C-51.

Again, it is important that we provide SIRC with the resources it needs to take on this important task. Through the recently announced budget, SIRC's funding will be doubled, providing it additional resources to ensure that CSIS uses information sharing appropriately, effectively and within the bounds of the legislation before us today.

In addition, it should also be noted that CSIS' activities can be and are regularly reviewed by the Privacy Commissioner, and those recommendations can be, and are, made public.

As members can see, the security of Canada information sharing act provisions included in the anti-terrorism act, 2015, encourage responsible and efficient information sharing between Government of Canada institutions for the purpose of protecting national security. Simply put, this legislation would protect the rights of Canadians while also allowing CSIS to protect our security. The anti-terrorism act, 2015, is another clear example of our government's ongoing efforts to strengthen national security and to ensure Canadians are protected from an emerging and multi-faceted threat.

I think it is clear that times have changed. This is not 1970 any more. We are talking about new, high-tech, global threats facing Canadians such that we have never faced before. These threats are not only around the world, but unfortunately, here at home.

The security of Canada information sharing act along with other measures in Bill C-51 complement a number of existing and recently introduced tools. These important tools will help protect Canadians from the considerable and complex threats we are now facing today to our national security. Those also include the RCMP's engagement with local communities to counter radicalization, which is also an important component of Bill C-51.

I urge all members to support Bill C-51 and the budget, which will provide much-needed resources to enhance the capacity of our security and our law enforcement agencies, and also of SIRC.

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May 4th, 2015 / 1:25 p.m.
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NDP

Craig Scott NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would sincerely like to thank my colleague for his speech, because I think it was very honest. He talked about how this legislation is about national security in a very broad way, and the legislation is.

The legislation is called, falsely, the “anti-terrorism act, 2015”, but with so much in it, it goes much beyond that. I wonder if my colleague thinks that part of the problem we have had in this debate is that the government has been presenting the bill as being almost entirely about combatting terrorism when, for example, in the new information sharing act, when the Conservatives define “undermining security of Canada”, seven of the eight headings are not about terrorism. One is about terrorism.

Would the member agree that we would all be further ahead if the government had not been spinning the bill constantly as being only about terrorism?

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May 4th, 2015 / 1:30 p.m.
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Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's question.

A main impetus of this bill is what happened here in Canada this fall. What we are facing as Canadians is much different than anything we have faced before, whether it was what happened on this property in October, or what is going on around the world.

I found it interesting that my colleague from the official opposition was saying that there have only been two victims. He should ask people in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen what they feel about these two victims and about what ISIL has done.

This is a piece of legislation that is going to protect Canadians here at home. On a broader perspective, this is something that is going to protect Canadians and people around the world, not just here in Canada but in other places.

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May 4th, 2015 / 1:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, we have had all sorts of opportunity, in second reading and at the committee stage, to identify where the legislation could have been improved.

I want to go a little off track and bring this closer to the budget issue. It is one thing to bring in legislation; it is another thing to properly resource our different agencies, whether it is the Canada Border Services, RCMP, special forces and so forth.

Can the member explain why the government has not allocated those resources? It is more of a shuffling of current resources that we see taking place.

Would the member agree that both of them should have been brought forward and that the government should have been more proactive on the budget level?

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May 4th, 2015 / 1:30 p.m.
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Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member's question is very misleading and disingenuous.

As I said in my speech, in economic action plan 2014, we allocated $300 million to augment the RCMP, and doubled the budget for SIRC, the Security Intelligence Review Committee. These are resources that are going to ensure that the legislation, and the changes that are going to be part of Bill C-51, is going to be enacted and protected.

We have allocated the resources that are going to be needed by our police, as well as our intelligence agencies, including SIRC.

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May 4th, 2015 / 1:30 p.m.
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Scarborough Centre Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, again the NDP members are either intentionally pushing out information that is incorrect, or simply showing that they do not completely understand the bill. I think it may be that they do not completely understand the bill.

The previous member asked a question with regard to the information sharing act. He indicated that there were seven points and none of them had to do with security. We heard from witnesses who spoke about how critical the information sharing aspects of this bill are. When they get pieces from different areas, they can put it together to solve a puzzle and are able to hone in on the issue of terrorist activity.

Once again, I would like to ask that member what he thinks of the NDP misleading Canadians and what a serious impact that would have if Canadians actually believed the opposition.

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May 4th, 2015 / 1:30 p.m.
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Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is disappointing, the misinformation the official opposition is putting out there that this is going to somehow take away from Canadians' civil liberties and that people are going to be arrested off the street for no reason whatsoever. It is very clear that we have judicial oversight as part of this document, as well as oversight and review from SIRC.

Can the official opposition show me anywhere in this act, specifically in Bill C-51, where it says that Canadians are going to be surrendering their civil rights? It is absolutely not true. This bill is going to ensure that CSIS and other security and intelligence agencies are allowed to share critical information to prevent terrorism and acts of violence before they happen.

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May 4th, 2015 / 1:35 p.m.
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NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, you will probably notice that I rarely get to my feet these days in this 41st Parliament. There are very few occasions that I feel are important enough that I should contribute. Usually the points that I need to have on the record I hear very capably put on the record by others.

However, in this case, on behalf of the constituents that I represent in the riding of Winnipeg Centre, I feel it is important that I rise today to express how profoundly disappointed I am in the government, how profoundly I disagree with the tone, the content, and the process we are dealing with in this important piece of legislation, the subject matter of which deals with the very rights and freedoms by which we define ourselves as Canadians.

One does not deal with that kind of potential infringement on our rights and freedoms in a day-and-a-half debate, with closure imposed at every stage of this bill. It is fundamentally wrong, and I condemn the Conservative government for tampering and tinkering with these rights and freedoms in such a frivolous manner. It offends the very sensibilities of Canadians who profess to value our democratic principles.

Let me begin with the process. For the 95th time in the 41st Parliament, the Conservatives have moved closure on a bill. One may ask how many times or on how many bills the Conservatives have moved closure; the answer would be all of them. Every single time, they have decided to run roughshod over everything that is good and decent about our parliamentary democracy. Every chance they get, they abuse the powers. They do away with all the checks and balances that were put in place so that our Westminster parliamentary democracy is the best in the world. They do away with the checks and balances that protect us against the abuse of power, which is indeed possible under this system.

Why do they have to deny the other elements of our democratic process, which is the legitimate right of the opposition to bring forward the concerns of the constituencies that we represent? I can tell members that the people in the riding of Winnipeg Centre are horrified by Bill C-51. I know that because I stood with them in front of city hall, in front of a crowd of 1,500 people, who gathered to object to the potential infringements on their rights and freedoms to privacy, the right to assemble, and the various other elements that could be affected by this bill.

I know this because right across the country, Canadians have had to take to the streets. That is because their elected representatives, those of us in the chamber, are denied the opportunity to bring forward their valid points of view through the conventional method, which is reasoned debate and amendments. What the Conservatives do not understand is that what makes our parliamentary democracy work in this Westminster style is that there is a duty to accommodate the legitimate concerns, at least some of them, of the majority of Canadians who did not vote for their members.

One of my mentors was Gary Doer, the former premier of Manitoba. When he was first elected, he explained that we have an obligation to represent all of the people, not just those who voted for us. If the majority of Canadians have legitimate concerns on this bill, they deserve the right to be heard. They should not be shut down by closure at ever stage of this bill, just like every stage of every other bill.

At the committee stage, which used to be the last vestige of some semblance of non-partisan co-operation, for this broad-sweeping bill that impacts our rights and freedoms, they contemplated three meetings of two hours each per meeting, allowing for a few witnesses. Then, of course, they used their majority on the committee to stack the witnesses so that more witnesses who were in favour of the bill than opposed it were heard.

It was only through Herculean efforts that we managed to get a lousy eight or nine meetings. Again, these were not all-day meetings; these were two-hour meetings. These matters are of such substance and weight that they deserve the full consideration of the chamber, until every member is satisfied that his or her voice has been heard, and, let me say, some accommodation has been made to the legitimate concerns brought forward by those of us representing constituencies that are not governed by the ruling party.

Let me say in the limited amount of time I have, and I mean limited, that we are facing the biggest bait and switch in Canadian history. Until a few months ago, the current Conservative government wanted to go into the next federal election with the ballot box question being the economy. What happened then was that the price of oil tanked.

When they have no industrial strategy and they put all of their eggs in one basket, and that basket drops and all the eggs break, they have nothing left but to switch to that old neo-conservative hobby horse, the politics of fear. Now the Conservatives want the ballot box question to be on who is going to protect Canadians from this jihadist that is going to sneak into their bedrooms and murder them when they are asleep. That is the ballot box question they want now. It is the cheapest, most cynical style of politics in the world, and they specialize in it.

I can give example after example of the Conservatives' criminal justice bills. They bombarded my riding with leaflets, which were illegal mailings I would argue. They sent parliamentary privilege mailings into my riding. The leaflets are of a guy sneaking into a bedroom with a knife held up, showing that this junkie is going to murder Canadians in their sleep unless they vote for the Conservatives who are going to protect them. That is the kind of cheap debate and politics that we are subjected to here, instead of the real and legitimate concerns of global terrorism, on which we are perfectly happy to have a debate.

In the final minutes that I have, let me say that I do not understand the strategy of the third party. All of the opposition parties have condemned this bill as being a potential infringement of the rights and freedoms by which we define ourselves as Canadians. However, the members of the third party, in a gutless, spineless, and feckless approach, have said said that they oppose it, they are against it, but they are going to vote for it. Is there any reasoning? That is the most convoluted pretzel logic I have ever heard in my life.

My only message for Canadians is to use their vote, that most valuable thing they as citizens have in a democracy, and to say to whomever is on their doorstep in the federal election, “Is your party voting for Bill C-51? Because if it is, I am not voting for you”.

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May 4th, 2015 / 1:40 p.m.
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Scarborough Centre Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I have never heard so much rhetoric about nothing. The member made a point of saying that it was so important to speak to the bilI, but I did not hear anything about the bill in his entire speech.

What is interesting is that the member said that we stacked the witnesses so we would have them all coming to committee in favour of the bill. The previous NDP member who stood up in this House said that there was only one witness at committee who actually favoured the bill.

Clearly the New Democrats have not read the bill. They did not watch committee. They did not see our credible witnesses who came, some with more than three decades of experience in law enforcement, intelligence gathering. Even with those who have been studying terrorism, every single one of them talked about the threat being real, that it has evolved and it is growing. The witnesses also talked about the need for this legislation to fill the gaps that have been identified by our security agencies.

I do not know whether I can ask the member a question about the bill because he clearly has not read it. It is not a laughing matter, but surely there are Canadians right across this country who are laughing now.

Could the member please stand in this House and indicate for Canadians, first, whether he read the bill. Second, why is the NDP intentionally pushing misinformation about the bill, or is it simply a lack of understanding?

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May 4th, 2015 / 1:45 p.m.
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NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have done their best to sanitize their language in dealing with this bill. They have done their best to try to downplay the potential impact, but the impact is not lost on Canadians.

I have met with first nations groups who are increasingly concerned that this bill is not about trying to make Canadians safer. This bill is more about having the Conservative administration snooping on its enemies. There is a Nixonian quality to this bill.

As we get closer to the election and the Conservatives lose their major premise for the ballot box question, they get tighter and smaller in their world view. They are paranoid to the point where they think they are surrounded by nothing but their enemies. It is embarrassing to watch, as we see the death rattle of a political administration infringing on rights and freedoms in a last desperate effort to hang on to power.

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May 4th, 2015 / 1:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member for Winnipeg Centre does have a way with words. I will give him that much.

He made reference to the Liberal Party's position on this. It is safe to say that the Liberal Party has been consistent through the debates on Bill C-51.

I wonder if the member could provide some clarification. I will provide him with a direct quote I noted this morning. It is from Tom Clark of Global TV. He asked the question of the member's leader, “If you become the government, would you scrap this piece of legislation?” The leader of the New Democratic Party stated, “We would change it for sure”.

I see that he is consulting right now as to what is to be said, but we have had New Democratic members inside the Chamber say that they would want to change it. Therefore, they have recognized there is some value to the legislation. Otherwise they would scrap it, like the Green Party.

There seem to be only three political entities in the House that are consistent: the Greens, the Liberals and to a certain degree, the Conservatives. What is the NDP position if the bill passes? Would it scrap it, or would it just make changes, as the leader of the New Democratic Party has stated?

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May 4th, 2015 / 1:45 p.m.
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NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, he asked for some clarification on the language that I used. The language that I used was “gutless”, “spineless”, “feckless” and “political cowardice”, all to describe the Liberal Party's position.

In answer to his question, the leader of my party and the critic for this area have both said clearly it would be repealed in an NDP administration. The member for Winnipeg North is selectively misquoting or paraphrasing a comment that was quite dated.

Repeal, repeal, repeal instead of the gutless, cowardly, feckless performance by the Liberals who say they cannot stand the bill on principle but they are going to vote for it because they are afraid someone might use it against them if they vote against it. That does not show a political backbone. That is classic Liberal policy. It is like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall, trying to figure out how to deal with Liberals.

When one stands for everything, one stands for nothing and trying to be all things to all people makes one useless in the political sphere, in my view.

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May 4th, 2015 / 1:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, many of us in this House can start calling each other names, such as spineless and gutless. There are over 10 police officers in the Conservative caucus, and I would say hundreds of years of police experience. We are anything but gutless and spineless and all those other words.

It says something in this House, with a person's God-given ability to put together a speech, that they person cannot put something together that does not have to result in calling other people names and casting disparaging remarks against them and everything they stand for. What people in this country need to realize is that the member talked ad infinitum, and never talked about one thing of total consequence, except being able to read that secret Conservative conspiracy out there because of the price of oil.

Nobody believes what that member has to say because he uses too much emphasis on calling people names. He has a good use of the English language. It is too bad he could not put it to some more positive use.

I am pleased today to speak to the antiterrorism act, Bill C-51. This important bill provides additional tools and greater flexibility where required to meet threats to our national security which, as we know, have never been more direct.

I am also pleased to highlight that our government will invest almost $300 million to significantly enhance the investigative capacity to counter terrorism.

During my time today, I would like to speak about the proposal to create a new threat disruption mandate for CSIS. These important changes, found in part 4 of the bill, are another key element of our strategy to help prevent terrorist attacks and keep Canadians safe.

In particular, I would like to elaborate on how this mandate for CSIS fits into broader efforts by the government, and how it complements and enhances existing tools in place to combat terrorism. I will also address the governance and authorization framework within which CSIS will exercise this new mandate.

It goes without saying that the international jihadi movement has declared war on this country. Canadians have been highlighted in jihadist propaganda as a target simply because of our freedoms, our values and our prosperity.

In fact, several months ago Canadians were victims of horrific jihadi attacks. These victims were targeted solely because they were wearing the uniform of the Canadian Armed Forces. We will never acquiesce to the Liberal desires that we sit on the sidelines in fright. We are all participating in the military mission to degrade and destroy ISIS abroad and we must also take strong action here at home. That is why the bill before us today is all about anti-terrorism.

CSIS has a strong record of responsibly exercising its authority and has matured as an organization over its 30-year history. The Security Intelligence Review Committee, CIRC, consistently found that CSIS has carried out its duties in accordance with the CSIS Act and ministerial directives. That is an exemplary record I must say.

I have full confidence that CSIS will continue to comply with its statutory mandate as it relates to the proposed threat diminishment mandate. Given its well-established, investigative and analytical capacity and singular focus on national security, CSIS is well-positioned to act directly to disrupt threats to the security of Canada, which are clearly defined in the CSIS Act.

I must emphasize that this definition has anchored CSIS' national security mandate for over 30 years, and will continue to do so. Nothing in the current bill before us will change that. Taking reasonable and proportionate measures to disrupt threats to the security of Canada is a natural extension of CSIS' existing investigation. By giving CSIS the authority to disrupt threats, we will leverage existing expertise within the national security community to create a significant new capacity to meet today's complex threat environment.

We will also harness the unique insight and expertise CSIS has developed through its investigation and analysis of a full range of national security threats.

CSIS would now be able to take the logical next step of disrupting “threats to the security of Canada” as clearly defined in the CSIS Act. It is important to note that, in this regard, the definition has been in place for more than 30 years and would not change with Bill C-51.

This does not, however, mean that CSIS would go at it alone or act in a vacuum. CSIS has well-established relationships with its federal and provincial partners, and would continue to work closely with these partners in support of its mandated activities. Just as CSIS co-operates with partners as it investigates threats to the security of Canada, it would likewise co-operate with partners as it takes reasonable and proportionate measures to disrupt such threats.

As an example, CSIS and the RCMP have a strong working relationship guided by an overarching framework and protocols for working effectively together in accordance with their respective mandates. Ultimately, this framework for co-operation recognizes the primacy of public safety and would serve as a foundation for co-operation and de-confliction between CSIS and the RCMP as the service exercises this new authority. CSIS' relationships with all relevant partners would be similarly reinforced to reflect requirements associated with this new mandate.

Moving to the authorization framework for this mandate, the bill is clear in describing what conditions must be met. Any measures that CSIS takes must be reasonable, proportionate and necessary to address the threat at hand. Additionally, the bill contains a number of express prohibitions, including a prohibition against any measure that would cause death or serious bodily harm. Moreover, in no circumstances may such measures be used to wilfully attempt to obstruct the course of justice. These prohibitions are consistent with and modelled after those found in the Criminal Code, establishing a firm foundation in Canadian law.

The bill also clearly identifies when CSIS would have to seek a warrant and what conditions would have to be satisfied for the Federal Court to authorize certain measures. As with the current warrant regime, CSIS would require ministerial approval before seeking such a warrant. Much like the existing warrant regime, the requirement to seek judicial authorization would allow a Federal Court judge to determine whether a proposed measure contravenes the charter and, if so, to determine whether the measure represents a reasonable limit on the right or freedom and is, therefore, in accordance with the charter as a whole.

In addition to ministerial accountability and the warrant regime, the exercise of this new mandate would be subject to review by the Security Intelligence Review Committee, or SIRC, which is required by law to review at least one aspect each year. As an added measure of assurance, our government would double the budget of the Security Intelligence Review Committee by providing $12.5 million. This would increase SIRC's capacity to review CSIS activities.

The new mandate for CSIS would not be introduced into a vacuum. Building on existing expertise and leveraging existing capacity makes sense, and it would enhance the government's ability to protect Canadians. I therefore urge all members of the House to support the bill.

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May 4th, 2015 / 1:55 p.m.
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NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the Conservative member's speech.

I note that several Conservative members are police officers. What concerns us on this side of the House is ensuring the security and safety of people while protecting their rights and freedoms. That is part of the foundation of our democracy.

My colleague mentioned the wide range of activities and the broad scope of the bill, which provides little protection. I would like to hear what he has to say about that. Does he believe that this bill goes too far when it come to the surveillance of ordinary Canadians?

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May 4th, 2015 / 1:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, this bill deals with a broad spectrum of government officials, such as CSIS, RCMP, Canadian Border Services members, all of whom have taken an oath to uphold the laws of Canada, of which the Charter of Rights and Freedoms forms a basic part. I do not believe any of those individuals would act in any other way than in good faith, knowing their rights and responsibilities.

The member asked if the legislation went too far. It absolutely does not go too far, and there are several reasons why. Any part of this comprehensive legislation that would begin to infringe on any right or freedom of Canadians would have to be scrutinized by a judge before a warrant would be issued. Therefore, Canadians have the right to know, and should know, that these individuals have sworn to keep the laws of Canada and that a judge will oversee any warrants that may be obtained for actions to be taken. Canadians can rest assured that this act is in compliance with and respects the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 4th, 2015 / 3:45 p.m.
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NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to have another opportunity to offer my views on Bill C-51 on behalf of the constituency of Parkdale—High Park.

Bill C-51 is a 62-page omnibus, so-called anti-terrorism bill that people are concerned is overly vague and too far-reaching, that beefs up the powers of CSIS, but sadly, does not provide adequate oversight.

There is nothing in the bill to counter radicalism in communities, to engage with communities, as has been recommended by the police and by several community organizations. At the same time the federal government is pushing forward on the bill, supposedly to confront terrorism, it continues to cut the budgets of agencies on the front line of terrorist threats, agencies like the RCMP, CSIS and CBSA. Each and every one has had its budget cut since 2012.

I do have to note that here we are again under time allocation. We are at the report stage. In other words, we are getting a report back from the public safety committee on the bill, on this very important, far-reaching legislation, and we have one day of debate.

Let me say, this is the 95th time that the government has put time limits on debate in this House of Commons, more than three times what any other government has ever attempted in terms of stifling debate and shutting down dissent. Frankly, I have to begin my remarks by saying how offensive it is and how fundamentally undermining to our democracy that we do not have a fuller debate on such an important bill, because it is very far-reaching.

Let me also clarify. Let there be no doubt that New Democrats understand that we are in a rapidly changing world. There are some very serious threats in the world that we should be extremely concerned about. I think social media has brought concerns about terrorism to our doorsteps and has shown us very graphically the kinds of horrible events that have taken place around the world and one very close to home right here in the House of Commons.

We understand that this threat is real. We do not minimize it, but we believe fundamentally, and our leader, I think, has expressed this eloquently and brilliantly that we should not be sacrificing our rights and freedoms in order to protect public safety. That is simply unacceptable, and New Democrats will not accept it.

Of course, we need concrete measures to keep us safe, but they should not erode our freedoms and they should not undermine our way of life. Once again, the Prime Minister has gone too far. Everything is about putting politics before people.

It really rang a note of truth when my colleague from Winnipeg Centre said this morning that perhaps it was the crash of the price of oil that has pushed the government to not wanting to talk about the economy. The Conservatives do not want us to look at that subject on which they have been saying they were so great for the last few years, because now Canada is not doing very well on the economy. The Conservatives put all their eggs in the oil and gas resources basket. Suddenly, we are facing serious economic headwinds and they do not want to talk about that, so now they are putting their eggs in the anti-terrorism and public safety basket.

We are concerned about the far-reaching nature of the bill, how sweeping it is, and we are really disappointed that the Conservatives chose to disregard the testimony at the public safety committee, because most of the witnesses, including the Conservative witnesses, in fact said there needs to be significant changes to the bill.

The leader of the official opposition has been very clear that he will not be intimidated. We will not be intimidated into giving a blank cheque to the current government and the Prime Minister. We will stand up to any Conservative law that erodes our way of life in Canada, unlike the third party and the leader of the third party. We are not going to be intimidated and will be voting against Bill C-51 and against the very dangerous measures that it would bring in.

I did mention that we are at the report stage of the bill. Therefore, the bill went to the committee and, shockingly, the Conservatives wanted to have just three two-hour meetings on this far-reaching bill. It was a very short period time. However, thanks to New Democrats, we were able to push the number of meetings to nine, but it was still a very limited process.

Again, most of the witnesses were very critical of the bill, and in a highly unusual move, four former prime ministers, including Conservative prime ministers, have come out with serious concerns about the bill. One hundred law professors in Canada, senior legal minds, have been highly critical of the bill and detailed their deep concern about the undermining of our charter rights and our basic legal rights in this country. Privacy commissioners have expressed their concerns about the far-reaching extent of the information sharing of the bill. However, I notice that the federal Privacy Commissioner was not able to appear before the committee because the Conservatives did not allow that.

I have to say that with the bill before us, I have never seen such a reaction as with Bill C-51. It is rare when I talk to someone in the community that they know the number of a bill. They might say, “that budget bill” or “the bill on public safety”, but it is rare that they know the number of the bill and are really informed about it. I have to say that the level of awareness has been extremely high.

Early on in the process when the government was saying that most Canadians still supported the bill, I have to say that in Toronto at City Hall, the public square was absolutely full, chock-a-block, in an anti-Bill C-51 protest. I was very proud that I and my NDP colleagues were able to speak at the protest and stand strong along with the leader of the Green Party in opposition to the bill. We were very well received at that time. I have had dozens of people come to me asking what they could do to stop the bill. People have said that they want to talk to their neighbours, knock on doors and explain to other Canadians exactly what is happening here. We have seen incredible community engagement on the bill.

In the time that remains for me today, I would like to bring some of the voices of my community of Parkdale—High Park to the House. On the government side, they may not think people are paying attention. Conservatives may not think people read and really know what is going on, but they do. People do know what is going on and I would like to share some of their comments.

Here is an email that was written to the Prime Minister and shared with me. It is from a constituent on Wright Avenue, who says:

Dear Mr. Harper;

Please advise all of your ministers to follow the advice of the many Canadians who opposed bill C-51. The broad language contained in it that will give sweeping powers to CSIS are particularly disturbing.

Rather than making Canadians safer, C-51 seems more likely to make Canadians more afraid: afraid to appear to be different, afraid of authority, afraid to speak out, afraid to be free.

It will also undermine one of our great strengths: our multi-culturalism, our acceptance of the many cultures that have made Canada strong and free.

Please advise everyone to vote against C-51, to drastically amend it, or better yet to kill it outright.

I look forward to your reply, assuring that bill C-51, in its present state, will be voted down.

I will read another one—

Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

May 4th, 2015 / 3:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I find it quite interesting coming from a party across the way that actually has never supported a measure that we have done for the military, for our veterans or for the safety of the country, whether judicial or enforcement.

The constituents in Lambton—Kent—Middlesex wonder if it has actually gone far enough. Let me read something.

This is a message to Canada and all the American tyrants: We are coming and we will destroy you...

Then:

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

This was ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani. This is the concern that Canadians have and that my residents in Lambton—Kent—Middlesex have. I wonder why they are so concerned about the freedoms and peace that would come if we do not give protection to Canadians. Then, actually, we do not have freedoms. I wonder if the member has a comment.

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May 4th, 2015 / 4 p.m.
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NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I regret that I did not notice you giving me a signal earlier that my time was almost up. I apologize.

I appreciate the member opposite is citing one of his constituents. Let me respond with an appropriate response from my community. This is from a constituent.

While I agree that terrorism and radicalization are a real and legitimate concern, I do not belief that passing a bill that could be twisted to potentially encroach on the very freedoms we are trying to protect is the answer. Canada has shown again and again that we are adept at dealing with terrorism with the tools we currently have. This bill is a step in a direction that seems counter to the Canadian values that I hold dear. A step towards a society that values security over freedom, while in reality providing neither.

I have been extremely disappointed by the CPC and LPC the last several years.

And also:

I have not been a supporter of the NDP in the past, but please know that you have won a voter in the next election.

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May 4th, 2015 / 4 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I look to the member for some clarification with respect to the New Democratic Party's position. I would like to provide a specific quote from her leader during an interview. He was being interviewed by Tom Clark from Global TV who asked the question, “If you become the government, would you scrap this piece of legislation?” The leader responded, “We would change it for sure”. He did not say in fact that he would scrap it.

Then a member in the House asked a question regarding scrapping it. The response from the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie was, “I think we have been very clear. We do not like the legislation. When we form government, we are going to change it”.

We get different answers from different members of the caucus as to whether or not they believe there is any merit to the legislation itself. Therefore, let me pose the question to her. Does she believe if the legislation passes and the NDP were to form government—heaven forbid—would it in fact scrap the legislation or, like some members, like the member for Winnipeg Centre has said, like the leader of the New Democratic Party has said, make some changes to it?

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May 4th, 2015 / 4 p.m.
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NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have said very clearly we oppose the bill. We want to scrap the bill. We can do it today if we can win enough support from Liberals and Conservatives, or we would do it when we form government.

However, I plead with the member for Winnipeg North for him, his leader, and his other caucus members to find backbone. They are very critical of the bill. I plead with them to find a backbone, stand up in their place and vote against Bill C-51.

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May 4th, 2015 / 4 p.m.
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Conservative

LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in support of the anti-terrorism act, 2015.

First, I am proud to note that our government's economic action plan 2015 included vital funding for national security measures, such as those found in the legislation. In particular, we have committed to doubling the budget of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, SIRC, which plays a critical role in reviewing the operations of CSIS. Beginning with this fiscal financial year, we will invest $12.5 million over five years and $2.5 million thereafter in ongoing funding.

Further, we have announced nearly $300 million in investments to combat terrorism. This is above and beyond the fact that we have increased national security budgets by one-third since coming to office.

We have done this because the international jihadi movement has declared war on Canada and her allies. Jihadi terrorists hate the fact that Canada is the best place in the world to work, live and raise a family. They would rather return to the seventh century. Contrary to what the Liberals and the NDP would have us do, we will not sit on the sidelines while we fight this terrorist scourge.

Turning to my remarks on the bill itself, I will focus on the provisions relating to the element that would create the security of Canada information sharing act.

Effective and responsible sharing of information between institutions is increasingly essential to the Government of Canada's ability to protect Canada's national security. This includes detecting, preventing and responding to phenomena such as terrorism, espionage, foreign-influenced activity, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and threats to Canada's cybersecurity and critical infrastructure.

In today's interconnected world, national security threats emerge, evolve rapidly and unpredictably, and often go beyond the mandate and capability of any single institution. In addition, information on threats can and often is found in different forms and locations across government. Therefore, in order to take the appropriate action to protect Canada and Canadians, this information must be gathered, analyzed and pieced together in order to form a coherent picture of the scope and nature of the threat. This means government institutions must work together and share information in a seamless and timely manner.

The ineffective sharing of information can lead to significant risks, such as failing to detect and prevent attacks. Of particular concern is the phenomenon of individuals travelling abroad to engage in terrorism-related activities. The threats posed by these individuals has reinforced the need to enhance the government's tools to identify them. While government departments and agencies already share a significant amount of information with each other every day, and more so during urgent circumstances, there are a number of legal requirements and limits that can delay or inhibit optimal information sharing for security of Canada purposes.

For example, some institutions lack clear lawful authority to share. Certain statutes contain explicit limits on how information can be shared and experience has shown that in some cases these limits are too restrictive. The complexity of the legal landscape can make it challenging for operators to determine the circumstances under which information can be shared, and rules are frequently misunderstood and interpreted on a case-by-case basis.

Allow me to provide a couple of real-life examples of how this works.

The Canada Border Services Agency and Citizenship and Immigration Canada rely on a “consistent use” provision under the Privacy Act to share information that is collected pursuant to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act with other institutions. However, this exception allows sharing only for a narrow purpose. In this case, it only allows information sharing for the administration and enforcement of immigration legislation and does not allow sharing for broader national security purposes.

Another example relates to the Canadian passport order, which does not currently contain an explicit information-sharing authority. As a result, CSIS relies on the investigative body exemption of the Privacy Act to access passport-related information to fulfill its own mandate. Not only can this create delays in accessing relevant information, but this exemption also does not allow for Citizenship and Immigration Canada to proactively disclose information to CSIS that could be useful in investigating and advising on threats to the security of Canada, for example, Canadians travelling abroad to engage in terrorism.

Information sharing can also be impeded by the ad hoc and complex nature of the legal regimes that govern it. In addition to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Privacy Act, institutions are also subject to their own specific legal regimes which govern their information-sharing practices. There may be, for example, explicit limits in departmental legislation on how information can be shared.

The overall result is a legislative patchwork that creates a difficult operating environment wherein the rules are difficult to interpret. Over time, this can make information sharing less effective and efficient than is required to prevent and address threats to Canada's national security.

This brings me to how the anti-terrorism act, 2015 will address the issues. First and foremost, it will provide clear authority to all Government of Canada institutions to disclose information in a responsible manner to designated recipient institutions. Only institutions with jurisdiction or responsibilities related to the security of Canada will be designated to receive information relevant to their responsibilities.

It is important to note that this authority will be carefully circumscribed to ensure that the sharing is both effective and responsible and that the new act respects the privacy of individuals.

We are introducing amendments to certain acts to resolve existing barriers. For example, we will amend the Customs Act to allow CBSA to share customs information. We will amend the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act to allow the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development to share information collected under the act using the new authority. We will amend the Income Tax Act and the Excise Act to allow for the disclosure of taxpayer information when it would be relevant to threats to national security, to a terrorism offence, or to a money-laundering offence related to a terrorism offence.

I want to stress, however, that if other acts that are not amended by the bill prohibit the sharing of information, those prohibitions will be respected. In other words, the new security of Canada information sharing act will not override prohibitions in law.

The proposed legislation will go a long way in helping to keep Canada more secure. It will allow information to be shared more easily in some circumstances where there is a gap in the lawful authority to do so. It will help resolve the confusion and risk aversion resulting from current and ad hoc complex policy and legal framework, and it will provide a solid foundation for future information-sharing practices.

I want to be clear here, however, that these changes are being done with the full consideration of Canada's privacy laws. Indeed, this is not about collecting new information; this is simply about improving how information already being collected by organizations is shared.

There will be a number of checks and balances in place. For example, each organization will share information at its own discretion, not as a requirement. Institutions can also be excluded from the application of the act through the Governor in Council process. This is important as we recognize there are instances where sharing between some institutions is not appropriate. Institutions that receive information must continue to respect any caveats attached to the information or originator controls. Independent review bodies as well as the Privacy Commissioner and Auditor General will continue to scrutinize information-sharing activities.

Those are some of the robust controls that are in place to ensure Canadians that we are safeguarding their right to privacy. For greater certainty and clarity, our government moved amendments at committee related to these measures. Among these, we are ensured that the security of Canada information sharing act will explicitly exclude information sharing related to all forms of advocacy, protest and dissent. It will only authorize sharing of information that is relevant to national security.

In this day and age of complex and sophisticated security threats, federal departments and agencies must have the ability to seamlessly share information with each other. This is paramount to keeping Canada safe. With that in mind, we must move forward with this legislation without further delay.

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May 4th, 2015 / 4:10 p.m.
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NDP

Dany Morin NDP Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague's speech. He praised the measures in the bill that he liked.

However, I did not find anything about deradicalization in the bill even though, when it comes to terrorism, that is critical in order to prevent rather than to cure. Communities need more help to fight radicalization here in Canada.

Where is the strategy to counter radicalization that will let us work on prevention with Canadian communities?

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

LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, obviously, legislation is important to combat terrorism, and our security agencies need these tools.

I sit on the public safety committee and we have already heard from the commissioner that the RCMP is working with other organizations throughout the country to ensure that they stop the radicalization of individuals which creates terrorists throughout the world.

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May 4th, 2015 / 4:10 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Medicine Hat has focused on part 1 of the proposed act. As he will know from the evidence from experts before the public safety committee, many legal experts were very concerned that the definition of “activity that undermines the security of Canada” was so overbroad as to include absolutely anything. The definition includes “interference with the capability of the Government of Canada in relation to intelligence, defence, border operations, public safety, the administration of justice, diplomatic or consular relations, or the economic or financial stability of Canada”. Its overbroad language has been the target of enormous concern from experts, particularly proposed section 6, which would allow the sharing of further information being disclosed to any person for any purpose.

How can the member possibly justify the overbroad, loose language that has come under scrutiny from privacy and information experts within and outside the Government of Canada?

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May 4th, 2015 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, as I am sure the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands knows, in fact there was an amendment to the bill that specifically changed that particular avenue in terms of providing information to anyone.

It is well known, and certainly it has been said time and time again and it is in the bill, that in fact there is nothing that will stop people from having peaceful demonstrations. These will continue as long as they are not creating terrorist activities on our government and our country.

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May 4th, 2015 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to commend my great colleague from Medicine Hat for his intervention on today's topic.

If members go back to the blues, I will not repeat it all, but certainly the threat that comes from ISIS itself to Canada to kill Canadians is not something that we take lightly, nor should we.

The opposition parties across the way have not supported anything for our veterans, for our military, for any of the judicial legislation that we have. Therefore, their speaking today not about the victims, which would be Canadians, is understandable I guess.

How in Canada or any country can one actually have freedom if one does not have security? That is actually what the opposition is saying about this. The opposition members are so concerned about it that they are saying not to worry about security because it would take away some of our freedoms. I would ask my colleague if he thinks as I do, that that is backwards.

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May 4th, 2015 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is absolutely correct. One cannot have freedom without security. One has to go along with the other.

We have heard that terrorists want to create havoc and they want to kill people here. In fact, in Alberta, they actually suggested that people go to the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta. I am a resident of Alberta and I go there on occasion, as do a lot of my family members. Terrorists wanted to attack people there, attack that mall, and certainly to injure and kill individuals.

We need to make sure that we have the right rules and the ability for all of our national security agencies, the RCMP, CBSA and CSIS, to protect Canadian citizens.

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May 4th, 2015 / 4:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to address Bill C-51 and will begin by setting forth the credo that has underpinned my approach to anti-terrorism law and policy for many years. In brief, an appropriate and effective strategy must view security and rights not as concepts in conflict, but as values that are inextricably linked. Simply put, terrorism constitutes an assault on the security of democracy like Canada, and on our individual and collective rights to life, liberty, and security of the person.

Accordingly, we must take the threat of terrorism seriously and address it with effective legislation. As well, there are other measures, such as anti-radicalization efforts and the allocation of adequate resources to law enforcement and security services. A culture of prevention is crucial here. At the same time, we must ensure that legislative initiatives that are taken are consistent with the rule of law, comport with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that they are always subject to robust oversight and review.

With these principles in mind, I will turn to the bill before us, which is not simply one bill, but omnibus legislation, a series of major enactments. I will discuss several specific aspects of the bill, particularly those that are cause for concern.

I must begin with a general critique and preface my remarks with respect to the process, or what I would call the abuse of process, by which this legislation has been considered. At the same time, I will make reference to some of the rhetoric surrounding this legislation under the government's approach. It has frankly inhibited the necessary, thorough, and constructive legislative process, while at the same time and in so doing has undermined our responsibility as parliamentarians, whether we are on the government side of the House or in opposition, for the oversight of such major legislation.

With regard to rhetoric, let us be clear that every parliamentarian, every witness who appeared before committee, and Canadians themselves, both proponents and opponents of this bill, share the desire to keep Canadians safe from terrorism. Yet there have been accusations made to the contrary, particularly directed by some government members at critics of Bill C-51 at committees. References have been made to it in the House.

Such accusations are frankly not worthy of the serious role and responsibilities that our constituents have entrusted to us with respect to this and other pieces of legislation. In particular, the threat posed by terrorism to the safety of Canadians must be taken seriously, but so must concerns about the impact of anti-terror legislation on our civil liberties. Those who raise such concerns should be appreciated for their contributions, not denigrated and diminished.

With regard to process, we may note that time allocation was invoked during second reading on Bill C-51. It was invoked during committee, and now that the bill has returned from committee, time allocation has been imposed by the government once again at report stage. Indeed, at committee, the Conservatives limited the time allotted to study the bill such that important witnesses were prevented from testifying. I note as but one example the extraordinary, I would even say incomprehensible, fact that the Privacy Commissioner himself was not given the opportunity to testify about a bill that would impact directly and significantly on the privacy of Canadians.

As University of Ottawa law professor professor Craig Forcese has written, "this process is night and day compared to the more important role Parliament played in both the enactment of the original CSIS Act in 1983/84 and that of the first Anti-terrorism Act in 2001”. I might add that during the discussion of that anti-terrorism bill in 2001 and following, there was robust and public debate within the government caucus at the time, as well as from the opposition, and an acceptance of recommendations made by the opposition in the course of such debate to the bill.

The problem with overheated government rhetoric and a rushed and inadequate process is that problems with the bill cannot be fully and constructively aired and addressed in an environment that proceeds at such a pace, let alone, as I said, the diminution of the responsibility for parliamentary oversight.

Nevertheless, I will do my best to highlight some of these problems in the limited time available to me, and to explain how some of these problems with the bill can and should be resolved.

To begin with, many of my concerns, and those that have been expressed by the experts who have been referenced in this debate, about provisions that broaden the powers of Canadian Security and Intelligence Service and the legislative language that provides or authorizes those powers, could be addressed and alleviated if they were accompanied by effective oversight, parliamentary and otherwise.

It is astonishing that the government has rejected all proposals, despite the overriding consensus by experts within the opposition in this House, and I suspect among members of the government caucus themselves, for the overriding need for robust oversight.

First, with respect to information sharing, the bill allows for the sharing of information about Canadians in order to protect Canada against activities that “undermine the security of Canada”, to quote the legislative language. Valid concerns have been raised about the overbreadth of that language and about how such powers to share information may be used or misused, and, again, the lack of corresponding oversight.

I recognize that the government effectively accepted two Liberal amendments, in accordance with recommendations also from the Canadian Bar Association and many others. First was to remove the qualifier “lawful” from the previously proposed exception for “lawful advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression”; and second was to narrow the provision that originally allowed for the disclosure of information “to any person for any purpose”. Yet there remains significant room for improvement to ensure that such information is reliable, that it is used and shared appropriately, and that it does not abuse privacy or liberty.

We know from the experience of Maher Arar, for instance—and I was particularly involved in that case, serving at that time as pro bono counsel—that a lack of safeguards with respect to information sharing can have and did have tragic consequences. These information sharing provisions should therefore be accompanied by effective parliamentary oversight of CSIS, in addition to mandated parliamentary review of the security of Canada information sharing act.

With respect to the Criminal Code, Bill C-51 would make several significant amendments, notably expanding and lowering the threshold for preventive arrest and peace bonds. I note that the Canadian Bar Association has expressed its support for the reduced standard for peace bonds, from the reasonable fear that a person “will” commit a terrorism offence, to the reasonable fear that they “may” commit a terrorism offence, and that police were reportedly unable to meet the existing evidentiary standard to secure a peace bond for Martin Couture-Rouleau before he murdered Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent.

Therefore, a case can be made that the refinement of powers in this area for prevention purposes is worthwhile. Again, however, such powers should be met with effective parliamentary oversight and mandatory review. Indeed, in the past, provisions allowing for preventive arrest were understood to be exceptional measures, accompanied by sunset clauses that are absent in this legislation.

Bill C-51 also contains several measures that raise questions of constitutionality. Again, we have no reports regarding any consistency with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as required. However, leaving that aside, the legislation effectively provides for measures that “contravene a right of freedom guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”, if a judge issues a warrant to that effect in ex parte or in camera proceedings.

As we know, this turns on its head the role of judges as protectors of our rights. Despite the government's protestations to the contrary, the need to obtain a warrant is by no means equivalent to a suitable replacement for robust parliamentary oversight. That remains the crux of the problem with the government's approach.

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May 4th, 2015 / 4:25 p.m.
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NDP

Craig Scott NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate what might turn out to be one of the last speeches of our hon. colleague in the House because he will not be standing again for his riding. I thank him for the kind of speech we have come to know him for: thoughtful, scholarly, fair, and ultimately non-partisan.

I want to ask him, with respect to the last 30 seconds or so of his remarks, about this question of basically enlisting judges to pre-authorize charter infringements that can be saved through some kind of analogous reasoning to a section 1 process that judges go through when they are adjudicating, which is a different context. He has expressed extreme concern that this gets what judges do with respect to charter rights backwards.

I am wondering if he could comment a bit further about whether he does not see this as such a fundamental flaw of the bill that standing with the bill in the hope that it can be fixed in the future is not justified and we should be voting against it.

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May 4th, 2015 / 4:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question that was put by my hon. colleague.

As I stated in my speech, and would even reiterate, if I have not stated it sufficiently and as expressly as it must be stated, judges should not be put in the position where they become enablers of violations of the charter. It is the responsibility of judges to protect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and to protect Canadians through the interpretation and application of the charter.

Therefore, I expressed my concern with regard to this particular aspect, and, as we have said as a party, we have proposed a series of amendments on this and other issues. They will be part of our platform, and we will leave it to the Canadian people.

Let me be clear: this is not legislation that we would have enacted in this form. We have sought to reconcile the responsibility that a government has and that we as parliamentarians have on behalf of our constituents, to protect the security and safety of Canadians. That is mandated also, I might add, by UN Security Council resolutions, in a spate of resolutions that we should undertake and enact to enhance anti-terrorism legislation, given the nature of the terrorist threat.

Having said that, we need to ensure that they do comport, as I said, with the charter, with the rule of law, with the protection of the rights of Canadians, including privacy. That is why we have put forth the amendments that we have.

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May 4th, 2015 / 4:30 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Mount Royal will know that I believe this bill to be dangerous in nearly every aspect of all five parts and that it should never have been brought to the House in this form.

If it were not for the over-politicization of the justice department in its advice, the contamination through partisanship of the operations of justice department lawyers so that they no longer block legislation, which is unconstitutional, this would never have arrived at first reading.

I will ask my hon. colleague if he agrees that this bill does not contain anything that could be described as oversight, that there is a difference between review, which we have weakly, through SIRC, and oversight, which we used to have. There was a CSIS director general. That position was eliminated through Bill C-38, in 2012. We have no oversight in Canada, no judicial oversight and no parliamentary oversight. From what I have learned, that means we are the only one of the Five Eyes partners, which are the U.S., U.K., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, with such weak and non-existent oversight of the operations of intelligence and police.

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May 4th, 2015 / 4:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I share the concern that this bill does not have the necessary and robust oversight that it needs, not on a parliamentary level, a judicial level, and not for the purposes of having public engagement.

Therefore, I was proud to be one of many Canadians, including four former prime ministers, as well as the member for Malpeque, to issue an open letter underscoring the need for anti-terrorism law and policy to protect both security and civil liberties, and the need for express and parallel robust oversight, mandated review, sunset clauses and the like. We need that.

We will continue to work for that. Even after the passage of this bill, I will continue to work with Canadians of all political perspectives to ensure that the objectives of both security and the rights of Canadians are secure.

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May 4th, 2015 / 4:30 p.m.
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Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Conservative

Bernard Trottier ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for La Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in the House to speak in favour of the anti-terrorism act, 2015. There has been a lot of discussion in the House and in the media about this bill, and it is long overdue.

It must be noted 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 that it represents. Contrary to what some groups and even opposition members of Parliament have suggested, jihadi terrorism is not a human right; it is an act of war. That is why our Conservative government has put forward the measures contained in this bill, which would 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 not sitting on the sidelines, as some members would have it do, and is instead joining its allies in supporting the international coalition in the fight against ISIS.

I would like to begin by touching on the issue of financial resources in the fight against terror. Our Conservative government has already increased the resources available to our police forces by one third. The Liberals and NDP voted against those increases each step of the way. Now, budget 2015 would 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 that they need to keep Canadians safe.

There is broad support for this legislation from people from all walks of life in Canada. I would like to quote Danny Eisen, the co-founder of the Canadian Coalition Against Terror:

Put plainly by Osama Bin Laden, “The enemy can be defeated by attacking its economic centre.” This tenet was evidenced just recently by threats from Somali terrorists — not against synagogues, churches or MPs — but against malls in England, the U.S. and Canada.

The consequences of terrorism therefore are not restricted to rubble and funerals. Terrorism and its related enterprises cost Canada tens of billions of dollars yearly while the global economy has expended and lost trillions...

The tools in C-51 therefore deserve more tempered consideration by critics given the risk and perhaps the probability that Canada will not escape the attacks seen in other countries. For while legislation can always be revisited at a later date, no act of parliament can reconstitute lives shattered by a terrorist attack. Too many Canadians are already living examples of just how true that is.

These are powerful words from a man who lost family in the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001.

We must remember what this debate is about. We have to stop jihadi terrorists from attacking us. We must remember that it was not long ago that this very building was besieged by a jihadi terrorist bent on destruction.

While the Liberals and the NDP have refused to call the terrorist attack what it is, and have sought to make excuses for the horrific attacks, our Conservative government has taken firm actions, and we have strong support for these actions. Ray Boisvert, former assistant director of CSIS, said:

[C-51] will be a very effective tool to get [jihadist propaganda] material off the Internet.

David Cape, of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said:

[The seizure of terrorist propaganda] would empower the courts to order the removal or seizure of vicious material often encouraging the murder of Jews. Removing this heinous propaganda, particularly from the Internet, would limit its capacity to radicalize Canadians and inspire attacks.

Tahir Gora, of the Canadian Thinkers' Forum, said:

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

Over and over again, credible Canadians have come forward to say that this legislation would help to combat the jihadi terrorist threat. Contrast these civil society groups, academics and former intelligence operatives with the so-called experts who have maligned the bill. They have demonstrated a lack of knowledge, which leads me to believe that they are terribly misinformed or that there is some other type of agenda at play to try to mislead Canadians.

It is certainly unfortunate that debate in this place has often stooped quite low over this issue, so I would like to raise the tone of debate by reminding the House of Commons of some of the comments of eminent security thinkers.

Professor Elliot Tepper, of Carleton University, said:

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

Bill C-51 is designed for the post-9/11 era. It's a new legislation for a new era in terms of security threats. While it's understandable that various provisions of the legislation attract attention, we need to keep our focus on the fundamental purpose and the fundamental challenge of combatting emerging types of terrorism.

Professor Salim Mansur of the University of Western Ontario said:

Bill C-51 is directed against Islamist jihadists and to prevent or pre-empt them from their stated goal to carry out terrorist threats against the West, including Canada...the measures proposed in Bill C-51 to deal with the nature of threats Canada faces are quite rightly and urgently needed to protect and keep secure the freedom of her citizens.

Scott Tod, the Deputy Commissioner for Organized Crime Investigations with the Ontario Provincial Police said:

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

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President of American Islamic Forum for Democracy said:

Disrupting doesn't mean arresting these individuals or violating their personal property rights or taking them out of commission. You're actually just disrupting a plot.

It's amazing to me that disrupting is currently prohibited, I could go on all day about the support for this important bill. However, I see that I have limited time and so I will close my remarks by saying that I would like to remind members of exactly what the bill would do.

The bill would allow Passport Canada, for example, to share information on potential terrorist travellers with the RCMP. It would stop known radicalized individuals from boarding a plane bound for a terrorist conflict zone. It would criminalize the promotion of terrorism in general. For example, statements like “kill all the infidels wherever they are” would become illegal. It would allow CSIS agents to speak with the parents of radicalized youth in order to disrupt terrorist travel plans. It would also will give the government an appeal mechanism to stop information from being released in security certificate proceedings if it could harm a source. The bill would not turn CSIS into a secret police force, or somehow systemically violate the rights of peaceful protestors.

When this bill comes to a vote shortly, I hope that all members will be able to base their vote on facts and not fear, and will support this legislation.

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May 4th, 2015 / 4:40 p.m.
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NDP

Romeo Saganash NDP Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the speech that we just heard.

I listened carefully to the testimony given before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, particularly that of the Assembly of First Nations, the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs and Pamela Palmater. They expressed the same views as those held by most aboriginal peoples across the country.

Everyone here knows that aboriginal peoples have constitutional rights in this country. The Supreme Court has recognized those rights time and time again, against the will of the members opposite, incidentally.

This bill deals with public infrastructure and the threat to economic stability. I know what I am talking about in that regard because I have been very involved in the area of aboriginal rights over the past 30 years. Whether it was here or elsewhere in the world, I have always been seen as a threat to my country's economic stability. I was even accused of being anti-Quebec in the context of a hydroelectric project in the province. Therefore, I know what I am talking about when it comes to this issue.

Many experts have said that this bill threatens to lump together legitimate dissent and terrorism. The Conservatives are telling us that we do not need to worry, but can they give us even one example of an aboriginal protest in Canada that the federal government considered to be legitimate?

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May 4th, 2015 / 4:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Bernard Trottier Conservative Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, this bill explicitly states that peaceful protests that are of no threat to anyone are legitimate and that they are not covered by this bill. It is also clear that Canadians' right to participate in public protests will be respected. That has nothing to do with this bill.

The purpose of this bill is to target people who represent a threat to Canada's security and economy and who want to kill Canadians. That is the purpose of this bill. It in no way affects peaceful protests.

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May 4th, 2015 / 4:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Adam Vaughan Liberal Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, I met with a number of police organizations over the last week, including some from the City of Toronto, where we both represent constituents. Their complaint was that there is no new money for de-radicalization, there is no new money to do a lot of the work which is side-loaded onto local police forces as CSIS does not have the personnel, in terms of capacity, to fulfill some of these new responsibilities. They wonder how they can do this work and carry out these duties if the current federal government, which talks tough on crime but never supports police departments in the local level when it side-loads these responsibilities, is not going to support them.

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May 4th, 2015 / 4:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Bernard Trottier Conservative Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, in our most recent budget there is increased monies for police forces and certain initiatives.

However, I think the important thing to remember is that this initiative of de-radicalization is not really the entire responsibility of our police forces. It really has to be the community and society as a whole. There needs to be a complete societal effort for de-radicalization. There are imams I have met with in Toronto who have talked about their need to get involved in this initiative. They know they need to root out extremist elements within some of their congregations, and there could be other organizations that get involved in terrorist activities.

The point is that the police forces will work in conjunction with communities. A lot of these people are actually volunteers. People get involved; they identify; they come forward.

The bill is about giving police certain tools. We think about the ability now, that we do not have, to take down terrorist recruitment websites that call for people to commit acts of terror against Canadian society. Finally, with the legislation we would have that ability. Currently, it is not illegal in this country to do that, to actually advertise and recruit terrorists.

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May 4th, 2015 / 4:45 p.m.
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NDP

Craig Scott NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to concentrate my remarks on the theme that has emerged today from the government side, which is that somehow or other the NDP is being misleading and there is a bunch of inexpert critics across Canada commenting on Bill C-51. I will not go the next step and say that there has been misleading coming from the ranks of the government, but that will be apparent as well in my remarks.

I would like to start with three groups of actors who were excluded from testifying before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security on Bill C-51. The Conservatives did not want these people revealing their knowledge and the information that comes with it.

The special advocates who are in charge of providing representation in national security certificate proceedings wanted to appear. They were not allowed to appear, so they instead sent a written submission where they pointed out two problems with Bill C-51. One was that in the existing national security certificate proceedings, a whole set of new restrictions were being put on the access of special advocates to government information relating to the person whose interests they were supposed to be protecting in the name of fair process within the legal system.

Under the amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act proposed and that are now going forward in Bill C-51, the government will now be allowed to decide what information is relevant for the case made by the minister and then give only that to the special advocates. They are demanding rightly that this be amended, no although there is no chance it will be now, so that special advocates can receive all information and other evidence in order for them to decide what is relevant and what is not. Quite obviously, the second possibility would be for the judge to determine, but not for the government on its own to be able to do that.

The second thing they wanted heard was about this new disruption power that was being placed in the hands of CSIS, with a role being given in certain circumstances, far fewer circumstances than the government would lead people to suggest, for judges to preauthorize the issuing of warrants for disruption, some of which could preauthorize charter infringements, infringements meaning a violation of a right, that they would determine somehow was still not a violation of the charter, if we were to understand how the justice lawyers represented it finally, with more clarity than the minister was capable of, at committee.

Basically, they have made the excellent case that this needs a system of special advocates. These are going to be secret proceedings, ex parte proceedings. Judges will have no power to follow-up and see whether or not the warrant they issued had any bearing on or relationship to what was actually carried out. There are all kinds of problems with the procedural aspects of the process to suggest that people's interests, those who are going to be subject to these broad-ranging warrants that have nothing to do with the two normal things that judges are involved with, which is issuing warrants for arrest and for reasonable search and seizure, that those people would have their interests adequately protected.

This is a group of special advocates, all of whom are eminent lawyers, in the Canadian legal community, including Paul Cavalluzzo, Paul Copeland, John Norris and Lorne Waldman. Those are just four of the signatories of their submission.

The second person who was excluded from testifying before the committee was an officer of Parliament, the Privacy Commissioner, who I would like to remind everybody, is also not just there to protect privacy interests in the realm of being the Privacy Commissioner, but who comes from a background of national security law when he was with the government before being appointed. I have to be honest. I was worried about that when he was appointed, but he has turned out to be the good lawyer that everybody said he was and he has interpreted his role as being to actually comment on legislation when it is going to create serious impact on privacy rights.

Let me talk about the information sharing act. We have been on about this in the House a couple of times today. We discusses it in his written submission, because of course he again was not allowed to testify before the Bill C-51 House of Commons committee. I do not know what kind of democracy people think we are operating here, but it is not a full-fledged parliamentary democracy in any way, shape or form when an officer of Parliament cannot appear before a committee on a bill that strikes at the heart of privacy concerns.

He says:

In sum, the 17 federal departments in question would be in a position to receive information about any or all Canadians’ interactions with government.... We are moving very quickly into the world of Big Data... As a result of [the new act, Bill C-51], 17 government institutions involved in national security would have virtually limitless powers to monitor and, with the assistance of Big Data analytics, to profile ordinary Canadians, with a view to identifying security threats among them.

He is saying that is obviously a huge incursion into privacy. What we do about it is what so much of the rest of his brief is about. Of the five or six recommendations he had that would have been helpful to have testimony on in the full light of day, with media and others paying attention as well, here is one. He said:

Another obstacle to effective review is that existing review bodies are currently unable to share information amongst themselves. As we and others have stated previously, there is at present no explicit legislative authority to conduct joint reviews of national security operations, nor is there a mechanism whereby information of relevance that may be discovered by one review body could be passed to another.

He goes on to say, “A system which proposes removal of silos between government departments”, these are the 17 government departments that would be able to share information more freely under this new system, for information-sharing purposes must provide for the same removal of silos for the bodies which ensure their activities are compliant with the law”.

Finally, he is echoed by the third actor I want to mention, Commissioner Plouffe, who is the Communications Security Establishment Canada. He also did not want to appear before the committee. That included special advocates, the Privacy Commissioner and the CSEC commissioner. One of the only three review bodies that exist in our entire system was not even allowed to testify. Basically, he had the same concern as Privacy Commissioner Therrien. Despite the fact that all this information-sharing power is given to all the government departments, no parallel power is even given to the 3 agencies that oversee 3 of those 17. He said:

However, an explicit authority to co-operate and share information would strengthen review capacity and effectiveness. This authority becomes that much more important in the evolving context of ever greater co-operation between the intelligence and security agencies

Sharing of information among the existing review bodies would allow one to alert another as to what information was being shared, to follow the trail of that information and to ensure that the sharing of information complied with the law and that the privacy of Canadians was protected

No testimony at all appeared along these lines because, again, he did not appear.

He ended by saying, in what has to be a masterpiece of diplomatic speak:

I regret that an opportunity has not been seized to introduce amendments to the National Defence Act to eliminate ambiguities that were long ago identified by my predecessors.

None of this is new. We all know of these concerns and that is why four prime ministers, with a number of former justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, also wrote specifically on this point. They reminded us all that proper oversight and review is there, especially with radically expanded powers to security agencies, not just CSIS, as the information-sharing powers would go well beyond CSIS in this act, not just to protect human rights, constitutional rights, civil liberties, whatever one wants to refer to them as, but also to protect public safety. Oversight and review go to the effectiveness of the agencies. They catch problems. They ensure that agencies are not actually doing either ineffective or counterproductive or, frankly, stupid things.

I would like to draw attention as well to a document produced by Professor Forcese, who did yeoman's service, along with Professor Roach, drawing the country's attention to the multiple problems in this bill. I will simply cite an article online, published on April 16, called “Bill C-51: Catching Up On The 'Catching Up With Our Allies' Justification For New CSIS Powers”.

He basically goes through all of the countries that the government is claiming already have the disruption powers that it says it is putting into Bill C-51 in order that we can catch up, and he takes apart every one of the references. There is not a single country that can be used in support of the power that is going into Bill C-51. It is a longish document and has to be read to be understood, but it shows that the government is actively engaging in either sloppiness of the most serious sort or an active deception on this point. This document is another one that needs to be taken into account.

I would finally like to point out that one thing that came out of the hearings was that the government confirmed it was interested in including the within the disruption power the power to detain and to render people from Canadian hands to other hands. When amendments were put forward to ensure that was expressly excluded from disruption powers, the Conservatives voted it down and said that they wanted to leave it open. This is something we all have to know, that there is an agenda here on some fronts about which we should be very concerned.

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May 4th, 2015 / 4:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to get the member's insights. Does he feel there is anything within the current legislation that he would see as a positive or a step forward, something he believes would ease the minds of some Canadians? I can appreciate the party's overall position on the legislation, but are there some aspects of the legislation where the member believes there might be some value?

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May 4th, 2015 / 4:55 p.m.
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NDP

Craig Scott NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the best and possibly only example would be the principle in the bill with respect to the new information sharing act. Better sharing of information among relevant agencies for the limited use that would enhance Canadian security is a good idea.

Therefore, say there is a principle, and who could have problems with that, being called upon by the Justice Major commission on Air India, by the Arar commission, et cetera. The point is how it is done, in a way that is extreme in how far it goes without safeguards, multiple safeguards, having to do with privacy rights, and how it has no corresponding inclusion of the right of oversight agencies to share information so they can step outside their silos to properly ensure that at least three of those seventeen departments are properly overseen.

If I were fair, anybody would want to build up the right kind of information-sharing regime, but this is certainly not the one.

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May 4th, 2015 / 4:55 p.m.
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NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech, for his presentation, and especially for reminding Canadians that our study of this bill is fundamentally flawed because we were not able to hear from the key players in committee and because we were not able to properly debate the bill.

I recently heard a media report that said that a bill like Bill C-51, in which the government collects data on all Canadians, is not an effective way to enhance security. In fact, we end up getting lost in useless data and the whole process puts incredible demands on our time and resources. This means that we cannot allocate that time and resources to finding a more effective way to enhance security. Could the member speak to this issue?

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

Craig Scott NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, in fact, that is a criticism directed at the effectiveness or lack of effectiveness of having a ton of information and data. I have also heard that criticism, but I am not really an expert, and I cannot say whether or not we have the ability to collect the data and discern what is pertinent, important and urgent. However, according to some people, it is a problem to think that just having more information and data is itself a solution.

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

Blake Richards Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, I noted that in the member's speech he referred to some witnesses whom he asserted were somehow blocked by the government. Putting it nicely, I do not think the facts would bear that out.

Having been a member of the public safety committee previously, I know that generally the committee chooses its witnesses by having the parties prioritize their potential witnesses. Obviously, the fact that these witnesses would not have appeared would indicate to me that the opposition members would not have chosen to prioritize them on their lists. I would like to give the member the chance to correct the record. I certainly hope he will choose to do so.

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

Craig Scott NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing like leading with one's jaw.

We all know that the opposition NDP asked for 25 hearings and got eight. The government started with three. Lists and the priority on lists are completely irrelevant when these witnesses should have been there, especially when one is an officer of Parliament and especially when one is one of the only three bodies overseeing one of our national security agencies.

The fact is that they were not heard. The government did not want them heard. That is the fact.

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

Blake Richards Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today in the House and underline how important it is that the anti-terrorism act, 2015 be adopted and that it be adopted as quickly as possible.

Ensuring the safety of a country's citizens is, in fact, the first and foremost responsibility of any country and of any government. Certainly this bill is both the sword and the shield that will ensure that Canada has the tools to face the international jihadist movement, whose members plot, scheme, and work tirelessly to organize attacks against Canadians to further their agenda of hatred.

Let us remember that for jihadists, there is no room for infidels. There is no tolerance for those who disagree with their barbaric practices. Their answer is to simply behead those who oppose them.

Canadian values of freedom and liberty are a threat to their totalitarian ideology. There can be no appeasement of jihadists. They do not respect the rule of law. They do not recognize human rights. They deny and are hostile to anything that could be construed as an obstacle to their goal of imposing a caliphate over all.

Who do we mean when we speak of the international jihadist movement? We speak of the so-called Islamic State, Boko Haram, and al Qaeda, all groups that have in common a thirst for violence and the perversion of their religion that serves as the basis of their ideology. They are groups that have no qualms about trading girls like livestock to serve as concubines and rewards for jihadist fighters.

This is the enemy. These are the people who have declared war on Canada and our allies. Some of their sympathizers are quite content to remain in the shadows as armchair propagandists. They never actually detonate a bomb or commit an act of terrorism but instead take an active role in its glorification and broadcast. They lurk on social media, propping up support and radicalizing our youth by relaying propaganda, luring them away to be conscripted to serve as foot soldiers in the international jihadists' crusade against western democracies.

Radicalized Canadians are leaving our country for Syria and Iraq, having adopted the radical ideology that fuels the Islamic State. They long for martyrdom.

The anti-terrorism act, 2015 will go a long way in giving our law enforcement tools to take down hateful propaganda from the Internet and to help contain this recruiting drive by our enemies. As the Canadian Coalition Against Terror put it:

Terrorists, aware of some of the shortcomings and limitations of our legal systems, often exploit these gaps to their advantage.

We have to remain flexible and adapt to the fact that jihadi terrorists are knowledgeable of the inner workings of our legal system and are behaving accordingly to further their agenda on Canadian soil, while limiting our options against them. The opposition has tried, unsuccessfully, to claim that the provisions in the anti-terrorism act go too far.

Canada is alone amongst Western countries in not allowing its spy agencies any powers whatsoever to prevent terror. It is alone in having a spy agency still operating 30 years in the past. It's time to fix that.

Who said that? That was Sharon McCartan, criminal prosecutor for the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.

This is not a wish on our part. It is a necessity, on par with what is done elsewhere among western democracies. I believe that most Canadians would expect that should an intelligence agency be aware of a terrorist plot, it would seek to prevent it. We simply disagree with the opposition's claim that they should be forbidden from doing so.

We can also listen to Christian Leuprecht, a professor at Queen's University, who said, “Just to visualize why it's important, many of our allies have these types of powers. In Europe, they're used to effect. We know they have not destroyed the free and democratic state. And the checks that are in place in Europe seem to work reasonably well. For example, I think we owe it to Canadian parents who grieve because their children have gone abroad and gotten killed or gotten injured to do something that can prevent them from doing harm to themselves”.

Baseless claims have been made that the anti-terrorism act, 2015 somehow sacrifices our liberty to ensure our security. That is completely false. Canadians understand that liberty and security go hand in hand. We, as parliamentarians, understand this fundamental fact also. Without security, we cannot enjoy the liberty of partaking in the democratic process. When we cannot ensure the security of our families, there is no freedom. The fact is, those who threaten our liberty are not the police officers who patrol our neighbourhoods. They are not our intelligence officers. Those are the people who have the mandate to protect our country and who are on the front lines and every day do what is necessary to keep those who seek to profit from harming Canadians at bay.

When we talk about the international jihadist movement, either the self-radicalized lone wolf from a Canadian suburb plotting ominous terrorist attacks on Canadian soil or the Islamic State fighter lured abroad in Syria, these are all jihadists ready to commit any and all atrocities. They are determined, they are resourceful, and they are driven by hatred.

Some in this chamber deny to this day that the attacks that took place in Canada were terrorism. They claim that mental illness is the only possible explanation. They would rather dabble in semantics and pedal spin than discuss how to protect Canadian families from the threat of jihadists. They deny that the threat is real.

In 2012, the member for Brome—Missisquoi had this to say:

I am confused about what motivated the government to introduce Bill S-7...because, since 2007, nothing has happened in Canada. The country has not even been subject to terrorist attacks.

I would certainly hope that the NDP today understands the necessity of giving our country the tools needed to protect Canadians. I hope that party realizes and acknowledges that this comment was certainly made out of ignorance.

It is interesting to note that the member for Pontiac used to be affiliated with the Communist Party of Canada, which had in its 2011 platform a plan to, and I quote, “Repeal state security legislation like the no-fly list”. That the member has sympathized with the idea that we should be repealing the no-fly list and give jihadi terrorists open access to board planes is a worrying thought but one that is unfortunately reflective of the NDP's position on security it seems.

The NDP would rather try to shut down the House of Commons in an attempt to derail parliamentary democracy than contribute to making Canadians safe from the threat of jihadi terrorists. They are not interested in finding solutions. That much is clear. They do not want to get on board with fighting terrorism, and they would rather adopt the way of appeasement. I guess that is their right, but to try to derail the legislative process is another matter.

This legislation is certainly needed. Its provisions would no doubt make Canadians safer. We will continue to work to get it through, despite the NDP's attempts to impose their appeasement ideology on this House. Canada will prevail, and history will show that we did the right thing.

I urge all members of this House to support this important bill.

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

François Lapointe NDP Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are 60 leading Canadian business people, entrepreneurs and investors, including Flickr co-founder Mr. Butterfield, who have signed an open letter to the Prime Minister. This is just one example of what we can read in that letter:

We believe [the entrepreneurs] that this legislation threatens to undermine Canada's reputation and change our business climate for the worse.

...we fear that this proposed legislation will undermine international trust in Canada's technology sector....

These people are very busy. They are in the type of business that is changing all the time with new technologies. They have more to do than wonder if a bill would actually threaten their business. Some of the best are saying that it would threaten Canada's technology sector.

What can my colleague tell those people? Are they doing this because they are all NDP members and suddenly they want to stand against the government for no good reason? No. We should be worried, as they are.

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

Blake Richards Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have, and I am sure many members in the House would have had much the same experience, had many conversations with constituents in my riding over the last number of weeks. Particularly over the last couple of weekends, I had the opportunity to speak to probably thousands of people in my riding at some of the major community events I attended. They are very concerned about the threats that are posed to Canadians by the international jihadist movement and they expect our government to do everything we can to ensure we protect Canadians and provide the tools that are necessary for our security agencies to do so.

As I mentioned in my remarks, one of the things that is a very important principle is that they would expect that if our security agencies were aware of a potential terrorist plot, they would do everything they possibly could to try to prevent such a plot.

I have a quote I would like to share as well, along the same lines from Professor Elliot Tepper at Carleton University. He says:

Bill C-51 is the most important national security legislation since the 9/11 era...Bill C-51 is designed for the post-9/11 era. It's a new legislation for a new era in terms of security threats....we need to keep our focus on the fundamental purpose and the fundamental challenge of combatting emerging types of terrorism.

There are certainly many people out there speaking for this, including our constituents and experts as well.

Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015Government Orders

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

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to what the member for Wild Rose had to say. It seems to me that his main argument with respect to Bill C-51 is that we are doing the same thing that all our allies, our partners, and all those who want to protect against the risk of terrorism are doing.

Therefore, I would like to ask him the following question. We are the very close ally of four other countries—the United States, Great Britain, new Zealand and Australia. Th