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.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 8:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Madam Speaker, no. In fact, I would invite that member to consult the testimony made by the last head of CSIS who, before he left his post about a year ago, had testified in front of one of our committees—I cannot remember which one—saying that powers of preventative arrest from tools in Bill C-51 had been used several dozen times. There had never been an incident where a situation of a charter violation was going to be used at all.

What this was about, and why I referred to the Prime Minister's own comments, is that this was about my three major concerns. Changes to preventative arrest, raising the burden for peace bonds or protective orders, actually went contrary to what we heard from victims and those impacted by these attacks. The tools are not unique to terrorism.

As I have said, the terrible case of the mosque shooting, the Bissonnette case, is a case where the tools could have been applied if they had thought social media rantings went to a “likely to commit”. By using a “necessary” standard, we are handcuffing law enforcement and they are struggling to maintain the high level of safety and security they want to deliver for Canadians.

Why do we not trust law enforcement in a way that is balanced and backed up by our court and charter? The Liberals are taking our system and not balancing it. They are putting our police at a disadvantage.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 8:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Madam Speaker, I wonder if that member would invite the same approach that the British use? Literally, if they walk out of their house, they are on television in Britain. With CCTV, the intrusion into lives is unparalleled. Is that what that member might be suggesting? Their security forces have a totally different landscape, which cannot even be connected to our law enforcement and the tools they have here. To compare it to the United Kingdom is quite frankly irresponsible.

Law enforcement has asked for tools with respect to preventative arrest. There needed to be an evidentiary threshold. Allegations that we were going to have some police state, and ridiculous arguments that I heard around Bill C-51, were embarrassing. Why I quoted the Prime Minister was because he supported these preventative arrest powers in Bill C-51. As I said, the Liberals criticized Bill C-51 in a bland and undetailed way, but they voted for it. One of the specific areas where the Prime Minister was willing to stand up and say “where necessary” was on preventative arrests.

This is about balance. Some on the left have used an unbalanced approach to talking about public safety and security, and I think it diminishes responsible debate in this chamber.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 8:45 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, to the last point made by my hon. friend from Durham, that Bill C-51 in the 41st Parliament, the Anti-terrorism Act, was there to make us safe, again, the expert evidence we heard, even before that bill passed, was that Bill C-51 under the previous government made us less safe.

For that, I cite the evidence of Joe Fogarty, an MI5 agent doing security liaison between Canada and U.K. When asked by the U.K. authorities about what Canadian anti-terrorism legislation they might want to replicate in the U.K., he answered “not a thing”, that they have created a situation which is akin to an accident waiting to happen. It has made Canadians less safe, through the failure to ensure that one agency talks to the other. In the example that the member just gave, agencies have a proactive requirement to talk to each other and not guard their information jealously.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 8:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Madam Speaker, vigilance is right, and that is why I brought real examples into my speech here tonight. This is not about howling at the moon that I am a tough-on-crime guy. These are real cases, and they represent the reality that parliamentarians must face in balancing liberty with protections in society as threats change.

I refer him, and my Liberal friends listening, to the testimony of Louise Vincent, sister of Patrice Vincent, in the context of Bill C-51. She said, “The RCMP did its job and built a case, but unfortunately, the burden of proof was not met. That’s unacceptable.” It is unacceptable. Law enforcement knew Couture-Rouleau was a risk and that he was likely to commit an attack, but they did not feel the case met the standard of “necessary” or that he “would” commit an attack, so he was not preventatively detained.

These are real cases. I have always said that we should not overstate the risk, but we have a responsibility to work with law enforcement to give them tools to keep us safe. By taking these tools back, the government is indirectly telling parliamentarians and Canadians that it does not trust the very people we charge with keeping us safe. On this side, we do trust them.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 8:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Madam Speaker, with respect to the major misgivings that he talks about, I highlighted the Prime Minister's remarks regarding preventative arrests. He supported the moves with respect to preventative arrests in Bill C-51, and I am sure he knew they did not offend the charter.

As I said, people seem to forget that these powers are not viewed in isolation. These are tools given to law enforcement that require an evidentiary burden before serious tools like peace bonds or preventative arrests are used. This cannot be done on a whim. There is a difference between the case involving Mr. Habib, the guy who travelled to be radicalized by ISIS and was convicted in a Montreal court the day before the government tabled this bill, and that of Mr. Couture-Rouleau, for example. Mr. Couture-Rouleau did not even leave Canada to be radicalized and trained by terrorist forces. He did it through his own social media feeds and through his network on the ground.

It reflects the charter when we ask law enforcement to meet a standard. This bill would make the standard so high that authorities would not be able to carry out preventative arrests. They would have to wait until the aftermath. We are catching the terrorist, as opposed to preventing the terrorism.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 8:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Madam Speaker, it is a real pleasure for me to rise and speak to an important bill and issues related to public safety and security in general.

I would like to begin my remarks with a positive word of thanks for those men and women who are charged with keeping our communities safe, certainly the front-line police officers and first responders, but a lot of the people in the intelligence networks from CSIS, to CSE, to think tanks that analyze these things, to engaged citizens who are constantly advocating on issues related to public safety and security. These are probably some of the most important debates we have in this chamber because we are charged with making sure we have a safe community and finding the right balance between the remarkable freedoms we enjoy in a democracy like ours and the responsibility to ensure that there is safety for Canadians. We thank those who are charged with doing that both in uniform and behind the scenes and sometimes under the cloak of secrecy. All Canadians respect that work.

I am going to talk about Bill C-59 from a few vantage points, some of the things that I thought were positive, but I am also going to express three areas of very serious concern I have with this legislation. In many ways, Bill C-59 is a huge step back. It is taking away tools that were responsibly provided to law enforcement agencies to be used in accordance with court supervision. In a lot of the rhetoric we hear on this, that part has been forgotten.

I am going to review some of it from my legal analysis of it, but I want to start by reminding the House, particularly because my friend from Winnipeg, the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader is here, that here we are debating yet another omnibus bill from the Liberal Party, something that was anathema to my friend when he was in opposition. Omnibus bills of this nature that cobbled together a range of things were an assault on democracy, in his words then, but here we are in late night sittings with time already allocated debating yet another Liberal omnibus bill. The irony in all of this is certainly not lost on me or many Canadians who used to see how the Liberals would howl with outrage whenever this happened.

Bill C-59 came out of some positive intentions. My friend from Victoria, the NDP's lead on the parliamentary security oversight committee of parliamentarians is here. I want to thank him for the work that we did together recommending some changes to the minister ahead of what became Bill C-59. The NDP member and I as the public safety critic for the Conservative Party sent two letters to the minister providing some general advice and an indication of our willingness to work with the government on establishing the committee of parliamentarians for security and intelligence oversight.

My friend from Victoria ably serves on that committee now and as a lawyer who has previously practised in the area of national security and finding the right balance between liberty and security, he is a perfect member for that committee as are my friends from the caucus serving alongside the Liberal members. That is very important work done by that committee and I wish them well in their work. We indicated pre Bill C-59 that we would be supportive of that effort.

In those letters we also indicated the need for a super-SIRC type of agency to help oversee some of the supervision of agencies like CSIS and CSE. We were advocating for an approach like that alongside a number of academics, such as Professor Forcese and others. We were happy to see an approach brought in that area as well.

It is important to show that on certain issues of national safety and security where we can drive consensus, we can say we will work with the government, because some of these issues should be beyond partisanship. I want to thank my NDP colleague for working alongside me on that. It took us some time to get the minister to even respond, so despite the sunny ways rhetoric, often we felt that some of our suggestions were falling on deaf ears.

I am going to commit the rest of my speech tonight to the three areas that I believe are risks for Canadians to consider with Bill C-59. I am going to use some real-world examples in the exploration of this, because we are not talking in abstract terms. There are real cases and real impacts on families that we should consider in our debate.

The first area I want to raise in reference to the fact that when Bill C-59 was introduced, it was one day after a Canadian was convicted in a Quebec court in a case involving travelling abroad from Canada to join and work with a terrorist organization. Mr. Ismael Habib was sentenced the day before the government tabled this omnibus security legislation, and I think there is a certain irony in that. In his judgment, Justice Délisle said, “Did Ismael Habib intend to participate in or knowingly contribute to a terrorist activity? The entirety of the evidence demonstrates the answer is yes.” There is such an irony in the fact that the day before this debate there was a conviction for someone who was leaving Canada to train and participate with a terrorist organization.

Only a short time before Mr. Habib left Canada to do this, the previous government criminalized that activity. Why? Really, there was no need to have in the Criminal Code a charge for leaving Canada to train or participate in a terrorist organization, but this was a reaction to a troubling and growing trend involving radicalized people and the ability for people to go and engage in conflicts far from home. Mr. Habib's case was the first of its kind, and the charge he was convicted of by a Quebec court was for an offence that just a few years before did not exist. This is why Parliament must be seized with real and tangible threats to public safety and security. Unfortunately, a lot of the elements of Bill C-59 are going to make it hard for law enforcement to do that, to catch the next Mr. Habib before he leaves, while he is gone, or before he returns and brings that risk back home.

The first area that I have serious concerns with in the bill relates to preventative arrest. This was a controversial but necessary part of Bill C-51 from the last Parliament. Essentially it moved a legal threshold from making it “necessary” to prevent a criminal activity or a terrorist act instead of “likely” to prevent. By changing the threshold to “necessary”, as we see in this bill, the government would make it much harder for law enforcement agencies to move in on suspects that they know present a risk yet do not feel they have enough proof to show that it is necessary to prevent an attack. I think most Canadians would think that the standard should be “likely”, which is on balance of probabilities. If we are to err on the reality of a threat that there is violence to be perpetrated or potential violence by someone, then err on the side of protection. We still have to have the evidentiary burden, but it is not too hard.

It is interesting who supported the preventative arrest portions of Bill C-51 in the last Parliament. The Prime Minister did as the MP for Papineau. I loved Bill C-51 in so many ways, because it showed the hypocrisy of the Liberal Party at its best. The Liberals were constantly critical of Bill C-51, but they voted for it. Now they are in a position that they actually have to change elements of it, and they are changing some elements that the Prime Minister praised when he was in opposition, and they had this muddled position. My friends in the NDP have referred to this muddled position before, because now they think their Liberal friends are abandoning the previous ground they stood on.

What did the Prime Minister, then the leader of the third party and MP for Papineau, say about preventative arrest in the House of Commons on February 18, 2015? He said:

I believe that Bill C-51, the government's anti-terrorism act, takes some proper steps in that direction. We welcome the measures in Bill C-51 that build on the powers of preventative arrest, make better use of no-fly lists, and allow for more coordinated information sharing by government departments and agencies.

What is ironic is that he is undoing all of those elements in Bill C-59, from information sharing to changing the standard for preventative arrest to a threshold that is unreasonably too high, in fact recklessly too high, and law enforcement agencies have told the minister and the Prime Minister this.

The Prime Minister, when he was MP for Papineau, thought these important powers were necessary but now he does not. Perhaps society is safer today. I would suggest we are not. We just have to be vigilant, vigilant but balanced. That is probably why in opposition he supported these measures and now is rolling them back.

Nothing illustrates the case and the need for this more than the case of Patrice Vincent. He was a Canadian Armed Forces soldier who was killed because of the uniform he wore. He was killed by a radicalized young man named Martin Couture-Rouleau. That radicalized young man was known to law enforcement before he took the life of one of our armed forces members. Law enforcement officers were not sure whether they could move in a preventative arrest public safety manner.

The stark and moving testimony from Patrice's sister, Louise Vincent, at committee in talking about Bill C-51 should be reflected upon by members of the Liberal Party listening to this debate, because many of them were not here in the last Parliament. These are real families impacted by public safety and security. Louise Vincent said this:

According to Bill C-51, focus should be shifted from “will commit” to “could commit”, and I think that's very important. That's why the RCMP could not obtain a warrant from the attorney general, despite all the information it had gathered and all the testimony from Martin Couture-Rouleau's family. The RCMP did its job and built a case, but unfortunately, the burden of proof was not met. That's unacceptable.

It is unacceptable. What is unacceptable is the Liberals are raising the bar even higher with respect to preventative arrest. It is like the government does not trust our law enforcement agencies. This cannot be preventative arrest on a whim. There has to be an evidentiary basis for the very significant use of this tool, but that evidentiary basis should not be so high that it does not use the tool, because we have seen what can happen.

This is not an isolated case. I can recite other names, such as Aaron Driver. Those in southwestern Ontario will remember that thanks to the United States, this gentleman was caught by police on his way to commit a terror attack in southwestern Ontario. He was already under one of the old peace bonds. This similar power could be used against someone like Alexandre Bissonnette before his horrendous attack on the mosque in Quebec City. This tool could be used in the most recent case of Alek Minassian, the horrific van attack in Toronto.

Preventative arrest is a tool that should be used but with an evidentiary burden, but if the burden is too high necessary to prevent an attack, that is reckless and it shows the Prime Minister should review his notes from his time in opposition when he supported these powers. I suggest he did not have notes then and probably does not have notes now.

The second issue I would like to speak about is the deletion of charges and the replacing with a blanket offence called counselling commission of a terrorism offence.

What would that change from BillC-51? It would remove charges that could be laid for someone who was advocating or promoting a terrorism attack or activity. Promotion and advocation are the tools of radicalization. If we are not allowing charges to be laid against someone who radicalized Mr. Couture-Rouleau, do we have to only catch someone who counsels him to go out and run down Patrice Vincent? Should we be charging the people who radicalized him, who promoted ISIS or a radical terrorist ideology, and then advocated for violence? That should be the case. That actually conforms with our legal test for hate speech, when individuals are advocating or promoting and indirectly radicalizing.

Therefore, the government members talk about the government's counter-radicalization strategy, and there is no strategy. They have tried to claim the Montreal centre, which was set up independently of the government, as its own. The government would not tour parliamentarians through it when I was public safety critic, but it tours visiting guests from the UN and other places. That was an initiative started in Montreal. It has nothing to do with the Liberals' strategy. I have seen nothing out of the government on counter-radicalization, and I would like to.

The same should be said with respect to peace bonds, another tool that law enforcement agencies need. These have been asked for by law enforcement officials that we trust with their mandate. They are peace officers, yet the government is showing it does not trust them because it is taking away tools. The peace bond standard is now in a similar fashion to the preventative arrest standard. Agencies have to prove that it is necessary to prevent violent activity or terrorism, as opposed to the Bill C-51 standard of “likely to prevent”. A protection order, better known as “a peace bond”, is a tool, like preventative arrest, that can set some constraints or limitations on the freedom of a Canadian because that person has demonstrated that he or she is a potential threat. To say the individuals have to be a certain threat, which a “necessary” standard promotes, is reckless and misguided.

I wish the MP for Papineau would remember what he said a few years ago about the reduction of the high burden on law enforcement in preventative arrest situations. Sadly, there are going to be more Aaron Drivers out there. I always use the case of Aaron Driver, because sometimes members of specific groups, some Muslim Canadians, have been unfairly targeted in discussions about radicalization. This is a threat that exists and not just in one community. Aaron Driver's father was in the Canadian Armed Forces, a career member of the military. Their son was radicalized by people who advocated and promoted radical ideology and violence. With this bill, we would remove the ability to charge those people who helped to radicalize Aaron Driver. However, this is a risk that exists.

Let us not overstate the risk. There is not a bogeyman around every corner, but as parliamentarians we need to be serious when we try to balance properly the freedom and liberties we all enjoy, and that people fought and died for, with the responsibility upon us as parliamentarians to give law enforcement agencies the tools they need to do the job. They do not want a situation where they are catching Aaron Driver in a car that is about to drive away. We have to find the right balance. The movement of standards to “necessary” to prevent the commission of a terrorism offence shows that the Liberals do not trust our law enforcement officers with the ability to collect evidence and lay charges, or provide a peace bond, when they think someone is “likely” to be a threat to public safety and security.

I started by saying that there were elements I was happy to see in Bill C-59, but I truly hope Canadians see that certain measures in this would take away tools that law enforcement agencies have responsibly asked for, and this would not make our communities any safer.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 8:20 p.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Madam Speaker, I guess I am disappointed, because I remember that the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands was one of the few members in the last Parliament who was courageous enough to stand with New Democrats and fight against Bill C-51, even when public opinion polling initially said that something like 79% or 80% of the people wanted action in this area. Eventually, that tide turned, because people were not prepared to sacrifice their rights for this mythical improvement in security.

Yes, I agree that there is one significant improvement in Bill C-59, and that is the narrowing of the provisions around criminal terrorism speech to say that one has to actually counsel someone to commit a terrorist act. However, when we stack that up against all the other things from Bill C-51 that remain, it is a fundamental diminishment of this country to have our fundamental rights so limited.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 8:15 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I would say this to the hon. member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke. I remember the fight we had in the 41st Parliament with respect to Bill C-51, the so-called Anti-terrorism Act, which I believe made Canada much less safe. It is hard for me to actually vote for Bill C-59 now, especially when I hear his very good arguments.

However, I will tell him why I am going to vote for Bill C-59. I am very relieved to see improvements to what I thought were the thought-chill provisions in Bill C-51, the rules against the promotion of unexplained terrorism “in general”. There are big improvements to the no-fly list. However, there are not enough improvements, for my taste, to the ability of CSIS to take kinetic action. The big failure in Bill C-59 in front of us is the information sharing around what Canadians are doing with other governments.

The irony for me is that the Liberals voted for Bill C-51 in the 41st Parliament and voted against the destruction of environmental assessments in Bill C-38. Ironically, I think they have done a better job now of fixing the bill they voted for than of fixing the bill they voted against, at least as far as environmental assessments go. Therefore, I am voting against Bill C-69 on environmental assessments. However, I am voting for Bill C-59. I am influenced a lot by Professors Craig Forcese and Kent Roach, who overall think this is an improvement. I do too, overall. However, it does not fix everything Bill C-51 did to make us less safe.

I appreciate the member's thoughtful analysis, and I am going to vote for it, but with misgivings.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 8:15 p.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Madam Speaker, the question gets right at this question of the broad definition of national security Bill C-51 brought in and that Bill C-59 really maintains. It says in Bill C-59 that dissent and advocacy will be protected unless they are carried out in concert with other activities that are likely to challenge national security. Since for national security, critical infrastructure is included, if the current government is saying that the Kinder Morgan pipeline is a piece of critical infrastructure, is the right to protest and advocate against Kinder Morgan still protected under the Anti-terrorism Act? I would argue that it is not.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 8:15 p.m.
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NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his well-researched speech. The reason I say that is that I have been listening to many of the speeches, and he is the one who actually highlighted all the differences between Bill C-51 and Bill C-59 and where attention needs to be paid.

He raised the issue of the national interest, which is the core concern with respect to Bill C-51. We now have a situation where the government claims that the purchase from Kinder Morgan of this 65-year-old pipeline is in the national interest. The former governor of the Bank of Canada stated that “people...are going to die in protesting...this [Trans-Mountain] pipeline.”

I would like the member to analyze that statement with respect to the situation we have vis-à-vis the national interest in the pipeline and Bill C-59.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 8:15 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, the Minister of Public Safety talked about how important it is that we get the right mix. I believe that within this legislation, there is the right mix of dealing with human rights and protecting the public from potential threats down the road.

What is interesting is that on the one hand, we have the Conservatives saying that they are going to vote against this legislation, because they believe that we are giving too heavy a balance or mix toward civil rights. We have the NDP members sticking with their outright opposition to anything and everything about Bill C-51, saying that we have not gone far enough.

If we look at what we have presented, which is fulfilling an election commitment, it seems to me that we have the right mix. I think Canadians will recognize that. Maybe it is not hand in hand, but it is ensuring that we are safe in our communities and that our rights and freedoms are protected at the same time.

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June 18th, 2018 / 8:10 p.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Madam Speaker, certainly the hon. member and I did a lot of work together on opposite sides of Bill C-51. I will start by disagreeing with him that Bill C-51 is the gold standard of anything. What I have yet to see is anyone present the evidence.

It is very interesting that the Liberals had a good chance to do that when they presented Bill C-59 and to say that if they were going to keep major parts of Bill C-51, how they made us safer. Where is that report? That report is nowhere to be seen.

I do not believe it is a gold standard. I do not believe it made us safer. The hon. member fell once again into this idea that somehow giving up part of our rights will make us more secure. To me, that is a fundamental fallacy. Rights, freedoms, and security go together. I do not want to say hand in hand, because the government has devalued the currency of that phrase. However, I would say that we must do both. We must protect rights and freedoms. Full rights and freedoms do not make us less secure. They make us more secure and more united as a country.

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June 18th, 2018 / 8:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Madam Speaker, the member and I worked together on the public safety committee when Bill C-51 was discussed. I am intrigued this evening in this House, listening to the debate, by how many times Bill C-51 is referenced. I can only assume that it is referenced because it is the gold standard, and the Liberals are trying to improve on that.

I want to ask my hon. friend from the NDP a question. True to his position at that time on Bill C-51, as I think he has very clearly articulated again this evening, the NDP have an overly aggressive position and ideology on rights and freedoms versus security. I do not think he got the balance quite right. I think we nailed it in Bill C-51. He and I do not agree on that, but we are still friends.

I think it was the member for Malpeque who lobbied very hard on the part of the Liberals, saying that we needed an oversight committee to complement Bill C-51. I am wondering if the NDP member could comment on that a little further and on whether that has been achieved in this bill. The Liberals agreed at that time with Bill C-51. They supported it. They voted in favour of it. Their one concern was an oversight committee. I want to know if they have really fixed that.

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June 18th, 2018 / 7:50 p.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise tonight to speak against Bill C-59 at third reading. Unfortunately, it is yet another example of the Liberals breaking an election promise, only this time it is disguised as promise keeping.

In the climate of fear after the attacks on Parliament Hill and in St. Jean in 2014, the Conservative government brought forward Bill C-51. I heard a speech a little earlier from the member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, and he remembers things slightly different than I. The difference is that I was in the public safety committee and he, as the minister, was not there. He said that there was a great clamour for new laws to meet this challenge of terrorism. I certainly did not hear that in committee. What I heard repeatedly from law enforcement and security officials coming before us was that they had not been given enough resources to do the basic enforcement work they needed to do to keep Canadians safe from terrorism.

However, when the Conservatives finally managed to pass their Anti-terrorism Act, they somehow managed to infringe our civil liberties without making us any safer.

At that time, the New Democrats remained firm in our conviction that it would be a mistake to sacrifice our freedoms in the name of defending them. Bill C-51 was supported by the Liberals, who hedged their bets with a promise to fix what they called “its problematic elements” later if they were elected. Once they were elected in 2015, that determination to fix Bill C-51 seemed to wane. That is why in September of 2016, I introduced Bill C-303, a private member's bill to repeal Bill C-51 in its entirety.

Some in the House at that time questioned why I introduced a private member's bill since I knew it would not come forward for a vote. In fact, this was an attempt to get the debate started, as the Liberals had already kept the public waiting for a year at that point. The New Democrats were saying, “You promised a bill. Well, here's our bill. It's very simple. Repeal all of C-51.”

Now, after more than two years and extensive consultations, we have this version of Bill C-59 before us, which does not repeal Bill C-51 and fails to fix most of the major problems of Bill C-51, it actually introduces new threats to our privacy and rights.

Let me start with the things that were described, even by the Liberals, as problematic, and remain unfixed in Bill C-59 as it stands before us.

First, there is the definition of “national security” in the Anti-terrorism Act that remains all too broad, despite some improvements in Bill C-59. Bill C-59 does narrow the definition of criminal terrorism speech, which Bill C-51 defined as “knowingly advocates or promotes the commission of terrorism offences in general”. That is a problematic definition. Bill C-59 changes the Criminal Code wording to “counsels another person to commit a terrorism offence”. Certainly, that better captures the problem we are trying to get at in the Criminal Code. There is plenty of existing case law around what qualifies as counselling someone to commit an offence. Therefore, that is much better than it was.

Then the government went on to add a clause that purports to protect advocacy and protest from being captured in the Anti-terrorism Act. However, that statement is qualified with an addition that says it will be protected unless the dissent and advocacy are carried out in conjunction with activities that undermine the security of Canada. It completes the circle. It takes us right back to that general definition.

The only broad definition of national security specifically in Bill C-51 included threats to critical infrastructure. Therefore, this still raises the spectre of the current government or any other government using national security powers against protesters against things like the pipeline formerly known as Kinder Morgan.

The second problem Bill C-59 fails to fix is that of the broad data collection information sharing authorized by Bill C-51, and in fact maintained in Bill C-59. This continues to threaten Canadians' basic privacy rights. Information and privacy commissioners continue to point out that the basis of our privacy law is that information can only be used for the purposes for which it is collected. Bill C-51 and Bill C-59 drive a big wedge in that important protection of our privacy rights.

Bill C-51 allowed sharing information between agencies and with foreign governments about national security under this new broad definition which I just talked about. Therefore, it is not just about terrorism and violence, but a much broader range of things the government could collect and share information on. Most critics would say Bill C-59, while it has tweaked these provisions, has not actually fixed them, and changing the terminology from “information sharing” to “information disclosure” is more akin to a sleight of hand than an actual reform of its provisions.

The third problem that remains are those powers that Bill C-51 granted to CSIS to act in secret to counter threats. This new proactive power granted to CSIS by Bill C-51 is especially troubling precisely because CSIS activities are secret and sometimes include the right to break the law. Once again, what we have done is returned to the very origins of CSIS. In other words, when the RCMP was both the investigatory and the enforcement agency, we ran into problems in the area of national security, so CSIS was created. Therefore, what we have done is return right back to that problematic situation of the 1970s, only this time it is CSIS that will be doing the investigating and then actively or proactively countering those threats. We have recreated a problem that CSIS was supposed to solve.

Bill C-59 also maintains the overly narrow list of prohibitions that are placed on those CSIS activities. CSIS can do pretty much anything short of committing bodily harm, murder, or the perversion of the course of democracy or justice. However, it is still problematic that neither justice nor democracy are actually defined in the act. Therefore, this would give CSIS powers that I would argue are fundamentally incompatible with a free and democratic society.

The Liberal change would require that those activities must be consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That sounds good on its face, except that these activities are exempt from scrutiny because they are secret. Who decides whether they might potentially violate the charter of rights? It is not a judge, because this is not oversight. There is no oversight here. This is the government deciding whether it should go to the judge and request oversight. Therefore, if the government does not think it is a violation of the charter of rights, it goes ahead and authorizes the CSIS activities. Again, this is a fundamental problem in a democracy.

The fourth problem is that Bill C-59 still fails to include an absolute prohibition on the use of information derived from torture. The member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan made some eloquent statements on this with which I agree. What we have is the government saying that now it has included a cabinet directive on torture in Bill C-59, which gives the cabinet directive to force of law. The cabinet directive already has the force of law, so it absolutely changes nothing about this.

However, even worse, there is no absolute prohibition in that cabinet directive on the use of torture-implicated information. Instead, the prohibition says that information from torture can be used in some circumstances, and then it sets a very low threshold for when we can actually use information derived from fundamental rights violations. Not only is this morally repugnant, most likely unconstitutional, but it also gives us information that is notoriously unreliable. People who are being tortured will say precisely what they think the torturer wants them to say to stop the torture.

Finally, Bill C-59 would not do one of the things it could have done, and that is create a review agency for the CBSA. The CBSA remains without an independent review and complaints mechanism. It is one of our only law enforcement or security agencies that has no direct review agency. Yes, the new national security intelligence review agency will have some responsibility over the CBSA, but only in terms of national security questions, not in terms of its basic day-to-day operations.

We have seen quite often that the activities carried out by border agencies have a major impact on fundamental rights of people. We can look at the United States right now and see what its border agency is doing in the separation of parents and children. Therefore, it is a concern that there is no place in Canada, if we have a complaint about what CBSA has done, to file that complaint except in a court of law, which requires information, resources, and all kinds of other things that are unlikely to be available to those people who need to make those complaints.

The Liberals will tell us that there are some areas where they have already acted outside of Bill C-59, and we have just heard the member for Winnipeg North talk about Bill C-22, which established the national security review committee of parliamentarians.

The New Democrats feel that this is a worthwhile first step toward fixing some of the long-standing weaknesses in our national security arrangements, but it is still only a review agency, still only an agency making recommendations. It is not an oversight agency that makes decisions in real time about what can be done and make binding orders about what changes have to be made.

The government rejected New Democrat amendments on the bill, amendments which would have allowed the committee to be more independent from the government. It would have allowed it to be more transparent in its public reporting and would have given it better integration with existing review bodies.

The other area the Liberals claim they have already acted on is the no-fly list. It was interesting that the minister today in his speech, opening the third reading debate, claimed that the government was on its way to fixing the no-fly list, not that it had actually fixed the no-fly list. Canada still lacks an effective redress system for travellers unintentionally flagged on the no-fly list. I have quite often heard members on the government side say that no one is denied boarding as a result of this. I could give them the names of people who have been denied boarding. It has disrupted their business activities. It has disrupted things like family reunions. All too often we end up with kids on the no-fly list. Their names happen to be Muslim-sounding or Arabic-sounding or whatever presumptions people make and they names happen to be somewhat like someone else already on the list.

The group of no-fly list kids' parents have been demanding that we get some effective measures in place right away to stop the constant harassment they face for no reason at all. The fact that we still have not fixed this problem raises real questions about charter right guarantees of equality, which are supposed to be protected by law in our country.

Not only does Bill C-59 fail to correct the problems in Bill C-51, it goes on to create two new threats to fundamental rights and freedoms of Canadians, once again, without any evidence that these measures will make it safer.

Bill C-59 proposes to immediately expand the Communications Security Establishment Canada's mandate beyond just information gathering, and it creates an opportunity for CSE to collect information on Canadians which would normally be prohibited.

Just like we are giving CSIS the ability to not just collect information but to respond to threats, now we are saying that the Communications Security Establishment Canada should not just collect information, but it should be able to conduct what the government calls defensive cyber operations and active cyber operations.

Bill C-59 provides an overly broad list of purposes and targets for these active cyber operations. It says that activities could be carried out to “degrade, disrupt, influence, respond to or interfere with the capabilities, intentions or activities of a foreign individual, state, organization or terrorist group as they relate to international affairs, defence or security.” Imagine anything that is not covered there. That is about as broad as the provision could be written.

CSE would also be allowed to do “anything that is reasonably necessary to maintain the covert nature of the activity.” Let us think about that when it comes to oversight and review of its activities. In my mind that is an invitation for it to obscure or withhold information from review agencies.

These new CSE powers are being expanded without adequate oversight. Once again, there is no independent oversight, only “after the fact” review. To proceed in this case, it does not require a warrant from a court, but only permission from the Minister of National Defence, if the activities are to be domestic based, or from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, if the activities are to be conducted abroad.

These new, active, proactive measures to combat a whole list and series of threats is one problem. The other is while Bill C-59 says that there is a still a prohibition on the Canadian Security Establishment collecting information on Canadians, we should allow for what it calls “incidental” acquisition of information relating to Canadians or persons in Canada. This means that in situations where the information was not deliberately sought, a person's private data could still be captured by CSE and retained and used. The problem remains that this incidental collecting, which is called research by the government and mass surveillance by its critics, remains very much a part of Bill C-59.

Both of these new powers are a bit disturbing, when the Liberal promise was to fix the problematic provisions in Bill C-51, not add to them. The changes introduced for Bill C-51 in itself are minor. The member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan talked about the changes not being particularly effective. I have to agree with him. I do not think they were designed to be effective. They are unlikely to head off the constitutional challenges to Bill C-51 already in place by organizations such as the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. Those constitutional challenges will proceed, and I believe that they will succeed.

What works best in terrorism cases? Again, when I was the New Democrats' public safety critic sitting on the public safety committee when Bill C-51 had its hearings, we heard literally dozens and dozens of witnesses who almost all said the same thing: it is old-fashioned police work on the front line that solves or prevents terrorism. For that, we need resources, and we need to focus the resources on enforcement activities at the front end.

What did we see from the Conservatives when they were in power? There were actual cutbacks in the budgets of the RCMP, the CBSA, and CSIS. The whole time they were in power and they were worried about terrorism, they were denying the basic resources that were needed.

What have the Liberals done since they came back to power? They have actually added some resources to all of those agencies, but not for the terrorism investigation and enforcement activities. They have added them for all kinds of other things they are interested in but not the areas that would actually make a difference.

We have heard quite often in this House, and we have heard some of it again in this debate, that what we are talking about is the need to balance or trade off rights against security. New Democrats have argued very consistently, in the previous Parliament and in this Parliament, that there is no need to trade our rights for security. The need to balance is a false need. Why would we give up our rights and argue that in doing so, we are actually protecting them? This is not logical. In fact, it is the responsibility of our government to provide both protection of our fundamental rights and protection against threats.

The Liberals again will tell us that the promise is kept. What I am here to tell members is that I do not see it in this bill. I see a lot of attempts to confuse and hide what they are really doing, which is to hide the fundamental support they still have for what was the essence of Bill C-51. That was to restrict the rights and freedoms of Canadians in the name of national security. The New Democrats reject that false game. Therefore, we will be voting against this bill at third reading.

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June 18th, 2018 / 7:50 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, this is one of two pieces of legislation that would assist the government in fulfilling an election promise: making changes to Bill C-51. The other piece of legislation dealt with the parliamentary oversight committee. I realize it is the other component of the legislation. I would be interested in the member opposite explaining specifically why the Harper government would not have included that in Bill C-51. I know the member was involved in those days with Mr. Harper.