Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding Act

An Act respecting the prevention of radicalization through foreign funding and making related amendments to the Income Tax Act

Sponsor

Tony Clement  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

Defeated, as of Feb. 14, 2018

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-371.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment makes it an offence for a religious, cultural or educational institution to accept money or other valuable consideration from a foreign state if the Governor in Council is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the foreign state promotes religious intolerance, subjects its citizens to torture or other cruel punishment or engages in activities that support radicalization. Institutions are also prohibited from accepting money or other valuable consideration from entities and individuals that have certain links to such a foreign state.

In addition, the enactment makes related amendments to the Income Tax Act to provide that the acceptance of money or other valuable consideration in contravention of the Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding Act is a ground on which the Minister of National Revenue may refuse or revoke the status of registered charity or association.

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

Feb. 14, 2018 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-371, An Act respecting the prevention of radicalization through foreign funding and making related amendments to the Income Tax Act

Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding ActPrivate Members' Business

February 9th, 2018 / 1:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Francis Drouin Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this debate. As we continue to read Bill C-371, I would like to say that I support the purpose of the bill and the ideas that inspired it.

Curbing or preventing the flow of money that supports terrorism is one of the government's key concerns. Bill C-371 seeks to prevent the flow into Canada of foreign funds donated by sources who have been associated with radicalization. During our last debate, several hon. members pointed out that there was some overlap in the bill that conflicts with mechanisms that are already in place in Canada.

The bill also has significant flaws that would be hard to overcome. For example, under Bill C-371 some charitable organizations might be unduly penalized. This would prevent religious, cultural, or educational institutions in Canada from accepting money or goods from sources affiliated with the countries on the list, including senior officials, family members, or partners. Accepting donations from these individuals would become a crime.

The problem is that there would be no list of individuals barred from donating. Charities would have to do thorough background checks on everyone who offers them a cheque, and could face criminal penalties if they fail to do so. The due diligence required would be excessively complex and would require investigative capacity well beyond that available to most charities. Furthermore, the government would probably not be able to enforce the prohibitions in the bill because they are too vague and general. For example, people associated with the countries on the list would not be on the list.

Moreover, the bill is incompatible with government policies on radicalization that leads to violence. The fact is that existing laws and initiatives already fulfill the stated purpose of this bill. I would like to point out that the government is already taking concrete, effective measures to fight terrorism and radicalization leading to violence in Canada. Canada has a robust set of tools to protect Canadians and registered charities from the risk of terrorism and its deplorable acts. One of those tools is the terrorist listing regime in the Criminal Code.

As soon as an entity is added to that list, banks and financial institutions can freeze its assets. In fact, being added to the list can also lead to the criminalization of all support activities to help stop potential sympathizers in Canada from providing any financial assistance to terrorist groups. The Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act resulted in the creation of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, or FINTRAC, which oversees the financial system and gathers information to support investigations into terrorist financing.

FINTRAC is also supposed to hand over to the Canada Revenue Agency any financial information it has regarding charitable organizations suspected of being linked to terrorist financing. In addition, the State Immunity Act includes a list of foreign countries that support terrorism. The act makes is possible for victims of terrorism to seek justice from the countries on the list.

Bill C-371 states that anti-terrorism efforts should include charities. Once again, we already have effective mechanisms to do so. The Canada Revenue Agency already monitors registered charities to ensure that they remain focused on their stated charitable goals. Under the current rules, any charity using its resources to support terrorist activities, radicalization to violence, or incitement to hatred would be denied registered charity status or could have this status revoked.

The government also has measures in place to denounce and combat religious persecution, torture, and other human rights violations.

For example, some provisions of the new Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act make it possible to freeze the assets of those responsible for serious human rights violations.

There are apparently several measures already in place that can achieve the objectives of Bill C-371 without making legitimate charitable organizations liable to penalties. Consequently, despite the bill's good intentions, I cannot support it because of the overlaps and shortcomings in the bill.

Of course we all want to fight terrorism and extremism. That is why, for example, the government established the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence to fight the radicalization of young Canadians. In budget 2016, the government allocated funding of $35 million over five years for the work of the Canadian centre. The centre provides national leadership to support local efforts. It makes all the difference.

Communities across the country receive assistance through effective, innovative programs to combat radicalization leading to violence. This assistance often brings together law enforcement authorities, communities, and service providers. Furthermore, our security and intelligence agencies also have access to a series of prevention measures to help them monitor and intercept threats, maintain a no-fly list, refuse or revoke a passport, maintain public order, and lay criminal charges if there is sufficient evidence.

The government also introduced Bill C-59, which will increase accountability and effectiveness in Canada's national security framework. This bill was introduced in response to Canada's largest-ever national security consultation.

I know that all hon. members are united in the resolve to combat extremism, prevent terrorist violence, and bring perpetrators of such acts to justice. Unfortunately, Bill C-371 will not be an effective tool to help us achieve this common goal. I am sorry that I cannot support it, but I look forward to working with the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka and all hon. members to ensure that Canadians are as safe as possible and can live free from all forms of extremism and violence.

Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding ActPrivate Members' Business

February 9th, 2018 / 1:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. However, there is something that I need to tell him. Right now, the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security is studying Bill C-59. As part of that study, we noticed that there is a gap in Bill C-59, and that could be filled by Bill C-371, which was introduced by my colleague from Parry Sound—Muskoka. It would be nice if my colleague were listening to me, but that is fine.

Today, I am pleased to rise in the House to support my colleague's bill, Bill C-371. I think it is an essential tool for combatting terrorism in Canada. As proposed, the bill would give the government the ability to establish, based on the recommendations of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, a list of foreign states, individuals, and entities that suppress religious freedom, sentence individuals to punishment based on their religious beliefs, and engage in or support activities that promote radicalization.

This bill deals with what is known as the covert means by which money is paid to Canadian organizations and institutions that support radicalization. It would make it possible to prevent an individual, entity, or foreign state that supports, promotes, or is associated with radicalization from funding an institution through donations or gifts.

This bill is very important because the Liberals prove to us almost every day that they do not fully understand the very clear danger we are facing.

For example, all Canadians in every region of the country heard the Prime Minister say that the Islamic State jihadis can have an extraordinarily powerful voice in Canada.

It is incredible that a prime minister would make such a comment. Not only is it absurd, but it is completely irresponsible.

Many of these people have returned to Canada with terrorist training, which is based on hatred for everything that is contrary to their views. These terrorists have committed unthinkable acts of violence. They have shot homosexuals, raped women and young girls, and killed Christians, Jews, and members of other faiths.

Today, the Prime Minister not only believes that these animals can be integrated into our society, but that they can be a powerful voice. Does the Prime Minister mean that they are a powerful voice for radicalization? Does he perhaps mean that they are a powerful voice for turning back the clock on women's rights? Is the Prime Minister aware of the real danger that these people represent? Does the Prime Minister keep an eye on the news about terrorist attacks in other countries? I am not so sure.

Another example is that the Prime Minister reached a settlement agreement with a terrorist, but he is dragging our veterans, those who fought to protect Canadians, through the courts. Clearly, the Prime Minister lacks judgment. He does not have his priorities straight.

Bill C-371 is important because we know that there have been relatively few charges, prosecutions, or convictions of people who have taken part in or provided material support to the jihadi movement.

We are concerned about the failure to prosecute when it comes to terrorist financing.

We learned that between 2009 and 2014, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada identified 683 cases of terrorist financing, and that no legal action was taken under the relevant sections of the Criminal Code. The terrorist threat to the security of Canada has increased significantly.

In recent decades, a number of Canadians have been convicted in court for planning multi-target, mass-casualty strikes in this country. Threats have been forthcoming from Canadians who have joined terrorists hostile to Canada and its allies. We know that more than 80 Canadians have returned to Canada after participating with Islamist fundamentalist groups. Many of these people return with terrorist training, combat experience and may therefore pose a security risk to Canada. There have been relatively few charges, prosecutions, or convictions for participating in or providing material support to the jihadist movement.

Similarly, with the exception of the 2010 conviction of Prapaharan Thambithurai, who was charged with raising money for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, there have been no charges in the area of supporting listed terrorist entities like the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Hamas, Hezbollah, or the Islamic Relief Fund for the Needy and Afflicted.

Calgary imam Syed Soharwardy, as well as other witnesses, advised the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence that extremist jihadist ideology is being spread at schools and universities in Canada, often under the guise of academic freedom and away from the eyes of CSIS.

The person who told us that is an imam. Specifically, he said this:

The money comes in different ways, in secret ways. Money comes through institutions. There are two organizations in Canada. Basically they are U.S. organizations that are operating in Canada. One is called AlMaghrib Institute, the other is called AlKauthar Institute. Both work in universities, not in mosques. Both give lectures. Both organize seminars. They are the ones who brainwash these young kids in lectures.

That is what the Calgary imam told the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. I did not make that up. When Shahina Siddiqui of the Islamic Social Services Association appeared before the same committee in 2015, she said this:

I can tell you that my own organization was offered $3 million. We refused, even though I had not a penny in my account at that time, when I started the organization, because this is a Canadian organization, and we don't need funding from anywhere else.

The same thing with our mosques in Manitoba. We were offered money from Libya when we made our first mosque. We refused it.

Did some mosques accept money from overseas because it was legal to do so? If we want to curtail that practice, we have to make it illegal, not just for Muslims but for all groups. One person said no. M. Siddiqui from Islamic Social Services said that he refused money. He was offered $3 million from Libya. He knew it was irregular. There was nothing stopping him from accepting that money. That is what is meant by secret ways. That money could have come in through the back door and, if these people were not honest, they could have had that money. There is no way to control that.

Richard Fadden, former director of CSIS and national security advisor to former prime minister Harper and to the current Prime Minister during the first few months of his mandate, confirmed that there are concerns about foreign financing of Canadian religious and quasi religious institutions. The danger is real. This bill would serve as another tool to counter those who hate our society. As I said earlier, Bill C-59 is a massive, 140-page document that includes a lot of things. However, ever since the committee started hearing from witnesses, we have seen that this bill is flawed. I mentioned to my colleagues that Bill C-371 would address the gaps in Bill C-59. Despite the government's claims, I think that passing this bill would be very appropriate.

Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding ActPrivate Members' Business

February 9th, 2018 / 1:25 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-371, the prevention of radicalization through foreign funding act, introduced by my colleague from Parry Sound—Muskoka.

Organized criminal and terrorist networks are constantly evolving to find new ways to finance their crimes. New opportunities for criminal networks to exploit things like funding chains and programs offered through non-governmental organizations are constantly surfacing and it is our job as legislators not only to recognize this pattern but to shut them down. Today I would like to talk about some of the gaps in our current law and what it means for Canadians and why I think this bill is a step in the right direction.

There are numerous scenarios that currently allow terrorist organizations to infiltrate Canadian networks. These are often wealthy foreign influencers who funnel funds from their propaganda machines into Canadian charities and institutions. Imam Syed Soharwardy told the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence that this problem has been largely ignored, stating:

The money comes in different ways, in secret ways. Money comes through institutions. There are two organizations in Canada. Basically they are U.S. organizations that are operating in Canada. One is called AlMaghrib Institute, the other is called AlKauthar Institute. Both work in universities, not in mosques. Both give lectures. Both organize seminars. They are the ones who brainwash these young kids in lectures.

These are not amateur actors. They know where to find impressionable kids and how to pull them in using complex programs for recruitment through Canadian institutions like those based in education and faith. Richard Fadden, national security adviser to our ex-PM, and a former director of CSIS, explained that a major difficulty for managing this crisis in oversight is that money is coming from individuals and NGOs and not just foreign governments, which makes it more difficult to track. We know that between 2009 and 2014, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada identified 683 terrorist financing incidences, and yet we have not prosecuted any of these. Listed entities noted as operating are the Tamil Tigers, Hamas, and Hezbollah. A colleague on the Liberal side stated that there is no real need for improvement right now. However, there has not been a single charge in the 683 incidences of money coming in to terrorist organizations. It is clear the government does not take this issue seriously.

What happens when the funding network goes unchallenged or unchecked, and what does it mean for radicalization? Groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, and Daesh have developed complex campaigns that seek out gullible audiences around the world, and any funding that these organizations get, whether through criminal activity or collusion with foreign governments, goes toward growing their network, enhancing their capabilities, and spreading their message to indoctrinate people beyond their borders.

Let us be clear here. Canada has been directly threatened by terrorist groups. Calls to action from these groups for domestic fighters have been made. These groups have a vested interest in using the funds they make and collect abroad for international recruitment because their existence goes as far as their message will carry it. Daesh alone has the participation of over 100 Canadians so far that we know of, and with the advancement of digital communication and the increasing use of the Internet, that number will continue to grow. A National Post story cited in the Senate committee report stated that it takes about 30 seconds to create a Twitter account and connect to somebody in Syria and then Facebook's algorithm suggests similar sites and friends with the same interests. These connections are used to establish contacts, create shell organizations, and nurture relationships with newly radicalized groups. Because this funding is being funnelled into existing local institutions, they can recruit en masse, making it a much more lucrative investment for time and resources.

This bill seeks to apply a framework that stops this from happening by setting out a schedule of foreign states and, by extension, for individuals and entities that suppress religious freedom, impose punishments for religious beliefs, or have engaged in or facilitated activities that promote radicalization. As an added protection, there is a built-in review and appeal process that ensures accountability and transparency throughout the process of assessment. This spurs a further need with regard to foreign funding and especially why we are not doing more to enhance transparency and accountability in funding that Canada looks after and puts toward incoming and outgoing funds from Canada.

The most glaring example right now was the Liberals' decision to return funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, an organization that is known to be infiltrated and used by Hamas. UNRWA, while operating as a non-governmental organization, has provided facilities directly to terrorist organizations that commit crimes against children, women, and the population as a whole. It even allows Hamas to build tunnels underneath schools for launching rockets at Israel. I have to ask why this is right. Why are Canadian taxpayers funding an organization that is contributing to violence against innocent people?

Let us talk about the main source of illicit funding coming into Canada and across the world: Saudi Arabia.

The following is from a Robert Fife article on the Saudis. It reports on a task force report on terrorist financing by the Council on Foreign Relations, which included former White House counterterrorist czar Richard Clarke and David Cohen, the CIA's former director of operations.

...Saudi Arabia is funding radical Islamic extremism in...Canada, where the Saudis have contributed millions of dollars to a mysterious...centre in Toronto....

“Saudi Arabia funds the global propagation of Wahabism, a brand of Islam that, in some instances, supports militancy by encouraging divisiveness and violent acts against Muslims and non-Muslims,” the report said.

“This massive spending is helping to create the next generation of terrorists and therefore constitutes a paramount strategic threat to the United States” [and other neighbouring countries].

Saudi Arabia has spent hundreds of millions of dollars...around the world, including in Canada.

The article goes on to cite an official Saudi report that stated that the Saudis have donated millions in Canada, including for the Salaheddin centre, which runs “a mosque and private elementary school where the Khadr family and other...radicals linked to [Al Qaeda] belong, and where the organization's website preaches against Jews and Christians.”

Here is a delightful statement from that website, which is funded with help from the Saudis:

Why do we hate the Jews? We hate them for the sake of our Lord, we hate them for the sake of Allaah because they slandered Allaah and they killed and slandered His Prophets.

Here we have Saudi funding coming into Canada promoting hate.

I want to chat more about the Saudis for a moment. Saudi attacks in Yemen have led to over 4,000 civilian casualties, hitting homes, hospitals, and schools as well as civilian factories, warehouses, and other protected sites. Its forces have admitted using banned cluster munitions.

Saudi law allows flogging, stoning, executions, and brutal jail time for supporting demonstrations or for merely harming the reputation of the kingdom. Women must obtain permission from a male guardian to marry, divorce, travel, get a job, or have elective surgery or any other health care treatment.

Here we have Saudi groups poisoning minds in Canada and around the world, and the response from the Liberal government is to happily bring in blood oil on the east coast of Canada at the same time it shuns Alberta oil by killing off energy east.

More than 122,000 oil workers have been without jobs in Alberta since the price of oil collapsed, and Alberta's unemployment rate sits at a 22-year high, yet here we are knocking on Saudi Arabia's door for access to a resource we have plenty of at home.

Why are we pouring funds into countries that act in direct violation of rights we strive to uphold and that commit violence and discriminatory practices against women, minority groups, the LGBT community, and all demographic groups the Liberal government claims to support? I suppose saying that we are promoting human rights is easier than actually promoting them, yet here we are.

We need to preserve the integrity of our local institutions, such as our churches, our mosques, and our schools, and ensure that they and the people who rely on them are protected. We need to cut off this funding at the head. We know it is happening. We know who is doing it. We are not doing anything to stop it.

The bill is an essential way for governments to ensure that radical groups are not able to use local and domestic institutions as a means of growing their networks and committing atrocities around the world.

We need to ensure accountability and fiscal transparency in the foreign funding coming into Canadian schools and places of worship.

I thank my hon. colleague for bringing this private member's bill forward, and I will proudly support it.

Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding ActPrivate Members' Business

November 29th, 2017 / 6:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Tony Clement Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

moved that Bill C-371, An Act respecting the prevention of radicalization through foreign funding and making related amendments to the Income Tax Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to stand in my place this evening to speak to my private member's bill, Bill C-371, the prevention of radicalization through foreign funding act.

One of the privileges of being a member of Parliament is the opportunity to craft and bring forward legislation that will make a difference for Canadians. Given the inability of ministers of the crown to bring forward legislation, this is the first time since being elected in 2006 as the member of Parliament for Parry Sound—Muskoka that I have had an opportunity to bring forward a bill for consideration by my colleagues.

It is my sincere hope that the prevention of radicalization through foreign funding bill will be seen as a non-partisan and thoughtful attempt to address a national security policy gap. This is a gap that has been identified by our security experts, and addressing this policy void will strengthen our government's ability to combat radicalization and extremism in Canada in all of its ugly manifestations.

I truly see the legislation as a powerful and practical tool to stem the flow of foreign funding that would promote radicalization and extremism in Canada. The bill would provide the government with the ability to set out a schedule of foreign states, and extend our reach to individuals and entities that suppress religious freedom, impose punishments for religious beliefs, or have engaged in or facilitated activities that promote extremism, terrorism, and radicalization.

Under this legislation, it would be “prohibited for an individual or entity in Canada and any Canadian outside Canada to accept or agree to accept money or other valuable consideration, including by gift, donation, or bequest or legacy, knowing that it is from a foreign state, entity or individual referred to in subsection (1) of the bill and intending that it be used, or knowing that it will be used, in whole or in part, to fund activities of an institution” in support of radicalization and extremism.

This legislation gives the government the power to act swiftly, with a full review and appeal process. This bill deals with the covert means by which money is paid to Canadian organizations and institutions that support radicalization.

The legislation gives the government the power to move swiftly, with a full review and appeal process, to address foreign funding trouble spots. We know that Canadians take the prevention of radicalization, the eradication of extremism, and the safety of our country seriously. It is something that Conservatives also take seriously, and our national security must be the number one priority of any government.

There are other strong voices calling for policy to close this gap. Security experts, and anti-radicalization advocates, including those in the Muslim community, have called for controls on incoming funds that support radicalization and extremism. Richard Fadden, the former national security advisor to former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former director of CSIS, has confirmed that there are concerns about foreign financing of Canadian religious and quasi-religious institutions.

He stated the following during testimony to the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence:

I think it is a problem. I think it's one that we're becoming increasingly aware of. It's one that we share with a number of our other Western allies and, insofar as I've been able to make out, nobody has found a systemic solution. What I think has occurred on a number of cases, you can find out about a specific case and you can do something about it; the problem is finding out about the specific case.

Calgary Imam, Syed Soharwardy, as well as other witnesses, advised the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence that extremist jihadist ideology is being spread at schools and universities in this country, often under the guise of academic freedom and away from the eyes of CSIS.

The Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, based out of Toronto, supports my bill, calling it a very important and urgent step towards stemming the tide of radicalization that has infiltrated our communities and put our youth at risk.

In her testimony to the subcommittee on national security at the U.S. Congress on July 27, on homegrown terrorism, Raheel Raza, president of the council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, stated the importance of preventing funding of U.S. educational institutions and mosques by foreign extremists. She said this applies to Canada as well, to keep our country safe.

En 2015, the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and National Defence produced a report entitled, “Countering the Terrorist Threat in Canada”. In its recommendations, the committee urged the government to prevent foreign funds from entering Canada, where such funds, donors or recipients have been linked to radicalization.

I would also like to note that there have been questions on whether the bill could cross over to implicate our key allies. However, there is a provision set out in the legislation that would not allow any countries with which Canada has extradition agreements to be included in the schedule. This, of course, includes our key allies including the U.S., France, Germany, and Israel.

This legislation actually lines up with actions already taken by some of our allies.

In 2007 the Australian government became one of the first to act on this issue when it intervened to reject a Saudi request to transfer funds to the Islamic Society of South Australia. This move was specifically taken amidst concerns about foreign-funded lslamist extremism.

Norway and Austria have taken similar actions. Germany and the U.S. have also studied the situation intensely, and in 2016 a similar bill was brought to the floor of the U.S. Congress.

In January 2016, then U.K. prime minister David Cameron did acknowledge that there is a problem of Saudi-funded education programs in the U.K. that may be responsible for promoting lslamist extremism.

Canada and her allies must be ever vigilant when it comes to monitoring radicalization extremism in our country. The recent news of returning ISIS fighters to Canada brings the point home again, that government must have adequate and efficient tools at its disposal to prevent radicalization in the first place. I propose that my legislation would provide another tool in the arsenal to achieve exactly this goal.

Again, I encourage my colleagues to give thoughtful consideration to this legislation and feel free to discuss any of its details with me.

Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding ActPrivate Members' Business

November 29th, 2017 / 6:25 p.m.
See context

Ajax Ontario

Liberal

Mark Holland LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for putting forward this motion, which is very well intentioned. It is an area on which we all share a great deal of concern.

I am wondering if the member could articulate—and I am going to talk about this in my comments—on the differences Bill C-371 has from the existing mechanisms and legislation that is in place. In other words, what would the bill do that is not already in place? How does it differ from FINTRAC and some of the other mechanisms that are in place, so that I can understand what gaps he is looking to fill?

Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding ActPrivate Members' Business

November 29th, 2017 / 6:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Tony Clement Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Madam Speaker, indeed, the purpose of the legislation is to fill gaps.

For instance, the legislation that is currently in place that is available for CRA targets charitable organizations, but there are many other organizations—educational organizations, not-for-profit organizations—that cannot be tracked in the same way and exist as gaps in our legislation.

This was identified in the Senate committee report and is an area of vulnerability that we have, because not-for-profit organizations, other educational organizations, or individuals may not be covered under the Revenue Canada organization, FINTRAC, or these kinds of things.

What I have identified is a gap that can be filled with this legislation. It is consistent with current legislation that is in place but does not extend to these organizations.

Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding ActPrivate Members' Business

November 29th, 2017 / 6:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Tony Clement Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Madam Speaker, I would refer the hon. member to the Senate report. I am afraid I do not have a copy with me for the purpose of this debate, but there was testimony before the Senate, when it was looking at our terror legislation, that indicated some examples in Canada and some concerns that were raised. I already mentioned Richard Fadden, whom we all know and whose views we take very seriously. There are indeed cases that have been brought to light.

The hon. member should know that I am not here to cast aspersions on any particular organization. I am merely citing them as examples that have been brought to light, sometimes generally, not specifically. I will grant the hon. member that. However, the idea is that, through expert testimony in the Canadian Senate, this gap has been identified, and I think it is our responsibility as parliamentarians to fill that gap.

Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding ActPrivate Members' Business

November 29th, 2017 / 6:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, the reason I asked the question is that I am sure Canadians would share with me that we want to be careful we are not trying to create something that is maybe not there. That is why I thought there would be a benefit in hearing an example that the member across the way might have.

I understand in listening to him that what he is referring to is that there are some examples and we just need to look at the report and comments that were made at a particular Senate hearing. Is that correct?

Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding ActPrivate Members' Business

November 29th, 2017 / 6:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Tony Clement Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Madam Speaker, that is correct.

I will read a couple more quotes in more detail. The president of the council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, Raheel Raza said:

This bill is a very important and urgent step towards stemming the tide of radicalization that has infiltrated into our communities and put our youth at risk.

I quote Arman Raster, director of the East Turkistan Government-in-Exile Diplomatic and Human Rights Office, which he says:

supports this important Bill which would protect Canada’s multicultural society from any forms of extremism, radicalization or terrorism that harms such society.

Those are a couple more quotes I can put on the record, and I would be happy to pass over to the hon. members who have asked, in particular, the specific Senate report when I get my hands on it again.

Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding ActPrivate Members' Business

November 29th, 2017 / 6:30 p.m.
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Ajax Ontario

Liberal

Mark Holland LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Madam Speaker, I reiterate my appreciation to the hon. member across for his work on the bill. This is an area the government is very concerned with, and we appreciate his attention to the issue.

Most of my comments today will centre on the question I asked concerning redundancy, namely the mechanisms that are already in place and whether this bill is filling a gap or overlapping the existing mechanisms, and what the consequences would be. I will run through these, if I could.

The proposals to create a mechanism to stem funding from foreign bodies known to promote radicalization and extremism in Canada are at the centre of this bill. It would also authorize the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in consultation with the Minister of Public Safety, to recommend the listing of states that have engaged in religious persecution, torture, and the promotion of radicalization. Canadian religious, cultural, or educational institutions would then be prohibited from accepting money or other valuables from sources affiliated with those listed states. As I have stated, these measures are totally in line with the objectives of the government.

The bill also attempts to respond to recommendation 15 of the 2015 interim report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. That reference proposes that the government develop measures to prevent foreign funds from entering Canada, where such funds, donors, or recipients have been linked to radicalization.

My concern is that the stated aim of the bill seems, in some instances, to be inconsistent with its provisions. Only one of the three reasons to list a state has to do with promotion of radicalization. The other two do not. They have to do with subjecting individuals to human rights violations, either through religious persecution or torture and cruel punishments. Those violations are already covered under the new Magnitsky act, which allows Canada to impose broad asset freezes and financial prohibitions on individuals responsible for, or complicit in, gross violations of international human rights.

With respect to preventing funds from being used to support terrorist activities, we can say that the Government of Canada is committed to a strong and comprehensive regime. The Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act,, or the PCMLTFA, is a primary piece of legislation that establishes this framework. The act requires approximately 31,000 financial institutions and intermediaries to identify their clients, keep records, and have internal compliance programs in place. It creates a mandatory reporting system for suspicious financial transactions, large cross-border currency transfers, and certain proscribed transactions.

The legislation also established the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, or FINTRAC, which I was referring to earlier, Canada's main agency for monitoring money laundering and terrorist financing. FINTRAC is authorized by the existing legislation to collect and analyze financial transaction reports and disclose pertinent information to law enforcement and intelligence agencies. With the millions of financial transaction reports received every year, FINTRAC helps to establish links between individuals and groups in Canada and abroad suspected of financing and supporting terrorist activities. This intelligence assists police and national security agencies in their investigations of terrorist financing and threats to the security of Canada. It is also information that is used in assessing the level of risk posed by organizations that apply to be registered as charities.

There are a number of rules that govern how charities should operate, whether in Canada or abroad. The Canada Revenue Agency, as the federal regulator of charities, protects the charitable organization registration system from being abused by individuals or groups with links to terrorists. The charities directorate formally established the review and analysis division in 2003 to audit registered charities based on the potential risk of terrorist financing abuse. It works to prevent organizations with links to terrorism from being registered and to revoke the registration of those that are.

The Criminal Code's terrorist listing regime is another important tool in the fight against terrorism. The listing of entities counters terrorist financing and criminalizes certain support for listed entities. It is based on a principle similar to what we see in the bill before us today. When an entity is placed on the list, banks and financial institutions freeze its assets. The code makes it a criminal offence for Canadians at home and abroad to knowingly deal with the assets of a listed entity. Listings aim to help obstruct financial support for terrorist groups and supporters of terrorism. For example, Canadian charitable organizations that are maintaining connections to organizations already listed under the Criminal Code can be and are listed.

Furthermore, the list of entities helps to prevent registered charities in Canada from serving as a support network for terrorist organizations operating abroad. An organization can be denied charitable status or have its registration revoked when its resources provide any means of support for, or benefit to, an organization listed under the Criminal Code.

A further result of listing may be to deny its members, recruiters and facilitators entry to Canada.

The assessment process to identify potential entities to consider for listing is continuous and action can be taken when and if necessary. Under the code, Canada has the ability to apply appropriate criminal measures to deter terrorist activity in Canada. Once listed, an entity becomes defined as a terrorist group under the Criminal Code, which means various terrorism-related offences could potentially then be applied to the entity's supporters in Canada. These include offences related to terrorist financing, terrorist related-travel, recruitment and training.

When it comes to the prosecution of terrorism-related offences, however, it should be noted that the Criminal Code's definition of a "terrorist group" is not restricted to listed entities. Charges and prosecutions can even proceed if the group involved is not on the list. That is only one of several mechanisms we already use effectively.

When it comes to countering terrorism, the government understands that stemming the flow of dubious funding is only one part of the equation. That is why we have taken a recent major step further, through the effort to prevent radicalization to violence rather than only deal with it after the fact. That involves getting at the root causes and factors that contribute to terrorism by actively engaging with individuals and communities.

We know that our success in doing so relies on the support and participation from all levels of government and society, especially local communities and individual Canadians. The newly created Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence, or the Canada Centre, is a source of advice, research and funding in that respect.

Thanks in no small part to $35 million in funding over five years provided through budget 2016, the centre is already making a real difference. It is working with youth, communities, academia, and stakeholders to help prevent radicalization to violence in Canada. It is based on the understanding that there is no single ideology or cause of radicalization to violence and that prevention must be an essential component of Canada's efforts to counter terrorism.

All of this goes hand in hand with new security legislation, or Bill C-59, which is heading to committee now. It is designed to update our national security framework to reflect current realities, while putting the rights and freedoms of Canadians at the core.

The Canadian government already takes all appropriate action to counter terrorist threats to our country, to our people, to our way of life, and to our global interests. The Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, the efforts of FINTRAC and our security agencies, the Criminal Code listings, and the new Canada Centre, in concert with our proposed overhaul of Canada's national security framework, are all parts of a well-functioning system. Every day, they are informing our work to combat terrorism and to keep Canadians safe.

As I mentioned at the top of my speech, Bill C-371 is a well-intentioned legislation. The concern I would have, and I raised it in my question for the member, is where it will fill in any gaps that might have been missed in the various mechanisms I have just articulated.

One of the things I would ask members to do is to consider the implications of that duplication and ensure the legislation is moving that forward.

I look forward to further conversations with the member. I very much appreciate him bringing forward the legislation and for his ongoing work and concern, which I very much share.

Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding ActPrivate Members' Business

November 29th, 2017 / 6:40 p.m.
See context

NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Parry Sound—Muskoka for introducing this bill. I also liked his anecdote. Indeed, cabinet members do not get to introduce private member's bills. That is something we tend to forget.

Unfortunately, I am opposed to this bill for a number of reasons. The first was aptly explained by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety . The objectives sought by the member in this bill are already enshrined in legislation. They were even improved on by the Magnitsky act, which was passed unanimously by the House. In Canada, it is already illegal to receive funds from a criminal or terrorist organization.

Another one of my concerns stems from the Senate report that my colleague was talking about, one of whose recommendations led to the creation of this bill. The Senate's study, if I am not mistaken, focused entirely on the Muslim community. I find that deeply concerning because I fear that these measures target specific groups and countries. With all due respect, if we look at the stakeholders my colleague mentioned as supporters of this bill, a dangerous theme emerges.

My colleague quoted Mr. Richard Fadden, the former head of CSIS and a national security adviser to former Prime Minister Harper. I want to read what came after that quote in the same testimony before the Senate.

Mr. Richard Fadden said, “In fact, in my previous job, I actually raised with representatives from some of the countries who might be involved in this and suggested to them this was not helpful.” He is of course talking about funding of terrorist activities. He continued with “The difficulty in most cases is that the monies are not coming from governments. They're coming from fairly wealthy institutions or individuals within some of these countries.” That is fair enough. The member has included those measures in his bill to deal with people who are associated with the government of the country that would be on this black list. However, he went on to say, ”It makes it doubly difficult to track. It doesn't mean you're not right in raising it. I just don't have an easy solution.”

When I read that, it caused me great concern that the head of CSIS and a national security adviser to a prime minister felt there was no easy solution and that it was difficult to get to the root of the cause. I have a difficult time imagining a list such as this, which could potentially become arbitrary, being managed by the Minister of Public Safety in consultation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

That brings me to my other concern, and that is Canada's track record on public safety related lists. Take, for example, the no-fly list, the list of terrorist entities, or even the list of criminal organizations proposed by my colleague from Rivière-du-Nord. He proposed a bill in that regard in this Parliament. We know the risks associated with those sorts of lists.

First, there is a risk for the court system, since these lists could result in countless charter challenges. Second, there is a risk that these lists may be arbitrary, since they are established by the government of the day. Of course, the member sponsoring the bill may say that there are oversight mechanisms and criteria to prevent that from happening, but the problem is that depending on how we view certain acts, trying to interpret the definition of torture or cruel treatment of citizens is a slippery slope.

The United States prison in Guantanamo is a good example, since cruel and inhuman acts have been committed there that should be considered torture. Are we going to put the United States on the list?

We cannot, because the United States is excluded under the provisions of that same bill. That example may seem a bit extreme, but I am using it to illustrate one of the shortcomings of the bill.

The other issue is on what we want to tackle here, and that is radicalization leading to violence and ensuring public safety. As the member who sponsored the bill rightly pointed out, it certainly is not a partisan issue, even when we may have disagreements on how to obtain that objective. For that reason, I want to raise the following points.

First, more and more studies are showing, even anecdotal evidence of what we see in the news and also hear more and more from expert testimony, that the methods being employed by certain groups conducting terrorist activities are cheaper. We are not talking about sophisticated organizations that are being funded. The member would probably want me to raise the distinction between the act being committed and the money being used to radicalize. However, it is becoming clearer and clearer that it is less about money and more about the issues of which we need to tackle the root causes, and I will get to in a moment. The parliamentary secretary has also raised this.

Second, I read a study out of Great Britain. It says that 40% of the money being used to finance terrorist acts committed in Europe, and certainly the example can apply to us as well, comes from what we could call petty crime. We are talking about money laundering, robberies, drug trafficking. These things remind us of the importance of not looking to legislative change, as we have so often on these issues, but ensuring the men and women who ensure our safety have the proper resources. That is consistent with what the New Democrats have always stood for. It is exactly what we said during the debate, for example, on Bill C-51 in the previous Parliament. Why look to a legislative change to do something that can be done by providing proper resources?

Another point to consider is whether this is the right way to fight radicalization. I do not think that money is the root of this particular problem.

To go back to what the parliamentary secretary said earlier, there is a government initiative receiving some funding. I hope that the government continues to step up its efforts and maintains this funding. If we want to fight radicalization and violence properly, it will take a community effort like the one the centre in Montreal is making, for example. It will also take federal involvement in other initiatives, to encourage all orders of government, stakeholders, and community organizations to contribute to these efforts. It is very important to add that these efforts must not focus on any one group in particular.

Hon. members will recall last week's awful far-right rallies in Quebec City. Some of the groups involved either were American or had been infiltrated by or were affiliated with American far-right groups. In that context, we need to look at the whole range of factors weighing on youth, youth who often struggle with addiction or mental health issues that we have a responsibility to address.

By properly addressing those factors and making sure that a young individual in the process of being radicalized does not take the bait, not only do we help someone who really needs it, but we also ensure public safety. By making the right kind of efforts, we will be able to ensure that this individual never goes on commit the kinds of atrocities we see all too often on the news.

For these reasons, unfortunately, I will be opposing the bill. I am always open to working with my colleague on public safety initiatives, but I do not feel that this bill serves the intended objectives, and unfortunately it could end up targeting a specific community, which I think is totally inappropriate.

Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding ActPrivate Members' Business

November 29th, 2017 / 6:50 p.m.
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Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is good to be here today to speak to this issue. I am very happy with my colleague for bringing this forward. It is an important initiative, and unfortunate that we need it. There are a number of other ways to approach some of these issues, basically various levels of dealing with it, and we have heard a little about some of them tonight. I will talk a bit about that later.

I guess one of the things that would give us a little more comfort is if we felt that the current government was actually willing to deal with these issues seriously. As far as we can see, in the two years it has been in power, it is not. There is no indication that it would actually treat seriously the issues my colleague has brought forward, issues such as radicalization and dealing with the connections to culture, religion, and education. In fact, we hear in the Liberals' speeches tonight that they are just not willing to do that.

Another example of the government's unwillingness to deal with this seriously is the way it claims to be handling these returning ISIS fighters, in spite of the fact that the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has said that basically we are not going to be able to change these folks and we are coming late to this fight anyway. Still the Liberals come and talk about how they are going to have these programs.

Yesterday or the day before, the Prime Minister said in the House that he believes he can deprogram ISIS fighters when they come back. As we have pointed out, some of these folks are coming back deliberately, coming back here to stay and then create trouble later. I do not think poetry sessions and sitting in counselling sessions is going to change that in their minds. The government is not taking the issue of terrorism seriously. It is not really taking the issue of radicalization seriously. We have seen that at one of the committees I am on, as well.

I am very thankful that we were able to pass the Magnitsky Act earlier this fall. That was an important part of this whole piece, and is something some of us worked on last Parliament. Thanks to our colleague from Manitoba and one of our senators from the other place, we were able to bring that in here, and then the government finally came to its senses and supported it.

However, Canadians do not have confidence that the government is going to do the right thing. Another example of that would be in its relationship with Iran. The member opposite asked earlier if there are examples of places where we can see this kind of radicalization that could be taking place. Obviously, over the years, Iran has been listed as a state sponsor of terror for a number of years by a number of countries. Again, the relationship this government insists on having with Iran is just naive. It thinks that somehow it is going to change its direction by cuddling up to it. That is not going to happen. It is very disturbing. We see Iran trying to stretch itself out in the Middle East, and the trouble it is causing in places like Yemen where it has gone in. It is trying to create as much of a conflict there as it possibly can.

For those of us who have been working on the religious freedom issues over the years, another place we see radicalization has taken place is through Wahhabism that has come out of Saudi Arabia. If the money that has been put into spreading that ideology around the world had been stopped 20 or 30 years ago, we would not find ourselves in the situation we do right now.

I respect the bill that the member has brought forward, but we do have several levels of dealing with these things. I mentioned state sponsors of terrorism. I think we have two of them listed still, which are Iran and Syria. Other countries list places like North Korea and Sudan. There is also another level of dealing with these issues, which is to list the terrorist entities. The government on the other side seems to say that this is not really a serious issue or whatever.

If we take a look at the number of listed entities that Canada has listed, it is well over 50. These are 50 terrorist organizations that function around the world. It is naive to think that not one of them is taking money and putting it into kind of parallel organizations, sister and brother organizations that may have very different names and is not trying to influence governments around the world. As my colleague has pointed out, it is the flow of money that is actually critical.

We have sanctions on countries as well. There is a third level layer of sanctions. We have over 20 countries listed on a sanctions list, and that started in the Special Economic Measures Act. Those countries had sanctions put against them for good reason. However, this bill deals specifically with the flow of money and trying to stop that flow of money. It is more than timely. It is past time that we should have brought this forward.

It does not sound as though it is going to, but I hope the government will step up and at least send the bill to committee and see if there are some changes it would like to make and we can agree to, so that the bill can go forward and become effective in the future.

The bill starts off by talking about religious, cultural, and educational institutions, and where they may play a central role in the lives of many Canadians. We know that is true. Those three components are critically important to a lot of people around the world.

The government is naive about the role that religious faith plays in many people's lives. The government—from some of the comments we have heard from some of the leadership—seems to think it is not a relevant concept for people in this time and age. That just shows naivety about what is going on around the rest of the world, where the majority of people are informed and driven by some very serious faith considerations and beliefs in their own lives. That is why I appreciate the member bringing this forward in those terms.

We also know that education plays an incredibly important role around the world. Typically, if an individual is going to try to influence people and is going to spend money doing that, that individual is likely going to put that money into some sort of either faith institution or educational institution in order to try to change people's thinking. The bill specifically addresses those issues and those components.

It goes on to say “some foreign states and some entities and individuals abroad provide those institutions with funding through donations or gifts”. We understand that money travels around the world. People who hold to different beliefs and principles are willing to spend their money and commit it to causes, and for the most part they are good causes. That is why Canadians contribute to charities. That is why we are known as some of the most generous people in the world, because people are willing to make those contributions to things that they think are important.

That is the good side of the equation, but there are also people who do not have those same benevolent attitudes and who want to use their money in another way, which is to bring down other governments, other institutions, and other states. This bill addresses that.

It says “funding could flow from foreign states, entities or individuals that support or promote extremism, radicalization or terrorism and that seek to influence those institutions”. That is where we believe that the Parliament of Canada needs to step in. It is important that we do.

This bill has a number of provisions to it. Its purpose is to prevent an individual, an entity, or a foreign state that does support or is associated with radicalization or terrorism being able to fund those institutions around the world through either donations or gifts. It is a pretty simple explanation. There is a schedule that could be put in place that would deal with that, and then that would address the issue of those states, those individuals, those foreign entities trying to have influence in Canada when they should not do that.

It is incredibly important that we address this issue. My NDP colleague said that money is really not the issue here, but I would disagree with him. The only way to actually diminish the activity is to cut off funding and reduce the money. Then we can look at some of the other causes, some of the other things that are influencing people to become radicalized. As long as foreign money is allowed to come into a country, whether it is Canada or another country, it gives people the capacity to influence, to tear down institutions, and then to do the damage that they really would like to see happen.

There are a number of provisions to this legislation that might be worth going through.

The bill would apply to a foreign state whose name is set out in the schedule or any senior official or member of the official's immediate family. We often see a senior official who is functioning and then family members are doing something off in another direction or whatever.

It is good that we have followed the lead of other countries. My colleague mentioned countries such as Australia, which did this very specifically to deal with an issue it had in that country. Norway and Austria are other countries that have acted on this. Others such as the United States and the United Kingdom are thinking about it.

It is a good idea that Canada thinks about it as well. It would be a great help to many people around the world. It would be a great help to many Canadians if the government would treat this seriously, support the bill, and send it to committee, and then we can have further discussion about it.

Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding ActPrivate Members' Business

November 29th, 2017 / 7 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, I have some thoughts I would like to share with members, and I will start with one of the criticisms from across the way, which is that this government is not concerned about a very important issue to Canadians. We have not only talked about the issue of safety, but very tangible actions have been taken, whether it is budgetary or legislative measures.

My colleague made reference to the Magnitsky legislation that was passed by the House. It received all-party support. There were many strong advocates within the Liberal caucus for that legislation. In fact, Irwin Cotler, the former member for Mount Royal in Montreal, is a very strong human rights advocate. He is very well known and respected in the world. In fact, he is one of the most able-minded individuals dealing with that. He contributed immensely in the House with respect to that act, which was discussed not only over the last couple of years but for a few years. Even under Stephen Harper, there was discussion about the Magnitsky Act.

Many of the comments we are hearing, even this evening, have been dealt with in part through the Magnitsky legislation. I have had the opportunity, not only in Ottawa but in other places, particularly in Winnipeg, to talk about the importance of the issue.

This was one piece of legislation that passed with the support of all members of the House.

However, we also introduced government legislation. Members will recall Bill C-51 and the impact that legislation had in the chamber. When the member across the way is critical of the government and says that it is not doing enough, I remind the member that two substantial pieces of legislation have been brought forward to the House.

Bill C-22 dealt with the establishment of the parliamentary oversight committee. This might even be an issue the oversight committee could discuss, once it is up and running, but I suspect it will have a fairly busy agenda. That was put in place to ensure rights and freedoms were being addressed, which is very important.

When we talk about the safety of Canadians and the radicalization of individuals who call Canada their home, we take it very seriously. At the same time, we also want to ensure that the rights and freedoms of Canadians are being protected. Therefore, that legislation was put in place.

Today, we are having a great deal of discussion about Bill C-59. Many measures within that legislation deal with safety. I do not know how many times I have heard the Prime Minister talk about the importance of ensuring that Canadians feel safe. Aside from governance, it is most important to ensure there is an element of safety. Many measures have been put in place by this government. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the minister responsible for global affairs, and members as a whole recognize what is being talked about and the concerns that Canadians have.

This is the reason I asked the questions of the sponsor of the motion. What is the motivation behind this legislation? We all want to ensure we have safe communities and there is proper legislation in place to prevent radicalization whenever we can do that. There is already a litany of measures in the Criminal Code.

I emphasize that we have proactive law enforcement agencies, security agencies, and even the Canada Border Services Agency for border control. There are many different departments in place today to protect Canadians.

One of my colleagues across the way made reference to education. We have invested, through budgets, millions of dollars for education or outreach. In fact, we launched the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence to support local initiatives. To cite a few examples, we looked at pushing back against violent extremism, addressing online terrorist propaganda and recruitment, intervening early to turn young Canadians away from the path of extremism, and supporting families and communities affected by radicalization.

I was involved with the youth justice committee for many years, and we had a wonderful RCMP officer who participated in it. I know first-hand the commitment of our women and men in the RCMP. It is about making connections and connecting the dots to promote more harmony and tolerance in our communities.

I did not like the debate that took place here regarding Islamophobia. I believe it did more damage than good inside this chamber. I still do not quite understand why we have some people in the House who do not recognize Islamophobia as something that is real.

We have to go out of our way to ensure that there is more communication among the many different groups out there. We even have a group in our caucus that meets on occasion with two different faith groups to try to bring faith communities together. This is something I believe is really important.

When I think of radicalization, one of the areas of concern I have is not necessarily what takes place in communities as much as what takes place on the Internet. The Internet is one of those areas we could spend time evaluating. Some of the problems being generated in society are because of the Internet, and we should consider ways we can address that issue.

We have seen radicalization that has stemmed from the Internet. I am concerned about the attraction it has. It is universal. It does not apply to one group of people or one faith group. Youth look at it far too often as something that might be an attractive thing to do. At times, it even crosses gender.

Many of my colleagues reach out to the community on this issue. At the end of the day, I believe we should be promoting education. It think education is the best way to combat radicalization. Whatever we can do to support that—

Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding ActPrivate Members' Business

November 29th, 2017 / 7:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to talk about the private member's bill introduced by my colleague from Parry Sound—Muskoka, which sets out to prevent radicalization through foreign funding.

This bill is laudable because we are in a democratic institution. In essence, the bill would create a list of foreign states, individuals and entities that sentence individuals to punishment based on their religious beliefs and promote such punishment, support activities that promote radicalization, or even limit freedom of religion. I am surprised at what I have heard some of my parliamentary colleagues say because we are in an exemplary democratic institution here, and I think we should be proud to give this bill second reading.

If we do not take this opportunity to talk about radicalization, and if the government flatly rejects worthwhile initiatives like the one my colleague has proposed, it is likely that further developments will be left in the hands of those who are actively making the situation worse. We know all too well that radicalization leads to terrorism, as we saw with the tragic events that we experienced here in October 2014. This bill strives to silence those who would corrupt people's minds. Contrary to what one of my colleagues said earlier, the only way to do that is to go right to the root of the problem by cutting off the money supply. Dark and shadowy forces finance activities that cause instability and erode the underpinnings of our democracy.

We live in what is probably the best place in the world to speak our minds freely without inciting violence. Unfortunately, there are some entities that seek to disrupt that reality. They use methods that we must protect ourselves against. My colleague's private member's bill proposes specifically to amend the Income Tax Act to recognize that there may be ways of funding organizations that promote radicalization resulting in violence. It is important to understand that we already have a list of terrorist entities in Canada, so clearly, if an entity promotes the use of violence, it can be banned and we can go after its sources of funding.

Where things get trickier is when rhetoric encourages or leads to radicalization and the creation of terrorist entities. My colleague's initiative is courageous because it aims to create a framework and give the government tools to protect itself against radicalization. Under the Income Tax Act, organizations can have their charitable status stripped if they encourage violence or are affiliated with terrorist entities, but there is a grey area. There is some vagueness, as we saw in committee. That is precisely why the Senate studied the matter and recommended that measures be taken to cut off the sources of radicalization.

Moreover, former national security advisor Richard Fadden confirmed that some sources provide funding, here in Canada, to different kinds of entities that encourage people to commit terrorist acts. That goes against the very principles of our society. Many organizations can make their views known, but accepting money from an entity conveying a message that corrupts the democratic principles we live by is forbidden. Sometimes, the message is subtle and insidious, but it results in acts of violence. We know this all too well.

Our intelligence services are very busy nonetheless.

What makes a young person abandon our democracy to go and fight abroad? How have we gotten to the point where youth can be exposed to a narrative that provides them with a justification to travel abroad to commit acts of violence?

That is at the heart of this bill. I would say that we are being proactive about dealing with people who go to the airport and say that they want to become foreign fighters and participate in the decapitations that we witnessed, to everyone's horror.

We are vulnerable, especially at a time when ISIS has disbanded and to some extent dispersed. As a society, it is important that we have the tools to say no to radicalization and to those who seek to radicalize our society by funding messages that result in hate and violence.

I was pleasantly surprised that my colleague quoted someone whom I greatly admire, Mrs. Raheel Raza, a Canadian journalist of Pakistani origin. She is a Muslim woman who supports this bill because she knows that money can be used to radicalize and disrupt the rule of law in our country.

Obviously, this bill deserves to be studied in committee. We heard from security experts, people like Raheel Raza, who support the bill and can help to fulfill the need we have as a society to develop the proper tools.

Is this a challenge? Yes, absolutely. That is why we, as parliamentarians, have the responsibility to explore the approach proposed by my colleague to stop radicalization. If we turn a blind eye to radicalization, radicals will gain control of the narrative and we will be left to pick up the pieces. Let us prevent that from happening by thinking about this and having a discussion. That is what my colleague is proposing.

Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding ActRoutine Proceedings

October 17th, 2017 / 10:05 a.m.
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Conservative

Tony Clement Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-371, An Act respecting the prevention of radicalization through foreign funding and making related amendments to the Income Tax Act.

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to present my very first private member's bill, the prevention of radicalization through foreign funding act. This legislation would provide a powerful tool to stem the flow of funding from foreign groups that promote radicalization and extremism in Canada.

This bill deals with the so-called secret laws relating to the funding of organizations and institutions in Canada that support radicalization.

Security experts and anti-radicalization representatives, including members of the Muslim community, are calling for greater scrutiny of funds intended to support radicalization.

The bill sets out a schedule of foreign states, extending to individuals and entities that suppress religious freedom, impose punishments for religious beliefs, or have engaged in or facilitated activities that promote extremism, terrorism, and radicalization. Canadian individuals and institutions would be prohibited from accepting money or gifts from any state, individual, or entity listed on the schedule.

My sincere hope is that the government will see the practical value of the bill and give it full and thoughtful consideration.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)