An Act respecting national security matters

Sponsor

Ralph Goodale  Liberal

Status

Considering amendments (Senate), as of June 12, 2019

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Summary

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

Part 1 enacts the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency Act, which establishes the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency and sets out its composition, mandate and powers. It repeals the provisions of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act establishing the Security Intelligence Review Committee and amends that Act and other Acts in order to transfer certain powers, duties and functions to the new Agency. It also makes related and consequential amendments to other Acts.

Part 1.‍1 enacts the Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities Act to authorize the issuance of directions respecting the disclosure of and request for information that would result in a substantial risk of mistreatment of an individual by a foreign entity and the use of information that is likely to have been obtained as the result of mistreatment of an individual by a foreign entity.

Part 2 enacts the Intelligence Commissioner Act, which provides that the duties and functions of the Intelligence Commissioner are to review the conclusions on the basis of which certain authorizations are issued or amended, and determinations are made, under the Communications Security Establishment Act and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and to approve those authorizations, amendments and determinations if those conclusions are reasonable. This Part also abolishes the position of the Commissioner of the Communications Security Establishment, provides for that Commissioner to become the Intelligence Commissioner, transfers the employees of the former Commissioner to the office of the new Commissioner and makes related and consequential amendments to other Acts.

Part 3 enacts the Communications Security Establishment Act, which establishes the Communications Security Establishment and, among other things, sets out the Establishment’s mandate as well as the regime for authorizing its activities. It also amends the National Defence Act and makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Part 4 amends the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act to

(a) add a preamble to that Act and provide a mechanism to enhance the accountability of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service;

(b) add new limits on the exercise of the Service’s power to reduce threats to the security of Canada including, in particular, by setting out a list of measures that may be authorized by the Federal Court;

(c) provide a justification, subject to certain limitations, for the commission of acts or omissions that would otherwise constitute offences;

(d) exempt employees of the Service and persons acting under their direction from liability for offences related to acts committed for the sole purpose of establishing or maintaining a covert identity;

(e) create a regime for the Service to collect, retain, query and exploit datasets in the course of performing its duties and functions;

(f) make amendments to the warrant regime that are related to datasets; and

(g) implement measures for the management of datasets.

Part 5 amends the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act to, among other things,

(a) emphasize that the Act addresses only the disclosure of information and not its collection or use;

(b) clarify the definition of “activity that undermines the security of Canada”;

(c) clarify that advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression are not activities that undermine the security of Canada unless they are carried on in conjunction with an activity that undermines the security of Canada;

(d) provide that a disclosure of information is authorized only if the disclosure will contribute to the carrying out by the recipient institution of its national security responsibilities and will not affect any person’s privacy interest more than reasonably necessary;

(e) require that information disclosed be accompanied by information about the accuracy of the disclosed information and the reliability of the manner in which it was obtained; and

(f) require that records be prepared and kept in respect of every disclosure of information and that every year a copy of every record prepared in the preceding year be provided to the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency.

Part 6 amends the Secure Air Travel Act to authorize the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to collect from air carriers and operators of aviation reservation systems, for the purpose of identifying listed persons, information about any individuals who are on board or expected to be on board an aircraft for any flight prescribed by regulation, and to exempt an air carrier from providing that information, or from the application of any provision of the regulations, in certain circumstances. It amends the Act to authorize that Minister to collect personal information from individuals for the purpose of issuing a unique identifier to them to assist with pre-flight verification of their identity. It also reverses the rule in relation to a deemed decision on an application for administrative recourse. Finally, it amends the Act to provide for certain other measures related to the collection, disclosure and destruction of information.

Part 7 amends the Criminal Code to, among other things,

(a) make certain procedural modifications to the terrorist listing regime under section 83.‍05, such as providing for a staggered ministerial review of listed entities and granting the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness the authority to amend the names, including aliases, of listed entities;

(b) change the offence of advocating or promoting terrorism offences in general, in section 83.‍21, to one of counselling the commission of a terrorism offence, and make corresponding changes to the definition of terrorist propaganda;

(c) raise one of the thresholds for imposing a recognizance with conditions under section 83.‍3, and amend when that section is to be reviewed and, unless extended by Parliament, to cease to have effect;

(d) repeal sections 83.‍28 and 83.‍29 relating to an investigative hearing into a terrorism offence and repeal subsections 83.‍31(1) and (1.‍1), which require annual reports on such hearings;

(e) require the Attorney General of Canada to publish a report each year setting out the number of terrorism recognizances entered into under section 810.‍011 in the previous year; and

(f) authorize a court, in proceedings for recognizances under any of sections 83 and 810 to 810.‍2, to make orders for the protection of witnesses.

Part 8 amends the Youth Criminal Justice Act to, among other things, ensure that the protections that are afforded to young persons apply in respect of proceedings in relation to recognizance orders, including those related to terrorism, and give employees of a department or agency of the Government of Canada access to youth records, for the purpose of administering the Canadian Passport Order.

Part 9 requires that a comprehensive review of the provisions and operation of this enactment take place during the sixth year after section 168 of this enactment comes into force. If that section 168 and section 34 of Bill C-22, introduced in the 1st session of the 42nd Parliament and entitled the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act, come into force within one year of each other, the reviews required by those sections are to take place at the same time and are to be undertaken by the same committee or committees.

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

June 11, 2019 Passed Motion respecting Senate amendments to Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters
June 11, 2019 Failed Motion respecting Senate amendments to Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters (amendment)
June 11, 2019 Passed Motion for closure
June 19, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters
June 19, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters
June 19, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters
June 11, 2018 Passed Concurrence at report stage and second reading of Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters
June 11, 2018 Failed Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters
Nov. 27, 2017 Passed Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters (referral to a committee before second reading)

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 11:35 a.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am obviously going to disagree with the hon. member. I especially disagree with his point that there has been a lot of debate in this chamber. That is not true. On May 28, we had one day of debate. This bill was reported back to us from the committee only on May 3, and yesterday the government moved time allocation on it once again, so there has not been a lot of debate. Any type of public consultation outside the House is not a substitute for debate in this chamber. We should be debating it here, to give an opportunity to members of Parliament to speak to it.

I want to ask the member about the Criminal Code provisions that are being amended by the government in Bill C-59, specifically the ones about the counselling commission of terrorism offence and the way terrorist propaganda is defined. Some of the platforms being used right now to spread terrorist propaganda are YouTube, Facebook, and a lot of other ones, including parts of the dark web. I am deeply concerned that these provisions will actually not cover them because they are often not specific enough in how they speak about Canada. The Islamic terrorists, specifically the radicals, use wording such as “western infidels”, which includes Canada and many of our partner nations. They target us by using very bland language, but they may be here in Canada counselling others to take radical or violent actions against Canadians.

Does the member not believe that the modifications being made by the government, as proposed in this piece of legislation, will not cover the use of YouTube and other social media in the spread of terrorist propaganda?

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 11:40 a.m.
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Liberal

Marco Mendicino Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I respectfully disagree with my colleague. One has to look very closely at the definitions of terrorist activity to see that they are sufficiently broad to capture the kind of mischief and unsanctionable expression that he is worried about.

If there is one thing I do agree with in his question, it is that we do need to be taking a closer look at social media and the various platforms that have evolved over the last number of years. It is for that reason that I encourage him, when budget 2018 comes back to the House, to support that budget, which includes additional investments and resources going to our public safety and national security apparatus so we can identify that type of expression, which is not sanctioned under the charter and should indeed be investigated by public safety, national security, and law enforcement actors so that we can root it out and prevent that kind of terrorist activity.

Bill C-59 strikes the right balance, protecting free speech while appropriately identifying speech that would cross over into terrorist activity.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 11:40 a.m.
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NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I was in the House in the last Parliament when the Conservative government brought in Bill C-51, which contained a number of provisions that were direct infringements on Canadian civil liberties and privacy rights. I was also in the House when the Liberals shamefully voted in favour of that bill. That bill did not strike the right balance, as was admitted by my hon. colleague when he said that Bill C-59 does strike the right balance. It is quite ironic that the Liberals stand here today acknowledging that Bill C-51 violated Canadians' rights but they voted for it.

The New Democrats, when presented with legislation in the House that violates Canadians' privacy, civil liberties, and human rights, stand up against it. We stood up against it in the last Parliament, and we are standing up against it now, with Bill C-59.

The New Democrats have at least four major concerns with this bill. First, there is nothing in this bill that repeals and replaces the current ministerial directive on torture, to ensure that Canada has an absolute prohibition on torture or using information gleaned from it. Second, we want to make sure that the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians has full access to classified information and oversight power. Third, we want to make sure that no warrant issued by CSIS will authorize a breach of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Finally, we want to make sure that this bill enshrines the bulk collection by CSIS of metadata containing private information on Canadians as not relevant to investigations.

I wonder if my hon. colleague can address any or all of those four points of concern by the New Democrats.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 11:45 a.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to speak to a very important bill, Bill C-59, dealing with what really is the first responsibility of government, to attend to the security needs of Canadians. Sometimes we have an instinct of taking our security for granted in this country. We are blessed to have a strong security apparatus of committed professionals around us. On a daily basis, they are dealing with threats that those of us who are civilians or regular people do not see and do not have to know about. However, when we debate matters like this, we should be sensitive to the reality of the security threats we face and the need to always preserve the strong security infrastructure that protects us. The absence of direct experience with security threats should not lead individuals to think they do not exist.

I had a meeting recently with people from the Yazidi community, and they shared an experience with me. A person from their community who was a victim of Daesh had sought refuge here in Canada, and that person actually encountered and recognized someone from Daesh, here in Canada. Members know that there are returning fighters from Daesh, but the image of someone coming to Canada to seek refuge, as many people do, coming to Canada to escape persecution of different kinds, and then coming face to face in this country with the persecutor is something that should give members great pause as we think about the steps we take to ensure our security. We need to make sure that Canada is indeed a place where we are safe and where those coming here as refugees and immigrants know they can be safe as well, that they are getting away from their persecutors and will not encounter those same people here in our country.

Therefore, we need to be diligent about this. When the opposition raises questions about how the government is taking care of our security, let us be clear that it is about the need for the government to do its fundamental job. Sometimes we hear the challenge back from the government that this is somehow about creating fear. It is not. It is about ensuring our security. That is why we ask tough questions and challenge government legislation in cases where it fails.

Bill C-59 makes changes with respect to the framework around national security and makes some rule changes that those of us in the opposition are quite concerned about. First is the issue of communication between departments. People would have a reasonable expectation that different departments of government would work together and collaboratively share information. If protecting the security of Canadians is the primary, fundamental job of the government, then surely government departments should be working together. Often, on a range of different files, we hear the government talk about a whole-of-government approach. It seems to be approaching the level of one of its favourite buzzwords or phrases. Security seems the most obvious area where we would have a whole-of-government approach. We know that the inquiry into the Air India bombing, a terrible act of terrorism where many people lost their lives, determined that this evil act was preventable, but there was an issue of one agency keeping information from another.

Certainly, when we see these kinds of things happening, we have to ensure that provisions are in place for the appropriate sharing of information, and yet the bill limits the ability of government departments to share data among themselves that could protect our national security. If the government already has data that could be used to prevent acts of terrorism or violence on Canadian soil, it is not only legitimate but important that we establish a framework whereby different government departments can share information with one another. That is certainly a concern that we have with this legislation.

Another concern we have is that Bill C-59 would remove the offence of advocating and promoting terrorism and change it to counselling terrorism, which has a narrower sense, rather than the more general offence of advocating and promoting terrorism. On this side of the House, we feel that it should be fairly clear-cut that advocating and promoting terrorism, even if that falls short of directly counselling someone to commit an act of terrorism, should not be allowed. If somebody or some entity promotes acts of terrorism or violence against civilians to disrupt the political order and create terror, we think that this clearly goes beyond the bounds of freedom of speech and there is a legitimate role for the government to stop that.

Recognizing the threats that we face and the need to protect Canadians, and the fact that this is the primary job of the government, it is hard for me to understand why the Liberals would amend the legislation to dial back that wording. This is another concern we have raised and will continue to raise with respect to Bill C-59.

The legislation would also make it more difficult to undertake preventative arrest, in other words for the police to take action that would prevent a terrorist attack. In the previous legislation, the standard was that the intervention be “likely” to prevent a terrorist attack, and now that would be changed to refer to whether the intervention is “necessary” to prevent a terrorist attack. That is a higher bar. We all agree in the House that if it is necessary to arrest someone to prevent a terrorist attack, that arrest should take place. However, I think most Canadians would say that if somebody is in the process of planning or preparing to commit a terrorist attack and the assessment is made that arresting that person in a preventative way is likely to prevent a terrorist attack, it is reasonable for law enforcement to intervene and undertake the arrest at that point.

We are talking about very serious issues where there is the possibility of significant loss of life here in Canada. I referred to Air India, and there are other cases where Canadians have lost their lives as a result of terrorist attacks. There was the shooting at the mosque in Quebec City, which happened during the life of this Parliament, as well as other incidents that some people would define as terrorism, depending on the qualification.

The tools that law enforcement has in place and the ability of law enforcement to share information among different entities, to undertake preventative arrest, and to prosecute somebody who, though not having committed an act of terrorism, is involved in the promotion of terrorist acts, are likely to have a real, concrete impact in terms of whether these types of events will occur in the future.

I also do not think that these standards in any way threaten people's fundamental rights and freedoms. It is the idea that government departments should be able to share information, that people cannot actively promote terrorism, and that somebody who is likely to be prevented from a terrorist action by being arrested should be arrested. I do not think law enforcement intervention in these already relatively extreme cases is in any way a violation of people's fundamental rights and freedoms.

We need to have a commitment to preserving both our security and our freedom. We in the opposition believe that we can do both. However, the government is taking away important and useful tools that should be available in the pursuit of the safety and security of Canadians, which, as I have said before, is the primary job of government.

On that basis, we were concerned and proposed a number of amendments at committee, which unfortunately were not adopted. Therefore, at this stage, we are going to be opposing Bill C-59.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 11:55 a.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech.

I must say that, since we began debating Bill C-59, I have had a hard time getting a handle on the Conservatives’ position on several issues, in particular on the issue of torture.

The New Democrats are resolutely against the use of torture to obtain information, not only because it is inhumane, but also because history has shown time and time again that information obtained by torture is rarely reliable and often totally untrue. Earlier I heard some of his colleagues say that the Conservatives are also against torture, which I am happy to hear. However, they are prepared to use information from other countries that may have been obtained through torture.

Is the Conservatives’ approach really to do indirectly what they refuse to do directly?

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / noon
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and speak to such an important piece of legislation. I do not say that lightly. While we were in opposition, Stephen Harper and the government of the day brought in Bill C-51. Many Canadians will remember Bill C-51, which had very serious issues. I appreciate the comments coming from the New Democrats with respect to Bill C-51. Like many of them, I too was here, and I listened very closely to what was being debated.

The biggest difference between us and the New Democrats is that we understand very clearly that we have to ensure Canadians are safe while at the same time protecting our rights and freedoms. As such, when we assessed Bill C-51, we made a commitment to Canadians to address the major flaws in the bill. At a standing committee on security, which was made up of parliamentarians, I can recall our proposing ways to address the whole issue and concerns about the potential invasion of rights and freedoms. It went into committee, and it was a really long debate. We spent many hours, both in the chamber and at committee, discussing the pros and cons of Bill C-51.

What came out of it for us as the Liberal Party back in 2015 was that we made a commitment to Canadians. We said we would support Bill C-51, but that if we were to form government we would make substantial changes to it.

That is why it is such a pleasure for me to stand in the House today. Looking at Bill C-59, I would like to tell the constituents I represent that the Prime Minister has kept yet another very important promise made to Canadians in the last election.

We talk a lot about Canada's middle class, those striving to be a part of it, and how this government is so focused on improving conditions for our middle class. One could ultimately argue that the issue of safety and rights is very important to the middle class, but for me, this particular issue is all about righting a wrong from the past government and advancing the whole issue of safety, security, freedoms, and rights.

I believe it is the first time we have been able to deal with that. Through a parliamentary committee, we had legislation that ultimately put in place a national security body, if I can put it that way, to ensure a high sense of transparency and accountability from within that committee and our security agencies. In fact, prior to this government bringing it in, we were the only country that did not have an oversight parliamentary group to look at all the different aspects of security, rights, and freedoms. We were the only one of the Five Eyes that did not have such a group. New Zealand, Australia, the U.S., and the U.K. all had them.

Today, Canada has that in place. That was a commitment we made and a commitment that was fulfilled. I look at Bill C-59 today, and again it is fulfilling a commitment. The government is, in fact, committed to keeping Canadians safe while safeguarding rights and freedoms.

We listen to some of my colleagues across the way, and we understand the important changes taking place even in our own society, with radicalization through the promotion of social media and the types of things that can easily be downloaded or observed. Many Canadians share our concern and realize that at times there is a need for a government to take action. Bill C-59 does just that.

We have legislation before us that was amended. A number of very positive amendments were brought forward, even some from non-government members, that were ultimately adopted. I see that again as a positive thing.

The previous speaker raised some concerns in terms of communications between departments. I remember talking in opposition about how important it is that our security and public safety agencies and departments have those links that enable the sharing of information, but let us look at the essence of what the Conservatives did. They said these agencies shall share, but there was no real clear definition or outline in terms of how they would share information. That was a concern Canadians had. If we look at Bill C-59, we find more detail and clarity in terms of how that will take place.

Again, this is something that will alleviate a great deal of concern Canadians had in regard to our security agencies. It is a positive step forward. Information disclosure between departments is something that is important. Information should be shared, but there also needs to be a proper establishment of a system that allows a sense of confidence and public trust that rights and freedoms are being respected at the same time.

My colleague across the way talked about how we need to buckle down on the promoting and advocating of terrorism. He seemed to take offence to the fact that we have used the word “counselling” for terrorism versus using words like “promoting” and “advocating”. There is no doubt the Conservatives are very good when it comes to spin. They say if it is promoting or advocating terrorism, that is bad, and of course Canadians would agree, but it is those types of words. Now they are offended because we replaced that with “counselling”. I believe that counselling will be just as effective, if not more effective, in terms of the long game in trying to prevent these types of actions from taking place. It will be more useful in terms of going into the courts.

There is no doubt that the Conservatives know the types of spin words to use, but I do not believe for a moment that it is more effective than what was put in this legislation. When it comes to rights and freedoms, Canadians are very much aware that it was Pierre Elliott Trudeau who brought in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We are a party of the charter. We understand how important that is.

At the same time, we also understand the need to ensure that there is national safety, and to support our security agencies. It was not this government but the Stephen Harper government that literally cut tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars out of things such as border controls and supports for our RCMP. This government has recognized that if we are not only going to talk the line, we also have to walk the line and provide the proper resources. We have seen those additional resources in not only our first budget, but also our second budget.

We have ministers such as public safety, immigration and citizenship, and others who are working together on some very important files. When I think of Bill C-59 and the fine work we have done in regard to the establishment of this parliamentary oversight committee, I feel good for the simple reason that we made a commitment to Canadians and the bill is about keeping that commitment. It deals with ensuring and re-establishing public confidence that we are protecting freedoms and rights. At the same time, it ensures that Canada is a safe country and that the terrorist threat is marginalized as much as possible through good, sound legislation. That is what this is.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 12:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to my colleague's speech. One of the things Bill C-59 would do is restate what is already Canadian policy, and that is that we do not torture, and we do not use information that comes from torture.

I want to ask the member a hypothetical question, and that concerns our Five Eyes partners, which are the United Kingdom, the United States, New Zealand, and Australia, with Canada being the fifth. If the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness came into information via one of those Five Eyes partners that, in fact, a terrorist threat to Canadians was imminent, but the minister could not satisfy himself that the information had not come from the use of torture, how would the member respond if he were the minister? What kind of advice would he give the minister? Would he intervene and prevent that terrorist act from taking place, or would he step back and say, “I'm sorry, but I can't”, because of this policy Bill C-59 now articulates more accurately?

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 12:10 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, based on my current understanding of Bill C-59, the Liberals want to create a legal framework to authorize the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to store sensitive big data or metadata on completely innocent Canadians, something the Supreme Court has come down on in the past.

As proof, consider the testimony of Daniel Therrien, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, who said:

We have seen real cases in which CSIS had in its bank of information the information about many people who did not represent a threat.

I have the same question as the commissioner, who asked the following as part of his testimony: is that the country we want to live in?

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 12:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to Bill C-59. Listening to our Liberal friends across the way, one would assume that this is all about public safety, that Bill C-59 would improve public safety and the ability of our security agencies to intervene if a terrorist threat presented itself. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Let us go back and understand what this Prime Minister did in the last election. Whether it was his youth, or ignorance, he went out there and said that he was going to undo every single bit of the Stephen Harper legacy, a legacy I am very proud of, by the way. That was his goal.

One of the things he was going to undo was what Bill C-51 did. Bill C-51 was a bill our previous Conservative government brought forward to reform and modernize how we approach terrorist threats in Canada. We wanted to provide our government security agencies with the ability to effectively, and in a timely way, intervene when necessary to protect Canadians against terrorist threats. Bill C-51 was actually very well received across the country. Our security agencies welcomed it as providing them with additional tools.

I just heard my Liberal colleagues chuckle and heckle. Did members know that the Liberals, in the previous Parliament, actually supported Bill C-51? Here they stand saying that somehow that legislation did not do what it was intended to do. In fact, it did. It made Canadians much safer and allowed our security agencies to intervene in a timely way to protect Canadians. This bill that has come forward would do nothing of the sort.

The committee overseeing this bill had 16 meetings, and at the end of the whole process, there were 235 amendments brought forward. That is how bad this legislation was. Forty-three of those amendments came from Liberals themselves. They rushed forward this legislation, doing what Liberals do best: posture publicly, rush through legislation, and then realize, “What have we done? My goodness.” They had 43 amendments of their own, all of which passed, of course. There were 20-some Conservative amendments, and none of them passed, even though they were intelligently laid-out improvements to this legislation. That is the kind of government we are dealing with here. It was all about optics so that the government would be able to say, “We are taking that old Bill C-51 that was not worth anything, although we voted in favour of it, and we are going to replace it with our own legislation.” The reality is that Bill C-51 was a significant step forward in protecting Canadians.

This legislation is quite different. What it would do is take one agency and replace it with another. That is what Liberals do. They take something that is working and replace it with something else that costs a ton of money. In fact, the estimate to implement this bill is $100 million. That is $100 million taxpayers do not have to spend, because the bill would not do one iota to improve the protection of Canadians against terrorist threats. There would be no improved oversight or improved intelligence capabilities.

The bill would do one thing we applaud, which is reaffirm that Canada will not torture. Most Canadians would say that this is something Canada should never do.

The Liberals went further. They ignored warnings from some of our intelligence agencies that the administrative costs were going to get very expensive. In fact, I have a quote here from our former national security adviser, Richard Fadden. Here is what he said about Bill C-59: “It is beginning to rival the Income Tax Act for complexity.” Canadians know how complex that act has become.

He said, “There are sub-sub-subsections that are excluded, that are exempted. If there is anything the committee can do to make it a bit more straightforward, [it would be appreciated]”. Did the committee, in fact, do that? No, it did not make it more straightforward.

There is the appointment of a new intelligence commissioner, which is, of course, the old one, but again, with additional costs. The bill would establish how a new commissioner would be appointed. What the Liberals would not do is allow current or past judges to fill that role. As members know, retired and current judges are highly skilled in being able to assess evidence in the courtroom. It is a skill that is critical to being a good commissioner who addresses issues of intelligence.

Another shortcoming of Bill C-59 is that there is excessive emphasis on privacy, which would be a significant deterrent to critical interdepartmental information sharing. In other words, this legislation would highlight privacy concerns to the point that our security agencies and all the departments of government would now become hamstrung. Their hands would become tied when it came to sharing information with other departments and our security agencies, which could be critical information in assessing and deterring terrorist threats.

Why would the government do this? The Liberals say that they want to protect Canadians, but the legislation would actually take a step backwards. It would make it even more difficult and would trip up our security agencies as they tried to do the job we have asked them to do, which is protect us. Why are we erring on the side of the terrorists?

We heard testimony, again from Mr. Fadden, that this proposed legislation would establish more silos. They were his nightmare when he was the national security director. We now have evidence from the Air India bombing. The inquiry determined that the tragedy could have been prevented had one agency in government not withheld critical information from our police and security authorities. Instead, 329 people died at the hands of terrorists.

Again, why are we erring on the side of terrorists? This proposed legislation is a step backward. It is not something Canadians expected from a government that had talked about protecting Canadians better.

There are also challenges with the Criminal Code amendments in Bill C-59. The government chose to move away from criminalizing “advocating or promoting terrorism” and would move towards “counselling” terrorism. The wording has been parsed very carefully by security experts, and they have said that this proposed change in the legislation would mean, for example, that ISIS propaganda being spread on YouTube would not be captured and would not be criminalized. Was the intention of the government when it was elected, when it made its promises to protect Canadians, to now step backward, to revise the Criminal Code in a way that would make it less tough on terrorists, those who are promoting terrorism, those who are advocating terrorism, and those who are counselling terrorism? This would be a step backward on that.

In closing, I have already stated that the Liberals are prepared to err on the side of terrorists rather than on the side of Canadian law enforcement and international security teams. The bill would create more bureaucracy, more costs, and less money and security for Canadians.

When I was in cabinet, we took security very seriously. We trusted our national security experts. The proposed legislation is essentially a vote of non-confidence in those experts we have in government to protect us.

Finally, the message we are sending is that red tape is more important than sharing information and stopping terrorism. That is a sad story. We can do better as Canadians.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 12:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for her thoughtful question. It is an important one.

Canadians very much value their privacy, and today's use of metadata represents a significant risk to privacy in Canada. I want to assure my colleague that I strongly support efforts to ensure that data, including metadata, that is not critical to protect the national security of our country should be kept private. There are significant challenges to doing that today, especially with the use of social media. It is something that all governments have to take seriously.

That said, at the end of the day, when a bill like Bill C-51 is brought forward—a bill that undermines our national security by making it more difficult for government departments and government agencies to speak to each other to ensure that they have the critical information required to protect Canadians—we have a problem. That is why I am critical of Bill C-59.

Bill C-51 established a very good environment within which our security agencies could do the job Canadians have asked them to do. Again I note that the Liberals who are being critical of that bill today actually voted in favour of it back then.

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June 7th, 2018 / 12:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise in the House today to speak in support of Bill C-59. It has been very interesting to listen to the speeches, especially the last one, because they really exemplify why people in my community were so concerned about the way the previous government handled our national security issues and framework. It really epitomizes the concerns. Canadians were looking for balance, and that is what we brought back in Bill C-59, rather than fearmongering.

I will read an important quote, based on what we have heard. Professor Kent Roach provided a brief to the committee on November 28, 2017, in which he stated:

Review and careful deliberation is not the enemy of security.... There are no simple solutions to the real security threats we face. We should be honest with Canadians about this stubborn reality. All of us should strive to avoid reducing complex laws and processes to simplistic slogans. These are difficult issues and they should be debated with care and respect to all sides.

With that in mind, I will speak to this bill.

This important piece of legislation proposes a range of measures that represent a complete and much-needed overhaul of Canada's national security framework. I was proud to sit as a member of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security that reviewed this bill. We heard from expert witnesses and put forward amendments to improve this proposed legislation. The bill was referred to committee at first reading, which increased the scope of our review, and our committee took this responsibility seriously. Taking into account what I said about not taking on a partisan tone, I want to commend all of the members from all parties who served on that committee, and the chair, because we worked very well together on this bill.

There are two aspects of Bill C-59 that are particularly important to me and my community. First, vastly improved and increased oversight mechanisms would be put in place to review the work of our security agencies. The oversight would increase the accountability and transparency of these agencies, and this should give us all great confidence in the framework put forth in this proposed legislation.

The second part of this bill that responds to issues raised by people in my community is the improved framework for the management of the Secure Air Travel Act. In particular, I am talking about concerns raised by parents with children who were subject to false positive name matches on what we call the “no-fly list”, as well as adults who were subject to false positive name matches. They came to me with their concerns, and I have been happy to advocate on their behalf.

The introduction of Bill C-59 followed unprecedented public consultations held in person and online. Thousands of Canadians answered the call and shared their thoughts and opinions on a range of topics related to national security. In my community, I hosted a consultation at Jimmy Simpson Community Centre, which was facilitated by my colleague, the member for Oakville North—Burlington. The input from that meeting was provided to the minister as part of the consultation, which led to the tabling of the bill. I really need to emphasize that one of the primary concerns raised by people was a lack of oversight and a need to ensure that charter rights were being respected.

Across the country, not just in my community, tens of thousands of views were heard, collected, documented, and analyzed as part of what our government would put together as a response, and citizens, parliamentarians, community leaders, national security experts, and academics provided valuable input that played an important role in shaping this bill. I would like to commend the study on our national security framework carried out by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, which formed a valuable part of that input. I was not part of the committee when that study was done, but it was a very important background document for the committee as it studied this bill.

Canadians were clear about one thing when they were consulted in 2016: they expected their rights, freedoms, and privacy to be protected at the same time as their security, and that is the balance that I referred to at the outset of my speech. More specifically, Canadians want to protect our freedom of speech, which is a fundamental freedom in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and they want to be protected against unlawful surveillance. I strongly believe that the proposed measures in Bill C-59 would meet those expectations.

Let me begin by speaking about the oversight brought forth in Bill C-59.

The result of the public consultations undertaken in 2016 showed a strong desire from Canadians for increased accountability and more transparency on national security. Also, the weakness of our existing oversight mechanisms had been noted by Justice O'Connor in the Arar commission. One of the commission's conclusions was that the review of our security agencies was stovepiped, meaning that the review was limited to each individual agency and there was no overarching system of review. The commission suggested that there be bridges built between existing review bodies. Getting rid of this stovepiped review is one of the most important aspects of this bill.

Bill C-59 builds upon the first cross-agency layer of oversight, which was adopted by this place with the passing of Bill C-22, which created the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. The committee has begun its work and is an important means of providing that overarching review.

The legislation we are debating today proposes the creation of a new, comprehensive national security review body, the national security and intelligence review agency, the NSIRA. This new review body would replace the Security Intelligence Review Committee and the Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner. It would also take on the review of the RCMP's national security activities, currently done by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP.

A significant benefit of the proposed model is that the new review body would be able to review relevant activities across the Government of Canada, rather than just being able to look at one agency. This model recognizes the increasingly interconnected nature of the government's national security and intelligence activities. The new body would ensure that Canada's national security agencies are complying with the law and that their actions are reasonable and necessary. Its findings and recommendations would be provided to relevant ministers through classified reports. It would also produce an unclassified annual report to Parliament summarizing the findings and recommendations made to ministers.

I had the opportunity to ask the Minister of Public Safety and National Security when he appeared at committee about one aspect of the oversight I would like to see added. On this point, I am referring to the review of the Canada Border Services Agency. The minister assured us at committee that this aspect is being worked on by our government, and I will continue to advocate for this important addition.

Before leaving the issue of oversight, I would also like to note that the legislation proposes to create an intelligence commissioner to authorize certain intelligence and cybersecurity activities before they take place. This is an important addition that speaks to many concerns raised by people in my community about wanting proper checks and balances on our security agencies.

Another issue that I mentioned at the outset that was very important to people in my community was the challenges faced by people who have children with a name that creates a false positive when it matches a name that is on the no-fly list. These families are unable to check in for a flight online, which can result in missed flights if a plane is overbooked, but more importantly, these families feel stigmatized and uncomfortable being stopped in the airport for additional screening based on the false positive.

This legislation, along with funding that was made available in the last budget, would change that system. I was pleased to ask the minister when these changes could be put into place. He advised us it would take about three years to make these necessary changes, but it is something that gives hope to many people in my community, and I am happy to see it being done.

These are only a few of the measures in Bill C-59 that show tremendous improvements and respond to the issues raised by people in my community. I am very happy to be here today to speak in favour of the bill.

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June 7th, 2018 / 12:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have so much to say and so little time to say it. I appreciate everybody's view and the comments that have been made. However, I will speak from some experience. I remember where I was on September 11, 2001. As many members know, my previous role was in aviation. I worked with security groups all around the world with respect to protecting our borders. I was involved in inter-agency discussions on how to make our industry, airports, marine ports, transportation systems, and country safe.

We live in a different world. The reality is that people have these flowery views because those who work behind the scenes protect us. There are things that we do not know are going on because those security groups are able to have that information and make those arrests or stop those events from happening before anybody even knows about it.

I listened intently to my hon. colleague from across the way. However, with all due respect, I come at it from a very real and knowledgeable background. We need to give every tool possible to those agencies and groups that have been tasked to protect us. Bill C-59 would not do that. It would take away those tools and would make them work more in silos. Why? I honestly do not understand.

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June 7th, 2018 / 12:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I could not disagree more with what my friend across the way said. I am not presuming that there are no security risks out there. What I am talking about is balance.

We are in a country that respects the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We are in a country that respects privacy. These are important principles. Therefore, yes, we absolutely must defend security, but we must also take into account the fundamental rights that Canadians want to protect.

This does not just come from me. I will quote Professor Forcese, who stated this in Maclean's:

...changes proposed in C-59 are solid gains—measured both from a rule of law and civil liberties perspective—and come at no credible cost to security. They remove excess that the security services did not need—and has not used—while tying those services into close orbit around a new accountability system....

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June 7th, 2018 / 12:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-59, which relates to issues of national security and how we deal with people suspected of terrorist acts.

This issue is quite different from those usually addressed. Usually, I have to talk about public finance. It is quite easy to say that the Liberals are wrong because they have a deficit and that we are right because we oppose deficits, which is very clear. In that case, this is very touchy. We are talking about so many great issues, and this issue should be addressed without partisanship. For sure, it is not easy.

That is why this really should be a non-partisan issue. This will not be easy, because obviously people are sharply divided on how this information should be dealt with in order to stop terrorism and how terrorists should be dealt with.

Bill C-59 is the current government's response to Bill C-51, which our government had passed. I remind the House that the Liberals, who formed the second opposition party at the time, supported Bill C-51, but said that they would change it right away once in power. It was supposedly so urgent, and yet they have been in power for two and a half years now, and it has taken the Liberals this long to bring forward their response to the Conservative Bill C-51 in the House of Commons.

As I was saying earlier, some questions are easier to answer, because they are based not on partisanship, but on your point of view. For example, when it comes to public finances, you can be for or against the deficit. However, no one is arguing against the need to crack down on terrorism. The distinctions are in the nuances.

That is why the opposition parties proposed dozens of amendments to the bill; sadly, however, with the exception of four technical amendments proposed by the NDP, the Liberals systematically rejected all amendments proposed by the Conservative Party and the Green Party, and Lord knows that there is an entire world between the Conservative Party and the Green Party.

This bill is meant to help us tackle the terrorist threat, whether real or potential. In the old days, in World War II, the enemy was easily identified. Speaking of which, yesterday was the 74th anniversary of the Normandy landing, a major turning point in the liberation of the world from Nazi oppression. It was easy to identify the enemy back then. Their flag, leader, uniform and weapons were clearly identifiable. We knew where they were.

The problem with terrorism is that the enemy is everywhere and nowhere. They have no flag. They have a leader, but they may have another one by tomorrow morning. The enemy can be right here or on the other side of the world. Terrorism is an entirely new way of waging war, which calls for an entirely new way of defending ourselves. That is why, in our opinion, we need to share information. All police forces and all intelligence agencies working in this country and around the world must be able to share information in order to prevent tragedies like the one we witnessed on September 11, 2001.

In our opinion, the bill does not go far enough in terms of information sharing, which is necessary if we are to win the fight against terrorism. We believe that the Communications Security Establishment, the RCMP, CSIS and all of the other agencies that fight terrorism every day should join forces. They should share an information pipeline rather than work in silos.

In our opinion, if the bill is passed as it is now, the relevant information that could be used to flush out potential terrorists will not be shared as it should be. We are therefore asking the government to be more flexible in this respect. Unfortunately, the amendments proposed by our shadow cabinet minister, the hon. member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, were rejected.

We are very concerned about another point as well: the charges against suspected terrorists. We believe that the language of the bill will make it more difficult to charge and flush out terrorists. This is a delicate subject, and every word is important.

We believe that the most significant and most contentious change the bill makes to the Criminal Code amends the offence set out in section 83.221, “Advocating or promoting commission of terrorism offences”. This is of special interest to us because this offence was created by Bill C-51, which we introduced. Bill C-59 requires a much more stringent test by changing the wording to, “Every person who counsels another person to commit a terrorism offence”. The same applies to the definition of terrorist propaganda in subsection 83.222(8), which, in our opinion, will greatly restrict law enforcement agencies' ability to use the tool for dismantling terrorist propaganda with judicial authorization as set out in Bill C-51. Why? Because as it is written, when you talk about counselling another person to commit a terrorism offence, it leaves room for interpretation.

What is the difference between a person and a group of people; between a person and a gathering; between a person and an entity; or between a person and an illicit and illegal group? In our opinion, this is a loophole in the bill. It would have been better to leave it as written in the Conservative Bill C-51. The government decided not to. In our opinion, it made a mistake.

Generally speaking, should we be surprised at the government’s attitude toward the fight against terrorism? The following example is unfortunate, but true. We know that 60 Canadians left Canada to join ISIS. Then, they realized that the war was lost because the free and democratic nations of the world decided to join forces and fight back. Now, with ISIS beginning to crumble, these 60 Canadians, cowards at heart, realize that they are going to lose and decide to return to Canada. In our opinion, these people are criminals. They left our country to fight Canadian soldiers defending freedom and democracy and return to Canada as if nothing had happened. No.

Worse still, the Liberal government’s attitude toward these Canadian criminals is to offer them poetry lessons. That is a pretty mediocre approach to criminals who left Canada with the mandate to kill Canadian soldiers. We believe that we should throw the book at these people. They need to be dealt with accordingly, and certainly not welcomed home with poetry lessons, as the government proposes.

Time is running out, but I would like to take this opportunity, since we are discussing security, to extend the warmest thanks to all the employees at the RCMP, CSIS, the CSE and other law enforcement agencies such as the Sûreté du Québec in Quebec and municipal police forces. Let us pay tribute to all these people who get up every morning to keep Canadians safe. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the 4,000 or more police officers from across Canada who are working hard in the Charlevoix and Quebec City regions to ensure the safety of the G7 summit, these people who place their life on the line so that we can live in a free and democratic society where we feel safe. I would like to thank these women and men from coast to coast to coast that make it possible for us to be free and, most importantly, to feel safe.

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June 7th, 2018 / 1 p.m.
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Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker,

[Member spoke in Cree]

I am very pleased to have this opportunity to speak to this historic piece of legislation. The people of Winnipeg Centre were very concerned before the last election in 2015 about the manoeuvres of the Harper government with Bill C-51 and all of the things that it did to undermine our national security. We are committed to keeping Canadians safe while safeguarding rights and freedoms. After the largest and most transparent public consultation process on national security in our country's history—there were 58,933 online submissions, 17,862 email submissions, and more than 20 in-person events—I am very proud to see that our government has introduced this national security act in 2017 to undo and repair the damage done by the Harper Conservatives with Bill C-51.

I would like to thank the committee for its diligence in bringing forth amendments recommended by stakeholders, which have truly strengthened this bill. A collaborative approach was certainly our major intent when the government took the rare step of referring the bill to committee prior to second reading. I believe we need to thank the Privacy Commissioner, the chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, and individuals like Professors Craig Forcese and Kent Roach for their helpful testimony before the committee, which helped to ensure that the bill is the best and as sound as it could be.

Indeed, it is thanks to these many months of close scrutiny that we now have a new component of the bill, the avoiding complicity and mistreatment by foreign entities act. To be clear on this point, Canada unequivocally condemns in the strongest possible terms the torture or other mistreatment of any individual by anyone for any purpose. It is contrary to the charter, the Criminal Code, and Canada's international treaty obligations, and Canadians will never condone it. As members know, directions were issued to clarify decisions on the exchange of information with a foreign entity that, with public safety as the objective, could have the unintended consequence of Canada's contributing to mistreatment. As a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces, I feel it should always be foremost in our mind that these things can sometimes occur. Thanks to the committee's work on this bill, the new amendment would enshrine in law a requirement that directions be issued on these matters. They would be public, they would be reported on annually, and they would strengthen transparency and accountability.

I would also like to thank the committee and all those who testified for their important scrutiny of the privacy-related aspects of Bill C-59, particularly as they relates to the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act. Importantly, amendments would now cause institutions receiving information under the information sharing act to destroy or return any personal information received that does not meet the threshold of necessity. These are both welcome changes.

As a result of many months of close scrutiny, we have legislation that will ensure that privacy interests are upheld, clarify the powers of our security agencies, and further strengthen transparency and accountability beyond our initial proposals. This is important. It does not mean that legislation is forced upon people, but that we can actually ensure that legislation is strengthened through the work of this House in a collaborative process, which is a significant change from four years ago. These proposals, of course, also reflect the tens of thousands of views we heard from the remarkable engagements we had with Canadians from coast to coast to coast online and in person.

As I have noted, we followed up on our commitment to continue that engagement in Parliament. In sending the bill to committee before second reading, we wanted to ensure that this legislation is truly reflective of the open and transparent process that led to Bill C-59's creation. The bill is stronger because of the more than 40 amendments adopted by committee that reflect the important stakeholder feedback.

As we begin second reading, allow me to underline some of the bill's key proposals. Bill C-59 would strengthen accountability through the creation of a new comprehensive national review body, the national security intelligence review agency. This is a historic change for Canada. For the very first time, it would enable comprehensive and integrated scrutiny of all national security and intelligence activities across government, a whole-of-government approach. I should note that Justice O'Connor can be thanked for the first detailed blueprint of such a review system nearly a decade ago, and that this recommendation has been echoed by Senate committees and experts alike.

The government has taken these commitments even further. The creation of a new agency would mean ending a siloed approach to national security review through a single arm's-length body with a government-wide mandate. It would complement the work of the new National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, the multi-party review committee with unprecedented access to information that would put us in line with our Five Eyes partners and what other nations do around the world.

Through our new measures, Canadians will have confidence that Canada's national security agencies are complying with the law and that their actions are reasonable and necessary. The establishment of an intelligence commissioner would further build on that public confidence. The commissioner would be a new, independent authority helping to ensure that the powers of the security intelligence community are used appropriately and with care.

I was pleased to hear that the committee passed an amendment that would require the commissioner to publish an annual report that would describe his or her activities and include helpful statistics. Indeed, all of these measures complement other significant new supports that would promote Canadians' understanding of the government's national security activities.

These include adopting a national security transparency commitment across government to enable easier access to information on national security, with implementation to be informed by a new advisory group on transparency. Transparency and accountability are crucial for well-informed public debate, and we need them now after a decade of darkness under the Conservatives. Indeed, they function as a check on the power of the executive branch. As members of the legislative branch, it is our job to hold the executive branch to account. They also empower Canadians to hold their government to account.

I am confident the proposals that have been introduced in the form of Bill C-59 would change the public narrative on national security and place Canadians where they should be in the conversation, at its very heart, at its very centre, at the heart of Canada, like Winnipeg-Centre is the heart of Canada.

We also heard loud and clear that keeping Canadians safe must not come at the expense of our rights and freedoms, and that previous efforts to modernize our security framework fell short in that regard. Indeed, Canadians told us they place great value in our constitutionally protected rights and freedoms. These include the right to peaceful protest, freedom of expression, and freedom of association. They also told us that that there is no place for vague language when it comes to the powers of our security bodies or the definitions that guide their actions.

Once again, because we took the time to listen to Canadians in the largest public safety consultations ever held in Canadian history, and talked to stakeholders and to parliamentarians, we can now act faithfully based on the input we received. First, we all understand that bodies like CSIS take measures to reduce national security threats to Canada. Our proposals clarify the regime under which CSIS undertakes these measures, they better define its scope, and they add a range of new safeguards that will ensure that CSIS's actions comply with our charter rights.

However, to be clear, the amendments in Bill C-59 have not diluted the authority CSIS would have to act, but rather have clarified that authority. For example, the bill would ensure that CSIS has the ability to query a dataset in certain exigent circumstances, such as when lives or national security are at stake. Even then, there are balances in place in the bill that would mean that these authorities would require the advance approval of the intelligence commissioner.

The amendments by the committee would also strengthen key definitions. For example, they would clarify terms like “terrorist propaganda” and key activities like “digital intelligence collection”. All of these changes are long overdue and are of critical importance to this country.

National security matters to Canadians. We measure our society by our ability to live free of fear, day after day, with opportunities to thrive guided by the principles of openness, equality, and fairness for all. However, Canadians are not naive about the context in which we find ourselves today in a changing environment and a changing threat landscape.

It is incumbent upon us as parliamentarians to be vigilant, proactive, and thorough in making sure that our national security framework is working for all Canadians. That means making sure that the agencies protecting us have the resources and powers they need to do so. It also means making sure that we listen to Canadians, and making them a partner in our society and security. It also means building on the values that help to make our country safe, rather than taking away from them, and understanding that a free and open society enhances our collective resilience.

On all fronts, Bill C-59 is not just a step in the right direction, but a giant leap forward for Canada. I proudly stand behind this legislation. Once again, I would like to thank all members of the committee who have done important work.

[Member spoke in Cree]