An Act respecting national security matters

Sponsor

Ralph Goodale  Liberal

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, law.

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 / 6:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-59, the Liberal government's national security legislation. Some may argue that this bill has been mislabelled, that it does not focus on security as much as administration, oversight, and regulations. The bill certainly did not rise to the expectations of national security experts who appeared before the committee. Perhaps this could be called a civil liberties bill, since we heard from twice as many lawyers and civil activists at committee as we did experts in national security.

As I have said in the House before, public safety and national security should be the top priority of the House, and should be above politics so that the safety and security of Canadians are put ahead of political fortunes. While the Liberals have said that public safety is a priority, they have said that everything is their top priority. To have 300 top priorities is really to have no priorities at all.

Under this lack of direction and leadership, we have seen Canada's national security be weakened and derail. The Liberals are eroding the safety and security of our communities, undermining our economic prosperity, and ripping at our societal fabric through divisive politics. Under the criminal justice reforms, they are watering down sentences for criminal charges like assault with a weapon, driving under the influence, joining a terrorist organization, human trafficking, and bribing an official, just to name a very few. Therefore, under the Liberals, violent and dangerous offenders will serve lighter sentences and face less scrutiny than a diabetic seeking a government tax credit, for example.

To combat gangs and gun violence, the Liberals promised $327 million for police task forces and other initiatives. They announced that funding shortly before the by-election in Surrey, where gang violence is a real problem. Seven months later, police and others are still waiting for the money to start flowing. They are still asking, “Where is it?” Apparently, combatting gangs and gun violence is not enough of a priority to get the money into the hands of those fighting the very issues that are plaguing Canadians, and that is gangs and gun violence.

Under C-59, the Liberals appear to be pushing Canada back to an era when national security agencies withheld information and information sharing led to disasters like the Air India bombing. The former CSIS director, Dick Fadden, noted at committee that the numerous and unnecessary use of privacy and charter references meant that career public servants, which includes national security officials, would cool to information sharing. He described a nightmare scenario as one where the government knew of an attack and did not act because one part of the government did not share that information. Bill C-59 would push Canada back into the days of silos and potentially puts Canadians at risk to espionage, terrorism, and cybercrimes.

Bill C-59 is certainly increasing the risk to our country. First is the heightened oversight, which can be good when done well. However, when we put multiple layers of oversight, fail to clearly show how those organizations will work together, and provide no new funding for the new administration created, resources are shifting from security personnel working to keep Canada safe to administration and red tape.

Let us be clear. Bill C-59 puts in place cuts to our national security and intelligence agencies. Agencies that already state they can only work on the top threats to our country and have to ignore lesser threats due to lack of resources will now have even fewer resources. Does that mean that one of the top threats posing a threat to our communities and our country will have get less resources devoted to it?

In November, I asked how much the implementation of Bill C-59 would cost, and was promised a quick answer. I did receive that answer, but the 170 words I got back took eight months to provide and came only after the committee had reported Bill C-59 back to the House. The total cost of the new oversight and compliance is nearly $100 million, $97.3 million over five years. That is moving $100 million from protecting to Canadians to administrative red tape.

However, it is not just the money that is weakening Canada's community safety. It is the watering down of tools for police. In Bill C-59, the Liberals would make it harder for police and the crown to get warrants against known security threats. If police agencies are aware of a threat, they can get a recognizance order, a warrant to monitor that person issued by a judge.

The Liberals would raise the bar on known threats being monitored by police and security agencies, but who benefits from this? The only people I can think of are criminals and terrorists who would do us harm. Making it harder for police to act on threats does not help the middle class, the rich, or the poor. It makes life harder on police and those working to stop crime and keep our country safe. Again, it erodes public safety and hurt honest, hard-working, law-abiding Canadians.

We heard very clearly from members of the Jewish community that they were very concerned about eliminating the promotion of terrorism provision as set out in Bill C-59. In 2017, for the third year in a row, there were record numbers of hate crimes against the Jewish community, yet the Liberals would eliminate a Criminal Code provision for making promoting and advocating terrorism illegal. With increased hate crimes, they would allow ISIS to call for violence, and lone-wolf attacks on YouTube and other videos, while continuing to be immune from prosecution.

I know Canadians do not support this. Canadians do not want to see Canada be the new home of radical terrorism and ISIS terrorists. However, right now, with no prosecution of ISIS fighters and terrorists returning home, no penalties for inciting hate and violence, and being the only western country with unprotected borders, we well may have a major crisis on our hands in the future.

Putting Canadians second to their political virtue-signalling and to social justice causes seems to run throughout the Liberal government's actions. The Liberals do not serve Canadians, only their self-interests. Bill C-59 seems to be rife with Liberal virtue signalling and social justice. Protest, advocacy, and artistic expression are all recognized in the Anti-terrorism Act as legitimate activities so long as they are not coupled with violent or criminal actions. However, the Liberals felt it necessary to insert this into an omnibus bill over and over again.

There were over 300 proposed amendments, with the Liberals only voting in favour of one opposition amendment, and that from the NDP. It was one that closely resembled another Liberal amendment. Therefore, we know, from sitting through weeks of witness testimony and debate, that the fix was in and the minister's promise of “openness to anything that improves public safety” was a hollow promise.

Under Bill C-59, the Liberals have proposed a Henry VIII clause. This is where the executive branch is granted the full authorities of Parliament, effectively usurping the role of Parliament to speak for Canadians. Such powers are usually very rare and are given for specific emergencies and crisis. Convenience, I would note, is not a crisis or emergency, and the Liberals should remember that the House approves legislation, not the executive.

Even simple and straightforward amendments were rejected. The commissioner who was slated to become the new intelligence commissioner noted that selecting his replacement from only retired judges severely restricted an already small pool and recommended that like him, sitting federal judges could be appointed on condition of their retirement.

If I have learned anything from the bill, it is that Canadians cannot rely on the Liberals to uphold their interests, put public safety and national security a priority, and that for the Liberals, politics comes ahead of good governance.

Our security risks are real and present danger to Canadians. Issues like returning ISIS terrorist are complex, and solutions are not simple. However, pretending the issue is irresponsible and negligent. Under the bill, it would be easy to surmise that the Liberals are more concerned with CSIS's compliance to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms than with prosecuting terrorists for significant crimes.

Canada is going to be weaker with Bill C-59, and far weaker when the Liberals leave office than when they entered office. Their wedge politics on the values test, pandering to terrorists, ignoring threats from China, targeting law-abiding guns owners, lack of leadership on illegal border crossers, and waffling on resource development continue to put Canadians at a disadvantage.

Real national security issues were raised at committee, but little in Bill C-59 actually deals with new and emerging threats to Canada's public safety.

To echo the former special forces commander, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Day suggested at committee that the debate and conversations around protecting Canadians was important and needed to continue. However, when asked about his confidence of the bill before us getting Canada ready for new and emerging threats, his answer was “zero”. Coincidentally, that is the same confidence I have in the minister and the Liberal government to get Bill C-59 right: zero.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 6:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the same sentiments of respect for my colleague's skill sets and what he brings to the House. I would agree that it is very possible to have a national security bill that balances the rights and freedoms of Canadians with the need to protect national security and public safety. However, Bill C-59 would not do that in the way it should.

I would contend that although some would suggest we have maybe swung the pendulum the other way, national security experts at committee, the rare few we were able to get to committee and were approved by the current government, suggested the current structure being proposed in Bill C-59 would do more harm to the information sharing my friend suggested, that we would be going backward from where we were, and that there was more of a likelihood of siloing of information protection between government agencies. We had the former director of CSIS tell us that his concern with Bill C-59 was that we had the perfect storm, potentially. He feared that one government agency would know of an imminent threat and would not be able to tell another government agency to protect us from it, and that was the potential with Bill C-59. That is alarming.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 6:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, there are some good things in Bill C-59. If we talk to those who took part in the creation of Bill C-51, the government moved sections around in Bill C-51, added some lipstick to it, and it became Bill C-59. One improvement is the oversight. If not handled appropriately, the oversight could become an administrative burden. Rather than money going to fight national security, it could go to administrative issues, like I explained. We should combine the committee of parliamentarians, which is part of the oversight for national security, and add the new layers in Bill C-59.

It talked to my former colleagues who were part of creating Bill C-51. They think that is a step in the right direction and we should be very supportive of this component. However, not everything in Bill C-59 will be supported by members on my side of the House.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 6:55 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish I could say that I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-59 this evening. However, I have to admit that what I am really feeling is more a sense of disappointment.

That is because, first of all, there is very little difference between the previous Conservative government's Bill C-51 and the Liberal government's Bill C-59. They certainly have a lot in common. Not only do they look disturbingly alike, but they were also handled much the same way.

Those who were here in the previous Parliament will remember that Bill C-51 was kind of rushed through, the better to capitalize on Canadians' strong emotional response to an increasing number of terrorist attacks, which continue to this day. There was hardly what could be considered a full debate.

As I recall, when discussions were in their infancy, the NDP was the only party resolutely opposed to Bill C-51. The government was trying to sell the idea that we had to compromise between keeping Canadians safe, which is every government's top priority, and protecting the Charter rights and freedoms we are all entitled to.

From the outset, the NDP said we should not be seeking a compromise. Rather, we should bring about an evolution with respect to these two fundamental aspects of Canadian rights that belong to every individual.

I feel like the government is taking a similar approach with Bill C-59 now. When we are debating a bill as important as this one, there should be no reason for a time allocation motion that limits MPs' right to speak.

The 338 members of the House represent 35 million Canadians. Each one of those MPs has something to say about this. They are all concerned about the prospect of terrorist attacks here and elsewhere, in people's workplaces, or while they are on vacation. This issue is on the minds of all Canadians, and the best and only way for them to be heard by the government is here in the House. Even so, the government is limiting the time for debate.

Members will also recall that when the NDP took a firm stand against Bill C-51, the Liberals, who were in opposition at the time, pulled a rabbit out of their hat by essentially saying that they would vote in favour of Bill C-51 in order to replace it when they formed the government. If they want to replace a bill, they should vote against it. I may have been inexperienced at that time. The Conservatives' position was clear, the NDP's position was clear, and the Liberals' position was clear.

Over time, and in light of what the Liberal government has done in the past, I can clearly see that they tend to do things a certain way. For example, during the election campaign, this same government sincerely promised to reform our electoral system. As the months passed, this changed to a minor revision of certain election rules, but the overhaul of the electoral system was forgotten.

These same Liberals promised to cut taxes for the middle class. I admit that we may not have been in agreement on what the middle class is, because where I come from, the median salary is about $32,000 a year. To access the tax cuts, the threshold is at least $45,000 a year. Those who really benefit are people like me, who have a salary that is more than decent. How have middle-class taxes been cut? I am still struggling to understand that. These same Liberals promised to axe the EI reform that the Conservatives put in place to give people some time to recover when tragedy strikes.

At the moment, the figures are the same as during the Conservative era. Roughly six out of 10 Canadians who pay into EI do not qualify for benefits when times get tough. I could keep listing examples in almost every field. It is clear that this is a Liberal way to approach the big issues.

We could talk about greenhouse gas reduction, for example. “Canada is back” was the message trumpeted at the Paris conference. I thought that meant Canada was back on the world stage, but I later realized it meant Canada is at the back of the pack and staying there. That is the Liberal approach.

To sum up the issue at hand, Bill C-59 still has many flaws. I will give you some examples. The Liberals are using this bill to establish a legal framework that would allow the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, or CSIS, to store sensitive metadata on completely innocent Canadians. This is a practice that has already been rejected by the Federal Court. To back up my statements, and to show that this is not just my personal opinion, but based on testimony from people far better informed than me, allow me to quote Daniel Therrien. For those who have not heard of him, he is the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. He testified before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics on November 22, 2016, and said:

Think of the recent judgment by the Federal Court that found that CSIS had unlawfully retained the metadata of a large number of law-abiding individuals who are not threats to national security because CSIS felt it needed to keep that information for analytical purposes.

These are not theoretical risks. These are real things, real concerns. Do we want a country where the security service has a lot of information about most citizens with a view to detecting national security threats? Is that the country we want to live in?

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. Is that the country we want?

We can already see that things have gotten out of hand, and there is a question that has people increasingly worried, as it pertains not only to the issue being debated this evening, but also to all this personal data that is being asked of us and that we often send against our will on the Internet. The question is: how will we protect this personal information? Because if it is truly personal, that means that it belongs to someone, and that someone is the only person that can consent to its use.

That is not the only problem. I see that I am running out of time, so instead of naming the problems, I will summarize the proposals presented by the NDP. The first was to completely repeal Bill C-51 and replace the current ministerial directive on the matter of torture to ensure that Canada stands for an absolute prohibition on torture. Absolute means that we will not allow through the back door what we would not allow to enter through the front door.

Based on what I have heard in the House today, all the parties agree and everyone is against torture. However, some parties seem to be saying that they might use the information obtained through torture by other countries if that information seemed pertinent. History has made it abundantly clear that not only is torture inhumane, but in most cases, the information turns out to be false, precisely because it was obtained by torture. I imagine that I would be willing to say just about anything if I were being tortured.

In closing, between Bill C-59 and Bill C-51, we still have a long way to go. Under time allocation, I simply cannot vote in favour of this bill.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 7:05 p.m.
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NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Trois-Rivières for his excellent speech and for his clarifications on Bill C-59, in particular the reasons why this bill does not meet Canadians' expectations.

His first reason has to do with the no-fly list and the unacceptable delays in funding a redress mechanism. The NDP has long been working closely with No Fly List Kids, which seeks to fix the fact that children unfortunately end up on no-fly lists because they have the same name as criminals who are banned from air travel.

The government could have produced a much better bill by developing a redress mechanism that would finally allow all Canadian citizens to be free to travel as they wish. It is not right that people experience problems because they have the same name as someone else.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

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

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on Bill C-59. I hope my hon. colleagues will indulge me over the course of the next 10 minutes. I am not fearmongering, but I want to talk about a snapshot in my life that fundamentally changed the way I look at things.

Everybody knows, as I have related this a number of times, that I worked in aviation for over 20 years on the airline side and on the regulatory side with Transport Canada, as well as on the airport side and in the consulting world. I know exactly where I was at 5:46 a.m. B.C. time on September 11, 2001. That was exactly when American Airlines flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Centre building. At 9:03, United Airlines flight 175 crashed into another World Trade Centre building, and at 9:37, American Airlines flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. Then at 10:07, flight 93 crashed into a field in Somerset, Pennsylvania. These incidents killed all of the people on board those aircraft, as well as over 3,000 people on the ground.

Up to that point, I would say that we had a different mindset. As was the case in the U.S., in Canada we lost our innocence. The world really lost its innocence. We started to see terrorism in a different light. We started looking at how it could have happened.

Let me talk about that day. Immediately after the first aircraft hit the first tower, my phone started to ring. I was one of the managers at Prince George Airport, and our job at that time was to scramble to get to the airport and figure out what was going on. We were to monitor all of the security information that was coming in. Many people probably do not know that for the first few hours of this crisis, Canadians were at the helm of monitoring the crisis at the NORAD centre.

I can tell members that it was something else. It brings me right back to it when we started talking about this.

Prior to that, my role in aviation on the airline side, and then again on the airport side, was to work with inner agencies to determine how we could protect and prepare our airlines and airports in cases of disaster. At that point, it was about preventing criminal organizations from transporting drugs and smuggling people.

It was quite staggering to think that an airliner would be used to crash into a building. We never thought that would happen. We live in a different world.

After 9/11, Canada adopted its very first anti-terrorism law, and we started to look at things a little differently. We started to look at how our security organizations, those groups that were tasked with protecting Canadians, shared their information. We started to look at our industries, whether aviation, roads, marine systems, rail, or logistics.

How did we protect those areas? How did we protect our ports and airports? How did we protect Canadians and Americans coming across the border? We looked at things as whether it would be better to do away with that northern border. That is what the U.S. calls it. Do we start considering, perhaps, a perimeter border all around North America, Canada, and the U.S.? We could really work at interoperability in its best sense, with the sharing of data and key information that would protect our citizens so that we could prevent any other terrorist attack.

I have probably said already that we live in a completely different world. I get a little hot when we talk about this, and I am just going to bring us back to April 23 of this year in Toronto. There was a van attack in which 10 people lost their lives and many more were injured. Let us talk about the high school students in Canada who are being radicalized and are going overseas to serve with ISIS or other terrorist groups. Let us talk about the events that we do not know about.

We can have this flowery idea that we live in a safe world and everything is good, because the people who are tasked with protecting us are stopping these events before we know about them.

What Bill C-59 does is to limit the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's ability to reduce terrorist threats. It limits the ability of government departments to share data amongst themselves to protect national security. It removes the offence of advocating and promoting terrorism offences in general.

One of the other areas, as if that were not enough, is that CSIS, the agency that we task to protect us and make sure that domestic and international threats are minimized, and the RCMP are not allowed to use social media. They are not allowed to use any public data, potentially. They cannot use that. What if the person who is going to use a van for an attack said, “I am going to do this” on a Facebook page a day or two before he did it. Can the RCMP use that information, or does it have to wait, and perhaps come before some politicians to see if it is possible to stop the attack?

In the study and amendment stage of this bill, in part 3 of the bill dealing with restrictions on security and intelligence and the assessment of publicly available data, the Liberals put additional barriers on the use of public information. They said that the collection of public information, from social media like Facebook and Twitter, would be restricted. How are these people finding out about recruitment?

What about the high school shootings? Students are talking on Facebook about what they want to do. Bill C-59 is going to limit those agencies that we task with protecting us from using that to stop it.

It is shameful that we are talking at this point, after all we know, in terms of terrorist groups. Here is a report that just came out, an internal CSIS report that was leaked or somehow made public. It says that domestic extremists are likely to continue to target Canadian uniformed personnel and related installations in neighbourhoods that are familiar to them, like police stations and military recruitment centres. This was from January 24, 2018. It was in the newspaper.

We have to be doing everything to protect Canadians and to make sure that Canadians are safe. We should not be trying to work in some information vacuum. That is exactly what this is. Regardless of whether academics are saying this or that, what are the security agencies, those who are tasked with protecting us, saying about Bill C-59? They have serious concerns. We should not be making it harder for them to do their job of protecting Canadians.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 7:20 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I also turn my mind back to September 11, 2001, where the member started his speech and I can share with him. He remembers that there were Canadians controlling NORAD. A constituent of mine in my Rotary Club, Captain Mike Jelinek, was in command of what they call “the mountain” in Colorado at NORAD. It is an extraordinary story. Can anyone imagine being in more of a crucible of decision-making stress and yet keeping control? One of the things that a lot of people do not know, but that he shared with me, and it is public information, was why those in charge did not scramble military jets to shoot down the planes the hijackers had taken control of to aim at buildings. They could not because the hijacking terrorists had turned off the transponders. Therefore, what they saw on their radar was just a sea of dots, but the ones that were actually the hijacked planes had disappeared from view. That is why they had to make all of the planes in the airspace land, so they could then see what was going on. It is a very complex story.

I differ with my friend on Bill C-59. I was here for the debates on Bill C-51. I learned a lot from the security experts who testified at the committee. None of that advice was taken up by the previous government, but I will cite one piece of testimony that came before the Senate. Joe Fogarty is the name of a British security expert, actually a spy for the Brits, who had been doing work with Canada at the time. He told us stories of things that had already happened, such as when the RCMP knew of a terrorist plotters' camp but did not want to tell CSIS, or CSIS knew of something and did not want to tell the RCMP.

John Major, the judge who ran the Air India inquiry, told us that passing Bill C-51 would make us less safe unless we had pinnacle control, some agency or entity that oversaw what all five of our spy agencies were doing. Bill C-59 would take us in the right direction by creating the security agency that will allow us to know what each agency is doing, because the way human nature is, and we heard this from experts, is that people will not share information, and Bill C-59 would help us in that regard.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 7:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-59, an act respecting national security matters. This is a massive omnibus bill, more than 140 pages long. It seeks to amend five existing acts with significant amendments. It introduces four new acts. It overhauls Canada's national security framework.

Having regard for the breadth and scope of the bill and the important subject matter it touches, namely Canada's national security, it is extremely disappointing that the government has done just about everything to shut down debate in the House, to prevent and limit the ability of members of Parliament to speak and debate this piece of legislation.

Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that the government is really quite embarrassed by this piece of legislation. Before there was even a second reading vote on the bill, as a result of changes to our Standing Orders, it went to committee, where it was torn to shreds. It was such a sloppy bill that 235 amendments were brought forward at committee, including 43 amendments from Liberal MPs. The bill falls short in many respects.

The threat of terrorism is real. We know that September 11 really did change the world. While September 11 is now nearly 17 years ago and for many an increasingly distant memory, the threat of terrorism in Canada is as real today as it was the day after September 11.

We have seen terrorist attacks on Canadian soil, including here on Parliament Hill a few years ago. Just last year, an Edmonton police officer, Mike Chernyk, was killed when he tackled a terrorist, who then tried to run down Edmontonians. By the way, Edmonton is a city that I am very proud to represent, and this really hit home for many of my constituents.

We know that the threat of terrorism is real, and we know that we need to give our security, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies all the tools possible to be able to disrupt terrorist plots, to stem the flow of financing to terrorist groups and terrorist actors, and ultimately to keep Canadians safe.

That is why our previous Conservative government brought Canada's anti-terrorism and national security laws into the 21st century with Bill C-51, legislation that, by the way, the Liberal Party, to its credit, supported. It is also true that the Liberals had some reservations about Bill C-51. During the last election, the Prime Minister promised that he would make revisions to Bill C-51, so we have Bill C-59, which is the government's response.

As I said, it falls short in a number of areas. Where it falls short is that instead of giving law enforcement and national security agencies more tools to keep Canadians safe, Bill C-59 takes away tools. What kinds of tools is Bill C-59 taking away that they otherwise had as a result of, among other measures, Bill C-51?

One of those tools is the ability of CSIS to carry out disruption activities without a warrant. Under Bill C-51, CSIS could undertake some very limited disruption activities, provided that those activities were consistent with Canadian law and respected the privacy rights of Canadians. Bill C-59 takes that tool away. In practical terms, what would that mean? One example would be that right now, as a result of Bill C-51, CSIS could contact the parents of a radicalized youth to seek parental intervention and advise them that their son or daughter has been radicalized. Under Bill C-59, CSIS would have to get a warrant. How does that make sense, and how does that make Canadians safer?

Another example would be to misdirect a potential terrorist who might be in the midst of carrying out a terrorist plot. Of course, in disrupting terrorist plots, time can so often be of the essence. It is not possible to run into court to get a warrant. Under Bill C-59, the government would be tying the hands of CSIS, even at a critical time when that could make a difference for stopping a terrorist attack by simply misdirecting the terrorist. How does that make sense, and how does that make Canadians safer?

There is another tool in the tool box that the government is taking away, namely preventive detention. It is true that it is not taking away the tool, in the sense that it is still there, but from a practical standpoint it is going to make preventative detention much more difficult. Preventative detention is an important tool. It is a tool that has been used and has kept Canadians safe. The threshold for law enforcement to use preventative detention is high. There must be evidence that using preventative detention would likely prevent a terrorist attack. Under Bill C-59, that threshold would be increased to detention being “necessary” to prevent a terrorist attack. Between “likely to prevent” and “necessary to prevent”, the threshold has increased considerably. There is a big difference in that regard. What it means is that it would be much more difficult for law enforcement to use preventative detention, even when there is evidence that preventative detention would likely prevent a terrorist attack. Again, how does that make sense, and how does that make Canadians safer?

Another tool the government is limiting in a significant way for law enforcement is the tool of a peace bond, where there are no reasonable grounds to charge someone with a criminal offence, but there is sufficient evidence that the individual needs to be monitored and subject to conditions whereby if the individual violates the order, he or she could be subject to criminal charges. The threshold is that a peace bond be likely to prevent a terrorist attack from occurring. Just as the government has done with respect to preventative detention, it has increased that threshold to “necessary to prevent” a terrorist attack. It basically defeats the entire purpose of a peace bond, because the evidentiary threshold that the government has set is more or less as high as reasonable grounds, which would result in delaying criminal charges. How does that make sense, and how does that make Canadians safer?

For these and other reasons, we cannot support this bill, because it would take too many tools away from our law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and it would make Canadians less safe.

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June 7th, 2018 / 7:35 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I was here during the debate on Bill C-51, and it was a very different public atmosphere in terms of the types of comments we were receiving. There was a great outcry from Canadians in virtually all regions of the country saying that the government had gone too far. As the opposition party, even though we supported Bill C-51, part of our election platform was to make changes to it, and that is what Bill C-59 is all about. We also added the parliamentary standing committee on oversight of our agencies. We see it as a positive thing.

When I reflect today on what the public is saying, the opposition to Bill C-51 is quite profound, and there appears to be a fairly good consensus across the country in support of the bill before us. Could the member provide his thoughts on why that might be the case?

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June 7th, 2018 / 7:35 p.m.
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NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I always enjoy the trenchant analysis and passion of my friend from St. Albert—Edmonton, with whom I have the honour to serve on the justice committee.

The member spoke about Bill C-59 in comparison to Bill C-51, the Conservatives' bill. He suggested, if I can summarize, that as a result of the changes the law would make us less safe. He cited a number of examples, including the requirement of a warrant for disruption activities and changes to the preventative detention sections, among others.

The legislation is being redrafted, and some of the changes would make it less likely to be struck down under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which, of course, was the critique of so many when the Conservatives' bill was before Parliament. I wonder if it would have been more prudent, in fact, to make those changes to avoid the cost and delay of having those cases go before the courts only to find that these sections are unconstitutional. I would like the member's thoughts on that.

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June 7th, 2018 / 7:40 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I find myself surprised to have a speaking spot tonight. For that I want to thank the New Democratic Party. We do not agree about this bill, but it was a generous gesture to allow me to speak to it.

I have been very engaged in the issue of anti-terrorism legislation for many years. I followed it when, under Prime Minister Chrétien, the anti-terrorism legislation went through this place immediately after 9/11. Although I was executive director of the Sierra Club, I recall well my conversations with former MP Bill Blaikie, who sat on the committee, and we worried as legislation went forward that appeared to do too much to limit our rights as Canadians in its response to the terrorist threat.

That was nothing compared to what happened when we had a shooting, a tragic event in October 2014, when Corporal Nathan Cirillo was murdered at the National War Memorial. I do not regard that event, by the way, as an act of terrorism, but rather of one individual with significant addiction and mental health issues, something that could have been dealt with if he had been allowed to have the help he sought in British Columbia before he came to Ottawa and committed the horrors of October 22, 2014.

It was the excuse and the opening that the former government needed to bring in truly dangerous legislation. I will never forget being here in my seat in Parliament on January 30. It was a Friday morning. One does not really expect ground-shaking legislation to hit without warning on a Friday morning in this place. There was no press release, no briefing, no telling us what was in store for us. I picked up Bill C-51, an omnibus bill in five parts, and read it on the airplane flying home, studied it all weekend, and came back here. By Monday morning, February 2, I had a speaking spot during question period and called it the “secret police act”.

I did not wait, holding my finger to the wind, to see which way the political winds were blowing. The NDP did that for two weeks before they decided to oppose it. The Liberals decided they could not win an election if they opposed it, so they would vote for it but promised to fix it later.

I am afraid some of that is still whirling around in this place. I will say I am supporting this effort. I am voting for it. I still see many failures in it. I know the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Public Safety have listened. That is clear; the work they did in the consultation process was real.

Let me go back and review why Bill C-51 was so very dangerous.

I said it was a bill in five parts. I hear the Conservatives complaining tonight that the government side is pushing Bill C-59 through too fast. Well, on January 30, 2015, Bill C-51, an omnibus bill in five parts, was tabled for first reading. It went all the way through the House by May 6 and all the way through the Senate by June 9, less than six months.

This bill, Bill C-59, was tabled just about a year ago. Before it was tabled, we had consultations. I had time to hold town hall meetings in my riding specifically on public security, espionage, our spy agencies, and what we should do to protect and balance anti-terrorism measures with civil liberties. We worked hard on this issue before the bill ever came for first reading, and we have worked hard on it since.

I will come back to Bill C-51, which was forced through so quickly. It was a bill in five parts. What I came to learn through working on that bill was that it made Canadians less safe. That was the advice from many experts in anti-terrorism efforts, from the leading experts in the trenches and from academia, from people like Professor Kent Roach and Professor Craig Forcese, who worked so hard on the Air India inquiry; the chair of the Air India inquiry, former judge John Major; and people in the trenches I mentioned earlier in debate tonight, such as Joseph Fogarty, an MI5 agent from the U.K. who served as anti-terrorism liaison with Canada.

What I learned from all of these people was Bill C-51 was dangerous because it would put in concrete silos that would discourage communication between spy agencies. That bill had five parts.

Part 1 was information sharing. It was not about information sharing between spy agencies; it was about information sharing about Canadians to foreign governments. In other words, it was dangerous to the rights of Canadians overseas, and it ignored the advice of the Maher Arar inquiry.

Part 2 was about the no-fly list. Fortunately, this bill fixes that. The previous government never even bothered to consult with the airlines, by the way. That was interesting testimony we got back in the 41st Parliament.

Part 3 I called the “thought chill” section. We heard tonight that the government is not paying attention to the need remove terrorist recruitment from websites. That is nonsense. However, part 3 of Bill C-51 created a whole new term with no definition, this idea of terrorism in general, and the idea of promoting terrorism in general. As it was defined, we could imagine someone would be guilty of violating that law if they had a Facebook page that put up an image of a clenched fist. That could be seen as promotion of terrorism in general. Thank goodness we got that improved.

In terms of thought chill, it was so broadly worded that it could have caused, for instance, someone in a community who could see someone was being radicalized a reasonable fear that they could be arrested if they went to talk to that person to talk them out of it. It was very badly drafted.

Part 4 is the part that has not been adequately fixed in this bill. This is the part that, for the first time ever, gave CSIS what are called kinetic powers.

CSIS was created because the RCMP, in response to the FLQ crisis, was cooking up plots that involved, famously, burning down a barn. As a result, we said intelligence gathering would have to be separate from the guys who go out and break up plots, because we cannot have the RCMP burning down barns, so the Canadian Security Intelligence Service was created. It was to be exclusively about collecting information, and then the RCMP could act on that information.

I think it is a huge mistake that in Bill C-59 we have left CSIS kinetic powers to disrupt plots. However, we have changed the law quite a bit to deal with CSIS's ability to go to a single judge to get permission to violate our laws and break the charter. I wish the repair in Bill C-59 was stronger, but it is certainly a big improvement on Bill C-51.

Part 5 of Bill C-51 is not repaired in Bill C-59. I think that is because it was so strangely worded that most people did not ever figure out what it was about. I know professors Roach and Forcese left part 5 alone because it was about changes to the immigration and refugee act. It really was hard to see what it was about. However, Professor Donald Galloway at the University of Victoria law school said part 5 is about being able to give a judge information in secret hearings about a suspect and not tell the judge that the evidence was obtained by torture, so I really hope the Minister of Public Safety will go back and look at those changes to the refugee and immigration act, and if that is what they are about, it needs fixing.

Let us look at why the bill is enough of an improvement that I am going to vote for it. By the way, in committee I did bring forward 46 amendments to the bill on my own. They went in the direction of ensuring that we would have special advocates in the room so that there would be someone there on behalf of the public interest when a judge was giving a warrant to allow a CSIS agent to break the law or violate the charter. The language around what judges can do and how often they can do it and what respect to the charter they must exercise when they grant such a warrant is much better in this bill, but it is still there, and it does worry me that there will be no special advocate in the room.

I cannot say I am wildly enthusiastic about Bill C-59, but it is a huge improvement over what we saw in the 41st Parliament in Bill C-51.

The creation of the security intelligence review agency is something I want to talk about in my remaining minutes.

This point is fundamental. This was what Mr. Justice John Major, who chaired the Air India inquiry, told the committee when it was studying the bill back in 2015: He told us it is just human nature that the RCMP and CSIS will not share information and that we need to have pinnacle oversight.

There is review that happens, and the term “review” is post facto, so SIRC, the Security Intelligence Review Committee, would look at what CSIS had done over the course of the year, but up until this bill we have never had a single security agency that watched what all the guys and girls were doing. We have CSIS, the RCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency, the Communications Security Establishment—five different agencies all looking at collecting intelligence, but not sharing. That is why having the security intelligence review agency created by this bill is a big improvement.

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June 7th, 2018 / 7:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Nick Whalen Liberal St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the member brings a lot of context to bear on some of the questions that were referred to earlier in comparing it to Bill C-59.

The member for Calgary Shepard actually asked me about a proposed amendment the Conservatives brought forward to Bill C-59 at committee about changing the word “promote” to the words “advocate” or “counsel”. There was a brief moment in the member's speech when she referred to some reasons why that would not be a good amendment. Maybe she could elaborate on it. Her answer to the member for Calgary Shepard's question might be better than mine was.

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June 7th, 2018 / 7:55 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I remember well the climate of fear that Bill C-51 created. I remember meeting with young, Canadian-born Islamic women who told me that for the first time in their whole lives, they felt afraid and did not feel welcome. That climate has been largely pushed back, and I give credit to everyone in this place, but it is on all sides and all parties to push back on Islamophobia.

Getting back to part 3 of Bill C-51, it is important that we not try to limit, in any way, the ability of, for instance, a local imam to reach out to people in that community and tell them, “Do not listen to so-and-so. That is a misunderstanding of Quran. This is the real Quran, which is one that has nothing to do with violence.” That is an important feature that Bill C-59 helps protect.

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June 7th, 2018 / 7:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin my speech this evening by talking about public safety and national security matters.

Whenever I stand up in this place, on whatever we are talking about, I always like to think about whether this is the job of the federal government. Typically, in broad sweeps, I can rarely get past the end of one hand when it comes to things the federal government should be dealing with. I usually think of things like border security, the justice system, and the military as things that definitely the federal government should be taking care of.

The issue we are dealing with tonight is one of those issues the federal government definitely needs to take care of. It is definitely something that is timely. Folks from where I come from, in Peace River—Westlock, in northern Alberta, often mention this to me when I am driving around meeting with folks. They are concerned about national security. They are concerned about terrorism issues. It is one of the top 10 things people talk to me about. Therefore, I think this is a timely debate.

I would hearken back to some of the speeches we heard earlier this evening. September 11 was a significant turning point in western civilization. I think every one of us in this place remembers that day. I remember listening to the news on 630 CHED in Alberta. My alarm clock had gone off, and I was listening to the news, when the normal broadcast was interrupted to tell us that the twin towers had been run into by an airplane. I remember that day well, as I am sure everyone in this place does. Since that day, the entire western world has had to look at how we defend our national security. Before that point, we were looking at our national security from the perspective of nation states. However, this brought a whole new protocol. We needed new laws. Frankly, I think we are still learning all of that.

I do not think the Liberals have necessarily taken serious consideration of public safety and national security in this bill. They basically looked at what we did when we were in government. They thought that the Conservatives were aggressive on this and took the bull by the horns, and they would just turn it back a notch. It does not seem to me that they are giving it adequate weight by saying that they just have to change a bunch of things in Bill C-51. The Liberals heard over and over again that Bill C-51 was bad, and they would just turn it back. That does not seem to me to be grappling with the issues we need to deal with.

Public safety and national security is hard work. We need to create a culture in Canada so that people feel safe. That is what I hear over and over again in my riding. They do not feel that the government is creating a culture in Canada where people feel safe. For example, advocating or promoting terrorism is something that has been touched on in this debate. We need to talk about that in terms of what it means when it comes to Bill C-75, which is another bill that will be debated tonight. I believe that in that particular bill, advocating or promoting terrorism, even if one is found guilty of it, would be downgraded as well.

When we look at the bill before us, I am disappointed that the Liberals have not grabbed the bull by the horns. Bill C-51 came out a number of years back, and the landscape has changed since then. I was looking forward to having a robust debate on this issue. I know that it was something in the LIberal campaign and something I was challenged on over and over again. I knew that after the election, Bill C-51 would be up for debate, and I was looking forward to having that debate on some substantive changes that could improve it.

I think we got it right with Bill C-51, but every piece of legislation is open to improvement and I was happy to come here to debate this. I do not think Bill C-59 improves on Bill C-51 at all. In fact, all it seems to do is to just turn everything back a few notches, which does not seem to make an effect. It is the exact same philosophy that we are seeing with Bill C-75. The Liberals say we have backlogs in the justice system, rather than their addressing some of the underlying causes and doing the hard work of digging into it. They say, turn the dial back a little, lower the thresholds, push people out of the system more easily rather than dealing with the actual justice system.

When I do surveys in my riding, people do not think the Liberals are taking our national security seriously. People do not think they are securing our borders properly. All of this plays into the world view of the Liberals.

Whenever I am discussing national security or justice issues, I say that people have the ability to do evil. That is a fact of life and we need to have a justice system that recognizes that. Most people lock their doors at night. Why? Because people are capable of evil. That is the truth. It would be great if we all could leave our doors open and nothing ever went missing. It would be great if we could all give up our firearms and everyone would be safe, but that is not the reality. That is the underlying philosophy that is lacking on the Liberal side. They are not convinced that people are capable of evil and they think that the justice system is being mean to people and that if we just hug the thug, so to speak, everything would be better.

There is a philosophy in this bill that if we just turn down the justice element, if we trusted people a little more, this country would be a safer place. That is definitely not the case. We need to ensure that our police officers and our intelligence community have the resources and tools they need to ensure that Canada is a safe place.

My riding is a long way from the border, and I cannot say that the border crossing issue has directly affected my riding, but it is amazing how many times people in my riding have asked, when is the government is going to do something about the border crossings? Why are the Liberals jeopardizing our public safety? We are seeing that here, as well with the terrorism issue.

One of the things people in my riding are concerned about is the growing threat of terrorism in the world. In this regard, in the bill we see that for advocating and promoting terrorism, the threshold is being lowered, and that in Bill C-75 the sentencing is being lowered. It is being taken from an indictable offence to a summary offence. The Liberals need to do the hard work that it takes to make sure that we have a national security regime that people in Canada trust. That is an important point that I wanted to make here tonight. Whatever the Liberals are doing, people need to have trust in that system that their safety is being upheld, that Canada will remain the safe place it has been in years past, and that people can sleep safely in their beds.

With that, I look forward to any questions that people may have.

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June 7th, 2018 / 8:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Dan Vandal Liberal Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, MB

Mr. Speaker, several times the member said that Bill C-59 was not an improvement over Bill C-51. Fortunately, the experts do not agree with him. University of Ottawa expert, Craig Forcese, said that this is “the biggest reform in this area since 1984, and the creation of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).” He believes we have needed this for a while.

University of Toronto expert, Wesley Wark, said: “If Canada can make this new system work, it will return the country to the forefront of democracies determined to hold their security and intelligence systems to account”.

Could the hon. member comment on the experts' opinions?