An Act respecting national security matters

This bill was last introduced in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2019.


Ralph Goodale  Liberal


This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.


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 fourth 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.


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.


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)

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 8:25 p.m.
See context


Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-75, the Liberal government's justice reform bill.

Sadly, I cannot find a lot of good things to report about the bill to the House, to my riding, or to Canadians at large, for that matter. Like a number of the Liberal government's legislative measures, the purpose of the bill, as presented by the Liberal front bench, does not always match what the bill actually proposes to do.

In Bill C-71, the Minister of Public Safety used tragic shootings in the United States, shootings in Canada, and a guns and gangs summit in Ottawa to suggest he was putting forward legislation that would tackle illegal guns, gangs, and violent criminals. The sad reality is that the legislation he has proposed never once mentions gangs or organized crime, and does nothing to deal with illegal weapons and crimes caused by them.

Prior to that, the Minister of Public Safety had introduced Bill C-59, a bill he claimed would strengthen our national security and protect Canadians. Again, the reality was very different, as the bill would move nearly $100 million dollars from active security and intelligence work that protects Canadians to administrative and oversight mechanisms.

Worst of all, the Minister of Public Safety made bold claims about moving the bill to committee before second reading, stating:

I would inform the House that, in the interests of transparency, we will be referring this bill to committee before second reading, which will allow for a broader scope of discussion and consideration and possible amendment of the bill in the committee when that deliberation begins.

When it came time to actually consider reasonable, bold, or even small amendments, the Liberals fought tooth and nail to ensure the bill did not change in scope or scale. The results are poor for Canadians and for those who work in national security, more people looking over shoulders, tougher rules, more paperwork, and few, if any, benefits, as front-line efforts to protect Canadians only become more difficult.

Under Bill C-75, we see the same old story. The justice minister made bold claims that she would be helping address the backlog of cases created when the Supreme Court imposed a maximum time frame for cases. The minister made these claims. The legislation would improve the efficiency of the criminal justice system and reduce court delays. It would strengthen response to domestic violence. It would streamline bail hearings. It would provide more tools to judges. It would improve jury selection. It would free up limited court resources by reclassifying serious offences. It sounds like a great bill. Streamline the courts? Strengthen response to domestic violence? Provide more tools for judges? That all sounds fantastic.

Sadly, the Liberals are not achieving any of these objectives according to the legal community nor according to many knowledgeable leaders in the House. Does it shorten trials and ensure that we deal with the backlog? No. The minister appears to make this claim on the elimination of most preliminary hearings.

Preliminary hearings, according the Canadian legal community, account for just 3% of all court time. With an overloaded court system, eliminating a huge number of these hearings will only make a small impact. That impact, unfortunately, will be offset by potentially worse results.

Preliminary hearings are used and can often weed out the weakest cases, which means that more of the weak cases will go to trial if we eliminate the preliminary hearings. That will increase court times. Moreover, preliminary trials can deal with issues up front and make trials more focused. Instead, many cases will be longer with added procedural and legal arguments.

One member of the legal community called this bill “a solution to a problem that does not exist." That is high praise indeed. However, it is the changes to serious criminal offences that have many Canadians, not just the legal community, concerned.

I think all members of the House could agree, or at least accept, that not all Criminal Code issues need to be treated the same and that threshold for punishment should also not be treated the same. However, Canadians expect that Ottawa will ensure we have safe streets, and that the law benefits all people like the law-abiding and victims, not just slanted in favour of the convicted criminals. The Liberals seem to be more focused on making life harder on the law-abiding and easier on criminals.

Under Bill C-75, the Liberals have provided the option to proceed with a large number of violent offences by way of summary conviction rather than an indictable offence. This means that violent criminals may receive no more than the proposed 12 months in jail or a fine for their crimes, crimes such as a slap on the wrist for things like participation in a terrorist organization, obstructing justice, assault with a weapon, forced marriage, abduction, advocating genocide, participation in a criminal organization, and trafficking, just to name a very few.

There are many more, but it bears looking at a few in particular. These are serious offences. Allowing these criminals back on the streets with little to no deterrence makes even less sense.

Assault with a weapon, as we know, is when someone uses a weapon that is not a firearm, such as a bat, a hammer, or any sort of item, to attack someone else. These are not minor occurrences. They are serious criminal issues that should have the full force and effect of the law. Abduction is another serious offence. It could involve children taken from parents or intimate partner violence, or it could be combined with a number of other offences for kidnapping and forced confinement.

In none of these scenarios are the victims or society better served when those responsible for these types of offences serve only a minimal jail sentence or receive a fine. The principle is that Canadians expect that our government and our courts will be there to ensure that criminals receive punishment for their crimes, and that good, law-abiding Canadians and those who have been victimized by these criminals are treated well and fairly.

However, the average Canadian cannot see how making sentences shorter on criminals would meet this basic test. The fact is that it does not meet that test. What it does is address another problem. It potentially reduces court backlogs with the promise of reduced sentences. Therefore, it solves the minister's problem. That is perhaps the part we should be looking at. The Minister of Justice is not here to solve her own problems; she is here to serve Canadians and fix their problems. As my colleagues have pointed out very clearly, there are other solutions, better solutions, in fact.

The minister has addressed the backlog with judicial appointments. I note that 20 have been made this year. However, that is not nearly enough to deal with the problems, as there are still so many more vacancies all across this land. The former minister of justice said, “in my six years as minister of justice, there was never a shortage of qualified candidates”. Therefore, it is not a failure of the judiciary. It is not that there are too many preliminary hearings. It is not that there are way more criminals, as crime rates overall have been declining. The problem resides almost entirely with the minister and the government getting more people on the bench and in the prosecutorial services.

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 else is their top priority as well. To have 300 or more top priorities is to have no priorities at all.

Canadians expect that the government will make them its top priority. Sadly, this bill fails the test to keep Canadians safe and deliver effective government. The legal community has said that this bill is deeply flawed and would hurt the legal system rather than help it. Police officers will likely see themselves arresting the same people over and over again as criminals get lighter sentences or fines on summary convictions. Therefore, the backlog will move from the courts to the policing community and back to the courts. How does that help the average Canadian?

In closing, I am of the opinion that Canada is going to be weaker after the Liberals leave office in 2019, and far weaker than when they entered office. Their wedge politics on the values test, pandering to terrorists, ignoring threats from China, targeting law-abiding gun owners, lack of leadership on illegal border crossers, and waffling on resource development continue to put Canadians at a serious disadvantage that weakens our public safety and national security and places undue strain on families and communities.

Citizenship and ImmigrationCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

May 28th, 2018 / 3:55 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba


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

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to a very important report, but there are some things on which I would like to comment before I get into some of the details of the report or issue that we are debating today.

It is interesting to note that the report was tabled back on March 23, 2017. Many dozens of reports have been tabled in the House, more than 100. As with this report, I commend the efforts of members who take the time and use the resources and spend the energy in putting these reports together. Whether it is this report or other reports that come before our standing committees, it is important that we acknowledge the amount of work, not only by politicians but by Canadians in all regions of our country, who often come to Ottawa to express their opinions and concerns. Ultimately information is accumulated and put in the form of different recommendations.

This report is no different from many other reports that in good part are being acted on by the government in different ways. For example, if we look at this report, we see there are 24 recommendations. I have had the chance to briefly go through some of those recommendations. There is one I want to provide some comment on specifically, but as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship has described, the department has acted in a very strong way on a number of different recommendations. Something that Canadians should be aware of is that even though all of our standing committee reports do not get debated on the floor of the House of Commons, it does not mean the government is not taking action on these reports. We value the fine work of our standing committees, where Canadians as individuals or groups express their ideas and thoughts on important public policy. We understand it and appreciate it, and it does not have to be debated in order for the government to look at the recommendations and act on them where we can.

There are very few ministers of immigration, with the possible exception of the previous one, who have been as aggressive in addressing the important issue of immigration here in Canada. Let there be no doubt that immigration is absolutely critical to the long-term development of our country, both economically and socially. As a government and as a party, we understand that and appreciate it. The actions seen day in and day out continue to reinforce just how important immigration is to our country.

Having said that, I want to also make reference to the reason we are debating it here today. I am very much suspicious in the sense that this is one of many different types of reports out there. Here is a report that has been sitting around now since March 23, 2017. The government has proactively been implementing certain aspects of its recommendations, but why has the official opposition chosen to take it up today?

The opposition members like to say they want to debate government bills, but when they are afforded the opportunity to debate government bills, we see tactics of this nature that ultimately prevent them from debating government bills.

What were we supposed to be debating this afternoon? I believe it was Bill C-59 regarding public safety. It is legislation that is very important to all Canadians. All political parties want to debate the bill, yet we have the official opposition bringing forward a report that will take away from the debate on Bill C-59. Trust me when I say that in the coming days, the opposition members will stand in their place to say they want more debate time. That is what they will argue, but then they will bring in motions of this nature.

This is not to marginalize the issue. We understand the importance of immigration. We understand how important it is to recognize and act on the work that our standing committees do, but we are not going to be fooled by an opposition party that now decides that this is the day to debate it. The real reason they are doing this is that they do not want to debate the government bill. That is the reason they have brought this motion today.

That is fine. They are the official opposition. They can work with the other opposition parties and entities in the House, and this is the topic that they want to debate today. It happens to be a topic that I am exceptionally passionate about, because there is nothing that is brought to my constituency office more often than immigration concerns.

I often say that I get hundreds of files or immigration requests every month. People think I am exaggerating if I say 400. If anything, I am underestimating the actual numbers that I deal with in my constituency office. Most people would be amazed at the amount of help we try to give people to come here from countries like the Philippines or India, in particular the Punjab, and other countries around the world, such as Ukraine and Pakistan. Individuals are trying as much as they can to get family to come and visit Canada.

I follow the issue of immigration very closely. I used to be the immigration critic for the Liberal Party of Canada when we were in opposition. I witnessed first-hand the types of problems that were created and generated by Stephen Harper and Jason Kenney, and there were plenty. If members want to talk about disasters in immigration, this is a great way to look at it. I remember sitting at committee when they came up with the announcement about stopping the sponsoring of all parents and grandparents. They killed it flat. What they did was say they would come up with a super visa to justify doing that. Then a couple of years later, after they finally opened the program, they said it would be 5,000. When the Liberals took the reins of power, we doubled that 5,000 to 10,000.

The Liberals put in a better processing procedure for immigration. We are making a real difference in processing times. The best example is the reunification of families. Imagine if a person is going to the Philippines or to India. In particular, I said I do a lot of work in relation to the Punjab. When a person went through the province of Punjab to get married, it would take two to three or even more years to get their spouse to Canada.

During the Harper years I was not able to get one temporary visa, not one, where dual intent could have been used in order to get a spouse over to Canada. We have seen significant improvements. Now it is closer to a year. I believe it is just under a year. I have actually been successful at getting some of those temporary visas for spouses.

Our ministers of immigration have understood, right from the get-go, how important it is to clean up the mess that the Conservative Party left when they were voted out of office. We will continue to do so. This is all about clients.

I believe that technology can make a difference. In 1991, I believe it was, I was in the Philippines in the embassy as a Parliamentarian taking a tour of the facility, and I saw these huge plastic containers. I asked what all the plastic containers were for. There were literally thousands of documents inside these plastic containers.

They said they would get two or three plastic containers of written correspondence a day.

Technology does need to be acted on, which is something this government takes seriously. We are proactively fixing many of the problems that were created by the previous Conservative government.

Citizenship and ImmigrationCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

May 28th, 2018 / 4:25 p.m.
See context


Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon we were going to be debating Bill C-59, and I am the only member in this place who has report stage amendments for the bill. Therefore, I would have been the first speaker on that bill.

Despite that, I am still very pleased to have raised the points I did in my speech. The fact is that Bill C-59 is going to be before the House this afternoon. Essentially the Liberals have tried to escape the fact that they supported Stephen Harper's draconian security bill, the former Bill C-51, and, as usual, were trying to have it both ways, having their cake and eating it too, that there were problems with the bill, but they would support it and fix it after an election.

What happened after that? We waited two years after an election campaign. The Liberals promised to fix those egregious measures. They ignored the fact that in the meantime CSIS was still using the powers given to it through Bill C-51. After that, the Liberals tabled the bill in the dying days of the spring sitting, in June 2017, and did not bring it up for debate until the fall. Then when we finally got the debate on it, we had shortened committee hearings, nowhere near enough time to deal with omnibus legislation.

I respect my colleague and I certainly respect the fact that there can be an upheaval to Parliament's schedule. I would like to be making my speech and going back to my office, or doing whatever else, but this is an important issue. I do not want to hear that somehow Bill C-59 is so urgent, because the Liberals have certainly waited a long time to do anything about it.

Motions in AmendmentNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

May 28th, 2018 / 5:10 p.m.
See context


Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC


Mlotion No. 1

That Bill C-59 be amended by deleting the short title.

Motion No. 2

That Bill C-59, in Clause 49.1, be amended:

(a) by replacing lines 13 to 15 on page 43 with the following:

“3 (1) The Governor in Council must issue written directions to all deputy heads prohibiting”

(b) by deleting line 25 on page 43 to line 2 on page 44.

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that the third motion, which pertained to one of my amendments, was not selected by the Chair, but I will still come back to the important points about it in a few moments. Just because it was not selected does not mean we cannot talk about it.

We are near the end of what has been a very long road with this government on an issue that dates back to even before the Liberals took office. Obviously, we must recognize that Bill C-59 is the result of the Liberals' approach. On one hand, during the last Parliament they supported Stephen Harper's draconian bill, Bill C-51, and on the other, they claimed that there were a lot of problems with the bill. The Liberals told people not to worry, however, because when they took office they would fix all of those problems. That was problematic for obvious reasons. If the bill was so flawed, posed so many problems with regard to national security matters, and violated Canadians' rights and freedoms, the Liberals should not have voted to pass it, and yet that is exactly what was happening with Bill C-51.

Let us fast forward a little. After the Liberals were elected, they waited two years to introduce the legislation. They said that they had to hold public consultations. I will come back to that.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, or CSIS, used the power to disrupt threats bestowed upon it by Bill C-51. CSIS confirmed that in committee.

While we waited those two years for the government to consult, even though the election promise had been to consult on a specific piece of legislation, this was open consultation, or so it would seem. However the problem was, and many experts decried this, the fact that the government's green paper seemed to indicate, through some of the notions that were put forward, that some of these aspects were already a foregone conclusion. There was a definite bent more toward the side of intelligence gathering and law enforcement, and certainly a lack of substantive points being made in favour of the other side of that, which was protecting Canadians' rights and privacy.

Too often the Liberals, in the committee in particular, like to put the word “balance” forward. As we heard from representatives of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, when they presented at committee, balance implies that something is being taken away from one side or the other to achieve said balance. For us, the question of rights and liberties, and certainly the protection of Canadians' privacy, is not something that can almost be a victim of that type of compromise required to achieve said balance.

The other aspect that was not included in the public consultations, but that eventually became a central topic in our committee study, is the Communications Security Establishment, or CSE.

CSE, as members will know, is under the purview of the Minister of National Defence and its mandate is given to it by the National Defence Act. However, despite promises to no longer come forward with omnibus legislation, the Liberals have taken something that is the purview of the Minister of National Defence, something that the national defence committee has the institutional memory to study, all due respect to me and my colleagues on the public safety committee, and put it into this legislation.

That ended up taking up inordinate amounts, and rightly so, of time at the committee. These new powers being given to CSC and the huge change being made to CSC's mandate took up a lot of space and led to the most questions, not just from members but also from some of the experts who were there. Quite frankly, as far as we are concerned, many of those questions still remain without answers.

For example, there is the issue of CSE's cyber defence capabilities, as well as its offensive and active capabilities. The experts asked many questions on that subject. I introduced an amendment in committee to eliminate these powers, but it was not intended to compromise the safety of Canadians or our cybersecurity. We still kept CSE's defensive powers and capabilities in place. However, we had the right to ask questions, as I did with the senior CSE officials, though I did not get satisfactory answers, especially about what all this means for our country's military future.

CSE is governed by the National Defence Act, but it is a civilian agency, not a military one. However, Bill C-59, and now the federal budget and the legislation that the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness says will be tabled this fall, is opening the door to capability sharing between CSE and Canadian Forces to improve our cyber capabilities in a military context or even in war zones.

I posed questions to the chief of the CSC and other officials who were present throughout different stages of the study. I said that there was some debate in the context of international law as to what sovereignty meant in this digital age. An act of war is when one infringes on someone's sovereignty, but is a server part of one's sovereignty? What is the role that data is playing in this? Certainly, colleagues who work on the trade file had similar concerns that they raised.

I asked these questions in the context of information-sharing capabilities with Canadian forces. All I was able to get as an answer was that this stuff was already being done and it was better that it be codified in the law with all the protections, oversight, and review. Pardon me for being glib, but that all comes with that. However, it is not enough. If a foreign state actor, as the bill describes, engages in some kind of activity, we are talking about the Minister of National Defence having the capability to interfere with intellectual property and to be engaged in an active way.

In this era, when the federal budget is talking about more and more capability sharing between police and intelligence services, which let us not forget is what CSC is, ultimately, as it is not any kind of offensive entity but rather deals with foreign intelligence, and then to involve the Canadian Armed Forces, we are going down a slippery slope. This is not an issue I raise. It was one that witnesses raised time and again throughout this study.

Part of the reason why I tabled amendments, which were unfortunately voted down by the Liberals at committee, was to remove these elements, not because we disagreed, although they certainly are concerning, but because they required proper study. They should not have been part of omnibus legislation. They had nothing to do with the previous Bill C-51. Nor were they part of the public consultations that both the minister did and the committee did.

That is important. I know the answer I will get is that all the issues relate to national security. That is not enough. We need to be able to examine these issues more thoroughly, and that is certainly not the feeling we got.

Lets continue to look at part three of the bill that has to do with CSE. One of my amendments was unfortunately deemed inadmissible by the Chair, because it was too similar to another amendment I had proposed and that my colleague, the leader of the Green Party, had also proposed. The motion was almost word for word what the experts had suggested. It had to do with publicly available information. We will come back to this concept.

The concept, as it currently exists, is important because it gives CSIS and CSE the power to collect publicly available information. With respect to CSE, we were told over and over again that its mandate does not concern Canadians, since the legislation explicitly prohibits it from targeting Canadians. We must be careful, though, and we have to read part three of the bill, subclause 23 and 24, and the next few subclauses.

Subclause 23 indicates that, despite the ban on targeting Canadians, the centre can collect publicly available information for study and research purposes. In short, it lists a number of things to advance its mandate. Even collecting information inadvertently is allowed. This is very problematic.

We tried to do a few things to fix that. The first was to change the definition of “publicly available information”. That is because when I asked representatives of the CSC if the information that Cambridge Analytica legally but immorally stole from Canadians and others throughout the world through Facebook would be part of publicly available information under the definition provided in this legislation, I got a one-word answer, which is rare in these parts. It was “yes”.

What does my amendment propose to do? The Liberals said not to worry, that they would deal with it. They put in the words “a reasonable expectation of privacy”. That is good. That was part of my amendment as well, as was it part of the amendment brought by the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands. However, there is a whole slew of information missing from that. Allow me to read it to the House, since unfortunately it was deemed inadmissible and voted down by Liberals at committee.

It states that it would also include, along with information where Canadians have a reasonable expectation of privacy, “information that is published or broadcast only to a selected audience or information that is subscribed to or purchased illegally”, in other words, the prohibition on information purchased illegally. That is the problem with these amendments sometimes when one is reading them without the rest of the text that follows. Why is that important? It is important because despite the assurances that we got, there are a lot of questions about this. These are questions and concerns that some of the foremost experts in the field all have as well.

I also proposed an amendment for a catch-and-release principle, for information acquired incidentally on Canadians by the CSC. If it truly does not need the information captured incidentally, I understand it. That happens sometimes when one is going to study the information infrastructure in Canada. Therefore, we had a reasonable compromise, which was that if it happens, the centre has a responsibility to get rid of it. That was another amendment that was voted down by the Liberals on the committee.

I could speak at length about the CSE aspects, but I have only 20 minutes for my speech. It just goes to show how complex and worrisome the new concepts are and how we are far from having enough time to address them today. I would even say that we had very little time in committee as well. I have been in Parliament for seven years, and for the first time since becoming an MP, even though I can be quite verbose, my mic was constantly cut off and not through any fault of the chair, but because we simply did not have enough time to get into the details. I am not blaming the committee chair, who does excellent work on this study. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time for this conversation.

I want to come back to something more specific that affects more than just CSIS. I am talking about one of my amendments that were deemed admissible. Amendments that go beyond the scope of a bill can be proposed when that bill is referred to committee before second reading, as this one was, and the Liberals took advantage of that.

The Liberals used that opportunity to essentially present a new bill into the legislation dealing with the question of information obtained under use of torture, which bafflingly the Conservatives voted against. However, we do not have time to get into that today.

I voted in favour of it, for two reasons, but it does not go far enough, and we are going to get to that. The first reason is because the fact that it was even on the table was an acknowledgement that the status quo is not good enough, that the ministerial directives right now are not good enough, and that having these concepts more explicitly enshrined in law is always a good thing. Even though some of these symbolic statements in legislation sometimes seem to be only that, symbolic, they guide the decisions made and the advice given when these agencies seek legal opinions and so forth. On that front, it is a good thing. The other reason I supported it was because it is better than nothing. However, the language that remains is that the Governor in Council “may” issue directives to deputy heads. At the end of the day, we remain in the same situation we were in before. These were all recorded votes, so Canadians can check them.

Let me say for the record that I offered more explicit amendments to nearly every section of the bill that dealt with one of these agencies, putting in an explicit prohibition on using information that may have been obtained under the use of torture. Every single Liberal and Conservative on the committee voted against them. That is absolutely shameful.

Here is the motion that is before us today: that “The Governor in Council must issue written directions to all deputy heads..”. At the very least, even though we are still dealing with ministerial directives, that obliges the government of the day to issue the directions, even though we already know that the directives themselves have loopholes. Even if the current directives, I will acknowledge, are stronger than the ones in the previous government, there are still holes in them, and those holes need to be addressed.

It is sad to see that my amendments, which would have at least done something to prohibit the use of that type of information, were defeated through the committee process.

Speaking of my amendments, I want to mention one thing I forgot at the beginning of my speech, since I think the Canadians watching us will find it interesting. The government said that it was open to suggestions from the opposition. I suggested 120 amendments, and just four of them were accepted by the Liberals Three were accepted on the condition that I use the Liberals' wording, and the other was accepted because it was just a preamble. Not a single one of the Conservatives' 25 or 29 amendments was accepted. Not a single one of the Green Party's 55 amendments was accepted either.

The Liberals proposed amendments. Anyone can look at them, they are public. The Liberals put forward one amendment and decided to withdraw the others because they had an inferior one to replace them. I therefore proposed the Liberals' amendments myself, and they voted against their own amendments. That speaks volumes about the process.

I have just three minutes left, and I have only spoken about one part of the bill. I just spent 20 minutes giving a speech on the flaws of a single part of a bill that has 10 parts. That tells you everything you need to know about the flaws in this bill, not to mention the fact that CSIS retains its power to disrupt and to detain without any right to counsel, as was the case with the former Bill C-51.

Without mentioning that apart from changing the word “sharing” to “disclosure”, even though the word “disclosure” was there, what was qualified by groups like the B.C. Liberties Association, among others, as a cosmetic change at best to the information sharing regime remains in place. It was one of the biggest criticisms we had, and a reason for voting against Bill C-51 in the previous Parliament.

We will get to that through a future point of order, but hopefully we can vote on different elements of the bill. There are two parts that are good, review and oversight. Despite the fact that we tried to make changes to the review body to make it more accountable to Parliament and less to the executive, it was rejected. With the real-time oversight of the intelligence commissioner, we tried to make that a full-time position. I was not able to propose those changes, as they would require royal prerogative, which I, as an opposition member, do not have. Perhaps I can enter a final plea, although at report stage it is probably too late for that.

It is all too clear that, on the one hand, the Liberals did not want the Conservatives to criticize them for standing up for the rights and freedoms of Canadians and, on the other hand, they wanted to try to protect their progressive image in light of our legitimate criticisms that they have failed in their duty to protect the rights and freedoms of Canadians. Despite all the time we were able to dedicate to the study, despite the public consultations, questions from experts, criticisms from members, and a grandiose announcement that the Liberals were going to do things differently in committee, still, all of our amendments were rejected. The same system will remain in place and not enough improvements are being made in terms of what the Conservatives proposed.

In conclusion, it is true that we are entering a brave new world. We certainly know that in this digital age. I acknowledge that the threats are evolving and we need to address them. There is no doubt about that. However, one thing is for sure: right now, the ability of these agencies to act is outpacing the protections that Canadians have for their rights and freedoms, and their privacy.

That, for me and my party, is completely unacceptable, because at the end of the day, if we truly want to defeat these threats and what they stand for, if we truly want to stand on the other side of that terror and on the right side of history, it means standing up for Canadians' rights and freedoms. This bill just would not do that, and we will continue to oppose it. It is absolutely unfortunate, because we heard that better is always possible, but it does not seem to be with this legislation.

Report stageNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

May 28th, 2018 / 5:55 p.m.
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Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan


Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, at this point in the proceedings, we can get back to the topic of Bill C-59 for what is really, under our procedures, both a report stage debate and a second reading debate.

I am very pleased today to rise in support of Bill C-59, as it has emerged from the standing committee, the government's proposed legislation to update and modernize our country's national security framework. This landmark bill covers a number of measures that were informed very throughly by the views and opinions of a broad range of Canadians during extensive public consultations in 2016.

It was in that same spirit of openness, engagement, and transparency that Bill C-59 was referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security before second reading. The committee recently finished its study of the bill.

I want to thank members of that committee for their diligent and thorough examination of the legislation, both during their consideration of the bill, and indeed, during their pre-study of this subject matter in 2016, which contributed significantly to the drafting of Bill C-59 itself.

An even stronger bill, with over 40 amendments accepted, is now back before the House. The amendments would bring greater clarity, transparency, accountability, and public reporting. One of the major changes made by the committee was the addition of a new act in the bill, entitled avoiding complicity in mistreatment by foreign entities act.

Last fall we undertook to enhance and make public a previously secret 2011 ministerial directive to both CSIS and the RCMP that dealt with how those agencies should share and receive information with and from foreign entities when there was a risk that the information may have been derived by, or could result in, torture or mistreatment. Obviously, it is important to have ministerial directives governing such a serious topic.

The goal of my directive was to establish strong safeguards to ensure that information shared by Canada would not lead to mistreatment and that Canada would not use any information that could be tainted by mistreatment, with one exception. That is when it is essential to prevent the loss of life or serious injury.

The new avoiding complicity in mistreatment by foreign entities act would go a step further than ministerial directives. It would create a statutory requirement for such directives to exist in the form of orders in council, and not just for CSIS and the RCMP but for all departments and agencies that deal with national security. It would also require that each of those directives in the orders in council be made public.

This amendment, which is now in Bill C-59, is another example of how this legislation would strive constantly to achieve two things simultaneously. This bill would strengthen Canada's ability to effectively address and counter 21st-century threats while safeguarding the rights and freedoms we cherish as Canadians.

Bill C-59 is the result of the most comprehensive review of Canada's national security framework since the passing of the original CSIS Act more than 30 years ago. That review included unprecedented open and transparent public consultations on national security undertaken by Public Safety Canada and by the Department of Justice.

Several issues were covered, including countering radicalization to violence, oversight, and accountability, threat reduction and the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, the former Bill C-51. All Canadians were invited and encouraged to take part in the consultations, which were held between September and December of 2016.

The response to the consultations was tremendous. Citizens, community leaders, experts, academics, non-governmental organizations, and parliamentarians alike made their views and ideas known over the course of that consultation period. In the end, tens of thousands of views were received, all of which were valuable in shaping the scope and the content of Bill C-59.

With almost 59,000 responses received, the online consultation was what generated by far the largest volume of input. In addition to that, there were nearly 18,000 submissions received by email. In addition, public town halls were held in five Canadian cities: Halifax, Markham, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Yellowknife. This gave citizens across the country a chance to share their thoughts and opinions in person.

The Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security held numerous meetings on the consultations. It even travelled across the country to hear testimony not only from expert witnesses, but also general members of the public who were invited to express their views.

A digital town hall and two Twitter chats were also organized.

Members of the public also had the opportunity to make their voices heard at 17 other engagement events led by different members of Parliament at the constituency level.

In addition, 14 in-person sessions were held with academics and experts across the country, as well as a large round table with experts from civil society.

I simply make the point that there was an extensive effort to be open, to be inclusive, to ensure that every Canadian who had something to say on this topic could have the opportunity to do that. This was not a process reserved for politicians in Parliament or for experts in ivory towers. This was an open, public, inclusive process, and Canadians let their voices be heard.

After all of that information was collected, the next step was to carefully analyze every comment, every submission, every letter, and all of the other forms of input. All of the views that had been expressed to the various consultative mechanisms have now been published on the Government of Canada's open data portal, so anyone interested in actually seeing who said what to whom throughout the whole consultation process can look it up and see what the dialogue was like.

In addition to that, an independently prepared report provides an overview of what was heard during the consultations.

While it would be difficult to summarize everything that we heard from Canadians in a consultation process that massive, I can speak to a few of the key themes and ideas that emerged.

As one might expect, given the thousands of submissions, there were widely differing opinions. That is what we would expect from Canadians who are very engaged in an important discussion. Certainly that was the case in these consultations.

The results make one thing perfectly clear. Canadians want accountability. They want transparency and effectiveness from their security and intelligence agencies. They want all three of those things, accountability, transparency, and effectiveness, together. They want the government and Parliament to achieve all of those things at once. Bill C-59 goes farther and better than any other piece of legislation in Canadian history to accomplish those three things together.

Canadians expect their rights, their freedoms, and their privacy to be protected at the same time as their security is protected.

Consistent with what we heard, Bill C-59 would modernize and enhance Canada's security and intelligence laws to ensure our agencies would have the tools they needed to protect us and it would do so within a clear legal and constitutional framework that would comply with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

There is no doubt in my mind that the legislation before the House today has been strengthened and improved by the result of the close work that was done by the standing committee. All the scrutiny and clause-by-clause analysis and consideration, all the debate around all of those various amendments has resulted in a better product.

When we tabled this legislation, and before the committee did its work, many of the most renowned experts in the country said that it was very good legislation and that it accomplished more in the field of national security than any other proposal since the CSIS Act was first introduced. That was a great compliment coming from the imminent experts who made those observations. However, now, after the debate, after all of the input, after all of the amendments, the legislation is even better.

One of the things I am most proud of with respect to Bill C-59 is how it represents a dynamic shift in the review and accountability structure for our entire national security apparatus. Currently, some of our agencies that deal in national security have a review body that examines their work. CSIS of course has the Security Intelligence Review committee, SIRC. The RCMP has the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission, CRCC. Those are a couple of examples. However, there is no unified review body that can look beyond one agency at a time and actually follow the evidence as it moves across government from agency to agency.

For the first time, Bill C-59 would fix this problem by creating the national security and intelligence review agency, or NSIRA. NSIRA is largely modelled on the often discussed idea of a “super SIRC”, which would have the authority to review all matters of national security, whether they are with CSIS, or CBSA, or IRCC, or the RCMP, or Global Affairs, or DND, or anywhere else in the Government of Canada.

When we link that to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, which was recently created by the passage of Bill C-22, Canadians can be assured that we have a review architecture in place that is required for the 21st century. It involves parliamentarians, through the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. It involves expert review through NSIRA. In addition to that, it involves, for the first time ever, a brand new innovation that we have introduced, a new element of actual real-time oversight, which has never existed before, through the work of the new intelligence commission, which is also created by virtue of this legislation, Bill C-59.

We also worked to ensure that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the central principle behind Bill C-59. This is perhaps nowhere more evident than the changes we have made to the former Bill C-51's threat reduction measures.

When Bill C-51 created these threat reduction measures, it created an open-ended, seemingly limitless course of possible action for CSIS to take. This bill would create a closed list of specific actions that CSIS could apply to a federal court for permission to undertake. It is open, it is transparent, while at the same time gives CSIS the tools it needs to keep Canadians safe.

Another part of the former Bill C-51 that we have undertaken to dramatically improve is the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, or SCISA. After Bill C-59 is enacted, this new legislation will be renamed to the security of Canada information disclosure act, and it will not grant any new powers to collect information on Canadians. Rather it is a roadmap for how existing information related to a threat to the security of Canada can and should be shared between departments and agencies in order to mitigate or eliminate that threat.

It clarifies that advocacy, protest, dissent, or artistic expression are not activities that undermine the security of Canada, and it creates a robust review framework to ensure that information is being disclosed to other departments appropriately, with proper record-keeping at both ends of the process.

Next I want to touch on an issue that I believe almost every member of the House supports, and that is the fixing of the passenger protect program, or what is sometimes known as the “no-fly list”.

I imagine that virtually every member of the chamber has met with a member of the group called “No-Fly List Kids” at some point during this Parliament. To be clear, there are currently no children on Canada's passenger protect list. However, there are children and adults who may share a name with someone who is on the list. Former defence minister Bill Graham famously had to deal with this very problem when someone sharing his name was actually listed.

Fixing the problem involves both funding and new legislation. Bill C-59 will play an important role, allowing the government to collect domestic passenger manifests and screen the list itself, rather than sharing our passenger protect list with over 100 airlines around the world. What this means is that once the government is collecting the passenger manifests, it will be able to issue redress numbers to people who share a name with a listed individual. Anyone who has booked a flight to the United States in the past few years has probably noticed that their system has a box for a unique redress number. Once Canada's system is up and running, it will operate in a very similar fashion.

I would also note that we got the necessary funding to develop this new system this past March, in the most recent budget. This measure is another excellent example of ensuring that the rights of Canadians are respected while at the same time safeguarding national security.

There are many other important parts of Bill C-59 that I will not have the time in 20 minutes to go through in detail. However, I would like to just mention some of the others—for example, the new stand-alone legislation to modernize Canada's Communications Security Establishment. It has needed this modernization. It has needed this new legislation for a long time. Bill C-59 introduces that legislation.

There are also important changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, which ensures that protections are afforded to young Canadians in respect of recognizance orders.

Changes in the Criminal Code would, among other things, require the Attorney General to publish an annual report setting out the number of terrorism recognizances entered into during the course of the year. Also, there are very important changes to the CSIS Act that would ensure that our security agents are confident they have the legal and constitutional authority to undertake their essential work on behalf of all Canadians, including, for example, the complex matter of handling data sets, taking into account the advice and judgments of recent decisions in the federal courts.

Should Bill C-59 pass, this historic piece of legislation would enhance Canada’s national security, keep its citizens safe, and safeguard Canadians’ constitutionally protected rights and freedoms.

For all these reasons, I would encourage all hon. colleagues to join me in supporting Bill C-59. I am glad it enjoys strong support among Canadians generally and among some of our country's most distinguished experts in national security and civil liberties. We have been very fortunate to have the benefit of their advice as we have moved this legislation through the parliamentary process.

Report stageNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

May 28th, 2018 / 6:15 p.m.
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Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, I find it interesting that the member said in his speech that the central tenet of Bill C-59 is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I was under the impression that Bill C-59 was about protecting Canadians and national security. Let us keep that in mind.

During the clause-by-clause at the public safety and national security committee, over 235 amendments were proposed. Interestingly enough, all 29 Conservative amendments were defeated by the Liberals, and all 43 Liberal amendments were passed.

Now, on one such amendment that was proposed at committee, we heard from national security experts. It was proposed by the Conservatives, but it does not matter who proposed it because it was about national security. This really should be a civil liberties bill, because twice as many witnesses at committee were either civil liberty individuals or lawyers, as opposed to national security experts.

One thing that was brought up by a number of experts was the disconnect between intelligence and evidence—

Report stageNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

May 28th, 2018 / 6:20 p.m.
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Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, many constitutional and civil rights experts who have looked at the ministerial directives we drafted a year ago and at the provisions in this bill, which take the essence of those ministerial directives and would give them the force of law through orders in council as a result of Bill C-59, have said that those directive are the most progressive they have ever seen. Plus, they are public for the first time in Canadian history. We have moved this along light years from where it was.

Let me just put a hypothetical situation to the hon. member. Imagine that there was a would-be bomber in a little town in rural Ontario who was going to get on a train to go to a big urban centre to detonate a bomb, and presume that information about that threat came to the attention of the RCMP and there was a question as to the source of that information, but the information was accurate and was viable. What would members do in those circumstances? Would they let the bomber get on the train to go to a large urban centre to kill thousands of people, or would they put in the law, as we have done, the exception that when the use of the information is necessary to save Canadian lives, they can in fact save those lives?

Report stageNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

May 28th, 2018 / 6:20 p.m.
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Whitby Ontario


Celina Caesar-Chavannes LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development

Mr. Speaker, one of the sections of Bill C-59 that the minister did not talk about too much was part 8 that deals with the Youth Criminal Justice Act. When we think about indigenous youth, racialized youth, and especially when we look at some of the challenges they might face, the amendments in this piece of legislation would require that only a youth justice court would have the jurisdiction to make orders against young persons, and would ensure that they are detained in a safe, fair, and humane manner. I wonder if the minister could further elaborate on that and talk to the importance of this particular part of the legislation as it pertains to our young people.

Public SafetyOral Questions

May 3rd, 2018 / 2:50 p.m.
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Alupa Clarke Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, they can enforce what they want. It is a question of political will. That is it.

Canada recently took part in a joint police operation with its allies to combat international terrorism, specifically that perpetrated by ISIS. The purpose of the operation was to undermine the power of the terrorist group's propaganda machine by seizing countless software programs and Internet servers all over the world. The operation was laudable and necessary, but in matters of counterterrorism, we must attack on all fronts.

Why is the Liberal government eliminating criminal penalties for terrorists right here on Canadian soil in Bill C-59?

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 27th, 2017 / noon
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Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that I have only five minutes left to contribute, because the government essentially brought in closure. Instead of submitting a problematic bill to the House of Commons for debate and improvement, the government decided to resort to a form of closure that would prevent us from exploring every aspect of this bill.

The NDP is against referring Bill C-59 to committee in part because it does not achieve what the Liberals promised to Canadians. During the last campaign, the Liberals said that they were wrong to vote in favour of the former Harper government's Bill C-51, which encroached on Canadians' civil rights, including the right to privacy. The Liberals said they would right that wrong when they were in power.

What they did was introduce Bill C-59, which also raises some serious concerns around privacy protection and does nothing to fix the Bill C-51's mistakes. The Liberals introduced a bill that does not fix any of the Harper government's flaws or mistakes on this issue. They are continuing along the same path, and as such, Bill C-59 will not address the gaps in Bill C-51. That is why we, the NDP, oppose this bill.

However, what the Liberals have done is put in place a procedural trick, and it is a procedural trick that is a type of closure. What this does is twofold.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, when we look at rules for the House of Commons around omnibus legislation, Standing Order 69.1 would give you the power to divide this legislation, because it is omnibus legislation with negative impacts on Canadians. However, because of this procedural trick from the Liberal government, you, Mr. Speaker, are not permitted, under the very strict framework of Standing Order 69.1, to divide this legislation. Therefore, we are forced to vote on a motion of the government that does not allow each and every one of us as parliamentarians to actually vote on the rare but still occurring positive aspects of the bill, and vote against the negative aspects of the bill. It is the heart and soul of parliamentary democracy to know why we are voting and to vote in the interests of our constituents, to stand up in this House and vote. The Standing Order 69.1 provisions were put into place so that we do not have this bulldozing of parliamentary democracy by the government, because the Speaker has the power to divide the bill. That is, except in the case of this particular procedural motion that the government has put into place, which stops your ability, Mr. Speaker, to divide this, so that, as parliamentarians, we can vote in the interests of our citizens, the constituents.

The current government has done even worse than the former Harper government. When we look at the number of times proportional to the number of non-appropriation bills passed, the new Liberal government is 25% worse than the old Harper government in its invoking of closure. I am not even including this procedural trick. What we have is a Liberal government that made many promises back in 2015, and one of the Liberals' promises was to respect parliamentary democracy. What the government is doing today is symbolic of what it has done over the last two years. It is 25% worse than the Harper government on closure, and now it is putting this procedural trick into place so that Canadians cannot have members of Parliament voting on each aspect of this omnibus legislation. It is for that reason that we say no to the motion and no to the bill.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 12:05 p.m.
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Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan


Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

moved that Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters, be referred forthwith to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

Madam Speaker, the Government of Canada has no greater responsibility than keeping Canadians safe. We must fulfill that essential and solemn obligation while at the same time safeguarding Canadian rights and freedoms.

This double objective of protecting Canadians while defending their rights and freedoms was the basis of our commitments regarding national security during the last election, and it informed everything we have done in the area since we have been in government.

We have, for example, created a committee of parliamentarians with unprecedented access to classified information to scrutinize the activities of all national security and intelligence agencies. We have launched the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence to help Canada become a world leader in counter-radicalization.

We have issued new ministerial directions that more clearly prohibit conduct that would result in a substantial risk of torture. Our starting point was the most extensive and inclusive consultations about national security ever undertaken by the Government of Canada. Beginning in the spring of 2016, that effort involved individual stakeholders, round tables, town halls, various renowned experts, studies by parliamentary committees, and a broad solicitation of views online. More than 75,000 submissions were received.

All of this fresh input was supplemented by earlier judicial inquires by Iacobucci, O'Connor, and Major, as well as several parliamentary proposals, certain court judgments, and reports from existing national security review bodies. It all helped to shape the legislation before us today, Bill C-59, the national security act of 2017.

The measures in this bill cover three core themes, enhancing accountability and transparency, correcting problematic elements from the former Bill C-51, and updating our national security laws to ensure that our agencies can keep pace with evolving threats.

One of the major advances in this legislation is the creation of the national security and intelligence review agency. This new body, which has been dubbed by some as a "super SIRC", will be mandated to review any activity carried out by any government department that relates to national security and intelligence, as well as any matters referred to it by the government. It will be able to investigate public complaints. It will specifically replace the existing review bodies for CSIS and the Communications Security Establishment, but it will also be authorized to examine security and intelligence activities throughout the government, including the Canada Border Services Agency.

In this day and age, security operations regularly involve multiple departments and agencies. Therefore, effective accountability must not be limited to the silo of one particular institution. Rather, it must follow the trail wherever it leads. It must provide for comprehensive analysis and integrated findings and recommendations. That is exactly what Canadians will get from this new review agency.

Bill C-59 also creates the brand new position of the intelligence commissioner, whose role will be to oversee and approve, or not approve, certain intelligence activities by CSIS and the CSE in advance. The intelligence commissioner will be a retired or supernumerary superior court judge whose decisions will be binding. In other words, if he or she says that a particular proposed operation is unreasonable or inappropriate, it will simply not proceed.

Taken together, the new comprehensive review agency, the intelligence commissioner, and the new committee of parliamentarians will give Canada accountability mechanisms of unprecedented scope and depth. This is something that Canadians have been calling for, and those calls intensified when the former Bill C-51 was introduced. We heard them loud and clear during our consultations, and we are now putting these accountability measures into place.

BillC-59 also brings clarity and rigour to internal government information sharing under the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, or SCISA. This is the law that allows government institutions to share information with each other in respect of activities that undermine the security of Canada. Among other things, Bill C-59 would change the name of the law, in English, to the security of Canada information disclosure act, to be clear that we are talking only about the disclosure of existing information, not the collection of anything new. Government institutions will now be required to keep specific records of all disclosures made under the act, and to provide these records to the new review agency.

Importantly, Bill C-59 clarifies the definition of activities “that undermine the security of Canada”. For example, it is explicit in stating that advocacy, protest, dissent, and artistic expression are not included. The new legislation would also provide more precision in the definition of “terrorist propaganda”, in line with the well-known criminal offence of counselling.

The paramountcy of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is an overriding principle in Bill C-59. That is perhaps most evident in the updates that we are proposing to the CSIS Act. This is the law that created CSIS back in 1984, and it has not been modernized in any meaningful way since then.

The former Bill C-51 empowered CSIS to engage in measures to reduce threats to the security of Canada without clearly defining what those measures could and could not include. We are now creating a specific closed list of measures that CSIS will have the authority to take to deal with threats. If any such activity might limit a charter right, CSIS will have to go before a judge. The activity can only be allowed if the judge is satisfied that it is compliant with the charter.

Another concern we heard during the consultations and more generally has been about the no-fly list, especially the problem of false positives, which affects people whose names are similar to listed individuals. This is due to long-standing design flaws in the way that the no-fly list was first created many years ago. Those flaws require legislative, regulatory, and technological changes to fix them.

Bill C-59 includes the necessary legislative changes and paves the way for the others that will be necessary. In essence, Canada's no-fly list currently piggybacks onto the airlines' computer systems, which means that the government does not control the fields to be included nor the way that the whole system works. This bill would give us the authority we need to allow the government, instead of airlines, to screen passenger information against the no-fly list. The people who have been affected by this, especially those with children, feel frustrated and stigmatized by their no-fly problems. That is entirely understandable, and that is why we are working so hard to get this fixed. Passing Bill C-59 is a necessary step toward that end.

There is much more in Bill C-59 than I could possibly deal with in these 10 minutes, but in keeping with the open and inclusive approach that we have taken with this legislation since before it was even drafted, we are sending it to committee before second reading to ensure that the examination of the bill is as thorough as possible.

Professor Craig Forcese, a respected expert in national security law from the University of Ottawa, said Bill C-59 “appears to be more carefully crafted than anything we've seen in this area in a long time..”. I appreciate that, but there is still more work to be done.

I certainly hope to hear ideas and advice from colleagues in the House. We are open to constructive suggestions as we work together to ensure that Canada's national security framework is as strong and effective as it can possibly be.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Madam Speaker, I rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-59 and to express my concerns about this bill being passed in its current form. I have read through the bill carefully and tried to understand the intentions of the Liberals, who seem to want to accommodate terrorists.

In the Liberals' speeches, they try to convince us that they are looking out for Canadians and working to keep them safe. However, if we look at their actions, such as the ones proposed in Bill C-59, it is obvious that either the Liberals are getting bad advice, or they are more concerned about the rights of criminals than those of law-abiding Canadians.

Let me explain. The most significant and most contentious change that Bill C-59 would make to the Criminal Code is the amendment of the offence set out in section 83.221, which applies to “Every person who...knowingly advocates or promotes the commission of terrorism offences in general”. Bill C-59 would introduce a much more stringent test by changing the wording to “Every person who counsels another person to commit a terrorism offence”.

The same goes for the definition of “terrorist propaganda” in subsection 83.222(8), which will significantly reduce the ability of law enforcement officials to use the tool for dismantling terrorist propaganda with judicial authorization as set out in Bill C-51. One could argue that using the expression “another person” means that the offence must target someone specifically rather than the broader target of domestic terrorism and the offence that Bill C-51 is supposed to prevent.

Madam Speaker, I know you understand the importance of what I just said. If Bill C-59 passes in its current form, terrorists will be free to spread all kinds of propaganda using social media, without any fear of being arrested or prosecuted.

The vast majority of terrorist activities are generated from propaganda that is spread in a general way, rather than directed at a specific person. Imagine how this measure will affect the work of our police officers and how we combat terrorism. This proposal is absurd, because it protects criminals and those who want to engage in violence in our country. The government has some explaining to do, and I mean today.

Bill C-59 limits what the Canadian Security Intelligence Service can do to help us protect ourselves. When Bill C-51 was tabled by our government, it gave CSIS the power to engage in threat disruption activities. This meant CSIS could contact the parents of a radicalized youth and urge them to prevent their child from travelling to a war zone or committing an attack here in Canada.

However, if the Liberals' Bill C-59 passes, CSIS will lose that power and will not be able to do anything on the spot to protect us. All of its activities will require a warrant, which is not exactly convenient when the goal is to stop someone from committing an act of terror. Currently, a CSIS agent can pretend to be a local resident to influence someone who is preparing to commit a terrorist act. Bill C-59 will put a stop to that. Agents will just have to watch the threat develop and will have to get a warrant from a judge before they can take action. By the time the warrant is issued, it could be too late. Why are the Liberals putting so many obstacles in the way of law enforcement, who are just trying to protect us Canadians?

The Conservative Party has always taken Canadians' safety seriously, as demonstrated by the introduction and passage of Bill C-51. We must not forget that this bill was passed by the Conservative government with the support of the Liberals, who were then the second opposition party. A couple of years ago, in 2015, the Liberals were in agreement. There was a slight change during the election campaign and now they have introduced Bill C-59, but let us not forget that Bill C-51 was approved by the Liberals.

Now it seems that the Liberals are trying to make things more difficult for the officers tasked with fighting these criminals. In 2015, during the campaign, our Liberal colleagues clearly stated that, if they were elected, they would amend this legislation. It is important to highlight that the bill was only introduced in Parliament at the end of June of this year. It took them 18 months.

The Liberals took their sweet time in keeping their election promise. Perhaps they realized that the original legislation was not as flawed as they thought. They now want to make amendments to show that they are keeping another promise.

The Conservative Party knows how important it is to have measures regarding national security institutions and the responsibility that comes with that. For us, there is no question that the safety of Canadians comes before the comfort of terrorists and criminals. Canadians who love their country come before those who are seeking to destroy it. Unlike the Liberals, we are committed to protecting Canadians. That is not just an idea that we came up with during the election campaign. We have always been committed to that goal because the threat still exists and has not diminished. The threat posed by these criminals is becoming increasingly sophisticated.

We have also heard that these thugs are wandering the streets of our communities after fighting with ISIS. They fought against our own soldiers. We know that they fought alongside ISIS and that many of them came back to Canada. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is now saying that he is looking for evidence to arrest them. That is all well and good, but in the meantime, Canadians need clearer information about the situation.

Where is the transparency that the Liberals promised Canadians? Why is the Minister of Public Safety not saying anything about these criminals? Why is he being so silent on this?

As it now stands, Bill C-59 will greatly hinder the efforts of our peace officers and compromise the safety of Canadians, while facilitating the work of terrorists.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 12:30 p.m.
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Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. That is precisely what I would like to know, and that is the point of asking questions.

To our understanding, the proposed changes in Bill C-59 will diminish what CSIS agents can do on the ground. Is there something else that it is trying to say? I would love to know. At the end of the day, if I misunderstood, if my team misunderstood, then so be it, but as far as we can tell the agent will have to get a warrant from a judge before taking direct action to address a situation. That is where we take issue with this bill.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 12:30 p.m.
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Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Madam Speaker, today, we begin debating Bill C-59. In fact, we are debating a motion to send the bill to committee before second reading. I will come back to that.

Bill C-59 is the result of a process that began more than two years ago, even before the current government was elected. We know that we can trace this bill to Bill C-51, which was introduced by the Conservatives and then passed by the Conservative majority, with the support of the Liberals, of course, including the current Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Prime Minister.

When I think about the Liberals' approach to national security in the last parliament, an certain expression comes to mind.

They want to have their cake and eat it too.

That is the problem. It is extremely worrying to see that someone can be so cavalier about an issue as fundamental as the rights of Canadians, their freedom, and their right to privacy. This is what was jeopardized, on several fronts, by the system introduced by the previous Bill C-51. Unfortunately, 10 minutes is not enough for me to review all the problematic elements, so I will instead focus on the Liberal government's effort, which is unfortunately a failure.

Of course, there are some elements that we could support in the current bill. The creation of what some are calling this new body of super SIRC is something we could support. The changes that are being brought forward are long overdue for the no-fly list, although much more needs to be done.

I would be remiss to not mention the importance of the fight we have been waging with groups like the no-fly list kids, fighting the false positives, and making sure the proper funding is there for a proper redress system, which is not something specifically addressed in the bill. It is an element that, at the very least, things have started to move, although not quickly enough for the needs of these families who pay the price in dignity and travel logistics every time they attempt to travel.

There are several elements that we are extremely worried about. There is the part about the information sharing system's name change, as the minister even admitted. This change was brought about with the previous Bill C-51. A new name was given and there was a cosmetic change, but the concerns remain the same. That is what we are hearing from groups like the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association. This group explained to us that, despite the good intentions, keeping a system that should have never existed in the first place is problematic. This is why the NDP is asking that the provisions brought about by Bill C-51 be outright repealed. That is what my colleague from Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke proposed with his Bill C-303, which was put on the Order Paper and was introduced. It proposes to eliminate all these problematic elements.

That is why New Democrats have always called for the full repeal of all elements that were brought in by former Bill C-51. These cosmetic changes that are being proposed by the Liberals are not enough. The concerns still exist about sharing information between government departments. The minister can use the word “disclosure” and say it is already existing information, but the fact of the matter is, if we are considering, for example, a Canadian detained abroad and some of the horrific and tragic situations that have led to many of these national inquiries, which have led to some of the recommendations the government is attempting to act on, part of the problem has always been information sharing. For example, we can look at consular services and foreign affairs, that might be obtaining information about a Canadian detained abroad in a country with a horrible human rights record. That information is being shared with CSIS, that then might share it with the Five Eyes allies, like the U.S., that in the past has not been up to snuff on some cases of the way Canadians have been treated in some of these situations, where they have been stuck in countries with horrible human rights records. None of that would actually be fixed by what is being proposed in the bill.

We have other serious concerns about the bill. One has to do with the changes regarding cybersecurity and, in particular, the idea of creating cyber-weapons. Experts and civil society are very concerned, because the Liberals have not properly explained how these weapons will be protected. We are not talking about traditional weapons that can be stockpiled in a particular location to protect a physical place. We are talking about creating situations in which weapons can easily be moved around the digital world. This point was raised and it is worrisome.

I want to get back to the motion before us. The government is acting as though sending the motion to committee before second reading is a good thing. It claims that the process will allow us to have a more in-depth study. On the surface, it is hard to blame them. We would be happy to have an in-depth discussion on this in committee. It is extremely important.

Consider this. This motion would put us in a position, and the Liberals have attempted to find this loophole, where we can no longer fall back on a standing order specifically to prevent this kind of omnibus legislation from being put forward, once again something the government promised not to do. This is omnibus legislation, the creation of something like three new acts, and many acts being substantially changed. The National Defence Act would change. Different elements of acts under the purview of the public safety minister would change. These disparate elements require separate votes.

The fact is that at 150 pages long, with so many elements being tackled, it is of grave concern that we would have to go through it in such an expedited process. It deserves to be properly separated and considered. That is particularly concerning because that is exactly the approach that the government said it would not take. That was part of the problem with Bill C-51. It changed so many elements of how we would deal with national security and protecting Canadians' rights in this country that it became almost impossible for the committee to give it proper study, despite the valiant attempts that were certainly made by the New Democrat opposition and with little help from the Liberals at the time.

I unfortunately have just 10 minutes, so I want to take this opportunity to say that we will be raising a point of order to try to convince the Chair that we must separate the different elements of this bill. We want to show our support for some of these elements, but we want to call the government to order by opposing the elements that were meant to repair the damage caused by the former Bill C-51. These elements make up the bulk of the bill, but they do not repair that damage.

Let me go back to some of the other problematic elements in this bill that were supposed to be fixed from Bill C-51. Let us look at the threat-reduction powers that were given to CSIS. The very existence of CSIS was specifically to separate the powers of intelligence gathering and law enforcement. Too many times, history pointed to occasions where the RCMP failed to juggle the dual responsibilities of intelligence gathering and law enforcement. Different recommendations led to the creation of CSIS.

The minister is obviously fully aware of this because, as he mentioned in his comments, the CSIS Act was adopted over 30 years ago, with very little overhaul, until Bill C-51 and this legislation being proposed. We have to understand that CSIS does not have threat reduction powers. That responsibility belongs to law enforcement, as well as the information-sharing regime brought in by Bill C-51. Once again, the changes being proposed by New Democrats are certainly an improvement, but when the bar is as low as it was with Bill C-51, it does not go far enough. These are the types of elements of the previous legislation under the previous government that need to be fully repealed. Unfortunately, CSIS was given this responsibility, which is not part of its mandate and should never have been, to begin with. It is exactly the opposite of why CSIS was created.

I see that my time is unfortunately running out. Since we are debating a motion, we have just 10 minutes to debate a 150-page bill. This is obviously one of the reasons why the elements should have been separated.

We are opposed to this motion. The only solution is to repeal all of the elements in the former Bill C-51.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 12:45 p.m.
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Vancouver South B.C.


Harjit S. Sajjan LiberalMinister of National Defence

Madam Speaker, as Minister of National Defence, it gives me great pleasure to rise to speak in support of Bill C-59, an act respecting national security matters.

As my colleague from public security indicated in his earlier speech, Bill C-59 proposes a number of timely and greatly-needed measures to enhance Canada's national security framework, while respecting the constitutional principles enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This commitment to security and the highest standards of democratic accountability is clearly apparent in part 3 of Bill C-59, which would provide the Communications Security Establishment, known as CSE, with the modern tools and authorities it requires to better protect Canadians from foreign threats.

CSE is one of Canada's critical security and intelligence organizations within the National Defence portfolio. However, it is not a household name. Nevertheless, CSE has a long and proud history. Indeed, over the course of the year, CSE has been celebrating its 70th anniversary, reflecting on its proud service to Canadians since the end of World War II.

I want to highlight the key contribution that CSE makes to our safety and security. Its contribution to the protection of Canada's important cyber-infrastructure cannot be underestimated, and its role in protecting Canadians from terrorism is greatly appreciated.

Currently, CSE's important mission is derived from its authorities within its three-part mandate in the National Defence Act.

First, it is Canada's national signals intelligence agency. It serves the national interest by providing foreign signals intelligence in accordance with the government's intelligence priorities.

I want to emphasize that what CSE does is foreign intelligence. By law, it cannot direct its activities at Canadians or anyone in Canada. CSE's intelligence helps prevent terrorist attacks, radicalizing, and training individuals to carry out attacks in Canada and around the world. It protects Canada's deployed military forces. CSE's foreign intelligence informs Canada's government decision-making in the fields of national security, defence, and international affairs. It provides key insights that help guide Canada and its allies on important issues.

The second part of CSE's mandate is cyber defence and protection. CSE provides advice, guidance, and services to help ensure the protection of electronic information and information infrastructures of importance to the Government of Canada. Its sophisticated cyber and technical expertise helps identify, prepare for, and respond to the most severe cyber-threats and attacks against computer networks and systems, as well as the important information they contain. It helps protect Government of Canada systems from foreign states, hackers, terrorists, and criminals. It tracks cyber-threats from around the world, and works with government departments to defend and strengthen systems against compromise. Finally, CSE helps protect sensitive information held by the government from theft, including the personal information of Canadians.

The third part of CSE's mandate is to provide technical and operational assistance to federal law enforcement and security agencies in the performance of their lawful duties. Under the assistance mandate, those capabilities may be used to assist a Canadian law enforcement or security agency under the requesting agency's legal authority. Security and intelligence agencies require modern capabilities and powers to maintain the security of our country.

In today's dynamic security environment, CSE's efforts to protect Canada and Canadians against threats are more critical than ever.

Under the bill before us, CSE would be given modern cyber authorities and tools to respond to serious foreign threats. As it works to protect Canadians against threats, CSE knows it has a responsibility to protect privacy, and it takes that responsibility very seriously. Indeed, these principles of lawfulness and privacy are critical to the work of CSE. Protecting Canadian privacy is not an afterthought. It is a fundamental part of the organizational culture and is embedded within CSE's operational structures, policies, and processes.

Across our country, and indeed around the world, governments and citizens are relying on evolving technology to communicate, work, and to live.

We expect to be able to interact with our governments in the digital world, and we want to access our government services online.

In recognition of the cyber-revolution, CSE has focused on improving the government's cyber-defences by building specialized cyber-tools and developing resilience within our systems. We are better positioned to resist and protect ourselves against cyber-threats than ever before. However, as new and sophisticated communications technologies emerge, we need to be prepared to protect ourselves from new threats.

This is the world in which CSE works diligently every day to protect our governments, businesses, and our citizens. Because of our sophisticated understanding of the cyberworld, CSE was asked by the Minister of Democratic Institutions to assess the cyber-threats that faced Canada's democratic processes. Also, it was asked for advice about best cyber practices to all political parties in the House.

Trust in our democratic processes is essential for our democracy to work. We have all seen how our democratic processes have been attractive targets for nation states and non-state actors seeking to influence our country. CSE has, throughout its 70-year history, served our country proudly, while adapting to enormous changes in technology and how people use it in the international security environment and in the threat landscape. Today, cyber is clearly a part of that threatened landscape. In responding to this threat, CSE has proven itself to be an innovative leader and a trusted partner.

In the past year, CSE has also taken several unprecedented steps to be more open and transparent about its work for the country, telling Canadians more about the work it does to protect their security, their personal information, their privacy, and their rights and freedoms. It has increased its public outreach through a number of media interviews, participating as speakers in various symposia and conferences, and assisting in other outreach efforts to discuss CSE's mandate and topical issues around security and defence.

I should also like to add that officials from CSE have appeared many times as invited expert witnesses before committees in both Houses.

Many of my hon. colleagues know these officials as dedicated and knowledgeable public servants who are keen to help us understand the complex work that they undertake. No doubt CSE is embracing an open approach to communicating with Canadians about the important work it does.

There can be no greater obligation than to protect the security of Canadians at home and abroad. Bill C-59 would provide CSE with the authorities and tools to maintain the highest standards in security protection while adhering to the high standards of accountability and transparency.

This is s timely and necessary bill. It would serve both Canada's national security interests and adheres to the Canadian principles of accountable government. It would permit our government to take the necessary and appropriate steps to protect Canadians. This is a bill that would enable our government to do so in an open and transparent way. It is a good bill and we will work hard to implement the measures of the proposed legislation.