An Act respecting national security matters


Ralph Goodale  Liberal


This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, 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 sixth year after section 168 of this enactment comes into force. If that section 168 and section 34 of Bill C-22, introduced in the 1st session of the 42nd Parliament and entitled the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act, come into force within one year of each other, the reviews required by those sections are to take place at the same time and are to be undertaken by the same committee or committees.


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)

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 1 p.m.
See context


James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Madam Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure to rise to address Bill C-59, an act respecting national security matters.

This is an omnibus bill that is making some significant changes to the way national security is going to be dealt with in this country. It is a huge bill. It is over 140 pages long. It has a great deal of information, some that is quite concerning to us as the official opposition.

I have taken the time to read through the bill, and I am quite concerned about some of the things in here. As I just mentioned to the Minister of National Defence, one of the concerns is around CSE, which has traditionally been an organization that is under the National Defence Act. It has worked alongside our Canadian Armed Forces to ensure that our guys who are deployed are safe. That, in itself, is something that has to be paramount in what CSE continues to do.

The Communications Security Establishment is a great organization and one we support wholeheartedly. It has always respected the laws of Canada. It has worked very closely with our Five Eyes partners—the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand—in collecting intelligence and sharing that where possible. At the same time, it respects Canadians' privacy rights and charter rights to ensure that they are not being unjustly spied on, unless, of course, they are acting in a manner that concerns national security and may be committing some sort of criminal act.

This bill, overall, would weaken our national security in this country. It would change the way CSIS and CSE operate, as well as the RCMP and other police agencies. It proves again that the Liberals are not serious when it comes to public safety. They prefer to water things down rather than do what is right.

It is interesting to watch. We have members on the other side who, when the Liberals were the third party, voted in favour of Bill C-51. Today they are watering down that very act. I have real concerns about how our allies, particularly our Five Eyes partners, are going to feel about the trustworthiness and interoperability of CSIS, the RCMP, and CSE and their security intelligence-gathering mechanisms.

To highlight this and show that the Liberals are not serious about protecting Canadians and how we deal with terrorism, just this past week, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness said, when talking about Canadians who joined ISIS and became ISIS terrorists and ISIS fighters, that he wants to reintegrate them back into Canada, not charge them under the Criminal Code as terrorists and not charge them under the Criminal Code for committing treason because they are fighting against Canada and our allies in Iraq and Syria. He wants to reintegrate them. That is disgusting.

I have heard over and over again this past week in the riding that Canadians are concerned that the Liberals are putting their lives at risk, because they are going to allow these ISIS fighters to return to Canada. These terrorists who have been radicalized will come back here, and rather than being incarcerated, will have the opportunity to return to their communities and radicalize their families, their friends, and the people they interact with. That is completely unacceptable. That just proves the fact that the Minister of Public Safety and the Liberal government are not taking security seriously.

We can compare that to what the U.S. government is doing, what the government of France is doing, and what the government of the United Kingdom is doing. They have put out kill orders for all their fighters fighting in Syria and Iraq right now. They have been told to shoot to kill anyone who came from Great Britain, the United States, or France who was radicalized and joined ISIS and is in Syria and Iraq fighting their forces. This is to ensure that their public safety is respected.

That is not happening here in Canada. We are going to reintegrate them. We should at least incarcerate them, but no, we are going to reintegrate them.

In the time I have left, I will speak about the Communications Security Establishment. This is an organization that has done yeoman's service over many decades ensuring that our troops stay safe and ensuring that Canada stays safe. Whenever the commissioner for the Communications Security Establishment has looked at ministerial authorizations that have been given, the rights of Canadians have been respected, whether it has been in collecting metadata, in intelligence-sharing, or when there has been a need to issue warrants for the monitoring of Canadians who are directly or indirectly involved in fundraising for, or the activity of, terrorism or other attacks on Canadians on our soil or that of our allies. They have been able to do that and respect our charter rights, respect the Privacy Act, and ensure that Canadians' rights have been respected on a legal level. I think that is clear.

In the new section on the proposed Communications Security Establishment act in Bill C-59, I applaud the government for bringing forward some clear definitions on cyber-defence and cyber-offence. Times have changed. We need to have the ability not only to defend against cyber-attacks but to take out those cyber-attacks and be pre-emptive, if necessary. If they collect the proper intelligence, we would have the ability to go out and destroy that potential threat. It could be an attack on our infrastructure, an attack on the Government of Canada, an attack on our troops serving overseas, or an attack that would wipe out our financial sector. That capability has to be there, because our cyber-infrastructure, such as power, financial institutions, and government institutions, is critical to the everyday lives of Canadians. We have to be able to pre-emptively remove a threat.

The amazing part of everything we are doing is that under this new cyberwarfare process, under “Cyber Operations Authorizations”, in the proposed Communications Security Establishment act, subclause 30(2) would give a veto to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Always the CSE and CSIS have operated in close collaboration with the Minister of Public Safety, the Minister of National Defence, and to some degree, the Minister of Justice. Now the Minister of Foreign Affairs would have a veto over whether we spy on individuals or organizations. The minister would have a veto over whether we launch a cyber-attack or defend ourselves from a cyber-attack by individuals and organizations, whether they were criminal organizations, terrorist organizations, drug cartels, or just hackers. This is something we just do not understand.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs does not have the same intelligence mechanisms within the department that the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of National Defence have access to. Why we would give an authorization to the Minister of Foreign Affairs is beyond me. All we have to do is look at the former minister of foreign affairs, Stéphane Dion, who was acting in a role of appeasing Russia, which is definitely the greatest threat to Canada and the Five Eyes allies. If members look at our partners in the Five Eyes, we are always making sure that we have robust cybersecurity and cyber-intelligence-gathering on the Russian Federation, especially those kleptocrats in the Kremlin and those who want to do harm to our alliance through NATO.

We know that Russia is spying on us. We know that China is spying on us, yet when Stéphane Dion was still the minister of foreign affairs, he had the idea that we would appease the Russians, and he would not authorize those types of spying activities. That cannot be allowed to happen.

The current government is trying to do a trade deal with China. Would the government authorize spying and cyber-defence activities against the Government of China? Is the government so caught up in the idea that it wants to do trade with China, despite China's terrible environmental record and the atrocities it is committing against its own citizens, such as the Falun Gong? I am sure the government would appease China.

We need to make sure we get this right. That is why the bill has to get to committee right away. We have to make these changes so the bill is actually in the best interest of Canada and is not about playing political games, through the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to try to appease some of the greatest threats to our national security. It is to put our safety first, rather than the government's political aspirations.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 1:10 p.m.
See context


Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Madam Speaker, I have read in detail Bill C-59. As the last speaker mentioned, there are over 140 pages in the bill. There are some good parts in this legislation, but there are parts I have a lot of concern about. One is the limits the bill would place on the ability of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to reduce terrorist threats in Canada. It bothers me that we would start pulling some of its authority and some of its ability to effectively make Canada safer for the public. The bill would limit the ability of government departments to share data among themselves to protect Canada's national security.

The hon. member talked about ISIS fighters coming back to Canada and the fact that we have a government that is not going to take a strong stand on this. It should be taking a strong stand.

I wonder if my colleague could comment on the ability of our government agencies to share information about the people coming back. Do we just want them to filter into our communities?

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 1:10 p.m.
See context


James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Madam Speaker, I have full confidence in the intelligence-gathering processes in Bill C-51, which we passed in a previous Parliament, in 2015. That piece of legislation allowed for information-sharing between CBSA, the RCMP, CSIS, CSE, and the Department of Foreign Affairs. I think most Canadians just assumed this had already been taking place. With government, everything always operates in silence. When we can level things off and allow information-sharing to percolate through all departments, we do a much better job of protecting Canadians, whether it is at the border, at the ports, or on our own turf.

I have a concern about returning ISIS fighters and the whole policy of reintegration rather than incarceration for these people. I think all of us are concerned about that. That is why Bill C-59 has to be studied in great detail, with expertise, so amendments can be made to the bill so that this legislation does not actually become reality.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
See context


Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to talk about this important bill.

Earlier today, the Minister of Public Safety said that a government has no greater responsibility than keeping its people safe. These people live in our ridings. They are our colleagues, our neighbours, family friends, even our own children. The public safety minister is absolutely right. All governments around the world are responsible for keeping their people safe. That is a weighty and fundamental responsibility that must be taken seriously.

However, the minister was unable to add that the government's responsibility to protect people's freedoms is just as important. It has been obvious from the get-go that the government's approach is skewed toward security and policing and that it is much less interested in talking about the importance of protecting our freedoms.

As citizens who are privileged to live in a democratic society where we can vote and say what we want and enjoy freedom of expression and freedom of association, we must never forget what a long, hard road it has been to get here. We must resist any attempt to undo our progress by taking away any of our rights and freedoms. Bill C-59 is shocking in several ways, considering it comes from the party that authored the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This worries us, as progressive New Democrats and as democrats.

Bill C-59 continues the Liberal Party's two-faced tradition of saying one thing and doing the opposite. The Liberals can advocate one thing and then make decisions that oppose it. The member for Winnipeg North has just demonstrated this perfectly by reminding us that Bill C-51 was strongly opposed by civil society organizations, experts, and defenders of civil liberties, and yet the Liberal Party, with an eye on the upcoming election, voted in favour of Bill C-51 because it would help the party on the campaign trail. It is hard to follow the Liberals' logic at any given point in time. They are not consistent.

It is too bad that we are dealing with a government that plays politics, waffles, contradicts itself, and is sometimes incredibly hypocritical. We can blame the previous Conservative government for a lot of things, but a lack of consistency is not one of them, even though we were often strongly opposed to its decisions.

The Liberals' habit of talking out of both sides of their mouths is not just affecting our security intelligence agencies and police forces. It is as though we have been listening to a broken record for the past two years. The Liberals have been saying that Canada is back on the world stage and that they are going to take tougher action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, we can see that this is all a sham. The Liberals have adopted the same plan as the Harper Conservatives and are approving pipelines left and right, which is obviously going to increase our greenhouse gas emissions. The Liberals are saying one thing and doing another.

The Liberals talk about an open and transparent government, but the changes they are making to the Access to Information Act will make it more difficult and complicated to follow that approach. The Liberals are saying that they want to restore people's confidence in public institutions, but then ministers are hosting cash-for-access fundraisers at $1,500 a ticket.

What is happening today is therefore just another example of the Liberals playing politics at the expense of Canadians' safety and security. They are merely tinkering with Bill C-51, when the NDP and others believe it should be repealed. We need to start from square one and draft a good bill that makes Canadians safer, since that is absolutely essential.

We want to do everything we can to prevent terrorists and other ill-intentioned people from coming here and plotting or preparing attacks or violence against Canadians. We also want to give our democratic institutions and watchdogs the tools needed to watch the watchers. If this is not done properly, we could see a shift towards a police state that infringes on our privacy and digs through our personal lives to gather a bunch of information, even when there is no reason to suspect someone of wanting or attempting to do anything wrong.

We believe that Bill C-51 jeopardized our privacy, our freedom of expression, and our freedom of association. Unfortunately, Bill C-59 does not do what it takes to correct that. The Liberals have missed the mark. A few of these measures might be worthwhile, but overall, the Liberals are continuing the dangerous trend we saw under the previous Conservative government.

The new oversight and review mechanisms are limited and do not offset the exchange and sharing of information and almost unlimited powers within our security agencies. This is a major concern.

There is something rather ironic about what I am going to say, but it must be said as it is of great concern to us. In November 2016, or last year, the Federal Court handed down a ruling with respect to the massive collection of data by CSIS. It had illegally kept personal electronic data for more than 10 years. In its rather scathing and very clear ruling, Justice Simon Noël stated that CSIS breached its duty to inform the court of this data collection since the information was gathered using judicial warrants.

CSIS should not have retained the information since it was not directly related to threats to the security of Canada. That is important. That is a very real example that highlights all the concerns of people who wonder what type of information will be collected about them, who will have access to this information, and to whom this information will be communicated and transferred. In November 2016, the Federal Court pointed out that there can be exaggerations. This is not a figment of the imagination. It happened here.

The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness quickly reacted and said that the government took note of this and would not appeal this decision. Oh, okay. That is a good sign. Perhaps it is a step in the right direction. Oh, wait. Surprise! In Bill C-59, the Liberal government responds to the Federal Court decision in a strange way when it comes to our privacy protections. The new law will allow CSIS to collect huge amounts of metadata containing confidential information about Canadians that is not relevant to its investigations.

The November 2016 Federal Court ruling stated that CSIS did not have the right to do so, and that it was illegal. Bill C-59 makes it legal. People need to understand that if Bill C-59 is passed, CSIS will be able to collect huge amounts of metadata containing confidential information about Canadians that is not relevant to its investigations. These are the kinds of things that make it impossible for us to fall in line with the Liberal government. Yes, we are happy that we can study Bill C-59 more closely, but we are sounding a warning bell.

We are telling Quebecers and Canadians in general to be careful, because there are elements in this bill that will increase police surveillance. We are going to be spied on more, and we do not know who is going to end up with the information.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 1:25 p.m.
See context


Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, of course Canadians want to feel safe, but they also want to feel free and not as if they are being spied on all the time. Having a good watchdog to oversee the police who are watching us is crucial, but that is lacking in the bill right now. We will see if Liberals are open to accepting some important amendments.

I would also like to mention the fact that there is something missing in Bill C-59. It does not mention the new directive introduced in October 2017. This is a government directive on public safety and emergency preparedness that says that Canada does not condone torture and that it does not practise torture. We agree that this is a very good thing. However, what is missing and what is not amended in Bill C-59 is that we will not under any circumstances use information that other countries might have obtained through torture.

This is like saying that we are against torture, but that we reserve the right to use information that was obtained through torture in other countries. Generally speaking, information obtained through torture is worthless, since people being tortured will say anything. This also destroys our principled stand on the serious issue of torture based on our values as Canadians.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 1:25 p.m.
See context


Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question.

My answer will be brief. Unfortunately, I do not have much hope, since, despite the government’s promises to co-operate, collaborate, and be more open and democratic, that is not what we have been seeing in the past two years with the constant use of its parliamentary majority to crush the opposition. Let us hope that, because of the scope of the issue, this time it will be different.

I would like to draw my colleague’s attention, and the attention of everyone listening, to the fact that the text of Bill C-59 concerning the definition of “activity that undermines the security of Canada” includes “significant or widespread interference with critical infrastructure”.

The NDP is concerned that interference with critical infrastructure might result in authorizing secret services to spy on people who intend to protest the construction of new pipelines. With a government that has just given its support to Kinder Morgan and Keystone XL, we are concerned that Bill C-59 could be targeting peaceful, ecologically minded, or indigenous protesters.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
See context


Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Madam Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise today to speak in support of the national security act, 2017, Bill C-59. Two years ago, our government came to Ottawa with the promise that it would address the numerous problematic elements of Bill C-51, which was enacted by the previous government. Canadians agreed that in attempting to safeguard the security of Canada, Bill C-51 failed to strike a balance between security and freedom.

Today I am proud to be able to rise in this House and say that we have wholeheartedly delivered our commitment to addressing those problem areas. Our government began its commitment to achieving this goal by first reaching out to Canadians in an unprecedented consultation process, where all agreed that accountability, transparency, and effectiveness are needed from their security agencies.

Secondly, Bill C-22 was passed earlier this year, which created the multi-party National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. It is tasked with reviewing national security and intelligence activities through unprecedented access, with the goal of promoting government-wide accountability. On November 6, our Prime Minister followed through on this commitment by announcing the members of the committee. Today we are debating the national security act, 2017, Bill C-59, the last step in achieving our commitment to improving those problematic elements of Bill C-51. This package consists of three acts, five sets of amendments, and a comprehensive review process.

In creating the national security and intelligence review agency, the office of the intelligence commissioner, and the Communications Security Establishment, we have created the robust and effective national security establishment that Canadians have asked for. In addition, we are amending the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, and the Secure Air Travel Act to strengthen the role of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, limit the collection of personal information, safeguard Canadian rights to peaceful assembly, and fix problems with the no-fly list.

Finally, our amendments to the Youth Criminal Justice Act would ensure young persons would be provided with all appropriate child protection, mental health, and other social measures needed when faced with a terrorism-related offence. Through my work on the mental health caucus, I know how important it is for all Canadians, especially those of marginalized groups, to have access to all available safeguards, services, and measures when navigating the criminal justice system. Therefore, I am pleased to speak today specifically about these proposed amendments to the Youth Criminal Justice Act included in part 8 of the national security act, 2017.

My riding of Richmond Hill is an incredibly diverse and vibrant riding, where over half of my constituents are Canadians from an immigrant background. Of these, the majority are youths and young families under the age of 30. For this reason, I am proud to say that through this set of amendments, our government is taking action to ensure that all youth involved in the criminal justice system are afforded the enhanced protections provided by Canada's Youth Criminal Justice Act, while also holding them accountable for their actions.

The Youth Criminal Justice Act, or YCJA, is the federal law that governs Canada's youth aged 12 to 17 who commit criminal offences, including terrorism offences. The YCJA recognizes that the youth justice system should be separate from the adult system, and based on the principle of diminished moral blameworthiness of youth. It emphasizes rehabilitation and reintegration, just and proportionate responses to offending, and enhanced procedural protections for youth. The act also recognizes the importance of involving families, victims, and communities in the youth criminal justice system. The YCJA contains a number of significant legal safeguards to ensure that young people are treated fairly and that their rights are fully protected, for example, the identity publication ban, and significant restrictions on access to youth records.

Young people also have enhanced right to counsel, including state-provided counsel, and the right to have parents or other guardians present throughout key stages of the investigation and judicial processes. If a young person is charged, all proceedings take place in youth court. In addition, the YCJA would establish clear restrictions on access to youth records, setting out who may access youth records, the purpose for which youth records may be used, and the time periods during which access to records is permitted. Generally speaking, although the offences set out in the Criminal Code apply to youth, the sentences do not. Instead, the YCJA sets out specific youth sentencing principles, options, and durations. There is a broad range of community-based youth sentencing options, and clear restrictions on the use of custodial sentences.

Turning now to Bill C-59, it is important to recognize that there have been very few cases in Canada in which a young person has been involved in the youth criminal justice system due to terrorism offences. In total, we have had six young people charged since 2002. Two were found guilty, three were put under a peace bond, and one had the charges dropped. Nonetheless, it is important to ensure that when this occurs, the young people are held to account, but also that they are afforded all of the enhanced protection under the YCJA. It is perhaps even more important in terrorism-related offences that we do everything in our power to reform young offenders so that future harm is prevented.

Part 8 of Bill C-59 would amend the provision of the YCJA to ensure that youth protections apply in relation to anti-terrorism and other recognizance orders. It also provides for access to youth records for the purpose of administering the Canadian Passport Order, subject to the special privacy protections set out in the YCJA. The bill would also make important clarifications with respect to recognizance orders. Although the YCJA already provides youth justice courts with the authority to impose these orders, several sections of the YCJA would be amended to state more clearly that youth justice courts have exclusive jurisdiction to impose recognizance on youth. This would eliminate any uncertainty about the applicability of certain rights of protection, including the youths' right to counsel. In addition, there is currently no access period identified for records relating to recognizance. Therefore, the YCJA would be amended to provide that the access period for these records would be six months after the order expires.

With respect to the Canadian Passport Order, Bill C-59 would amend the YCJA to specifically permit access to youth records for the purpose of administering Canada's passport program. The Canadian Passport Order contemplates that passports can be denied or revoked as a result of certain criminal acts, or in relation to national security concerns. For example, section 10.1 of the Canadian Passport Order stipulates that the minister of public safety may decide to deny or revoke a passport if there are reasonable grounds, including that revocation is necessary to prevent the commission of a terrorism offence, or for the national security of Canada or a foreign country or state.

The current YCJA provisions governing access to youth records do not speak to access for passport matters. As noted, Bill C-59 would allow access in appropriate circumstances. However, it is important to note that the sharing of youth information on this provision would still be subject to the special privacy protection of the YCJA. Canadians can be assured that our government is addressing the national security threat while continuing to protect democratic values, rights, and freedoms for Canadians. Those two goals must be pursued with equal dedication.

I encourage all my colleagues to vote in support of the bill.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 1:40 p.m.
See context


Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Madam Speaker, those are great questions.

I would like to start by highlighting some of the changes that are being proposed. Part 8 of Bill C-59 would amend certain provisions of the YCJA to ensure that youth protection applies in relation to recognizance orders, including recognizance with conditions and peace bond proceedings.

First, we are bringing in protection and making sure that protection is recognized when it is needed. Second, these amendments clarify that the youth justice court has exclusive jurisdiction to impose these orders on youth, and eliminates any uncertainty about the applicability of certain provisions to a youth for whom a recognizance order is being sought. Third, in addition, there is currently no access period. What this bill is proposing as an amendment to YCJA is to make sure we have six months after the expiry date of the order, limiting the time that the youth record can be ordered.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 1:40 p.m.
See context


Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise at this stage of our study of Bill C-59.

Nine days ago, on Remembrance Day, November 11, all Canadians, including MPs, were united in our thoughts. Hundreds of commemorative events took place on that day. Personally, in my riding, I commemorated Remembrance Day in the indigenous community of Wendake with my 94-year-old father, a World War II veteran.

I am mentioning this because Remembrance Day unites all Canadians, and especially because it reminds us that Canada has always been on the right side of history. Canada has always fought the enemies of freedom and defended the values that it holds dear and that unite us. In World War I and World War II, the enemy was a nation, a country. It had a uniform and a flag. It displayed its colours. Today, the enemy is everywhere and nowhere all at once. The enemy is terrorism.

That is why we must fight this enemy with all our energy and necessary tools. That is why I wanted to draw a parallel between the hundreds of thousands of Canadians and soldiers around the world who made the ultimate sacrifice by laying down their young lives to fight the enemies of freedom and those who, today, in the 21st century, fight the enemies of our core principles, the terrorists.

The world changed on September 11, 2001. When terrorism reared its ugly head and attacked our neighbour and ally, the United States, the world took drastic action to combat terrorism. Since terrorism is cowardly and hypocritical, and since the enemy has no pride or honour and does not follow rules, terrorists are always everywhere, insidious, masked, hiding in the shadows and waiting in ambush, because they have no honour or even the courage to defend their beliefs honourably. We must therefore fight the enemy with information and, here in Canada, with CSIS.

The enemy has struck south of the border, and it has struck here as well. Thirty-seven months ago, almost to the day, the enemy came right up to the door of the House of Commons in Ottawa, and we lived through a tragic and horrible act of terrorism. That is why the Conservative government at the time, with the help of several individuals, took the necessary measures to combat terrorism in Canada by introducing Bill C-51, which was sponsored by the hon. member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, then minister of public safety, and by the hon. Peter MacKay, then minister of justice.

Some were in agreement with the bill, while others opposed it. I would like once again to point out the cohesiveness of the NDP, as the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie was saying. We do not agree, but they, like us, are consistent. Curiously, the people who now make up the government voted in favour of the bill. We were happy, but a few months later, during the election campaign, those same people got all worked up about Bill C-51, saying that it made no sense. They said that, if they were elected, they would properly restore order and discipline. It took them 18 months to come up with Bill C-59, which they introduced at the very end of the session last June. If I remember correctly, it was June 17, just before we returned to our ridings to work with our constituents.

This bill is nothing short of massive. It proposes to amend nine acts over as many chapters, for a total of some 140 pages. It is what we might call a mammoth bill or an omnibus bill, but let us set political rhetoric aside and get to the meat of the matter.

Why, in our opinion, should this bill be studied?

On this side of the House, we believe that CSIS agents should be given all the tools they need to detect and eradicate terrorism. It is the best course of action.

If I spoke of Remembrance Day at the top of my speech, that was to remind the House that, today, our enemy hides in the shadows. The enemy is a hypocrite, a coward. It knows no religion or law. It has no flag. It is everywhere and nowhere all at once. We must therefore allocate the resources needed to root it out. We must provide all necessary tools to law enforcement working to eradicate terrorism should it ever rear its ugly head in Canada.

We believe that the bill will make the work of CSIS agents more difficult, because they will have to work harder to convince judges to give them the authority they need to take action. This is true for several measures, whether for “altering, removing, replacing, destroying, disrupting or degrading a [terrorist] communication or means of communication”, or for “altering, removing, replacing, destroying, degrading or providing—or interfering with the use or delivery of—any thing or part of a thing, including records, documents, goods, components and equipment”. Wars hinge on such things.

If we want to eradicate terrorism, we must allow our police officers to address terrorist activity directly, by intercepting the transmission of communications and documents.

The same applies when it comes to “fabricating or disseminating any information, record or document”.

The same also applies when it comes to “making or attempting to make, directly or indirectly, any financial transaction that involves or purports to involve currency or a monetary instrument”.

These people are not living hand to mouth. They are extremely well paid, in fact. We must locate the source of their funding.

It is the same when it comes to “interrupting or redirecting, directly or indirectly, any financial transaction...interfering with the movement of any person; and personating a person, other than a police officer, in order to take a measure referred to in [the previous act]”.

What that means is that, with Bill C-59 and its proposed new measures, the current government is making the work of police officers who risk their lives every time they try to flush out terrorists. That is our concern.

It is the same thing with cyber-attacks. Bill C-59 sets out the government's plan to protect Canadians from the terrorist enemy's attacks via Internet, or what are known as cyber-attacks. The government needs to take measures that can directly thwart the enemy and cause it to back down when it comes to cyber-attacks.

Oddly enough, the government is giving the Minister of Foreign Affairs veto power in this regard. Why? Why give veto power to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and not the Minister of Public Safety, the Minister of Justice, or the Minister of Transport?

If, God forbid, the enemy wanted to undermine our air travel security, for example, why would the foreign affairs minister have veto over whether we launch a cyber-attack against the terrorists? We do not understand the reasoning behind this measure.

That is why we have serious concerns about this bill, which will also affect our foreign relations with our main partners, friends, and allies in the battle all democracies are waging against terrorism. Three weeks ago, the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles talked about a sad reality, and that is the fact that 60 members of the Taliban who fought against our troops in Afghanistan have come back to Canada. That is like Canada welcoming 60 members of the SS immediately following the Second World War. That would have been unspeakable. For all of those reasons, we have reservations regarding this bill.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 1:50 p.m.
See context


Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Madam Speaker, my colleague pointed out the fact that over the previous week, many of us in this chamber had the opportunity to participate in remembrance services across our ridings to thank our men and women in uniform for standing up for the freedoms we enjoy today. He also pointed out that Bill C-59 makes it more difficult for our security and police officers to intercept emerging threats.

However, one of the most disturbing comments I heard this past weekend is what appears to be an attempt to rebrand these terrorists who are returning to Canada as simply “returning foreign terrorist travellers”. Does my colleague have any comments to make on this attempt to rebrand a group of people we should be doing everything we can to keep out of our country?

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 3:30 p.m.
See context


François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is not always a pleasure, but it is definitely an honour for me to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-59, an act respecting national security matters .

This is a strange second reading debate. To provide some context for the people listening at home, we are supposed to be at second reading. We would normally debate the bill at second reading and eventually vote to refer it to committee if we agreed with the general principles of the bill. What is happening here, which is highly unusual, is that we are not at second reading; rather we are debating whether to refer it to committee before second reading. What this means, essentially, is that the Liberals brought forward a bill but have since realized that they are not satisfied with their own bill. They want to send it to committee so it can be fixed up a bit before sending it back to the House for second reading. I have never seen this before. It is highly unusual to proceed in this manner, and it is inappropriate. This government appears to be improvising and making things up as it goes along.

If the bill is no good, the government should scrap it and come back with a better bill. What is happening here today is ridiculous. We are talking about sending a bill directly to committee rather than debating it at second reading. This is absolutely unbelievable.

Where did this Bill C-59 come from? Members will recall that its predecessor was the Conservatives' infamous Bill C-51. This is a despicable bill that utterly fails to protect human rights. I will spend the next few minutes examining the bill in greater detail.

First of all, during the election campaign, the Liberals said they would repeal Bill C-51, which, as I said, was Mr. Harper's atrocious security bill. The government made us wait two years before coming up with something, and what it finally came up with does not even come close to solving the problem. In fact, this bill will allow the government to continue violating Canadians' privacy and will criminalize dissent, just as the Harper government's Bill C-51 did. This is an important issue I would like to take a closer look at.

There are some serious problems in the bill with respect to protecting privacy, especially in terms of sharing out-of-control information. The amendments to the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act are mostly superficial. In no way does this fulfill the promise we expected the Liberals to keep.

This is an omnibus bill that seeks to provide a legal framework allowing the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, CSIS, to store sensitive metadata on totally innocent Canadians, a practice that the Federal Court ruled to be illegal. This bill does not really solve any problems. It creates new ones. There is currently a crisis of confidence in our national security agencies, especially CSIS, not because of the agencies, but because of the existing legislation. These agencies push the boundaries of the the law and they are not transparent about it, unfortunately. As far as security and intelligence are concerned, Canadians have to be sure that every Government of Canada department and agency is working effectively to ensure Canadians' safety, but also to preserve our rights and freedoms. That is the problem with Bill C-51. The government wanted to make Canadians safer, but there was nothing in that bill that provided greater safety or security.

However, a lot of the bill's provisions took away some of the rights enjoyed by Canadians. They actively undermined the privacy of Canadians and could potentially result in the criminalization of vulnerable groups, for example, environmentalists or advocates of other causes. I will explain later why I am mentioning this.

First, Bill C-51, known as the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, was passed with little debate. It was not really necessary. That is why we stated several times that this law weakened our security and diminished our right to the protection of privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of association.

This clearly shows that Bill C-51 was ill-conceived. For that reason, we did not support it. We believe that Bill C-51 must be repealed in full and that we must start over; it was Stephen Harper's bill, it did not work, and we have to scrap it right quick.

I would remind the House that, in 2016, the Federal Court ruled on the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's mass data collection. It found that CSIS illegally kept sensitive, personal electronic information for over 10 years. In this landmark ruling, Justice Simon Noël said that the CSIS had failed in its duty to inform the court of its data collection program and ruled that what it had done was illegal. What did the Liberals do in response? They decided that since such activity was illegal, they would draft a bill to make it legal.

Come on. The Federal Court said that what CSIS was doing did not make any sense, that it was illegal, and that it violated privacy rights, and so the Liberal government decided to make those illegal activities legal. That does not make any sense. I can see why the Liberals would want to send this to committee to make amendments and gut this bill. That is shameful.

The other problem that is not mentioned in this bill but that is important to talk about is all of the ministerial directives related to torture. That is very serious. It is something that I care a lot about, and I am convinced that everyone in the greater Drummond area sent me here to talk about this. It is extremely important.

We are calling on the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to repeal and replace the 2010 ministerial directive on torture to ensure that Canada stands for an absolute prohibition on torture. Specifically, we want to ensure that in no circumstances will Canada use information from foreign countries that could have been obtained using torture or share information that is likely to result in torture.

Canada says that it will not torture, but other countries will torture for us. The government would then take this information and impose sanctions.

This makes no sense. Torture must be denounced everywhere. We must never use information obtained under torture. Everyone knows that people will say anything when they are being tortured. Torture does not work and is immoral.

I hope that this government will wake up, because this goes back a long time. The Liberals have been in power for two years and they still have not improved the situation. We must show integrity, we must be strong, and we must say no to torture everywhere in the world. We must not use information obtained through torture or that may lead to torture.

In closing, since the government itself does not think that this is a good bill and wants to send it directly to committee, without going through second reading, I propose that, instead, the government withdraw the bill and introduce new, common sense legislation with the help of the other parties.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 3:40 p.m.
See context


François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her very relevant question.

The answer is certainly not in Bill C-59. Why? The colleague who just asked me the question said herself that this bill does not work. She said herself that that the bill must be sent directly to committee to be amended because there are a lot of problems with it. If my colleague cannot defend this bill as it now stands, she should withdraw it and work with the opposition to come up with solutions that will respect civil rights and will not allow for the use of information obtained under torture. That is unacceptable.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 3:40 p.m.
See context


Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Drummond for his speech.

Bill C-59 is supposed to correct Bill C-51, which was condemned by pretty much everyone in Canada at the time. However, Bill C-59 does not make all the necessary changes. It misses the mark and is incomplete. For example, the definition of national security still contains some aspects of the Conservative definition. The Liberals did not change it. National security still encompasses interference with infrastructure deemed critical or important.

Does that mean that the secret service could use its resources to stop peaceful protestors, for example, environmentalists or indigenous groups that seek to oppose the building of a new pipeline?

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 3:45 p.m.
See context


Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

Mr. Speaker, as someone who worked for a year as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and sits on the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, I am eager to talk about a bill as important as Bill C-59. This bill is especially important to me because Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, one of the unfortunate victims of the attack in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, lived in Sainte-Julie.

In my opinion, Bill C-59 is the greatest reform to Canada's national security framework since the creation of CSIS in 1984. It is therefore completely appropriate to refer the bill to committee prior to second reading. The main upside of that option is that it will allow us to work on the bill before it is passed in principle, giving us more flexibility in crafting the legislation. It will also give the opposition parties a chance to propose amendments that reflect their values and their vision of national security in Canada.

I have great esteem for my fellow members of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. By discussing the bill in committee before it is passed in principle, we will be able to have an in-depth debate. I believe that my colleagues and I will discuss it fully, provided that they want to participate in the discussion, of course. Everyone wins in a process like this.

Last year, the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security undertook a study on Canada's national security framework. The committee members began the study in September 2016 and concluded it in April 2017. The committee heard from 138 witnesses and received 39 submissions. It also travelled to five major Canadian cities to hear concerns from Canadians across the country.

This study is part of a larger process. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness launched a parallel national public consultation with the release of a green paper. We received more than 75,000 responses online or by email to this consultation. That is a historic number of people consulted on a government bill. On a personal note, I had the opportunity to lead more than a dozen of these consultations in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. We heard all kinds of different responses, but it is important for Canadians to be involved, and they showed interest throughout the consultations. We took responses into account and considered them during the drafting of Bill C-59.

When this exhaustive process was completed, the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security published the report entitled “Protecting Canadians and their Rights: A New Road Map for Canada's National Security”. Public Safety Canada also published a report entitled “What We Learned”. This led to Bill C-59, which the minister tabled in the House in June 2017.

After spending the summer discussing the bill and familiarizing ourselves with it, it is now time to debate it. I would like to quote the Canadian Bar Association:

Promising public safety as an exchange for sacrificing individual liberties and democratic safeguards is not, in our view, justifiable or realistic. Both are essential and complementary in a free and democratic society.

As mentioned by the member for Oakville North—Burlington, this quote is found at the very beginning of the introduction to the report “Protecting Canadians and their Rights”. In my opinion, the members of the committee sought to strike a balance between these considerations in this report.

I want to emphasize that striking a balance between security and rights and freedoms is vital to establishing a new national security framework. The National Security and Intelligence Committee for Parliamentarians will soon begin its work and Canada will no longer be the only Five Eyes country that does not have parliamentary oversight of intelligence activities.

With Bill C-59 that is before us, we will address other gaps, primarily by creating the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency, which will review all 17 federal agencies with a national security mandate.

This enables Canada to fill a significant gap with respect to our partners. The government will create an intelligence commissioner, who will oversee the legality of the authorizations given to CSIS and the CSE. Furthermore, Bill C-59 will amend the Communications Security Establishment Act to give the CSE its own legislative framework and modernize our approach to cybercrimes.

In addition to these advances, the bill addresses CSIS's disruption powers and will provide a data collection framework for CSIS. The Secure Air Travel Act will be amended to address problems with false positives. The Security of Canada Information Sharing Act will be amended to specify the nature of information transmitted among government agencies.

Lastly, the government will address several calls to amend the Criminal Code to re-examine terrorist-related offences and recognizance with conditions. I will share with the House the fact that I myself was once a privileged member of the intelligence community. A number of things spring to my mind. The very nature of information and information sharing is paramount, especially in times like these, in 2017, when security is increasingly precarious. We live in one of the most beautiful countries that is committed to defending rights and freedoms, and we cannot compromise one at the expense of the other.

It is important to redefine the role of CSIS. Let us talk about metadata. As my colleague from Drummond said, the law was very clear. The court's ruling was very clear. My colleague said earlier that it is not the men and women of CSIS who somehow handicapped the procedures that landed them in court and got them an unfavourable ruling. It was the law. It is quite clear that the reality of information sharing and the nature of the levels of information that have to be managed in today's society call for a modernization of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act. That is precisely what Bill C-59 is trying to address.

It is crucial to act in an informed manner and to have concrete operations with full knowledge of the facts. This full knowledge is based on better information and better information sharing, according to the rule of law and the regulations. There are 17 different agencies. The organization that will oversee those 17 agencies will not only guarantee Canadians that the rules surrounding information and privacy are being followed, but it will also bring us up to par and put us on the cutting edge of technology like our partners, to ensure that the latest security requirements are met.

Let us talk about screening for passengers on the no-fly list. There are no children on the no-fly list. Is that clear? There are no children under the age of 18 on the no-fly list. Opposition members need to stop fearmongering. We understand that sometimes more than one person can have the same name, but it is a question of properly identifying individuals to ensure that the right person is prohibited from flying.

Past problems have been addressed. Past problems have been shared with the department and measures have been taken. As the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness announced this morning, measures have been put in place to deal with this sort of problem, from both an operational and a technological perspective. I think that, rather than coming to a complete standstill, starting from scratch, and finding ourselves back in medieval times, we need to modernize our situation. Bill C-59 is the answer.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
See context


Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his speech. I can sense his conviction in defending Bill C-59.

I would like to ask the same question that I asked the member for Drummond. It had to do with the concerns we have about the definition of national security, which includes interference with critical infrastructure.

We think that this could be used to spy on or hinder peaceful protestors, for example, environmentalists, concerned citizens, or indigenous groups who want to oppose the construction of a pipeline.

What type of guarantee can my colleague give that this will not happen and that the bill contains the necessary provisions in that regard?