An Act respecting national security matters

Sponsor

Ralph Goodale  Liberal

Status

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

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Summary

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

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

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

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

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

Part 4 amends the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act to

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

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

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

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

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

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

(g) implement measures for the management of datasets.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

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

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 6:40 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciate the efforts of the minister and his staff in bringing forward what I believe is a substantial piece of legislation. It provides a sense of security for Canadians and at the same time provides rights that can be traced right back to our charter.

In the last federal election, we made some serious commitments to Canadians about making changes to Bill C-51. Bill C-59, in part, deals with Bill C-51. I look at the legislation before us as another way the government has delivered some of the tangible things it said it would.

Could the member comment regarding that aspect of the legislation, which I know is important to all Canadians? As a personal thought, it is nice to see the legislation going through this final process.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 6:40 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, in the last election we were very specific about the things we found inappropriate, deficient or headed in the wrong direction that had been enacted by the previous government. We enumerated those things in our platform document. Bill C-59, together with other pieces of legislation before this Parliament, has dealt very effectively with the agenda of things that needed to be corrected.

For example, we said there needed to be a committee of parliamentarians to deal with national security and intelligence issues. We created that through Bill C-22. We said we needed to protect the right to civil protest and dissent to make sure those civil rights were never impinged upon. That is dealt with in Bill C-59. We said we needed to make clear that threat reduction measures would not violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That too is dealt with in Bill C-59.

If we went through each one of the items that were enumerated during the course of the election campaign, we would find that in Bill C-59 and in other pieces of legislation that have already been adopted by the House, commitments made in 2015 have, in fact, been satisfied by legislation.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 6:40 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I just want to say that I think it is a shame that the government is limiting debate on such essential issues as privacy and the fundamental rights of Canadian citizens.

For years, people like Daniel Therrien, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, have been expressing serious concern about the fact that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service collects personal information about people who have done absolutely nothing simply because it wants to conduct analyses.

In 2015, I do not think that the Liberal Party was as explicit as that. Bill C-59 states that “activity that undermines the security of Canada” could include significant or widespread interference with essential infrastructure. That is exactly the same language the Stephen Harper government used.

Could this include demonstrations against pipelines, for instance?

Can the government confirm that it indeed believes that major demonstrations against the construction of pipelines constitute activities that undermine the security of Canada?

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 6:40 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is clear in the amendments included in Bill C-59 that the right to civil protest, the right to demonstrate and the right to express one's point of view within the normal laws and procedures of Canada are all clearly protected. That was an issue under Bill C-51, and we have corrected that by virtue of this legislation.

I point out as well that both the government and parliamentary committees have consulted about this legislation with the Privacy Commissioner, and the Privacy Commissioner's advice has been taken very seriously in the crafting of this legislation. As I say, the debate has been an extensive one. Every dimension of this new law has been thoroughly ventilated through one House of Parliament or the other.

I point out that the debate has gone on for so long that certain previous provisions of national security law have expired while waiting for the new law to come into effect, so it is time to vote and to take a decision.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 6:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that Bill C-59 leaves Canada with a larger, weaker national security and intelligence apparatus and is more focused on internal processes than external results. It is unfortunate, but the reality is that Bill C-59 focuses on policing the actions of national security intelligence agencies instead of criminals and extremists and what they do and plan to do to Canadians.

There are four oversight bodies that intelligence individuals need to be subject to, but it makes no sense to me to shift the security operations that protect Canadians to administration and paperwork. This bill would do just that. It would take $100 million from operations and put it into administration. That is $100 million focused on things other than defending national security.

I am wondering if the minister could comment on the reason for moving $100 million to administration.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 6:45 p.m.
See context

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, I do not feel, as leader of the Green Party, that I had adequate opportunity to debate what has happened with Bill C-59, particularly since it went to the Senate.

However, I want to say on the record that although it is not the perfect bill one would have wished for to completely remove the damage of Bill C-51 from the previous Parliament, I am very grateful for the progress made in this bill. What I referred to at the time as the “thought chill sections” of the language were removed. One example was the use of the words “terrorism in general” throughout Bill C-51.

The bill was tabled January 30, 2015, which was a Friday. I read it over the weekend, came back to Parliament on Monday and asked a question in question period about whether we were going to stop this bill that so heavily intruded on civil liberties.

Bill C-59 is an improvement, but I do not think I have had enough time to debate it. I wish the hon. minister could give us more time. I want to see it pass in this Parliament, but I wish there was a way to allow time for proper debate.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 6:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the minister and the House that, when Bill C-51 was introduced in the previous Parliament, the Liberals who were in opposition at the time voted in favour of Bill C-51, regardless of all the freedom of expression and privacy issues it might cause, not to mention other measures that endangered Canadians more than they protected them. In contrast, the official opposition New Democrats voted against Bill C-51.

Bill C-59 makes some improvements, but as civil liberties groups have said repeatedly, it fails to resolve a number of major problems related to use of data and privacy protection.

I would like to know why the government was in such a hurry to move forward without properly addressing the major issues with Bill C-51 that are still present in Bill C-59.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 6:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, I simply make the point that we began work on the legislation from the very first hours when the government was in office in 2015. We started with the learned judgments of Justices Iacobucci, O'Connor and Major. We started with reports that had been filed previously by Parliament, both the House of Commons and the Senate. We listened very carefully to the review reports of the Security Intelligence Review Committee.

We conducted extensive public consultations, which involved 75,000 submissions online from ordinary Canadians. We had public meetings, town hall meetings and expert panels. Never before has there ever been an opportunity for Canadians to have input and for parliamentarians to debate the subject matter around Bill C-59. There has been the largest opportunity to do that in Canadian history.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 7 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister spoke early on about two academics who supported the bill. I want to remind him of what retired Canadian Forces Lieutenant-General Michael Day said. He said he had zero confidence in Canada's ability to combat emerging threats with Bill C-59.

We know that the charter is mentioned 26 times in the legislation, but the minister should know that every bill has to meet the scrutiny of the charter. Privacy appears 88 times in the bill. We do not know why the government is so concerned about trying to police the agencies that protect Canadians rather than going after those who would appear to do us harm.

The last point I want to make is this. The bill is called undemocratic and one of the reasons for that is the rarity that the Henry VIII clause was kept in it, which means there is the ability of the Prime Minister and cabinet to unilaterally change legislation without coming through Parliament. I am curious whether the minister would care to comment on that manoeuvre in the bill.

Motion in relation to Senate amendmentsNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 7:45 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to give a little ad at the beginning of my speech. Tomorrow is an important day. June 12 is Philippines Independence Day. I want to invite all members from all sides of the House to come out after their caucus meetings and walk across the street from West Block to SJAM to participate in the Filipino heritage event.

I want to add my thoughts in regard to Bill C-59 and I will approach it in two ways. First I will speak to the process that has brought us to the bill before us today and then I will provide thoughts in regard to some of the content of the bill itself.

To say that the issue of security and freedom is a new debate in the House of Commons would be a bit of a stretch. I can recall the debates surrounding Bill C-51 several years ago when Stephen Harper was the prime minister. He brought in that piece of legislation. At the time, the Liberal Party, as the third party, actually supported that legislation.

However, we qualified that support in a very clear way. We indicated throughout the debate that there were some fundamental flaws in Bill C-51, and that if we were to ultimately win in the election of 2015, we intended to bring forward some changes that would rectify some of those fundamental flaws.

I can recall the hours of debate that took place inside the chamber by members of all political parties. I can remember some of the discussions flowing out of the committees at the time. There was a great deal of debate and a great deal of controversy with the legislation. Even while campaigning during the last federal election, it was a topical issue for many people. It dealt with issues of an individual's rights versus having that sense of security. I always made reference to the fact that Liberals understand how important individual rights are. That is one of the reasons I often highlight that we are the party that brought in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

If we take a look at the original Bill C-51, even though the principles were very admirable and we supported it and voted for it, even though at the time we received some criticism, we made it very clear that we would make changes.

This is the second piece of legislation that has attempted to make good on commitments we made to Canadians in the last election. I really enjoy is being able to stand up in this place and provide comment, especially on legislation that fulfills election commitments, starting with our very first bill, Bill C-2. That is a bill I am very proud of, and I know my caucus colleagues are very proud of that bill. It concerns the tax break for Canada's middle class. There is the bill we are debating today, Bill C-59, the second part of a commitment we made to Canadians in the last federal election, which talks about the issue of public safety and privacy rights. Yet again, we have before us another piece of legislation that ultimately fulfills another commitment we made to Canadians in the last federal election.

I mentioned that I wanted to talk a bit about the process. In bringing forward Bill C-59, I do not think we could come up with a better example of a minister who has really understood the importance of the issue, or who has gone far beyond what any other minister in the Stephen Harper era ever did, in terms of consultation.

Even before the bill was introduced, we received input from thousands of Canadians, whether in person or through the Internet. We also received input from members of Parliament, particularly from many of my Liberal caucus colleagues. We were afforded the opportunity to share with the minister and the caucus some of the issues and concerns that came out of the last election. A great deal of consultation was done. The minister on several occasions indicated that the comprehensive dialogue that took place allowed for a substantial piece of legislation at the first reading stage.

Shortly after that, the bill was sent to committee prior to second reading, which allowed for a more thorough discussion on a wider scope of issues. The bill was debated at report stage and then at third reading. It was sent to the Senate, which has sent back amendments, which is where we are today. That process indicates that we have a government, as the Prime Minister has often indicated, that thinks the roles of our standing committees and the Senate can improve legislation. We have seen many changes throughout this process. This bill is a stronger and healthier piece of legislation than it originally was at its first reading stage.

I wanted to give that bit of background and then do a comparison regarding why the government had to move closure just an hour ago. I want to make it very clear to those individuals who might be following the debate, whether it is on Bill C-59 or other pieces of legislation.

We have an official opposition party that is determined to work with the NDP, and I often refer to it as the unholy alliance of the Conservatives and the New Democrats. They work together to try to prevent any legislation from passing. They will do whatever they can to prevent legislation from passing. It does not take much to do that. At the end of the day, a few members can cause a great deal of issues to prevent legislation from passing. There is no sense of responsibility coming from the opposition side in regard to working hard for Canadians and recognizing the valuable pieces of legislation that would be for the betterment of our society. In fact, those parties will put up speaker after speaker even on non-controversial legislation, because they have no real interest in passing legislation. If it were up to the Conservative opposition, we would still be debating Bill C-2. The opposition members have many different tools, and they have no qualms about using them. Then—

Motion in relation to Senate amendmentsNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 8 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, it is obvious that we have hit a nerve on the other side.

Let me focus on Bill C-59, which is a very important piece of legislation. If there were a part that I would highlight, it would be the national security intelligence review agency, an agency that would be more holistic in its approach. As opposed to having a review agency for the RCMP and a review agency for CSIS, we will have one review agency that ultimately has the responsibility for all of those security organizations, thereby ensuring we do not have independent silos all over the place.

This is really good stuff. I would encourage the members opposite to vote in favour of this legislation. Let us pass some legislation today.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2019 / 10:05 a.m.
See context

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

moved:

That a Message be sent to the Senate to acquaint Their Honours that, in relation to Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters, the House:

agrees with amendments 3 and 4 made by the Senate;

respectfully disagrees with amendment 1 made by the Senate because the intent of the legislation is to ensure ministerial responsibility and accountability, and the legislation provides that the Intelligence Commissioner must review whether or not the conclusions of the Minister of National Defence, when issuing a foreign intelligence authorization, are reasonable; additionally, subsection 20(1) already requires the Commissioner to provide the Minister with reasons for authorizing or rejecting a foreign intelligence authorization request;

respectfully disagrees with amendment 2 made by the Senate because it would limit the scope of subsection 83.221(1) and would create inconsistencies with the general counselling provisions contained in section 22 and paragraphs 464(a) and (b) of the Criminal Code.

Madam Speaker, as many external experts have said, Bill C-59, which is before the House once again, is of extraordinary importance to Canada and the security and intelligence agencies that work every day to keep Canadians safe.

During the 2015 election, we promised to correct certain problematic elements in the previous government's national security legislation, Bill C-51. In making that promise, we pledged that a government must be able to protect individual rights while at the same time keeping Canadians safe. This is not about striking a balance whereby rights and safety are traded off one against the other; this is about achieving and protecting both simultaneously.

Work on this legislation began very shortly after our government was first sworn into office in late 2015. The time and effort it has taken to get Bill C-59 to the point it is at today have ensured that this is the right bill at the right time for Canada.

We began by examining landmark court rulings, such as those issued by Justices Iacobucci, O'Connor and Major, as well as past reports of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, the Senate and the House of Commons. We sought to implement their advice and their rulings.

We then looked at the legal authorities and powers our security and intelligence agencies have from a modern technological standpoint.

The Communications Security Establishment has been part of the Department of National Defence since the end of World War II, with its authorities embedded in the National Defence Act. In 2011, the CSE became a stand-alone agency. However, to this day, it still does not have its own enabling legislation with clear, delineated powers and authorities that reflect the necessary capabilities of signals intelligence in the modern era. Bill C-59 would fix that.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act was written in 1984, following the Macdonald Commission report. It has been largely left in its original form since that time. To put that in perspective, in 1984, the Mac computer was first introduced to the public. If one had a PC instead of a Mac, one ran it on DOS, because Bill Gates had not released the first version of Windows yet, back in 1984. If one wanted to be one of the first people to buy a cellphone, one had to pay, in today's dollars, about $10,000, back in 1984. If one wanted to go online, one used a dial-up modem to access a bulletin board system, or BBS, because the Internet, with browsers, was still a decade away.

As Federal Court Justice Noël wrote in 2016, “the CSIS Act is showing its age”. Suffice to say, as we looked at the enabling legislation for our security and intelligence agencies, we realized that they needed a lot of updating just to catch up to technology.

In September 2016, having done our basic research and homework, we launched a national security green paper outlining the challenges and the opportunities, and we asked Canadians to share their views. As it turned out, we heard back from them in spades. Over 75,000 submissions were received, and all of them are now summarized in an open and transparent manner on the Public Safety Canada website. During that process, we held town halls and public consultations from coast to coast. The public safety committee of the House of Commons also undertook a study and submitted its recommendations to the government.

Then, on June 20, 2017, after analyzing and synthesizing all of that input, Bill C-59 was tabled in Parliament.

We put it in the public domain before the House rose for the summer so that MPs and the public could truly digest the bill's contents before debate began in Parliament later that fall.

Once the House resumed that fall, the bill was referred to the public safety committee before second reading, allowing it to have more scope for possible amendments. The committee made numerous changes, improving the legislation, including a new requirement for public ministerial directives on receiving or sharing information that may have been tainted by torture. The House passed Bill C-59 on June 19, 2018, and sent it to the Senate, where it received even greater scrutiny and several more amendments.

Among them, the Senate has amended the legislation to require parliamentary review of the legislation three years after royal assent rather than five years, as originally proposed. The original intent of the review after five years was to take into account that some of the provisions of Bill C-59 may come into force quite a bit down the road, and those parts may not have had the time to mature enough for a fulsome review after just three years. However, as I said at the outset, this is a vitally important piece of legislation, and the majority of it will be fully in force in the near term, so a review after three years, as proposed by the Senate, is just fine with me. Plus, a review this quickly would ensure that any changes that may be required as a result of the review could happen sooner.

The Senate also improved part 1.1 of the legislation, the new avoiding complicity in mistreatment by foreign entities act. While the bill lists five specific agencies involved in national security and intelligence operations that would have to comply with the provisions of the new act, the Senate added a schedule so that in future, new departments or agencies might be added by Governor in Council. This could include existing departments with a new national security component or future agencies that might be created.

I would also note that the Senate made eight observations about Bill C-59, which we will, of course, very carefully examine. I especially like the idea of the Senate undertaking a study it is proposing on converting intelligence to evidence in a court of law. This is a point that has bedevilled policy-makers for years, as well as Crown prosecutors and security and intelligence operators, and it is a topic that could benefit from detailed Senate examination.

The Senate also amended part 2 of the bill, which creates the new position and office of the intelligence commissioner. I thank the Senate for their consideration of this part, but will be asking my colleagues here in the House to respectfully decline this amendment.

The intelligence commissioner, under the new legislation, would have a vital role to play in determining whether the standard of reasonableness had been met in a foreign intelligence authorization. However, it would not be the role of the intelligence commissioner to determine how that standard should be met. There may be various methods to meet the standard, and the choice of which method is to be used would be at the discretion of the minister. There should be no confusion about ultimate accountability. It is important to ensure that the authority and accountability for a foreign intelligence operation would rest squarely with the Minister of National Defence.

My staff consulted very carefully on this point with the current Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner, which will ultimately become the office of the new intelligence commissioner under Bill C-59, about this particular amendment. The office of the current commissioner indicated a very strong preference for the existing language in clause 20 of the future intelligence commissioner act.

The future clause 20 was amended by the House public safety committee to require the commissioner to provide reasons as to why he or she had approved any proposed authorization scheme or rejected it. That is the right step to take. The Minister of National Defence will consider those reasons when crafting any new authorization application. This approach allows the new commissioner to express his or her views very clearly, while the Minister of National Defence will retain the proper authority and accountability.

If, in the future, there were to be a situation where an authorization is ever challenged in court, it would be the Minister of National Defence, not the intelligence commissioner, who would be accountable to the court. The minister's argument in court should not be that the authorization scheme was explicitly what the intelligence commissioner told him to authorize in order for the CSE to undertake an important activity. In other words, the burden of responsibility should not be shifted to the intelligence commissioner; it must remain with the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of National Defence needs to account for that.

With respect to the Criminal Code amendment that has been proposed by the Senate, I very much appreciate what the senators have attempted to do here. I understand very clearly the point they are trying to make, and we have heard the same point from a number of other stakeholders that have come forward with similar questions and concerns.

However, I make this point. The courts have set an extremely high bar for convicting individuals of counselling offences, which is why the language in the Criminal Code needs to be clear and consistent. It must be just as clear for section 83, terrorism offences, as it is for section 22 and section 464, which cover the counselling of other Criminal Code offences. This will help public prosecutors when they make a decision as to whether there is a reasonable chance of conviction in order to proceed to trial.

Unfortunately, the changes made by the previous government's Bill C-51, back in 2015, had made the terrorist counselling provisions so obscure that they were never actually used. When Bill C-59 was tabled, the intent was to model the section 83, terrorism counselling offences, on the other Criminal Code counselling offences, which have been well used, successfully and are very familiar to police, prosecutors and judges alike.

The courts have already ruled that the terrorism counselling provisions in the Criminal Code, which refer to counselling “another person”, do not require the accused to have counselled a specific individual or even someone he or she knows. In practice, this broad principle will apply in section 83 as well.

If Parliament were to make the wording changes on counselling being suggested by the Senate, that could have unintended consequences for the rest of the Criminal Code's counselling provisions, such as counselling to commit a hate crime. A loophole could inadvertently be created, which I am sure some very assiduous defence attorney would attempt to exploit for a client facing a charge under section 464, for example.

Further, the use of the term “terrorist activity” in the amendment, rather than saying “terrorist offence” actually narrows the scope of what will be illegal under the terrorism counselling provisions. Terrorist activity is defined in the interpretation section of part II.1 of the Criminal Code, and that definition does not include all terrorism offences.

As an example, leaving Canada to join a terrorist group is an offence under the Criminal Code, but it is not contained within the definition of terrorist activity. As a result of the proposed amendment, it would be legal to counsel someone to travel to Syria to join Daesh. I am sure that is not what is intended by the proposed amendment, but that would be the actual consequence, and it is a consequence we need to avoid.

As I mentioned, I appreciate the spirit of the amendment and I have heard other representations to the same effect. However, what prosecutors have clearly told me is that if our goal is to have the terrorism counselling provisions used as frequently and effectively as possible, the best way to achieve that is to mirror the language used in the other counselling provisions in the Criminal Code where the notion of counselling “another person” already includes the counselling of an unknown individual.

I would like to remind all my colleagues of what Parliament is being asked to approve under Bill C-59 generally. We are looking to establish a single national security review body with a government-wide mandate to follow leads from one agency to another, such as from CSIS to the RCMP or elsewhere. This has long been recommended by experts, academics and parliamentary committees. Sometimes it is referred to as the super SIRC, and Bill C-59 does it.

We are creating a new act to govern the Communication Security Establishment, which includes a new regime for authorizing its activities for the first time ever. We are creating a closed list of threat reduction activities that CSIS may undertake so the service has clear direction from Parliament and knows what it can do, what it cannot do, and where the fences are. We are creating a justification regime for CSIS that will provide the lawful authorities it needs to perform the activities required to investigate threats and to keep Canadians safe. The same concept with respect to police officers has existed in the Criminal Code for many years.

We are also creating a dataset regime for the service that will allow it to collect, retain and query datasets subject to stringent safeguards. We are fixing the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, ensuring that it does not diminish lawful advocacy, protest and dissent. It will also have greatly improved safeguards to ensure federal departments share national security information only when it is necessary to do so, following appropriate procedures and keeping proper records.

Then there is the no-fly list, and I know we have all been lobbied on this one. Bill C-59 would enable the creation of a recourse mechanism for people whose names coincidentally match or closely resemble names that are listed in Canada's passenger protect program. This is the infamous problem of false positives, sometimes affecting small children.

I want to thank the members of the group known as the “no-fly kids”, whose tenacious efforts have kept this issue in the forefront for many parliamentarians, and Bill C-59 is part of the solution.

I can assure my colleagues that officials at Public Safety have compressed the timelines as much as humanly and physically possible. The required Treasury Board submissions and other orders in council required after royal assent of Bill C-59 will be moving as quickly as possible to get that recourse system up and running to deal with that issue for the no-fly kids.

That summary does not quite encapsulate everything that is in Bill C-59. However, as my colleagues can see, it is very comprehensive legislation that would strengthen and modernize our national security apparatus and architecture.

I want to thank all of the public servants across multiple departments who have worked on this and have appeared before many committees to provide technical answers to parliamentarians. I want to thank the tens of thousands of Canadians who participated in our green paper consultation process and the many individuals who continue to provide advice as Bill C-59 moves through the parliamentary process.

Most of all, I want to thank my parliamentary colleagues who have given this bill the thorough scrutiny that it most certainly deserves, including Senator Gold and his colleagues in the other place who have sent us the report we are dealing with at this moment and to which we are responding.

With this comprehensive legislation, we are in fact achieving our original goal and obligation to keep Canadians safe and secure, while simultaneously safeguarding their rights and freedoms and the precious democratic qualities and values that make Canada, Canada.

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June 7th, 2019 / 10:25 a.m.
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Conservative

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

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for his explanation.

However, I am still skeptical about part 7. I listened carefully when the minister explained the part about the commission of a terrorism offence. In the broader conversation, people are comparing Bill C-59 to Bill C-51.

Bill C-59 is 260 pages long. Many parts of it are very administrative and relate to structural changes. I will talk about that later.

Everyone agrees that the government's approach here is wrong. National security experts say so. Conservatives sent the same message with our amendments. Even the Senate's amendment confirmed that the government's approach is wrong. Despite all that, the minister insists that he has the right solution.

Is the government butting heads with everyone just because it wants to keep its election promise to change Bill C-51 at any cost?

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June 7th, 2019 / 10:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Madam Speaker, the purposes of Bill C-59 are threefold.

First, it would address the deficiencies that existed in previous legislation, including not only Bill C-51 but other pieces of legislation as well. There were errors or omissions that needed to be fixed, and Bill C-59 would do that.

Second, Bill C-59 introduces a broad range of new accountability mechanisms through the new national security and intelligence review agency, the creation of the new intelligence commissioner and a number of other procedures in Bill C-59 to improve transparency and accountability throughout our national security architecture.

Third, the legislation seeks to clarify and confirm legal and constitutional authorities so our security and intelligence agencies, whether that is CSIS, or the CSE, or the RCMP, or the CBSA or any others in the Government of Canada that deal with national security and intelligence issues, know explicitly where they stand, what their authorities are, where the fences are and what they can and cannot do.

This legislation works very hard to accomplish all three of those objectives.

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June 7th, 2019 / 10:30 a.m.
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Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Madam Speaker, on the first point, about the review period, it is critically important that the principle is being embedded in the legislation. The entire national security and intelligence architecture of the Government of Canada, from end to end, needs to be revisited again at some period after the passage of this legislation. This is groundbreaking legislation that accomplishes more change within the security and intelligence system than perhaps ever before in our history, and it is important that the set of decisions we are making in Bill C-59 be revisited periodically in the future to make sure that we continue to get it right.

The original proposal the government had made was to do this after five years. There was a discussion in the committee about maybe moving it up to three years, which is a compressed but doable time frame. However, the government maintained the view that five years would be a good frame within which to accomplish that review. The Senate came back to the same point that had been raised by the hon. gentleman, saying that three is a better figure. I am prepared to—

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June 7th, 2019 / 10:35 a.m.
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Conservative

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

Madam Speaker, I rise this morning to speak to Bill C-59, an omnibus bill that is over 260 pages long and has nine major parts. I listened to the minister's speech, which addressed the Senate amendments, but I would first like to focus on Bill C-59 itself.

As I have been saying from the outset, the problem is that most parts of Bill C-59 are administrative in nature. They make changes to the various intelligence and communications agencies. That is fine, but the main goal of Bill C-59 was to respond to Bill C-51, which was implemented by the Conservatives following the attacks that took place here in Ottawa. Bill C-51 was specifically designed to counter terrorism and ensure that anyone seeking to commit terrorist acts in Canada was stopped to avert disaster.

Overall, the omnibus bill has some parts that are fine. They contain the sort of changes that need to be made from time to time. However, other parts are very administratively heavy and will be very costly for the public purse. Essentially, this is a bill on national security. The public expects the government to protect people properly and ensure that the offenders and would-be terrorists of this world are stopped.

Despite what the minister says, we believe that Bill C-59 limits CSIS's ability to reduce terrorist threats. It also limits the departments' ability to share information in order to protect national security. It removes the offence of advocating or promoting the commission of terrorism offences in general and raises the threshold for obtaining terrorism peace bonds and recognizance with conditions.

At the end of the day, Bill C-59 is going to make life difficult for CSIS agents and telecommunications services people. The bill makes it harder to exchange information. It will once again clog up a system that is already burdensome. People working on the ground every day to ensure Canada's security and safety will be under even more restrictions, which will prevent them from doing their jobs.

Here is a snapshot of the nine parts. Part 1 establishes the national security and intelligence review agency.

Part 2 enacts the intelligence commissioner act. It deals with everything pertaining to the commissioner and the various tasks he or she will have, but abolishes the position of the Commissioner of the Communications Security Establishment and provides for that commissioner to become the intelligence commissioner. It transfers the employees of the former commissioner to the office of the new commissioner and makes related and consequential amendments to other acts. In other words, it shuffles things around.

Part 3 enacts the Communications Security Establishment act. CSE's new mandate includes the ability to conduct preventive attacks against threats in addition to its role in signals intelligence and cyber defence. We really do not have a problem with that, provided it remains effective. That is an important point.

Part 4 amends the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act. It changes the threat reduction powers by limiting them to seven types of measures, one of which gives rise to the issue of whether non-invasive actions require a warrant. The measure in question is described as interfering with the movement of any person. This could mean that a CSIS officer requires a warrant to give misleading information to someone on the way to meeting with co-conspirators.

During operations, officers will sometimes provide individuals with false information to be passed on to those organizing terrorist or other plots. That is one of the work methods used in the field. Henceforth, warrants will have to be obtained, making the work more complicated. The officers will have to spend more time in the office doing paperwork and submitting applications instead of participating in operations.

Part 5 amends the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, which was enacted by the Conservative government's Bill C-51. Individuals and privacy groups were unhappy that government institutions could, on their own initiative or at the request of another institution, share information on activities that undermine the security of Canada. Bill C-51 was criticized for permitting the sharing of citizens' personal information.

Although Bill C-59 maintains part of the departments' ability to share information, it is much more restrictive. This means that the departments operate in silos, which was harshly criticized by the national security experts who testified.

Part 6 is the most positive part, and we fully support it. This part deals with the Secure Air Travel Act and the problems with the no-fly list. When travellers have the same name as a terrorist, they encounter major problems, especially when it happens to children and they are not allowed to travel. This part will help fix this problem, and we fully support it.

Part 7 amends the Criminal Code by changing the offence of advocating or promoting terrorism offences in general to one of counselling the commission of a terrorism offence, which carries a maximum sentence of five years.

I will read the next part, which does not pose any problems:

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.

Finally, here is the last part:

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.

These are additional administrative measures.

In short, of the nine parts of Bill C-59, we fully support part 6 on the no-fly list. The other parts contain a lot administrative provisions that will make the system more cumbersome. Part 7 is the most problematic.

We believe that the Prime Minister and the minister are weakening Canada's national security agencies and their ability to keep Canadians safe. This legislative measure will make it more difficult for law enforcement and security agencies to prevent attacks on Canadian soil because it takes away their authority to counter threats. The information silos this bill will create within our federal agencies are dangerous and foolish. Rather than countering radicalization, the Liberals are creating loopholes that could be exploited by those who want to radicalize our young people.

The Conservatives take the safety of Canadians very seriously. That is why the previous government brought Canada's national security laws into the 21st century and aligned them with those of our allies. While all of the Five Eyes allies are taking measures to strengthen national security, this government is bringing in legislation that will eliminate our intelligence service's ability to reduce terrorist threats. The Liberals' irresponsible approach will put Canadians' safety at risk.

I was pleased with the four amendments proposed by the senators, who also took the time to work on Bill C-59 and hear witnesses. We know that the independent Liberals have a majority in the the Senate, so we would not normally expect to see amendments that reflect the Conservatives' views. This time, however, we think all four amendments are excellent and deserve our support. We waited for the government's response.

Two of the amendments had been proposed by me and my Conservative colleagues on the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, but the Liberals had rejected them. One of them sought to clarify the definition of the phrase “counselling commission of terrorism offence”. This short phrase really embodies the problem we have with Bill C-59. For the benefit of our viewers, I would like to quote the specific wording.

The bill would amend the Criminal Code by changing the following existing definition:

Every person who...knowingly instructs, directly or indirectly, any person to commit [a terrorist] offence...is guilty....

The bill would change it to the following:

Every person who counsels another person to commit a terrorism offence...is guilty....

What is the Liberals' real goal here, if not to just strike out the Conservative government's Bill C-51 so they can say they made a change?

Did they make this change with the intention of improving the legislation? No. Even the senators advised the government to preserve the essence of the definition set out in the Conservatives' Bill C-51.

The minister says that in 2015, when Bill C-51 was introduced by the Conservative government, no charges were ever laid. Is it not possible that no charges were laid because people got scared and decided not to run any risks, in light of the legislation and resources that were in place, as well as the enforcement capability?

Maybe that was why nothing happened. Does watering down and changing this—

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June 7th, 2019 / 10:50 a.m.
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Conservative

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

Madam Speaker, I will continue my speech on this very serious matter.

This week the Liberals moved a motion declaring that they would accept just two of the four amendments proposed by the Senate and that they were rejecting the important amendment on terrorism. The two amendments they retained were administrative ones.

Also, we did not support this bill because it makes it harder for law enforcement and security agencies to prevent attacks on Canadian soil, since they no longer have any threat disruption powers. Furthermore, the bill creates information silos among our agencies, which creates problems. I have said this before and I will say it again: information sharing is fundamental.

The Senate's first amendment is to Part 2 of the bill, which deals with the intelligence commissioner. The amendment adds a new clause under the “Foreign Intelligence Authorization“ heading. This new clause would allow the intelligence commissioner to refer a matter back to the minister with a description of the condition that would have to be added to the authorization in order to make the conclusions reasonable. This amendment would affect the Communications Security Establishment in particular and was recommended by the commissioner.

We support this amendment because it improves the bill by increasing communication and feedback between the information commissioner and the minister, thus reducing administrative formalities. We also proposed this amendment at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. Unfortunately, the government rejected it.

The second amendment pertains to counselling the commission of a terrorism offence—I keep bringing it up and we will talk about it again and again—under the “Criminal Code” heading. Those few words make a world of difference in these 260 pages. This amendment broadens the scope of the wording slightly, given that some of our witnesses felt that the term “counselling” was too narrow. We support that amendment because it significantly improves the wording, ensuring greater certainty regarding how counselling another person to commit a terrorism offence should be interpreted. For an offence to have been committed, there is no requirement that:

(c) the accused knows the identity of the person whom the accused counsels to carry out the terrorist activity; or

(d) the person whom the accused counsels to carry out the terrorist activity knows that it is a terrorist activity.

This amendment addresses concerns specific to online terrorist propaganda. We do not understand why the government rejected this amendment proposed by the Senate, which is dominated by independent Liberals.

Despite two positive amendments, this legislation is still flawed. Aside from our unconditional support of part 6, we cannot support Bill C-59.

I will close by mentioning a few examples of serious flaws.

Part 4 amends threat reduction powers by limiting guaranteed powers to seven types of actions, one of which raises the question of whether non-invasive actions require a warrant. That action is described as interfering with the movement of any person. That means a CSIS agent on the ground would need a warrant to give false information to someone who could help the agent meet conspirators. It would also prevent a CSIS agent from warning the parents of a child who is being radicalized unless the agent has a warrant. These changes place an additional administrative burden on our agencies, which, without additional funding, will have to take agents out of the field so they can take care of paperwork.

Information silos are another problem. Part 5 was created in response to privacy protection groups that were unhappy with the fact that government institutions may share information, of their own accord or at the request of another institution, about activities that pose a threat to Canada's security. This creates a silo effect, which national security experts decried.

When ordinary Canadians look at the government, it seems complicated to them. There are many different public servants and many different departments. They often say that people do not talk to each other. Part 5 further complicates the exchange of information that is crucial to protecting national security. People have to be able to communicate. Information silos hinder communication. Leading national security advisors expressed concerns, but the government did not want to change its approach.

The third important element is threat disruption. Part 7 raises the threshold for recognizance orders and peace bonds, making it more difficult for law enforcement to monitor problematic individuals and disrupt threats before they occur.

This clause replaces the following words from the Criminal Code, “suspects on reasonable grounds that the imposition of a recognizance with conditions on a person, or the arrest of a person, is likely to prevent the carrying out of the terrorist activity” with, “suspects on reasonable grounds that the imposition of a recognizance with conditions on a person, or the arrest of a person, is necessary to prevent the carrying out of the terrorist activity”.

It all comes down to two words: “likely” is replaced by “necessary”.

Instead of having serious concerns or information about a likely terrorist activity, we now have to be sure that the arrest is necessary. This complicates things. If there is any doubt, we have to back off. Terrorist activities tend to develop quite quickly. People who plot attacks might take months to think about and plan them, but others might quickly decide that they feel like doing something on Sunday, for example. When we get information quickly we have to be able to react quickly. Bill C-59 encumbers the process.

The powers provided for in Conservative Bill C-51 were aligned with those of our allies, including Norway and Finland. We modelled our bill on other democracies that believe freedom and security go hand in hand.

In summary, Bill C-59 is a heavy bureaucratic tool that will not ensure public safety, but will undo what the Conservative government put in place to safeguard the security of Canadians.

I move:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:

“the order for the consideration of the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters, be discharged and the Bill withdrawn”

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June 7th, 2019 / 12:20 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I would like to ask him a question.

I hardly need to remind him that the NDP and the Conservatives disagree on how to address some of the issues raised by Bill C-59. However, I think that we do agree on one thing, which is how the study of this bill was handled. It was sent to committee before second reading so more amendments could be made, more witnesses could be heard from and the bill could be studied more thoroughly. I do not remember exactly how many meetings we had, but we had more for the clause-by-clause study than for the study itself.

Does my colleague agree that more time should have been allocated to studying this important bill? The House could have studied it in greater detail, especially considering how much time the Senate spent studying it.

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June 7th, 2019 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

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

Madam Speaker, I thank my NDP colleague.

Our visions are often very different. However, our common goal is to succeed in making things better. Bill C-59 is a 260-page omnibus bill with more than nine parts. The NDP originally suggested splitting the bill so that we could work on it in a different way. All of its requests were denied. That was the government's ideology. The Liberals had their hearts set on attacking Bill C-51, and never mind everything else. Yes, I agree with my NDP colleague that our visions were different, but our objective was the same. Sadly, the Liberals were not willing to listen.

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June 7th, 2019 / 12:25 p.m.
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Conservative

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

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

Bill C-59 is an omnibus bill. That will make it easy for the government to claim that the Conservatives voted against the bill as a whole, but that is completely untrue. I made that clear in my speech. For example, we agree with part 6, which makes changes to air travel legislation to fix problems with the no-fly list. There are also other parts where certain elements were changed. The fact remains that, overall, Bill C-59 is a political document designed to attack Bill C-51. In our opinion, the primary objective of fixing things that were problematic in the eyes of the Liberals or others has not been met, or has been met in a way that caters to certain interests.

As for security, this bill makes it harder for our agencies to do their job, especially the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, or CSIS. It is wrong to say that we oppose Bill C-59 as a whole, but we cannot support it, because it is an omnibus bill and the problematic provisions are simply unacceptable.

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June 7th, 2019 / 12:25 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House today.

I ask for the indulgence of the House and I hope no one will get up on a point of order on this, but because I am making a speech on a specific day, I did want to shout out to two of my biggest supporters.

The first is to my wife Chantale, whose birthday is today. I want to wish her a happy birthday. Even bigger news is that we are expecting a baby at the end of July. I want to shout out the fact that she has been working very hard at her own job, which is obviously a very exhausting thing, and so the patience she has for my uncomparable fatigue certainly is something that I really do thank her for and love her very much for.

I do not want to create any jealousy in the household, so I certainly want to give a shout-out to her daughter and our daughter Lydia, who is also a big supporter of mine. We are a threesome, and as I said at my wedding last year, I had the luck of falling in love twice. I wanted to take this opportunity, not knowing whether I will have another one before the election, to shout out to them and tell them how much I love them.

I thank my colleagues for their warm thoughts that they have shared with me.

On a more serious note, I would like to talk about the Senate amendments to Bill C-59. More specifically, I would like to talk about the process per se and then come back to certain aspects of Bill C-59, particularly those about which I raised questions with the minister—questions that have yet to be answered properly, if at all.

I want to begin by touching on a more timely issue related to a bill that is currently before the House, Bill C-98. This bill will give more authority to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP so that it also covers the Canada Border Services Agency. That is important because we have been talking for a long time about how the CBSA, the only agency that has a role to play in our national security, still does not have a body whose sole function is to review its operations.

Of course, there is the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, which was created by Bill C-22, and there will soon be a committee created by Bill C-59 that will affect the CBSA, but only with regard to its national security related activities.

I am talking about a committee whose sole responsibility would be to review the activities of the Canada Border Services Agency and to handle internal complaints, such as the allegations of harassment that have been reported in the media in recent years, or complaints that Muslim citizens may make about profiling.

It is very important that there be some oversight or further review. I will say that, as soon as an article is published, either about a problem at the border, about the union complaining about the mistreatment of workers or about problems connected to the agency, the minister comes out with great fanfare to remind everyone that he made a deep and sincere promise to create a system that would properly handle these complaints and that there would be some oversight or review of the agency.

What has happened in four whole years? Nothing at all.

For years now, every time there is a report in the news or an article comes out detailing various allegations of problems, I have just been copying and pasting the last tweet I posted. The situation keeps repeating, but the government is not doing anything.

This situation is problematic because the minister introduced a bill at the last minute, as the clock is winding down on this Parliament, and the bill has not even been referred yet to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

I have a hard time believing that we will pass this bill in the House and an even harder time seeing how it is going to get through the Senate.

That is important because, in his speech, the minister himself alluded to the fact that in fall 2016, when the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, of which I am a member, travelled across the country to study the issue and make recommendations ahead of introducing Bill C-59, the recommendation to create a committee tasked with studying the specific activities of the CBSA was one of the most important recommendations. As we see in Bill C-98, the government did not take this opportunity to do any such thing.

It is certainly troubling, because Bill C-59 is an omnibus piece of legislation. I pleaded with the House, the minister and indeed even the Senate, when it reached the Senate, through different procedural mechanisms, to consider parts of the bill separately, because, as the minister correctly pointed out, this is a huge overhaul of our national security apparatus. The concern with that is not only the consideration that is required, but also the fact that some of these elements, which I will come back to in a moment, were not even part of the national security consultations that both his department and the committee, through the study it did, actually took the time to examine.

More specifically, coming back to and concluding the point on Bill C-98, the minister does not seem to have acted in a prompt way, considering his commitments when it comes to oversight and/or a review of the CBSA. He said in his answer to my earlier question on his speech that it was not within the scope of this bill. That is interesting, not only because this is omnibus legislation, but also because the government specifically referred the legislation to committee prior to second reading with the goal of allowing amendments that were beyond the scope of the bill on the understanding that it did want this to be a large overhaul.

I have a hard time understanding why, with all the indicators being there that it wanted this to be a large, broad-reaching thing and wanted to have things beyond the scope, it would not have allowed for this type of mechanism. Instead, we find we have a bill, Bill C-98, arriving at the 11th hour, without a proper opportunity to make its way through Parliament before the next election.

I talked about how this is an omnibus bill, which makes it problematic in several ways. I wrote a letter to some senators about children whose names are on the no-fly list and the No Fly List Kids group, which the minister talked about. I know the group very well. I would like to congratulate the parents for their tireless efforts on their children's behalf.

Some of the children are on the list simply because the list is racist. Basically, the fact that the names appear multiple times is actually a kind of profiling. We could certainly have a debate about how effective the list is. This list is totally outdated and flawed because so many people share similar names. It is absurd that there was nothing around this list that made it possible for airlines and the agents who managed the list and enforced the rules before the bill was passed to distinguish between a terrorist threat and a very young child.

Again, I thank the parents for their tireless efforts and for the work they did in a non-partisan spirit. They may not be partisan, but I certainly am. I will therefore take this opportunity to say that I am appalled at the way the government has taken these families and children hostage for the sake of passing an omnibus bill.

The minister said that the changes to the no-fly list would have repercussions on a recourse mechanism that would stop these children from being harassed every time they go to the airport. This part of the bill alone accounted for several hundred pages.

I asked the government why it did not split this part from the rest of the bill so it would pass sooner, if it really believed it would deliver justice to these families and their kids. We object to certain components or aspects of the list. We are even prepared to challenge the usefulness of the list and the flaws it may have. If there are any worthy objectives, we are willing to consider them. However, again, our hands were tied by the use of omnibus legislation. During the election campaign, the Liberals promised to make omnibus bills a thing of the past.

I know parents will not say that, and I do not expect them to do so. I commend them again for their non-partisan approach. However, it is appalling and unacceptable that they have been taken hostage.

Moreover, there is also Bill C-21.

I will digress here for a moment. Bill C-21, which we opposed, was a very troubling piece of legislation that dealt with the sharing of border information with the Americans, among others. This involved information on citizens travelling between Canada and the United States. Bill C-59 stalled in the Senate, much like Bill C-21.

As the Minister of Public Safety's press secretary was responding to the concerns of parents who have children on the no-fly list, he suddenly started talking about Bill C-21 as a solution for implementing the redress system for people who want to file a complaint or do not want to be delayed at the airport for a name on the list, when it is not the individual identified. I think it is absolutely awful that these families are being used as bargaining chips to push through a bill that contains many points that have nothing to do with them and warrant further study. In my view, those aspects have not been examined thoroughly enough to move the bill forward.

I thank the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness for recognizing the work I did in committee, even though it took two attempts when he responded to my questions earlier today. In committee, I presented almost 200 amendments. Very few of them were accepted, which was not a surprise.

I would like to focus specifically on one of the Senate's amendments that the government agreed to. This amendment is important and quite simple, I would say even unremarkable. It proposes to add a provision enabling us to review the bill after three years, rather than five, and make amendments if required. That is important because we are proposing significant and far-reaching changes to our national security system. What I find intriguing is that I proposed the same amendment in committee, which I substantiated with the help of expert testimony, and the Liberals rejected my amendment. Now, all of a sudden, the Senate is proposing the same amendment and the government is agreeing to it in the motion we are debating today.

I asked the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness why the Liberals were not willing to put partisanship aside in a parliamentary committee and accept an opposition amendment that proposed a very simple measure but are agreeing to it today. He answered that they had taken the time to reflect and changed their minds when the bill was in the Senate. I am not going to spend too much of my precious time on that, but I find it somewhat difficult to accept because nothing has changed. Experts appeared before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, and it was very clear, simple and reasonable. Having said that, I thank the minister for finally recognizing this morning that I contributed to this process.

I also want to talk about some of what concerns us about the bill. There are two pieces specifically with regard to what was Bill C-51 under the previous government, and a few aspects new to this bill that have been brought forward that cause us some concern and consternation.

There are two pieces in Bill C-51 that raised the biggest concerns at the time of debate in the previous Parliament and raised the biggest concerns on the part of Canadians as well, leading to protests outside our committee hearings when we travelled the country to five major cities in five days in October 2016. The first has to do with threat disruption, and the second is the information-sharing regime that was brought in by Bill C-51. Both those things are concerning for different reasons.

The threat disruption powers offered to CSIS are of concern because at the end of the day, the reason CSIS was created in the first place was that there was an understanding and consensus in Canada that there had to be a separation between the RCMP's role in law enforcement, which is making arrests and the work that revolves around that, and intelligence gathering, which is the work our intelligence service has to do, so they were separated.

However, bringing us back closer to the point where we start to lose that distinction with regard to the threat disruption powers means that a concern about constitutionality will remain. In fact, the experts at committee did say that Bill C-59, while less unconstitutional than what the Conservatives brought forward in the previous Parliament, had yet to be tested, and there was still some uncertainty about it.

We still believe it is not necessary for CSIS to have these powers. That distinction remains important if we want to be in keeping with the events that led to the separation in the first place, namely the barn burnings, the Macdonald Commission and all those things that folks who have followed this debate know full well, but which we do not have time to get into today.

The other point is the sharing of information, which we are all familiar with. We opened the door to more liberal sharing of information, no pun intended, between the various government departments. That is worrisome. In Canada, one of the most highly publicized cases of human rights violations was the situation of Maher Arar while he was abroad, which led to the Arar commission. In such cases, we know that the sharing of information with other administrations is one of the factors that can lead to the violation of human rights or torture. There are places in the world where human rights are almost or completely non-existent. We find that the sharing of information between Canadian departments can exacerbate such situations, particularly when information is shared between the police or the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

There is an individual who was tortured abroad who is currently suing the government. His name escapes me at the moment. I hope he will forgive me. Global Affairs Canada tried to get him a passport to bring him back to Canada, regardless of whether the accusations against him were true, because he was still a Canadian citizen. However, overwhelming evidence suggests that CSIS and the RCMP worked together with foreign authorities to keep him abroad.

More information sharing can exacerbate that type of problem because, in the government, the left hand does not always know what the right hand is doing. Some information can fall into the wrong hands. If the Department of Foreign Affairs is trying to get a passport for someone and is obligated by law to share that information with CSIS, whose interests are completely different than those of our diplomats, this could put us on a slippery slope.

The much-criticized information sharing system will remain in place with Bill C-59. I do not have the time to list all the experts and civil society groups that criticized this system, but I will mention Amnesty International, which is a well-known organization that does excellent work. This organization is among those critical of allowing the information sharing to continue, in light of the human rights impact it can have, especially in other countries.

Since the bill was sent back to committee before second reading, we had the advantage of being able to propose amendments that went beyond the scope of the bill. We realized that this was a missed opportunity. It was a two-step process, and I urge those watching and those interested in the debates to go take a look at how it went down. There were several votes and we called for a recorded division. Votes can sometimes be faster in committee, but this time we took the time to do a recorded division.

There were two proposals. The Liberals were proposing an amendment to the legislation. We were pleased to support the amendment, since it was high time we had an act stating that we do not support torture in another country as a result of the actions of our national security agencies or police forces. Nevertheless, since this amendment still relies on a ministerial directive, the bill is far from being perfect.

I also proposed amendments to make it illegal to share any information that would lead to the torture of an individual in another country. The amendments were rejected.

I urge my colleagues to read about them, because I am running out of time. As you can see, 20 minutes is not enough, but I would be happy to take questions and comments.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2019 / 12:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Madam Speaker, for Canadians watching, it is not appropriate for a member of Parliament to refer to the presence or absence of a member in the House, and I certainly did not mention an individual member at all. Most of the Liberals were not here, so I certainly did not highlight anyone specifically.

Because Bill C-59 is one of the many omnibus bills we have seen in this Parliament, I am going to speak to three aspects of this bill. I need to remind Canadians and my friend, the deputy House leader of the Liberal Party, that the Liberals promised Canadians that they would never use omnibus legislation in this Parliament. I have lost count of the number of omnibus pieces of legislation, which my friend, the Liberal MP from Winnipeg, once called an assault on democracy. They have been regularly assaulting this democracy in this Parliament, and Bill C-59 is an example, because it is comprehensive. It would affect the Criminal Code, the Communications Security Establishment and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. There are multiple pieces of legislation referenced and amended. It is very comprehensive.

The Conservatives have tried to work with the government on it. There are two central concerns I have with Bill C-59, which is why I and the Conservatives cannot support it, despite the good work by opposition members and despite the good work by the Senate, which agrees with much of what I am going to say.

I am going to talk about two critical pieces where the government is falling short, from a public safety standpoint, with Bill C-59. Then I am going to talk about the great advocacy work of No Fly List Kids and people like Sulemaan Ahmed and the families that have been some of the most sincere, thoughtful and creative advocates I have seen in my six years in Parliament trying to make public policy better. I am going to make a commitment to them right at the start of this speech. Conservatives will fix the problems with the no-fly list. We will make sure that there is a redress system to have false positives addressed, and we will do that within the first two years of government. We will have a process to get it fixed.

The government throws it into an omnibus bill and claims that it is going to cost far more than it is. We need a redress system, much like the one in the United States.

When the no-fly list was created under the Conservative government, and I am not suggesting that it was not under the Conservative government, there was no idea that there would be so many false positives. Families impacted by that, many families who have children sharing a name with someone who might be on a no-fly list, have no way to distinguish that or redress that, and that is unfair. It has affected many families from across the country.

I want to thank the no-fly list kids and their families and make that personal pledge to them. I have mentioned it many times in the House and in committee. If we win the election in the fall, which we are planning to, to get Canada back on track, we will make a commitment to fix that very quickly, faster than the government that still has not fixed the Phoenix pay system in the final months of its time in government.

Here are the substantive measures we cannot support in Bill C-59. The no-fly list is part of this large omnibus bill.

The reason Conservatives cannot support it are central to public safety and security. I say this as a Canadian Armed Forces veteran, as a former minister of the Crown and as a former shadow minister for public safety. I have looked at this bill and the issues involved in great detail.

The first issue is the threat disruption threshold. The government's change is a risk to public safety. I never overstate risks. There is not a bogeyman around every corner. However, when we change the threshold for peace officers, law enforcement and our justice system from “likely to prevent” a terrorist act to “necessary to prevent” the commission of such an act, that is a threshold that will perplex police forces across this country and make it hard for them to detain risks to public safety and security.

Why is that critical? It is because, when we introduced a change to this power, following the attack on Parliament and following the attack and death of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, the Prime Minister, who was the member for Papineau and third party leader in the last Parliament, praised this preventative measure in that Parliament. In fact, he said that he “welcome[s] the measures [on] preventative arrest” that were contained in the bill. However, the Liberals are changing it, and law enforcement and security officials are telling them not to change it.

I would invite Liberal members who were not here in the last Parliament to read the committee transcripts from the last Parliament and the testimony from Patrice Vincent's sister. He was a warrant officer serving with distinction in Quebec who was run down and killed by a radicalized Canadian because of the uniform he wore. That is it. He was targeted. Police knew that the young man from Quebec was a risk, but they did not feel they had an evidentiary burden to make a preventative arrest to prevent what they thought might be the commission of a terrorist offence.

By making it “necessary to prevent”, the bill sets a high standard. As a lawyer, I worry about that standard. “Likely” does not mean that this power would allow law enforcement to willy-nilly preventatively arrest people. “Likely to prevent” the commission of an offence is an appropriate threshold. Changing this is a very poor and, quite frankly, dangerous public policy. Therefore, we have asked for that amendment, as have many Canadians and many law enforcement experts.

We, in the Conservative caucus, trust law enforcement officers. They have a difficult job to do whenever someone is caught on the way to committing an offence, as we saw in southwestern Ontario with Mr. Driver. Questions are asked by law enforcement. Look at how close we were. We have relied now two or three times in the last few years on FBI information to stop threats in our country. Therefore, this is a serious gap in Bill C-59.

The second issue is the “counselling commission of terrorism” element of the bill and the criminal standard of the offence under our Criminal Code. Many groups appeared before committee in this Parliament saying that we cannot have ambiguity on the counselling the commission of terrorism issue in the bill. The old standard was “knowingly advocates or promotes the commission of terrorism”. Therefore, there is still an evidentiary threshold that is required. This is not some draconian power that people are suggesting. There is a threshold required. Making the threshold too high or too ambiguous is a risk, and that is unnecessary. In fact, the entire Senate agrees with our position on this. “Counselling” is way too broad and unclear.

In an age when a lot of threats are now online, advocating, pushing, promoting should be something for the commission of violence on another, so that we can avoid the next attack on the Hill, so that we can avoid the next horrible attack like the one we saw at the mosque in Quebec City. That horrendous killer went into the mosque, and if law enforcement had seen that he was knowingly advocating or promoting violence against an identifiable group, that would have been enough. In fact, combined with my last point, it would have been “likely to prevent”. That could have stopped someone in that circumstance.

All communities, particularly religious communities like the Muslim and Jewish communities that face threats and see horrific things online, should not want these aspects of Bill C-59 to pass, and that is what the Conservatives have consistently been advocating in the interest of public safety, in the interest of all Canadians. The Senate agrees on the issue of counselling the commission of an offence. Most advocacy groups agree that it is too ambiguous. In a time when we are seeing these threats emerge online, we are seeing people radicalized online.

In the last Parliament, I remember one of my early votes was to make travelling abroad for training with a terrorist organization a crime under the Criminal Code. Now, with social media, technology and YouTube, people do not need to travel. They can be radicalized, promote hate and violence and actually advocate for violence against an identifiable group online.

We have to give law enforcement the tools of preventative arrest and we have to criminalize some of that terror activity at its source, trusting our law enforcement and our courts. Preventative arrest is not trial and conviction. It is law enforcement, in conjunction often with the Crown, saying that it has ascertained there is a serious risk to public safety, to Canadian citizens, to people living in Canada, to people visiting Canada, and that preventative arrest will likely prevent it. That is a reasonable standard. That was the old standard.

Changing that to arresting the person preventatively to prevent this or to stop it is too high a threshold. That could mean law enforcement would spend three more weeks looking into the suspect. In the case of Patrice Vincent, we heard that in committee in particular. I would invite Canadians to look at the committee transcripts. I will tweet his sister's testimony out later. Law enforcement knew that gentleman in Quebec. I cannot remember his name right now. He was a young Québécois who had been racialized and law enforcement knew he was a risk.

Those are the two elements why the Conservatives cannot support Bill C-59. It is bad for public safety and security. There are other elements in the bill we like. However, an omnibus bill, as my friend from Winnipeg used to say, is an assault on democracy. I have tried in my speech to commit to two key things on why the legislation is flawed.

I cannot understate enough how impressed I am by the thoughtful and informed advocacy of the no-fly list kids. I know members on all sides of the House have heard from these people and have seen their commentary.

My friend Sulemaan will laugh when he hears I am promoting going to a Montreal Canadiens game, as a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, but I am. When young people are prevented from going to a hockey game of the Montreal Canadiens because they share a name with someone who is a threat, not only is it unfair to them, it shows that our no-fly list is full of garbage. In public safety and security that is not enough. If someone has to sort through dozens, hundreds and thousands of false positives, is there really security at all?

This is a commitment from my leader and our caucus. We want to thank the no-fly list group and their families for the advocacy they have done with all the members of the House and commit to them. We are the party that delivers. We are not the hashtag party. We are not the photo ops party. We are the party that will deliver. We give our commitment that this will be a priority early in our government.

I can see a resolution. I have often said that this is not as complex as the minister of public safety has suggested. I do not even believe it is an accurate statement that it will cost $80 million to fix it.

The U.S. has a redress list. This is about data. This is about ensuring we constantly review the no-fly list . If people who are not threats are crowding out the one or two who may be, the system is not working. I think all Canadians will agree with our pledge to commit that.

I praised the government when it finally addressed the issue, after listening to the families of the no-fly list kids. However, by putting it into an omnibus bill, it prevents us from addressing it immediately. I am not suggesting bad faith on the part of the government. I think it listened to the advocacy and found this was the most appropriate bill to put it into. However, I do not think it even requires legislation. It could have been done through a ministerial directive. Most of the entries on the no-fly list are known to be false positives.

I remember when retired Senator David Smith was on the list. He was a prominent Liberal senator, or whatever those types of senators are called these days, Liberal or independent. I am not sure. How many David Smiths would there be in Canada? There would be roughly a thousand, so the list is garbage.

Then we saw that a number of young Canadians were on the list because they shared common names in certain communities. How do the hundreds of people with the same name but no biometric information redress that? How can we get the newborn babies off that list? The minister could fix that under his or her own authority. If that had been done, as I said at the time, there would have been full support for the government.

I acknowledge that when we brought this measure in, even prior to my time in Parliament we did not anticipate this false positive issue. I think we have much to learn from the redress system in the U.S., because if there are problems with their no-fly list there, we could avoid some of those pitfalls and make ours world class. That is a commitment we want to make as part of the debate on Bill C-59.

I will go on to say that we generally support other aspects of the bill, those related to security and intelligence oversight, and we have been trying to participate in that work. At various times during our time in government, we talked about a super SIRC and more coordination and oversight with respect to the agencies that collect data. However, one challenge that was faced in minority parliaments was that it was very hard to set up a committee of parliamentarians that would have been devoid of politics. So far, from what I have seen from that committee, although we have not had much in the way of reports from it, it does not seem that politics have been impacting the process. That is a good thing that has come out of this.

There are elements of Bill C-59 that we support. However, when they are included in an omnibus bill, we have to weigh the elements we support on the intelligence side, such as the redress system for the no-fly list, against the elements we do not support. During my speech, I tried to outline the two very serious ones. I cannot underscore enough the fact that preventive arrest is a rare power provided to law enforcement, but it is there because we live in a dangerous and uncertain world. Many of us will remember the day when Nathan Cirillo was killed and the gunman came into the old building, and Patrice Vincent, and the shooting in the mosque in Quebec City, and the Aaron Driver case, when law enforcement stopped this person in southwestern Ontario when he was on his way to commit an offence. We cannot set the burden so high for law enforcement officers that they know there is a risk but are debating for weeks on whether preventive arrest will stop that risk from harming Canadians.

One of our most fundamental duties as parliamentarians is to provide a safe, secure, rules-based system that respects diversity and human rights. Law enforcement officers have a tough job to do, so the last thing we can do, as this Parliament wraps up, is support a bill that will make their job harder.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2019 / 1:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Madam Speaker, I always enjoy my friend from Winnipeg North. I know he loves my using his assault-on-democracy quote with respect to omnibus bills. The frequency of the Liberals' time allocation and closure in the last few weeks of Parliament would really make Peter Van Loan blush. He should review some of his speeches of outrage in the previous Parliament.

Let me address the member's issues. As I reminded him when he railed on about Bill C-51, he voted for it. The Prime Minister, at that time the leader of the third party, praised the preventive-arrest measures. Now the Liberals are throwing those out the window. Much like everything with this Prime Minister, it is just not as advertised. I have heard that a few times.

We generally support intelligence oversight, as the member will note from my remarks. That was difficult to do in a minority government at times. During the majority government it was not something that was looked at, but we have spoken in favour of it at times. I have spoken of it, and in fact Peter MacKay spoke in favour of it back around 2006.

The final piece the member said about rights is critical. Public safety is a balancing between our important freedoms, liberties and rights and our public safety and security, and we certainly should be very careful. However, as I said, there are legal thresholds required for preventive arrest, and baked into them are evidence, a threshold and a trust in law enforcement to follow in conjunction with the Crown.

We have the best legal system in the world. We have the best law enforcement in the world. It can always be better and we can make it better, but we cannot tie law enforcement agencies' hands. If someone is killed in a mosque or while guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, his or her rights are erased, so let us not bind the hands of law enforcement agents, who have a tough job in keeping Canadians safe. That is why we do not support the provision in Bill C-59.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2019 / 1:15 p.m.
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NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Madam Speaker, in the 2015 election Bill C-51 was front and centre in my riding. There were rallies held across the riding against Bill C-51. People were really angry with the Conservative government for putting it forward. They were almost equally angry with the Liberals for supporting it at that time.

Regarding this current bill, Bill C-59, I want to quote from Cara Zwibel, acting general counsel, Canadian Civil Liberties Association. She said:

All Canadian laws must comply with the Charter. Bill C-59 tries harder than its predecessor, but fails to fix some of the unconstitutional elements...contested in...Bill C-51. Troublingly, C-59 also allows intelligence agencies to engage in conduct that threatens freedom of expression, freedom of association, privacy, and public safety. The government has taken a first step, but a great deal more is needed. Canada must get it right on national security.

I am interested in my colleague's comments on this statement that Bill C-59 continues to threaten freedom of expression, freedom of association, privacy and public safety.

Notice of time allocation motionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2019 / 1:20 p.m.
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Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I think the member for Durham has been quite clear that although things might not be perfect, it is important we move them ahead.

That is exactly why I would like to advise that an agreement could not be reached under the provisions of Standing Orders 78(1) or 78(2) with respect to the consideration of certain amendments to Bill C-59, an act respecting national security matters.

Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I give notice that a minister of the Crown will propose at the next sitting a motion to allot a specific number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of the said amendments.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2019 / 1:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Leona Alleslev Conservative Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Madam Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege to have the opportunity to speak to such an important bill today.

Yesterday marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day, a very important turning point in the Second World War and one where Canada was overwhelmingly able to contribute and further the cause of peace and security in the world.

Why do I bring that up? This is a piece of legislation respecting national security matters and one that we must take very seriously, given the nature of the threats that are facing not only Canada here at home, but the world, at this point.

For the first time in many years, we are seeing the rise of great powers. We are seeing an increase in the number of threats that are facing our country, and those threats are not coming only in terms of troops on the ground or weapons or guns being fired. Those threats are coming from what we call non-traditional or asymmetric threats. We can be sitting at home and we find that information manipulation, cyber-threats and online instigating of violence are having a significant contribution on people who would want to commit these acts.

We must be vigilant. Democracy is fragile. Those men who sacrificed their lives 70 years ago for what we have today must be honoured. How do we honour them? Yes, we remember the incredible sacrifice they made, but we have also been entrusted with preserving the security and the values for which our nation stands going forward.

What are those values? Those values are safeguarding the freedom of individual liberty, the principles of democracy and the rule of law. Every time any one of those things is eroded, we must stand and be counted to ensure that we do honour their memory and we remember what exactly they fought for and what we must also fight for into the future.

What would Bill C-59 actually do? Bill C-59 is trying to make it appear that the Liberal government takes national security threats seriously. In a world of increasing threats, the government wants to show that it is doing something. Unfortunately, it is more about show than actual reality.

Significant parts of the bill take existing legislation and muddy the waters. They make it weaker. They make the wording so that it is more difficult to execute on. Instead of giving money to the areas that will further pointy-end national security efforts, the government is putting money into more bureaucracy and more red tape and ensuring that nothing actually gets done.

This is highly disconcerting. If Canadians do not understand what the threats are, and if our national security agencies and our law enforcement people have less ability, less legislation, weaker and more confusing legislation and more bureaucracy to execute on making sure we are safe and secure, then what exactly are we trying to accomplish?

That is one of the more fundamental reasons why Conservative members cannot support the bill. It is a lot of bureaucracy. It is a lot of smoke and mirrors. It is an attempt to make it look like the Liberals are taking national security seriously, when in fact it compounds the problem and confuses the issue.

The Liberals have combined it all into one organization, the national security and intelligence review agency, and we are not able to see what that organization is going to do and what its mandate will be.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

June 18th, 2018 / 2:40 p.m.
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Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, that is the problem. Abu Huzaifa has admitted that he committed atrocities, but he is currently walking free on the streets of Toronto as though he were a respectable citizen.

The Prime Minister is telling us that Canadians should not worry, but that is misleading because the Liberals' Bill C-59 will make it much more difficult for law enforcement to arrest these criminals. The Prime Minister also believes that these murderers can be a powerful voice for our country.

Can the Prime Minister tell us whether this murderer will soon be arrested or whether he intends to give him a contract to be a powerful voice for Canadians?

Standing Order 69.1—Bill C-59—Speaker's RulingPoint of OrderRoutine Proceedings

June 18th, 2018 / 3:55 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The Chair is now prepared to rule on the point of order raised June 11, 2018 by the hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly concerning the applicability of Standing Order 69.1 to Bill C-59, an act respecting national security matters.

The Chair would like to thank the hon. member for having raised this question, as well as the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons for his intervention.

The hon. member argued that Bill C-59 is an omnibus bill as he feels it contains several different initiatives which should be voted on separately. On a point of order raised on November 20, 2017, he initially asked the Chair to divide the question on the motion to refer the bill to committee before second reading. As the Speaker ruled on the same day, Standing Order 69.1 clearly indicates that the Chair only has such a power in relation to the motions for second reading and for third reading of a bill. The Speaker invited members to raise their arguments once again in relation to the motion for third reading.

The hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly pointed out that each of the three parts of the bill enacts a new statute. Part 1 enacts the national security and intelligence review agency act, part 2 enacts the intelligence commissioner act, while part 3 enacts the Communications Security Establishment act. He argued that since each of the first two parts establishes a new entity, with details of each entity's mandate and powers, and since the third significantly expands the mandate of the CSE, he felt they should each be voted upon separately. He also argued that each part amends a variety of other acts, though the chair notes that in most cases, these are consequential amendments to change or add the name of the entities in question in other acts.

The hon. member argued that parts 4 and 5 of the bill should be voted on together. They deal with new powers being given to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, CSIS, relating to metadata collection and threat disruption, as well as with the disclosure of information relating to security matters between government departments.

As part 6 deals with the Secure Air Travel Act and what is commonly referred to as the “no-fly list”, he felt that this was a distinct matter and that it should be voted upon separately.

Finally, the hon. member proposed grouping together parts 7, 8, 9, and 10 for a single vote. Part 7 deals with changes to the Criminal Code relating to terrorism, while part 8 deals with similar concepts in relation to young offenders. Part 9 provides for a statutory review of the entire bill after six years, while part 10 contains the coming into force provisions.

In his intervention on the matter, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader indicated that the provisions of the bill are linked by a common thread that represents the enhancement of Canada’s national security, as well as the protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms of Canadians. In order to achieve these objectives, he mentioned that it is necessary for Bill C-59 to touch on a number of acts, and that the bill should be seen as a whole, with several parts that would not be able to achieve the overall objective of the bill on their own. He concluded that Standing Order 69.1 should not apply in this case.

Standing Order 69.1 gives the Speaker the power to divide the question on a bill where there is not a common element connecting all the various provisions or where unrelated matters are linked.

Bill C-59 does clearly contain several different initiatives. It establishes new agencies and mechanisms for oversight of national security agencies and deals with information collection and sharing as well as criminal offences relating to terrorism. That said, one could argue, as the parliamentary secretary did, that since these are all matters related to national security, there is, indeed, a common thread between them. However, the question the Chair must ask itself is whether these specific measures should be subjected to separate votes.

On March 1, 2018, the Speaker delivered a ruling regarding Bill C-69 where he indicated that he believed Standing Order 69.1 could be applied to a bill with multiple initiatives, even if they all related to the same policy field. In this particular case, while the Chair has no trouble agreeing that all of the measures contained in Bill C-59 relate to national security, it is the Chair's view that there are distinct initiatives that are sufficiently unrelated as to warrant dividing the question. Therefore, the Chair is prepared to divide the question on the motion for third reading of the bill.

The hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly has asked for six separate votes, one on each of the first three parts, one on parts 4 and 5, one on part 6, and one on parts 7 to 10. While the Chair understands his reasoning, it does not entirely agree with his conclusions as to how the question should be divided.

As each of the first three parts of the bill does, indeed, enact a new act, the Chair can see why he would like to see each one voted upon separately. However, the Chair's reading of the bill is that these three parts establish an overall framework for oversight and national security activities. For example, the national security and intelligence review agency, which would be created by part 1, has some oversight responsibilities for the Communications Security Establishment provided for in part 3, as does the intelligence commissioner, established in part 2. Furthermore, the intelligence commissioner also has responsibilities related to datasets, provided for in part 4, as does the review agency. Given the multiple references in each of these parts to the entities established by other parts, these four parts will be voted upon together.

Part 5 deals with the disclosure of information between various government institutions in relation to security matters. While the relationship between it and the first four parts is not quite as strong, as the member indicated that he believed that parts 4 and 5 could be grouped together, the Chair is prepared to include part 5 in the vote on parts 1 to 4.

The hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly has not addressed the question of the new part 1.1 added to Bill C-59 by the adoption of an amendment to that effect during clause-by-clause consideration of the bill. Part 1.1 enacts the avoiding complicity in mistreatment by foreign entities act, which deals with information sharing in situations where there is a risk of mistreatment of individuals by foreign entities. Since the national security and intelligence review agency, created by part 1 of the bill, must review all directions prescribed in this new part, it is logical that this part be included in the vote on parts 1 to 5.

The Chair agrees with the hon. member that part 6 dealing with the “no-fly list” is a distinct matter and that it should be voted upon separately. The Chair also agree that parts 7 and 8 can be grouped together for a vote. Both largely deal with criminal matters, one in the Criminal Code and the other in the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The Chair has wrestled with where to place parts 9 and 10. They are, in the words of the hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly, largely procedural elements, but they apply to the entire act. Part 9 provides for a legislative review of the act, while part 10 contains the coming into force provisions for the entire act. The Chair also must ensure that the title and preamble of the bill are included in one of the groups.

There is an obvious solution for coming into force provisions in part 10. Since clauses 169 to 172 relate to the coming into force of parts 1 to 5 of the bill, they will be voted on with those parts. As clause 173 deals with the coming into force of part 6, it will be included in the vote on that part.

This leaves the title and the preamble as well as the legislative review provided for in part 9, which is clause 168. Though these apply to the entire bill, the Chair has decided to include them in the largest grouping, which contains parts 1 to 5 of the bill.

Therefore, to summarize, there will be three votes in relation to the third reading of Bill C-59. The first vote will deal with parts 1 to 5 of the bill, as well as the title, the preamble, part 9 regarding the legislative review, and clauses 169 to 172 dealing with coming into force provisions. The second vote relates to part 6 of the bill and the coming into force provisions contained in clause 173. The third vote relates to parts 7 and 8 of the bill. The Chair will remind hon. members of these divisions before the voting begins.

I thank all hon. members for their attention.

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 4:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank our colleague from Calgary Midnapore for a very heartfelt intervention. I think I have just scrapped my entire speech because of what our colleague has mentioned.

It brought me back to growing up in the Cariboo and what our thoughts and dreams were as kids. I was one of the those kids who wanted to be a hockey player and to move on. However, the reality was, we were probably going to become a logger or a farmer, because that is what we did, and that is what we do very well in the Cariboo.

Bill C-69 bring us back to yet another failed election promise of the Liberals and to some of what we have mentioned throughout this House over recent days, weeks, and months. When the member for Papineau was campaigning in 2015, he talked about letting debate reign, yet here we sit.

This is the 44th time allocation that has been imposed on this House, meaning that the members of Parliament on the opposition side, and the Canadians who elected them, have not had the full opportunity to present their feelings about what the government is doing, whether it is on Bill C-69, Bill C-59, Bill C-71, or Bill C-68.

Thank goodness that the Standing Orders dictate that private members' bills cannot be time allocated, and our late colleague, Senator Enverga's private member's bill, Bill S-218, has had the full breadth of comments and support.

Bill C-69 seeks to reverse the 2012 changes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. I will bring us back again to the promise from the member for Papineau, or one of the Liberals, who said that the government would undertake a full review of laws, policies, and operational practices when it comes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

There are a number of people, groups, and organizations that have serious concerns over what Bill C-69 proposes. Our hon. colleague has mentioned, and it has been mentioned before, that most notably the legislation says it intends to decrease the timelines for both major and minor projects. Unfortunately, there are a myriad of ministerial and Governor in Council exemptions that can be exercised to slow down approvals.

What Bill C-69 represents is not a further clarification of the rules and regulations so that project proponents and those who are trying to enforce the act know where they stand, but rather it muddies the waters. What we have heard time and again, what the committee heard time and again, was that it was a wait and see. There was a lot of concern, and indeed those very groups, the environmental groups, that the Liberals campaigned to and got their vote are now saying that it does not meet the standards.

We have seen this over and over again with the government. It likes to say it has consulted with Canadians, and its Liberal members stand with their hand on their heart and talk about how important consultation is. Yet we know, time and again, as it is with the cannabis legislation, the Liberals are rushing legislation through without fully looking at some of the concerns that have been brought forward by the groups, the organizations, and the stakeholders who are going to be most impacted.

Let us talk about the Arctic surf clam in my file. I cannot stand up and do a speech nowadays without bringing up this injustice. The minister was given the authority and the discretion to go in and implement policy, without anybody checking how this would impact the stakeholders, and without the minister consulting about how that policy would impact those on the ground, the stakeholders, whose livelihoods truly depend on the Arctic surf clam fishery. These are some of the concerns that we have.

When the member for Papineau was campaigning, he said that omnibus bills were done for, and yet here we are again debating another 400-page piece of legislation.

He also talked about maybe having a small deficit of $10 billion. We now know that it will not be our children but our grandchildren who will see a balanced budget, because of the Liberal government's spending.

Bill C-69 represents more broken promises, and it does nothing to give confidence to industry. We know at this time that foreign investment is fleeing our nation at record levels. The CEO from Suncor recently spoke to Bill C-69 and said that it had absolutely put a nail in the coffin of Canadian investment in industry.

The government would like everyone to believe that it knows best and that the Ottawa-developed policies have the best intentions for Canadians, yet the Liberals are not listening when Canadians are speaking. They are not allowing members of Parliament to stand and bring the voices of Canadians to Parliament.

It would not be one of my speeches if I did not remind the House and Canadians that the House does not belong to me, and it sure as heck does not belong to those on the government side. It belongs to Canadians. All 338 members of Parliament and the Canadians who elected them deserve to have a say and to have their voices heard. When the government is forcing time allocation on pieces of legislation that fundamentally are going to have an impact on Canadians' lives, Canadians deserve to have a say.

Industry is shaken at the government's lack of consultation and lack of understanding on how we are moving forward. A good friend of mine, the hon. member for North Okanagan—Shuswap, asked our colleague from Calgary Midnapore about the industry's lack of confidence. Is it the carbon tax and the fact that the government refuses to tell Canadians how much it is going to be? Is it Bill C-69, the regulatory environment, that is shaking the confidence of the industry? Is it other legislation that is shaking the confidence of industry, or is it all of the above?

I would offer one more. The Prime Minister, in one of his earliest speeches to the world, spoke about how Canada was going to be known more for its resourcefulness than for its natural resources. The Liberals have waged war against our energy sector from day one. He said he wished the government could phase out the energy sector sooner and apologized for it.

Canadians and the energy sector, our natural resource industry, deserve a champion. The Minister of Natural Resources has said that it is about time our forestry producers and our energy producers got in line with what the world is doing in terms of technology and sustainable harvesting.

Whether it is our softwood lumber producers, our oil and gas producers, our fishermen on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, or our farmers, Canada has some of the best, if not the best, in terms of technology and harvesting. They are leading the way. They just need a champion. Guess what? They will have that in 2019, when the Conservatives regain the right side of the House.

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June 18th, 2018 / 4:40 p.m.
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Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

moved that Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters, be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, as I open this final third reading debate on Bill C-59, Canada's new framework governing our national security policies and practices, I want to thank everyone who has helped to get us to this point today.

Historically, there were many previous studies and reports that laid the intellectual groundwork for Bill C-59. Justices Frank Iacobucci, John Major, and Dennis O'Connor led prominent and very important inquiries. There were also significant contributions over the years from both current and previous members of Parliament and senators. The academic community was vigorously engaged. Professors Forcese, Roach, Carvin, and Wark have been among the most constant and prolific of watchdogs, commentators, critics, and advisers. A broad collection of organizations that advocate for civil, human, and privacy rights have also been active participants in the process, including the Privacy Commissioner. We have heard from those who now lead or have led in the past our key national security agencies, such as the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the RCMP, the Communications Security Establishment, the Canada Border Services Agency, Global Affairs Canada, the Privy Council Office, and many others. While not consulted directly, through their judgments and reports we have also had the benefit of guidance from the Federal Court of Canada, other members of the judiciary, and independent review bodies like the Security Intelligence Review Committee, and the commissioner for the Communications Security Establishment.

National security issues and concerns gained particular prominence in the fall of 2014, with the attacks in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and here in Ottawa, which spawned the previous government's Bill C-51, and a very intense public debate.

During the election campaign that followed, we undertook to give Canadians the full opportunity to be consulted on national security, actually for the first time in Canadian history. We also promised to correct a specific enumerated list of errors in the old Bill C-51. Both of those undertakings have been fulfilled through the new bill, Bill C-59, and through the process that got us to where we are today.

Through five public town hall meetings across the country, a digital town hall, two national Twitter chats, 17 engagement events organized locally by members of Parliament in different places across the country, 14 in-person consultations with a broad variety of specific subject matter experts, a large national round table with civil society groups, hearings by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, and extensive online engagement, tens of thousands of Canadians had their say about national security like never before, and all of their contributions were compiled and made public for everyone else to see.

Based upon this largest and most extensive public consultation ever, Bill C-59 was introduced in Parliament in June of last year. It remained in the public domain throughout the summer for all Canadians to consider and digest.

Last fall, to ensure wide-ranging committee flexibility, we referred the legislation to the standing committee before second reading. Under the rules of the House, that provides the members on that committee with a broader scope of debate and possible amendment. The committee members did extensive work. They heard from three dozen witnesses, received 95 briefs, debated at length, and in the end made 40 different amendments.

The committee took what all the leading experts had said was a very good bill to start with, and made it better. I want to thank all members of the committee for their conscientious attention to the subject matter and their extensive hard work.

The legislation has three primary goals.

First, we sought to provide Canada with a modern, up-to-date framework for its essential national security activity, bearing in mind that the CSIS Act, for example, dates back to 1984, before hardly anyone had even heard of the information highway or of what would become the World Wide Web. Technology has moved on dramatically since 1984; so have world affairs and so has the nature of the threats that we are facing in terms of national security. Therefore, it was important to modify the law, to bring it up to date, and to put it into a modern context.

Second, we needed to correct the defects in the old Bill C-51, again, which we specifically enumerated in our 2015 election platform. Indeed, as members go through this legislation, they will see that each one of those defects has in fact been addressed, with one exception and that is the establishment of the committee of parliamentarians, which is not included in Bill C-59. It was included, and enacted by Parliament already, in Bill C-22.

Third, we have launched the whole new era of transparency and accountability for national security through review and oversight measures that are unprecedented, all intended to provide Canadians with the assurance that their police, security, and intelligence agencies are indeed doing the proper things to keep them safe while at the same time safeguarding their rights and their freedoms, not one at the expense of the other, but both of those important things together.

What is here in Bill C-59 today, after all of that extensive consultation, that elaborate work in Parliament and in the committees of Parliament, and the final process to get us to third reading stage? Let me take the legislation part by part. I noticed that in a ruling earlier today, the Chair indicated the manner in which the different parts would be voted upon and I would like to take this opportunity to show how all of them come together.

Part 1 would create the new national security and intelligence review agency. Some have dubbed this new agency a “super SIRC”. Indeed it is a great innovation in Canada's security architecture. Instead of having a limited number of siloed review bodies, where each focused exclusively on one agency alone to the exclusion of all others, the new national security and intelligence review agency would have a government-wide mandate. It would be able to follow the issues and the evidence, wherever that may lead, into any and every federal department or agency that has a national security or intelligence function. The mandate is very broad. We are moving from a vertical model where they have to stay within their silo to a horizontal model where the new agency would be able to examine every department of government, whatever its function may be, with respect to national security. This is a major, positive innovation and it is coupled, of course, with that other innovation that I mentioned a moment ago: the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians created under Bill C-22. With the two of them together, the experts who would be working on the national security and intelligence review agency, and the parliamentarians who are already working on the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, Canadians can have great confidence that the work of the security, intelligence, and police agencies is being properly scrutinized and in a manner that befits the complexity of the 21st century.

This scrutiny would be for two key purposes: to safeguard rights and freedoms, yes absolutely, but also to ensure our agencies are functioning successfully in keeping Canadians safe and their country secure. As I said before, it is not one at the expense of the other, it is both of those things together, effectiveness coupled with the safeguarding of rights.

Then there is a new part in the legislation. After part 1, the committee inserted part 1.1 in Bill C-59, by adding the concept of a new piece of legislation. In effect, this addition by the committee would elevate to the level of legislation the practice of ministers issuing directives to their agencies, instructing them to function in such a manner as to avoid Canadian complicity in torture or mistreatment by other countries. In future, these instructions would be mandatory, not optional, would exist in the form of full cabinet orders in council, and would be made public. That is an important element of transparency and accountability that the committee built into the new legislation, and it is an important and desirable change. The ministerial directives have existed in the past. In fact, we have made them more vigorous and public than ever before, but part 1.1 would elevate this to a higher level. It would make it part of legislation itself, and that is the right way to go.

Part 2 of the new law would create the new role and function of the intelligence commissioner. For the first time ever, this would be an element of real time oversight, not just a review function after the fact. The national security and intelligence review agency would review events after they have happened. The intelligence commissioner would actually have a function to perform before activities are undertaken. For certain specified activities listed in the legislation, both the Canadian security intelligence agency and the Communications Security Establishment would be required to get the approval of the intelligence commissioner in advance. This would be brand new innovation in the law and an important element of accountability.

Part 3 of Bill C-59 would create stand-alone legislative authority for the Communications Security Establishment. The CSE has existed for a very long time, and its legislation has been attached to other legislation this Parliament has previously passed. For the first time now, the CSE would have its own stand-alone legal authorization in new legislation. As Canada's foreign signals intelligence agency, CSE is also our centre for cybersecurity expertise. The new legislation lays out the procedures and the protection around both defensive and active cyber-operations to safeguard Canadians. That is another reason it is important the CSE should have its own legal authorization and legislative form in a stand-alone act.

Part 4 would revamp the CSIS Act. As I mentioned earlier, CSIS was enacted in 1984, and that is a long time ago. In fact, this is the largest overall renovation of the CSIS legislation since 1984. For example, it would ensure that any threat reduction activities would be consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It would create a modern regime for dealing with datasets, the collection of those datasets, the proper use of those datasets, and how they are disposed of after the fact. It would clarify the legal authorities of CSIS employees under the Criminal Code and other federal legislation. It would bring clarity, precision, and a modern mandate to CSIS for the first time since the legislation was enacted in 1984.

Part 5 of the bill would change the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act to the security of Canada information disclosure act. The reason for the wording change is to make it clear that this law would not create any new collection powers. It deals only with the sharing of existing information among government agencies and it lays out the procedure and the rules by which that sharing is to be done.

The new act will clarify thresholds and definitions. It will raise the standards. It will sharpen the procedures around information sharing within the government. It will bolster record keeping, both on the part of those who give the information and those who receive the information. It will clearly exempt, and this is important, advocacy and dissent and protest from the definition of activities that undermine national security. Canadians have wanted to be sure that their democratic right to protest is protected and this legislation would do so.

Part 6 would amend the Secure Air Travel Act. This act is the legislation by which Canada establishes a no-fly list. We all know the controversy in the last couple of years about false positives coming up on the no-fly list and some people, particularly young children, being prevented from taking flights because their name was being confused with the name of someone else. No child is on the Canadian no-fly list. Unfortunately, there are other people with very similar names who do present security issues, whose names are on the list, and there is confusion between the two names. We have undertaken to try to fix that problem. This legislation would establish the legal authority for the Government of Canada to collect the information that would allow us to fix the problem.

The other element that is required is a substantial amount of funding. It is an expensive process to establish a whole new database. That funding, I am happy to say, was provided by the Minister of Finance in the last budget. We are on our way toward fixing the no-fly list.

Part 7 would amend the Criminal Code in a variety of ways, including withdrawing certain provisions which have never been used in the pursuit of national security in Canada, while at the same time creating a new offence in language that would more likely be utilized and therefore more useful to police authorities in pursuing criminals and laying charges.

Part 8 would amend the Youth Justice Act for the simple purpose of trying to ensure that offences with respect to terrorism where young people are involved would be handled under the terms of the Youth Justice Act.

Part 9 of the bill would establish a statutory review. That is another of the commitments we made during the election campaign, that while we were going to have this elaborate consultation, we were going to bring forward new legislation, we were going to do our very best to fix the defects in Bill C-51, and move Canada forward with a new architecture in national security appropriate to the 21st century.

We would also build into the law the opportunity for parliamentarians to take another look at this a few years down the road, assess how it has worked, where the issues or the problems might be, and address any of those issues in a timely way. In other words, it keeps the whole issue green and alive so future members of Parliament will have the chance to reconsider or to move in a different direction if they think that is appropriate. The statutory review is built into Part 9.

That is a summary of the legislation. It has taken a great deal of work and effort on the part of a lot of people to get us to this point today.

I want to finish my remarks with where I began a few moments ago, and that is to thank everyone who has participated so generously with their hard work and their advice to try to get this framework right for the circumstances that Canada has to confront in the 21st century, ensuring we are doing those two things and doing them well, keeping Canadians safe and safeguarding their rights and freedoms.

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June 18th, 2018 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, as the legislation now says, they are no longer ministerial directives. In fact, after the passage of Bill C-59, and the inclusion of part 1.1, they become orders in council of the government in total, which has the full force and effect of the law.

The language was adopted the way it was to ensure that our police and security agencies would have the capacity to take action when they believed the lives of Canadians were at risk. If information becomes available to CSIS or the RCMP, which they believe is credible, and indicates that the lives of Canadians are imminently in danger, Canadians would expect their government to authorize their security services to act on that information to save Canadian lives. That is why it is written the way it is.

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June 18th, 2018 / 5:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his explanation of Bill C-59. My hon. colleague from the NDP indicated the number of amendments that were presented by various parties, very few of which were adopted by the Liberal majority at committee. However, the witnesses at committee expressed some concerns that with the current wording of the bill, there would be a tendency for the various security organizations inside the big umbrella of national security to be very protective of the information they had and to remain in silos and by remaining in those silos for fear of releasing information to another agency inside that big umbrella, they might run afoul of their political masters with a breach of privacy.

I am interested to have the minister's comments on whether he believes Bill C-59 strikes the right balance whereby agencies that receive information of threats to our country have full freedom to share that within the public service to other agencies without fear of releasing private information.

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June 18th, 2018 / 5:10 p.m.
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Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his speech.

On June 20, 2017, almost a year ago to the day, the minister introduced Bill C-59 in the House. Shortly after that, he said that, instead of bringing it back for second reading, it would be sent straight to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security so the committee could strengthen and improve it. Opposition members thought that was fantastic. We thought there would be no need for political games for once. Since this bill is about national security, we thought we could work together to ensure that Bill C-59 works for Canadians. When it comes to security, there is no room for partisanship.

Unfortunately, the opposition soon realized that it was indeed a political game. The work we were asked to do was essentially pointless. I will have more to say about that later.

The government introduced Bill C-71, the firearms bill, in much the same way. It said it would sever the gun-crime connection, but this bill does not even go there. The government is targeting hunters and sport shooters, but that is another story.

Getting back to Bill C-59, we were invited to propose amendments. We worked very hard. We got a lot of work done in just under nine months. We really took the time to go through this 250-page omnibus bill. We Conservatives proposed 45 specific amendments that we thought were important to improve Bill C-59, as the minister had asked us to do. In the end, none of our amendments were accepted by the committee or the government. Once again, we were asked to do a certain job, but then our work was dismissed, even though everything we proposed made a lot of sense.

The problem with Bill C-59, as far as we are concerned, is that it limits the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's ability to reduce terrorist threats. It also limits the ability of government departments to share data among themselves to protect national security. It removes the offence of advocating and promoting terrorist offences in general. Finally, it raises the threshold for obtaining a terrorism peace bond and recognizance with conditions. One thing has been clear to us from the beginning. Changing just two words in a 250-page document can sometimes make all the difference. What we found is that it will be harder for everyone to step in and address a threat.

The minister does indeed have a lot of experience. I think he has good intentions and truly wants this to work, but there is a prime minister above him who has a completely different vision and approach. Here we are, caught in a bind, with changes to our National Security Act that ultimately do nothing to enhance our security.

Our allies around the world, especially those in Europe, have suffered attacks. Bill C-51 was introduced in 2014, in response to the attacks carried out here, in Canada. Right now, we do not see any measures that would prevent someone from returning to the Islamic State. This is a problem. Our act is still in force, and we are having a hard time dealing with Abu Huzaifa, in Toronto. The government is looking for ways to arrest him—if that is what it truly wants to do—and now it is going to pass a law that will make things even harder for our security services. We are having a hard time with this.

Then there is the whole issue of radicalization. Instead of cracking down on it, the government is trying to put up barriers to preventing it. The funny thing is that at the time, when they were in the opposition, the current Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Prime Minister both voted with the government in favour of Bill C-51. There was a lot of political manoeuvring, and during the campaign, the Liberals said that they would address Bill C-51, a bill they had supported. At the time, it was good, effective counter-terrorism legislation. However, the Liberals listened to lobby groups and said during the campaign that they would amend it.

I understand the world of politics, being a part of it. However, there are certain issues on which we should set politics aside in the interest of national security. Our allies, the Five Eyes countries are working to enhance their security and to be more effective.

The message we want to get across is that adding more red tape to our structures makes them less operationally effective. I have a really hard time with that.

Let me share some examples of amendments we proposed to Bill C-59. We proposed an amendment requiring the minister to table in Parliament a clear description of the way the various organizations would work together, namely, the NSIC, CSE, CSIS, the new committee of parliamentarians, as well as the powers and duties of the minister.

In our meetings with experts, we noticed that people had a hard time understanding who does what and who speaks to whom. We therefore drafted an amendment that called on the minister to provide a breakdown of the duties that would be clear to everyone. The answer was no. The 45 amendments we are talking about were not all ideological in nature, but rather down to earth. The amendments were rejected.

It was the Conservative government that introduced Bill C-51 when it was in office. Before the bill was passed, the mandate of CSIS prevented it from engaging in any disruption activities. For example, CSIS could not approach the parents of a radicalized youth and encourage them to dissuade their child from travelling to a war zone or conducting attacks here in Canada. After Bill C-51 was passed, CSIS was able to engage in some threat disruption activities without a warrant and in others with a warrant. Threat disruption refers to efforts to stop terrorist attacks while they are still in the planning stages.

Threat disruption activities not requiring a warrant are understood to be any activities that are not contrary to Canadian laws. Threat disruption activities requiring a warrant currently include any activity that would infringe on an individual's privacy or other rights and any activity that contravenes Canada's laws. Any threat disruption activities that would cause bodily harm, violate sexual integrity, or obstruct justice are specifically prohibited.

Under Bill C-51, warrants were not required for activities that were not against Canadian law. Bill C-51 was balanced. No one could ask to intervene if it was against the law to do so. When there was justification, that worked, but if a warrant was required, one was applied for.

At present, Bill C-59 limits the threat reduction activities of CSIS to the specific measures listed in the bill. CSIS cannot employ these measures without a warrant. At present CSIS requires a warrant for these actions, which I will describe. First, a warrant is required to amend, remove, replace, destroy, disrupt, or degrade a communication or means of communication. Second, a warrant is also required to modify, remove, replace, destroy, degrade, or provide or interfere with the use or delivery of all or part of something, including files, documents, goods, components, and equipment.

The work was therefore complicated by the privacy objectives of Canadians. Bill C-51 created a privacy problem. Through careful analysis and comparison, it eventually became clear that the work CSIS was requesting was not in fact a privacy intrusion, as was believed. Even the privacy commissioners and witnesses did not analyze the situation the same way we are seeing now.

Bill C-51 made it easier to secure peace bonds in terrorism cases. Before Bill C-51, the legal threshold for police to secure a peace bond was that a person had to fear that another person will commit a terrorism offence.

Under Bill C-51, a peace bond could be issued if there were reasonable grounds to fear that a person might commit a terrorism offence. It is important to note that Bill C-59 maintains the lower of the two thresholds by using “may”. However, Bill C-59 raises the threshold from “is likely” to “is necessary”.

Earlier when I mentioned the two words that changed out of the 250 pages, I was referring to changing “is likely” to “is necessary”. These two words make all the difference for preventing a terrorist activity, in order to secure a peace bond.

It would be very difficult to prove that a peace bond, with certain conditions, is what is needed to prevent an act of terrorism. This would be almost as complex as laying charges under the Criminal Code. What we want, however, is to get information to be able to act quickly to prevent terrorist acts.

We therefore proposed an amendment to the bill calling for a recognizance order to be issued if a peace officer believes that such an order is likely to prevent terrorist activities. The Liberals are proposing replacing the word “likely” with the words “is necessary”. We proposed an amendment to eliminate that part of the bill, but it was refused. That is the main component of Bill C-59 with respect to managing national security.

Bill C-59 has nine parts. My NDP colleague wanted to split the bill, and I thought that was a very good idea, since things often get mixed up in the end. We are debating Bill C-59 here, but some parts are more administrative in nature, while others have to do with young people. Certain aspects need not be considered together. We believe that the administrative parts could have been included in other bills, while the more sensitive parts that really concern national security could have been dealt with publicly and separately.

Finally, the public and the media are listening to us, and Bill C-59 is an omnibus bill with so many elements that we cannot oppose it without also opposing some aspects that we support. For example, we are not against reorganizing the Communications Security Establishment. Some things could be changed, but we are not opposed to that.

We supported many of the bill's elements. On balance, however, it contains some legislation that is too sensitive and that we cannot support because it touches on fundamental issues. In our view, by tinkering with this, security operations will become very bureaucratic and communications will become difficult, despite the fact the the main goal was to simplify things and streamline operations.

The Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security heard from 36 witnesses, and several of them raised this concern. The people who work in the field every day said that it complicated their lives and that this bill would not simplify things. A huge structure that looks good on paper was put in place, but from an operational point of view, things have not been simplified.

Ultimately, national security is what matters to the government and to the opposition. I would have liked the amendments that we considered important to be accepted. Even some administrative amendments were rejected. We believe that there is a lack of good faith on the part of the government on this file. One year ago, we were asked to work hard and that is what we did. The government did not listen to us and that is very disappointing.

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June 18th, 2018 / 5:30 p.m.
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Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, that is a good question. That is part of what I was saying about the omnibus Bill C-59. It has nine separate parts. Some parts are more administrative, and others are more related to the operational side of things. That is what makes this whole business more complicated. A year ago, we were asked to study this bill and work on it. It was a struggle for us to figure out how to make our work relevant. Our recommendations did include some amendments that were more operational and some that were more administrative, but that was because the bill itself was crafted that way.

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June 18th, 2018 / 5:35 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues for their speeches. Here we are again, debating Bill C-59 at third reading, and I would like to start by talking about the process of debate surrounding a bill, which started not with this government, but rather during the last Parliament with the former Bill C-51.

Contrary to what we have been hearing from the other side today and at other times as well, the NDP and the Green Party were the only ones that opposed Bill C-51 in the previous Parliament. I have heard many people talk about how they were aware that Canadians had concerns about their security, about how a balanced approach was vital, and about how they understood the bill was flawed. They took it for granted that they would come to power and then fix the many, many, many flaws in the bill. Some of those flaws are so dangerous that they threaten the rights, freedoms, and privacy of Canadians. Of course, I am talking about the Liberal Party, which supported Bill C-51 even as it criticized it. I remember that when it was before committee, the member for Malpeque, who is still an MP, spend his time criticizing it and talking about its flaws. Then the Liberal Party supported it anyway.

That is problematic because now the government is trying to use the bill to position itself as the champion of nuanced perspectives. The government keeps trying to say that there are two objectives, namely to protect Canadians and to protect Canadians' rights. I myself remember a rather different situation, which developed in the wake of the 2014 attack on Parliament. The Conservative government tried to leverage people's fear following that terrible event to make unnecessary legislative changes. I will comment further on what was really necessary to protect Canadians.

A legislative change was therefore proposed to increase the powers given to national security agencies, but nothing was done to enhance the oversight system, which already falls short of where it needs to be to ensure that their work is done in full compliance with our laws and in line with Canadians' expectations regarding their rights and freedoms. Surveys showed that Canadians obviously welcomed those measures because, after all, we were in a situation where ISIS was on the rise, and we had the attack in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, which is not far from my region. We also had the attack right here in Parliament. They took advantage of people's fear, so there was some support for the measures presented in the bill.

To the NDP, our reflection in caucus made it very clear that we needed to stand up. We are elected to this place not only to represent our constituents, but also to be leaders on extremely difficult issues and to make the right decision, the decision that will ensure that we protect the rights of Canadians, even when that does not appear to be a popular decision.

Despite the fact that it seemed to be an unpopular decision, and despite the fact that the Liberals, seeing the polls, came out saying “We are just going to go with the wind and try and denounce the measures in the bill so that we can simultaneously protect ourselves from Conservative attacks and also try and outflank the NDP on the progressive principled stand of protecting Canadians' rights and freedoms,” what happened? The polls changed. As the official opposition, we fought that fight here in Parliament. Unlike the Liberals, we stood up to Stephen Harper's draconian Bill C-51. We saw Canadians overwhelmingly oppose the measures that were in Bill C-51.

What happened after the election? We saw the Liberals try to square the circle they had created for themselves by denouncing and supporting legislation all at the same time. They said not to worry, because they were going to do what they do best, which is to consult. They consulted on election promises and things that were already debated in the previous Parliament.

The minister brought forward his green paper. The green paper was criticized, correctly and rightfully so, for going too far in one direction, for posing the question of how we could give more flexibility to law enforcement, how we could give them more tools to do their jobs, which is a complete misunderstanding of the concerns that Canadians had with Bill C-51 to begin with. It goes back to the earlier point I made. Instead of actually giving law enforcement the resources to create their tools, having a robust anti-radicalization strategy, and making sure that we do not see vulnerable young people falling through the cracks and being recruited by terrorist organizations like ISIS or the alt right that we see in these white supremacist groups, what happened?

We embarked on this consultation that was already going in one direction, and nearly two years after the Liberals coming into power, we finally see legislation tabled. The minister, in his speech earlier today, defended tabling that legislation in the dying days of a spring sitting of Parliament before the House rises for the summer by saying that we would have time to consider and contemplate the legislation over the summer. He neglected to mention that the very same powers that stood on shaky constitutional ground that were accorded to agencies like CSIS by the Conservatives' Bill C-51 remain on the books, and as Michel Coulombe, the then director of CSIS, now retired, said repeatedly in committee, they are powers that were being used at that time.

It is all well and good to consult. Certainly, no one is opposed to the principles behind consultation, but when the consultation is about promises that were made to the Canadian people to fix legislation that undermined their rights while the very powers that undermined their rights are still on the books and being used, then one has to recognize the urgency to act.

The story continues because after this consultation the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security conducted a consultation. We made recommendations and the NDP prepared an excellent supplementary report, which supports the committee's unanimous recommendations, but also includes our own, in support of the bill introduced by my colleague from Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, which is on the Order Paper. He was the public safety critic before me and he led the charge, along with the member for Outremont, who was then the leader of the official opposition, against Bill C-51. The bill introduced by my colleague from Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke entirely repeals all of the legislation in Bill C-51.

Interestingly, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness defended the fact that he did not repeal it all by stating that several MPs, including the member for Spadina—Fort York, said that the reason not to do so was that it would be a highly complex legislative endeavour. My colleague introduced a bill that is on the Order Paper and that does exactly that. With due respect to my colleague, it cannot be all that complex if we were able to draft a bill that achieved those exact objectives.

Bill C-59 was sent to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security before second reading, on the pretext that this would make it possible to adopt a wider range of amendments, give the opposition more opportunities to be heard, and allow for a robust study. What was the end result? A total of 55 amendments were adopted, and we are proud of that. However, of those 55 amendments, two come from the NDP, and one of those relates to the preamble to one part of the bill. While I have no desire to impugn the Liberals' motives, the second amendment was adopted only once the wording met their approval. None of the Conservatives' amendments were adopted. Ultimately, it is not the end of the world, because we disagree on several points, but I hear all this talk about collaboration, yet none of the Green Party's amendments were adopted. This goes to show that the process was rigged and that the government had already decided on its approach.

The government is going to brag about the new part 1.1 of the legislation that has been adopted. Contrary to what the minister said when answering my question earlier today in debate, that would not create any new legal obligation in terms of how the system currently works. The ministerial directives that are adopted to prohibit—despite loopholes, it is important to note—the use of information obtained under torture will remain just that, ministerial directives. The legal obligation that the minister or the Governor in Council “may” recommend the issuing of directives to deputy heads of departments is just not good enough. If it were, the Liberals would have had no problem voting for amendments that I read into record at committee. Time does not permit me to reread the amendments into the record, but I read them into the record in my question for the minister. The amendments would have explicitly and categorically prohibited acquiring, using, or, in way, shape, or form, interacting with information, from a public safety perspective, that may have been obtained under the use of torture. That is in keeping with our obligations under international law conventions that Canada has signed on to.

On a recorded vote, on every single one of those amendments, every member of the committee, Liberal and Conservative alike, voted against them. I invite Canadians to look at that record, and I invite Canadians to listen to what the minister said in response to me. When public safety may be at risk, there is no bigger admission that they are open to using information obtained under the use of torture than saying that they want to keep the flexibility when Canadians are at risk. Let Canadians be assured that it has been proven time and again that information obtained under the use of torture is of the most unreliable sort. It not only does nothing to protect Canadians and ensure public safety, but most of the time it does the opposite, by leading law enforcement on wild goose chases with erroneous information that could put their lives at risk, and Canadian lives at risk, not to mention the abhorrent and flagrant breach of human rights here and elsewhere through having those types of provisions. Therefore, I will let the Liberals explain why they voted against those amendments to explicitly prohibit torture, and why they feel that standing on ministerial directives and words like “may”, that are anything but binding, is good enough.

The Minister of Public Safety loves to boast that he has the support of various experts, and I have the utmost respect for those experts. I took the process in committee very seriously. I tried to unpack the extremely complex elements of the bill.

My Conservative colleague mentioned the Chair's decision to apply Standing Order 69.1. In my opinion, separating the votes on the different elements of the bill amounts to an acknowledgement that it is indeed an omnibus bill. A former director of CSIS, who served as a national security advisor to Prime Minister Harper and the current Prime Minister, said that the bill was beginning to rival the Income Tax Act in terms of complexity. Furthermore, several witnesses were forced to limit their testimony to just one part of the bill. In addition, elements were added concerning the Communications Security Establishment, or CSE, and those elements fall within the scope of national defence, yet they were never mentioned during the consultations held by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security or by the Minister of Public Safety.

Before anyone jumps on me, I want to say that we realize the CSE's statutory mandate needs to be updated. We recognize that cybersecurity threats exist. However, when a government rams something through, as the government is doing with Bill C-59, we end up with flawed definitions, in particular with respect to the information available to the public, and with vague allocation of powers. Furthermore, the government is already announcing the position of a director of a new centre that is being created, under which everything will be consolidated, even though the act that is set out in the budget and, according to the minister, should be introduced this fall, has not yet been introduced.

This bill has many parts. The committee heard from some impressive experts, including professors Carvin, Forcese, and Wark, authors of some very important and interesting briefs, all of which are well thought out and attempt to break down all of the complicated aspects of the bill, including the ones I just mentioned. In their columns in The Globe and Mail, they say that some parts of the bill are positive and others require a more in-depth study. One of these parts has to do with information sharing.

Information sharing was one of the most problematic aspects of Bill C-51.

Information sharing is recognized by the experts whom the minister touts as those supporting his legislation, by civil liberties associations and others, as one of the most egregious elements of what was Bill C-51, and that is changed only in a cosmetic way in this legislation.

We changed “sharing” to “disclosure”, and what does that mean? When there are consequential amendments to changing “disclosure” everywhere else in all of these acts, it does not change anything. All experts recognize that. The problematic information-sharing regime that was brought in, which is a threat to Canadians' rights and freedoms, still exists.

If we want to talk about what happened to Maher Arar, the Liberals voted down one of my amendments to include Global Affairs as one of the governmental departments that Canadians could make a complaint about to the new review agency. Yet, when it comes to consular services, when it comes to human rights breaches happening to Canadians abroad, Global Affairs and consular services have a role to play, especially when we see stories in the news of CSIS undermining efforts of consular affairs to get Canadians out of countries with horrible human rights records and back here.

This has all fallen on deaf ears. The information-sharing regime remains in place. The new powers given to CSE, in clause 24, talk about how CSE has the ability to collect. Notwithstanding the prohibition on it being able to collect information on Canadians, it can, for the sake of research and other things, and all kinds of ill-defined terms, collect information on the information infrastructure related to Canadians.

Incidentally, as a matter of fact, it voted down my amendments to have a catch-and-release provision in place for information acquired incidentally on Canadians. What does that do? When we read clause 24 of part 3 of the bill related to CSE, it says that it is for the purposes of “disclosing”. Not only are they now exempt from the explicit prohibition that they normally have in their mandate, they can also disclose.

What have the Liberals done to the information-sharing regime brought in by the Conservatives under Bill C-51? It is called “disclosure” now. Members can do the math. We are perpetuating this regime that exists.

I know my time is very limited, so I want to address the issue of threat disruption by CSIS. As I said in my questions to my Conservative colleague, the very reason CSIS exists is that disruption is a police duty. As a result, leaving the power to disrupt threats granted in former Bill C-51 in the hands of CSIS still goes against the mandate of CSIS and its very purpose, even if the current government is making small improvements to the constitutionality of those powers. That is unacceptable.

I am not alone in saying this. As I said in my questions to my Conservative colleagues, I am talking about the excellent interview with former RCMP commissioner Paulson. He was interviewed by Professors Carvin and Forcese on their podcast. That interview raised concerns about that power.

In closing, I would like to talk about solutions. After all, I did begin my remarks by saying that we do not want to increase the legislative powers, which we believe are already sufficient. I am talking here about Bill C-51, which was introduced in the previous Parliament. We need to look at resources for police officers, which were cut by the previous government. The Conservatives eliminated the police recruitment fund, which allowed municipalities and provinces to recruit police officers and improve police services in their jurisdictions. I am thinking in particular of the Montreal police, or SPVM, and the Eclipse squad, which dealt with street gangs. It was a good thing the Government of Quebec was there to fill the gap left by the elimination of the funding that made it possible for the squad to exist. The current government is making some efforts in the fight against radicalization, but it needs to do more. The Conservatives are dumping on and ridiculing those efforts. The radicalization that we are seeing on social media and elsewhere targets vulnerable young people. Ridiculing and minimizing the government's efforts undermines the public safety objectives that we need to achieve.

We cannot support a bill that so deeply undermines the protection of Canadians' rights and privacy. Despite what they claim across the way, this bill does nothing to protect the safety of Canadians, which, let us be clear, is an objective all parliamentarians want to achieve. However, achieving that objective must not be done to the detriment of rights and freedoms, as was the case under the previous government and as is currently still the case with this bill.

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June 18th, 2018 / 6:05 p.m.
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Parkdale—High Park Ontario

Liberal

Arif Virani LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Multiculturalism)

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Oakville North—Burlington this evening.

I rise today to speak in support of Bill C-59. With this bill, our government is entrenching our commitment to balancing the primacy of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms with protecting our national security. We are enhancing accountability and transparency. We are correcting the most problematic elements of the Harper government's old Bill C-51.

Our government conducted an unprecedented level of public consultation with Canadians about our national security in order to effectively develop the bill. Canadians told us loudly and clearly that they wanted a transparent, accountable, and effective national security framework. That is exactly what we will accomplish with Bill C-59.

The minister took the rare step of referring Bill C-59 to the Standing Committee on Public Safety after first reading, underscoring our government's commitment to Canadians to ensure that we got this important legislation right. Prior to the bill returning to this chamber, it underwent an extensive four-month study, hearing from nearly 100 witnesses. I would like to thank the members of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security for their hard work in studying the bill extensively and for their comprehensive report.

Fundamental to our promise to bring our national security framework into the 21st century, we are fixing the very flawed elements of the old Bill C-51, which I heard so much about from my constituents in Parkdale—High Park during the 2015 electoral campaign.

I am proud to support this evidence-based, balanced legislation, and I am reassured to see positive reactions from legal and national security experts right around the country, including none other than Professors Craig Forcese and Kent Roach, two of the foremost legal academics in Canada who have been at the centre of concerns about the overreach of the Harper government's old Bill C-51.

Professors Forcese and Roach have said, “Bill C-59 is the biggest overhaul in Canadian national security since the creation of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) in 1984—and it gets a lot of things right."

Bill C-59 builds on our commitment to enhance accountability, which started with our government's introduction of Bill C-22 in 2016. Bill C-22, which has received royal assent established an all-party committee of parliamentarians, representatives elected by the Canadian public, to review and critically analyze security and intelligence activities. For the first time in history, a multi-party group of members of this chamber as well as the Senate are now holding Canada's security apparatus to account.

We are building on Bill C-22 with the current bill, Bill C-59, which would establish a national security and intelligence review agency. The NSIRA, as it would be known, would function as a new expert review body with jurisdiction across the entire government to complement the efforts of the recently established parliamentary oversight committee, which I just mentioned. This feature would incorporate one of the important recommendations of the Maher Arar inquiry, which called on the government to, and I am citing recommendation 16 from the Maher Arar inquiry, “develop a protocol to provide for coordination and coherence across government in addressing issues that arise” respecting national security.

With the establishment of a parliamentary oversight committee in Bill C-22, and a new arm's-length review body in Bill C-59, we would be addressing the glaring gap that exists in our review bodies for national security agencies. Currently, some agencies do not have a review body or are in charge of reviewing themselves. We cannot allow the lack of such fundamental oversight to continue, especially with regard to the safety and security of Canadians.

As Professors Forcese and Roach have observed, with respect to Bill C-59:

the government is finally redressing the imbalance between security service powers and those of the review bodies that are supposed to hold them to account. Bill C-59 quite properly supplements the parliamentary review committee...with a reformed expert watchdog entity. Expert review will be liberated from its silos as the new review agency has a whole-of-government mandate.

This is a critical piece in our government's work, providing my constituents in Parkdale—High Park and indeed Canadians right around this country, with a comprehensive and responsible national security framework.

In addition to establishing the NSIRA, Bill C-59 calls for increased and improved communication between this organization and other relevant review bodies, such as the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. This will not only boost efficiency and avoid duplication and unnecessary use of resources, but also promote a more holistic approach to protecting privacy and security at the federal level.

While speaking with the residents of Parkdale—High Park in 2015, I heard about the Harper government's old Bill C-51 over and over again at the doors. The major concern the residents expressed to me was about the threat posed by the previous government's Bill C-51 to their constitutional rights and freedoms. The residents of my community are an intelligent and engaged group of citizens, and they were on to something. The federal government, under the guise of “public security”, cannot be permitted to infringe on the rights and freedoms that are fundamental to our very society, to what it means to be Canadian.

Yes, ensuring public safety is the pre-eminent responsibility of any government, but it is simply not acceptable to pursue security at any cost. My constituents, and indeed all Canadians, expect a government that respects fundamental constitutional rights, a government that will put in place mechanisms and safeguards to protect those rights.

That is precisely what Bill C-59 would achieve. How? First, it would tighten the definition of what constitutes “terrorist propaganda”. The narrower and more targeted definition would ensure that the sacrosanct protection of freedom of expression under section 2(b) of our charter is observed, and that our security laws in Canada are not so overreaching as to limit legitimate critique and debate.

Second, as a corollary to this point, Bill C-59 would also protect the right of all Canadians to legitimate protest and advocacy. One of the most searing criticisms of the Harper government's old Bill C-51 was that bona fide protestors who dared to disagree with the government of the day could be caught up in a web of security sweeps, all in the name of public safety.

That is not how our Liberal government operates. We respect the charter and the right of all Canadians to engage in legitimate protest and advocacy, whether they represent a group with charitable status that opposes a government policy, or a gathering of students on a university campus who take up the call for more aggressive investment of federal funds to support the expansion of women's rights internationally.

That kind of advocacy is not a threat to our public security. To the contrary, it is an enhancement of our democracy. It is civil society groups and public citizens doing exactly what they do best, challenging government to do, and to be, better.

In Bill C-59, we recognize this principle. We are saying to Canadians that they have constitutional rights to free speech and protest, and that we are going to affirm and protect those rights by correcting the balance between protecting safety and respecting the charter.

Third, Bill C-59 would also upgrade procedures as they relate to the no-fly list. We know that the no-fly list is an important international mechanism for keeping people safe, but its use has expanded to the point of encroaching on Canadians' rights. In Bill C-59, we are determined to address this imbalance.

Our changes to the no-fly list regime would do the following. They would require the destruction of information provided to the minister about a person who was, or was expected to be, on board an aircraft within seven days following the departure or cancellation of the flight. It would also authorize the minister to collect information from individuals for the purpose of issuing a unique identifier to them to assist with pre-flight verification of their identity.

This is a critical step that would provide us with the legislative tools needed to develop a domestic redress mechanism. The funding for a domestic redress mechanism was delivered by our government this year, specifically $81.4 million in budget 2018. However, in order to start investing this money in a way that would allow Canadians, including children, who are false positives on the no-fly list to seek redress, we need legislative authority. Bill C-59 would provide that legislative authority.

Finally, with Bill C-59 we would re-establish the paramountcy of the charter. I speak now as a constitutional lawyer who practised in this area for 15 years prior to being elected. It is unfortunate that the paramountcy of the Constitution needs to be entrenched in law. As a lawyer, I know, and we should all know, that the Constitution is always the paramount document against which all other laws are measured. Nevertheless, the previous government's disdain for the charter has made this important step necessary.

Through Bill C-59, we would entrench, in black and white, that any unilateral action by CSIS to collect data in a manner that might infringe on the Constitution is no longer permitted. Instead, under Bill C-59, any such proposals would have to come before a judge, who must evaluate the application in accordance with the law, where protecting charter rights would be the paramount concern. Our party helped establish the charter in 1982, and our government stands behind that document and all the values and rights it protects.

As I and many others have said before in the House, the task is to balance rights and freedoms while upholding our duty to protect the safety of Canadians. That is not an easy task, but I am confident that Bill C-59, in partnership with Bill C-22, would provide a comprehensive and balanced approach to national security. It is respectful of the charter and our Constitution. That is why I support this bill, and I ask all members to do the same.

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June 18th, 2018 / 6:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the parliamentary secretary could speak a little more about the no-fly list. Unfortunately, the previous government chose not to put a redress system in place, so a number of requirements were needed to make the important steps that other countries have made. I have heard from constituents and I know the hon. member has as well. I am wondering if he could tell us a little about the importance of putting this in place and how Bill C-59 would put in place the first steps that would allow us to put the redress system in place.

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June 18th, 2018 / 6:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to rise today to speak in this important debate on Bill C-59. I want to thank my colleagues on the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, both past and present, who contributed to the in-depth study of our national security framework, as well as those who provided testimony on this bill. Thanks to that work, over 40 amendments were adopted by the committee, and I would like to highlight some of them.

First, there is an amendment that would add provisions enacting the avoiding complicity in mistreatment by foreign entities act, which was introduced by my colleague, the MP for Montarville. Canadians find torture abhorrent and an affront to their values. In the past, the Minister of Public Safety, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister of National Defence have issued directions to ensure that the Canadian government does not use, share, disclose, or request information that could put someone at risk of being tortured by a foreign entity. This amendment would enshrine in law a requirement for directions to be issued on using, disclosing, or requesting information. These directions would be made public and reported on annually to the public, to review bodies, and to the newly constituted National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians to ensure transparency and accountability.

I know that Canadians want to feel confident that their government is not complicit in foreign entities' use of torture, as it is well documented that information obtained through torture is unreliable. This amendment is a welcome reassurance, and I am proud that the committee adopted it, despite objections from the official opposition.

Second, the amended bill would strengthen privacy protections. Since referring the bill to committee before second reading, we have heard many stakeholders call for the strengthening of protections for information shared under the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, and we introduced rigorous new standards. The amended bill specifies that the receiver of information would be required to destroy or return any personal information that is not necessary for it to carry out its responsibilities related to national security.

I was personally proud to put forward an amendment that would formalize the relationship between the newly created national security and intelligence review agency and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, which would ensure that the two agencies are not duplicating work. I was also proud to introduce an amendment that would require a ministerial authorization when CSE is collecting from foreign actors information that could inadvertently compromise a Canadian's privacy. I believe that these changes would help to get the mix right when it comes to ensuring Canadians' safety and security and preserving their rights.

Bill C-59 is a much-needed overhaul of our national security framework. The passage of this bill would mark the largest overhaul of our national security infrastructure since 1984, when CSIS was created. It is fair to say that we are at a critical turning point in how government approaches national security. That is why I am pleased that the government has introduced this bill, not only to add better protections for privacy but also to bring our framework up to speed with the realities of the 21st century. There is an urgent need to shed the old ways of doing business, integrate security efforts, and harness all the tools at our disposal to prevent and mitigate threats.

When Justice Noël released his decision last year on the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's retention of associated data, he laid bare the challenge for us as parliamentarians. To quote Justice Noël, “the CSIS Act is showing its age. World order is constantly in flux...and priorities and opinions change. Canada can only gain from weighing such important issues once again.”

With Bill C-59, the government is showing that it is up to the challenge. It recognized that the CSIS Act of 1984 may have been an appropriate response at the time it was written, but it is outdated given the realities of today's world. Today, the government has recognized that appropriate, responsible, and comprehensive legislation for the 21st century would mean altering that act substantially.

Bill C-59 makes changes in three key ways: by addressing the collection of datasets, by making important amendments to threat reduction measures under the act, and by addressing outdated legal authorities.

First, on data analytics, acquiring large volumes of information for analysis, when it is relevant to an agency's mandate, is an indispensable tool in intelligence work. However, data collection and analysis require a strong framework, and this bill provides that framework.

The bill lays out a legal authority for CSIS to collect, retain, and use datasets, and, to ensure transparency, provisions would include safeguards on its collection and use. For example, the personal information of Canadians that is not publicly available would require Federal Court authorization to retain. When it comes to foreign datasets, approval from the proposed new independent intelligence commissioner would be required. The new national security and intelligence review agency would have the authority to refer its findings to the Federal Court if it takes the view that CSIS has not acted lawfully when querying or exploiting datasets. I also introduced an amendment to Bill C-59 that was adopted at committee stage, ensuring that CSIS could retain the results of a query of a dataset in exigent circumstances to protect life or acquire intelligence vital to national security.

Bill C-59 would provide the accountability and transparency on dataset collection that is needed in the technological reality of today. It would modernize the CSIS Act, enhance judicial oversight where needed, and strengthen review and accountability. The bill also addresses the fact that today's threats are fast, complex, dynamic, highly connected, and mobile. CSIS can and does play a role in addressing these threats, often behind the scenes, but the original CSIS Act could never have imagined the threats we face today. As Justice Noël noted, that leaves security bodies in an unreasonably difficult situation when it comes to interpreting the law while continuing to protect Canadians' rights.

Bill C-59 would more clearly define the current threat reduction mandate of CSIS. It lays out what types of measures could be authorized by judicial warrants to ensure full compliance with the charter. CSIS would be required to seek a warrant for any threat reduction measure that would put a charter-protected right or freedom at risk. What is more, a warrant would only be issued if a judge is satisfied the measure specifically complies with the charter.

Bill C-59 would also establish in law an authorization regime for certain CSIS activities required to investigate the complex threats we face today. This would be modelled on the regime that already exists in the Criminal Code for law enforcement officers, adapted to the particular context of security intelligence investigations. It would ensure more transparent, lawful, and modernized authorities for CSIS that would ensure effective intelligence collection operations, and it would it ensure robust accountability by clearly articulating reporting and review requirements.

Accountability, transparency, and respect for rights are at the heart of these proposals. That is what Canadians said they wanted; the government listened and it acted. During the consultation process, Canadians repeatedly emphasized the need for enhanced accountability and transparency. The Security Intelligence Review Committee, CSIS's current review body, pressed for enhancements as well. The new national security review agency and intelligence commissioner would ensure the most robust oversight and scrutiny possible.

We heard, loud and clear, from many witnesses and members of the public that protecting privacy and safeguarding human rights were missing under the Harper Conservatives' Bill C-51. With Bill C-59 further strengthened by amendments made at committee, I am confident that Canadians' privacy rights would be reinforced alongside the strengthening of our national security. Bill C-59 is a comprehensive and visionary plan for Canada in today's world. It is my hope that colleagues will join me in supporting Bill C-59.

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June 18th, 2018 / 6:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to invite my colleague, a valued fellow committee member, to comment further on an important point relating to the court's important decision on data and megadata.

The court ruling said that the data were relevant but the legal structure did not allow CSIS to do what it was doing. The innovation we are putting forward in Bill C-59, together with other innovations proposed in committee on other aspects of BIll C-59, makes this bill a truly modern and contemporary document that aligns in every respect with its allies and especially with what we heard from people during the consultation.

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June 18th, 2018 / 6:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, when we were studying the national security framework as a committee prior to the bill's introduction, the ruling came forward. We were able to ask CSIS questions at that time about how it was collecting data and how long it was holding onto it.

Liberal members of the committee and I were pleased, and I believe my colleague was as well, that we were able to put into Bill C-59 a legal authority for CSIS to collect, retain, and use these datasets, because it was sorely needed and was not in the act previously. It provides transparency, and it includes safeguards for the collection and use of these datasets.

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June 18th, 2018 / 6:30 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that so many changes have been made to our anti-terrorism legislation, which are reflected in Bill C-59. I have stood in this place a number of times and complained that the government held consultations but did not listen. I am happy to say that this is not one of those times.

I submitted an extensive brief to the joint consultation, headed by the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Public Safety. When I read Bill C-59, I felt very gratified that this legislation was drafted with an eye to the recommendations of the commission of inquiry into the Air India disaster and the failure of our security system at that point resulting from our agencies' inability to talk among each other to share information that could have prevented that terrible tragedy. It also appeared to me that the drafters paid attention to the results of the inquiry into the atrocious treatment of Canadian citizen Maher Arar.

There are still weaknesses in this bill. I would have preferred, as the hon. member knows, to remove any kinetic powers from CSIS. Its power to disrupt plots may still prove to make us less secure than we were, given that CSIS was originally intended to be about information collection only, and it left the RCMP to take action on the ground for kinetic activities.

Overall, this is a substantial improvement over the situation in which we found ourselves in 2015 with the speedy passage of what I still call the “secret police act” or what was then Bill C-51.

This is a comment, more than a question to my hon. colleague, just to say on the record that I am pleased to vote for Bill C-59, although I would have preferred we had gone further and removed more of the things launched in Bill C-51.

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June 18th, 2018 / 6:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-59. As we know, it is the government's national security legislation. After months of debate, hearing from many witnesses, and reading expert briefs with respect to the bill, it is light on actions that will actually improve public safety and national security. I believe that Canada would be weaker because of this legislation, which hampers our agencies, cuts funding to intelligence and national security, and is more concerned about looking over the shoulder of those protecting us than watching those who seek to harm us. Let us be clear on this point. National security and intelligence officers and public servants are not a threat to public safety or privacy. They show dedication to protecting us and our country in a professional manner. However, Bill C-59 is more concerned with what someone might do in an effort to protect others than what criminals, extremists, and others might do to harm us.

In a world with growing international threats, instability, trade aggression, state-sponsored corporate cyber-espionage, and rising crime rates, Canada is weaker with the current Prime Minister and the Liberals in power. As I have said in the House before, public safety and national security should be the top priority of government and should be above politics so that the safety and security of Canadians are put ahead of political fortunes. This bill on national security fails to live up to its title.

Looking at the body of the Liberals' work, we see a continuous erosion of Canada's safety and security. Bill C-71, the recent gun legislation, ignores criminals who commit gun crimes. Bill C-75 softens sentences and rehabilitation for terrorists and violent crimes. The legalization of drugs is being done in a way that all but assures that organized crime will benefit and Canadians are put at risk.

As world hostility and hatred grows, we need stronger support for our way of life, not the erosion of it. That means empowering front-line national security and intelligence workers, stronger border protections, a better transfer of information between policing and security bodies, plus assured prosecution of criminals and threats to Canada. We need to be looking proactively at emerging technologies rather than reactively trying to put the genie back in the bottle, as we have done with cybersecurity.

What was the intent with this bill? Canadians and parliamentarians alike can tell a lot from the language used by the minister and the people who the Liberal majority called to testify. The bill was positioned by the Liberals as protecting Canadians from the public servants who work to protect Canada and our interests, and the majority of witnesses heard at committee were law professors, civil liberties groups, and privacy organizations. While they have important and valid views, they shared essentially one point: be scared of public servants. It is funny that after the many times the Prime Minister has used public servants as a political shield, stating that he “always trusts and respects them”, they are apparently more scary than threats of cyber-attacks from Chinese state-controlled hackers, ISIS extremists, white supremacists, and organized crime.

There is not much in this bill for security forces to do their work. With the Liberals' plan, there will now be four oversight bodies looking over the shoulder of our intelligence and security forces: first, a new parliamentary committee on security and intelligence oversight; second, the new national security and intelligence review agency; third, the expanded intelligence commissioner; and, finally, the existing oversights of Parliament and executive branches like the minister, the Prime Minister, and the national security advisor.

The Conservatives offered positive amendments. We asked the minister to tell us how these groups would work together to make it clear to Parliament, senior government officials, and those affected. This was turned down by the Liberals without any reason. It would seem reasonable that the minister would be happy to provide clarity to Canadians, and to those who need to work with the various boards, agencies, committees, and advisers, on how it will all work together. We also recommended that, as this new central intelligence and security agency would see information from a variety of departments and agencies, they play a role in identifying threats and providing a clear picture on the state of national security. The Liberals on the committee for some reason would prefer that the agency focus on only complaints and micromanaging our security professionals. If their goal had been to improve public safety, this suggestion would have been taken more seriously.

When we heard from security experts, they raised valid concerns. Dick Fadden, the former CSIS director, noted that the bill would send a message to security teams to be more restrictive with the information that they share. He said:

I haven't counted, but the number of times that the words “protection of privacy” are mentioned in this bill is really quite astounding. I'm as much in favour of privacy as everybody else, but I sometimes wonder whether we're placing so much emphasis on it that it's going to scare some people out of dealing with information relating to national security.

Information sharing between national security teams is essential to protecting Canadians and Canada. In fact, several inquiries, including one of the worst terrorism attacks in Canadian history, the Air India bombing, determined that information sharing was critical to stopping attacks.

Mr. Fadden stated that his worst nightmare scenario was an attack on Canada that was preventable; that being that information was withheld by one agency from other agencies. With Bill C-59, we would move toward more silos, less intelligence sharing, and more threats to Canadians. In his words, security professionals would have a clear message from the many repeated insertions of privacy and charter references, and, as he put it, to share less information lest they run afoul of their political masters.

The Conservatives offered a mild amendment that public servants be required to share information they thought was a threat to Canada with national security agencies. This was so all federal employees would have no fear of reprisal for sharing valid concerns with relevant authorities, like the new security review agency. This was turned down, again reaffirming that the Liberals on the committee were not focused on improving public safety and protecting Canadians.

Retired General Michael Day pointed out that there was nothing in the bill or in the government's policies to deal with emerging threats, real dangers today and tomorrow to our economic prosperity and our societal values. When he was asked by the Liberal MP from Mississauga—Lakeshore, “on the questions of artificial intelligence and potentially also quantum computing, how confident are you that Bill C-59,...is a flexible enough framework to address unknown unknowns that may come at us through the cyber domain in those two areas”, General Day replied, “Zero confidence”.

There continues to be clear threats, but dealing with current and emerging threats were not the focus of the government with this bill. We have already missed the emergence of cybersecurity threats and are playing catch-up at a cost of billions of dollars in government spending, lost economic opportunities through stolen commercial secrets, and personal losses through cybercrime. We have not looked forward at the next problem, so we are heading down the same path all over again.

We heard from Professor Leuprecht, a national security expert who teaches at the Royal Military College. He raised a number of concerns. The first was that the increased regulation and administrative work needed to report to new oversight groups would effectively be a cut to those agencies, shifting money away from protecting Canadians. We did find out eventually how much that cost would be. Nearly $100 million would be cut from national security in favour of red tape. Sadly, we only received this information a few weeks after the committee finished with the bill. The minister had knowingly withheld that information from my request for over six months. Once again, a lot of lip service to open and transparent government but very little actual transparency.

Dick Fadden, Professor Leuprecht, and Ray Boisvert, a former assistant director of CSIS and security expert with the Government of Ontario, also raised concerns of the overt hostility of China against Canada. When I asked him about our readiness for dealing with China's aggressions, he said:

I think that the answer is no. I don't think that we're oblivious to the threat...

I would argue that we do not really understand, in all of its complexity, how much China is different from Canada and how it aggressively uses all of the resources of the state against not just Canada but against any number of other countries in pursuit of its objectives.

At one meeting they noted that Chinese agents freely intimidated and threatened Canadians of Chinese descent, pushing them to support communist party initiatives. They or their families back in China could face the backlash of a highly oppressive regime and there was nothing that Canada did to protect them from such threats. China continues this trend, recently ordering Air Canada to call Taiwan part of China.

Mr. Boisvert said:

There's also the issue that China is now in the age of self-admitted “sharp power”, and they exercise that power with very little reservation anymore. There's no longer even a question of hiding their intentions. They are taking a very aggressive approach around resources and intellectual property, and they also are very clear in dealing with dissidents and academics. They've arrested some of them, and they punish others, including academic institutions in North America, at their will, so I think there's a value challenge that Canadians have to consider along with the economic opportunities discussion. The Cold War is over, but a new version is rapidly emerging, and I think our focus on counterterrorism is not always our best play.

We did not have the right people, the right information, and the right issues at committee to have a comprehensive law that would enhance national security. It appears that yet again the Liberals are bringing out legislation to deal with perceived threats at the expense of not dealing with actual threats.

If Canadians were being well served by the government, we would have dealt with serious questions ignored by the Liberals in this legislative process.

Canada has at least 60 returned ISIS terrorists in Canada. That number is likely low, as we have heard that as many as 180 or more Canadians have left our country to fight for ISIS. After the Liberals revoked Canada's ability to strip citizenship from such a heinous and despicable group as ISIS, Canada is now stuck simply welcoming them back with no repercussions and acting like nothing has gone wrong. We will likely never be able to prosecute them or extradite them because we cannot easily transfer intelligence; that is information gathered in other countries of these murders and rapists into evidence suitable for prosecutions in this country.

Canada needs to join the ranks of other modern countries in bringing known crimes conducted by Canadians abroad into our courts without compromising security agents and intelligence sharing agreements. We need to deal with the obvious intelligence to evidence gap that continues to exist in this legislation. This legislation has failed to do this, with Liberal MPs voting against Conservative amendments that tried to address this exact issue.

If we were serious about dealing with national security, we would have treated privacy and security as a single policy, not the competing interests that many civil groups suggested. Protecting Canadians includes protecting their privacy in addition to their economic opportunities, public safety, national security, and social values. These are a single policy, and for the most part those professionals who protect us know this.

Professor Leuprecht said:

We are not here because there's in any way some large-scale violation of the professionalism or the capabilities in which the community does its job....In the Five Eyes community, we have, by far, the most restrictive privacy regime. This is a choice that we have made as Canadians...other countries that have more rigorous parliamentary and other review mechanisms than Canada have also given their community more latitude in terms of how it can act, what it can do, and how it can do it.

Retired Lieutenant-General Michael Day stated:

...the trade-off between privacy and security, between the charter and the reasonable measures to protect Canadians. This is not, from my perspective obviously, a binary issue, or one that should be looked at as absolutes, but rather a dynamic relationship that should remain constantly under review. We should embrace that tension as opposed to pretending it doesn't exist, with a conversation being seen to have value in and of itself.

This is crystal clear when we look at the growing issue of cybercrime, such as identity theft, fraud, corporate espionage, and hacking. Privacy and other interests, social and financial, are one, and yet throughout this legislative process the Liberals presented this bill as a choice between one and the other.

The bill ignores the massive shift in issues with Canada's border security. Canada lacks the assets, people, and facilities to deal with the current threat to our borders. We know that an open border, which is internationally known as unprotected, is currently being exploited. It is being exploited not only by those who are shopping for a new home, but by human traffickers, smugglers, drug cartels, and other organized crime rings. While this issue is new, it is real and needs to be managed better than just hoping everything will sort itself out.

If we were serious about national security, we would be dealing more seriously with Canada's most important law enforcement agency, the RCMP. Beyond a glaring gap in personnel, failing equipment, and an increased lack of faith in its leadership, the RCMP is headed toward a crisis level of challenges: a growing opioid crisis; legalized marijuana; influx of ISIS terrorists; open borders without a plan to manage illegal border crossers; and increasing cybercrime, just to name a few. The RCMP is overwhelmed, while the Liberals present false information and sidestep questions on what to do.

The Liberals may have called this a national security law, but it is more like a regulatory bill. It would erode rather than help public safety. It deals with security from the federal government's perspective rather than from protecting Canadians first and foremost.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 6:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is privilege for me to rise today to speak to Bill C-59, which deals with the anti-terrorism measures put in place by the previous government.

For obvious reasons, I do not intend to support Bill C-59, which was introduced by the Liberal government. First, this bill weakens the measures that we have available to us as a society to fight terrorism. It is important to remember that Bill C-51 was introduced in the wake of two terrorist attacks that occurred here in Canada, the first in Saint-Jean-Richelieu and the second here in Ottawa. That was in October 2014.

At the time, the Quebec minister of public security, Lise Thériault, called me and told me that there had been an accident in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. I responded that that was unfortunate. Then she told me that someone had died. I told her that that was tragic. Finally, she told me that it was tragic but that they also suspected we were dealing with a terrorist attack.

We sometimes think that terrorist attacks occur only in other countries, but sometimes they happen in our communities, like Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, in the heart of Quebec. Hatred prompted an individual to attack a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, in this case Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent.

I remember the ceremony I attended in November 2014, before entering the House. We honoured Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent with members of his family. I remember the words of his sister, Louise Vincent, who said, “Patrice Vincent, my brother, the warrant officer, was a hero.”

Mr. Vincent had a successful career in the Canadian Armed Forces, although by no means an illustrious one. He was a good serviceman nonetheless, always ready and willing to serve. His plans for a well-deserved retirement were dashed when he was run down in a restaurant parking lot by an individual driven by extremist Islamist ideology. His sister also said she was surprised that Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was targeted specifically because he was in uniform. She said, “Losing a brother is one thing, but knowing that it was due to a deliberate act is something else entirely.”

The attacker had a specific intention. We know the criteria for determining whether an attack qualifies as an act of terrorism. There was a political desire to commit murder in the name of an ideology, which obviously goes against our Canadian values. At the time, Prime Minister Harper said that “our country will never be intimidated by barbarians with no respect for the maple leaf or any other symbol of freedom”. He added:

When such cowards attack those who wear our uniform, we understand they are attacking all of us as Canadians...We are going to strengthen our laws here in Canada to stop those intent on importing an ideology that incites hatred, cruelty, and death in other parts of the world.

It is important to note that regardless of the speeches we given in the House and the partisan positions we may take, one of the overriding responsibilities of Parliament is to ensure the safety of Canadians, especially since in the past decade we have witnessed the emergence of ideologies that are increasingly spread by social media. That is why the anti-terrorism act was put in place. It provided certain tools to ensure that we were better prepared.

Clearly, when we think of the death of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who was struck down by the vehicle of a radicalized young man in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in 2014, we realize that it is important to ensure that our police forces, intelligence service, and the RCMP have all the tools they need to intervene.

This also impacts the legal aspect. While acting within the limits of the law and respecting fundamental freedoms, the police, with the co-operation and authorization of independent people such as judges, must have the legal tools to prevent terrorist attacks. That was the objective of the anti-terrorism measures introduced by Bill C-51.

Unfortunately, the Liberals decided to weaken this law. That is not surprising. As we saw during question period, the Liberals are showing a degree of spinelessness and indolence that is truly worrisome. For example, some jihadists, in particular members of ISIS, have created sites to spread propaganda in Canada. One of the pillars of the anti-terrorism act was to shut down websites promoting ideas that incite violence.

Unfortunately, the Liberals want to weaken these tools. There was the example mentioned in question period of a known terrorist who went to the Middle East and has now returned to Canada. We would expect the government to increase surveillance of this individual. However, we have learned that he parades in front of television cameras and boasts about his relations with ISIS terrorists. Furthermore, he even admits that he lied to CSIS so he could continue to conduct his activities.

This man's name is Abu Huzaifa. He is in contact with ISIS and appears to be fully in thrall to Islamic ideology. He is hiding information from the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and operates in such a way that our police officers do not necessarily have the tools to lay charges. He openly admits to having lied to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Here is our message to the government: we have these intelligence services, so the government has a political responsibility to signal zero tolerance for people who want to attack the pillars of our society. There have already been two tragic victims here in this country. We do not want that to happen again.

At this time, the government is lax and spineless, and that worries us. The individual in question, Abu Huzaifa, quotes the Quran and promotes all that hatred.

These people need to be kept under control. If charges are to be laid, that must be done so as to protect the people, because that is the government's job. A government's primary role is to protect its people. Unfortunately, Bill C-59 undermines the tools available to police forces and various other bodies to fulfill the state's primary responsibility.

For example, one of the provisions of the legislation would make it harder for the police to prevent a terrorist attack and would add red tape. When our intelligence services or police services are in the middle of the action and have sensitive information that could prevent a terrorist attack on Canadian soil, it is important that they can intervene. That is what the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, provides for. There has been no major problem regarding the enforcement of that legislation, which the Liberals supported, I might add. At no time were the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the different statues that exist in Canada affected by the anti-terrorism legislation.

The Liberals' idea of keeping a promise, as we saw with their approach to legalizing marijuana, is to force it down the throats of Canadians. They are using the same approach with Bill C-59.

It is too bad because Canadians' safety is at stake. Again, the measures in Bill C-59 do not address an actual problem. There is an adage in English that says:

“If it ain't broke, don't fix it.”

If something is working, we must leave it alone, because the day we need it, the day the police learn of a potential terrorist attack, they will need all of the necessary tools to prevent this attack, in accordance with Canadian laws, of course.

I want to talk about another aspect of the bill that will muddy the waters even more. In Canada, the Security Intelligence Review Committee, or SIRC, is responsible for overseeing the operations of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. This body is the envy of all western democracies when it comes to the review of intelligence activities. The Security Intelligence Review Committee is an example to the world because it has the ability to dig through every nook and cranny of our intelligence agency. In other words, there is no spy in Canada who does not have SIRC constantly looking over his or her shoulder.

The current government created a committee that is so far off base. Canada already has a framework that allows for in-depth review of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. I must point out that the Anti-terrorism Act strengthened this power, even for threat reduction activities. When the measures in the Anti-terrorism Act were adopted, we not only ensured that police officers and agents at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service had more latitude, but we also ensured that all of these provisions would be covered by the Security Intelligence Review Committee. The act provides more powers, but there is also increased oversight.

We have a well-established and well-functioning system that is the envy of the world. It would have been smart for the government to expand the scope of that organization. The Liberals are obsessed with creating organizations and, as a result, they have just duplicated the Security Intelligence Review Committee and, in a way, created a new organization. We are talking about a new organization that has basically the same mission as the previous one, but it is not the same. In the end, they are undermining an excellent system in place for oversight of our intelligence agencies, and creating a new system that will duplicate it and cover other areas. They are creating confusion and more bureaucracy. What does this actually mean? Police officers are going to have more eyes looking over their shoulders. This will create confusion, more bureaucracy, and more red tape. The goal is for police officers and intelligence officers to be more accountable, but their primary mission is to protect Canadians.

Unfortunately, the Liberal approach is going to create more red tape and more obstacles. Meanwhile, we are learning that guys like Abu Huzaifa are free to roam this country, openly bragging about their associations with ISIS, and the government says it wants to welcome these people.

I think the government should be sending an important message, one that should convey zero tolerance for incitement to hate, for hate speech, and for anyone willing to use violence to achieve their ends. That is one of the flaws of this bill.

I mentioned the red tape and the duplication of an organization that, at the end of the day, is going to create confusion in the oversight of our intelligence activities.

On top of that, the government produced a huge document because it wanted to show that it supported the bill, but that there was still work to be done. It therefore added all kinds of regulations to the bill. In other words, it is creating a law and will make the regulations afterwards.

The regulations clarify the act. The advantage of that for the minister or the executive branch is that the regulations can be changed. The disadvantage of putting this sort of thing in an act is that then the government has to obtain the authorization of Parliament to change it, and we know how many steps are involved in that process. There is first reading, second reading, and third reading in the House of Commons, then the same in the Senate, and then Royal Assent. That is not to mention elections every four years, appointments, prorogations, and summer breaks.

Rather than having more flexible tools, the government is making the process unnecessarily cumbersome by putting most of the regulations for the Anti-terrorism Act into the grab bag it calls Bill C-59. That moves us further way from the main goal, which is to develop effective, legal tools to protect Canadians. That is another flaw.

Speaking of websites, as I was saying, one of the pillars of the Anti-terrorism Act is that it attacks the source of the violence, the hate speech that incites violence. Violent words lead to violent actions. That is why it is important to crack down on online content that incites violence. Once again, the government should be more vigilant and provide additional tools to accomplish that goal. There are provisions in the Criminal Code that deal with this sort of online content. Incitement to violence was a crime even before the Anti-terrorism Act came into force. In fact, the Criminal Code has been around since the beginning of time, or at least since the beginning of our parliamentary system. Incitement to violence goes against Canadian values.

Why interfere with the work of those responsible for protecting us and reducing violence at its source, where it really begins, on extremist websites, whether they be extreme left or extreme right? Right now, we are talking mainly about Islamist extremist websites, but that could change. The government could develop a tool to identify websites that incite people to violence.

I was honoured to be with the family of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent following his tragic death. During Patrice Vincent's funeral, Louise Vincent said that she hoped her brother's death would not be in vain. As parliamentarians, it is incumbent upon every one of us to ensure that the people who have sacrificed their lives so we can live freely and debate here in the House—always respectfully, whether we agree with one another or not—have not done so in vain. People have fought for our freedom. Some have even shed blood quite recently. As parliamentarians, we must ensure that those who are responsible for keeping us safe have the tools they need to take action. That is why the Anti-terrorism Act was enacted.

It is for those very reasons that I will oppose this Liberal bill. It undermines the tools we gave our police officers so they could protect the people of this country, which is the primary responsibility of any state.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 7:20 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the hon. member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis has perhaps a more nostalgic and certainly more favourable view of what took place in the 41st Parliament, but I put it to him that my experience in studying Bill C-51 convinced me that it made us much less safe. I will give an example and hope my hon. colleague can comment on it.

Far from creating silos, Bill C-59 would help us by creating the security and intelligence review agency because, in the words of former chief justice John Major who chaired the Air India inquiry, we have had no pinnacle review, no oversight over all the actions of all the agencies. This is a real-life example. When Jeffrey Delisle was stealing secrets from the Canadian navy, CSIS knew about it. CSIS knew all about it, but it decided not to tell the RCMP. The RCMP acted when it got a tip from the FBI. We know that in the Air India disaster, various agencies of the Government of Canada—CSIS knew things as did the RCMP—did not talk to each other. The information sharing sections to which the member refers have nothing to do with government agencies sharing the information they have about a threat. They have to do it by sharing personal information of Canadians, such as what occurred to Maher Arar.

To the member's last comment that nothing has gone wrong since Bill C-51, my comment is: how would we know? Everything is secret. Rights could have been infringed. No special advocate was in the room. We have no idea what happened to infringe rights during Bill C-51's reign.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 7:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, before I get into the substantive remarks, I want to respond to an interesting comment made by my friend from Hull—Aylmer, who was asking in a question about actions taken by the previous government. There were many provisions in Bill C-51 that were aimed at making Canadians safer. However, one thing I do not think has come up yet in the debate was a specific proposal that the Conservative Party put forward in the last election to make it illegal to travel to specific regions. There were certain exceptions built into the legislation, travel for humanitarian purposes, and for journalistic purposes perhaps. That was a good proposal, because when people are planning to travel to Daesh-controlled areas in Syria and Iraq, outside of certain very clearly defined objectives, it is fairly obvious what the person is going there to do. This was another proposal that we had put forward, one that the government has not chosen to take us up on, that I think eminently made sense. It would have given prosecutors and law enforcement another tool. Hopefully, that satisfies my friend from Hull—Aylmer, and maybe he will have further comments on that.

Substantively on Bill C-59, it is a bill that deals with the framework for ensuring Canadians' security, and it would make changes to a previous piece of legislation from the previous Parliament, Bill C-51. There are a number of different measures in it. I would not call it an omnibus bill. I know Liberals are allergic to that word, so I will not say it is an omnibus bill. I will instead say that it makes a number of disparate changes to different parts of the act. I am going to go through some of those changes as time allows, and talk about some of the questions that are raised by each one. Certainly some of those changes are ones that we in the Conservative Party do not support. We are concerned about those changes making us less safe.

Before I go on to the particular provisions of the bill, I want to set the stage for the kinds of discussions we are having in this Parliament around safety and security. We take the position, quite firmly, that the first role of government is to keep people safe. Everything else is contingent on that. If people are not safe, all of the other things that a government does fall secondary to that. They are ultimately less important to people who feel that their basic security is not preserved. Certainly it is good for us to see consensus, as much as possible in this House, on provisions that would genuinely improve people's safety. Canadians want us to do it, and they want us to work together to realistically, in a thoughtful and hard-headed way, confront the threats that are in front of us.

We should not be naive about the threats we face, simply because any one of us individually has not interacted with a terrorist threat, although many people who were part of the previous Parliament obviously have interacted directly with a terrorist threat, given the attack that occurred on Parliament Hill. In any event, just because there are many threats that we do not see or directly experience ourselves, it does not mean they are not there. Certainly we know our law enforcement agencies are actively engaged in monitoring and countering threats, and doing everything they can to protect us. We need to be aware that those threats are out there. They are under the surface, but they are having an impact. There is a greater potential impact on our lives that is prevented if we give our security agencies and our law enforcement the tools that they need.

Many of these threats are things that people are aware of. There is the issue of radicalization and terrorism that is the result of a world in which the flow of information is much more across borders than it used to be. Governments can, to some extent, control the entry of people into their space, but they cannot nearly as effectively control the ideas of radicalization that come easily across borders and that influence people's perceptions. People can be radicalized even if they have never had any physical face-to-face interactions with people who hold those radical views. These things can happen over the Internet much more easily today than they did in the past. They do not require the face-to-face contact that was probably necessary in the past for the dissemination of extreme ideas. People living in a free western society can develop romanticized notions about extremism. This is a challenge that can affect many different people, those who are new to Canada, as well as people whose families have been here for generations.

This growing risk of radicalization has a genuine impact, and it is something that we need to be sensitive to. Of course, there are different forms of radicalization. There is radicalization advanced by groups like Daesh. We also need to aware of threats that are posed from extreme racist groups that may advocate targeting minorities, for instance, the shooting we saw at the mosque in Quebec City, or the attack that just happened at a mosque in Edson. These come out of extreme ideas that should be viewed as terrorism as well. Therefore, there are different kinds of threats that we see from different directions as the result of a radicalization that no longer requires a face-to-face interaction. These are real, growing, emergent threats.

There is also the need for us to be vigilant about threats from foreign governments. More and more, we are seeing a world in which foreign authoritarian governments are trying to project power beyond their borders. They are trying to influence our democratic system by putting messages out there that may create confusion, disinformation, and there may be active interference within our democratic system. There is the threat from radical non-state actors, but there are also threats from state actors, who certainly have malicious intent and want to influence the direction of our society, or may attack us directly, and want to do these sorts of things to their advantage. In the interest of protecting Canadians, we need to be aware and vigilant about these threats. We need to be serious about how we respond to them.

As much as we seek consensus in our discussion of these issues, we sometimes hear from other parties, when we raise these real and legitimate concerns, the accusation that this is spreading fear. We should not talk in these sorts of stark terms about threats that we face, as that is creating fear. The accusation is that it also creates division, because the suggestion that there might be people out there with radical ideas divides us. However, I think there is a difference between fear and prudence. We need to know that difference as legislators, and we need to be prudent without being fearful.

Fear, I think, implies an irrational, particularly an emotional response to threats that would have us freeze up, worry incessantly, stop going about our normal activities, or maybe even lead to the demonization of other people who someone might see as a threat. These are all things that could well be manifestations of fear, which is not good, obviously. However, prudence is something quite different. Prudence is to be aware of threats in a clear-headed, factual, realistic way. It is to say that thoughtfully, intellectually, reasonably, we need to do everything we can to protect ourselves, recognizing that if we fail to be prudent, if we do not take these rational, clear-headed steps to give our law enforcement agencies the tools they need to protect us from real risks that exist, then we are more liable to violence and terrorism. Also, obviously from that flows a greater risk of people being seized with that kind of emotional fearful response.

It is our job as legislators to encourage prudence, and to be prudent in policy-making. Therefore, when we raise concerns about security threats that we face, illegal border crossings, radicalization, and Daesh fighters returning to Canada, it is not because we are advocating for a fearful response, but rather we are advocating for a prudent response. Sometimes that distinction is lost on the government, because it is often typical of a Liberal world view to, perhaps with the best of intentions, imagine the world to be a safer place than it is.

Conservatives desire a better world, but we also look at the present world realistically. Sometimes one of the problems with Liberals is that they imagine the world to already be the way they would like it to be. The only way we get to a better, safer world, on many fronts, is by looking clearly at the challenges we face, and then, through that, seeking to overcome them.

It was variously attributed to Disraeli, Thatcher, or Churchill, but the line “the facts of life are conservative” is one that sticks out to me when we talk about having a prudent, clear-sighted approach to the threats we face. My colleague, the member for Thornhill, may correct me on who originally said that. Disraeli lived first, so we will say it was probably him.

Now, having set the framework through which we view, and I think we ought to view this bill, I want to speak specifically to a number of the changes that have been put forward. One of points we often hear from the government is about changes it has made with respect to the issue of torture. An amendment was proposed at committee. I understand that this was not part of the original bill, but came through in an amendment. It restates Canada's position that torture is obviously not acceptable. There is no disagreement in this House about the issue of torture. Obviously, we all agree that torture is unacceptable. Some of the aspects of this amendment, which effectively puts into law something that was already in a ministerial directive, is obviously not a substantial change in terms of changing the place or the mechanism by which something is recognized that was already in place.

Of course, when it comes to torture, it is a great opportunity for people in philosophy classrooms to debate, theoretically, what happens if there is information that could save lives that could be gained that way. However, the reality is the evidence demonstrates that torture not only is immoral, but is not effective at gathering information. A commitment to effectiveness, to giving our law enforcement agencies all the tools that are necessary and effective, while also opposing torture, are actually quite consistent with each other. I do not think there is anything substantively new with respect to those provisions that we are seeing from the government.

It is important to be clear about that. There are areas on which we agree; there are areas on which we disagree. However, there are areas on which we agree, and we can identify that clearly.

There are some other areas. In the beginning, the bill introduces a new national security and intelligence review agency. There is a new administrative cost with this new administrative agency. One of the questions we have is where that money is going to come from. The government is not proposing corresponding increases to the overall investment in our security agencies.

If a new administrative apparatus is added, with administrative costs associated with it, obviously that money has to come from somewhere. Likely it is a matter of internal reallocation, which effectively means a fairly substantial cut to the operational front-line activities of our security agencies. If that is not the case, I would love to hear the government explain how it is not, and where the money is coming from. It seems fairly evident that when something is introduced, the cost of which is about $97 million over five years, and that is an administrative cost, again that money has to come from somewhere. With the emergence and proliferation of threats, I know Canadians would not like to see what may effectively amount to a cut to front-line delivery in terms of services. That is clearly a concern that Canadians have.

Part 2 deals with the intelligence commissioner, and the Liberals rejected expedited timing requirements on the commissioner's office. This effectively means that security operations may be delayed because the commissioner is working through the information. There are some technical aspects to the bill, certainly that we have raised concerns about, and we will continue to raise concerns about them. We want to try to make sure that our security agencies, as my colleagues have talked about, have all the tools they need to do their job very effectively.

Now, this is something that stuck out to me. There are restrictions in part 3 to security and intelligence agencies being able to access already publicly available data.

Effectively, this bill has put in place restrictions on accessing that data, which is already publicly available. If security agencies have to go through additional hoops to access information that is already on Facebook or Twitter, it is not clear to me why we would put those additional burdens in place and what positive purpose those additional restrictions would achieve. That is yet another issue with respect to the practical working out of the bill.

Given the political context of some of these changes, one wonders why the government is doing this. It is because the Liberals put themselves in a political pickle. They supported, and voted for, Bill C-51. The current Prime Minister, as a member of the then third party, voted in favour of that legislation. However, the Liberals then wanted to position themselves differently on it, and so they said they were going to change aspects of it when they got into government. Some of those changes serve no discernible purpose, and yet they raise additional questions regarding the restrictions they would put on our law enforcement agencies' ability to operate effectively and efficiently.

Part 4 of the proposed legislation puts additional restrictions on interdepartmental information-sharing. Members have spoken about this extensively in the debate, but there are important points to underline here.

The biggest act of terrorism in our country's history, the Air India bombing, was determined to have been preventable by the Air India inquiry. The issue was that one agency was keeping information from another agency that could have prevented the bombing. Certainly, if information is already in the hands of government, it makes sense to give our agencies the tools to share that information. It seems fairly obvious that people should be able to share that information. It is clearly in the national interest. If it can save lives to transfer information effectively from one department to another with regard to files about individuals who may present a security threat, and if CSIS already has that information and is going to share it with the RCMP, I think all Canadians would say that makes sense. However, Bill C-59 would impose additional restrictions on that sharing of information.

Through taking a hard-headed look at the threats we face and the need to combat them, parliamentarians should be concerned about those particular provisions in this bill.

Another issue raised in this bill is that of threat disruption. Should security agencies be able to undertake actions that disrupt a security threat? Previously, under Bill C-51, actions could be taken to disrupt threats without a warrant if those actions were within the law. If there was a need to do something that would normally be outside of the law, then a warrant would be required, but if it was something ordinarily within the remit of the law, then agencies could proceed with it. It could be something like talking to the parents of a potential terrorist traveller, and alerting them to what was going on in the life of their child, or being present in an online chatroom to try to counter a radicalizing message. These things are presently legal under Bill C-51.

However, under Bill C-59, there would be a much higher standard with respect to the activities that would require a warrant, which include disseminating any information, record, or document. It seems to me that something as simple as putting a security agent in an online chatroom to move the conversation in a particular direction through the dissemination of information would require a warrant, which can create challenges if one wants to engage in an organic conversation so as to counter messages in real time.

All of us in the House believe in the need for parameters and rules around this, but Bill C-51 established parameters that allowed for intervention by law enforcement agencies where necessary. It did keep us safe, and unfortunately Bill C-59 would make this more difficult and muddies the waters. That is why we oppose it.

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June 18th, 2018 / 7:50 p.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise tonight to speak against Bill C-59 at third reading. Unfortunately, it is yet another example of the Liberals breaking an election promise, only this time it is disguised as promise keeping.

In the climate of fear after the attacks on Parliament Hill and in St. Jean in 2014, the Conservative government brought forward Bill C-51. I heard a speech a little earlier from the member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, and he remembers things slightly different than I. The difference is that I was in the public safety committee and he, as the minister, was not there. He said that there was a great clamour for new laws to meet this challenge of terrorism. I certainly did not hear that in committee. What I heard repeatedly from law enforcement and security officials coming before us was that they had not been given enough resources to do the basic enforcement work they needed to do to keep Canadians safe from terrorism.

However, when the Conservatives finally managed to pass their Anti-terrorism Act, they somehow managed to infringe our civil liberties without making us any safer.

At that time, the New Democrats remained firm in our conviction that it would be a mistake to sacrifice our freedoms in the name of defending them. Bill C-51 was supported by the Liberals, who hedged their bets with a promise to fix what they called “its problematic elements” later if they were elected. Once they were elected in 2015, that determination to fix Bill C-51 seemed to wane. That is why in September of 2016, I introduced Bill C-303, a private member's bill to repeal Bill C-51 in its entirety.

Some in the House at that time questioned why I introduced a private member's bill since I knew it would not come forward for a vote. In fact, this was an attempt to get the debate started, as the Liberals had already kept the public waiting for a year at that point. The New Democrats were saying, “You promised a bill. Well, here's our bill. It's very simple. Repeal all of C-51.”

Now, after more than two years and extensive consultations, we have this version of Bill C-59 before us, which does not repeal Bill C-51 and fails to fix most of the major problems of Bill C-51, it actually introduces new threats to our privacy and rights.

Let me start with the things that were described, even by the Liberals, as problematic, and remain unfixed in Bill C-59 as it stands before us.

First, there is the definition of “national security” in the Anti-terrorism Act that remains all too broad, despite some improvements in Bill C-59. Bill C-59 does narrow the definition of criminal terrorism speech, which Bill C-51 defined as “knowingly advocates or promotes the commission of terrorism offences in general”. That is a problematic definition. Bill C-59 changes the Criminal Code wording to “counsels another person to commit a terrorism offence”. Certainly, that better captures the problem we are trying to get at in the Criminal Code. There is plenty of existing case law around what qualifies as counselling someone to commit an offence. Therefore, that is much better than it was.

Then the government went on to add a clause that purports to protect advocacy and protest from being captured in the Anti-terrorism Act. However, that statement is qualified with an addition that says it will be protected unless the dissent and advocacy are carried out in conjunction with activities that undermine the security of Canada. It completes the circle. It takes us right back to that general definition.

The only broad definition of national security specifically in Bill C-51 included threats to critical infrastructure. Therefore, this still raises the spectre of the current government or any other government using national security powers against protesters against things like the pipeline formerly known as Kinder Morgan.

The second problem Bill C-59 fails to fix is that of the broad data collection information sharing authorized by Bill C-51, and in fact maintained in Bill C-59. This continues to threaten Canadians' basic privacy rights. Information and privacy commissioners continue to point out that the basis of our privacy law is that information can only be used for the purposes for which it is collected. Bill C-51 and Bill C-59 drive a big wedge in that important protection of our privacy rights.

Bill C-51 allowed sharing information between agencies and with foreign governments about national security under this new broad definition which I just talked about. Therefore, it is not just about terrorism and violence, but a much broader range of things the government could collect and share information on. Most critics would say Bill C-59, while it has tweaked these provisions, has not actually fixed them, and changing the terminology from “information sharing” to “information disclosure” is more akin to a sleight of hand than an actual reform of its provisions.

The third problem that remains are those powers that Bill C-51 granted to CSIS to act in secret to counter threats. This new proactive power granted to CSIS by Bill C-51 is especially troubling precisely because CSIS activities are secret and sometimes include the right to break the law. Once again, what we have done is returned to the very origins of CSIS. In other words, when the RCMP was both the investigatory and the enforcement agency, we ran into problems in the area of national security, so CSIS was created. Therefore, what we have done is return right back to that problematic situation of the 1970s, only this time it is CSIS that will be doing the investigating and then actively or proactively countering those threats. We have recreated a problem that CSIS was supposed to solve.

Bill C-59 also maintains the overly narrow list of prohibitions that are placed on those CSIS activities. CSIS can do pretty much anything short of committing bodily harm, murder, or the perversion of the course of democracy or justice. However, it is still problematic that neither justice nor democracy are actually defined in the act. Therefore, this would give CSIS powers that I would argue are fundamentally incompatible with a free and democratic society.

The Liberal change would require that those activities must be consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That sounds good on its face, except that these activities are exempt from scrutiny because they are secret. Who decides whether they might potentially violate the charter of rights? It is not a judge, because this is not oversight. There is no oversight here. This is the government deciding whether it should go to the judge and request oversight. Therefore, if the government does not think it is a violation of the charter of rights, it goes ahead and authorizes the CSIS activities. Again, this is a fundamental problem in a democracy.

The fourth problem is that Bill C-59 still fails to include an absolute prohibition on the use of information derived from torture. The member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan made some eloquent statements on this with which I agree. What we have is the government saying that now it has included a cabinet directive on torture in Bill C-59, which gives the cabinet directive to force of law. The cabinet directive already has the force of law, so it absolutely changes nothing about this.

However, even worse, there is no absolute prohibition in that cabinet directive on the use of torture-implicated information. Instead, the prohibition says that information from torture can be used in some circumstances, and then it sets a very low threshold for when we can actually use information derived from fundamental rights violations. Not only is this morally repugnant, most likely unconstitutional, but it also gives us information that is notoriously unreliable. People who are being tortured will say precisely what they think the torturer wants them to say to stop the torture.

Finally, Bill C-59 would not do one of the things it could have done, and that is create a review agency for the CBSA. The CBSA remains without an independent review and complaints mechanism. It is one of our only law enforcement or security agencies that has no direct review agency. Yes, the new national security intelligence review agency will have some responsibility over the CBSA, but only in terms of national security questions, not in terms of its basic day-to-day operations.

We have seen quite often that the activities carried out by border agencies have a major impact on fundamental rights of people. We can look at the United States right now and see what its border agency is doing in the separation of parents and children. Therefore, it is a concern that there is no place in Canada, if we have a complaint about what CBSA has done, to file that complaint except in a court of law, which requires information, resources, and all kinds of other things that are unlikely to be available to those people who need to make those complaints.

The Liberals will tell us that there are some areas where they have already acted outside of Bill C-59, and we have just heard the member for Winnipeg North talk about Bill C-22, which established the national security review committee of parliamentarians.

The New Democrats feel that this is a worthwhile first step toward fixing some of the long-standing weaknesses in our national security arrangements, but it is still only a review agency, still only an agency making recommendations. It is not an oversight agency that makes decisions in real time about what can be done and make binding orders about what changes have to be made.

The government rejected New Democrat amendments on the bill, amendments which would have allowed the committee to be more independent from the government. It would have allowed it to be more transparent in its public reporting and would have given it better integration with existing review bodies.

The other area the Liberals claim they have already acted on is the no-fly list. It was interesting that the minister today in his speech, opening the third reading debate, claimed that the government was on its way to fixing the no-fly list, not that it had actually fixed the no-fly list. Canada still lacks an effective redress system for travellers unintentionally flagged on the no-fly list. I have quite often heard members on the government side say that no one is denied boarding as a result of this. I could give them the names of people who have been denied boarding. It has disrupted their business activities. It has disrupted things like family reunions. All too often we end up with kids on the no-fly list. Their names happen to be Muslim-sounding or Arabic-sounding or whatever presumptions people make and they names happen to be somewhat like someone else already on the list.

The group of no-fly list kids' parents have been demanding that we get some effective measures in place right away to stop the constant harassment they face for no reason at all. The fact that we still have not fixed this problem raises real questions about charter right guarantees of equality, which are supposed to be protected by law in our country.

Not only does Bill C-59 fail to correct the problems in Bill C-51, it goes on to create two new threats to fundamental rights and freedoms of Canadians, once again, without any evidence that these measures will make it safer.

Bill C-59 proposes to immediately expand the Communications Security Establishment Canada's mandate beyond just information gathering, and it creates an opportunity for CSE to collect information on Canadians which would normally be prohibited.

Just like we are giving CSIS the ability to not just collect information but to respond to threats, now we are saying that the Communications Security Establishment Canada should not just collect information, but it should be able to conduct what the government calls defensive cyber operations and active cyber operations.

Bill C-59 provides an overly broad list of purposes and targets for these active cyber operations. It says that activities could be carried out to “degrade, disrupt, influence, respond to or interfere with the capabilities, intentions or activities of a foreign individual, state, organization or terrorist group as they relate to international affairs, defence or security.” Imagine anything that is not covered there. That is about as broad as the provision could be written.

CSE would also be allowed to do “anything that is reasonably necessary to maintain the covert nature of the activity.” Let us think about that when it comes to oversight and review of its activities. In my mind that is an invitation for it to obscure or withhold information from review agencies.

These new CSE powers are being expanded without adequate oversight. Once again, there is no independent oversight, only “after the fact” review. To proceed in this case, it does not require a warrant from a court, but only permission from the Minister of National Defence, if the activities are to be domestic based, or from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, if the activities are to be conducted abroad.

These new, active, proactive measures to combat a whole list and series of threats is one problem. The other is while Bill C-59 says that there is a still a prohibition on the Canadian Security Establishment collecting information on Canadians, we should allow for what it calls “incidental” acquisition of information relating to Canadians or persons in Canada. This means that in situations where the information was not deliberately sought, a person's private data could still be captured by CSE and retained and used. The problem remains that this incidental collecting, which is called research by the government and mass surveillance by its critics, remains very much a part of Bill C-59.

Both of these new powers are a bit disturbing, when the Liberal promise was to fix the problematic provisions in Bill C-51, not add to them. The changes introduced for Bill C-51 in itself are minor. The member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan talked about the changes not being particularly effective. I have to agree with him. I do not think they were designed to be effective. They are unlikely to head off the constitutional challenges to Bill C-51 already in place by organizations such as the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. Those constitutional challenges will proceed, and I believe that they will succeed.

What works best in terrorism cases? Again, when I was the New Democrats' public safety critic sitting on the public safety committee when Bill C-51 had its hearings, we heard literally dozens and dozens of witnesses who almost all said the same thing: it is old-fashioned police work on the front line that solves or prevents terrorism. For that, we need resources, and we need to focus the resources on enforcement activities at the front end.

What did we see from the Conservatives when they were in power? There were actual cutbacks in the budgets of the RCMP, the CBSA, and CSIS. The whole time they were in power and they were worried about terrorism, they were denying the basic resources that were needed.

What have the Liberals done since they came back to power? They have actually added some resources to all of those agencies, but not for the terrorism investigation and enforcement activities. They have added them for all kinds of other things they are interested in but not the areas that would actually make a difference.

We have heard quite often in this House, and we have heard some of it again in this debate, that what we are talking about is the need to balance or trade off rights against security. New Democrats have argued very consistently, in the previous Parliament and in this Parliament, that there is no need to trade our rights for security. The need to balance is a false need. Why would we give up our rights and argue that in doing so, we are actually protecting them? This is not logical. In fact, it is the responsibility of our government to provide both protection of our fundamental rights and protection against threats.

The Liberals again will tell us that the promise is kept. What I am here to tell members is that I do not see it in this bill. I see a lot of attempts to confuse and hide what they are really doing, which is to hide the fundamental support they still have for what was the essence of Bill C-51. That was to restrict the rights and freedoms of Canadians in the name of national security. The New Democrats reject that false game. Therefore, we will be voting against this bill at third reading.

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June 18th, 2018 / 8:10 p.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Madam Speaker, certainly the hon. member and I did a lot of work together on opposite sides of Bill C-51. I will start by disagreeing with him that Bill C-51 is the gold standard of anything. What I have yet to see is anyone present the evidence.

It is very interesting that the Liberals had a good chance to do that when they presented Bill C-59 and to say that if they were going to keep major parts of Bill C-51, how they made us safer. Where is that report? That report is nowhere to be seen.

I do not believe it is a gold standard. I do not believe it made us safer. The hon. member fell once again into this idea that somehow giving up part of our rights will make us more secure. To me, that is a fundamental fallacy. Rights, freedoms, and security go together. I do not want to say hand in hand, because the government has devalued the currency of that phrase. However, I would say that we must do both. We must protect rights and freedoms. Full rights and freedoms do not make us less secure. They make us more secure and more united as a country.

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June 18th, 2018 / 8:15 p.m.
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NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his well-researched speech. The reason I say that is that I have been listening to many of the speeches, and he is the one who actually highlighted all the differences between Bill C-51 and Bill C-59 and where attention needs to be paid.

He raised the issue of the national interest, which is the core concern with respect to Bill C-51. We now have a situation where the government claims that the purchase from Kinder Morgan of this 65-year-old pipeline is in the national interest. The former governor of the Bank of Canada stated that “people...are going to die in protesting...this [Trans-Mountain] pipeline.”

I would like the member to analyze that statement with respect to the situation we have vis-à-vis the national interest in the pipeline and Bill C-59.

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June 18th, 2018 / 8:15 p.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Madam Speaker, the question gets right at this question of the broad definition of national security Bill C-51 brought in and that Bill C-59 really maintains. It says in Bill C-59 that dissent and advocacy will be protected unless they are carried out in concert with other activities that are likely to challenge national security. Since for national security, critical infrastructure is included, if the current government is saying that the Kinder Morgan pipeline is a piece of critical infrastructure, is the right to protest and advocate against Kinder Morgan still protected under the Anti-terrorism Act? I would argue that it is not.

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June 18th, 2018 / 8:15 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I would say this to the hon. member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke. I remember the fight we had in the 41st Parliament with respect to Bill C-51, the so-called Anti-terrorism Act, which I believe made Canada much less safe. It is hard for me to actually vote for Bill C-59 now, especially when I hear his very good arguments.

However, I will tell him why I am going to vote for Bill C-59. I am very relieved to see improvements to what I thought were the thought-chill provisions in Bill C-51, the rules against the promotion of unexplained terrorism “in general”. There are big improvements to the no-fly list. However, there are not enough improvements, for my taste, to the ability of CSIS to take kinetic action. The big failure in Bill C-59 in front of us is the information sharing around what Canadians are doing with other governments.

The irony for me is that the Liberals voted for Bill C-51 in the 41st Parliament and voted against the destruction of environmental assessments in Bill C-38. Ironically, I think they have done a better job now of fixing the bill they voted for than of fixing the bill they voted against, at least as far as environmental assessments go. Therefore, I am voting against Bill C-69 on environmental assessments. However, I am voting for Bill C-59. I am influenced a lot by Professors Craig Forcese and Kent Roach, who overall think this is an improvement. I do too, overall. However, it does not fix everything Bill C-51 did to make us less safe.

I appreciate the member's thoughtful analysis, and I am going to vote for it, but with misgivings.

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June 18th, 2018 / 8:20 p.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Madam Speaker, I guess I am disappointed, because I remember that the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands was one of the few members in the last Parliament who was courageous enough to stand with New Democrats and fight against Bill C-51, even when public opinion polling initially said that something like 79% or 80% of the people wanted action in this area. Eventually, that tide turned, because people were not prepared to sacrifice their rights for this mythical improvement in security.

Yes, I agree that there is one significant improvement in Bill C-59, and that is the narrowing of the provisions around criminal terrorism speech to say that one has to actually counsel someone to commit a terrorist act. However, when we stack that up against all the other things from Bill C-51 that remain, it is a fundamental diminishment of this country to have our fundamental rights so limited.

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June 18th, 2018 / 8:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Madam Speaker, it is a real pleasure for me to rise and speak to an important bill and issues related to public safety and security in general.

I would like to begin my remarks with a positive word of thanks for those men and women who are charged with keeping our communities safe, certainly the front-line police officers and first responders, but a lot of the people in the intelligence networks from CSIS, to CSE, to think tanks that analyze these things, to engaged citizens who are constantly advocating on issues related to public safety and security. These are probably some of the most important debates we have in this chamber because we are charged with making sure we have a safe community and finding the right balance between the remarkable freedoms we enjoy in a democracy like ours and the responsibility to ensure that there is safety for Canadians. We thank those who are charged with doing that both in uniform and behind the scenes and sometimes under the cloak of secrecy. All Canadians respect that work.

I am going to talk about Bill C-59 from a few vantage points, some of the things that I thought were positive, but I am also going to express three areas of very serious concern I have with this legislation. In many ways, Bill C-59 is a huge step back. It is taking away tools that were responsibly provided to law enforcement agencies to be used in accordance with court supervision. In a lot of the rhetoric we hear on this, that part has been forgotten.

I am going to review some of it from my legal analysis of it, but I want to start by reminding the House, particularly because my friend from Winnipeg, the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader is here, that here we are debating yet another omnibus bill from the Liberal Party, something that was anathema to my friend when he was in opposition. Omnibus bills of this nature that cobbled together a range of things were an assault on democracy, in his words then, but here we are in late night sittings with time already allocated debating yet another Liberal omnibus bill. The irony in all of this is certainly not lost on me or many Canadians who used to see how the Liberals would howl with outrage whenever this happened.

Bill C-59 came out of some positive intentions. My friend from Victoria, the NDP's lead on the parliamentary security oversight committee of parliamentarians is here. I want to thank him for the work that we did together recommending some changes to the minister ahead of what became Bill C-59. The NDP member and I as the public safety critic for the Conservative Party sent two letters to the minister providing some general advice and an indication of our willingness to work with the government on establishing the committee of parliamentarians for security and intelligence oversight.

My friend from Victoria ably serves on that committee now and as a lawyer who has previously practised in the area of national security and finding the right balance between liberty and security, he is a perfect member for that committee as are my friends from the caucus serving alongside the Liberal members. That is very important work done by that committee and I wish them well in their work. We indicated pre Bill C-59 that we would be supportive of that effort.

In those letters we also indicated the need for a super-SIRC type of agency to help oversee some of the supervision of agencies like CSIS and CSE. We were advocating for an approach like that alongside a number of academics, such as Professor Forcese and others. We were happy to see an approach brought in that area as well.

It is important to show that on certain issues of national safety and security where we can drive consensus, we can say we will work with the government, because some of these issues should be beyond partisanship. I want to thank my NDP colleague for working alongside me on that. It took us some time to get the minister to even respond, so despite the sunny ways rhetoric, often we felt that some of our suggestions were falling on deaf ears.

I am going to commit the rest of my speech tonight to the three areas that I believe are risks for Canadians to consider with Bill C-59. I am going to use some real-world examples in the exploration of this, because we are not talking in abstract terms. There are real cases and real impacts on families that we should consider in our debate.

The first area I want to raise in reference to the fact that when Bill C-59 was introduced, it was one day after a Canadian was convicted in a Quebec court in a case involving travelling abroad from Canada to join and work with a terrorist organization. Mr. Ismael Habib was sentenced the day before the government tabled this omnibus security legislation, and I think there is a certain irony in that. In his judgment, Justice Délisle said, “Did Ismael Habib intend to participate in or knowingly contribute to a terrorist activity? The entirety of the evidence demonstrates the answer is yes.” There is such an irony in the fact that the day before this debate there was a conviction for someone who was leaving Canada to train and participate with a terrorist organization.

Only a short time before Mr. Habib left Canada to do this, the previous government criminalized that activity. Why? Really, there was no need to have in the Criminal Code a charge for leaving Canada to train or participate in a terrorist organization, but this was a reaction to a troubling and growing trend involving radicalized people and the ability for people to go and engage in conflicts far from home. Mr. Habib's case was the first of its kind, and the charge he was convicted of by a Quebec court was for an offence that just a few years before did not exist. This is why Parliament must be seized with real and tangible threats to public safety and security. Unfortunately, a lot of the elements of Bill C-59 are going to make it hard for law enforcement to do that, to catch the next Mr. Habib before he leaves, while he is gone, or before he returns and brings that risk back home.

The first area that I have serious concerns with in the bill relates to preventative arrest. This was a controversial but necessary part of Bill C-51 from the last Parliament. Essentially it moved a legal threshold from making it “necessary” to prevent a criminal activity or a terrorist act instead of “likely” to prevent. By changing the threshold to “necessary”, as we see in this bill, the government would make it much harder for law enforcement agencies to move in on suspects that they know present a risk yet do not feel they have enough proof to show that it is necessary to prevent an attack. I think most Canadians would think that the standard should be “likely”, which is on balance of probabilities. If we are to err on the reality of a threat that there is violence to be perpetrated or potential violence by someone, then err on the side of protection. We still have to have the evidentiary burden, but it is not too hard.

It is interesting who supported the preventative arrest portions of Bill C-51 in the last Parliament. The Prime Minister did as the MP for Papineau. I loved Bill C-51 in so many ways, because it showed the hypocrisy of the Liberal Party at its best. The Liberals were constantly critical of Bill C-51, but they voted for it. Now they are in a position that they actually have to change elements of it, and they are changing some elements that the Prime Minister praised when he was in opposition, and they had this muddled position. My friends in the NDP have referred to this muddled position before, because now they think their Liberal friends are abandoning the previous ground they stood on.

What did the Prime Minister, then the leader of the third party and MP for Papineau, say about preventative arrest in the House of Commons on February 18, 2015? He said:

I believe that Bill C-51, the government's anti-terrorism act, takes some proper steps in that direction. We welcome the measures in Bill C-51 that build on the powers of preventative arrest, make better use of no-fly lists, and allow for more coordinated information sharing by government departments and agencies.

What is ironic is that he is undoing all of those elements in Bill C-59, from information sharing to changing the standard for preventative arrest to a threshold that is unreasonably too high, in fact recklessly too high, and law enforcement agencies have told the minister and the Prime Minister this.

The Prime Minister, when he was MP for Papineau, thought these important powers were necessary but now he does not. Perhaps society is safer today. I would suggest we are not. We just have to be vigilant, vigilant but balanced. That is probably why in opposition he supported these measures and now is rolling them back.

Nothing illustrates the case and the need for this more than the case of Patrice Vincent. He was a Canadian Armed Forces soldier who was killed because of the uniform he wore. He was killed by a radicalized young man named Martin Couture-Rouleau. That radicalized young man was known to law enforcement before he took the life of one of our armed forces members. Law enforcement officers were not sure whether they could move in a preventative arrest public safety manner.

The stark and moving testimony from Patrice's sister, Louise Vincent, at committee in talking about Bill C-51 should be reflected upon by members of the Liberal Party listening to this debate, because many of them were not here in the last Parliament. These are real families impacted by public safety and security. Louise Vincent said this:

According to Bill C-51, focus should be shifted from “will commit” to “could commit”, and I think that's very important. That's why the RCMP could not obtain a warrant from the attorney general, despite all the information it had gathered and all the testimony from Martin Couture-Rouleau's family. The RCMP did its job and built a case, but unfortunately, the burden of proof was not met. That's unacceptable.

It is unacceptable. What is unacceptable is the Liberals are raising the bar even higher with respect to preventative arrest. It is like the government does not trust our law enforcement agencies. This cannot be preventative arrest on a whim. There has to be an evidentiary basis for the very significant use of this tool, but that evidentiary basis should not be so high that it does not use the tool, because we have seen what can happen.

This is not an isolated case. I can recite other names, such as Aaron Driver. Those in southwestern Ontario will remember that thanks to the United States, this gentleman was caught by police on his way to commit a terror attack in southwestern Ontario. He was already under one of the old peace bonds. This similar power could be used against someone like Alexandre Bissonnette before his horrendous attack on the mosque in Quebec City. This tool could be used in the most recent case of Alek Minassian, the horrific van attack in Toronto.

Preventative arrest is a tool that should be used but with an evidentiary burden, but if the burden is too high necessary to prevent an attack, that is reckless and it shows the Prime Minister should review his notes from his time in opposition when he supported these powers. I suggest he did not have notes then and probably does not have notes now.

The second issue I would like to speak about is the deletion of charges and the replacing with a blanket offence called counselling commission of a terrorism offence.

What would that change from BillC-51? It would remove charges that could be laid for someone who was advocating or promoting a terrorism attack or activity. Promotion and advocation are the tools of radicalization. If we are not allowing charges to be laid against someone who radicalized Mr. Couture-Rouleau, do we have to only catch someone who counsels him to go out and run down Patrice Vincent? Should we be charging the people who radicalized him, who promoted ISIS or a radical terrorist ideology, and then advocated for violence? That should be the case. That actually conforms with our legal test for hate speech, when individuals are advocating or promoting and indirectly radicalizing.

Therefore, the government members talk about the government's counter-radicalization strategy, and there is no strategy. They have tried to claim the Montreal centre, which was set up independently of the government, as its own. The government would not tour parliamentarians through it when I was public safety critic, but it tours visiting guests from the UN and other places. That was an initiative started in Montreal. It has nothing to do with the Liberals' strategy. I have seen nothing out of the government on counter-radicalization, and I would like to.

The same should be said with respect to peace bonds, another tool that law enforcement agencies need. These have been asked for by law enforcement officials that we trust with their mandate. They are peace officers, yet the government is showing it does not trust them because it is taking away tools. The peace bond standard is now in a similar fashion to the preventative arrest standard. Agencies have to prove that it is necessary to prevent violent activity or terrorism, as opposed to the Bill C-51 standard of “likely to prevent”. A protection order, better known as “a peace bond”, is a tool, like preventative arrest, that can set some constraints or limitations on the freedom of a Canadian because that person has demonstrated that he or she is a potential threat. To say the individuals have to be a certain threat, which a “necessary” standard promotes, is reckless and misguided.

I wish the MP for Papineau would remember what he said a few years ago about the reduction of the high burden on law enforcement in preventative arrest situations. Sadly, there are going to be more Aaron Drivers out there. I always use the case of Aaron Driver, because sometimes members of specific groups, some Muslim Canadians, have been unfairly targeted in discussions about radicalization. This is a threat that exists and not just in one community. Aaron Driver's father was in the Canadian Armed Forces, a career member of the military. Their son was radicalized by people who advocated and promoted radical ideology and violence. With this bill, we would remove the ability to charge those people who helped to radicalize Aaron Driver. However, this is a risk that exists.

Let us not overstate the risk. There is not a bogeyman around every corner, but as parliamentarians we need to be serious when we try to balance properly the freedom and liberties we all enjoy, and that people fought and died for, with the responsibility upon us as parliamentarians to give law enforcement agencies the tools they need to do the job. They do not want a situation where they are catching Aaron Driver in a car that is about to drive away. We have to find the right balance. The movement of standards to “necessary” to prevent the commission of a terrorism offence shows that the Liberals do not trust our law enforcement officers with the ability to collect evidence and lay charges, or provide a peace bond, when they think someone is “likely” to be a threat to public safety and security.

I started by saying that there were elements I was happy to see in Bill C-59, but I truly hope Canadians see that certain measures in this would take away tools that law enforcement agencies have responsibly asked for, and this would not make our communities any safer.

Standing Order 69.1—Bill C-59Point of OrderRoutine Proceedings

June 11th, 2018 / 4:45 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I will try to be brief out of respect for our Conservative colleagues because today is their opposition day. I am taking this opportunity because of the vote that took place earlier today to adopt Bill C-59 at second reading and report stage.

I will quote what the Chair said in response to a point of order I raised a while ago about applying Standing Order 69.1 to this bill.

The Speaker said:

However should the motion in fact be adopted to send the bill to committee before second reading and should the bill be concurred in at report stage and at second reading, I could certainly, as the Speaker, apply Standing Order 69.1 at third reading of the bill. At that time, one would anticipate that after it came back from committee, the bounds of the bill and its principles would be more clearly established.

For that reason, I come back with the same point of order. I would simply refer the Chair to the statements I made on November 20, 2017 to the record of that day. I made the same points. I would only add that the point is even more strongly made following the committee process. As we went clause by clause, different officials from different departments had to be present on different days as we went through different elements. That only reinforces the fact that not only under this legislation, but also where there are disparate pieces that obviously pertained to different acts in different departments, so they would be deserving of different votes.

I hope the Speaker will agree that there should be separate votes because there truly are different elements, especially concerning the Communications Security Establishment, which reports to the Minister of National Defence. The minister had to sneak into the committee at 10 to midnight to make a presentation. I think even the government acknowledges that some elements are in no way related except for some vague national security connection, which I feel is not a good enough reason for Standing Order 69.1 not to apply.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 10:55 a.m.
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Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we are now at second reading of Bill C-59, an omnibus national security bill that the government introduced on June 20, 2017.

At the time, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness decided not to give Bill C-59 second reading and sent it directly to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. He said that committee meetings were needed to get additional information in order to improve the bill, so that is what we did.

During the committee's study of Bill C-59, 235 amendments were proposed. The Conservative Party proposed 29 and the Green Party 45. The Liberals rejected all of them. Four NDP amendments and 40 Liberal amendments were adopted. Twenty-two of the Liberal amendments had more to do with the wording and with administrative issues. The Liberals also proposed one very important amendment that I will talk about later on.

The committee's mandate was to improve the bill. We, the Conservatives, undertook that work in good faith. We proposed important amendments to try to round out and improve the bill presented at second reading. The Liberal members on the committee rejected all of our amendments, even though they made a lot of sense. The Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security held 16 meetings on the subject and heard from a number of witnesses, including people from all walks of life and key stakeholders in the security field. In the end, the government chose to reject all of our amendments.

There were two key points worth noting. The first was that under Bill C-59, our security agencies will have fewer tools to combat the ongoing terrorist threat around the world. The second was that our agencies will have a harder time sharing information.

One important proposal made in committee was the amendment introduced by the Liberal member for Montarville regarding the perpetration of torture. Every party in the House agrees that the use of torture by our intelligence or security agencies is totally forbidden. There is no problem on that score. However, there is a problem with the part about torture, in that our friends across the aisle are playing political games because they are still not prepared to tell China and Iran to change their ways on human rights. One paragraph in the part about torture says that if we believe, even if we do not know for sure, that intelligence passed on by a foreign entity was obtained through torture, Canada will not make use of that intelligence. For example, if another country alerts us that the CN Tower in Toronto is going to be blown up tomorrow, but we suspect the information was extracted through some form of torture, we will not act on that intelligence if the law remains as it is. That makes no sense. We believe we should protect Canadians first and sort it out later with the country that provided the intelligence.

It is little things like that that make it impossible for us to support the bill. That element was proposed at the end of the study. Again, it was dumped on us with no notice and we had to vote on it.

There are two key issues. The national security and intelligence review agency in part 1 does not come with a budget. The Liberals added an entity, but not a budget to go with it. How can we vote on an element of the bill that has no number attached to it?

Part 2 deals with the intelligence commissioner. The Liberals rejected changes to allow current judges, who would retire if appointed, and retirees from being considered, despite testimony from the intelligence commissioner who will assume these new duties. Currently, only retired judges are accepted. We said that there are active judges who could do the work, but that idea was rejected. It is not complicated. It makes perfect sense. We could have the best people in the prime of their lives who may have more energy than those who are about to retire and may be less interested in working 40 hours a week.

In part 3 on the Communications Security Establishment, known as CSE, there are problems concerning the restriction of information. In fact, some clauses in Bill C-59 will make capturing data more complicated. Our intelligence agencies are facing additional barriers. It will be more difficult to obtain information that allows our agencies to take action, for example against terrorists.

Part 4 concerns the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, or CSIS. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the privacy issue often come up in connection with CSIS. A common criticism of Bill C-51 is that this bill would allow agencies to breach people's privacy. Witnesses representing interest groups advocating for Canadians' privacy and people whose daily work is to ensure the safety of Canadians appeared before the committee. For example, Richard Fadden said that the agencies are currently working in silos. CSIS, the CSE, and the RCMP work in silos, and the situation is too complex. There is no way to share information, and that is not working.

Dr. Leuprecht, Ph.D., from the Royal Military College, Lieutenant-General Michael Day from the special forces, and Ray Boisvert, a former security adviser, all made similar comments. Conservative amendment No. 12 was rejected. That amendment called for a better way of sharing information. In that regard, I would like to remind members of the Air India bombing in 1985. We were given the example of that bombing, which killed more than 200 people on a flight from Toronto to Bombay. It was determined that this attack could have been prevented had it been easier to share information at the time.

The most important thing to note about part 7, which deals with the Criminal Code, is that it uses big words to increase the burden for obtaining arrest warrants to prevent terrorist acts. Amendments were made regarding the promotion of terrorism. Section 83.221 of the Criminal Code pertains to advocating or promoting the commission of terrorism offences. The Liberals changed the wording of that section with regard to unidentified terrorist offences, for example, ISIS videos on YouTube. They therefore created section 83.221.

That changes the recognizance orders for terrorism and makes it more difficult to control threats. Now, rather than saying “likely”, it says “is necessary”. Those are just two little words, but they make all the difference. Before, if it was likely that something would happen, our security agencies could intervene, whereas now, intervention must be necessary. It is a technicality, but we cannot support Bill C-59 because of that change in wording. This bill makes it harder for security agencies and police to do their work, when it should be making it easier for them.

We are not opposed to revising our national security legislation. All governments must be prepared to do that to adapt. Bill C-51, which was introduced at the time by the Conservatives, was an essential tool in the fight against terrorist attacks in Canada and the world. We needed tools to help our agents. The Liberals alluded to BillC-51 during the election campaign and claimed that it violated Canadians' freedoms and that it did not make sense. They promised to introduce a new bill and here it is before us today, Bill C-59.

I would say that Bill C-59, a massive omnibus bill, is ultimately not much different from Bill C-51. There are a number of parts I did not mention, because we have nothing to say and we agree with their content. We are not against everything. What we want, no matter the party, is to be effective and to keep Canadians safe. We agree on that.

Nevertheless, some parts are problematic. As I said earlier, the government does not want to accept information from certain countries on potential attacks, because this information could have been obtained through torture. This would be inadmissible. Furthermore, the government is changing two words, which makes it harder to access the information needed to take action. We cannot agree with this.

Now the opposite is being done, and most of the witnesses who came to see us in committee, people in the business of privacy, did not really raise any issues. They did not show up and slam their fists on the desk saying that it was senseless and had to be changed. Everyone had their views to express, but ultimately, there were not that many problems. Some of the witnesses said that Bill C-59 made no sense, but upon questioning them further, we often reached a compromise and everyone agreed that security is important.

Regardless, the Liberals rejected all of the Conservatives' proposed amendments. I find that hard to understand because the minister asked us to do something, he asked us to improve Bill C-59 before bringing it back here for second reading—it is then going to go to third reading. We did the work. We did what we were supposed to do, as did the NDP, as did the Green Party. The Green Party leader had 45 amendments and is to be commended for that. I did not agree with all her amendments, but we all worked to improve Bill C-59, and in turn, to enhance security in Canadians' best interest, as promised. Unfortunately, that never happened. We will have to vote against this bill.

Since I have some time left, I will give you some quotes from witnesses who appeared before the committee. For example, everyone knows Richard Fadden, the Prime Minister's former national security adviser. Mr. Fadden said that Bill C-59 was “beginning to rival the Income Tax Act for complexity. There are sub-sub-subsections that are excluded, that are exempted. If there is anything the committee can do to make it a bit more straightforward”, it would help. Mr. Fadden said that to the committee. If anyone knows security, it is Canada's former national security adviser. He said that he could not understand Bill C-59 at all and that it was worse than the Income Tax Act. That is what he told the committee. We agreed and tried to help, but to no avail. It seems like the Liberals were not at the same meeting I was at.

We then saw the example of a young man who goes by the name Abu Huzaifa. Everyone knows that two or three weeks ago, in Toronto, this young man boasted to the New York Times and then to CBC that he had fought as a terrorist for Daesh in Iraq and Syria. He admitted that he had travelled there for the purposes of terrorism and had committed atrocities that are not fit to be spoken of here. However, our intelligence officers only found out that this individual is currently roaming free in Toronto from a New York Times podcast. Here, we can see the limitations of Bill C-59 in the specific case of a Canadian citizen who decided to fight against us, to go participate in terrorism, to kill people the Islamic State way—everyone here knows what I mean—and then to come back here, free as a bird. Now the Liberals claim that the law does not allow such and such a thing. When we tabled Bill C-51, we were told that it was too restrictive, but now Bill C-59 is making it even harder to get information.

What do Canadians think of that? Canadians are sitting at home, watching the news, and they are thinking that something must be done. They are wondering what exactly we MPs in Ottawa are being paid for. We often see people on Facebook or Twitter asking us to do something, since that is what we are paid for. We in the Conservative Party agree, and we are trying; the government, not so much. Liberal members are hanging their heads and waiting for it to pass. That is not how it works. They need to take security a little more seriously.

This is precisely why Canadians have been losing confidence in their public institutions and their politicians. This is also why some people eventually decide to take their safety into their own hands, but that should never happen. I agree that that must not happen. That would be very dangerous for a society. When people lose confidence in their politicians and take their safety into their own hands, we have the wild west. We do not want that. We therefore need to give our security officers, our intelligence officers, the powerful tools they need to do their jobs properly, not handcuff them. Handcuffs belong on terrorists, not on our officers on the ground.

Christian Leuprecht from Queen's University Royal Military College said that he respected the suggestion that CSIS should stick to its knitting, or in other words, not intervene. In his view, the RCMP should take care of some things, such as disruption. However, he also indicated that the RCMP is struggling on so many fronts already that we need to figure out where the relative advantage of different organizations lies and allow them to quickly implement this.

The questions that were asked following the testimony focused on the fact that the bill takes away our intelligence officers' ability to take action and asks the RCMP to take on that responsibility in CSIS's place, even though the RCMP is already overstretched. We only have to look at what is happening at the border. We have to send RCMP officers to strengthen border security because the government told people to come here. The RCMP is overstretched and now the government is asking it to do things that it is telling CSIS not to do. Meanwhile, western Canada is struggling with a crime wave. My colleagues from Alberta spoke about major crimes being committed in rural communities.

Finland and other European countries have said that terrorism is too important an issue and so they are going to allow their security agencies to take action. We cannot expect the RCMP to deal with everything. That is impossible. At some point, the government needs to take this more seriously.

After hearing from witnesses, we proposed amendments to improve Bill C-59, so that we would no longer have any reason to oppose it at second reading. The government could have listened to reason and accepted our amendments, and then we would have voted in favour of the bill. However, that is not what happened, and in my opinion it was because of pure partisanship. When we are asked to look at a bill before second or third reading and then the government rejects all of our proposals, it is either for ideological reasons or out of partisanship. In any case, I think it is shameful, because this is a matter of public safety and security.

When I first joined the Canadian Armed Forces, in the late 1980s, we were told that the military did not deal with terrorism, that that was the Americans' purview. That was the first thing we were told. At the time, we were learning how to deal with the Warsaw Pact. The wars were highly mechanized and we were not at all involved in fighting terrorism.

However, times have changed. Clearly, everything changed on September 11, 2001. Canada now has special forces, which did not exist back then. JTF2, a special forces unit, was created. Canada has had to adapt to the new world order because it could also be a target for terrorist attacks. We have to take off our blinders and stop thinking that Canada is on another planet, isolated from any form of wickedness and cruelty. Canada is on planet Earth and terrorism knows no borders.

The G7 summit, which will soon be underway, could already be the target of a planned attack. We do not know. If we do not have tools to prevent and intercept threats, what will happen? That is what is important. At present, at the G7, there are Americans and helicopters everywhere. As we can see on the news, U.S. security is omnipresent. Why are there so many of them there? It is because confidence is running low. If Americans are not confident about Canadians' rules, military, and ability to intervene, they will bring everything they need to protect themselves.

That is why we need to take a position of strength. Yes, of course we have to show that we are an open and compassionate country, but we still need to be realistic. We have to be on the lookout and ready to take action.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 11:20 a.m.
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Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.

We did indeed take several trips together for NATO meetings. During these trips, we learned that the 27 other member countries have the same kinds of concerns and that terrorism is a serious problem.

I spoke about Bill C-51 a bit in my speech. I know there was talk about how Bill C-51 is an attack on privacy rights. During the 2015 campaign, the Liberals and New Democrats made a lot of speeches against Bill C-51.

This is why the Liberals introduced Bill C-59, but at the end of the day, it is not much different from Bill C-51. The parts that were changed, as I mentioned, are the parts essential to obtaining strategic information against terrorism. At the end of the day, my colleague must not be happy with Bill C-59. I think the bill is acceptable, but it also lacks some fundamental elements.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 11:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague gave a very balanced speech. He totally understands the issues. The hypocrisy from the member from Kingston is unbelievable. His leader supported Bill C-51, and now they all try to pretend it never happened, which is not the case.

I would like to talk about pre-emptive detention. It is a preventative arrest tool in the Criminal Code that enables police to arrest a suspect without a warrant so long as the arresting officer believes an arrest would be crucial in preventing a terrorist act, and the case would be presented before a judge immediately. We are all well aware of the case of Aaron Driver, on August 10, 2016, in Strathroy, Ontario. With this tool, police were able to move quickly and prevent Driver's attempt to detonate explosives in public spaces.

If this legislation had been in place in 2014, we all know that Corporal Cirillo would still be alive as would Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent from Quebec. I would like the member to comment on that and the damage that has been done, or at least the limits that would be put on police, with this being removed in Bill C-59.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 11:25 a.m.
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Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

My colleague's question is about the main purpose of Bill C-59, which is to keep Canadians safe. When our security agencies are limited in what they can do, that can compromise Canadians' safety. I do not want to be accused of fearmongering and divisiveness, but that is just the reality of the situation.

The Conservatives' 26th amendment to Bill C-59 would have replaced those two little words, “is likely”, with “is necessary”. That changes everything. That is the kind of change that makes a difference because it gives our officers the mandate to intervene and keep people from dying.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 11:25 a.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

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

I would like him to compare Bill C-51, which has been abundantly criticized, with Bill C-59 before us today. Obviously, we are all in favour of protecting our fellow Canadians, but we are facing a relatively new threat, since many terrorist attacks are not planned, controlled and ordered by a terrorist organization, but are rather thought up and carried out by a radicalized individual.

What was set out in Bill C-51 to help fight radicalization, and what is now set out in Bill C-59 to remedy the same problem, which is getting worse?

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 11:25 a.m.
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Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his very good question.

Once again, we are dealing with the complex issue of threat management. In Canada, there are groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS that announce their demands; we can intercept communications and prevent attacks. However, there are also people who become radicalized at home in their basement. Bill C-59 includes no mechanisms to prevent this type of situation.

That is why we want to be able to question people suspected of plotting an attack based on information they might have sent or looked up, and make a preventive arrest if necessary. If there is no problem, so much the better, and if there is one, we could save lives.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 11:25 a.m.
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Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Marco Mendicino LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to rise to speak to Bill C-59, which has been led by the Minister of Public Safety.

As has been stated on many occasions, the objectives of the bill truly represent historic reform in the area of public safety and national security. They include fixing many of the problematic elements under the former Bill C-51, which had been debated quite extensively in the chamber; making significant leaps forward with respect to accountability for our national security and intelligence agencies; bringing Canada's national security framework into the 21st century so our security agencies can keep pace with the state of evolving threats; and ensuring the communications security establishment has the tools it needs to protect Canadians and Canadian interests in cyberspace.

Before I move into the substance of my remarks, the bill has received wide praise by academics and stakeholders across the continuum for the way in which it strikes the balance between ensuring that the rights of Canadians are protected under the charter, while at the same time making quantum leaps to protect our national security and sovereignty.

Today I will focus my remarks on the component of Bill C-59, which would make certain amendments to the Criminal Code and, in particular, with regard to some of the amendments that Bill C-59 would usher in as it relates to terrorist listings.

An entity listed under the Criminal Code falls under the definition of a terrorist group. “Entity” is a term that is broadly defined in the Criminal Code, and includes a person. Any property the entity has in Canada is immediately frozen and may be seized by and forfeited to the government. To date, more than 50 terrorist entities have been listed under the Criminal Code.

I will briefly outline the current listing process in the Criminal Code in order to set the stage for the amendments proposed by Bill C-59.

In order for an entity to be listed under the Criminal Code, first, the Minister of Public Safety must have reasonable grounds to believe that either (a) the entity has knowingly carried out, attempted to carry out, participated in, or facilitated a terrorist activity; or (b) the entity is knowingly acting on behalf of, at the direction of, or in association with such an entity. The Minister of Public Safety, upon forming such a reasonable belief, then makes a recommendation to the Governor in Council that the entity be listed.

The Governor in Council makes the ultimate decision to list, applying the same criteria which is used by the Minister of Public Safety. Once an entity is listed, it may apply to the Minister of Public Safety to be de-listed. If the minister does not make a decision on whether to de-list within 60 days after the receipt of the application, the minister is deemed to recommend that the entity remain a listed entity. The entity may seek judicial review of that decision.

In addition, two years after the establishment of the list of terrorist entities, and every two years thereafter, the Minister of Public Safety must review the list to determine whether there are still reasonable grounds for the entity to be listed as an entity. This review must be completed 120 days after it begins. The minister must publish in the Canada Gazette, without delay, a notice that the review has been completed.

Compared to other issues examined in the public consultation on national security areas, this one generated less feedback. Online responses were roughly evenly divided between those who thought the current listing methods met Canada's domestic needs and international obligations and those who thought they did not. However, Bill C-59 proposes changes to various aspects of the listing regime that are meant to increase efficiency, including substantive changes to the two-year review process.

I will first address the substantial changes that Bill C-59 proposes to the two-year review process.

Reviewing all of the entities on the list at the same time every two years is an onerous process. As more entities are added to the list, the greater the burden placed on the government to complete the review within the required time period. Bill C-59 proposes to alleviate some of this burden in two ways. First, it proposes to extend the review period from two years to a maximum of five years. Second, it proposes that instead of reviewing the entire list all at once, the listing of each entity would be reviewed on a staggered basis.

For example, Bill C-59 proposes that when a new entity is listed, the entity would have to be reviewed within five years from the date that it was first listed and within every five years thereafter. This kind of flexibility would also be built into the time frame as to when the notice of the review of the entity would be published.

Other proposed amendments focus on applications to delist. Ensuring that all delisting applications are dealt with in a procedurally fair manner requires engagement with the applicant prior to the minister making a decision. This includes providing the applicant with the opportunity to review and to respond to much of the material that will be put before the minister.

This engagement with the applicant can take time. Therefore, Bill C-59 proposes to extend the 60-day deadline within which the Minister of Public Safety must make a decision to delist to 90 days, or longer if agreed to in writing by both the minister and the applicant.

Another proposal is to amend Bill C-59 to ensure that where an entity has applied to the Minister of Public Safety to be delisted and the minister decides not to delist, then the minister's decision need not be further approved by the Governor in Council. In such a case, because the entity has already been initially listed by the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the minister, the minister will be confirming that the test for listing the entity continues to be met. However, if the minister does decide to delist the entity, then the final decision on the matter on behalf of the government will rest with the Governor in Council.

Bill C-59 also proposes a change in relation to changing the name or adding aliases of a listed entity. If a listed entity changes its name or begins to operate under a different alias, the current listing process requires that the Minister of Public Safety seek the approval of the Governor in Council to add the new name or alias to the list of terrorist entities. The delays inherent in this process can negatively impact the government's ability to freeze the property of terrorist groups in a timely manner, thereby preventing our capacity to reduce threats to our national security.

It is therefore proposed to allow the Minister of Public Safety to be granted the authority, by regulation, to modify the primary names of already listed terrorist entities and to add and remove aliases of entities already on the list. Similar changes have been made by the United Kingdom and Australia to their listing processes.

Another proposed amendment seeks to make a change to the verb tense in one of the thresholds for listing. The second threshold for listing, which is found in paragraph 83.05(1)(b) of the Criminal Code, requires reasonable grounds to believe the entity is knowingly acting on behalf of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist entity. In other words, it is phrased in the present tense.

Entities listed under this threshold whose property has been frozen following their original listing may, after two or more years, no longer be able to act on behalf of a terrorist entity as a result of their property having been frozen. Therefore, even if an entity still has the desire to support a listed terrorist entity that has carried out or facilitated terrorist activity, it can be argued that the current present tense test is no longer met. Bill CC-59's proposal to change this threshold to the past tense will resolve the problem.

Finally, the mistaken identity provision, which exists in the law now, was intended to be used by entities that might reasonably be mistaken for a listed entity because of having the same or a similar name. However, the current provision can be read as permitting any entity to make a request for a certificate confirming that it is not a listed entity, even if its name is not remotely similar to any entities on the list.

The proposed legislation will clarify that a certificate can only be issued for reasonable cases of mistaken identity; that is, where the name is the same as or similar to that of the listed entity.

The listing of terrorist entities is a tool that has been used by Canada, the United Nations, and other countries in our fight against global terrorism. Improving the efficiency of such a regime, as I have outlined in these amendments, while keeping it fair, can only enhance the safety and security of all Canadians.

I hasten to add that it is one of the many measures which are included as part of Bill C-59, which I said at the outset of my remarks, have been the focus of extensive consultations, have been the focus of extensive study by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, have been the focus of extensive debate in the chamber, and have received the wide critical praise of many individuals in academia, and stakeholders.

We have good evidence-based, principled legislation in Bill C-59, and we look forward to its passage in the House.

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

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

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

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

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

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

Marco Mendicino Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

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

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

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

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

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

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

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

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

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

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

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

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

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

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

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

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June 7th, 2018 / noon
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

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

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

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

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

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

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

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

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

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

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

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

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

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

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

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

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

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

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

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

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

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

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

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

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

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

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

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

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

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

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

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

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

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker,

[Member spoke in Cree]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Member spoke in Cree]

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 1:10 p.m.
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NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is a giant step for Canada. Bill C-59 is an omnibus bill. It is 138 pages long. While we were at it, we could have settled the whole issue around the totally unacceptable ministerial directive on torture once and for all.

For some time now, we have been urging the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to repeal and replace the 2010 ministerial directive on torture. We need to make sure that Canada upholds the total ban on torture and, more specifically, does not, under any circumstances, make use of intelligence that foreign countries may have obtained through torture.

Unfortunately, the new directive introduced in 2017 does not ban the RCMP, our spies, or our border agencies from using intelligence that was obtained through torture in other countries.

Why make an omnibus bill, a giant step for Canada, but not ban the use of intelligence obtained through torture?

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 1:15 p.m.
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NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is important to rise to speak to this fundamental bill. As I mentioned earlier, at 138 pages, Bill C-59, an act respecting national security matters, is a real omnibus bill. Unfortunately, there are still problems with this bill. That is why we are going to have to oppose it. It does not meet all our expectations.

We opposed Bill C-51. We were the only ones to support compliance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in order to safeguard Canadians' rights and freedoms in 2015. The Liberals and the Conservatives voted for that bill, which was condemned by all Canadians. That is the reason why the Liberals later stated in their campaign that the bill made no sense and that they would rescind it if they were elected. They have finally woken up three years later. Unfortunately, the bill does not deliver on those promises.

There are elements missing. For example, the Liberals promised to fully repeal Bill C-51, and they are not doing that. Another extremely important thing that I want to spend some time talking about is the fact that they should have replaced the existing ministerial directive on torture in order to ensure that Canada stands for an absolute prohibition on torture. A lawful society, a society that respects the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the UN Charter of Rights, should obviously not allow torture. However, once again, Canada is somewhat indirectly complicit in torture that is happening around the world. We have long been calling on the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to repeal and replace the 2010 directive on torture to ensure that Canada stands for an absolute prohibition on torture. More specifically, we want to ensure that, under 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. We have bad memories of the horrors endured by some Canadians such as Maher Arar, Abdullah Almaki, Amhad Abou El Maati, and Muayyed Nureddin. Canadians have suffered torture, so we are in some way complicit. It is very important that we resolve this problem, but unfortunately, the new directive, issued in October 2017, does not forbid the RCMP, CSIS, or the CBSA from using information that may have been obtained through torture in another country.

The new instructions feature not a single semantic change, since they authorize the use of information obtained by torture in certain cases. That is completely unacceptable. Canada should take a leading role in preventing torture and should never agree to use or share information that is likely to result in torture in other countries around the world. We should be a leader on this issue.

There is another extremely important file that I want to talk about that this bill does not address and that is the infamous no-fly list. This list and the unacceptable delays in funding redress mechanisms are regrettable. There is currently no effective redress mechanism to help people who suffer the consequences from being added to this list. Some Canadian families are very concerned. They want to protect their rights because children are at risk of being detained by airport security after mistakenly being added to the list, a list that prevents them from being able to fly.

We are very worried about that. We are working with No Fly List Kids. We hope that the Liberal government will wake up. It should have fixed this situation in this bill, especially considering that this is an omnibus bill.

Speaking of security, I want to mention two security-related events that occurred in Drummond that had a significant impact. The first was on May 29 and was reported by journalist Ghyslain Bergeron, who is very well known in Drummondville. A dozen or so firefighters from Saint-Félix-de-Kingsey were called to rescue a couple stranded on the Saint-François river. Led by the town's fire chief, Pierre Blanchette, they headed to the area and courageously rescued the couple. It is extremely important to acknowledge acts of bravery when we talk about the safety our our constituents.

I also want to talk about Rosalie Sauvageau, a 19-year-old woman who received a certificate of honour from the City of Drummondville after an unfortunate event at a party in Saint-Thérèse park. A bouncy castle was blown away by the wind, and she immediately rushed the children out of the bouncy castle, bringing them to safety. Not long after, a gust of wind blew one of the bouncy castles into Rivière Saint-François. Fortunately, Rosalie Sauvageau had the presence of mind, the quickness, and the courage to keep these children safe. I mentioned these events because the safety and bravery of our fellow citizens is important.

To come back to the bill, I must admit that there are some good things in it, but there are also some parts that worry us, in particular the new definition of an activity that undermines the security of Canada. This definition was amended to include any activity that threatens the lives or the security of individuals, or an individual who has a connection to Canada and who is outside Canada. This definition is pernicious and dangerous, because it will now include activities that involve significant or widespread interference with critical infrastructure.

The Liberal government just recently purchased the Kinder Morgan pipeline, a 65-year-old pipeline that the company originally bought for $500,000. The government bought it for the staggering price of $4.5 billion, with money from the taxes paid by Canadians and the people of greater Drummond, and claimed that it was essential to Canada.

Does that mean that the Liberal government could tell the thousands of people protesting against this pipeline that they are substantially obstructing essential infrastructure?

We are rather concerned about that. This clause of the bill creates potential problems for people who peacefully protest projects such as the Kinder Morgan pipeline. That is why we are voting against this bill. The Liberals have to go back to the drawing board. We must improve this bill and ensure that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is upheld.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 1:30 p.m.
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Labrador Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Yvonne Jones LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to the bill. Bill C-59 is legislation that our government committed to prior to the last election. It came from a very disconcerting perspective that Canadians had with regard the legislation passed by the former government, Bill C-51.

Bill C-59 would enhance Canada's national security, while safeguarding the values, rights and freedoms of Canadians. That is very important. The bill before the House today would uphold our commitment to fix the problematic elements of the former Bill C-51, notably by tightening the definition of “terrorist propaganda”; protecting the right to advocate and protest; upgrading the no-fly list procedures; and ensuring the paramountcy of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It would also strengthen our accountability and transparency by creating the national security and intelligence review agency and a position of intelligence commissioner. These would complement the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, which was created by Bill C-22.

In addition, Bill C-59 would also bring our security and intelligence legislation into the 21st century. Much of that legislation was written in the 1980s, before the revolution of information technology, which has transformed the national security and the intelligence landscape. Bill C-59 would ensure that our agencies could keep pace with evolving threats and to keep us safe, and that our laws would also keep pace in order to protect Canadians' rights and freedoms in the digital world.

Canadians had asked for the bill. It is what Canadians wanted. It is the result of being able to modernize our national security system in the country, doing so with the input of Canadians and many experts from across the country.

Today, I am pleased to speak about the proposed amendments in the bill to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, which is included in part 8 of the National Security Act of 2017. Through this set of amendments, our government is taking action to ensure that all youth, who are involved in the criminal justice system, are afforded the enhanced procedural and other protections provided by Canada's Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Before addressing the substance of the proposed amendments, I would like to provide a bit of background about the Youth Criminal Justice Act so people understand this federal law. We call it the YCJA, and it is the law that governs Canada's justice system for youth. It applies to young people between the ages of 12 to 17 who commit criminal offences, including terrorism offences. They are dealt with under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The act recognizes that the youth justice system must be separate from the adult system and it must be 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, as a general rule, the privacy of youth who are dealt with under the YCJA is protected through publication bans on their identity and significant restrictions to access to youth records. Young people also have enhanced rights to counsel, including state-provided counsel, and the right to have parents or other guardians present throughout key stages of the investigative and judicial processes.

While many aspects of the criminal procedure are similar in the youth and adult criminal justice system, the YCJA establishes distinct legal principles, projections, and options for dealing with youth who are alleged to have committed a criminal offence.

If a young person is charged, all proceedings take place in youth court. As I previously noted, while youth court proceedings are open to the public, the YCJA imposes restrictions on the publication of a youth's identity.

In addition, the YCJA establishes clear restrictions on access to youth records, setting out who may access the records, the purpose for which youth records may be used, and the time periods during which access to the records is even permitted.

Generally speaking, the penalties that are set out in the Criminal Code do not apply to youth. Instead the Youth Criminal Justice Act sets out the specific youth sentencing principles, their options, and their durations. There are a broad range of community-based youth sentencing options and clear restrictions on the use of custodial sentences.

As we turn to Bill C-59, it is important to recognize that there have been very few cases in Canada in which a young person has become involved in the youth criminal justice system due to terrorism-related offences. Nonetheless, it is important to ensure that when this does occur, the young person is afforded all of the enhanced procedural and other protections under the Youth Criminal Justice Act as other youth criminals are afforded.

Part 8 of Bill C-59 would amend certain provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act to ensure that youth protections would apply in relation to anti-terrorism and other recognizance orders. It would also provide for access to youth records for the purposes of administering the Canadian passport order, which I will explain a bit further in a few moments, and would be subject to the special privacy protections set out in the act. This would eliminate any uncertainty about the applicability of certain provisions to a youth for whom a recognizance order is being sought, including provisions relating to a youth's right to counsel and to detention of the youth.

In addition, there is currently no access period identified for records relating to recognizance orders, so the YCJA would be amended to provide that the access period for these records would be six months after the order expires.

In addition, Part 8 of Bill C-59 would amend the act 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 in certain instances of criminality 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. Basically, the amendment would allow the Canadian passport office to access this information. Of course it would still fall within the privacy regulations of the country, but it would allow the office to assess an application and to determine if a youth would still be a security threat to Canada.

Canadians can be assured that our government is addressing national security threats, while continuing to protect the democratic values, rights, and freedoms of Canadians. We feel that along with other elements of the national security reform package that has been put forward by our government, these laws reform measures and demonstrate a commitment to ensuring that our laws are fair, that they are effective, and that they respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

As my colleagues look through Bill C-59, they will note that tremendous effort has been made on behalf of the minister and many in Parliament to ensure that the legislation responds to the safety and security needs of Canadians in a democratic way, in the way that Canadians have asked.

The bill has been through many hours of consultation. It has been through many hours of debate both in committee and the House of Commons. People from each end of the country have had an opportunity to provide feedback into the reforms of Bill C-51, which is now compiled as Bill C-59.

The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service Act ensures there is accountability of Canadian security and intelligence services for all Canadians. This legislation responds to what Canadians have asked for and it is supported by experts who study this field within Canada.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 1:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, what I said was that much of the legislation we were dealing with was written in the 1980s. If we go back through the previous legislation, members will see that many of those things were on the books as they related to national security and intelligence in the landscape of Canada. What this bill is doing is bringing us into a different era.

It will ensure that our agencies can keep pace with evolving threats to keep us safe and that our laws would also keep pace to protect Canadians' rights and freedoms in a digital world. Bill C-59 speaks to those intricate pieces.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

June 7th, 2018 / 3:10 p.m.
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Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon, we will continue with the report stage debate on Bill C-69, the environmental assessment act.

Following this, we will turn to Bill C-75, the justice modernization act, and Bill C-59, the national security act.

If time permits, we shall start debate at report stage of Bill C-68, the fisheries act, and Bill C-64 on derelict vessels.

Tomorrow morning, we will begin third reading of Bill C-47 on the Arms Trade Treaty. Next Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday are allotted days. Also, pursuant to the Standing Orders, we will be voting on the main estimates Thursday evening.

Next week, priority will be given to the following bills: Bill C-21, an act to amend the Customs Act; Bill C-59, an act respecting national security matters; Bill C-64, the wrecked, abandoned or hazardous vessels act; Bill C-68 on fisheries; and Bill C-69 on environmental assessments.

We also know, however, that the other place should soon be voting on Bill C-45, the cannabis act. If a message is received notifying us of amendments, that will be given priority.

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June 7th, 2018 / 5:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to rise in response to Bill C-69, the government's environmental and regulatory bill, one that is supposed to be revolutionary. This just brings us to another long list of broken promises that the Prime Minister made when he campaigned in 2015 as the member for Papineau at the time. He made some great promises to Canadians.

We heard a lot about sowing the seeds of fear, that Canadians had lost confidence in some things like our environmental assessment plan. The groups that were promoting that had a sole purpose. There was a lot of talk about foreign-funded groups and how they had influenced elections, both on this side of the border as well as the other side of the border recently.

We know very well that during the 2015 election, and I know because I was one of the candidates who was targeted, groups were targeting Conservative members of Parliament. They were talking about how damaging Mr. Harper was to our environment. We heard people say how we were fearmongering with respect to Bill C-59. If we looked at it and followed where the dollar started, these groups started in other jurisdictions, and perhaps not in Canada.

What would be the sole purpose for those groups to sow the seed of fear or perhaps put doubt in the minds of Canadians in the industry or in the government of the day. It would be to really shake up the economy. Why would they do that? Probably because the money they get comes from big oil or big energy groups in the U.S. This is the fact. We know this. To some extent, the Prime Minister, the Liberals, and perhaps the NDP have bought into those groups. I know about the NDP candidate who I ran against in my region, the one who had probably the best photography team I have ever seen. Again, my riding was one of those targeted because ridings they thought they would win, but I proved them wrong.

Let us talk about the growing list of broken promises, and this is so relevant to Bill C-69.

The Prime Minister talked about a small deficit of $10 billion at that time, and the budget would be balanced. There is a record and a history with this. He also said that under his government, the Liberals would be the most open and transparent government in Canadian history. There is a smattering of applause on the other side, but we know it is not true. When he created the mandate letters, he said that the ministers would be more accountable and more open to Canadians. He also said that he would let the debate reign, yet today we are in the 41st closure of debate.

During the campaign, the member for Papineau said that under his government the Harper government's way of doing omnibus bills would be in the past, that it would never happen again. Today, we are speaking to a 400-page bill.

We know the Prime Minister is not really very happy. He is not a very strong champion of our energy sector. We know this from one of his very first speeches to the world, when he said that under his government Canada would be known more for our resourcefulness rather than our resources. We know he has gotten himself into a little trouble for some of the comments he made on the world stage, when he said that he wished the energy sector could be phased out a little faster. We also know he got himself into trouble when he went into Alberta, during a time when we were facing some terrible issues, to speak to the out-of-work oil workers. There is that famous clip where a gentleman asked “What am I going to do? I'm out of work. I don't know whether I'm going to have a home. I don't know how I'm going to feed my children”. What was his comment? “Hang in there”.

The Liberals hated our Navigable Protection Act. The reason I bring this up is because the fisheries, oceans and Canadian Coast Guard committee, FOPO, studies some of the changes to legislation brought forward by government. The Liberals said that Prime Minister Harper had a war on the environment, and the changes he made to the Navigable Waters Protection Act were because the Conservatives did not care.

The Liberals like to bring in academics, NGOs, and environmental groups. Witness after witness, when asked to provide proof if any of the changes from 2012 to the Fisheries Act and Navigable Waters Protection Act would cause any harmful death or damage to our waterway, not one witness could provide proof. In fact, one of our hon. colleagues was part of the group that wrote the changes to the legislation. He talked about why some of these navigable waterway regulations were changed. He said that it was because of our farmers. If farmers had a drainage ditch that had been washout and repairs had to be made, whether to accommodate their livestock or their crops, it took a lot of time, waiting to get that done. Also, if a municipality was isolated because a road had been washed out, there were a lot of challenges in getting the repairs done.

I could go on and on.

The Prime Minister and all of his ministers like to stand and with their hands on their hearts, they pledge they will consult with Canadians from coast to coast to coast. They tell us that every Canadian will have a say. We know the consultations are not true. In fact, they are shutting down debate.

As I like to do every chance I get, I want to remind folks on the other side, and all Canadians, that the House is theirs. Shutting down debate means the 338 members of Parliament who were elected to be the voices of all Canadians do not have their say. They are not able to bring their constituents' voices to Ottawa. The Prime Minister, his cabinet, the other Liberals want to bring the voice of Ottawa to those communities. We know that the only voice that seems to matter is the Prime Minister's voice.

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June 7th, 2018 / 5:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Nick Whalen Liberal St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise in the House today to speak in support of Bill C-59, the government's proposed legislation to update and modernize the country's national security framework.

This landmark bill covers a number of measures that were informed by the views and opinions of a broad range of Canadians during 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 the committee for its diligent and thorough examination of this comprehensive legislation. An even stronger bill, with over 40 adopted amendments, is now back in the House. The measures it contains would do two things at once: strengthen Canada's ability to effectively address and counter 21st-century threats, while safeguarding the rights and freedoms we cherish as Canadians—

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

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have just very clearly seen that members on this side of the House want to talk about bills. We want to talk about Bill C-59. We want to talk about Bill C-69. All the parliamentarians on this side of the House want to express their views. Unfortunately, the Liberals have cut parliamentarians' speaking time so much that some members have to talk about two bills at once.

I would like my colleague who spoke about both Bill C-59 and Bill C-69 in the same speech to tell me whether he sometimes feels forgotten by the government because he sits on this side of the House. The Conservatives, the NDP, the Bloc Québécois, and the Green Party all represent our constituents here in the House, and they want to hear us speak about all of these bills.

I commend my colleague over here for wanting to speak about two bills, because he knows that we will not have time to talk about all of these things and that the members on the other side of the House often prevent us from speaking. I would like to hear what my colleague has to say about that.

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June 7th, 2018 / 6 p.m.
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Liberal

Nick Whalen Liberal St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his comments. I was in the middle of preparing my remarks on Bill C-59 and I am planning on speaking to Bill C-69 next week. I will have a chance to talk about it at third reading. I may have lost it, I am not sure. I have already said half of what I intended to say on the matter.

At the same time, I know that our sitting hours have been extended because we cannot fit all the members who want to speak into the limited time that the House has to implement all of our legislation and amendments. It is a shame we do not have thousands of hours to speak in the House. These are the hours we have, and we have only four years to fulfill all our election promises.

Now, we are working on fulfilling our promises, and I think I will get a chance to speak on Bill C-69 next week and Bill C-59 a few minutes from now.

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June 7th, 2018 / 6:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Nick Whalen Liberal St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I misheard and referred to Bill C-69 and not Bill C-59 when I rose to speak earlier.

I am pleased to rise again to support Bill C-59, the government's proposed legislation to update and modernize the country's national security framework. This landmark bill covers a number of measures that were informed by the views and opinions of a broad range of Canadians during 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, and the committee recently finished its study of this bill. I want to thank the committee members for their diligent and thorough examination of the legislation. An even stronger bill, with over 40 adopted amendments, is now before the House, thanks to their great work.

The measures would do two things at once. They would strengthen Canada's ability to effectively address and counter 21st-century threats while safeguarding the rights and freedoms we cherish as Canadians.

This is where I get into some new material. Rather than elaborate on any specific proposed measure, I will focus my remarks today on the high level of engagement, consultation, and analysis that contributed to the legislation we find before us today.

Bill C-59 is a result of the most comprehensive review of Canada's national security framework since the passing of the CSIS Act more than 30 years ago. That public review included unprecedented open and transparent public consultations on national security undertaken by Public Safety Canada and the Department of Justice. Canadians were consulted on key elements of Canada's national security laws and policies to ensure that they reflected the rights, values, and freedoms of Canadians. Several issues were covered, including countering radicalization to violence, oversight and accountability, threat reduction, and the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, which is the former Bill C-51.

All Canadians were invited and encouraged to take part in the consultations, which were held between September and December 2016. The response was tremendous. Thousands of people weighed in through a variety of avenues, both in person and online. Citizens, community leaders, experts and academics, non-governmental organizations, and parliamentarians alike made their views and ideas known over the course of the consultation period. In the end, tens of thousands of views were received, all of which were valuable in shaping the scope and content of Bill C-59.

With almost 59,000 responses received, the online consultation is what generated by far the largest volume of input, using a questionnaire consisting of more than 60 questions organized into 10 themes.

Nearly 18,000 submissions were also received by email. These consisted mainly of letters and other pieces of communication submitted by individuals. 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 also held numerous meetings and consultations. It even travelled across the country to hear testimony not only from expert witnesses but also from members of the Canadian 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 engagement events led by 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 one round table of civil society experts.

A total of 79 submissions were received from stakeholders, experts, and academics. The Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Information Technology Association of Canada are just a few of the organizations that participated in the consultations.

A great deal of time, effort, and expertise was spent not only to ensure that engaged citizens and interested parties were heard, but also to painstakingly collect and consider all input received from the public. All data collected during the consultation process was reviewed and prepared for analysis. The next step was to carefully analyze every comment, submission, letter, and other forms of input.

These views have been published on the Government of Canada's open data portal, so anyone interested in learning more about what was said can see what was said.

In addition, an independently prepared report provides an overview of what was heard during the consultation. The results are summarized in 10 sections, one for each of the themes explored in both “Our Security, Our Rights: National Security Green Paper, 2016” and the online questionnaire.

While it would be difficult to summarize everything we have heard from Canadians, I can speak to a few key themes that emerged. First of all, I can attest that in any large volume of input, there will be widely different opinions. That was certainly the case in the public consultation on national security. However, the results made one thing perfectly clear. Canadians want accountability, transparency, and effectiveness from their security and intelligence agencies. They also expect their rights, freedoms, and privacy to be protected at the same time as their security.

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

Taken together, the proposed measures in Bill C-59represent extensive improvements to Canada's national security framework. They also reflect thousands upon thousands of opinions expressed by this country's national security community, Parliamentarians across party lines, and the Canadian public writ large.

I firmly believe that it is important for all Canadians to be informed and engaged on Canada's national security framework. I am proud to stand behind a government that shares that belief.

The input received during the public consultation process in the pre-study period at committee was both considerable and instrumental in the development of Bill C-59 itself. There is no doubt in my mind that the legislation before this House today has been strengthened and improved as a result of the committee's close scrutiny and clause-by-clause consideration of the bill. To highlight just one example, the bill would now include provisions enacting the avoiding complicity in mistreatment by foreign entities act. This act would have to do with the ministerial directions issued last fall to Canada's national security and intelligence agencies. To ensure transparency and accountability, those directions would be made public under an amended Bill C-59. They would also be reported on annually to the public, to review bodies, and to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.

I encourage all members of this House to vote in favour of Bill C-59. Should Bill C-59pass, this important 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 urge my honourable colleagues to join me in supporting Bill C-59.

With the bit of extra time that remains to me after my prepared remarks, I would just like to talk a little bit about my experience at the door during the election in 2015.

In the early part of June and July, many Canadians were concerned about Bill C-51. It was a hot topic of conversation. What the former Liberal third party opposition had attempted to do at committee in the previous session of Parliament was at least get some amendments into Bill C-51 to encourage and strengthen oversight and make sure that the bill not only protected security but made sure that Canadians' privacy and freedoms were being respected.

That led to a lot of difficult conversations, because during the campaign, the three parties were really divided on this particular issue. The Conservatives were adamant that they had struck the right balance. The New Democratic Party wanted to repeal it entirely. The Liberal Party stuck to its guns and said that it was a difficult conversation to have with people, but the legislation was needed. They said we needed this legislation but we needed to fix it, we needed to do it right, and we needed to make sure that it had the safeguards we promised and attempted to achieve at the amendment stage for Bill C-51 in the last Parliament.

That is what we have done. However, we have done even more than that. We have gone back to the drawing board and have let many different groups participate to make sure that we got it right.

I just want to provide one little quote, from national security experts Craig Forcese and Kent Roach, who have said that this legislation is “the real deal: the biggest reform in this area since 1984” and that it comes “at no credible cost to security.”

I believe that through all the consultations, the drafting of the bill by the minister and his staff, the review of the bill at committee, and the help of all members of the House, we now have a piece of legislation that strikes the right balance that will make Canadians safer and will also protect their rights and freedoms, which is what we promised in the 41st Parliament we would do if elected, and we are doing it now.

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June 7th, 2018 / 6:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to applaud the member for the quick recovery when we returned to Bill C-59.

I also want to mention that it is interesting that he talked about how members on the committee were able to work together to report this bill back to us, but he must know that all 29 amendments suggested by the Conservatives on that committee were rejected. I am concerned that perhaps his interpretation of the congenial interaction among members at the committee equalled actually hearing and listening to and accepting a point of view on the Conservative side that certain provisions should not be amended or should be amended in a certain way to assure ourselves that our security agencies can continue to do their work.

I want to focus on a specific definition in the act. The previous definition of “terrorist propaganda” included the words “advocates or promotes”. The new definition of terrorist propaganda replaces those words with the word “counselling”. I am concerned that this definitional change would have a big impact on the type of propaganda that can be produced by terrorist cells and movements that promote and also entice lone-wolf attacks, some of the most difficult types of cases to stop.

I would like to hear from the member why this change was made and how this change would help the government stop terrorist propaganda from being propagated across social media channels like YouTube.

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June 7th, 2018 / 6:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join the debate on Bill C-59 now that the government has forced the final hours of debate and shut down the ability of members of Parliament to contribute to it.

The committee report on this legislation only came out on May 3, and we had one day of debate on May 28. It is interesting to note that the government now wants to rush this legislation as quickly as possible through Parliament now that this session is coming to a close.

I want to take the debate to a higher level and talk about the threat of terrorism, because it is one of the greatest threats of our time. I want to talk a bit about Canada's experience with terrorist cells and terrorist activity and then perhaps finish with a bit on committee procedure, committee deliberations, and the issue of free speech, since I asked the member for St. John's East for the definition of “terrorist propaganda”.

The definition I would like to use comes from one of the NATO handbooks, the AAP-06 glossary of terms and definitions, the 2014 edition. It says that terrorist propaganda is “The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence against individuals or property in an attempt to coerce or intimidate governments or societies to achieve political, religious or ideological objectives.” Those last three criteria or considerations I have often seen defined in different ways. Each American agency defines them in a slightly different way, and our agencies do the same.

Basically, it is about non-state actors, non-states using violence for an ideological, religious, or political goal. These are always their objectives, which is why it was so easy to label al Qaeda a terrorist organization. Many governments around the world were also able to do so quite simply. Al Qaeda is not religiously inspired, but it used religion as an excuse for its political goal, which was the removal of American forces in Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East.

There are many other terrorist groups. In the past 150 years or so, non-state actors have played a role in terrorist activity. Oftentimes we say that terrorism is new, that this has never happened before. I want to dispel that idea.

Piracy on the high seas, piracy within territorial waters, can and has been compared a lot of times to a form of terrorism. They are not typically privateers. They do not exist nowadays. It is a form of political violence. It is sometimes motivated by economic factors and sometimes by political factors.

The Baader-Meinhof gang in Germany of the 1960s and 1970s was basically the Red Army Faction. It was a Marxist or communist-inspired terrorist cell that robbed banks and shot government officials in Germany. It was well recognized for using terrorist tactics and strategies to achieve its political aims.

In 1919-1920 the anarchist bombings in the United States took place. Too often we are quick to say that terrorism is a new thing, but at the turn of the 19th century and the beginning of the 1900s, anarchist cells and anarchist movements were a very popular source of political agitation, as well as violent agitation.

In these particular cases, cells were responsible for the postmaster general attacks on members of the U.S. cabinet. They were responsible for attacks on governors and state legislatures. There is actually quite a long list of attacks that were carried out by them.

In the 1920s, we had a bombing and arson campaign here in Canada by the Freedomites, also called the Svobodniki, which were Russian-inspired terrorist cells. It was a terrorist network that undertook violence on a large scale for political goals. It was put down at the time by the state security apparatus that we had back then.

Closer to today, the Palestine Liberation Organization, or the PLO, participated in airline hijackings. That was an issue in the sixties and seventies. Airline hijackings were taking place all over the world. They became a major issue. That was far before my time, but we can read about them in textbooks. Many documentaries have been written about them. It was a plague all across the European continent and in the Middle East. Stopping hijackers was always a concern of security agencies. They did not know how to tell a hijacker apart from a tourist, or someone on a business trip, or someone travelling for personal reasons, or any reason really. That was a great difficulty at the time.

We have always had to struggle between charter rights and civil liberties and the security needs of our citizens.

In the regard, I often hear Liberals say they are the party of the charter and that they are striking the right balance. In this country, we have a longer inheritance of natural rights that were formalized in the Magna Carta in 1215. Later, they were annulled by Pope Innocent III and brought back one more time. They stayed with us as rights given to us just because of who we are. Our inherent humanity gives us those rights.

I want to caution members on the other side when referencing the charter. Our rich tradition of liberty goes far beyond the last 30 or 40 years. Our rights are not given to us by the charter. They are guaranteed to us by our innate humanity. In this country, thanks to our British common law, they are guaranteed by the Magna Carta. We have to strike the right balance in Bill C-59, and I just do not see our having achieved that in the effort to assure ourselves of our own security.

The great leaps in technology allow our citizens to travel quite easily. They can be in another country within one day, even in Europe, and that ease of travel, ease of communication, and ease of financing and transferring funds has also made it possible for those who would do us great harm to take advantage of it in ways that can harm our fellow citizens, and harm the state property that we pay for and that exists for the public good, and damage our airports and malls. A very popular form of terrorism in eastern Africa is attacking shopping malls. Shoppers are the targets of terrorist cells, such as al Shabaab.

I have deep concerns that Bill C-59 would not achieve that goal. As I asked in a previous question about the specific definition of “terrorist propaganda”, I am concerned about protecting free speech. It is deeply important, but I feel it is very hypocritical of the government, on one side, to say it is going to protect free speech and modify the definition of “terrorist propaganda”, and, on the other side, with the Canada summer jobs program, say that if Canadians wish to apply for it but have a spiritual, intellectual, or ethical disagreement with the government, they will be denied funding from the beginning. That is hypocrisy, and it has to be called out.

In consideration of this bill at committee, there were 29 amendments moved by Conservative members. Every single one of those was voted down. In 2015, when Bill C-51 was being considered, the member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, the member for Beauce, and two former members, Denis Lebel and Christian Paradis, all received threats at their offices. It speaks to how intense this issue was back in 2015 when this legislation was initially introduced as Bill C-51. I am glad that a great deal of it was kept by the Liberal government. Indeed, the Liberals voted for it at the time, although they sometimes seem to imply that they reject its content but accept mere modifications to it.

I am hoping, though, that the government will see the light and change its mind about trying to ram this through in the late hours of this spring session when there are only a mere few days to allow other members of Parliament to speak on behalf of their constituents. Public consultation is one thing, but it cannot replace the work we do here on behalf of our constituents.

I would be remiss if I did not end with this: When God wants people to suffer, he sends them too much understanding. It is a Yiddish proverb, and quite an old one. It says that the more knowledge we gain, the more problems we typically have, and the more suffering comes upon us, because when we know more, it is incumbent upon us to do better and take actions based on information that we have received. I do not believe the government is striking the right balance.

As I said, the new definition of “terrorist propaganda” that only mentions counselling a person to do so does not achieve the aim of getting social media companies to remove propaganda promoting terrorist ideologies that result in lone-wolf attacks. I am not as concerned about organized crime or organized terrorist cells as I am about lone-wolf attacks, the people inspired to act on behalf of an organization overseas that is not directly counselling them to do so, but promoting and advocating a system of beliefs of political violence for an ideological, religious, or political aims.

I will be voting against this bill because it has too many defects, whereas Bill C-51 has far fewer.

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June 7th, 2018 / 6:30 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague from Calgary Shepard, whom I like a great deal, was not here in the 41st Parliament. Therefore, he does not recognize the fragility of the glass house in which he now stands when claiming that this bill has been forced through.

I remember Bill C-51. I remember when it was tabled at first reading on January 30, 2015, a Friday morning. I took it home on the weekend. I came back here on February 2 knowing that I had never seen anything quite as draconian introduced in the Canadian Parliament. We opposed it. We worked hard on it. At least I was the first member of Parliament to declare it to be a threat not just to our liberties, but also that made us less safe because it entrenched the worst effects of the separation of law, spy agencies, and law enforcement.

Bill C-51 is a dangerous piece of legislation that was forced through. There was no public consultation. It was introduced at first reading on January 30, it was through this place by May 6, and through the Senate by June 9. This piece of legislation has been before us a full year. Therefore, I am afraid that my hon. colleague is shooting at the wrong target when he thinks this bill has been forced through.

It is not as good as I would like it to be. The member is right that it does not do away with all of the things that were problematic in Bill C-51. However, I will be voting for Bill C-59, because it does a lot to redress the threat to our security from Bill C-51, which ignored all the recommendations of the Air India inquiry and the Maher Arar inquiry, and represented the worst entrenchment of the kinds of siloed agency thinking that, in the words of former Justice John Major, who chaired the Air India inquiry, make us less safe.

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June 7th, 2018 / 6:35 p.m.
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Brampton West Ontario

Liberal

Kamal Khera LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, as members know, Bill C-59 is an act to enhance Canada's national security while safeguarding the rights and freedoms of Canadians. It is a bill that is extremely important to constituents in my riding of Brampton West, who were really concerned about the problematic elements of the Harper Conservatives' Bill C-51.

I held many consultations and town halls in my riding of Brampton West and heard the concerns of my constituents. This bill strikes the right balance between protecting the safety of Canadians and enhancing and protecting their rights and freedoms.

Does the hon. member or his constituents agree with at least some elements of this bill?

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June 7th, 2018 / 6:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, regarding the contents of this particular bill, my constituents have mixed feelings. It is a complex piece of legislation, and they are not all experts. Some of them have contacted me and pointed out specific sections of Bill C-59 that they have deep concerns about, both on the civil liberties side, as some have said, and on the security side, in terms of agencies being able to share certain information between them. There are mixed feelings.

After much thought about the contents of the bill, I simply do not believe it achieves the right balance between information sharing and our civil liberties, and assuring ourselves that our security agencies can do the job we are asking them to do.

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June 7th, 2018 / 6:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

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

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

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

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

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

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

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

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

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

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

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

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

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

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

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

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

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

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Liberal

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

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

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

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

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

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

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

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

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

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

I am afraid some of that is still whirling around in this place. I wi