An Act respecting national security matters

Sponsor

Ralph Goodale  Liberal

Status

In committee (House), as of Nov. 27, 2017

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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 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, admendments 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 83.‍221, 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.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 27th, 2017 / noon
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

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

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 12:30 p.m.
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Conservative

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

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

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

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 12:30 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

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

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

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

They want to have their cake and eat it too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

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

Liberal

Harjit S. Sajjan LiberalMinister of National Defence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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November 20th, 2017 / 1 p.m.
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Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

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

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

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

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

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

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

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

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

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

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

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

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

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

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

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

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

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

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

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

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Madam Speaker, those are great questions.

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

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

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

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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