Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable.
I rise in support of my colleague's motion to condemn ISIS terrorists and their supporters and to call on the Liberal government to not allow Canada to become a safe haven for terrorists.
As I have said in this place before, the top priority of the House must be the protection of all Canadians. The protection of our people should be placed ahead of political manoeuvring and should be of top concern for all members of Parliament regardless of their party.
This view is shared by my Liberal colleagues on the public safety and national security committee, who earlier this year endorsed a national security report that stated, “National security is one of the most fundamental duties—if not the most fundamental duty—conferred upon a government.” On the issue of Canadians who have left Canada to join ISIS and are now returning to Canada, the Liberal government is failing to meet the national security report standard.
The government's threat level is currently at medium as a result of growing terrorist attacks and threats globally and here at home. A medium threat level is where a violent act of terrorism could occur.
A 2016 CSIS publication titled “The Foreign Fighters Phenomenon and Related Security Trends in the Middle East” stated clearly, “One does not have to speculate terribly much to see the potential threat from ISIL to the West given its vast cadre of foreign fighters native to, or previously resident in, those countries. This unprecedented pool of foreign recruits suggests that ISIL would certainly have the capability to undertake...attacks”.
We owe it to those who sacrificed and fought to protect Canada from threats both foreign and domestic. Our armed forces, our veterans, our police, and our national security agencies have paid a price to give us the freedoms we enjoy today. We owe it to every Canadian to ensure that all reasonable and lawful measures are taken to protect our nation from the threat of those who would do us harm and compromise our national security.
Let us be clear. Canadians are strongly opposed to welcoming terrorists back to Canada. We should not mince words, ISIS fighters are terrorists. They are people who have publicly beheaded Canadians and other westerners. They have burned other human beings alive. They have drowned people in cages. They have thrown people off buildings for simply being who they are. They have raped and enslaved women and girls. There appears to be no manner of unspeakable atrocities that ISIS terrorists would stop at to harm those who are not deemed to be true believers.
If we as a House cannot come together to condemn ISIS and their atrocities, if members of the House cannot stand against oppression, slavery, murder, and war, if we cannot agree to oppose the annihilation of the freedoms of worship, belief, and association, then the House has lost its moral compass and its moral authority. ISIS terrorists stand against everything we as Canadians hold as fundamental to our way of life, the very foundations of our society.
There are clear tools to deal with these threats however. Canadians who attempt to travel to join ISIS are recognized and have been convicted under the Criminal Code for treason, which is a crime against our society and our country. Canadians who participate with ISIS, al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups that seek to kill and destroy all who oppose their strict doctrine and beliefs, are in reality committing treason against Canada, and there are charges that can be levied in Canada for returning ISIS terrorists as well. That is treason.
In Canada there are two criminal charges of treason. The first is high treason, which is defined under Section 46 of the Criminal Code as being those who levy war against Canada or assist an enemy at war with Canada, or any armed forces against whom Canadian Forces are engaged in hostilities, whether or not a state of war exists between Canada and the country whose forces they are. In my view, this describes those Canadians who have taken arms and joined with the radical ISIS terrorist groups to attack humanity
There is also the charge of treason, which includes those who in Canada conspire with any person to commit high treason or to do anything to use force or violence for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of Canada. In fact, the Criminal Code is explicit that for Canadian citizens, treason applies while in or out of Canada.
There is another tool for the government to use to help protect the security of our country. That would be to revoke the Canadian citizenship of dual citizens who have travelled overseas to join or to commit terrorist acts. When the Liberals passed Bill C-6 in June 2017 they removed the authority to strip dual citizens of their Canadian status if convicted of terrorism, treason, or espionage. Therefore, today, we cannot stop these people from returning, and we cannot deport them either. Moreover, as Canada falls behind other western countries in taking away citizenship from these terrorists and extremists, it makes Canada the destination by default for anyone with Canadian citizenship.
Canadians oppose ISIS terrorists returning to Canada, or rejoining our society. These terrorists have, by virtue of participation and their acts against others, forfeited that right. Based on the law of armed conflict, ISIS terrorists are legitimate targets for such a time as they take part in hostilities at both the operational and tactical levels for international engagement for Canadian soldiers.
Stuart Hendin, a lawyer and instructor at the Royal Military College, and the Canadian Forces College, was explicit that the government can target ISIS, Canadian or not, who are engaged in conflict. Unfortunately, unlike many of our allies, Canada, under the Liberals, has withdrawn from this active conflict. If the government will not stop this evil from returning to Canada, will it not vigorously pursue charges of treason? If we are going to provide funding to reform ISIS collaborators, something the Minister of Public Safety has admitted has a very low probability of actually occurring, let it be from behind bars. Let them begin to repay their debt to humanity as soon as they set foot back on our soil. We should treat ISIS terrorists as the criminals they are. Should they receive any support from the taxpayer, whether to de-radicalize or reintegrate, let that funding flow through Correctional Service Canada.
There can be no forgiveness without repentance. The Bible says in Luke 17:3, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” All who have supported and fought for ISIS are rebuked by the citizens of Canada, if not by the government. For Canadians linked to ISIS, let them serve a sentence in Canada and do their penance, under far more generous conditions I might add than under the oppressive regimes they support. Only then should there be forgiveness and acceptance into our society.
The minister and his parliamentary secretary have said all that can be done is being done. However Canadians are confused about the government's position and actions regarding these terrorists. On November 23, the media asked the Minister of Public Safety directly if passports were being taken away, if names were being added to the no-fly list, and if these people were neutralized in terms of a threat. The minister says that steps are beginning to be taken and that all Canadians can be assured they are safeguarding the security of the country. While I and my colleagues appreciate that disclosing specifics on security operations would be counterproductive, the minister's comments that steps are beginning to be taken are not a strong reassurance to Canadians that the Liberal government is on top of this issue.
What I will commit to with the Minister of Public Safety and the government is we will work together to get this issue of national security and public safety right for the best interests of all Canadians.