Both pieces of legislation are intended to make sure that this nation's laws are consistent with the obligations in the convention to prohibit certain acts related to nuclear terrorism, and to impose penalties that are consistent with the magnitude of those crimes.
Given the number of people who might be killed in the event of an act of nuclear terrorism, my view is that acts like nuclear smuggling should be considered as being like conspiracy to commit murder or something of that level of gravity.
In Bill S-9, for example, the penalties are up to life in prison for many of the acts enumerated.
In the United States, part of what has delayed our passage of the relevant legislation is an attempt both in the Bush administration and in the Obama administration to include death penalty provisions for some of these acts. Some of the people in Congress were resisting that.
A bipartisan compromise in the United States was negotiated in the house—practically the only bipartisan compromise I can think of that's been negotiated in the house in recent years—but a small number of senators managed to hold it up, wanting to go back to the original death penalty provision. That's part of politics in the United States.
I would say the biggest difference is that difference between life imprisonment and death as the potential penalty.
But the particular acts included in Bill S-9 and included in the U.S. legislation are the acts specified in the conventions, so they would allow each country to ratify the conventions.
My own view is that if you take a broad reading of U.S. law, the relevant acts are already prohibited and the United States should have ratified these conventions long ago without bothering to pass any implementing legislation. But the Department of Justice took the view that we needed to dot every i and cross every t by passing this legislation.