No, that's okay. I appreciate it.
As I say, I don't think any of our witnesses here are being disrespectful or anything else. These are their true feelings and their true views. I just made a few notes here on some of the thoughts that were mentioned.
Who are the “real terrorists”? I guess my question would be, to the average Canadian.... Well, we do know that there have been prosecutions of terrorists. One of the greatest terrorist acts suffered by this country was the Air India one. I have to say that the terrorists don't belong to any one group of people from any one religion. They're right across the board, and they exist around the world in every way, shape, or form.
Then we hear, of course, from more than one witness and more than one political party at the table, that CSIS is dysfunctional, that the RCMP have huge troubles, etc. I think we all have a responsibility, if we say those things, to ask whether these agencies are capable of making Canadians safe. I would say the evidence that they are capable, and that they have kept us safe, is the fact that we have not had the kind of terrible terrorist acts that they have had in Great Britain, the United States, and many countries throughout the world. It's because of these agencies that we are safe.
Have they made mistakes? Of course they have. They're made up of men and women who are human. They make mistakes. No one agency or group of people, whether they be learned judges...would ever say that they are not capable of making errors in judgment and mistakes.
I think Canadians need to know why we have the Anti-terrorism Act and these laws. We have them, as was mentioned, because the United Nations directed all of its members to look at their laws and regulations to ensure that they are made in such a way that they can prevent, or attempt to prevent, terrorist acts like 9/11, but not just restrict it to that one act. Canada took on that obligation and constructed the Anti-terrorism Act under a previous government that this party and I think all parties... I forget how the votes were, but at least the two major parties in Canada agreed with it.
But because we were unsure, and because there were some significant changes to our law, we put a sunset clause in. We revisited that. I was part of the subcommittee on anti-terrorism. I can tell you that we looked at it, we had a wholesome debate, and it was the majority view that we should maintain, with a sunset clause, these provisions.
We were talking about the Toronto 18. The comment that the police and other authorities have not used these existing provisions is evidence, I would suggest to you, of the fact that the police are very much aware, and CSIS and those other authorities are very much aware, that you only, only, only use these provisions when the Criminal Code may not apply...but that but there is sufficient evidence to have you believe that you need, in order to prevent an occurrence, the benefits of Bill C-17.
I go further to say that their authority is extremely restricted, because they may only hold a person for 24 hours, and that's if a judge is not available. If a judge is available, we constrain that judge by saying they may not detain more than 72 hours.
So my comment is that we need this legislation because it does indeed add a measure of safety to every man, woman, and child in this country.