When I talk about this specific part of the bill, I can't help but think of the story yesterday that broke on the CBC about the young woman whose family is now left with the reality that she has left this country, having gone overseas to join ISIL. I cannot help but think of this particular story. Had this person been stopped at the airport, had she been issued a no-board order, it may have been a very different story that we were reading about in yesterday's news.
The third part of this important legislation that is absolutely critical to our national security is with respect to Criminal Code changes. There are a number of measures. For the first time in Canada we are making the promotion of terrorism—calling for attacks against Canada and against our citizens, calling out for random attacks to occur—a crime.
We've heard from the opposition that somehow this might be an infringement on rights. We disagree, Mr. Chair. I disagree. Calling for attacks to kill fellow Canadians is not a basic human right. It is not a freedom. It is not something that should be protected. It is a criminal act and it is an act of war. That is why this particular piece of legislation is very critical.
We've heard that there are sections of the Criminal Code that already deal with these types of incidents. That is not correct. The Criminal Code is very specific, in that you have to prove that a specific attack will take place, for example, the time, place, and the person you're asking to carry out the attack. None of that is necessarily available when you have people posting videos calling for general attacks against Canadians that can happen any time, any place. That is why this provision is so important.
We're also making amendments in the Criminal Code to lower the threshold. We've heard time and time again from the opposition that there are current sections of the Criminal Code that simply have not been used. The problem is that the threshold is too high. It's almost to the point where someone has to be at the point of committing the terrorist offence before you can actually take action, which is why lowering the threshold is so critical, to give the tools to our national security agencies in order to keep the general public safe here in Canada. This is a common sense measure. In this committee we've heard from witnesses to that effect on other bills, as well.
Part 4 of this legislation has to do with our Canadian Security Intelligence Service and threat disruption. Again, the current mandate of CSIS, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, is to gather information. That is their only mandate. That is the description they work within. They cannot, for example, during the course of their investigation while they're gathering information disrupt a potential threat. They cannot help to prevent someone from travelling overseas. They simply don't have that capacity.
This agency is very close to the information at hand. Just yesterday, and again, I'll refer back to the story, the family was very distressed that a sister or a daughter had left this country to join ISIL. Even in the story—of course it's in print—there was concern that CSIS did not try to prevent it from happening.
The problem we have here is that CSIS' mandate cannot prevent it from happening. They are only there to gather information. Had CSIS been able to speak more openly with the family, speak in very much detail, ask the family to intervene, ask the family to speak to the individual, had CSIS been able to do that, maybe it would have been a different story yesterday.
This is a very simple example of what this legislation will do. It will give the person who is right there at that moment the ability to disrupt a potential threat to Canada, to disrupt someone's activities or planned activities to travel overseas—absolutely critical to national security, absolutely critical to stopping people from travelling overseas and bringing jihadist terrorist training back to this country, absolutely critical.
The last part of this bill, Mr. Chair, and why it's so important to get this through—and we haven't heard much on this; there hasn't been a lot of discussion, but it's also a very important piece—has to do with changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, division 9, security certificates. We've been trying to negotiate with the opposition, trying to come to some agreement to get this bill before the House.
A lot has not been talked about on this particular part of the bill, but you know, we have witnesses coming in to talk about it. They're slated. We want them to come in. We want to hear expert testimony on how important these changes are. I'm hoping that we have some progress in today's committee.
Mr. Chair, as I said, we only need to look to recent events around the world. We hear stories every day about ISIL. It is so important that we bring this legislation to committee, that we have a full debate, and that we hear from many witnesses, so we can move on with this bill. That is our plan. That's what we want to do. Canadians would expect that when it comes to national security and the protection of citizens, all political parties would want this bill to come to committee, to hear testimony, review any possible amendments, and get this legislation back to the House and then to the Senate to have it passed.
Mr. Chair, we have fewer than 25 meetings left in the public safety committee before the House rises. What our government will not allow is for this committee to keep this bill until the end of the session, when the House rises, so that it does not pass and dies on the order paper. Our government will not do that. Canadians expect the government to bring this legislation forward, to pass this legislation and improve national security, and that's what we are going to do. I hope we have some agreement from the opposite side.
I did have an opportunity to speak with the opposition critic and I mentioned a bit of the negotiation yesterday. I'm not sure at this point whether we are going to have that sort of agreement, but you've clarified what the amendment was, and I guess at this point I've stated the purpose of this bill. I've related it back to actual events that are occurring around the world and right here in Canada. I think Canadians expect this government to keep national security, to keep our citizens safe. This bill is going to give our security agencies the tools they need to better protect Canadians, to better protect our security, and it's absolutely critical that we get on with this bill in committee.
As such, Mr. Chair, I would like to move a subamendment to the NDP amendment that you just clarified. The subamendment to the NDP amendment would be:
That the amendment be amended by replacing the words “a further twenty-five (25) meetings” with the words “a further eight (8) meetings” and the words “two (2) witnesses per panel” with the words “three (3) witnesses per panel”.
The remainder of the original motion stands. It just changes that portion of the amendment that the NDP had brought forward.