Mr. Speaker, ever since September 11, the international community has been worried about international terrorism.
The United Nations General Assembly and Security Council have been trying to establish international co-operation to eliminate terrorism. They have paid particular attention to nuclear terrorism.
The UN General Assembly and Security Council passed resolutions that resulted in treaties on nuclear terrorism, calling upon member states to pass laws and adopt policies to keep up with the constant evolution of the terrorist threat.
Canada has been involved in this international co-operation for a long time. Canada ratified the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which encourages countries to create measures to prevent, detect and punish crimes involving nuclear materials.
In 2005, that convention was amended to improve physical protection for nuclear materials and nuclear facilities. These changes will increase the scope of the convention and cover nuclear materials used for peaceful purposes while in domestic use, storage and transport, as well as domestic nuclear facilities.
Also in 2005, Canada signed the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, but that convention has not yet been ratified. A treaty can be ratified only when national legislative amendments have been made.
The ICSANT calls upon countries to create new criminal offences for acts of nuclear terrorism. That is the purpose of Bill S-9. The bill will amend Canada's laws to bring them into line with the two conventions I have just mentioned.
Once this bill has been passed, Canada will be able to ratify both international conventions and thus we will fulfill our obligations.
We are in favour of multilateral approaches that encourage co-operation between countries. Such co-operation is important in so-called transnational areas of concern, such as terrorism.
International co-operation is the only way we can protect ourselves from such threats. When a problem goes beyond our borders, our national laws cannot eliminate transnational activities or protect us from them.
That is why it is important to establish good co-operation that leads to international conventions that make it possible to extend the limited coverage provided by our own legislation. We support co-operation among the countries that have ratified these conventions.
That is why we will support this bill. Its content meets the requirements of the convention very well.
This bill was introduced in the Senate in March. It has 10 clauses that create four new crimes to be added to the Criminal Code. The bill would make it illegal to possess, use or dispose of nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device or commit an act against a nuclear facility or its operations with the intent to cause death, serious bodily harm or substantial damage to property or the environment.
It would also make it illegal to use or alter nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device or commit an act against a nuclear facility or its operation with the intent to compel a person, government or international organization to do or refrain from doing anything.
I would like to emphasize the word "compel". It is important because the prime objective of terrorism is to force a government or organization to do something, and that can include not doing certain things as well.
How many attacks or kidnappings have been committed by terrorist organizations in order to discourage countries from taking part in the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq? Terrorist groups use threats and retribution to force governments to give in to their political demands.
The bill also makes it illegal to commit an indictable offence under federal law for the purpose of obtaining nuclear or radioactive material, a nuclear or radioactive device, or access to or control of a nuclear facility.
Protecting against someone obtaining a nuclear device may be problematic. Quite often, people who try to make a nuclear device will try to find the parts individually and, often, the parts may seem harmless because they could be used for many things. One of the biggest difficulties for the RCMP and the security service is identifying how the parts will be used.
The bill also makes it illegal to threaten to commit any of the other three offences.
This bill makes other important amendments to the Criminal Code, for instance, to add definitions for the terms used for these new offences.
The bill also adds a new section to the Criminal Code to ensure that individuals who commit or attempt to commit any of these offences overseas can be prosecuted in Canada. This provision contains specific criteria, however. The offence must be committed on a ship that is registered or licensed or on an aircraft registered in Canada, by a Canadian citizen or someone who is present in Canada after the commission of the act.
This bill will amend Criminal Code provisions on electronic surveillance and the taking of bodily substances. The Anti-Terrorism Act amended the code provisions on electronic surveillance.
Therefore, the four new offences were added to section 183 of the Criminal Code to justify the use of electronic surveillance for these offences. This provision was included to allow peace officers to apply for a warrant for the seizure of bodily substances when they are investigating individuals for these offences. It will also be mandatory to collect bodily substances from those convicted of these offences.
These two tools are important for our front-line public safety officers. However, these provisions will have to be used in accordance with Canadian legislation and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. When new powers are granted, limits must be set to prevent any abuse on the part of our public safety officers who, I would like to stress, have my full confidence.
Finally, the bill amends the Canadian rule regarding double jeopardy. That rule does not apply if a trial abroad does not meet certain basic Canadian legal standards. In such cases, a Canadian court may retry the person for the same crime for which he was convicted abroad.
This Senate bill enables the government to meet its international obligations by creating new Criminal Code offences, but that is just one side of the coin. The other side, which is just as important, has to do with prevention and security.
Mr. Jamieson, from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, made a presentation before the Special Senate Committee on the Anti-terrorism Act on June 4. He gave a brief outline of the prevention provisions adopted by the commission. He explained that the requirements relating to physical protection are gradual and reflect the level of risk and its consequences. He presented a partial list of security measures in nuclear facilities. The requirements range from controlling access to sites to providing an on-site response force. Employees and supervisors must meet security protocol awareness and training requirements, and they must undergo background checks.
Licensees must develop and maintain contingency plans as well as practise regular emergency drills. The transport of nuclear materials requires a licence. In order to obtain it, the licensee must submit a detailed security plan including a threat assessment, the proposed security measures, the route and other arrangements along the route. Security plans are required for all shipments, including those in transit through Canada.
Canada is a model for the world when it comes to nuclear safety, but the government must continue to invest the necessary funds in order to maximize the safety of Canadians, while minimizing the likelihood of a crime or a terrorist attack being committed in Canada or elsewhere in the world.
The International Atomic Energy Agency documented nearly 2,000 incidents related to the unauthorized use, transport or possession of nuclear and radioactive materials between 1993 and 2011. Government agencies with anti-terrorism responsibilities must work in an integrated manner in order for these organizations to be able to properly protect Canadians.
It is not just a matter of creating indictable terrorist offences. It is also a question of investing the necessary funds to allow these organizations and their front-line officers to carry out their mission and the mandate assigned to them, which is to protect the safety of Canadians.