Mr. Speaker, I am proud of our government's unwavering commitment to protect Canadians from terrorism and I am proud of our government's decision to stand with our allies in an international mission to counter the threat ISIL poses to the Middle East and, by extension, to the world. I am also proud of the fact that when our government says it is committed to giving our intelligence services the tools they need to keep Canadians safe, we follow through with decisive action.
In that spirit, I am pleased to rise today in support of the protection of Canada from terrorism act. Before I begin the substantive portion of my remarks, I would like to take the time to mention a couple of the recent events that brought the terrorist threat home for many Canadians.
On October 20, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was killed by a jihadist just outside of Montreal. The individual responsible for this terrorist attack was known to authorities, but because of the lack of appropriate legislative tools, he was able to execute his sadistic plot. On October 22, just steps from where we stand today, Corporal Nathan Cirillo was killed by a jihadist bent on terror. These horrific terrorist attacks—and, indeed, they were terrorist attacks—underscore the need for new tools for our security agencies.
Some may say that there are already tools on the books right now and that we need not overreact. To that I would make two comments.
First, two brave Canadian heroes are dead and families are ripped apart. It is clear to me that the status quo is unacceptable.
Second, we will not overreact. We will not give up our fundamental Canadian values of respect for individual rights, but we must stop under-reacting to the threats that we are facing. The bill before us today is an important first step in doing just that.
This bill contains two separate sets of amendments. First, it proposes certain technical amendments to the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act to allow revocation of citizenship provisions to come into force earlier than anticipated. These provisions, which are already part of an act that received royal assent, include expanding the grounds for revocation. This includes authorizing the revocation of citizenship of dual citizens who have served as members of an armed force or an organized armed group engaged in armed conflict with Canada, as well as those who have been convicted of terrorism, treason, or spying. It includes as well a streamlined decision-making process that would authorize the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to make decisions on revoking Canadian citizenship, depending on the grounds.
The second part of the legislation, which is what I will focus most of the rest of my remarks on today, are the amendments being proposed to the CSIS Act.
For the last 30 years, CSIS has played a vital role in ensuring a safe and secure Canada. The threats we face as a country today have changed significantly since then, but the CSIS Act, the legislation that governs CSIS, has not. With the bill before us, we are taking a critical step forward in ensuring that CSIS is well positioned to confront terrorist threats as they exist today.
It is useful to provide a bit of context about the work of CSIS and the associated sections of the CSIS Act that govern that work.
Section 12 of the CSIS Act mandates CSIS to collect and analyze intelligence on threats to the security of Canada and, in relation to those threats, to report to and advise the Government of Canada.
Section 16 of the CSIS Act authorizes CSIS to collect within Canada foreign intelligence relating to the capabilities, intentions, or activities of a foreign state or group of foreign states. This is subject to the restriction that its activities cannot be directed at Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or corporations.
Sections 13, 14, and 15 authorize CSIS to provide security assessments to the Government of Canada, provincial governments, and other Canadian and foreign institutions; to provide advice to ministers of the crown on matters related to the Citizenship Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; and to conduct investigations to perform these functions.
Clearly these are all very challenging mandates, and fulfilling them requires that CSIS use a suite of investigative techniques. These techniques can include, for example, open source research, physical surveillance, interviews, and analyzing intelligence from a variety of sources. What is particularly important to note here is the importance that human sources play in allowing CSIS to fulfill its mandate to investigate and advise on threats to Canada's security.
Other techniques used by CSIS are more intrusive in nature. These techniques may include, among other things, searches of a target's place of residence, analysis of financial records, or telecommunication intercepts.
CSIS is required to obtain warrants under the CSIS Act to pursue intrusive investigative techniques. In order to obtain a warrant, CSIS must satisfy a designated Federal Court judge that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a warrant is required to enable CSIS to investigate a threat to the security of Canada or to perform its duties and functions under section 16 of the CSIS Act.
In addition, co-operation with domestic agencies is also critical. Section 17 of the CSIS Act now authorizes CSIS, with the approval of the minister, to co-operate with any department of the Government of Canada or the government of a province or any police force in that province. Therefore, CSIS works closely with the RCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency, and other government departments and police forces across our nation.
When it comes to investigating threat-related activities occurring outside of Canada, CSIS's relationship with Communications Security Establishment Canada, or CSE, is particularly important. CSIS relies heavily on the capabilities and expertise of the CSE in order to conduct telecommunication intercepts outside of Canada. CSE's legal authority to provide assistance to CSIS stems from paragraph 273.64(1)(c) of the National Defence Act.
The CSIS Act authorizes CSIS to enter into an arrangement or otherwise co-operate with a government of a foreign state or an institution of that state with the approval of the Minister of Public Safety after consulting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Co-operation with foreign entities is critical to CSIS's ability to fulfill its mandate. Individuals being investigated often leave Canada to engage in a wide range of threat-related activities. No country can assess the full range of threats on its own, and CSIS must be able to work with foreign partners, subject to oversight by the Minister of Public Safety and a review by the Security Intelligence Review Committee.
Now that I have outlined some of the important work that CSIS does and how the CSIS Act allows for that work, I will speak to how this legislation would allow CSIS to move effectively and operate in the evolving threat environment.
Specifically, the bill would confirm CSIS's authority to conduct investigations outside of Canada related to threats to the security of Canada and to conduct security assessments. It would confirm that the Federal Court can issue warrants for CSIS to investigate, within or outside of Canada, threats to the security of our nation.
The bill would give the Federal Court authority to consider only relevant Canadian law when issuing warrants to authorize CSIS to undertake certain intrusive activities outside of Canada.
The bill would protect the identity of CSIS human sources from disclosure and protect the identity of any CSIS employees who may engage in covert activities in the future.
These are all measured changes that would amend the legislation governing CSIS's activities so that it would have the clear ability and authority to investigate threats to the security of Canada wherever those threats might occur.
I urge all members to support this legislation. It would give our security agencies much-needed tools to protect all Canadians and our nation.