Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be here today to speak to very timely and important legislation. The protection of Canada from terrorists act is a critical bill that would enable us to do what is fundamental for any government to do, and that is to protect its nation and citizens. That is why we are taking part in the coalition that is currently conducting air strikes against ISIL and supporting the security forces in Iraq in their fight against the terrorist scourge of ISIL.
However, not all terrorism occurs abroad. Indeed, the global terror threat hits close to home, especially for members of Parliament and those in Ottawa, as well as our Canadian Forces members in Quebec. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Patrice Vincent and Nathan Cirillo. The families and friends of these Canadian heroes know painfully well that we face the very real threat of terror here at home.
As the Minister of Public Safety has stated, we will not overreact in response to recent terrorist attacks, but it is also important that we not under react to threats against us. We know we are not overreacting when just this past week a leader of ISIL called for “volcanoes of jihad” against Canada and our allies. We are taking these threats seriously and have joined our allies in actions that are degrading ISIL's capabilities.
As the Prime Minister stated last Friday, our military fight is with ISIL. Because of the real and present danger of ISIL, we have brought forward balanced and clear measures that would strengthen the tools available to the law enforcement community in areas of surveillance, detention and arrest.
The protection of Canada from terrorists act is the first reasonable step in our efforts to do that. We are working diligently to strengthen tools available to the law enforcement community.
Why is this necessary? Recent court decisions called into question the role of our law enforcement agencies and invited the government to respond. As reasonable and transparent legislators, we brought forward legislation that would clarify the roles and activities of our law enforcement agencies that track and monitor terrorists abroad. While opposition members will argue that it is not necessary, or complain that we are overreacting or overreaching, we know there is nothing more risky than losing track of terrorist threats. Once they are in the wind, or even back in Canada, we are at a greater risk.
Canadians can know this about our government. When law enforcement agencies require additional tools to keep Canadians safe from terror threats, we on this side of the House will respond. We will give them the tools they need. We will not apologize for it and we will not support doing nothing. We will not defend inaction with fancy language about privacy and claims that we should protect the privacy concerns of terrorists over the safety of our Canadian citizens.
Safety and privacy are not competing interests. Canadians know this. Without security, we would not have the privilege of privacy. Our government has confidence in our national security agencies. The men and women of our national security agencies are working overtime, and around the clock, to keep Canadians safe.
It is not only our security agencies that our protecting us here and abroad. On November 11, we commemorated the sacrifices of the many Canadian heroes who have fought to keep us safe for the freedoms we hold dear.
We live in a dangerous world. We are not immune to the threats that our allies face. For this reason, we continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies against the very real threat that ISIL poses. I am proud of the Canadian Forces for their concerted efforts to degrade ISIL and maintain the security of Canadians. I am thankful they are working diligently to eliminate these threats so Canadians at home and abroad are safe.
Our government remains focused on ensuring the safety and security of Canadians. The crucial role that our security and intelligence service plays in keeping Canadians safe cannot be overstated. We will continue to equip the brave men and women, who put their lives on the line to protect Canadians, with the tools they need to address terrorism in an increasingly dangerous global environment.
Another key piece of the protection of Canada from terrorists act is early implementation of the revocation of citizenship provision from those who are convicted of terrorism, spying or treason, found in the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act. We passed this legislation, which will strip the Canadian Citizenship from dual nationals who engage in acts of terrorism of fight against the Canadian Armed Forces, in order to protect Canadians. The Liberals and the NDP voted against the bill, and that is a shame.
We then passed the Combating Terrorism Act and introduced Canada's first counterterrorism strategy, a four-pronged approach to prevent, detect, deny resources and respond to terrorist activity and threats. This legislation has already led to criminal convictions. Again, the NDP opposed these common sense measures.
The new provisions in Bill C-44 would enable the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens who are convicted of terrorism, high treason and treason or spying offences. This action would reinforce the high values of citizenship to ensure that dual citizens who had been convicted of terrorist acts would not continue to benefit from Canadian citizenship.
These measures demonstrate our Conservative government's continued commitment to do what is necessary, within the law, to prevent terrorists and violent extremists from carrying out vicious attacks against Canadians.
Bill C-44 is important because it is legislation that would provide the necessary tools for law enforcement to do the job it does now. a job it needs to do.
I cannot imagine being asked to come to Ottawa as a member of Parliament and not being afforded the tools to do that job effectively. My constituents would not be well-served if I were not given the tools to do the job.
In the same way, we know Canadians will be safer and more secure if law enforcement is able to do an effective job, and not just any job, the job of tracking terrorist threats, ensuring that witnesses are safe and ensuring that threats to Canada are not allowed free rein to strike fear in our communities.
As we continue to debate the legislation, I hope all members of the House will carefully consider this important legislation and will join me in supporting our law enforcement agencies and pass the protection of Canada from terrorists act.