Mr. Speaker, many of us in this House can start calling each other names, such as spineless and gutless. There are over 10 police officers in the Conservative caucus, and I would say hundreds of years of police experience. We are anything but gutless and spineless and all those other words.
It says something in this House, with a person's God-given ability to put together a speech, that they person cannot put something together that does not have to result in calling other people names and casting disparaging remarks against them and everything they stand for. What people in this country need to realize is that the member talked ad infinitum, and never talked about one thing of total consequence, except being able to read that secret Conservative conspiracy out there because of the price of oil.
Nobody believes what that member has to say because he uses too much emphasis on calling people names. He has a good use of the English language. It is too bad he could not put it to some more positive use.
I am pleased today to speak to the antiterrorism act, Bill C-51. This important bill provides additional tools and greater flexibility where required to meet threats to our national security which, as we know, have never been more direct.
I am also pleased to highlight that our government will invest almost $300 million to significantly enhance the investigative capacity to counter terrorism.
During my time today, I would like to speak about the proposal to create a new threat disruption mandate for CSIS. These important changes, found in part 4 of the bill, are another key element of our strategy to help prevent terrorist attacks and keep Canadians safe.
In particular, I would like to elaborate on how this mandate for CSIS fits into broader efforts by the government, and how it complements and enhances existing tools in place to combat terrorism. I will also address the governance and authorization framework within which CSIS will exercise this new mandate.
It goes without saying that the international jihadi movement has declared war on this country. Canadians have been highlighted in jihadist propaganda as a target simply because of our freedoms, our values and our prosperity.
In fact, several months ago Canadians were victims of horrific jihadi attacks. These victims were targeted solely because they were wearing the uniform of the Canadian Armed Forces. We will never acquiesce to the Liberal desires that we sit on the sidelines in fright. We are all participating in the military mission to degrade and destroy ISIS abroad and we must also take strong action here at home. That is why the bill before us today is all about anti-terrorism.
CSIS has a strong record of responsibly exercising its authority and has matured as an organization over its 30-year history. The Security Intelligence Review Committee, CIRC, consistently found that CSIS has carried out its duties in accordance with the CSIS Act and ministerial directives. That is an exemplary record I must say.
I have full confidence that CSIS will continue to comply with its statutory mandate as it relates to the proposed threat diminishment mandate. Given its well-established, investigative and analytical capacity and singular focus on national security, CSIS is well-positioned to act directly to disrupt threats to the security of Canada, which are clearly defined in the CSIS Act.
I must emphasize that this definition has anchored CSIS' national security mandate for over 30 years, and will continue to do so. Nothing in the current bill before us will change that. Taking reasonable and proportionate measures to disrupt threats to the security of Canada is a natural extension of CSIS' existing investigation. By giving CSIS the authority to disrupt threats, we will leverage existing expertise within the national security community to create a significant new capacity to meet today's complex threat environment.
We will also harness the unique insight and expertise CSIS has developed through its investigation and analysis of a full range of national security threats.
CSIS would now be able to take the logical next step of disrupting “threats to the security of Canada” as clearly defined in the CSIS Act. It is important to note that, in this regard, the definition has been in place for more than 30 years and would not change with Bill C-51.
This does not, however, mean that CSIS would go at it alone or act in a vacuum. CSIS has well-established relationships with its federal and provincial partners, and would continue to work closely with these partners in support of its mandated activities. Just as CSIS co-operates with partners as it investigates threats to the security of Canada, it would likewise co-operate with partners as it takes reasonable and proportionate measures to disrupt such threats.
As an example, CSIS and the RCMP have a strong working relationship guided by an overarching framework and protocols for working effectively together in accordance with their respective mandates. Ultimately, this framework for co-operation recognizes the primacy of public safety and would serve as a foundation for co-operation and de-confliction between CSIS and the RCMP as the service exercises this new authority. CSIS' relationships with all relevant partners would be similarly reinforced to reflect requirements associated with this new mandate.
Moving to the authorization framework for this mandate, the bill is clear in describing what conditions must be met. Any measures that CSIS takes must be reasonable, proportionate and necessary to address the threat at hand. Additionally, the bill contains a number of express prohibitions, including a prohibition against any measure that would cause death or serious bodily harm. Moreover, in no circumstances may such measures be used to wilfully attempt to obstruct the course of justice. These prohibitions are consistent with and modelled after those found in the Criminal Code, establishing a firm foundation in Canadian law.
The bill also clearly identifies when CSIS would have to seek a warrant and what conditions would have to be satisfied for the Federal Court to authorize certain measures. As with the current warrant regime, CSIS would require ministerial approval before seeking such a warrant. Much like the existing warrant regime, the requirement to seek judicial authorization would allow a Federal Court judge to determine whether a proposed measure contravenes the charter and, if so, to determine whether the measure represents a reasonable limit on the right or freedom and is, therefore, in accordance with the charter as a whole.
In addition to ministerial accountability and the warrant regime, the exercise of this new mandate would be subject to review by the Security Intelligence Review Committee, or SIRC, which is required by law to review at least one aspect each year. As an added measure of assurance, our government would double the budget of the Security Intelligence Review Committee by providing $12.5 million. This would increase SIRC's capacity to review CSIS activities.
The new mandate for CSIS would not be introduced into a vacuum. Building on existing expertise and leveraging existing capacity makes sense, and it would enhance the government's ability to protect Canadians. I therefore urge all members of the House to support the bill.