Madam Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure to rise to address Bill C-59, an act respecting national security matters.
This is an omnibus bill that is making some significant changes to the way national security is going to be dealt with in this country. It is a huge bill. It is over 140 pages long. It has a great deal of information, some that is quite concerning to us as the official opposition.
I have taken the time to read through the bill, and I am quite concerned about some of the things in here. As I just mentioned to the Minister of National Defence, one of the concerns is around CSE, which has traditionally been an organization that is under the National Defence Act. It has worked alongside our Canadian Armed Forces to ensure that our guys who are deployed are safe. That, in itself, is something that has to be paramount in what CSE continues to do.
The Communications Security Establishment is a great organization and one we support wholeheartedly. It has always respected the laws of Canada. It has worked very closely with our Five Eyes partners—the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand—in collecting intelligence and sharing that where possible. At the same time, it respects Canadians' privacy rights and charter rights to ensure that they are not being unjustly spied on, unless, of course, they are acting in a manner that concerns national security and may be committing some sort of criminal act.
This bill, overall, would weaken our national security in this country. It would change the way CSIS and CSE operate, as well as the RCMP and other police agencies. It proves again that the Liberals are not serious when it comes to public safety. They prefer to water things down rather than do what is right.
It is interesting to watch. We have members on the other side who, when the Liberals were the third party, voted in favour of Bill C-51. Today they are watering down that very act. I have real concerns about how our allies, particularly our Five Eyes partners, are going to feel about the trustworthiness and interoperability of CSIS, the RCMP, and CSE and their security intelligence-gathering mechanisms.
To highlight this and show that the Liberals are not serious about protecting Canadians and how we deal with terrorism, just this past week, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness said, when talking about Canadians who joined ISIS and became ISIS terrorists and ISIS fighters, that he wants to reintegrate them back into Canada, not charge them under the Criminal Code as terrorists and not charge them under the Criminal Code for committing treason because they are fighting against Canada and our allies in Iraq and Syria. He wants to reintegrate them. That is disgusting.
I have heard over and over again this past week in the riding that Canadians are concerned that the Liberals are putting their lives at risk, because they are going to allow these ISIS fighters to return to Canada. These terrorists who have been radicalized will come back here, and rather than being incarcerated, will have the opportunity to return to their communities and radicalize their families, their friends, and the people they interact with. That is completely unacceptable. That just proves the fact that the Minister of Public Safety and the Liberal government are not taking security seriously.
We can compare that to what the U.S. government is doing, what the government of France is doing, and what the government of the United Kingdom is doing. They have put out kill orders for all their fighters fighting in Syria and Iraq right now. They have been told to shoot to kill anyone who came from Great Britain, the United States, or France who was radicalized and joined ISIS and is in Syria and Iraq fighting their forces. This is to ensure that their public safety is respected.
That is not happening here in Canada. We are going to reintegrate them. We should at least incarcerate them, but no, we are going to reintegrate them.
In the time I have left, I will speak about the Communications Security Establishment. This is an organization that has done yeoman's service over many decades ensuring that our troops stay safe and ensuring that Canada stays safe. Whenever the commissioner for the Communications Security Establishment has looked at ministerial authorizations that have been given, the rights of Canadians have been respected, whether it has been in collecting metadata, in intelligence-sharing, or when there has been a need to issue warrants for the monitoring of Canadians who are directly or indirectly involved in fundraising for, or the activity of, terrorism or other attacks on Canadians on our soil or that of our allies. They have been able to do that and respect our charter rights, respect the Privacy Act, and ensure that Canadians' rights have been respected on a legal level. I think that is clear.
In the new section on the proposed Communications Security Establishment act in Bill C-59, I applaud the government for bringing forward some clear definitions on cyber-defence and cyber-offence. Times have changed. We need to have the ability not only to defend against cyber-attacks but to take out those cyber-attacks and be pre-emptive, if necessary. If they collect the proper intelligence, we would have the ability to go out and destroy that potential threat. It could be an attack on our infrastructure, an attack on the Government of Canada, an attack on our troops serving overseas, or an attack that would wipe out our financial sector. That capability has to be there, because our cyber-infrastructure, such as power, financial institutions, and government institutions, is critical to the everyday lives of Canadians. We have to be able to pre-emptively remove a threat.
The amazing part of everything we are doing is that under this new cyberwarfare process, under “Cyber Operations Authorizations”, in the proposed Communications Security Establishment act, subclause 30(2) would give a veto to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Always the CSE and CSIS have operated in close collaboration with the Minister of Public Safety, the Minister of National Defence, and to some degree, the Minister of Justice. Now the Minister of Foreign Affairs would have a veto over whether we spy on individuals or organizations. The minister would have a veto over whether we launch a cyber-attack or defend ourselves from a cyber-attack by individuals and organizations, whether they were criminal organizations, terrorist organizations, drug cartels, or just hackers. This is something we just do not understand.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs does not have the same intelligence mechanisms within the department that the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of National Defence have access to. Why we would give an authorization to the Minister of Foreign Affairs is beyond me. All we have to do is look at the former minister of foreign affairs, Stéphane Dion, who was acting in a role of appeasing Russia, which is definitely the greatest threat to Canada and the Five Eyes allies. If members look at our partners in the Five Eyes, we are always making sure that we have robust cybersecurity and cyber-intelligence-gathering on the Russian Federation, especially those kleptocrats in the Kremlin and those who want to do harm to our alliance through NATO.
We know that Russia is spying on us. We know that China is spying on us, yet when Stéphane Dion was still the minister of foreign affairs, he had the idea that we would appease the Russians, and he would not authorize those types of spying activities. That cannot be allowed to happen.
The current government is trying to do a trade deal with China. Would the government authorize spying and cyber-defence activities against the Government of China? Is the government so caught up in the idea that it wants to do trade with China, despite China's terrible environmental record and the atrocities it is committing against its own citizens, such as the Falun Gong? I am sure the government would appease China.
We need to make sure we get this right. That is why the bill has to get to committee right away. We have to make these changes so the bill is actually in the best interest of Canada and is not about playing political games, through the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to try to appease some of the greatest threats to our national security. It is to put our safety first, rather than the government's political aspirations.