House of Commons Hansard #234 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-59.

Topics

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

5:35 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, when the Conservative government brought in Bill C-51, it was designed to assist law enforcement and security agencies to prevent attacks on Canada's soil.

Does the hon. member feel that Bill C-59 would distract from that?

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

5:35 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. There are two parts in Bill C-59 that are rather problematic. I am talking about Part 4 and Part 7 that can effectively cause serious problems. It seems that the Liberal government is making it more difficult for law enforcement to prevent attacks on Canadian soil.

When there is knowledge of a possible attack, terrorist organizations are not going to do everything they can to get arrested. They are doing to do everything they can to stay under the radar, to make it difficult to be detected. At first blush, unfortunately it seems that Bill C-59 as currently worded will make things easier for terrorist organizations and make it more difficult for law enforcement to prevent this type of attack.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

5:35 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, thinking back to the 2015 general federal election, there were certainly few issues as contentious as Bill C-51, the so-called Anti-Terrorism Act. In my riding of Kootenay—Columbia, citizens came out en mass to protest in many communities, including Invermere, Revelstoke, Nelson, and in my home town of Cranbrook. I attended some of those rallies and found that the opposition cut across partisan and generational lines.

As I said at the time, the more people knew about Bill C-51, the more they disliked it. Letting Canadians know the details of the bill was not part of the former government's playbook. I remember my predecessor inviting the Attorney General to the riding. He was one of the co-authors of the bill, but rather than invite members of the public to ask questions or provide input, they held some private meetings and then left. Not even the local media were allowed to speak to the Attorney General at the time.

This is the kind of anti-democratic behaviour that helped Canadians decide to retire the Conservative government and elect a new one. Why did Canadians and the people in my riding of Kootenay—Columbia hate and fear the Anti-Terrorism Act so much? It was because it potentially criminalized activities like peaceful protests and picket lines, by giving police broad powers to breach Canadians' privacy. Many of my constituents believed it was clearly aimed not at terrorists, but at stopping democratic resistance to the Conservatives' priority projects such as pipelines. It helped to end 21 years of Conservative MPs in my riding in the corner of British Columbia.

The Liberal Party, which fully supported Bill C-51 when it was being debated and voted on, promised during the election to do better. The Liberals said they would repeal the worst parts of the bill. Here we are two years after the election and the government is just now getting around to addressing that terrible piece of legislation. Its response is insufficient.

The new legislation, Bill C-59, still allows the widespread sharing of Canadians' personal information on a national security list. It maintains a very broad definition of activities that the government claims will undermine the security of Canada, an issue that the Privacy Commissioner has flagged, and it does not ensure real-time oversight of the bulk collection of Canadians' private data.

What is worse is that the government is dealing with this legislation in an entirely undemocratic fashion, forcing the bill to committee, without second reading debate.

Despite their support for Bill C-51, the Liberals were elected on a promise to fix this terrible legislation. So far, they have fallen far short of doing so.

This goes on the lengthening list of broken promises. Let us look at the bill in detail.

In November 2016, the Federal Court issued a ruling on CSIS bulk data collection. CSIS illegally kept potentially revealing electronic data about people over a 10-year period. In a hard-hitting ruling, Justice Simon Noel said that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service breached its duty to inform the court of its data collection program, since the information was gathered using judicial warrants. CSIS should not have retained the information since it was not directly related to threats to the security of Canada.

Bill C-59 responds to the Federal Court ruling in the most concerning way for our privacy, enshrining bulk collection by CSIS of metadata containing private information of Canadians not relevant to investigations. That is right: rather than ordering CSIS to obey the law and stop storing Canadians' data illegally, the bill makes it legal for it to do so. The new bill does relatively little to roll back the extensive information-sharing powers Bill C-51 gave security agencies. The fact remains there is still too broad a definition as to what constitutes national security. The newly renamed security of Canada information disclosure act still permits departments to disclose far too much information in their pursuit of questionable security objectives.

Bill C-51 gave CSIS broad powers to reduce threats through conduct that threatens freedom of expression, public safety, and freedom of association, and it was ripe for abuse. The new legislation still provides CSIS with those powers, but limits them from including torture, detention, and serious destruction of property that would endanger a life.

It is good that the government would no longer have the right to torture its citizens, but the power CSIS maintains would be more appropriate to a totalitarian police state than to Canada. Bill C-59, like Bill C-51 before it, would make Canada a comfortable place for Big Brother.

The government will tell us that none of this is likely and that no powers would ever be abused, yet we already have examples where over-zealousness in the name of anti-terrorism has harmed Canadians. We have seen just this month taxpayers having to pay out settlements worth tens of millions of dollars to Canadians who were tortured overseas due to the complicit actions of the Canadian security services. We see hundreds of young children whose names are on the no-fly list, unable to accompany their families from one city to another because they have been banned, and the government has been unable to find a mechanism to review and correct the list. Apparently, the government is considering a new computer system to manage the no-fly list. Let us hope it works better than the Phoenix payroll system has.

Bill C-59 will not undo the damage that Bill C-51 created. It is a Band-Aid for a gaping wound. With my NDP colleagues, I will be opposing the motion to ram Bill C-59 through the democratic process, and I will join the chorus of Canadians calling for Bill C-51 to be repealed, not just tinkered with. Let me close with a quotation from Daniel Therrien, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, when he spoke before the access to information, privacy and ethics committee a year ago, November 22, 2016. He said:

Do we want a country where the security service has a lot of information about most citizens with a view to detecting national security threats? Is that the country we want to live in?

We have seen real cases in which CSIS had in its bank of information the information about many people who did not represent a threat. Is that the country we want?

The answer from Canadians clearly is no. That is most certainly not a country we want, and we cannot and will not support Bill C-59.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Kootenay—Columbia made some very specific points in reference to his riding. He spoke about the last election in 2015 and the demonstrations in his riding. I remember the demonstrations in my riding as well. In fact, there was one in particular that was right out in front of James Moore's previous riding in Port Moody. It was a very concerning issue and many people spoke out. Now we are here and at this point we are talking about an amended bill. I think the bill would allow continued widespread sharing of personal information of Canadians that is not strictly relevant to national security lists. I wonder if the member shares that view and feels that the people in his riding believe the bill would go far enough, or if it is what they were looking for in 2015.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, going back to 2015, it really was one of the most contentious issues that came forward during the election. People in my riding were concerned about too much unnecessary information being collected, and that the information and the act would be used to stop legal demonstrations. There was a great deal of concern about Bill C-51, which led to protests in a number of communities, not only in my riding but across Canada.

Constituents would like to see Bill C-51 completely withdrawn, not necessarily amended through Bill C-59 but repealed and, certainly, if not repealed entirely, then at least specific sections repealed that Canadians found to be most repugnant.

Standing Order 69.1--Omnibus BillsPoints of OrderGovernment Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 5:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I will ask the member to be patient for a moment while I provide a quick ruling on a point of order raised a bit earlier, and then there will be three minutes remaining in questions and comments. This will not take long.

I thank the hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly for raising a point of order with regard to the application of Standing Order 69.1, a motion under Standing Order 73. As hon. members know, Standing Order 69.1 is new, but its wording is clear. As is often the case, the powers of the Speaker are limited in the Standing Orders and that is case with Standing Order 69.1.

I will read the section that I believe pertains in this case. The Standing Order says, “the Speaker shall have the power to divide the questions, for the purposes of voting, on the motion for second reading and reference to a committee and the motion for third reading and passage of the bill”.

The motion currently before the House, the one requested in the point of order, is not in fact a motion for second reading. Nor is it a motion of course at third reading to adopt the motion. It is instead a motion to refer the bill to committee forthwith.

As the Speaker, I am bound to apply the Standing Order as it is written, and Standing Order 69.1 is not written in a manner that allows me, as the Speaker, to apply it in a motion which is to refer the bill to committee before second reading. Therefore, I cannot, in my view, invoke Standing Order 69.1 in this case.

However, should the motion in fact be adopted to send the bill to committee before second reading and should the bill be concurred in at report stage and second reading, I could certainly, as the Speaker, apply Standing Order 69.1 at second reading of the bill. At that time, one would anticipate that after it came back from committee, the bounds of the bill and its principles would be more clearly established.

As I mentioned a few days ago, in my previous ruling on a motion concerning Standing Order 69.1, at such time I would encourage members to bring forth their arguments about whether the bill should be divided for the purposes of voting as early as possible.

I thank hon. members for their attention.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

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5:50 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to my NDP colleague and his comments regarding Bill C-59. During question period today, we heard the government, under pressure, admit that over 60 former ISIS terrorists were in Canada and that they had returned from the conflict. Considering Bill C-59, is the member in favour of the approach of the government or what is that approach?

It has been acknowledged that there is a degree of risk that is presented by former ISIS terrorists now coming back into Canada. Sunny ways treatment, which is the Liberal way, will not solve the problem. What does his party think is the appropriate level of assessment and risk of abatement to deal with these high-risk individuals who return from ISIS?

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, the important point with respect to the debate is whether Bill C-59 will actually contribute anything to the ISIS question and the number of people coming back into Canada. I really do not think it will. Bill C-51 and now Bill C-59 potentially create concerns for everyday Canadians about the security of information around them and how it gets used.

The government needs to figure out what to do with returning ISIS individuals and deal with them appropriately to ensure our safety. However, I do not think that is relevant to this bill. Bill C-59 would do nothing to help that situation one way or the other.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

NDP

Cheryl Hardcastle NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for sharing some very practical points about why we are opposing Bill C-59 as it is proposed today.

One of the things I want to talk about is this issue, which was also discussed by our colleague, about civic engagement, people who are active in their communities giving messages to government, to people like us who are in office. This overly broad definition of activity that undermines the security of Canada was flagged by the Privacy Commissioner. It makes good sense to me that we repeal this entirely and start from scratch, taking the important points that have merit and fleshing out legislation on that.

Could the member talk a little more about our concerns with the Privacy Commissioner and in exercising civil liberties?

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, as I said in my speech, it was one of the very serious concerns for my constituents, and Canadians in general, related to Bill C-51, that they felt the bill would be used to stop legal protests against government projects like pipelines.

We need to make sure that any legislation moving forward enshrines the right of Canadians for public protest without fear of being considered a terrorist.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-59, an act respecting national security matters. This is a very large bill that seeks to make some major changes to our national security. It affects Bill C-51 that was brought in by our previous government. It replaces the Security Intelligence Review Committee and the commissioner of the Communications Security Establishment with a new national security and intelligence review agency. It creates the position of an intelligence commissioner to provide day-to-day oversight of national security activities. It limits the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's ability to reduce terrorist threats. It limits the ability of government departments to share data among themselves to protect national security. It removes the offence of advocating and promoting terrorist offences in general. It raises the threshold for obtaining a terrorism peace bond and recognizance with conditions.

Obviously, there is a lot in this bill, and I will not have time to speak to all of it. Therefore, I will focus on a few key areas that I have concerns with.

As most people know, extremist travellers are those who have left Canada or other countries to join terrorist groups abroad. As ISIS continues to lose ground in Syria and Iraq, supporters of this militant group and other terrorist organizations have returned to their home countries, Canada included, with almost 60 of them now returned.

According to a recent report that was released in October from the Soufan Center, a U.S.-based non-profit organization, 33 countries have reported the arrival of at least 5,600 extremist travellers. That is 5,600 of them now returning home. The report states that those returns represent, “a huge challenge for security and law enforcement entities.”

Now is not the time to relax the laws that protect our national security. Canadians are at risk. Canada is not immune to the threats of terrorism. We have seen an attack on Parliament Hill, the terrorist attack that killed Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, and the recent attack of a police officer and members of the public in the city of Edmonton, just next to my riding. We need strong legislation in place to protect our national security and our citizens. This is why our Conservative government introduced Bill C-51, which has been used to disrupt terrorist activities nearly two dozen times that we know of. This includes when law enforcement and intelligence officers intervened last year to stop ISIS supporter Aaron Driver, who had planned to commit a terror attack in Canada. These attacks, and attempted attacks, demonstrate that Canada needs strong security and intelligence legislation that enables public safety agencies to do their job.

Prior to our previous Conservative government's Bill C-51, the mandate of CSIS prevented it from engaging in any disruption activities. It could not approach the parents of a radicalized youth and encourage them to dissuade their child from travelling to a war zone or conducting attacks here in Canada. After Bill C-51, CSIS was able to engage in threat disruption. Warrants were not required for activities that were not contrary to Canadian law, such as approaching the parents of a radicalized youth. This was very reasonable, in my opinion. However, Bill C-59 will now limit the threat disruption activities of CSIS to very specific actions. It will require a warrant for simple and necessary activities, such as impersonating a local citizen to give a suspect the wrong directions in order to disrupt a threat. This bill unnecessarily limits and restricts the ability of CSIS to disrupt threats to national security. Bill C-59 also makes it more difficult to obtain a peace bond for terrorism cases. We should be going forward. We should be strengthening the laws in Canada, not reducing them in favour of terrorism.

Under Bill C-51, a peace bond can be issued if there are reasonable grounds to fear that a person may commit a terrorism offence and a peace bond is likely to prevent terrorism activities. That is the same as a peace bond under the Criminal Code of Canada, which I applied for on a number of occasions over the years as a police officer. When I knew someone might pose a threat to an individual, I went to a judge and had a peace warrant issued to protect the possible victim.

Bill C-59 would increase the threshold from “is likely” to “is necessary” to prevent a terrorist activity. If we have evidence that someone is planning an attack and we cannot act on good sound information, it is going to be a sad day for this country. This means that the amount of evidence that would go into proving the peace bond is necessary is nearly the same as the evidence one would need to lay a criminal charge. If we look at those set of circumstances, why would one go for a peace bond? One might as well lay the criminal charge. It is a little late.

The point of peace bonds is that there is not enough evidence to arrest and charge that suspect, but there are reasonable grounds to believe that a person is involved in terrorist activities. That is reasonable. It is reasonable under the Criminal Code to believe that if somebody threatens numerous times to kill a person, that maybe a peace bond should be issued for that person to stay away from the possible victim.

If the government raises the threshold to obtain a peace bond, people who are a risk to national security will slip through the cracks. We now have 60 of them in this country. How are our police forces supposed to keep us safe if they cannot request that special safety conditions be put on someone who is likely to engage in an attack?

I also find this legislation problematic in addressing the issue of advocating and recruiting for terrorist groups. General and broad threats against Canada or all infidels is not a crime under the Criminal Code. Hate speech and threats need to be directed at an identifiable group. Bill C-51's definition of advocating or promoting terrorism enabled law officers to more effectively pursue those distributing radicalizing propaganda and advocating violence, and it should. However, the bill before us today would delete this offence. Without the ability to target the advocacy and/or promotion of terrorism, law enforcement will be handicapped from effectively addressing the various ways that individuals are radicalized. This includes removing terrorist propaganda from the Internet.

Another concerning change is in part 8 of the bill, which would amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act. If we afford more protections to young offenders who are guilty of terrorism offences, youth will become a target for radical recruiters. Instead of cracking down on radicalization, the Liberals are creating loopholes that those who seek to radicalize youth can exploit.

One last problematic area that I want to highlight is in part 5 of the bill. This section would amend the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, which was established by Bill C-51. The changes proposed in today's bill would make it more difficult for government departments to share information with each other. As a former police officer, I know how necessary it is to be able to share intelligence when conducting a large investigation. It can make or break a case. We have problems when it is easier for our own agencies to share information internationally than with each other. While our Five Eyes allies are all taking measures to strengthen national security, this legislation would remove the ability of our intelligence services to reduce terrorist threats.

In the last year, horrendous attacks in the United States, Europe, and our own country, have shown that no country is immune from the risks associated with terrorism and radicalization. The Anti-terrorism Act, brought forward by our previous government, struck a careful balance between protecting the civil liberties of Canadians while adequately providing law enforcement with the necessary tools to keep Canadians safe. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that all of Canada's security and intelligence services have the tools they need to do their jobs.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have on the one hand a group of individuals in our special operations forces who, if they have been injured by one of these terrorists, are facing a significant drop in remuneration if they do not fully recuperate within six months. Now we have a number of individuals, euphemistically called “foreign terrorist travellers”, whose number the government minimizes to about 60, but whom we know there are at least 180. That is discounting the mass migration of people across our borders without the full vetting that needed to be done.

My hon. colleague was a former police officer, as he referred to. I am wondering if he could quantify the cost of surveillance of just one individual, and then of 180 individuals at minimum, and maybe 1,800. How would that compare to the money being taken away from the soldiers and compare to the money being devoted to the people the government is mollycoddling back into Canada, whom we were fighting against and bombing?

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, the cost of keeping track of 180 individuals would be astronomical for the government. The money we are looking at to protect our soldiers who return with injuries would be just a small portion of what it would cost for the government to keep track of 60, 100, or 180 people.

We need to keep track of these individuals. They are now mentally prepared as terrorists, and they are coming back into this country. Do members think they can switch off like that? It is impossible. They are going to react and will follow through on what they have been trained to do in the last three or four years, or however many years they have been fighting with ISIS. It is no different than taking a police officer who worked undercover with a motorcycle gang. He cannot just switch back; it takes deprogramming. It sometimes takes two to three years. This is exactly what we need to be concerned about: the safety of Canadians.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I know my colleague and I do not agree on Bill C-59, not on the very essence of the bill, nor on Bill C-51. Bill C-59 was supposed to correct Bill C-51. As my colleague knows, I voted against Bill C-51.

Despite the fact that the Liberals have been working on this for two years now, they have introduced a bill that is full of flaws. Everyone realized that immediately. It must be sent to committee right away, because we cannot even debate this bill at second reading.

With all that being said, would my colleague not agree that this reeks of improvisation on the Liberal's part once again, and that if they were not ready to introduce Bill C-59, they should withdraw it and work on it with the opposition for once, so that we can come up with a more balanced and better prepared solution?

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member is absolutely correct. Bill C-59 is full of flaws. As the Liberals stated earlier today in one of their statements, it the result of an election promise by them. I do not think there is any room or place in Canada's security to be worrying about an election promise versus the security of Canadians. I believe the bill should have gone back for a lot more debate. The bill should never have been presented in the format it has been. It is wrong in many cases, and it is hurting a very good bill, Bill C-51, which may have had possible flaws, but not very many, and things could be reviewed and corrected.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

NDP

Karine Trudel NDP Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to say that the NDP opposes the motion to refer Bill C-59 to committee before second reading.

Bill C-59 makes a lot of changes, but it does not chart a bold new course for Canada and make civil liberties and human rights central to Canadian security laws. The Liberals waited almost two years to hold a public consultation, promising to correct Bill C-51. They heard countless testimonies and received briefs from experts, and yet they failed to deliver.

Sadly, Bill C-59 does not seek to correct Bill C-51. The NDP opposed Bill C-51 from the outset back in 2015. Now we are faced with legislation that violates civil liberties and privacy rights, and Bill C-59 follows the dangerous path trodden by the Harper government.

The new, limited review and oversight mechanism set out in this bill does not make up for the disclosure of information and the almost limitless power given to our security agencies. The document that came out of the consultations, entitled “Our Security, Our Rights: National Security Green Paper, 2016”, was criticized by civil liberties advocates for being biased. It placed an inordinate amount of weight on safety and security at the expense of protecting Canadians' constitutional values.

The scenarios presented in this document seemed to favour the implementation of the most controversial provisions of Bill C-51. Although the green paper did not provide a balanced view that would allow Canadians to properly assess the potential negative impacts that giving the government too much power could have on individual rights and freedoms, the results of the consultations showed that Canadians still wanted Bill C-51 to be completely repealed and that they would not be satisfied with half measures.

The NDP has consistently called on the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to repeal and replace the 2010 ministerial directive on torture to make sure Canada abides by the total ban on torture, and more specifically to forbid the use, under any circumstances, of information that other countries may have obtained through torture and the sharing of information that could lead to torture.

Canada must not forget the shameful part it played in the torture of Canadian citizens like Maher Arar. Even though the directive was not part of Bill C-51, it is a deplorable component of our national security framework and should have been addressed during the Liberals' study of the framework. Unfortunately, the new directive issued in October 2017 does not forbid the RCMP, CSIS, or CBSA from using information that may have been obtained through torture in other countries.

The new instructions are nothing more than semantic changes, since they authorize the use of information obtained by torture in certain cases, with a very low accountability threshold. This does nothing for public safety and security, since information obtained through torture is not reliable. The new directive, just like the old one, tarnishes Canada's reputation and goes against Canadian values.

Furthermore, if the bill passes, Canada will remain a police state, and Bill C-59 will even make things worse in some specific circumstances.

It will allow the Communications Security Establishment to launch cyberattacks against foreign targets.

The agents involved will thus become terrorists in the eyes of those countries. Ordinary citizens of those countries will have no other means than their own of protecting themselves from potential injustices caused by Canadian secret agents.

This new bill has very few measures that will reduce the broader powers granted to security agencies involved in information sharing under Bill C-51. The fact remains that the definition of national security is still too broad. The legislation still allows departments to share far too much information in their quest to achieve rather questionable security objectives. However, despite the fact that a government has taken steps to create more solid frameworks for the Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, the no-fly list, the concerns raised by the introduction of C-51 remain unaddressed.

The government has not yet demonstrated why this intrusive bill is necessary. I am also concerned about the fact that Bill C-59 seems to create a legal framework that allows CSIS to keep data about citizens that used to be off limits and that there is no reasonable justification for expanding these powers. It also allows CSIS to keep its controversial disruption powers.

I will now turn to other elements of the bill that I have a problem with. Bill C-59 amends the definition of “activity that undermines the security of Canada” to include any activity that threatens the lives or the security of people in Canada or of any individual who has a connection to Canada and who is outside Canada. The definition includes activities that cause “significant or widespread interference with critical infrastructure”. We are concerned that this could be used against peaceful demonstrators protesting things like pipelines.

CSIS will maintain its threat-reduction powers. Bill C-59 just adds torture, detention, and serious damage to property that endangers the life of an individual to the list of things CSIS cannot do when disrupting a terrorist plot. CSIS must also check with other departments and organizations to see if they have other ways to reduce threats.

CSIS can prevent a person from travelling but cannot detain anyone. There is no clear distinction between the two, which creates dangerous legal uncertainty. The bill does not prevent CSIS from collecting related data from Canadians who are not considered a threat.

Finally, the bill fails to address two worrisome aspects of Canadian national security laws, namely security certificates and the ministerial directives on torture, which must be done away with.

In summary, the Liberals were elected on a promise to repeal the problematic provisions of Bill C-51, and they made us wait two years. Their current proposal does not even come close to solving the problems created by the former government's Bill C-51 regarding the violation of Canadians' privacy and the criminalization of dissent. What is more, the Liberal government is using this omnibus bill to create a legal framework that would allow CSIS to store sensitive metadata on completely innocent Canadians, a practice that the Federal Court deemed to be illegal last fall.

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6:20 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my dear colleague, the member for Jonquière, for her speech.

I know the NDP members have quite a different vision from that of the Conservatives. I would like to know what she thinks of the fact that, under Bill C-59, a CSIS agent on a secret mission in the field will be barred from intervening even if he or she thinks someone may be considering or preparing to commit an attack.

How can my colleague explain that?

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6:20 p.m.

NDP

Karine Trudel NDP Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

I am not an expert on security or intelligence. My old career was more about delivering information. I would rather answer his question by going over the issue of information gathering. What kind of information will they gather, and what do they do with it?

In my speech, I talked about the ministerial directives on torture. The NDP has consistently called on the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to repeal and replace the 2010 ministerial directive on torture to make sure Canada abides by the total ban on torture, and more specifically to forbid the use, under any circumstances, of information that other countries may have obtained through torture and the sharing of information that could lead to torture.

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6:20 p.m.

NDP

Cheryl Hardcastle NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for her comments on how important it is for us to have responsible legislation that moves forward in the best interests of Canadians' civil liberties and their security.

As we know, we are asking for a piece-by-piece repeal of Bill C-51. We have pointed out that there are certain measures the Liberals would like to keep. We would invite them to make their case and work with us to defend the rights of Canadians.

Having said that and in light of the earlier question, does the member think it is important for us to be concerned with new legislation in ensuring transparency and real-time oversight?

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6:20 p.m.

NDP

Karine Trudel NDP Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.

Earlier my colleague from Beloeil—Chambly suggested splitting up Bill C-59, so that we could study each act and vote on each of them separately. We do support some of the provisions of the bill, but there are others that we oppose because they are no different than the provisions of Bill C-51.

I hope this comes back to the House so that we can debate it again, split the bill up, and study each bill separately to voice an opinion. I also hope we have a viable bill, because in its current form, Bill C-59 does not at all meet our expectations. On top of that, it is no different than Bill C-51.

As one of my colleagues said earlier in his speech, this appears to be improvised, and a lot of information seems to be missing.

To answer my colleague's question, it would be great if we could split the bill up, debate it, and have separate votes.

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6:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Before we resume debate, I would like to let the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan know that there are only about five minutes remaining in the time for government orders this afternoon. I will interrupt him at the usual moment, and he will of course have the remaining time when the House next gets back to debate on the question.

The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.

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6:25 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry I have a shortened time today. I know my friend from Winnipeg North in particular was looking forward to hearing the fulness of my remarks, but he will have to wait.

This is an important bill and an important time to be discussing it. The issue of security and terrorism is very much on the minds of Canadians, in particular in the context where we know that people from Canada have gone to fight for organizations whose values and objectives are totally at odds with those of Canadians. Now some of them may be coming back.

We heard very weak answers from the government to real and legitimate security concerns put forward by the opposition. We in the official opposition take the view that the first job of any government is to keep its citizens safe. In the Canadian context, Canadians expect the government to have their safety and security top of mind, yet we have not heard a response at all to legitimate and serious questions we have presented on that subject.

Bill C-59 seeks to repeal and change portions of the previous Bill C-51. The government's response to the bill in the previous Parliament was anything but clear or consistent. We in the Conservative caucus, then in government, now in the official opposition, took a principled approach to give our security agencies reasonable powers, subject to oversight, in order to keep Canadians safe and to disrupt and stop terrorist activity. That was the Conservative position.

The New Democrats took a different position. They opposed the bill. They were consistent in that. We were consistent in our position.

The Liberals though were trying, as they often do, to see which way the wind was blowing on this. At first, they said they were going to fully support the legislation. Then, as the public debate progressed, they continued to say they supported the legislation, but kept modifying the context of that support. Eventually, their justification for supporting it was that they did not want people accusing them of not supporting the bill. Then they said not to worry, they would repeal the problematic aspects of it from their perspective. However, they still voted for the previous legislation and were anything but clear about what they would change.

Now we are a couple of years into the Liberals' mandate as they try to figure out what they actually had a problem with. They wanted to be in between on the issue but could not figure out where they were going. That was the reality of the government's position. Now, finally, they have brought us legislation that makes some changes. Now they want to have it proceed to committee for study before it is even voted on in the House at second reading. It is interesting they have put forward a bill but are already putting it in a direction that allows them to make very substantial amendments to it.

We see this continuing lack of direction and general indecisiveness on security matters from the Liberal government. The Liberals, it seems, still do not really know where they actually stand and where they want to go when it comes to the particular provisions of the bill. The Prime Minister and the minister who moved the bill both voted in favour of the original Bill C-51.

As we look at the bill, which makes changes in a variety of different areas, we are concerned about some of the provisions because it shows the government does not properly take the need to defend the security of Canadians and the need to have provisions in place enabling the protection of that security at the level with which it should be dealt.

A number of provisions jump out at me. For instance, in part 5 with respect to information sharing, we see them undoing the information provisions that allowed the different departments within government to work together, risking us moving back to a silo mentality, where government departments are not working effectively together.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan will have five minutes remaining in his time for his comments on the motion before the House and, of course, the usual five minutes for questions and comments.

It being 6:30 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 37, the House will now proceed to the consideration of Bill S-211 under private members' business, as listed on today's Order Paper.

The House resumed from October 27 consideration of the motion that Bill S-211, An Act respecting National Sickle Cell Awareness Day, be read the third time and passed.