Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to talk about the private member's bill introduced by my colleague from Parry Sound—Muskoka, which sets out to prevent radicalization through foreign funding.
This bill is laudable because we are in a democratic institution. In essence, the bill would create a list of foreign states, individuals and entities that sentence individuals to punishment based on their religious beliefs and promote such punishment, support activities that promote radicalization, or even limit freedom of religion. I am surprised at what I have heard some of my parliamentary colleagues say because we are in an exemplary democratic institution here, and I think we should be proud to give this bill second reading.
If we do not take this opportunity to talk about radicalization, and if the government flatly rejects worthwhile initiatives like the one my colleague has proposed, it is likely that further developments will be left in the hands of those who are actively making the situation worse. We know all too well that radicalization leads to terrorism, as we saw with the tragic events that we experienced here in October 2014. This bill strives to silence those who would corrupt people's minds. Contrary to what one of my colleagues said earlier, the only way to do that is to go right to the root of the problem by cutting off the money supply. Dark and shadowy forces finance activities that cause instability and erode the underpinnings of our democracy.
We live in what is probably the best place in the world to speak our minds freely without inciting violence. Unfortunately, there are some entities that seek to disrupt that reality. They use methods that we must protect ourselves against. My colleague's private member's bill proposes specifically to amend the Income Tax Act to recognize that there may be ways of funding organizations that promote radicalization resulting in violence. It is important to understand that we already have a list of terrorist entities in Canada, so clearly, if an entity promotes the use of violence, it can be banned and we can go after its sources of funding.
Where things get trickier is when rhetoric encourages or leads to radicalization and the creation of terrorist entities. My colleague's initiative is courageous because it aims to create a framework and give the government tools to protect itself against radicalization. Under the Income Tax Act, organizations can have their charitable status stripped if they encourage violence or are affiliated with terrorist entities, but there is a grey area. There is some vagueness, as we saw in committee. That is precisely why the Senate studied the matter and recommended that measures be taken to cut off the sources of radicalization.
Moreover, former national security advisor Richard Fadden confirmed that some sources provide funding, here in Canada, to different kinds of entities that encourage people to commit terrorist acts. That goes against the very principles of our society. Many organizations can make their views known, but accepting money from an entity conveying a message that corrupts the democratic principles we live by is forbidden. Sometimes, the message is subtle and insidious, but it results in acts of violence. We know this all too well.
Our intelligence services are very busy nonetheless.
What makes a young person abandon our democracy to go and fight abroad? How have we gotten to the point where youth can be exposed to a narrative that provides them with a justification to travel abroad to commit acts of violence?
That is at the heart of this bill. I would say that we are being proactive about dealing with people who go to the airport and say that they want to become foreign fighters and participate in the decapitations that we witnessed, to everyone's horror.
We are vulnerable, especially at a time when ISIS has disbanded and to some extent dispersed. As a society, it is important that we have the tools to say no to radicalization and to those who seek to radicalize our society by funding messages that result in hate and violence.
I was pleasantly surprised that my colleague quoted someone whom I greatly admire, Mrs. Raheel Raza, a Canadian journalist of Pakistani origin. She is a Muslim woman who supports this bill because she knows that money can be used to radicalize and disrupt the rule of law in our country.
Obviously, this bill deserves to be studied in committee. We heard from security experts, people like Raheel Raza, who support the bill and can help to fulfill the need we have as a society to develop the proper tools.
Is this a challenge? Yes, absolutely. That is why we, as parliamentarians, have the responsibility to explore the approach proposed by my colleague to stop radicalization. If we turn a blind eye to radicalization, radicals will gain control of the narrative and we will be left to pick up the pieces. Let us prevent that from happening by thinking about this and having a discussion. That is what my colleague is proposing.