House of Commons Hansard #339 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was post.

Topics

Methamphetamine AddictionRequest for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I have a request for an emergency debate from the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre.

We had a little chat earlier, and I would remind him, of course, that he should give his presentation briefly. It is not necessary to read it in its entirety, as I read it when he presented it to me. Therefore, I ask him to carry on.

Methamphetamine AddictionRequest for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I humbly request the holding of an emergency debate in the House of Commons on the issue of drug addiction, and specifically on methamphetamine, commonly referred to as meth.

We are facing a crisis in cities, rural communities and indigenous communities in the Prairies. We are suffering greatly in places like Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury and in rural communities and indigenous communities, and we are only in the early stages of a major addiction crisis. As an example, Winnipeg has seen a significant increase in the number of violent crimes. Recently, a professor at Red River College, in Winnipeg, was violently assaulted and is in critical condition. This is not the only case such as this. There are numerous other examples, which I have highlighted in my letter to you, Mr. Speaker. All these cases are related to meth.

Meth is a cheap drug that offers an easy, long high. Because of the inexpensive nature of meth, those who are poor, marginal and vulnerable prefer this drug over others. As a result, drug supply chains have increased access to and supply of this drug. Currently the market is being flooded with meth from Mexico. According to Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman, meth is being produced in large factories in Mexico and is being sold cheaply to create addicts.

At the federal level, we have an important role to play in coordinating this issue. While emergency debates are extraordinary, I feel that the situation has changed from a long-term issue to an issue that requires the active attention of the House of Commons.

I represent a very poor inner-city riding. This riding has a high percentage of people living in poverty, those with disabilities, newcomers and indigenous peoples. Some feel the impact of their poverty in a negative way and use drugs, alcohol and other solvents to self-medicate.

I have never been unsafe in my riding. Recently, though, I have started to feel unsafe. In my office in the past two weeks, I have had one staff member assaulted, one physically threatened, and one placed in a dangerous, sexually charged situation. I now have staff members who refuse to be alone in the office or to have the doors unlocked.

I am often alone in my office late at night, and in the last three weeks, I have had what I would deem interesting yet uncomfortable encounters with citizens who were high on meth. Daily I can see people walking around high on meth, being arrested in front of my office, running naked through traffic, stealing, and assaulting others, causing a sense of unease. My office is not even in the most affected area of our city.

I have served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 22 years, and I have never been afraid, while in the armed forces, for my physical person. I am uneasy right now.

Meth is unlike other drugs available illegally. The most dangerous aspect of this drug is the psychosis, which causes a major public-security issue for police, emergency medical centres, homeless shelters and ordinary people walking the streets. In Winnipeg, the police are stretched. Gangs are profiting. Emergency rooms are being overwhelmed and fire departments are being asked to step into the cracks. Emergency room doctors and nurses and hospital personnel are being assaulted on a continual basis and are becoming afraid to go to work.

We are now hearing of indigenous mothers who are addicted to meth and are giving birth, and it is causing issues with child and family services.

I humbly request that the House of Commons proceed with a debate, post-haste, to debate this issue that impacts far too many Canadians. We are just at the beginning stages of this, and it will get a lot worse before it gets better. Let us not wait for it to get worse before it does get better through our actions here.

[Member spoke in Cree]

Speaker's RulingRequest for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I thank the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre for raising what is, undoubtedly, a grave problem and an important matter. At the same time, the member will know that the House has a variety of ways in which it can debate important issues, and in this case, I do not find that this request, which I appreciate, meets the very strict requirements of the Standing Order.

Oral Questions--Speaker's RulingPoints of OrderRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I am now prepared to rule on the point of order raised on October 3, 2018, by the hon. member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound regarding unparliamentary language. I would like to thank the member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound for having raised this serious matter, as well as the Leader of the Opposition, the Prime Minister, and the members for Milton, Portage—Lisgar, Grande Prairie—Mackenzie, and Barrie—Innisfil, for their comments.

The member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound expressed his concern about the response from the Prime Minister after the member for Milton raised a point of order regarding his use of the English expression “ambulance chaser”, an alleged unparliamentary term.

The member for Portage—Lisgar added that allegations which question a member’s integrity, honesty or character are not in order. Furthermore, she argued that comments allegedly made by the Prime Minister in an exchange with the member for Grande Prairie—Mackenzie effectively questioned my impartiality and integrity as your Speaker.

Let me address the second issue first. The issue of the independence of the Chair is pivotal to not only our proceedings but also to our parliamentary system. Therefore, I thoroughly reviewed the audio, video and interventions relevant to this allegation. Although I was unable to confirm the allegations, I want the House to know with absolute certainty that, as Speaker, I am the guardian of the rights and privileges of all members. That is to say, I am not the servant of any one part of the House nor of any one member. Rather, as your Speaker, I remain the servant only of the entire House, much as Speaker William Lenthall described on January 4, 1642. All members can be assured that I am guided by this core principle, which he helped to establish, by the way, every day, come what may.

As for the first question raised, it continues to be the responsibility of the Chair to ensure that the language used by members in the House falls within the parameters of what is considered to be parliamentary language. In fulfilling this responsibility, the Chair is guided by practice and precedent. As the House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, says at page 624, and I quote:

Expressions which are considered unparliamentary when applied to an individual member have not always been considered so when applied ‘in a generic sense’ or to a party.

As the expression used by the Prime Minister in response to a question from the member for Milton was not aimed directly at her but rather had a broader scope, technically speaking, the language used fell within our accepted practice. That being said, I want to remind members of their responsibility to be vigilant in their choice of words, given their potential effect.

My predecessor encouraged members to be mindful of this when he stated, in a ruling on October 30, 2013, at page 593 of the Debates:

Previous Speakers have tried to draw some lines around certain phrases.... My advice to all members on all sides is that when Speakers attempt to draw those lines, members should try to stay clear of them and not try to tiptoe up to them and see how far you can lean over.

As your Speaker, I know we can do better through a continued collaboration and cooperation from all members.

I thank all hon. members for their attention.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Opposition Motion—TerrorismBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

There are actually three minutes remaining in questions and comments following the speech by the hon. member for Durham.

The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.

Opposition Motion—TerrorismBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rose earlier to put a question to my friend from Durham. In the course of his speech, which was a narrative that is somewhat familiar, that if we are not bombing a country we are not fighting terrorism, I would remind him that I was the only member of Parliament to vote against the continued bombing of Libya. It turned out that turning Libya into a failed state had the effect of a flood of weapons reaching terrorists, which helped get ISIS started. Therefore, it is not always bombing missions that provide the greatest security.

However, I was deeply offended, particularly since he has received a letter, as all members have, from John Letts, the father of young Jack Letts. It is wilfully reckless character assassination, and may put someone's life at risk, to do what the Conservative Party is doing, what the leader of the Conservative Party has done, in adopting a term that comes from the tabloid press, the gutter press of London, to smear the reputation of someone for whom there is no evidence. Therefore, I would ask the hon. member for Durham to apologize and to withdraw the use of the term “Jihadi Jack” for someone who was born in this country and who has no accusations even levelled against him, no arrests and no charges.

Opposition Motion—TerrorismBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is without question, in my view, having reviewed interviews given by Mr. Jack Letts, that he was, at the very least, deeply radicalized. He was certainly in an area working with ISIS and is detained by the people that were fighting ISIS. At a bare minimum, there is an air to reality in terms of charges with respect to him travelling abroad for terrorism.

He is a British national, so that should be the primary focus. There is an investigation and the potential for charges with respect to his parents for aiding and abetting a terror suspect. That is for the courts of the United Kingdom to sort out.

What I said in my remarks and what the member seemed to miss entirely is the fact that it is the Crown prerogative for a government to offer consular services to someone. When someone has left Canada to work or train with ISIS, regardless of who that individual is, that individual does not deserve access to those consular services.

I would also refer the member to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2178, which I mentioned in my speech. Paragraph 11 of the resolution of the Security Council, which the Liberal government seems to ignore even though it wants to join it, calls upon member states “to prevent the travel of foreign terrorist fighters from or through their territories”.

Maintaining security over these dangerous people needs to be paramount. We should not be bringing them back.

Opposition Motion—TerrorismBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Marco Mendicino Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for London North Centre.

I appreciate the opportunity to add my voice to the debate on the motion before us.

I want to start by recognizing that we are having this debate four years to the day since the attack took the life of Corporal Nathan Cirillo just a few blocks from here. That attack was preceded two days earlier by the killing of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. I wish to attribute myself to the comments made during the debate on this motion honouring their sacrifice, as well as support for those hon. colleagues, first responders and public servants, both past and present, who served in Parliament on that horrific day.

Four years later, we stand here now to debate a motion brought forward by the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles. It is an important motion. It is one that calls for the House to support the sentiments expressed by Nadia Murad, a Yazidi survivor who, along with her family, suffered at the hands of ISIS-Daesh, and later wrote about it. For her activism, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Nadia Murad's story has inspired many to support the work of this government in providing refugees, and in particular Yazidi refugees, safe harbour. Among those who took up the cause for expanding our refugee humanitarian efforts is former leader of the opposition Rona Ambrose. She should be commended. We have provided a new home to more than 1,400 women and their families, who endured the brutality of Daesh, some 85% of whom are Yazidi.

This is good. It is moments like this, especially today, when we should put aside partisanship to stand together in the fight against terrorism. Millions of Syrians and Iraqis have been displaced, and thousands more killed or tortured at the hands of Daesh henchmen in the most gruesome and barbaric ways imaginable. Others were forced to endure unspeakable cruelty and violence on an almost daily basis. Perhaps no group has suffered more under its depraved rule than Yazidis and Yazidi women in particular.

This motion quotes the brave words of Ms. Murad, and we owe it to her and to ourselves to take them to heart, and to see to it that we defeat ISIS-Daesh and eradicate all forms of terrorism.

As a nation founded on democratic values, the rule of law and the institutions which safeguard the fundamental rights to which every individual is guaranteed, including freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of association and the right to due process, Canada has a vital role to play. We are fulfilling this role in a number of ways.

First, from a military perspective, Canada continues to participate in Operation Impact. We are a major partner in the fight against ISIS-Daesh. Operation Impact is a U.S.-led coalition, including 70 partners. Our objective is to contribute to the goal of ensuring a strong, stabilized region through support that is backed by $1.6 billion over three years to provide humanitarian, development and security support in the region. This includes providing local training and support to individuals who live in the region. Last year alone, we saw to it that ISIS-Daesh lost more than 60% of controlled territory in Iraq and 30% in Syria.

Canada's security, intelligence and police agencies have identified approximately 190 people with a connection to Canada who joined up with terrorist groups in various locations around the world, and remain abroad. That includes people who joined Daesh.

About 60 more have returned to Canada, a number relatively unchanged since 2015. Again, some of these people were in Daesh-controlled territory, but many were identified elsewhere. These individuals pose a potential threat, and we take that threat extremely seriously.

If at all possible, we want them to be arrested, charged, prosecuted and convicted for their crimes. Police and prosecutors do the difficult work of meeting Canadian evidentiary standards regarding activities committed in a distant war zone.

I can speak with some personal experience in this regard, having worked on a case involving domestic terrorism and national security. Certainly, the evidentiary standards, the rule law, the independence of the judiciary and the role that the prosecutor plays are absolutely essential in bringing terrorists to justice.

It is a testament to my former colleagues, as well as our partners in the national security and public safety spheres and all of their work that we have seen four of these travellers or returnees charged in the last couple years. Two have been convicted and two are still facing those charges in court. There are undoubtedly more criminal investigations under way. I would point out that no returnees were charged under the previous Conservative government.

At the same time as Canadian law enforcement goes about collecting the evidence required for prosecution, returnees can expect to be closely monitored by our intelligence and law enforcement agencies. These agencies work each and every day with international partners, including the Five Eyes, the G7, the EU, Interpol and many others. They have been doing so for years, and their expertise and capabilities are second to none. They expertly assess and reassess all data available to them to ensure Canada's responses can be effective and appropriate.

Our security agencies have a wide array of tools and powers at their disposal to keep Canadians safe. That includes surveillance and monitoring; revocation, cancellation or refusal of passports; the use of the no-fly list; peace bonds under the Criminal Code; and legally authorized threat reduction measures. Another tool is the RCMP-led National Security Joint Operations Centre.

The goal of the centre is to identify high-risk travellers and assess the threat that they may pose to our collective security. It is responsible for compiling and analyzing available information from Canada's security and intelligence community and uses this information to prioritize risk and to assist in coordinating an appropriate operational response. Canadians can be assured that our world-class security agencies actively track and assess any threat they may pose. Our government recognizes that the return of even one individual may have serious national security implications, and we continue to take those threats seriously.

The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness discussed the issue of extremist travellers with his G7 counterparts in Toronto earlier this year. In fact, most of the allies at that table have far more of their citizens involved with international terrorist groups than we do.

Our government has also introduced legislation to modernize Canada's national security framework, which was passed by the House last spring and is currently before the other place. This legislation is designed to ensure that our agencies continue to be effective at keeping Canadians safe from threats precisely like these. Along with the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians we established under Bill C-22, it enhances the accountability of our security agencies. Accountability is not just about ensuring that our rights and freedoms are protected, although that is obviously very important, but accountability and oversight are also about ensuring that our agencies are operating as effectively as possible to keep all of us safe.

There are parts of today's opposition motion that are clearly designed to use the serious issue of returning terrorists to score political points and we should discourage that. However, on the anniversary of the attack on the National War Memorial and Parliament Hill, I prefer to join in solidarity with our opposition colleagues, because I know we all stand firmly against terrorism, as we should. We all stand firmly in solidarity with Nadia Murad, the Yazidi Nobel laureate, in her call for the perpetrators of Daesh brutality to be brought to justice. We do that by adhering to the rule of law. We do that by adhering to the norms in our charter. We do that by extending respect for the judiciary, the representatives and officials who work in our public safety apparatus and who do an exceptional job every day.

The Prime Minister said earlier today:

As Canadians, we will not surrender to hatred, and let attacks like these divide us. In the face of cowardly violence and fearmongering, we will not compromise our most cherished values—freedom, democracy, diversity, and inclusion.

I hope that all members will endorse those words. For those reasons and for all the others I have stated in my remarks, I encourage all members to support this opposition motion.

Opposition Motion—TerrorismBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my hon. colleague's comments and the fact that he is going to support this opposition day motion.

My question has a bit of history to it. I know that he was one of the prosecutors, I believe the Crown attorney, in the case of the Toronto 18. I was a member of Parliament when the Toronto 18 made their plans. Their plan was to break into the House of Commons, capture a bunch of us and behead us. Of course, that did not happen, thanks to the good security and law forces that we have in this country.

However, my question for the member is: How can he go from being a prosecutor against a group as bad as the Toronto 18 was to be part of a government that wants to welcome ISIS terrorists back into the country? I am having a hard time figuring this out, and I would like the member to respond.

Opposition Motion—TerrorismBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Lib.

Marco Mendicino

Mr. Speaker, I look back with great pride on the work I did as a federal prosecutor. Obviously the source of that pride is in knowing how important the role of the prosecutor is in our country.

At the time those charges were laid, we were in an unprecedented moment in the sense that this was the first prominent case that brought to light the threats we faced when it came to domestic terrorism and radicalization. Of course, those individuals were brought to justice, following the rule of law and in accordance with the Criminal Code and the charter.

It is a bit disappointing to hear the member try to juxtapose the work I did as a prosecutor with this government's agenda.

I believe in this government's work. I believe in the legislation it has put forward, including giving the necessary additional tools and resources to prosecutors and other agencies within our public safety apparatus precisely to protect every Canadian. I certainly would encourage him to bear that in mind in the course of this debate.

Opposition Motion—TerrorismBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for reminding those of us who served in the 41st Parliament not to forget the events that occurred in this place in 2014 when a gunman came in through the front doors of Parliament and when Nathan Cirillo was murdered near the War Memorial.

To this day, I do not think it falls under the description terrorism. The shooter was someone with significant mental health issues who tried to have himself committed to deal with addiction issues. The system did not have any way to help him with his addiction issues, his radicalization and his violence. We can thank God that this individual did not have access to a multi-round gun, the kind of assault weapon used in shootings in the U.S., for example. He had a gun for deer hunting and he had to recharge that gun every time before shooting again.

Would the government not agree that it is strange that Canada is the only democracy in the world in which such an event could take place and that there has never been a public inquiry into what happened, how it happened and who was responsible?

Opposition Motion—TerrorismBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Lib.

Marco Mendicino

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I agree that this is the first attack of this kind, namely an act of terrorism, that brought violence and loss of life to a cherished institutions where our elected representatives fulfill their role.

Let me address what I think is the central premise of the question, which is that there was not sufficient accountability in and investigation of the tragic events of that day.

My distinct recollection is that indeed there were very serious inquiries into the events of that day, particularly into the role of the RCMP and other security personnel that stood in the line of fire that day and fulfilled their duty with great distinction. As a result of those inquiries, policies were revised such that each and every one of us who serve in this chamber, whether in the elected branch, as a first responder or as a public servant, could be well assured that we would be kept safe. It is as a result of the mechanisms we have in place to review the events and policy instruments of that day that we can be so assured.

Opposition Motion—TerrorismBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

October 22nd, 2018 / 3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I join with colleagues across the aisle and here on this side of the House today. My hon. colleague who just spoke mentioned Nathan Cirillo. I echo the sentiment expressed and pay homage to his memory, his service. I also wish to express gratitude for the work done in the House on the part of the Parliamentary Protective Service and certainly the RCMP. I am fortunate enough to be the member for London North Centre, where “O” Division Headquarters is based.

I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak to the motion. Members in the House do not always agree on everything, but I know we can always stand united in denouncing the depraved and barbaric acts committed by Daesh. We can salute courageous women such as Nadia Murad, who I have had the honour of meeting twice, the Yazidi Nobel Laureate who suffered unspeakable horrors under the Daesh rule and survived to tell her story. Mercifully this group's reign of terror is all but over.

Through defeats on the battlefield, it has lost the land it once controlled in Iraq and Syria, However, Daesh terrorists began returning to their countries of origin even while the so-called caliphate still existed. More of them may try to do so now that the group has been defeated.

We and our allies are well aware that our success on the battlefield has not eliminated the problem entirely. To an extent, we have only displaced it. Virtually every democratic country in the world is grappling with this issue. Some of our allies are dealing with hundreds or even thousands of potential returnees. The number we have to deal with is thankfully much smaller, but that is not cause for complacency.

In 2015, our security agencies were aware of about 60 people who had returned to Canada after engaging in terrorist activity abroad. That number has remained relatively stable since. While some of these people returned from former Daesh strongholds in Syria and Iraq, most of them were actually involved with other terrorist groups in other parts of the world.

Today, according to the most recent public report from CSIS, about 190 Canadians have left our country to join terrorist groups, Daesh or others, and remain abroad. Some of them may be dead. Some of them may not want to come back. However, we must be ready for those who do, and we are.

The professionals in Canada's national security agencies are working extremely hard to track these individuals, to bring criminal charges whenever possible and to carefully monitor them to keep us all safe. Here are a few facts. Facts are always important, but particularly in a debate such as this.

First, if extremist travellers attempt to return to Canada, there is a very high likelihood that our agencies will know about it. That is because of the information-sharing we do domestically and with our Five Eyes allies, on an ongoing basis, to identify individuals seeking to return. When Canadian authorities become aware of such travel, a process is activated to control and indeed to manage their return. Even before they are back on our soil, Canada's intelligence, security and law enforcement agencies actively assess and monitor the threat each individual poses. Threat assessments, monitoring and investigations continue for as long as necessary after their return. If evidence supports charges, terrorism charges under the Criminal Code can and will be laid upon their return. Since last year, in fact, four individuals have been charged for terrorism-related offences after their return to Canada and two have been convicted. It is also worth pointing out that under the Harper government that number was zero.

The task of collecting enough evidence about activity in a war zone on the other side of the world to support charges in a Canadian court is certainly a challenging one. While police and prosecutors go about the difficult work of collecting it, our security and intelligence agencies make full use of a broad range of tools at their disposal. For instance, they can issue peace bonds. They can cancel, revoke and refuse Canadian passports on national security grounds.

Under the passenger protect program, they use the no-fly list to ensure that people are prevented from travelling for terrorism-related purposes. They also engage in surveillance and legally authorized threat-reduction measures to keep Canadians safe.

At the same time, we should recognize that people do not travel to join a terrorist group and then become radicalized. Indeed, the radicalization happens at home. We should therefore be doing everything we can to prevent Canadians, mostly Canadian youth, from becoming radicalized in the first instance. The Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence supports community-based organizations that do this important work.

While I am on the subject, the Conservatives should stop denigrating counter-radicalization work. For example, think of parents whose teenage son has started bringing home extremist literature and visiting extremist websites. What would those parents prefer I ask? Would they rather the government have nothing to offer but handcuffs once it is too late? Or would they rather the government's support programs at their son's school, local community centre or place of worship to help extricate him from the clutches of extremism before he did something violent? I think we all know the answer to that question or ought to know it.

None of us should pretend this can only happen to other people's kids or only to Muslim kids. Counter-radicalization programs help prevent all our children from being victims or perpetrators. Of course, once someone does cross the Rubicon and engages in terrorist activity, we need a modern national security framework our agencies can use to keep us safe.

That is the purpose behind our landmark national security legislation, Bill C-59, which is currently being debated in the Senate. Bill C-59 would overhaul Canada's national security framework and bring it into the 21st century. It would modernize and enhance Canada's security and intelligence laws to ensure our agencies would have the tools they would need do their jobs. This would be achieved within a legal and constitutional framework that would be charter-compliant. For example, it would clarify definitions that are vague or overly broad. This includes the term “terrorist propaganda”.

The former Bill C-51 created a new offence of knowingly advocating or promoting the commission of terrorism offences in general. Currently, the maximum punishment for it is a five-year prison sentence, but this provision is so unclear that it has hardly been used. That is why the government is revising the definition by using the clearer and more precise legal concept of counselling the commission of terrorism offences. This change would make it more likely that charges would be laid and successfully prosecuted.

It is crucial we get all this right, the legal authorities, the counter-radicalization programs and all the work our agencies do at home and overseas, because extremism of all kinds remains a real threat to our security. That includes extremism inspired by Daesh and al Qaeda, extremism inspired by white supremacists and all the other varieties that exist in our country and around the world. Canada is, by and large, a safe and peaceful place. We should not get hyperbolic about the threat of terrorism, but we must take it seriously.

I am not entirely convinced the Conservative motion takes this seriously enough. This motion seems to me more of a political game than anything else. However, we can all support the statement in it by Nadia Murad. I join all colleagues in their desire to see the villains of Daesh brought to justice.

Opposition Motion—TerrorismBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I noted the member brought data, of which I am always a fan. Specifically, I wanted to ask about the 60 people who returned from fighting. From listening to the debate today, my understanding is that there are provisions under Bill S-7 that would allow us to charge each of the people who have gone off to fight with terrorists. However, the Minister of Public Safety said that only 10 charges had been pursued out of the 60. I am worried about the other 190 who may return. Why is the government not charging each one under Bill S-7?

Opposition Motion—TerrorismBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know the member opposition and I know her to be a diligent member. On this matter, we simply disagree for a number of reasons. First, evidence has to exist in order for convictions to take place. How many convictions took place under the previous government, under the terrorism offence in the Criminal Code, for individuals returning from abroad that led to successive prosecutions of such individuals? We are monitoring the situation where individuals who are suspected have returned. Surveillance is always at the forefront. Our national security agencies have the tools because we have funded their work, not defunded, as the previous government did. That will continue.

Opposition Motion—TerrorismBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague made a statement that under the previous government no charges were laid for travelling for terrorism. I would like to ask him if he remembers when that became a law. It was in 2015, just before the writ was dropped. When has his government charged anyone for this offence? It was passed just before the Liberals became government.

Opposition Motion—TerrorismBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I said before that facts matter. Let me simply read a clear fact. Since 2016, the RCMP has charged four individuals for terrorism-related offences after their return to Canada. Two of them have been successfully convicted, and the other two cases remain before the courts.

The hon. member will note, I hope, that despite all their talk, no returned terrorists were charged under the Harper Conservatives.

I will also take the opportunity to note that this motion is draped in fear. What has happened to the time when the Conservatives, not just at the federal level but also at the provincial level, embraced common-sense solutions to very serious problems? I think, for example, of John Robarts, Bill Davis, Bob Stanfield, or even Brian Mulroney or Joe Clark. What happened to that Conservative tradition of working constructively to address national security threats and challenges?

I do not hear it on the opposite side. All I hear is fear.

Opposition Motion—TerrorismBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's thoughtful speech.

I am just trying to figure this out. I completely agree with the sentiment expressed by many that we would all want to associate ourselves with the sentiments of Nadia Murad. We all recognize, in her own heroic struggle, a woman standing up against the horrific impact of violence and terrorism, and particularly the targeting of women and girls and the use of rape as an instrument of war.

However, I do not know how I can, in good conscience, vote for a motion that refers to “paying terrorists with taxpayers’ dollars”. We know what that refers to: it is coded language for the Omar Khadr case. I do not believe that was a past mistake; I believe it was the right thing to do. I do not think Omar Khadr meets any normal definition of being a terrorist, even if the charges against him were true, which I do not think they were. He was in a war zone where there were enemy combatants. In our typical understanding of the term “terrorism”, that would not meet the definition.

Does my friend from London North Centre have any concerns about the various ways this motion has been worded to make it almost impossible to vote for it?

Opposition Motion—TerrorismBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, as far as the wording of the motion is concerned, what I will say is that we have to stand behind those who have defended human rights.

I mentioned in my speech that I have had the honour of meeting Nadia Murad, once here in Ottawa and in my home community of London. When she calls on the perpetrators of terrorism to be prosecuted, I think we have to get behind that sentiment.

What I do not agree with is some members, and I am speaking specifically of the Conservatives, having taken that very important notion she has put forward and transitioned it into something else, not only here today but especially outside the House, constantly pressing this button of fear.

I go back to what I said before. I am certainly interested in hearing from the Conservative members opposite what happened to that tradition in Conservative thought that took pride in common-sense solutions to dealing with national security threats, and getting away from fear entirely and, rather, working together to find ways forward. Here I refer to Bill Davis, Brian Mulroney, Joe Clark, and so on and so forth.

Opposition Motion—TerrorismBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to echo the sentiments of my colleagues in the House on the anniversary of the attack on Parliament Hill, and to pay my respects to those who lost their lives serving our country and who on that day were willing to do so to protect those in this place.

As well, I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Cypress Hills—Grasslands.

I rise to speak to my colleague's motion on combatting violent and radical extremists, in particular, the ISIS terrorists who have fought against Canada and our allies and attempted to establish a regime based on hate, intolerance, slavery and violence.

The Liberal reintegration plan and promise of funding for these returning ISIS terrorists welcomes people back to Canada who have rejected everything we hold as values in this country, and worse, fails the victims of their violence.

This motion is based on the efforts and advocacy of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad, who was enslaved, abused and raped and whose family was killed by ISIS fighters. We know her story only because of her bravery in fighting to escape and her courage to share her story. She has been an outspoken advocate against human trafficking, abuse of women and children, radicalization, murder and destruction by ISIS. As a Yazidi, she was oppressed for having religious views that conflicted with those of ISIS. Ms. Murad is the kind of person who Canada can and should welcome as a refugee, someone who is fleeing persecution and who needs support and help. Instead, we are providing refuge and support for returning ISIS terrorists who inflicted horrific and life-shattering experiences on tens of thousands.

The Prime Minister's response to rapists, murders and terrorists returning to Canada is sadly to provide funding. He announced that all returning terrorists would have counselling. Most Canadians would say they need to be locked up and that their rehabilitation should not come at the cost of Canadians. They should never be in the same area as victims who have come to Canada for safety, yet that is the exact policy of the current Liberal government.

The Minister of Public Safety repeated over and over again that the government would use all available resources to track these individuals. However, we know that this is about as accurate as its other broken promises. If every tool is to be used, I guess the question would be this. How many peace bonds and monitoring warrants does the RCMP currently have on ISIS terrorists? How many of them is it monitoring daily for spreading their radicalized views and planning violence? At last count, it was none, at least that we are aware of. There have been at least 60 terrorists who have returned to Canada, and none of them is under the full scrutiny of the law. However, just monitoring them alone is not good enough. These people should be facing justice and prosecution for their actions, for their are crimes against humanity. Allowing such people to live and continue their hateful ways only further endangers Canadians.

This Parliament looked at and debated Bill C-59, the Liberals' attempt at a national security bill that could have dealt with these issues and tackled violent extremists. We heard from security and intelligence experts who told us of the real threats. However, instead of giving tools to prosecutors, police, and security teams to go after these kinds of extreme actions, Bill C-59 further ties the hands of police and our national security agencies. It restricts information sharing, telling national security agencies that administration and privacy are more important than stopping terrorist attacks. Bill C-59 makes it harder for police to get court-approved orders like peace bonds and recognizance orders designed to ensure that police can proactively protect Canadians by stopping attacks.

The Liberals eliminated the criminal offence of advocating for terrorism. In Canada, it is no longer a criminal offence to promote a terrorist cause. ISIS terrorists can come to Canada, get government funding, and not be prosecuted for sharing their hate. Canadians believe that is shameful.

All these new rules and oversight bodies amount to a cut in security and intelligence operations of $100 million, so that our already underfunded agencies will be less able to protect Canadians and our interests.

In a bit of final irony, the Liberals rejected the idea of ensuring that information on crimes committed overseas could be used in criminal court proceedings without jeopardizing national security. When a Canadian goes overseas and fights for ISIS, there is generally limited court-admissible evidence. There are very few or no witnesses to speak to the horrors inflicted on innocent people like Nadia Murad.

All of the information would need to come from the national security and intelligence teams, but today we cannot use that information. For that evidence to come forward, it would require full disclosure of how that evidence was gathered. That could mean endangering Canadian agency operatives. It could mean endangering informants or others from an allied country.

The Conservatives sought to address this issue by allowing evidence into the courts at the discretion of a judge without jeopardizing national security, similar to what almost every other country does, including our allies. The Liberals rejected these changes outright. Making it even more absurd, they claim to be doing everything possible to bring genocidal terrorists to justice while at the same time creating barriers to police and security teams, and opposing measures to bring terrorists to justice.

The Liberal government has failed to protect Canadians at every opportunity and now, entering its last year in government, Canadians will be taking note.

What should we be doing? Let us first focus on bringing the perpetrators of genocide and terrorist acts to justice and ensure that courts have access to evidence gathered against suspected terrorists.

Let us strive to keep Canadians safe from those who are suspected of committing acts of terrorism or genocide but have returned to Canada, by ensuring that security agencies are adequately resourced to provide high levels of monitoring and surveillance of their activities in Canada.

We must encourage greater use of the tools placing conditions on those suspected of terrorist activities, such as recognizance orders and peace bonds. However, the Liberals are making it harder for security officials to do just that, to monitor our suspected terrorists.

The current processes to bring perpetrators of atrocities to justice are slow and fail victims. Canada should make immediate reforms to ensure that justice is swift. Canada should also support initiatives that take concrete action to bring justice to and treatment for women whose bodies have been used a weapon of war.

We should support initiatives such as the one proposed by Premier Doug Ford to ensure that terrorists who have returned to Canada are restricted from taking advantage of Canada's generous social programs as part of their reintegration.

The government should be listening to what Canadians want on this matter. What Canadians want is justice. They want to see these criminals face prosecution and be penalized, in Canada or at an international tribunal.

We should fix the gap in evidence by ensuring that police have the tools to act on known threats, that recognizance orders and peace bonds can be accessed by police through the courts, and that the police are properly resourced to take action. We should restore our ability to strip violent extremists of their Canadians citizenship. It is not a Canadian value to rape, murder and pillage, and we should not let anyone involved in such activities to call themself a Canadian.

The answer to ISIS terrorists who want to come to Canada should be “No, absolutely not”. My Canada, our Canada, is not a refuge for terrorism and terrorists. It should be a refuge for people like Nadia Murad. We should listen to the stories of women, children and religious minorities who have had their lives destroyed and their families killed. We should listen to Nadia Murad and her calls for justice.

All Canadians support bringing terrorists to justice and, in just under one year, many of the government benches will understand that in Canada the silent majority often wields a very strong voice.

Opposition Motion—TerrorismBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Liberal

Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague opposite very carefully. I wonder how he feels as a Conservative, given the Conservative record on funding for security, the RCMP and secret services. They made deep cuts to all these services, which are used to track and prevent acts of terrorism.

I would like to know what my hon. colleague thinks about that.

Opposition Motion—TerrorismBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately what the hon. member's question invariably did was to mislead Canadians. It speaks specifically to an action in 2014 by the previous government that cut excess fat from the back offices of those agencies, not operational funding for frontline personnel. In fact, year over year, for the decade the Conservatives were in power, there was a one-third increase in operational spending for the RCMP and national security agencies. There was no funding cut for frontline operational personnel.

Opposition Motion—TerrorismBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the entire debate today is premised on the narrative that there are welcoming arms for ISIS fighters in this country. I do not think that is true. The other thing that the hon. member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner said was that it is no longer the case that it is illegal to promote terrorism in Canada or join a terrorist organization. Unless I misheard him, which is why I wanted to ask the question, that is certainly not true.

I worked hard on Bill C-59 as it went through the House. I also worked on Bill C-51 in the previous Parliament. It created an offence that is unknown in law, promoting terrorism “in general”. It is not something that anyone could identify, it was basically “thought chill”. It was a dangerous provision that would actually make it harder to fight terrorism in Canada under Bill C-51, under the Harper administration.

The new bill absolutely makes it an offence to promote terrorism, not in general, but to promote terrorism. I am wondering if the member could clarify. If he genuinely believes that it is not illegal to promote terrorism in Canada, I will bring him a copy of Bill C-59.

Opposition Motion—TerrorismBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, I do not need a copy of Bill C-59 because I have read it. What it does is water down our national security and RCMP and policing agencies' ability to do exactly that, which is to fight terrorism. It makes it a lot more difficult for police to share information from one agency to another agency in Canada on terrorists, on those returning, on those activities within the country.

Bill C-75 and other acts have made it a hybrid offence to participate in these sorts of activities. For anyone to suggest that Bill C-59 is an improvement across the board over Bill C-51 has missed the swing of the pendulum when it comes to protecting Canadians and national security.