moved for leave to introduce Bill C-353, an act to provide for the imposition of restrictive measures against foreign hostage takers and those who practice arbitrary detention in state-to-state relations and to make related amendments to the Proceeds of Crime (money laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to have this first in the House, and I hope it is among my many. It is an honour to present my first private member's bill, the foreign hostage takers accountability act.
It is high time to protect Canadians who are used in hostile foreign states as pawns in diplomacy. Foreign states' imprisoning our citizens on spurious charges to extract concessions is fundamentally unjust, and it puts Canada's national interest in deep peril.
Our country has a strong tradition of upholding its commitment to protecting its citizens, including those living and travelling overseas, standing up for fundamental human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law. As it becomes more and more dangerous, the realities in modern terrorist networks are becoming more complex, requiring continued vigilance and real action.
To ensure that Canada responds effectively to hostage-taking and hostage diplomacy, I am proud to introduce this bill. It would strengthen Canada's ability to deter, minimize and resolve instances of hostage-taking by increasing governmental power to levy sanctions, by establishing a family liaison office and by providing incentives for foreign co-operation.
The hostage takers accountability act would build on Canada's reputation as a dedicated defender of human dignity, and if passed, it would be a vital tool in our nation's arsenal to continue to protect the lives and rights of Canadians wherever, whenever and however they are at risk under wrongful and unlawful detention.
I am happy to bring this bill to the floor of the House of Commons, and I want to thank the member for Calgary Heritage for seconding it.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)