Mr. Speaker, as I have said, we are taking a critical step in this government toward ensuring that CSIS is well positioned to confront the terrorist threat as it exists in 2015.
I think it is useful to provide a bit of context about CSIS's work and the associated sections of the CSIS Act that govern that work. Section 12 of the CSIS Act mandates CSIS to collect and analyze intelligence on threats to the security of Canada, and in relation to those threats, to report to and advise the Government of Canada. These threats are specifically defined in the CSIS Act as espionage or sabotage, foreign-influenced activities that are detrimental to the interests of Canada, activities directed toward the threat or use of acts of serious violence, and activities directed toward undermining the system of government in Canada.
Section 16 of the CSIS Act authorizes CSIS to collect within Canada foreign intelligence related to the capabilities, intentions, or activities of any foreign state or group of foreign states. This is subject to the restriction that its activities cannot be directed at Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or corporations.
Sections 13, 14, and 15 authorize CSIS to provide security assessments to the Government of Canada, provincial governments, and other Canadian and foreign institutions, to provide advice to ministers of the crown on matters related to the Citizenship Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and to conduct investigations required to perform all these functions.
Clearly, all of these are very challenging mandates. Fulfilling these mandates means that CSIS has to use a suite of investigative techniques that can include, for instance, open-source research, physical surveillance, interviews, and analyzing intelligence from a wide variety of sources, among others. What is particularly important to note here is the importance that human resources play in allowing CSIS to fulfill its mandate to investigate and to advise on threats to Canada's security.
Other techniques used by CSIS are more intrusive in nature. These techniques may include, among others, searches of a target's place of residence and analysis of financial records or telecommunications intercepts.
CSIS is required to obtain warrants under the CSIS Act to pursue intrusive investigative techniques. In order to obtain a warrant, CSIS must satisfy a designated Federal Court judge that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a warrant is required to enable CSIS to investigate a threat to the security of Canada or to perform its duties and functions under section 16 of the CSIS Act. The CSIS Act also requires the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to approve warrant applications before they are submitted to the Federal Court, which is a very sold failsafe method. In addition, co-operation with domestic agencies is also critical.
Section 17 of the CSIS Act authorizes CSIS, with the approval of the minister, to co-operate with any department of the Government of Canada or the government of a province or any police force in a province. Therefore, CSIS works closely with the RCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency, other government departments, and police forces across Canada.
When it comes to investigating threat-related activities occurring outside of Canada, CSIS's relationship with the Communications Security Establishment Canada, or CSE, is particularly important. CSIS relies heavily on the capabilities and the expertise of CSE to conduct telecommunications intercepts outside of Canada. CSE's legal authority to provide assistance to CSIS stems from subsection 273.64(1)(c) of the National Defence Act.
The CSIS Act authorizes CSIS to enter into an arrangement or to otherwise co-operate with the government of a foreign state, or an institution of that state, with the approval of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness after consulting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Co-operation with foreign entities is critical to CSIS's ability to fulfill its mandate. Individuals being investigated often leave Canada to engage in a range of threat-related activities, and no country can assess the full range of threats on its own. CSIS must be able to work with foreign partners, subject to oversight by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and review by the Security Intelligence Review Committee.
Now that I have outlined some of the important work that CSIS does and how the CSIS act allows for it, I will speak to how this bill would allow CSIS to more effectively operate in the evolving threat environment.
Specifically, this bill would confirm CSIS' authority to conduct investigations outside of Canada related to threats to the security of Canada and security assessments. It would also confirm that the Federal Court can issue warrants for CSIS to investigate, within or outside Canada, threats to the security of Canada. It would also give the Federal Court the authority to consider only relevant Canadian law when issuing warrants to authorize CSIS to undertake certain intrusive activities outside of Canada. It would protect the identity of CSIS human resources from disclosure, and it would protect the identity of CSIS employees who are likely to become involved in covert activities in the future.
These are all measured changes that would amend the legislation governing CSIS' activities so that it has the clear ability and authority to investigate threats to the security of Canada wherever and whenever they may occur.
It is clear that our Conservative government does take the protection of Canadians most seriously. Unfortunately, it seems that some of the other parties do not share our view that these are most serious issues in need of most serious solutions.
The leader of the NDP has determined that our government is playing politics with the issue of terrorism, and he is not convinced that Canada was the victim of two terrorist threats in late October. It is incredible. These views, offensive as they may be—and I do find them offensive personally—are certainly predictable. Remember, this is the same NDP leader who said he did not believe that the U.S. military had really killed Osama bin Laden.
Where can we start with the Liberal Party? It was the Liberal Party leader who recently said we should not fight to destroy and degrade ISIL because he does not believe that we can win against a barbaric group of deranged jihadists.
Despite all of this, I believe that we, as a government and as parties respectively, can come together. I urge all members to support this legislation to allow us to move to the earlier implementation of certain changes to Canadian citizenship laws and to allow CSIS to carry out its vital work in the threat environment of the present day.