Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to add some words to this debate on the anti-terrorism bill.
We know that the world is becoming an increasingly dangerous place, and that is unfortunate. We now see in other liberal democracies such as France, Australia, Denmark, and of course, here in Canada and right here in Parliament that nowhere can we be sure that there will not be attacks on our citizens by those who have a different philosophy and ideology of life, and who are committed to the destruction of the privacy rights, human rights, democratic rights, security and safety of our country.
I read a very interesting article by Graeme Wood in the March issue of The Atlantic. It is called “What ISIS Really Wants”. Graeme Wood points out that ISIS already rules an area larger than the United Kingdom. He points out that the Islamic State, which rules this fairly large area, is committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people and that those who support the Islamic State believe that they have an obligation to conduct what is called offensive jihad, which is to expand their territory as an essential duty. This is not only done through active warfare and acts of terrorism, but by subversive acts, as well.
There is another very good article from the March 3 issue of The New York Times, called “The Education of ‘Jihadi John’”. The writer knew Jihadi John, who graduated in computer science from the University of Westminster. He said, “academic institutions in Britain have been infiltrated for years by dangerous theocratic fantasists. I should know: I was one of them.” He said that his recruiter came straight out of a London medical college, and that while such institutions must guard free speech, as we cherish here in Canada, “they should also be vigilant to ensure that speakers are not given unchallenged platforms to promote their toxic message to a vulnerable audience.”
The government realizes that these dangers and threats to Canadians and Canadian security are real, and that they are growing. We count ourselves fortunate that we have not had worse incidents than those we experienced last fall, but we also know that they are very possible.
Governments have a positive duty to protect the lives and property of citizens. That is why we organize ourselves in society. That is why we have authorities in society. Our Conservative government takes this duty very seriously. We passed over 30 measures to further protect society against dangerous criminals who are committed to fighting as part of jihadi terrorism.
Jihadi terrorists have declared war specifically on Canada. They are absolutely opposed to our way of life. They are opposed to our freedoms. They are opposed to our tolerance. They are opposed to our diversity. They are opposed to the privacy and human rights that the opposition and others are concerned about. We have to protect those rights and freedoms, but we cannot do that unless we push back, and unless we find ways to halt and to interfere with the spread of this kind of terrorist activity.
It troubles me very much to see a group, such as the jihadists, actually targeting our country. We know that the Islamic State's whole philosophy is absolutely opposed and toxic to our way of life, especially to women.
As we fight to degrade and destroy ISIS, we also have to put into place a few new measures to modernize and to give appropriate tools to our security forces to better be able to identify, interfere with and stop the activities of jihadi terrorists.
There are a number of myths that have risen against this legislation. People have been told certain things about it, certain things that are not true, but nevertheless it causes them to be concerned, and in some cases to come out and march in the streets. I can assure Canadians that in no way does any member of the House, whether on the government side or on the opposition benches, want to do anything but strengthen, protect and preserve the rights and freedoms that we enjoy in this wonderful country.
The bill is not in any way intended to, nor I believe does it, in any way take away the civil rights of law-abiding citizens, regular citizens of this country. I will give some tangible examples of what the bill would do. They are common sense measures, in spite of the overheated rhetoric from some on the opposite side.
For example, if Passport Canada, in dealing with an applicant for a passport, has reason to believe or hears from a sponsor of the passport applicant that the person is intending to travel to join Islamist jihadists, Passport Canada would be allowed to share that information with the RCMP. The legislation would allow known radicalized individuals to be prevented from boarding a plane bound for a terrorist conflict zone. It would criminalize the promotion of terrorism in general.
Right now we have to be very specific about what we tell other people to do. If we just say to someone “kill all the infidels wherever you can in Canada”, that is not illegal. That needs to be illegal. That kind of promotion of terrorism should be illegal. I think most Canadians would be surprised to know that right now it is not.
It would allow CSIS agents to speak with the parents of radicalized youth to disrupt their travel plans to go to terrorist places in the world. Many parents have been heartbroken because authorities have known that their children were involved in being radicalized and planned to join ISIL, but no one told them because of privacy laws. That is not right.
It would provide government with an appeal mechanism to stop information from being released in security certificate proceedings if it could harm a source. If we do not have sources, if we do not have intelligence coming in, then we are not going to be able to stop some of these plots.
I have heard the other side say that other liberal democracies do not allow their national security agents to disrupt threats, but that is not true. The U.S. can engage a disruption with an executive order. The U.K. can conduct any activity to protect national security. The Norwegian police security service can prevent and investigate. The Finnish security intelligence service is mandated to prevent crime.
Bill C-51 does not give any law enforcement power to CSIS. It cannot arrest anybody or charge anybody, but it can attempt to stop terrorist attacks while they are still in the planning stages. This is far more in-depth than our allies' provisions. At all times, all rights under the Constitution are protected.
I urge my colleagues to vote for this good legislation.