Mr. Speaker, it is not the government that arrests people. It is actually our security forces and the RCMP that arrest people and implement the legislation.
Our Conservative government is very concerned about the threats posed by individuals involved in terrorist activities abroad. We are concerned because the international jihadi movement has declared war on Canada and like-minded countries. While recent events have raised the profile of the threat of terrorism and radicalization to violence, our government has been actively engaged with this issue and has been developing measures to combat the threat of jihadi terrorists for some time now.
Unfortunately, the opposition parties have been unable to support anything when it comes to protecting Canadians. There is good reason for concern with the number of suspected travellers and approximately 80 returnees as noted in the 2014 “Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada”.
Let me state that we take all threats to the security of Canada and Canadians very seriously. That is why we are moving forward with Bill C-51 and the crucial provisions contained in it to protect our national security.
While I cannot comment on active investigations, I can assure the member for Malpeque that our national law enforcement and security agencies are working diligently to investigate suspected high-risk travellers and bring the full weight of Canadian law to bear against those people who would violate us. The RCMP is actively engaged in investigations on numerous high-risk travellers, placing a priority on those who pose the most significant threat to Canadians and Canada's interests at home or abroad.
While the member believes that politicians should be meddling with our national security agencies, we believe in the work that our agencies are doing, and we are committed to providing them with the tools they need to accomplish their task. In addition to the efforts to detect and deny terrorist activity, our government is making efforts to work with communities to prevent individuals from being radicalized to violence in the first place.
Early engagement with individuals at risk is the key to the preventative approach. Such efforts are most effective when they are shared with other levels of government in a shared initiative between governments, police, communities, and all of these people involved together, aimed at young people and stopping violent extremist activity. We are taking this approach under the government's counterterrorism strategy by working with and supporting communities, especially young people, to develop critical thinking and effective counter-messaging against the kind of ideological messaging that we have seen in the many disgusting videos that ISIL has released of violent beheadings, among other things.
Success requires support and participation from all levels of government, civil society, and most of all, local communities and individual Canadians, families, and community groups, which are the foundation of a safe and resilient country. Everyone must play their part in keeping our communities safe.
Terrorism is a serious crime with harsh penalties, which warrants a thorough investigative response. However, such investigations are also extremely challenging, time consuming and resource intensive. Despite these challenges, the RCMP has had significant successes. However, we must ensure that as the threat of terrorism evolves, our laws and tools provided to our national security agencies evolve with it. That is just what the anti-terrorism act, 2015 would do.
We are committed to doing everything in our power to prevent Canadians from either becoming victims or perpetrators of terrorism-related activities. The Combating Terrorism Act, which came into force in May 2013, makes leaving or attempting to leave Canada for terrorist purposes a criminal offence. The act gives our national security agencies the powers to investigate and prosecute terrorist travel planning, and to stop potential extremist travellers before they leave our country.