April 24, 2015


The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-51, An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, as reported (with amendments) from the committee.


CPC

Bruce Stanton

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton)

There are 66 motions in amendment standing on the notice paper for report stage of Bill C-51. Motions Nos. 1 to 66 will be grouped for debate and voted upon according to the voting pattern available at the table.

I will now put Motions Nos. 1 to 66 to the House.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015
Sub-subtopic:   Speaker's Ruling
Permalink
NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre

New Democratic Party

Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre (Alfred-Pellan, NDP)

moved:

Motion No. 1

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting the long title.

Motion No. 2

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting the short title.

Motion No. 3

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 2.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in Amendment
Permalink
?

Elizabeth May

Green

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP)

, seconded by the member for Edmonton—St. Albert, moved:

Motion No. 4

That Bill C-51, in Clause 2, be amended

(a) by replacing line 21 on page 5 with the following:

“information that is necessary to protect Canada against activities that undermine the security of Canada and that is disclosed under subsection”

(b) by replacing line 25 on page 5 with the following:

“restrictions and prohibitions, while respecting any caveats on, and originator control over, shared information.”

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in Amendment
Permalink
NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre

New Democratic Party

Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre (Alfred-Pellan, NDP)

moved:

Motion No. 5

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 3.

Motion No. 6

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 4.

Motion No. 7

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 5.

Motion No. 8

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 6.

Motion No. 9

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 7.

Motion No. 10

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 8.

Motion No. 11

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 9.

Motion No. 12

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 10.

Motion No. 13

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 11.

Motion No. 14

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 12.

Motion No. 15

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 13.

Motion No. 16

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 14.

Motion No. 17

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 15.

Motion No. 18

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 16.

Motion No. 19

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 17.

Motion No. 20

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 18.

Motion No. 21

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 19.

Motion No. 22

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 20.

Motion No. 23

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 21.

Motion No. 24

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 22.

Motion No. 25

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 23.

Motion No. 26

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 24.

Motion No. 27

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 25.

Motion No. 28

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 26.

Motion No. 29

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 27.

Motion No. 30

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 28.

Motion No. 31

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 29.

Motion No. 32

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 30.

Motion No. 33

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 31.

Motion No. 34

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 32.

Motion No. 35

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 33.

Motion No. 36

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 34.

Motion No. 37

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 35.

Motion No. 38

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 36.

Motion No. 39

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 37.

Motion No. 40

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 38.

Motion No. 41

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 39.

Motion No. 42

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 40.

Motion No. 43

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 41.

Motion No. 44

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 42.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in Amendment
Permalink
?

Elizabeth May

Green

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP)

, seconded by the member for Edmonton—St. Albert, moved:

Motion No. 45

That Bill C-51, in Clause 42, be amended by replacing line 29 on page 49 with the following:

“enforcement power, including the power to perform the duties that are the primary responsibility of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.”

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in Amendment
Permalink
NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre

New Democratic Party

Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre (Alfred-Pellan, NDP)

moved:

Motion No. 46

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 43.

Motion No. 47

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 44.

Motion No. 48

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 45.

Motion No. 49

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 46.

Motion No. 50

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 47.

Motion No. 51

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 48.

Motion No. 52

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 49.

Motion No. 53

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 50.

Motion No. 54

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 51.

Motion No. 55

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 52.

Motion No. 56

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 53.

Motion No. 57

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 54.

Motion No. 58

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 55.

Motion No. 59

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 56.

Motion No. 60

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 57.

Motion No. 61

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 58.

Motion No. 62

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 59.

Motion No. 63

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 60.

Motion No. 64

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 61.

Motion No. 65

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting Clause 62.

Motion No. 66

That Bill C-51 be amended by deleting the Schedule.

Mr. Speaker, thank you for accepting the amendments that the official opposition wants to make to Bill C-51.

These amendments did not come out of nowhere, and I will comment on that in my speech. After the Conservative government introduced Bill C-51, we, the official opposition, took the time to do the work that the government should have done. We consulted the people and experts in various fields affected by this bill.

Most of the Canadians who have been following the debate on Bill C-51 realize that is has some serious flaws. We are not the only ones to have identified those flaws; many other members of our society have as well. These include important leaders in our first nations communities, eminent constitutional law professors, former Supreme Court justices, former prime ministers and community leaders. The Canadian Bar Association also testified before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security about the serious flaws in Bill C-51.

We have taken the time to study the bill, unlike the Liberals, who immediately said they would support it, even though it is a bad bill. The official opposition did its job. We read the bill carefully and realized that we unfortunately could not support it. That is why today, after examining it rather closely in committee and consulting with a number of stakeholders and citizens, we must present these amendments. That is the most sensible thing to do, given that in committee we were told to go back to the drawing board.

For my colleagues who were unable to attend, let me give a brief overview of the evidence we heard on Bill C-51 at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. There were nine committee meetings to hear evidence, including one with the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Justice. At the other eight meetings, the vast majority of the witnesses were there at the government's request, but there were also a few that appeared at the request of the official opposition or the third party. Forty-five of the 48 witnesses who appeared before the committee said we should amend Bill C-51, or scrap it altogether and go back to the drawing board, and, as I said, most of the witnesses were there at the government's behest.

The Minister of Public Safety and the Prime Minister must realize that Bill C-51 is perhaps not the best solution. The right thing to do would be to listen to the official opposition and the various civil society stakeholders, go back to the drawing board and come back with real anti-terrorism legislation. Such legislation should not violate our rights and freedoms, the fundamental rights of first nations, or the right of various groups in civil society to protest, as Bill C-51 does, just to give a few examples.

The opposition did its work in committee. We examined Bill C-51 and heard from witnesses who identified its shortcomings. About a hundred amendments were proposed to Bill C-51 by the various opposition parties and they were debated for several hours, but we once again witnessed the Conservative government's lack of openness in that regard. One after the other, each of the amendments was rejected, often with no explanation from the government. It was likely simply because they were not proposed by the Conservatives.

Three amendments were adopted, but they were minor amendments proposed by the Conservatives. We are therefore not surprised at the government's blatant failure to listen during the committee meetings. We heard extremely important testimony and time was limited. As a result, many witnesses appeared at the same time. We often heard from three or four witnesses in one hour, and unfortunately, we had very little time to ask them questions and continue the debate with them.

I did not want to send Bill C-51 to committee. I would have preferred it if we had scrapped that bill and all of the parties had worked together to come up with something else, a good collective response to terrorism and radicalization. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

We proposed amendments in committee in good faith. We heard from excellent witnesses from all sides. The Conservatives did not listen to them at all. They really should have listened, because I am not sure that Bill C-51 will even stand up in court, which is fundamental when a government proposes a bill.

Unfortunately, the Canadian Bar Association and eminent professors who are extremely knowledgeable about constitutional law came and explained that to us. In fact, I asked them directly whether Bill C-51 was constitutional. The answer was a categorical no. Large parts of Bill C-51 are not at all constitutional and will not stand up in court. It is a government's primary duty to get legal opinions confirming that the bills it introduces are constitutional. That is fundamental, but Bill C-51 is not even constitutional. The members opposite did not do their job properly.

There was talk of the need to provide law enforcement agencies with new tools, but a number of the RCMP and police services representatives that we talked to told us they already have the tools they need to deal with terrorism. The problem is with resources. They do not have the resources they need. The RCMP set aside almost 200 criminal cases in order to assign all its officers to tackling terrorism. There is a serious lack of resources right now, but we do have the tools we need to take action and deal with terrorism.

When the budget was presented to us this week, nearly two months late, I was hoping to at least see a decent allocation for fighting terrorism. I saw that it was included in the budget and I looked at the amounts. To my great surprise, no money was allocated at all. For the Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the envelope is a little less than $300 million over five years. Before 2017, these agencies combined will get less than $20 million to deal with terrorism. This is a drop in the bucket and an insult to the work of our police services. They are being squeezed and are forced to move their staff in order to do the work being asked of them. Now, this budget is giving them peanuts for their work.

When a government claims that it is there to protect its communities, cities and the entire country, to serve its citizens and protect national security, it must turn words into action. It has to allocate the necessary money. It has to provide the money and give it to our law enforcement agencies so that they have the means to act. That is not in Bill C-51 or in the 2015 federal budget tabled by the Conservative government.

I am extremely disappointed with the government's lack of leadership and its failure to take seriously the fight against terrorism and radicalization. There are a lot of holes in the Conservatives' botched approach. For example, it would have been productive for the Conservatives to propose measures against radicalization. Various stakeholders have talked about this. Efforts are being made to counter radicalization in some of our regions and communities, and this work has even been adapted in the United States. That is the first suggestion.

The American government is currently working very hard on devising a national strategy to combat radicalization and is achieving some success. Communities are working with law enforcement agencies on a national strategy to counter radicalization. Quite frankly, we should have followed that fine example. The NDP suggested it at the outset.

Unfortunately, once again, I cannot support Bill C-51 as proposed by the Conservative government. That is why the amendments moved today by the official opposition are so important.

We have to go back to the drawing board, draft a bill together, ensure that we have a national strategy to counter radicalization and stop terrorism once and for all.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in Amendment
Permalink
LIB

Wayne Easter

Liberal

Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I will admit that I do enjoy working on the committee with my colleague from the NDP. I do notice she took a little side slap at the Liberal Party. That is fine, that is politics. In reality, the Liberal Party on this bill is the only party in the House of Commons that has a responsible and reasonable position. We are trying to find the balance on both sides. On the one hand, the government does not care a smidgen, it seems, about the civil liberties of Canadians. On the other hand, the NDP does not seem to care a smidgen about the public safety of Canadians. There is a place where this Parliament can find balance. Some are in the NDP amendments, as they were in the Liberal amendments.

We did have quite a number of witnesses. Although the majority of witnesses had concerns about the civil liberties side of the issue here, they also recognized that there need to be some measures and provisions to ensure the national security and public safety of Canadians.

My question to the member this. Does she not see what those witnesses who indicated that there is a need for greater public safety and national security provisions said? Does she not agree that what they said was important? Why do the New Democrats not seem to care about that side? I know they care about national security, but their position is strange.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in Amendment
Permalink
NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre

New Democratic Party

Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre

Mr. Speaker, if there is one party that has a strange position on Bill C-51, it would unfortunately have to be the third party in the House, for several reasons.

When Bill C-51 was introduced, the Liberal leader claimed that he had concerns—before he had even read it—but then immediately said that he would vote in favour of the bill. The Liberals are giving the Conservatives a blank cheque.

Why? Because at the time, the majority of Canadians supported the bill. However today, two-thirds of Canadians reject Bill C-51.

Furthermore, what intrigues me the most about the Liberals' position on this, aside from the fact that they use the polls to form their opinion on Bill C-51 or to decide on any position they may take, is that as it stands right now Bill C-51 will not comply with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I have some questions that I would have liked to ask my Liberal colleague. I hope he will make a speech so I can ask him the following question: why do the Liberals want to vote against the charter by supporting a bill as flawed as Bill C-51?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in Amendment
Permalink
NDP

Nathan Cullen

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her excellent discourse and her hard work with respect to this difficult situation. As she mentioned, even the Conservative witnesses who were called opposed this bill, and the vast majority of the witnesses were called by the Conservatives.

It is passing strange what we have heard from the Liberals. The Liberal leader is an example and we have to make mention that the only reason he was voting for the bill is because he was worried that the Conservatives would use his opposition to the bill in a future campaign against him. That is what he said. Those are not our words, they are his, and the polling at the time was supportive of Bill C-51.

I have seen many bills pass through this House in my 11 years, but I have never seen a bill for which constituents were coming to me mentioning the number and the name of the bill and suggesting that we need to do everything we can to stop it.

My question is very direct. What exactly is it today that the NDP are trying to do in order to stop this terrible attack on our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as has clearly been demonstrated by former Supreme Court justices, former prime ministers, and virtually every security and constitutional expert that we were able to hear from?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in Amendment
Permalink
NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre

New Democratic Party

Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley, who raised some very important points.

What we are trying to do with respect to Bill C-51 is a matter of principle. We are a party of principles, and nothing could make us vote in favour of a bill that violates our rights and civil liberties as much as Bill C-51 does. We are people of principle.

Early on, the polls did not support our position, not at all. We stood up anyway. Our leader, a very principled man, stood up and decided that, no, we would not support something that is an attack on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and an attack on our fundamental rights. Frankly, this is partisan politics.

This is putting partisanship before principles, which we will never accept. We will not get involved in the Conservatives' game or the Liberals' when our rights and civil liberties are being attacked.

I am proud to stand up today with my caucus colleagues to once again support the amendments we are proposing. The government needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with a solution that works for all Canadians, instead of introducing a botched bill like Bill C-51.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in Amendment
Permalink
?

Elizabeth May

Green

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP)

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues.

Not only is Bill C-51 appalling, it is also dangerous.

I want to pause for a moment, because this is not an ordinary debate, this is not an ordinary bill, and this is not about politics anymore. This is about the soul of the country and whether we understand what Canada stands for, for ourselves and what we represent around the world.

We just bowed our heads in prayer. The Supreme Court is taking a look at bowing our heads in prayer, and we may be visiting that some day. However, we just, through the words of the Speaker, prayed that we make good laws and wise decisions. If we meant that prayer and then passed Bill C-51, our words would be blasphemy, because this is not a good law, nor is it wise.

The story the Prime Minister would like to have Canadians believe about this law is that in this place, some members of Parliament, the ones in the Conservative Party, want to protect Canadians from terrorism, and other members of Parliament—namely Greens, New Democrats, the Bloc, and Independents, and I certainly hope in future the Liberal Party will come to its senses and join us—who will vote against Bill C-51, do not care about security.

Certainly in the course of clause-by-clause, various Conservative members of that committee actually said what a shame it was that the Green Party was willing to “privilege” the rights of terrorists over the those of Canadians, I think were the words used. That is the story Conservatives want Canadians to hear, to think that we are so concerned about rights and freedoms and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and civil liberties that we would turn a blind eye to the threat of terrorism.

The bill was initially launched at a campaign style rally in Richmond Hill, Ontario, and not in this place, something we are becoming all too familiar with as sort of a routine contempt of Parliament. The Conservatives launch big initiatives and laws outside of Parliament, with cheering crowds and campaign banners. When this was first launched, the Prime Minister said, “Violent jihadism is not a human right; it is an act of war”.

It is an extraordinary thing to say, as if anyone had ever suggested that violent jihadism was a human right. It set up a frame in which those of us who oppose Bill C-51 are somehow associating ourselves with violent jihadism.

In response to that torqued campaign rhetoric, we have the words and the advice of some of the country's leading constitutional, legal, and operational security experts in relation to this notion of an act of war. We have the words of professors Craig Forcese from the University of Ottawa and Kent Roach from the University of Toronto, who said: “False analogies between crime and war can contort law”.

We need to look at this bill, which is an omnibus bill of five different sections, five different laws, thrown together and rushed through Parliament and rushed through committee, and ask this question: Does this make us safer? I ask my colleagues not to fall into the trap of saying it is civil liberties versus protecting us from terrorism. Does the bill make us safer? Does it actually confront terrorism in a fashion that makes Canadians safer? Then we can have a discussion about whether we are willing to make compromises about civil liberties because the bill will make us safer.

We see how cleverly the Conservatives' spin puts us wrong-footed before we even begin.

The assumption is that the bill makes us safer, and I want to spend most of my time this morning at report stage to persuade as many colleagues as I can that the bill is dangerous because it makes us less safe. There are the losses of civil liberties the bill represents, the violations of privacy, and indeed, the most unprecedented, anti-constitutional, anti-democratic provision in any law that has ever come before this place, a law to allow a CSIS agent, in a secret trial before a judge, where the only evidence presented would be from the government, and the existence of the hearing would never be known to the public, to get a warrant to violate our Constitution. It is astonishing. It would be a constitutional breach warrant.

However, let us look at the question of whether the bill would make us safer?

After the rush of witnesses through the House, they began the hearings in the Senate. Before we have completed our review of the bill in this place, and here we are at report stage, the other place has already begun its review.

I think some of the most powerful testimony yet on Bill C-51 came up in the Senate from a British security expert who has worked as a liaison officer within the Canadian security establishment. In other words, he is an operational spy. He has worked for MI5 in security, and he has worked in Canada as a liaison officer with Canadian security. He is an expert in what we need to do to make us safer, which is to find and stop terrorist plots. His name is Joe Fogarty. He introduced himself to the Senate, and I have his testimony before me, from which I will quote.

He said, “The question I was asked to address was why it appeared to be the case that the relationship between the police service and MI5 in the United Kingdom was so close, with such easy sharing of information and with such a consistently strong outcome in terms of arrests, prosecutions and convictions in national security cases”.

In contrast, since 2001 in Canada, there have been 30 terrorism-related arrests, whereas in the U.K., there have been some 2,000, and these figures do not include Northern Ireland. It could just be that we do not have very much terrorism activity here, but it could also be that we have set up silos, with security services and police operations, which do not work with each other and actually can trip each other up.

In that sense, Mr. Fogarty gave further testimony, which I found quite shocking. He said that this is all on the public record but is not that easy to find. These examples were put forward. These are recent:

“CSIS discovered the location of a suspected terrorist training camp inside Canada.... it decides not to tell the RCMP about it”.

Here is another example:

“CSIS realized that the RCMP was following the wrong targets. So having identified certain people who are believed, by that stage, to be threats to public safety, realizing that the RCMP was following the wrong people, CSIS decided not to say anything”.

This evidence from Mr. Fogarty, which I will come back to, is directly relevant to testimony the House of Commons committee heard.

John Major, former Supreme Court Justice, who chaired the Air India inquiry, pleaded with the committee not to pass the bill in its current form and not to pass it without oversight.

Part 4 of the bill would create for CSIS new powers of disruption, and as I mentioned earlier, would allow it to get a warrant from a judge to break domestic law and to violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, nowhere in Bill C-51 are CSIS agents required to share information with the RCMP.

Now, we will hear from Conservatives that we should not worry, because part 1 of the bill is all about information sharing. Yes, the words “information sharing” are used, but they are not about sharing information between CSIS, Canada Border Services Agency, CSEC, and the RCMP. Those are the four different agencies that are collecting information and have a role in disrupting terrorist plots, but there is no oversight. There is no pinnacle command. There is nobody watching what each entity is doing, and there is no requirement to share information. On the contrary, we have set up a system where there are disincentives to sharing information.

Mr. Fogarty testified very clearly that in the U.K., due to a law that was passed back in 1996, a situation was created under that legislation that “all national security material is afforded third-party status in criminal proceedings as a matter of statute”.

With that assurance, in the case of the U.K., the police work with MI5. In Canada, we do not do that. Our current system lacks any oversight. I cannot say that clearly enough. We have a review committee in SIRC, but that is not oversight.

Here we have a situation where a security expert came before Parliament and to the Senate committee and said:

“At the minute...with the greatest of regret, if you continue with the situation in which your security intelligence agency is reluctant, for very good reasons, to share with your law enforcement team, this is the equivalent of sitting on top of a tragedy waiting to happen”.

He went on:

“I was asked this question a number of years ago.... I was asked to have a look at which bits of the Canadian operational relationship I would incorporate into the U.K. because, as liaison officers, you were very acquisitive and looking for best practices all over the world.... with the greatest of respect, I wouldn't incorporate a single aspect of it, at the minute, because it's dangerous”.

Here we are being told by the Conservatives and the Prime Minister that we must accept a bill that would trample on the Constitution, trample on our rights and freedoms, and violate our privacy rights because it would make us safer. Here is the big lie: it would not make us safer. It is dangerous. It would make us less safe. It would create circumstances in which CSIS and the RCMP operate in silos. That led to the Air India disaster.

I plead with my colleagues to reject this bad law.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in Amendment
Permalink
CPC

John Weston

Conservative

Mr. John Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to hear my friend and colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands refer to my former political science professor and others, but aside from that, I take umbrage with much of what she said. The bill is designed to bring our government up to the level of other western democracies. It is modest in the changes it would make, given the threats we as Canadians confront.

I would ask two questions. First, I would ask if my friend has to be confronted personally by a knife-wielding terrorist for her to understand that the threat really is out there and that Canadians need to face it. Second, why would she oppose a bill that seeks to bring judicial overview of the kinds of measures we are looking at as opposed to the executive approval used in other democracies, which is much less cumbersome and unwieldy than judicial oversight?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in Amendment
Permalink
?

Elizabeth May

Green

Ms. Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, my friend from West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country misunderstands if he thinks that I said in my speech that I do not take terrorism seriously. I take it seriously. The Conservatives do not, because they have put forward a bill that would create a situation in which we are less safe.

As for the specific circumstances of the words “judicial oversight”, let us be clear. This bill does not contain a single element of judicial oversight. It would allow a CSIS agent to go to a judge and obtain a warrant, but would that judge have the overview and oversight to continue to monitor the way that warrant is used?

No other modern democracy, none anywhere, would allow a judge in a secret hearing to give a warrant to violate the Constitution. It is unheard of in the democratic world. It is unheard of period, and Parliament should not stand for it.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in Amendment
Permalink
NDP

Raymond Côté

New Democratic Party

Mr. Raymond Côté (Beauport—Limoilou, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands for her speech. She raised some very serious objections related to the dangers of Bill C-51.

When the Standing Committee on Finance was studying terrorism financing and in related conversations, I had the opportunity to talk to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Daniel Therrien. He confirmed the impression I had that some federal agencies and departments affected by the bill, such as the Canada Revenue Agency, could end up freely sharing information from individuals' tax records. Mr. Therrien said that was indeed the case.

Can the member elaborate on other examples of information sharing allowed by this bill that would be excessive or potentially inappropriate?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in Amendment
Permalink
?

Elizabeth May

Green

Ms. Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague. I myself was appalled when I found out that the Privacy Commissioner of Canada had not even been invited to appear before the committee. I know that because I was there when the NDP members tried to invite him.

What are we to make of the intentions of a government that prevented the Privacy Commissioner of Canada from testifying? It is clear that this bill is dangerous and will violate Canadians' rights.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in Amendment
Permalink
LIB

Kevin Lamoureux

Liberal

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party has indicated that one of the biggest omissions from this legislation is parliamentary oversight, something we believe is absolutely critical. However, we recognize that there is some value to the legislation. Even the New Democrats have indicated that if they were elected to government in the fall, they would not repeal the act.

Does the member see any value in the legislation? Is there any valuable aspect of the legislation she thinks would be of benefit to Canadians?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in Amendment
Permalink
?

Elizabeth May

Green

Ms. Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, there is virtually nothing.

The one thing in here that would be of value would be the ability to stop someone from boarding a plane. On the no-fly list right now, it is restricted to people who pose a danger to the flight, as opposed to someone seeking to leave Canada to join foreign fighters.

Other than that, this entire bill is so bad that neither opposition party in this House, should they ever form government, should imagine that it could be fixed with amendments. I hope that the horror of this bill will not pass in this place. I still think that if the Liberals were to vote with the rest of the opposition parties that there are enough Conservatives of conscience that this would not pass. However, if it does pass, after the next election it must be repealed, and then the small change to the no-fly list could be made.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in Amendment
Permalink
CPC

Ed Komarnicki

Conservative

Mr. Ed Komarnicki (Souris—Moose Mountain, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is certainly a privilege to have the opportunity to speak with respect to Bill C-51, anti-terrorism act, 2015.

As we have seen in Canada, the new national jihadist movement has declared war, and Canadians are being targeted by those terrorists simply because they hate our society and the values it represents. It does not matter what the opposition may say and what members may say, it is a present reality. It is a fact, and we only need to look back over the past number of weeks at the terrorist attacks in Ottawa, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, as well as attacks upon Australia and Paris, to see that the threat of radical Islamic extremism is a very real threat that needs to be dealt with, that needs to confronted.

I do not need to mention that here in this House we were not only witnesses, but were directly involved with events that took place. That certainly shattered the innocence of this House and many Canadians. I think it struck a chord with Canadians that someone has to do something, has to take some immediate steps to address what is happening. We need to be sure that the law enforcement agencies and other agencies have the tools they need to deal with this new situation.

It was interesting. The first speaker misspoke by saying initially that the agencies needed “the tools”; then she said “I meant to say the funds”. They need the funds, and we have provided for those funds. More important, we need to be sure as legislators that we provide the tools to the law enforcement agencies and other agencies that have to deal with the security of Canadians.

These threats are real. They require a strong response and strong action. That is why, under the strong leadership of our Prime Minister, our government took action and brought forward the protection of Canada from terrorists act and the anti-terrorism act, 2015, which take steps to protect Canadians against jihadi terrorists who seek to destroy the very principles that make Canada the best country in the world to live.

When the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands says that the bill does not in any way enhance our security and protection, that simply is not so. I will certainly point out in the course of my discussion of the bill that indeed it does do that very thing.

Canadians understand that their freedom and security go hand in hand. Canadians expect us to protect their privacy, to protect their freedom, but also to protect them. There are protections in this legislation to do exactly that.

The fundamental fact is that our police and national security agencies are working to protect our rights and freedoms. They are not working against us; they are working against the terrorists. We have to remember that these are jihadi terrorists who endanger our security and take away our freedoms in a very fundamental and barbaric way.

Providing national security agencies with new tools will ensure that gaps in sharing information about suspected terrorists does not limit their ability to prevent attacks on or against Canadians. We, as politicians, do not enforce the law, but we do have the duty and responsibility to make sure that law enforcement agencies, security agencies, have the necessary tools to keep Canadians safe. Canadians expect no less. Canadians want to be sure that we are confronting the terrorists, confronting the danger to us in the best we can, and that those in positions of authority who have to do that have the tools and resources.

It is a coming of age for Canada to file a comprehensive anti-terrorism bill in the face of terrorism threats and activity. This is activity that has already taken place. It is my view that there is no more fundamental role for a government than to protect its country and its people.

In today's world of global travel, sophisticated communications, and the use of Internet, it is timely and appropriate for the government to get up to speed and to ensure that we have the ability to counter, disrupt, and, where possible, eliminate the threat of terrorism and the threat that may be imminent to Canadians. This is especially so when activities that undermine the security of Canada are often carried out in a clandestine, deceptive, or hostile manner, and are increasingly global, complex, and sophisticated. They often emerge and evolve rapidly, and we need to be sure that our security forces can also adapt and react rapidly and do what we need to do to counter those threats.

The proposed legislation is therefore timely, and provides the tools and flexibility to keep pace with evolving threats and better protect Canadians.

The legislation would criminalize the advocacy for promotion of terrorism in general, and would give the courts authority to order the removal of terrorist propaganda online. That is a sensible thing. Most Canadians would expect them to have the ability and power to do that.

As a member of Parliament, I find it remarkable that we have to date not had specific legislation to authorize the sharing of information between government institutions having to do with the security of Canada and ensuring that the threshold to do so is not unduly onerous. How is it that we have a government department that has to do with security that does not share that information with another department that has to do with security? For anyone to say that to allow them to do that is somehow not helping to better protect Canadians, I do not understand where they are coming from.

With respect to air travel, it is only reasonable to be able to screen and prevent individuals from boarding an aircraft if they pose an immediate threat. There are provisions to give the minister certain powers to do that. Surely that is a direct protection of Canadians.

The legislation allows the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to not only gather information, but to intervene and disrupt terror plots while they are in the planning stages. If it can gather information and know there is a plot but not disrupt it, are Canadians safer? Of course they are not. If we know there is a plot, we do what we can to disrupt it. We make sure that our security agencies have the ability to do that. That would indeed make Canadians safer. Canadians expect that much. They expect our governments to ensure that our agencies can do that. Of course, it does not give CSIS the power to enforce; that is left to the police.

The legislation would also enhance the ability of law enforcement agencies to detain suspected terrorists before they can harm Canadians. The ability to detain those who might harm me, anyone in the House, or any Canadian, is a fundamental ability. That is an obvious positive thing in the legislation.

The legislation would enhance the ability for law enforcement agencies to detain suspected terrorists before they can harm Canadians. It would ensure that a recognizance can issue, with conditions, in peace bond provisions. Judges can require persons to surrender their passport or not leave the jurisdiction.

The legislation would lower the threshold to obtain a recognizance with conditions in circumstances where a peace officer believes on reasonable grounds that a terrorism activity “may” be carried out, as opposed to “will” be carried out. It is lowering the threshold. He must have reasonable grounds to believe that a terrorism activity “may” be carried out as opposed to “will” be carried out, and actions would be taken.

For the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, I would point out that this specific legislation would indeed protect Canadians. Under one threshold that recognizance may not be issued; under this threshold, the recognizance would be issued and would prevent a dangerous event from happening that would harm an innocent Canadian.

It also replaces the requirement that a recognizance is “necessary to prevent” with the words “is likely to prevent”. Anyone who knows that something is “likely” to prevent ought to take steps to ensure that it is prevented. It is a lower threshold, but it is there for the purpose of protecting Canadians, not for the purpose of protecting terrorists.

It would also allow for an increase in the period of incarceration from three days to a possible seven days, with periodic judicial review. The need for these types of provisions is very obvious. It is a coming of age for Canada and Canadians as a whole.

I am sure most Canadians would say that it is about time we tackled terrorism head-on, not watching on the sidelines, not hoping that someone will look after us, but actually putting legislation in place that will protect us, that will enhance the security and protection of Canadians. I think all Canadians expect us to do that, and I would ask the opposition to get behind the bill.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in Amendment
Permalink
CPC

Bruce Stanton

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton)

The hon. member for Souris—Moose Mountain will have five minutes for a period of questions and comments when the House next returns to debate on the question.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in Amendment
Permalink

April 24, 2015