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41st PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 207

CONTENTS

Tuesday, May 5, 2015




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 147 
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NUMBER 207 
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2nd SESSION 
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41st PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Speaker: The Honourable Andrew Scheer

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayers



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 12 petitions.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015

    That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House at the conclusion of the debate later today on 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, all questions necessary to dispose of the third reading stage of the said bill be deemed put and a recorded division deemed requested and deferred until Wednesday, May 6, 2015, at the expiry of the time provided for government orders.
    I believe you will find unanimous consent for that motion.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

Petitions

Iraq 

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions today. The first is from constituents and others who have asked our government to give serious consideration to offering protection to Christians who are being the special targets of persecution in Iraq by putting in place a special program to bring these Christians into Canada if they would like to come.

Sex Selection  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is to do with gender selection abortion. The petitioners ask Parliament to condemn the practice of discrimination against girls through gender selection abortion.

Public Transit  

    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to present three petitions to the House. The first petition calls for a national public transit strategy noting that Canada is the only OECD country that does not have such a strategy and it calls upon the House to provide a permanent investment plan to support public transit in Canada.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is with respect to the issue of climate change, noting that the economic costs of climate change to Canada range between $21 billion and $43 billion. The petitioners call on the House to allocate scarce resources to programs that help Canadians adapt to climate change.

Peace Tax  

    Mr. Speaker, the third petition is with respect to a peace tax legislation. The petitioners note that the Constitution guarantees freedom of conscience and religion. The signatories to the petition call on the House to establish a peace tax by passing into law a bill such as the conscientious objection tax.

[Translation]

CBC/Radio-Canada  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to present three petitions.
    The first petition has to do with Canada's public broadcaster. These Nova Scotian citizens want Parliament to establish a system to ensure that our public broadcaster, Radio-Canada/CBC, can have a sustainable future.

[English]

Public Safety  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two different petitions from two different parts of Canada. They are both identical and pertain to Bill C-51.
    The first petition is from residents throughout Vancouver Island. Over 140 petitioners from Campbell River, Duncan, Comox and Victoria call on the House assembled to reject Bill C-51 as an assault on Canadian constitutional rights.
    The second group of petitioners, just shy of 170, from throughout the GTA, are all calling for the House to reject Bill C-51.

Impaired Driving  

     Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition that, sadly, informs the House that Karen East was tragically killed by a drunk driver, a person who chose to drive while impaired. The East family has been left devastated.
    Families for Justice is a group of Canadians who have lost loved ones to an impaired driver.
    The petitioners believe that impaired driving laws in Canada are much too lenient. They want the crime to be called what it is, “vehicular homicide”, which is the number one cause of death in Canada. They want mandatory sentencing for those convicted of impaired driving causing death.

Pharmacare  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today.
    The first petition is with respect to national pharmacare. It is from various communities and people throughout the Thunder Bay—Superior North riding.
    The petitioners basically want three things. They want to establish a Canada-wide prescription drug program that would cover all citizens; they want to reduce the cost of prescription drugs through bulk buying by the government; and, they want to ensure that all new drugs are evaluated through sufficient evidence-based research.

  (1010)  

Nuclear Waste  

     Mr. Speaker, the second petition is also from various communities and people in Thunder Bay—Superior North and northwestern Ontario, including Schreiber, Nipigon and Manitouwadge.
    The petitioners are concerned that the Nuclear Waste Management Organization is planning or hoping or at least considering burying nuclear waste in northern Ontario. They would not like that to happen and they would not like to have high-level nuclear waste transported through northern Ontario communities.

International Trade  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by dozens of Vancouver residents, many in Vancouver Kingsway, who are concerned about the shipment of illegal whale meat through Canadian ports. It has been discovered this happened last year.
    Since 1972, Canada has banned commercial whaling in Canadian waters and Canada is signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species which has listed the fin whale and other endangered whales under the category requiring the highest level of protection against commercial trade.
    The petitioners are calling upon the Canadian government to join with the U.S. and Germany to take concrete action to prevent the trade of endangered whale meat in our respective territories and for Canada to be an international leader in protecting all endangered species.

Questions on the Order Paper

[Text]

Question No. 1115--
Hon. John McCallum:
     With regard to government communications: for each message event proposal prepared since January 1, 2014, (a) what is the (i) originating department, agency, or crown corporation, (ii) date, (iii) file number, (iv) title or description of the event, (v) event type, (vi) desired headline, (vii) key messages, (viii) media lines, (ix) strategic objectives, (x) desired soundbite, (xi) ideal speaking backdrop, (xii) ideal event photograph, (xiii) tone, (xiv) attire, (xv) rollout materials, (xvi) background, (xvii) strategic considerations; and (b) for each message event proposal, did the message event take place, (i) if so, what was the date and location of the message event, (ii) if not, why not?
Mr. Paul Calandra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC):
     Mr. Speaker, many message event proposals are submitted in the language of origin only. Producing and translating the information requested would involve thousands of records and is not possible in the time period required for this response.

[English]

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Mr. Speaker, if Questions Nos. 1116 to 1118 could be made orders for return, these returns would be tabled immediately.
    The Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 1116--
Hon. Wayne Easter:
     With regard to the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) and the Canadian Criminal Real-Time Identification Services (CCRTIS): broken down annually since 2006, (a) what is the detailed budget for CPIC and CCRTIS; (b) how many Criminal Record checks have been submitted to CPIC and CCRTIS; (c) how many Criminal Record checks have been processed; (d) how many Criminal Record checks have been backlogged; (e) how many Vulnerable Sector checks have been submitted to CPIC and CCRTIS; (f) how many Vulnerable Sector checks have been backlogged; (g) what is the average processing time for Criminal Record checks; (h) what is the average processing time for Vulnerable Sector checks; and (i) how many staff have been employed to work on CPIC and CCRTIS?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1117--
Hon. Wayne Easter:
     With regard to federal correctional facilities: (a) what is the prison population of each such facility; (b) what is the maximum inmate capacity of each such facility; (c) what was the number of correctional officers and personnel at each such facility in each of the last ten years; and (d) what was the prison population of each such facility in each of the last ten years?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1118--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
     With respect to proposals for the mid-sized-projects component of the Enabling Accessibility Fund submitted to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada for the period from October 2010 to January 13, 2011: (a) what is the name and the sponsoring organization for each of the 167 proposals that met the initial screening criteria; (b) what were the internal assessment scores of the Department for each proposal; (c) what was the Department's passing grade for the internal assessment of each proposal; and (d) what were the top 25 proposals selected for the external evaluation team?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.
    The Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[English]

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015

     He said: Mr. Speaker, today as we enter the final debate after months of discussion and amendment that have been brought to the anti-terrorism bill, I am convinced more than ever that our country needs this bill. Our country needs tools for our police and those who are there to protect us and to keep us safe.
    To begin today, I would like to quote from an article that was written in the National Post last week by Danny Eisen. He is the co-founder of the Canadian Coalition Against Terror, and lost a relative on the American Airlines flight on 9/11.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Steven Blaney: Mr. Speaker, I would invite the opposition members to listen to this important speech for the safety of our nation and to feel free to comment afterward during their period for questioning, and to show respect for someone who stands up for our country and who actually lost someone from an act of terrorism. I know the opposition members have a hard time calling a spade a spade, but in this very place on October 22 we were under attack by a terrorist.
    Let me go back to my speech and quote Mr. Eisen. I thank him for coming to this Parliament in support of those important measures. I would invite those members who seem not to take the terrorism issue seriously to listen to what he said and what was written last week in the National Post:
    The assaults on the World Trade Center; the slaughter in India’s business centre [in] Mumbai; the thwarted plans of the Toronto 18 (which included an attack on Toronto’s business district [here in Canada]); and the attacks on Kenyan malls, to name a few, were designed, not only to kill, but to target countries by undermining their economies.
    Members have heard me many times saying that there is no liberty without security. I would add that there is no prosperity without security. That is why we are now being given the opportunity to support those anti-terrorism measures. This morning, I am given the opportunity to present them, and I would like to thank my colleague, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, who is the member for York—Simcoe, as well as my Conservative colleagues who have been supportive through this journey where, since October 22, we have crafted measures that are specifically designed to face the international jihadi threat that our country is facing.

  (1015)  

[Translation]

    Through its actions and commitments, our government has demonstrated that it will stand up to those who want to spread fear, and that it will respond in a measured fashion. It will not remain idle against this threat. That is why we introduced measures to combat terrorism.
    One of the first measures came from the recommendations made following the most serious terrorist-inspired aviation disaster Canada has ever experienced, the Air India crash. We are responding to a recommendation that was made at the time to allow the various federal government agencies to share information related to national security.
    That is why we want to move forward with the security of Canada information sharing act. This legislation proposes much-needed changes to how federal departments and agencies can share information that could be crucial in identifying potential threats to national security.

[English]

    Some critics have falsely claimed that this legislation would target protesters or would drastically expand the size and scope of the government. This is not the case.
    Let me quote Justice John Major, the author of the Air India commission report, who said, “...citizens who are not validly under suspicion will not have some manufactured reason for their private lives to be interfered with”.

[Translation]

    Our government organizations have always complied with privacy laws, as well they should. However, it has become very clear that legal impediments to information exchange can, in some cases, interfere with the government's ability to detect national security threats. The question is simple: are we going to let terrorists use the fact that the government operates in silos to attack Canadians?
    The answer is clear: no.
    We are doing this while respecting people's privacy and the Constitution and by giving federal agencies the ability to share information that could threaten national security. I would like to point out that in the amendments to the bill, it was made clear that protesters will not be affected by this ability to exchange information.
    The threats we are facing today are increasingly diverse and complex. It is time we implemented a stronger security framework that will enable information exchange in support of our national security objectives. We know that government organizations will wield these powers responsibly, with respect for privacy and security, and in accordance with Canadian laws.

  (1020)  

[English]

    What is more, there are appropriate mechanisms already in place that would counterbalance the new authority created by this act, such as review by the Privacy Commissioner and the Auditor General.
    I will turn now to the second improvement to the bill, the passenger protect program. There are two significant changes in this regard. The first is to put the program on its own solid, legal foundation—namely, the secure air travel act.

[Translation]

    As the House has heard, so far the program has been operating under the authority of the Aeronautics Act because it has been used solely as a tool to ensure air security. Its current mandate is to identify individuals likely to pose a threat to air security and take measures to counter that threat, such as preventing them from boarding an aircraft.
    Basically, right now, if a person wants to attack a plane, the law makes it possible to put that person on a high-risk passenger list and prevent him from boarding a plane. However, if we are in a situation such as the one we saw a few weeks ago, when some young Montrealers wanted to fly to the Middle East to commit terrorist acts, and that information comes to the attention of the relevant agencies, this law will make it possible to prevent them from boarding a plane. People leaving the country to commit terrorist acts is anathema to Canadian values. Moreover, if they return to Canada, they pose an even greater threat to our national security.

[English]

    Jihadi terrorist travellers are now an increasing threat, both to populations abroad and to Canadians, if and when these jihadi extremists return home to Canada as hardened jihadi warriors.
    That is the reason why we need to improve our current law; that is what our anti-terrorism measures are doing; and that is why I certainly invite all members to reconsider their position and support this important legislation.

[Translation]

    This will strengthen our ability to respond to this growing concern by giving the authorities the ability to take action in cases where it is not yet possible to arrest people and lay charges.
    This broader mandate will necessitate the use of appropriate security measures, such as refusing permission to board or carrying out additional inspections at the airport.

[English]

    Of course these changes are supported by the airline industry. Let me quote Marc-André O'Rourke of the National Airlines Council of Canada, who said that they:
...understand the need to update Canada's passenger protect program in light of the evolving nature of security threats, and we continue to support the program under...
    Bill C-51, our anti-terrorism measures, which are so needed to increase the capability of our police and our intelligence officers to keep us safe from those threats.
    Additionally, this bill would make an important enhancement to the mandate of CSIS. CSIS is the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, whose members are there to protect us. We want to help them have better tools to fight the modern terrorist threat.

[Translation]

    At this time, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's role is strictly limited to collecting intelligence concerning threats to our security. CSIS has been doing this in a very professional manner for over 30 years now. It collects intelligence and forwards it to the Canadian government. CSIS investigators do this by conducting their activities in Canada and abroad.
    As a result, they are often the first to detect threats to the security of Canada. They are at an early stage of the process, which makes it possible to detect security threats, particularly terrorist threats.
    However, as we speak, they have neither the mandate nor the legal authority to take action to disrupt threats that come to their knowledge in the course of their investigations.
    I had the opportunity to clarify that the Canadian service is practically the only one among our allies that is unable to exercise this capacity to reduce the threat and take action early on to avoid unfortunate, if not disastrous or fatal, consequences.

  (1025)  

[English]

    Frankly, this limitation results in important missed opportunities to disrupt threats early, before they have had time to develop. It also neglects the full potential of CSIS' expertise at a time when we can least afford it.
    Let me remind members of what Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President of American Islamic Forum for Democracy said:
    It is amazing to me that...disrupting...is...[currently] prohibited. Disrupting doesn't mean arresting these individuals or violating their personal property rights or taking them out of commission. You're actually just disrupting a plot.
    Many Canadians believe that CSIS could do this, while it cannot. However, with this bill, CSIS would be able to disrupt the threat, like any other similar agency of our allies. Its officers will also be able, for example, to talk to the parents of young individuals who are lured by radicalization, to prevent them from falling into that path, even at a pre-criminalization sphere.
    That is an important part of the bill that addresses the four pillars of our counter-terrorism strategy, the first of which is prevention. Anyone who would be willing to support prevention measures when talking about radicalization has a very good reason to support and be in favour of this bill, because CSIS officers will be able to disrupt this threat at an earlier stage.

[Translation]

    These officers are another real example to show that the measures of the bill are sensible, reasonable and balanced. We currently have these resources and these officers, but they are prohibited by legislation from carrying out these actions. We are going to enshrine in law the capacity of service officers to act and, should there be a violation of privacy or rights, the officers, much like police officers in Canada have been doing for decades, can seek a warrant from a judge, who will have the latitude to authorize, modify or even refuse the requests.
    Contrary to the many misleading statements that have been made in recent weeks and months, there is nothing really new in Canada, particularly since provisions already exist that allow the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and police forces to routinely gather intelligence. Do those who are opposed to these provisions lack confidence in our justice system? Do they lack confidence in Canadian judges? Are they questioning our judges' independence and skills? We need to ask them that. On this side of the House, we have confidence in our institutions, and we have complete confidence that Canadian judges will be able to continue to do what they have been doing for intelligence officers and police for decades with regard to intelligence gathering.
    It is also clear in the bill that some activities, such as those that could cause death or bodily harm, are prohibited and will never be authorized or undertaken. It is important to remember that CSIS has been serving Canadians for 30 years. It is also important to remember that CSIS and its activities are very closely scrutinized by another Canadian body that is the envy of the world, the Security Intelligence Review Committee. The SIRC is an extension of parliament. During the debate, we heard some parliamentarians express the desire to address security issues. They can do that here. We have a security committee where parliamentarians are free to call any witnesses they see fit to call. They can also do that in the Senate. As we saw earlier, there is the Privacy Commissioner and the Auditor General. It is important to remember that other countries do not have the same model as Canada, which allows access to the field of operations. Other oversight bodies where parliamentarians are sometimes involved are only able to meet with senior officials and do not have the opportunity to observe what is happening on the ground. The Supreme Court recognized this model as one that strikes a balance between rights and national security.
    Today and in the days ahead, parliamentarians will have the opportunity to rise and take action to ensure that those who protect us have the tools they need. For example, we are going to criminalize the promotion of terrorism. We have had hours of debate. I want to thank all of the witnesses who testified in committee and who spoke so eloquently, like Louise, the sister of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who came to tell us that Canada needs Bill C-51. Let us step up and not disappoint Canadians, who expect us to protect them from the terrorist threat.

  (1030)  

    That is exactly what the measures before us in the House today do.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am extremely disappointed that the minister launched this third reading debate with an attack on the opposition by saying that somehow we are not concerned about terrorism. As one whose partner lost one of his best friends in the plane that went from Boston into the twin towers, and as one whose own mother was on a plane that day and we did not find out for many hours whether she was safe, and as one who has worked in international human rights where some of my best friends have been killed by terrorism, I resent the remarks of the minister saying that because we disagree with him, we somehow do not take terrorism seriously. There are other members in this caucus who had friends and acquaintances who were on the Air India flight that was bombed, which was one of the largest terrorist attacks. I take great exception to the minister's remarks that we do not either understand or take terrorism seriously.
    The minister cited witnesses and he likes to cite partially what witnesses said at committee. By my count, there were 45 out of the 48 witnesses at committee, including the government's witnesses, who said that Bill C-51 was flawed. He likes to cite Justice John Major. John Major said in answer to a very specific question that the bill was incomplete without additional oversight. The minister also likes to cite Raheel Raza from the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow. She said that the bill needed better oversight for SIRC and appropriate limits on CSIS' disruption powers.
    Why is it that the minister cannot take seriously the people who have come forward in good faith and said that this bill was flawed and that while we need to do something about terrorism, we also need to make improvements and changes? Why have the Conservatives rejected all 112 opposition amendments to this bill?
    Mr. Speaker, in my comments I was referring to an article printed in the National Post when I heard heckling from the other side of the House. Let me finish quoting what Danny Eisen, the co-founder of the Canadian Coalition Against Terror, said:
    Put plainly by Osama Bin Laden, “The enemy can be defeated by attacking its economic centre.” This tenet was evidenced just recently by threats from Somali terrorists — not against synagogues, churches or MPs — but against malls in England, the U.S. and Canada.
     I believe this is a serious debate, and I always welcome constructive comments.
    Raheel Raza spoke strongly in favour of the bill. May I remind my hon. colleague that had he listened to my comments, he would have been made aware that SIRC has the authority to look into the additional powers that this bill enables, particularly for CSIS to operate and disrupt threats. There is a specific mandate for SIRC to look into those extended powers. Therefore, the powers of SIRC, a Canadian watchdog model, are enhanced. At the same time, I would invite the member to consider the fact that in the budget, we are doubling the funding for SIRC, which is a good reason for the member not only to support Bill C-51 but also to support the budget of our Canadian Conservative government.

  (1035)  

    Mr. Speaker, what is clear is that the government has lost the opportunity to provide good, solid, robust legislation that would have had more of an impact in fighting terrorism in Canada while at the same time providing parliamentary oversight and protecting the rights and freedoms of individuals and groups in Canada.
    The Liberal Party supports the bill because we recognize that Bill C-51 does have some positive attributes that would provide safer communities as a whole.
    However, I want to go back to the issue of the government's refusal to recognize the important role that parliamentary oversight could have provided all Canadians. It is a major flaw. All of the Five Eyes countries, which are Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, and the United States, have recognized the importance of parliamentary oversight. They already have parliamentary oversight, except for Canada, which stands alone on this issue.
    The current Minister of Justice used to support parliamentary oversight. We listened to the presentations at committee and the debate in the House. The issue is why the government did not allow for parliamentary oversight. We see this as a fundamental flaw within the legislation and it could have improved the quality of the legislation had the government incorporated it. The Liberal Party is committed to incorporating it into our election platform in the next election.
    Why will the minister not allow for parliamentary oversight in this legislation?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we are no strangers to Liberal promises, and this reminds me of a European song about empty words called Paroles, paroles.
    However, I would still like to take this opportunity to point out that my colleague and his political party support this bill. To answer his question, my colleague could ask his own party the same question, since when the Liberals were in power they never bothered to make the changes that they now want to make. Now, all of a sudden they have woken up and decided to make these changes.
    On this side of the House, we continue to move forward. Just last Friday we appointed Pierre Blais, a Quebec judge with an impeccable reputation, to the committee. He is a representative of the riding of Dorchester and Bellechasse. He is joined by four expert members. This is a team made up of judges and investigators.
    Once again, it is important to remember that the review committee is a model that is the envy of our partners, the United States, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand, because it has the ability to investigate at all levels of the intelligence agency.
    I therefore urge my colleague to do the right thing and support the bill, which will double the budget allocated to the review committee, an international model.

  (1040)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we understand that freedom and security go hand in hand and that Canadians expect us as parliamentarians to protect both. Our Canadian model of third party, non-partisan and independent oversight of our national security agencies is superior to the political intervention in the process, especially when we see the opposition's attitude on this file.
    Would the minister share with the House the safeguards included in the bill to ensure that the privacy of law-abiding Canadians is respected?
    Mr. Speaker, the member for Fleetwood—Port Kells comes from the great community of Surrey, a community that is faced with a lot of challenges. That is why in the last budget we increased resources, so while we are tackling terrorism, we are also continuing to work with the Province of British Columbia to ensure the safety of the town of Surrey, which is an important issue for that community.
    In answer to the question, it is fairly simple. When CSIS or the police are operating, they have to seek consent from the Attorney General, for the police in the case of making preventive arrests, and in those cases, they can move forward and seek a warrant.
    Once again, that is a Canadian exception. To my knowledge, CSIS is the only intelligence agency in the world that will have to seek a warrant from a judge to conduct certain types of operations. We are going to great lengths to show how seriously we take the privacy of Canadians and their rights.
    As I have just said, once those operations are conducted, we have this robust oversight and review mechanism, SIRC, which is the envy of the world. For the last 30 years, it has examined and scrutinized the activities of CSIS. In the meantime, they have increased their accountability and have been referred to by the Supreme Court as a model that is doing a great job of being the watchdog of our intelligence agency for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand and speak today to one of the most significant pieces of legislation to come before the House, certainly while I have been a member of Parliament. It is indeed a piece of legislation touching on the two most important topics that we ever deal with in this chamber: national security and our civil liberties.
    I am proud to speak to Bill C-51 as the member of Parliament for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, a riding which plays a key role in our national security as the home of CFB Esquimalt and our Pacific fleet. I am also proud to speak today as the NDP public safety critic and as a member of the official opposition. Ours is a party whose leader has taken a strong and principled stance in opposition to Bill C-51, even when at the outset the bill appeared to be overwhelmingly popular.
    I remember quite clearly the first scrum on Bill C-51 that I faced as the NDP public safety critic after we announced our opposition to the bill. Journalists asked me how we could oppose something that was so popular, when 82% of Canadians polled said that they supported the bill. My answer to the media that morning was that I believe it is the the role of the official opposition to inform public opinion, not to run away from it.
    It was clear that the government intended to marshal the politics of fear to stampede Bill C-51 through the House. We knew this would be an uphill struggle, but I trusted at the time that few Canadians knew exactly what was in the bill. I also trusted that when they did know what was in the bill, they would likely not like what they saw.
    What the poll told us at the time was that Canadians believed that the threats from terrorism are very real, and we all acknowledge that fact. It also told us that Canadians believe that the government has a responsibility to do something about those threats. It told us nothing about what was actually in the bill.
     I believe, as most Canadians do, that the government's responsibility is to protect both public safety and our fundamental freedoms. Instead, the Conservative government has chosen to risk sacrificing our freedoms for security.
     What the Conservatives are proposing in Bill C-51 fails on two grounds. Incredibly, it manages at one and the same time to constitute a threat to our basic civil liberties while also putting forth measures, many of which would be either ineffective or unnecessary. Unfortunately, the government is pressing ahead, refusing to listen to legal experts, civil society organizations, and the tens of thousands of Canadians who have turned out at rallies across the country to express their concerns about Bill C-51.
    Unfortunately, the Liberal Party wilted almost immediately in the face of the pressure created by the government to stand with it or stand with the terrorists. We heard yet another example of that this morning from the minister in his opening remarks. Before Canadians had any chance to find out what was in the bill, the Liberals had already promised to vote for the bill and to do so even if the Conservatives refused to amend the parts of the bill that the Liberals said they were concerned about. The Liberals were even heard saying publicly that they did not want to get on the wrong side of public opinion on terrorism. Well, I firmly believe that they now find themselves on the wrong side of Canadian public opinion.
    As the debate on this bill draws to a close under the 94th use of time allocation by the Conservatives to limit debate, let me review my major concerns about both the ineffectiveness of Bill C-51 and the threats it poses to our civil liberties. In the time I have, I want to focus on four major problems that I see in this bill.
    The first has to do with information sharing. The Conservatives pretend that Bill would correct problems with sharing information on the use of violence and involveC-51ment in terrorist activities. This information sharing within government is of a kind with which few would disagree. If someone is involved in terrorism or the use of violence, obviously, government organizations need to be able to share that information.
    What Bill C-51 does instead is it creates sweeping new powers to share information among a vast array of government departments and agencies on almost anything, not just on terrorism and violence. Yes, there would be information sharing on terrorism, but also on national security, which is given a new and very broad definition, one which includes threats to Canada's economic stability, threats to Canada's infrastructure, such as pipelines, and even threats to Canada's diplomatic relations with other countries. The list goes on for an entire page of legal descriptions of the kinds of things about which information could be shared.
    It is quite easy to see why Canadians are legitimately concerned that there would be a significant loss of their privacy contained under the excuse of necessary information sharing about terrorism. The information sharing proposed is so broad that the Privacy Commissioner concluded that it would potentially allow the government to create a personal profile on each and every Canadian.

  (1045)  

    We tried to have the Privacy Commissioner appear before the committee. He is an officer of Parliament. He is officially our advisor, as parliamentarians, on privacy rights. Therefore, we put the motion to the committee that he should come so we could discuss his concerns about the bill. The Conservatives blocked the Privacy Commissioner's appearance at the public safety committee.
    Conservatives like to insist that legitimate dissent could not possibly be caught in this information sharing, yet we had a police witness testify in committee that this was exactly his concern. He also raised the question of the ineffectiveness of collecting too much information on Canadians. The argument is often made, especially in the law enforcement community, that looking for terrorists is like looking for a needle in a haystack, and the last thing the police need when they are doing this is more hay. Collecting information about all of us would pile up information so that we would risk missing the real threats to our public safety.
    The Liberals, on this point, say that the bill could be fixed later, after the Conservatives are defeated. However, it is important to note that the information-sharing part of the bill is not one of the parts they propose to fix. They actually support this broad information-sharing, even though it presents a great threat to our civil liberties.
    The second area about which I have great concern is the granting of new powers to CSIS to disrupt terror threats before they take place. This is also a provision of Bill C-51 supported by the Liberals. These activities of CSIS, first and most importantly, would conflict with the existing activities of the RCMP. The very reason CSIS was set up was to divide information-gathering from the disruption of terrorist threats. There is a redundancy created here that is a great danger, which even Justice Major, whom the government likes to cite, acknowledged might create confusion about who is actually responsible for what when it comes to disrupting terror threats.
    What is most disturbing about this is the very broad granting of power to CSIS this bill proposes. Bill C-51 specifically says that CSIS's new powers would only be limited by prohibiting murder, sexual assault, and interference with the justice system. This is an amazing granting of power for secret activities in a democratic society and would be of great concern to all Canadians.
    The government likes to say not to worry, because it requires a warrant. Well, these CSIS activities do not always require a warrant. It is left to CSIS to decide. If it believes its activities might violate a charter right, then it would apply for a warrant. What is allowed without a warrant? There are a whole range of things that would clearly be allowed.
     One of the concerns that has been raised by those who work in the Internet industry is that it might involve CSIS going online and changing people's posts or deleting their posts, things that may not necessarily violate a charter right and therefore, in CSIS's mind, would not require any kind of warrant.
    The government goes further and asks why we are concerned, as these warrants are just like the warrants now used by the police. The problem is that they are not at all like the warrants used now by the police. The warrants police seek now in criminal cases are to make sure that their activities comply with the charter. They are not warrants to violate the charter. What is proposed in the bill is exactly that: a judge would be asked to authorize, in advance, charter violations. This raises serious questions about the role of the judiciary in our society and very serious questions about the rule of law.
    The other thing that is different in these warrants is that when police seek a warrant in a criminal case, that warrant ends up back in front of the courts as part of that criminal case, so there is supervision both at the front end and at the back end by police when it is a warrant under the Criminal Code. There is supervision at the front end by a judge and at the back end by a judge when it is a warrant under the Criminal Code. Neither of those things are true when it comes to these new warrants, which would authorize CSIS to violate the charter. They would be carried out in secret and judges would never see what has happened to a warrant should they grant one.
    The third concern I want to talk about today is another favourite of the government. It would create a new offence of supporting terrorism in general and recklessly. “Recklessly” is a term we do find in the Criminal Code, but supporting terrorism “in general” is not a term we find anywhere in the Criminal Code. This would create a criminal offence lacking the basic requirements of a normal criminal offence. A criminal offence involves intent plus action. What is the intent involved in supporting terrorism in general? It is very difficult to see that there is an intent to do anything. What is the action? Clearly, there is no action involved here.

  (1050)  

    Some have concluded that this new offence really amounts to a kind of thought crime, that for one's opinions, one might be subject to a criminal prosecution. It is certainly an offence that would produce a chill on free speech in this country as Canadians tried to understand what on earth this new offence would mean.
    It also raises a question about why it is needed. Given the record we have in Canada of successful prosecutions under the existing Criminal Code, why do we need a new offence that would produce such a chill on free speech? It has simply not been established.
    In committee, I asked the Commissioner of the RCMP if he would have been able to prosecute the perpetrator of the attack here in Ottawa last October. He said very clearly that, yes, the existing legislation would have been sufficient to prosecute him.
    We had successful prosecutions of the Toronto 18. We have a prosecution going on in British Columbia right now. Clearly, the police do not lack powers to pursue those who are actually involved in violence and terrorism.
    A fourth concern I have is one that runs in several places in the bill. This is about lowering the standard for police action from reasonable grounds to suspicion. It particularly applies to the idea of preventative detention and recognizance with conditions.
    Currently, for the police to detain someone, there have to be reasonable grounds. In common language, that means that there has to be evidence. However, the bill proposes to allow the police to detain someone preventatively on the basis of mere suspicion.
     I think this is another element that is of great concern to many Canadians, because we have a disturbing record in Canada on detention in times of crisis. We need only look at the detention of Ukrainians, Germans, and Italians during World War I; or in World War II, at the detention of Japanese Canadians; or even in the 1970s in Quebec, at the detention of many people under the War Measures Act, some 500 people, who were never subsequently charged with any offence, let alone convicted.
    Many of the concerns we have expressed about the bill involve this apparent conflict with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and many witnesses expressed those same concerns.
     We asked the government to table in committee the advice it received on the constitutionality of the provisions in Bill C-51. We expressly asked the Minister of Justice, and he used a very strange excuse. He said that this advice could not be tabled in committee, because it would violate solicitor-client privilege. What he did was stand solicitor-client privilege on its head. He is not the lawyer; he is the client, and clients can always waive that privilege. He could have very easily tabled the advice, and it makes one wonder how firm the opinion of the Department of Justice experts was on the constitutionality of Bill C-51.
    The Conservatives were clear, on Bill C-51, from the beginning, about two things. The first, I would say, is that they really did not want Canadians to know what is in the bill. Second, they did not intend to listen to Canadians when they actually talked about what is in the bill.
    When I allege that the Conservatives did not want Canadians to know, how do we know that? Well, they both rushed and limited the debate in this House. It is an important part of democracy that Parliament allows the public to know what the content of a bill is through the debate we engage in within this chamber. The debate was limited at second reading to three days. That sounds long, but when we look at how Parliament functions, it means that the official opposition, with 90-some members, was limited to six speakers on a very important bill.
    The Conservatives attempted to limit the witnesses appearing at the public safety committee. They initially proposed three meetings and 18 witnesses. Now, I cannot, of course, talk about discussions that went on in camera, but at the end of those discussions, we ended up with eight meetings and 48 witnesses, but that was still fewer than half of those who wanted to appear before the committee. The Conservatives also insisted on a very short deadline for those witnesses to appear. In the end, we ended up having 36 witnesses appear before the committee in four days.
    If we wanted the public to be able to follow the debate and understand what witnesses were saying about the bill, we would not schedule 36 witnesses in four days.

  (1055)  

    This schedule also meant that some very important witnesses were not able to appear before the committee, because they were given only a very limited choice of dates: four days. Some witnesses were not available because of personal and other obligations on those days. One very important witness had a medical procedure scheduled, while another had professional obligations outside the country. If they were not available during those four days, they could not appear as witnesses.
    It was clear last Thursday, when we began report stage and third reading debate, that the government was determined not to have the full ability to debate this bill, because it introduced time allocation for the 94th time. Conservatives prefer to call this scheduling, but in fact, we know what it is. It is closure. Therefore, we ended up with only two days of debate at report stage and with only today for third reading debate on this bill. I know that many of my colleagues in the NDP caucus who would like to stand in the House and represent their constituents are going to be denied that opportunity because of this limit on the debate.
    I have also alleged that the Conservatives did not intend to listen to what Canadians had to say. Let me give some examples of why I believe that to be the case.
    First, there were limits on the number of witnesses and a refusal to hear some witnesses. I have already talked about the government blocking the Privacy Commissioner from appearing before the committee.
    Second, there was the treatment of witnesses before the committee. Some of it was reminiscent of the tapes I have seen of the U.S. McCarthy hearings in the 1950s. Shamefully, government members asked representatives of Greenpeace if they were or were not a threat to national security, and then they were told there was no time for them to answer that question.
    The first Muslim witness who appeared, from the National Council of Canadian Muslims, was accused of being soft on terror, and Amnesty International was accused of supporting terrorist organizations and was given no opportunity to reply to that smear on its reputation.
    Finally, of course, I would cite the fact that all 112 opposition amendments put forward were rejected by the government. The only changes to Bill C-51 came when the government adopted three of its own very minor and deceptive amendments.
    On information-sharing, the Conservatives agreed to an amendment that says that information will have to be shared according to law. Of course it does. That is a meaningless amendment to this bill. They agreed to put in a provision that said there would be no arrest powers for CSIS. Of course, no one ever thought there were arrest powers under the Criminal Code for CSIS.
    New Democrats moved a subamendment to put a ban on detention and rendition by CSIS, the taking of people into custody abroad and turning them over to other powers. Government members said there was no intention to have CSIS have detention and rendition powers, so we asked them to vote for this amendment and put in the bill that CSIS would not have the power to detain Canadians inside or outside Canada and would not have the power to turn Canadians over to foreign governments. They voted against that amendment.
    As to the no-fly list, which the minister mentioned in his speech, it is going to be expanded, but it remains just as ineffective, and without a good appeal process, as it is now.
    On the amendment the minister talked about, representatives of the airlines appeared at committee and said they had some problems with the bill. First, they had not been consulted before it was introduced, and second, there was a clause in the bill saying that the minister would have the power to order airlines to do anything to meet threats to national security. The airlines felt that the power to order them to anything was just a bit broad, so the government's amendment now says that they can be ordered to do anything that is reasonable, in the opinion of the minister. It is not much of an amendment.
    Here we are now under time allocation, just one day away from the passage of Bill C-51. It is clear that the Conservatives have not been listening, but it is clear that Canadians have been listening. They have seen what is in the bill, and they do not like what they see.
    The Conservatives are stubbornly pressing ahead with Bill C-51 despite ongoing opposition from four former prime ministers, five former Supreme Court justices, almost all witnesses at committee, including their own witnesses, and despite the clear opposition of the vast majority of Canadians. This will leave Canadians opposed to Bill C-51 little choice in October but to defeat the Conservatives while at the same time remembering that electing the Liberals will not help on this one, because it is only the NDP that has pledged to repeal this dangerous and ineffective bill.
    The good news is that 2015 is here, and in a few months, Canadians will get a chance to replace the Conservatives with the first national NDP government.
    In conclusion, New Democrats believe that Bill C-51 is unfixable in its current form. That is why we moved to delete all of its clauses at report stage and voted against the bill. It is also why I am going to move the following amendment.

  (1100)  

    I move:
    That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:
“this House decline to give third reading to 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, because it:
(a) threatens our way of life by asking Canadians to choose between their security and their freedoms;
(b) provides the Canadian Security Intelligence Service with a sweeping new mandate without equally increasing oversight, despite concerns raised by almost every witness who testified before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, as well as concerns raised by former Liberal prime ministers, ministers of justice and solicitors general;
(c) does not include the type of concrete, effective measures that have been proven to work, such as providing support to communities that are struggling to counter radicalization;
(d) was not adequately studied by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, which did not allow the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to appear as a witness, or schedule enough meetings to hear from the many other Canadians who requested to appear;
(e) was not fully debated in the House of Commons, where discussion was curtailed by time allocation;
(f) was condemned by legal experts, civil liberties advocates, privacy commissioners, First Nations leadership and business leaders, for the threats it poses to our rights and freedoms, and our economy; and
(g) does not include a single amendment proposed by members of the Official Opposition or the Liberal Party, despite the widespread concern about the bill and the dozens of amendments proposed by witnesses.

  (1105)  

    Order, please. The motion is in order.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Malpeque.
    Mr. Speaker, I enjoy working with my colleague on the public safety committee, as he would know, and oftentimes we work together. However, he did go a little far in his remarks by saying that the Liberal Party had wilted, and he used some other adjectives, I might admit.
    What his motion does is spell out where the NDP really is. He said that the bill would threaten our way of life. I hope the member did not have selective hearing at the committee, because witnesses have come forward who have been opposed to this bill but have also said that we need the security aspects of it.
    What I find absolutely troublesome is that on the government side we have the government that is all about security and to heck with civil liberties; on the NDP side, what we have is all civil liberties and to heck with national security. The only party that has a reasonable and responsible position is the Liberal Party, which wants to find some balance.
    My question for the member is this. The NDP amendment would throw this bill out. Does the member not believe that we need balance, that we need better security and protection of our civil liberties, which is the position of the Liberal Party? Does he not believe that we need balance in this bill and that throwing it out could put Canadians at risk?
    Mr. Speaker, I guess the simple answer is no. I do not think we trade off security and civil liberties. The government's responsibility is to protect both at the same time.
    Do I support this bill? No, the amendment is trying to prevent this from going forward. This bill is so seriously flawed that it cannot be fixed.
     We need a government that will actually devote the resources needed to combat terrorism, not continue cutting the budget. We need a government that will stop cutting the budget of the RCMP, CSIS, and the Canada Border Services Agency. We do not need a Liberal government that promises everything and does the opposite.
    On this bill, although the Liberals say they are going to fix it, they do not plan to do anything about CSIS powers and they do not plan to do anything about the information sharing powers. These are two fundamental threats to our civil liberties that would do nothing to address the terrorist threat. I simply cannot understand the Liberal Party's position on this bill.

  (1110)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I have a very simple question for the NDP critic.

[English]

    I have here a quote from the NDP member for Brome—Missisquoi who said:
I am confused about what motivated the government to introduce—
    —the combatting terrorism act.
...because, since 2007, nothing has happened in Canada. The country has not been subject to terrorist attacks.
    Where was the member on October 22 and October 20, and what about all those plots that have successfully been derailed by our intelligence service?
    My question for the hon. member is this. Does he agree with the member with the false statement, or would he ask him to apologize, set the record straight, and call a spade a spade, and call the terrorist attack on October 22 a terrorist attack for what it is?
    Mr. Speaker, one of the things I have learned from the minister is to watch his partial quoting of witnesses and members of Parliament.
    It is very clear that he is back to the same thing he tried in the beginning, to say that the NDP does not take terrorism seriously. Once again I have to say very strongly that I have a great deal of personal experience with terrorism. I have lost friends to terrorism.
    I resent the minister continually standing in this House and implying that we do not see terrorism as presenting any kind of threat. We have said that there are effective ways to meet terrorism in this country and that Bill C-51 is not one of those.
    Mr. Speaker, I think what is very disturbing in this all-out attack on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is that the leader of the party that founded and brought forward the Charter of Rights and Freedoms stands up and says that he will not defend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it would be difficult for him. It does not matter that it is difficult for all the Canadians who lose their rights and freedoms.
    I remember Pierre Elliott Trudeau from when I was young. He would never shy away from standing up in a fight for individual liberties, civil liberties, and the rule of law.
    Why does my hon. colleague think that the Liberal Party over in the corner has become such a spineless shadow of a once-proud party?
    Mr. Speaker, I have already said, as I have done many times both in committee and here, that I cannot understand the Liberal Party's position, because it speaks against the bill but is voting for it. It simply makes no sense to me.
    The other part of the Liberal promise, to fix this later, really passes over the damage that could be done in the interim. For people who end up subject to terrorist threats because we collected too much information and have missed the real threats, it is not much comfort to say that it will be fixed later on, two years down the road. For those who say we can go to court and challenge it, well, that would be four or five years down the road.
    I believe we have a bill that actually interferes with our ability to meet terrorist threats and compromises our civil liberties. It is not good enough for me to say we will fix it down the road. It is time to defeat this bill now.
    Mr. Speaker, I completely agree with my hon. friend, and I want to underscore this point because, as he will know, the Green Party has opposed the bill from the very beginning. We are very glad that the official opposition has taken this up and is fighting it in a principled way. We lament the fact that the Liberal Party, while understanding the bill is dangerous, is still prepared to vote for it.
    What I want to underscore is the testimony from former Supreme Court justice John Major, who conducted the Air India inquiry. I am astonished that earlier today the minister would quote John Major, clearly out of context. What John Major actually said is, “The system just doesn’t work if there isn’t some way of ensuring that you have information-sharing”. By this he did not mean information sharing about all Canadians as in part 1 of the bill, but information sharing between CSIS and the RCMP. He went on to say, “...there’s no way from what I’ve seen that the present proposed legislation is going to do that”.
    We have also seen expert testimony from the Senate side where Joe Fogarty, a British security expert, said that currently because of this lack of oversight, because of the lack of exchange of information between the RCMP and CSIS, we are “...sitting on top of a tragedy waiting to happen”.
    I want to ask my hon. colleague from Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca if what I just heard him say is the position of the official opposition, because that is the position of the Green Party, that the bill, if passed, must be repealed.

  (1115)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands is quite right about former justice John Major. As I mentioned in my speech, the minister has only quoted part of what he had to say. What he had to say was what we continue to say: not only does the bill threaten civil liberties, but it also threatens our ability to deal with threats to security because of its inefficiencies.
    I appreciate that the Green Party is opposed to the bill, although I have to say last night, unfortunately, when the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands introduced two amendments to improve the bill, we were unable to support that because we believe the bill at this point is unfixable and should be defeated.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, since the unfortunate events of last October, there have been a number of arrests involving either people who subscribe to the jihadist philosophy or people who have no such affiliation but are considered a terrorist threat. That got me thinking.
    Since the new measures in Bill C-51 are not yet in force, as we are still considering them, I wonder whether this is just a problem of resources. After what happened in October, the government realized that it may have neglected to put certain resources in place. Since our budgetary philosophy on these potential threats was reviewed, the authorities have been able to arrest people who are considered a threat without the need for any legislative change.
    The question is this: does the problem have to do with the legislation or with budgets and resources?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the minister likes to say we should support the budget because it would provide more money for national security. When in fact, after cutting more than $300 million from the budget last year, Conservatives would put back $57 million, it is some kind of new math to think that people received more resources out of that.
    The RCMP Commissioner and the director of operations of CSIS appeared before parliamentary committees and said they did not have enough resources to combat the terror threats, and this will remain the case in the next budget year.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to outline our position on Bill C-51 at the third reading stage of this debate.
    We see areas of the bill which are important for the public safety of Canadians and we see areas of the bill where the government has gone much too far with respect to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and a fair balance with civil liberties and freedom of expression versus public safety and national security.
    If Parliament were allowed to function the way it should, the bill could have come out of committee a much better one. There were four amendments at committee, three of which were along the lines of the Liberal Party's proposals, and I will get to those in a moment. However, there other amendments were direly needed, and we will propose those in our forthcoming our platform for the perceived election this fall.
    Legislation similar to Bill C-51 is required and is in evidence in virtually every country with which Canada is allied or has shared values. Countering the growing threat of foreign and domestic terrorism is a reality that must be confronted by the modern state. In saying that, it must be confronted in a joint way by countries around the world as well.
    However, in combatting that threat, it is important for any government to ensure that the steps taken to combat it do not propose a different threat to its citizens. That is partly what the debate was about with the NDP remarks as well, and I recognize that.
    The Liberal Party supports provisions of Bill C-51 and has made that position clear from the outset.
    We have also maintained there are provisions of Bill C-51 that are excessive and would, in our opinion, represent an intrusion by the state security agencies into the lives of Canadians, which are far too severe.
    First, let me make note of those who have participated in a very public campaign and who are strongly opposed to Bill C-51. I think people who pay attention to their emails, and I have tried to respond to them all, have to recognize that we get thousands of letters, emails and phone calls from people across the country who are opposed to Bill C-51. Some of them, of course, do not know the amendments that have been made. I have asked them that question when I talked with them recently and they still think the bill is just as it originally was, and that is fine. However, I want to thank them for participation.
    Even though we may be somewhat on opposite sides of the arguments, I am one who firmly believes that a demonstration of activism of opposing or supporting legislation is a good thing and it is important in a healthy democracy.
     Here is one of the most important amendments made to the bill, because there are too many of those who are opposed to Bill C-51. Obviously some people, for political purposes, are saying that we should throw the bill out, to heck with security. Some continue to say that there have been no changes made to the bill. Yes, there have been.
     One of the most egregious sections of the bill, under the interpretation section, states, “For greater certainty, it does not include advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression”. A lot of letters of concern were related to that.

  (1120)  

    What do we consider a lawful protest? I was also concerned, as a former activist in the farm movement. Everything we do in a demonstration, whether it is shutting down a highway with tractors or blocking a road in a union protest or demonstration, is not exactly lawful. We were concerned about that, as were other parties, and we moved an amendment to take the word “lawful” out, and that passed. That gives some certainty, or at least some satisfaction, to those who were opposed to that clause in the bill.
    A lot of people have been writing us letters are saying that this is a new secret police. No, it is not. There is an infringement on liberties that go overboard, but this is not a new secret police. Therefore, an amendment was moved by the government, due to the concerns it and others had expressed, to clarify that. It reads, “For greater certainty, nothing in subsection (1) confers on the Service any law enforcement power”.
    There was a narrowing of the no-fly list and on how information could be shared. Those were the two other amendments.
     For those who been demonstrating and strongly opposing Bill C-51, congratulations, they did make some gains. Some of the amendments they asked for are in fact in the bill. To not recognize that would be wrong. I support all those amendments. I only wish the government would have gone further in some of the other areas that we would liked to have seen addressed in the bill, but it failed to do that.
    When we look at the witnesses who came before committee, I would have liked there to have been a longer hearing process with greater time for each witness, and the government failed to allow that. We did hear from 46 to 48 witnesses. However, if people, both on the government side and the New Democrats, were really listening to the witnesses, none of those witnesses said that they wanted the bill as it was, and very few of them said that the bill should be thrown out. They wanted it balanced. Witnesses and Canadians believe, and I certainly believe, that it is possible for this chamber, the House of Commons, to find the balance, to do what needs to be done on the security side and balance it to ensure that the civil liberties and freedom of expression, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms are enhanced and protected as well. That did not happen.
     The New Democrats, just in their remarks, can be as pure as they like, but the fact is that even those who were opposed to the bill, also suggested that we needed to take measures on the national security side.
    What do we do as parliamentarians when security agencies and police forces, both within Canada and around the world, say that to us that there needs to be additional measures taken to enhance the national security of Canadians? Do we ignore them, as the New Democrats do? I do not think we can. We have a responsibility in that regard. The government failed in its responsibility to make amendments to be absolutely sure that those powers did not go too far.

  (1125)  

    The government has absolutely failed in the past in not utilizing the already existing laws in section 110. It failed to use those authorities when, as the minister said, there were somewhere around 80 individuals who the government knew had violated Canadian law. What were they doing, and what are they still doing out there on the street, when the government already has some authority within the law to detain and arrest them?
    My point is that witnesses asked for better balance. That did not happen, and that responsibility rests with no one else. I meant what I said earlier. The government is too far on the security side. For the Prime Minister to take the attitude, which he has taken with the promotion of this bill from the beginning, and to foster the fear that there is a terrorist under every rock is absolutely the wrong approach.
    Fear will divide Canadians and pit them against each other. Yes, Canadians need to be watchful and ensure that there are no problems that could lead to terrorism or to individuals getting involved in terrorist activities. However, to use the fear factor is not the proper way to go.
     The NDP, on the other hand, has taken the approach of saying “be very afraid of civil liberties”. People should not worry about national security. They should be afraid of their civil liberties. Both those parties have gone to extremes at both ends. Ours is, at least, a balanced position and would work if, under the Conservative regime, Parliament were allowed to exercise its rights, allow amendments, real debate and changes to legislation, as this place should work.
    We do have an advantage, because there is an election, likely on October 19. Those measures that we were unsuccessful in getting through committee will be in our election platform. Canadians will have the opportunity at that time to decide if they want sunset clauses that would make the bill cease to exist in certain areas after three years, a mandatory statutory review after three years that would look at the good, the bad, and the ugly in the legislation, and national oversight of all of our security agencies, as all our Five Eyes partners do, by parliamentarians. I will come to that in a moment. We will have those measures in our election platform.
    Early in the debate about Bill C-51, my colleague, the member for Mount Royal and I joined four former prime ministers, including three Liberal prime ministers, and others to issue an open letter underscoring two fundamental responsibilities of government to ensure the safety of Canadians. These are:
—protecting Canada from terrorist attacks; and ensuring that initiatives in this regard are consistent with the rule of law and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and, particularly, are subject to comprehensive oversight, review and accountability mechanisms.
    However, in the course of committee hearings, when we proposed amendments to those three essential areas, they were either ruled out of order or rejected.
     In that letter, the former prime ministers said:
    The four of us most certainly know the enormity of the responsibility of keeping Canada safe, something always front of mind for a prime minister.
    They went on to talk about oversight more than anything else. That letter was signed by prime ministers, former attorney generals, ministers of justice, retired Supreme Court justices, and so on.

  (1130)  

    They know the need for accountability. They know that proper oversight actually protects the government and ministers from agencies that may go astray. I am disappointed that the government failed to recognize that fact.
    When we listened to the responses of the minister and the parliamentary secretary at committee when we brought those issues up, it was as if they do not trust their own members. Every other country around the world thinks that parliamentarians are capable of doing those responsible tasks. Why is the Conservative government so opposed, especially when its own current Minister of Justice, you, Mr. Speaker, and its own Minister of State for Finance, along with myself and some others, sat on the committee and recommended just that, a parliamentary oversight committee of all security agencies, based on a study that we did in the U.K., the United States and Australia? Why has the Minister of Justice changed his mind? He was one of the key promoters on that committee, and now for some reason he no longer believes in what he calls partisan oversight. It does not have to be partisan. It is really just in the last eight years under the current Prime Minister that this place has become a place of almost hate, fear and partisanship to no end, rather than looking at what good we can do for Canadians as a whole, and how to build legislation for Canadians as a whole. That is one of the sad realities of this particular Parliament.
    The issue of oversight of our security intelligence agencies has long had the support of the Liberal Party. In the wake of 9/11 and the first anti-terrorism legislation, it was a Liberal government, with the support of the members of the government and the NDP, that brought forward Bill C-81, legislation to create a committee of parliamentarians who would provide that oversight.
    What did the current committee hear from witnesses with respect to that at the hearings which just concluded? Hugh Segal, a former Conservative senator and chair of the special anti-terrorism committee of the Senate, said:
    Accountability on the part of our security services to the whole of Parliament is not needless red tape or excessive bureaucracy. In fact, it is the democratic countervail to the kind of red tape and bureaucracy which might unwittingly lose sight of the security mission appropriate to a parliamentary democracy, where laws and constitutional protections such as the presumption of innocence and due process must protect all citizens without regard to ethnicity or national origin.
    Ron Atkey, a former Conservative MP and first chair of SIRC said:
    I have been both a parliamentarian and a watchdog, a professional watchdog. The answer to whether Parliament or a specialized agency should have the power to review our security agencies is easy for me. Canadians should have both. Under our system of government, Parliament is the ultimate watchdog and is directly accountable to the people. The party having the most number of seats at each general election usually is called on to form the government, but Parliament itself remains the watchdog.
    As I said earlier, the Minister of Justice and the government as a whole rejected that particular proposal.
    Let me conclude by saying that there is no question there is a lot of debate around this bill in the community, which is a good thing. As I said, I welcome that debate with those who have different views and are willing to express them. There have been some minor amendments proposed, I think some that would take the word “lawful” out, et cetera, which would go some distance to satisfying that expressed concern over an infringement on civil liberties.

  (1135)  

    I still believe there are some problems relative to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and at some point in time the court may in fact rule on that. Regarding those measures that the government failed to accept and put in the bill, such as oversight, sunset clauses and mandatory statutory review at the end of three years, the Liberal Party will put those measures in our election platform and Canadians can decide at that point in time.
    We need a balance between national security and civil liberties. Parliament should be able to find and exercise that balance. The government failed to allow that to happen.
    Mr. Speaker, first I would like to make it very clear that every one of us sitting on this side of the House, and I am sure on both sides of the House, are absolutely opposed to any acts of terrorism. To imply anything else through speeches just does not do us any good. It undermines the work we do in the House.
    Second, like others, I am very concerned that we have not had the kind of robust committee study or debate in the House that is needed in order to have good legislation. I respect my colleague down the aisle here, but I am really puzzled by the speech he made. He talked about what is wrong with the bill and yet the Liberals said right from day one, even before they read the bill, that the bill is bad and it has flaws, although I do not know how they could have known that. Even after looking at the bill they were willing to say that they would support it anyway and fix it later.
    The leader of the Liberal Party has said that he is willing to compromise and support the legislation during this session of Parliament, but propose amendments during the next federal election campaign. That begs the question as to why we have Parliament anyway, if we are going to let those who have the majority run over us. Do Liberals believe that giving the Conservatives a blank cheque is the best way to protect Canadian freedoms?

  (1140)  

    Mr. Speaker, one thing the Liberals have never done is give the government a blank cheque. That is a myth which the NDP is trying to portray, but not all that successfully. New Democrats can do all the propaganda they want, but the fact of the matter is, as I have said many times in this place, the Liberal Party has been the only party that has proposed balance in the House.
    Yes, when the bill was introduced, we did say there needs to be additional national safety and security measures. We would propose those and amendments to the bill to try to fix the imbalance as it relates to civil liberties and freedom of expression.
    With regard to what the member said in the initial part of her remarks, I would point out that no one has ever said, at least from this end, that anyone in this place is in favour of acts of terror. Certainly, no one in this place would be in favour of that.
    The question, though, is what do we do to the full extent possible to ensure that those who would be involved in acts of terror do not have the ability to do so and that we prevent those acts of terror from happening. Some of the measures in the bill would actually do that. That is why we support that part of the legislation.
    Given how Parliament works under the leadership of the current Prime Minister, we have no choice but to put the measures necessary into our election platform, because the House does not operate as a place of debate where compromise and amendments are allowed. There is no choice for us but to put those amendments in our platform so that Canadians can see them and see what we would actually like to do.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend from Malpeque knows that I am heartbroken that his party has chosen to do the wrong thing on Bill C-51. It will not be fixable later. It will need to be repealed, and that is the position that all opposition parties should take.
    We just heard the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness say that this is the only legislation in the world that would ensure that a judge oversees decisions about allowing CSIS agents, or intelligence agents in other countries, to take the steps that are proposed in the legislation.
     I would ask the member if he would agree with me, as someone who was listening to the evidence and looking at the bill, if this is because no other country in the world, no other democracy would imagine such a thing as a secret hearing, with only the government represented, to allow for a warrant for an intelligence officer to violate the constitution. No such constitutional breach warrant has ever been contemplated by any other democracy. That is terminology that I have lifted from the testimony of Professor Craig Forcese. A constitutional breach warrant is so deeply offensive that that is why only Canada has a judge overseeing it. No other country would allow it.
    Mr. Speaker, in response to the question from my colleague, the leader of the Green Party, I have two points.
    The member said that all opposition parties would repeal the bill. No, that is not true. The leader of the NDP made it clear in the beginning that, no, the NDP will not repeal the bill. I see an hon. member looking quizzically at that, but I can table those remarks at some point in time if she should wish me to. On the one hand, NDP members are saying that they are strongly opposed and would defeat the bill, but on the other hand, they are not making a commitment to repeal it.
    On the point of judicial oversight, a very important point, the member is absolutely right. All of our Five Eyes partners, with the exception of us, have proper parliamentary oversight, as we should have, but the government is failing in terms of allowing that.
    The minister tries to claim that there is judicial oversight. There is no such thing. There is judicial authorization for CSIS officers and security personnel to be able to do certain things, but there is no secondary review on that. When that warrant walks out the door, that is where it ends.
    There is no counterbalance in terms of the CSIS official coming before a judge. There is no counterbalance there to argue the other side, as we see in our normal legal arrangements in this country. Simply put, the judicial oversight is not oversight at all. Rather, it is authorization for CSIS to do certain things, and some of it is authorization to break the law, which puts judges in an extremely difficult position, which I do not think any of them really want to be in.

  (1145)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am a bit bewildered to hear my Liberal colleague's comments because I think that the NDP was very clear. We think this legislation has no place among our Canadian laws.
    I think that Canadians will not be fooled by the Liberal member because they know that the NDP fights tooth and nail for Canadians' rights and freedoms and that security and liberty must go hand in hand.
    That being said, a number of experts who testified said that Bill C-51 is inconsistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    Why do the Liberals want to vote against the charter by supporting this extremely flawed bill?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, that is kind of a joke when he asks why Liberals are voting against the charter. We are not. This is a piece of legislation. We are the party of the charter. I know the government does not want to talk about the charter very often, but we are the party of the charter. The leader of my party often talks about the charter and the rights provided to Canadians as a result of that charter.
    There very well could be problems with the charter in this bill. I do not accept the assurance given by the Department of Justice because too many other legal opinions have concerns that if this bill in any way infringes upon the charter, the Supreme Court or other levels of the courts will certainly turn it back. If the bill is in violation of the charter, as six other bills have been, the government runs the risk of losing cases that have been started under this bill in terms of the protection of Canadian people and losing them down the road. All the work by security agencies and police authorities could be lost. Why the government would run that risk I do not understand, but it seems willing to do so.
    I would tell the hon. member that maybe he should go back to the speech by his leader and see what he said he would do if the NDP was to form government. New Democrats did not say they would repeal this bill, so they are playing a bit of a game within the NDP itself. The Liberal Party has balance, and we know that.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Pickering—Scarborough East.
    It is my honour to be here today and to speak in support of this very crucial national security bill, the anti-terrorism act, 2015. I am proud of the manner in which our Conservative government has managed this important file of national security.
     Whether it be the response to the tragedies of late October, which we along with Canadians recognized instantly as terrorist attacks, or our measures to protect the value of Canadian citizenship, it is an honour to stand with our government on issues of national security.
    It is a privilege to advocate for measures that keep Canadians safe, which is of course the first priority of any government. Regardless of the bill or motion that has been up for debate in this House, I feel a strong sense of duty when advocating for positions that Canadians truly care about, such as the mission in Iraq and Syria. Canadians will not tolerate the scourge of terrorism on our shores, which is why we must not allow the evils of ISIL to spread.
    I would like to take this opportunity to first thank the members of the Canadian Armed Forces, to whom we are all very grateful. I would also like to thank the men and women who keep us safe on our shores, the RCMP, CSIS and police authorities across the country, who work tirelessly to keep us safe.
    We, as parliamentarians, have an obligation to do what we can to help them in that very important job that they have. We have passed the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act to protect the sacred values of Canadian citizenship. We have passed the Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act to clarify the ability of CSIS to operate overseas.
    Now, we are advocating for the anti-terrorism act, legislation that would enable our national security agencies to keep pace with the ever-evolving threats to our national security. Canada, like our allies, needs to modernize our laws to arm our national security agencies in the fight against Jihadi terrorists who we know have declared war on Canada.
    The anti-terrorism act would protect Canadians by allowing the federal government to share information that the government already has across departments, within government, for national security purposes. Today's threats evolve too quickly to risk vital information being trapped in bureaucracy. For example, if a consular services officer has information of suspicious activity that could actually prevent an attack, he or she must be able to inform the appropriate authorities.
    The anti-terrorism act would protect Canadians by expanding the passenger protect program, also known as the no-fly list, to allow the government to deny boarding to all terrorist suspects, not merely those who we can prove are a risk to that specific flight. Today, radicalized individuals can board planes so long as they are not a risk to that aircraft. These people could disappear into terrorist training camps and fall off our radar, and then make their way back to Canada after receiving training. I do not know how the opposition could advocate against something so simple, something that makes so much sense.
    The anti-terrorism act would protect Canadians by criminalizing the advocacy and promotion of terrorism and allowing the federal government to seize radical jihadi propaganda. Canada is a free and accepting society but that does not mean we must tolerate hateful propaganda that advocates violence against Canadians. Canadians recognize that terrorist propaganda is dangerous and contrary to Canadian values, and that the government should do all it can to ensure that it does not poison the minds of our young people.
    The anti-terrorism act would also enable CSIS to disrupt threats to our nation. This is an important part of the bill that, again, just makes sense. In fact, when I speak to Canadians across the country in roundtable discussions, they cannot believe that CSIS does not already have the power to disrupt threats.
     It is inconceivable that a CSIS agent cannot take a very minor action, such as intercepting mail to prevent a meeting between a radicalized individual and a known terrorist group, to protect Canadians. Again, this is a common sense policy proposal that the opposition willingly and wilfully exaggerates the powers being proposed.

  (1150)  

    CSIS is not and will never be a secret police force. The opposition members know that. CSIS cannot and will not operate without strict oversight and review. That is why disruption powers would be subject to judicial review and also why the government's new balanced budget that we proposed would double SIRC's resources. The Security Intelligence Review Committee, or SIRC, is a robust Canadian model that has provided effective expert oversight of CSIS for decades. CSIS agents are often in the right place at the right time to disrupt threats early. Given the increased number of foreign fighters and jihadi terrorists threatening our nation, it is very important that we empower the men and women of CSIS to keep Canada safe.
    Finally, the anti-terrorism act would further strengthen Canadian citizenship by ensuring that national security agencies are better able to protect and use classified information when denying entry and status to non-citizens who pose a threat to Canada. Again, that is another proposal that Canadians would see to be very important and just makes sense. Canadians know that only the Conservative Party, led by this Prime Minister, can be trusted to keep Canadians safe from the threat of terrorism.
    Whether it is on the issue of citizenship; our international security obligations; budget increases to national security agencies, which they continually vote against; or on a crucial bill that would modernize our security tools, the New Democrats and Liberals oppose, confuse and obstruct.
    That is why I am proud to be a part of this Conservative government. I am proud of our strong record and the leadership of the Prime Minister on issues of national security. I will be voting in favour of this very important bill, and I encourage all other members to do the same, to help keep Canadians safe from terrorists who wish to do us harm.

  (1155)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, clearly we are very concerned about the scope of this bill. Many very competent expert witnesses, from outside the House, came to tell us that this bill goes much too far.
    I would like to ask a specific question: would the law allow CSIS to disrupt environmental groups, first nations or any other activist groups whose tactics include blockades to bar access to infrastructure?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear from the outset that average Canadians who take part in law-abiding protests to make their views known to the government or some other agency would not be a concern here or to CSIS. I would ask the opposition members to make it clear. Which part of the civil liberties of average, law-abiding Canadians would be intervened upon and restricted by this bill? The opposition members come up with scenarios that are not very clear.
     What is very clear is that this bill is intended to give the RCMP and CSIS the tools they need to keep Canadians safe from terrorists, those terrorists who wish to do us harm here on Canadian soil or possibly have put together plots in other parts of the world to hurt Canadians here. That is exactly what this bill would do. It is why most Canadians support this bill and that is why we will be voting for this bill.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, what really scares me about this bill is the extent to which it can restrict people's rights in the name of security. We recently saw what can happen. On October 22, life in Parliament completely changed because of an individual who probably suffered from a mental health problem. We must act to ensure that the government does not restrict MPs' rights. During the October crisis in Quebec, we also saw the Liberals put in place war measures because of possibly 30 to 35 people who were making threats.
    It is a disproportionate reaction. I am very scared. Canadians are scared. People in my riding of Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles are afraid that the reactions will be excessive. Can the member reassure us about that?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I think the concern is that the NDP continuously talks about not being able to do two things. We believe that it is important to have security to protect our freedoms, and the NDP just does not.
     I would ask the member to maybe sit down with those constituents who are concerned and talk about the fact that we would be criminalizing the advocacy or promotion of terrorism offences. Why does the member not agree to counter terrorism recruitment by giving our courts the authority to order the removal of terrorist propaganda online? How could she be against enhancing the power of CSIS to address threats to the security of Canadians, while ensuring that the courts have oversight, or of providing law-enforcement agencies with an enhanced ability to disrupt terrorism offences and terrorist activity?
    When I speak to Canadians, they cannot understand why CSIS does not have the power now to disrupt possible terrorist attacks. The bill would allow CSIS to do that. The bill would give the RCMP, CSIS, and other security agencies across the country the tools they need to keep Canadians safe. I would encourage the member to speak to her constituents. If she explains this properly to them, how could they be against something like that? If they read over the bill, they would end up supporting it.

  (1200)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in this House today to support the anti-terrorism act, 2015, because the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada.
    From the time I fought in Afghanistan as a military engineer in the Canadian Armed Forces in 2007, a lot of things changed on the international scene, with an increase in terrorist attacks against our civilization and freedoms. Canadians are being targeted by these terrorists simply because these terrorists hate our society and the values it represents.
    Jihadi terrorism is not a human right. It is an act of war. This is why our government has put forward the measures we are discussing today to protect Canadians from these terrorists who seek to destroy the very principles that make Canada the best country in the world in which to live. That is also why Canada is not sitting on the sidelines, as some would have us do, and is instead joining our allies in supporting the international coalition in the fight against ISIS.
    I am very proud to stand in this place to support this historic legislation.
    Our government has already increased the resources available to our police forces by one-third. The Liberals and the NDP voted against those increases each step of the way. Economic action plan 2015 would further increase the resources to CSIS, the RCMP, and CBSA by almost $300 million to bolster our front-line efforts to counter terrorism. Our government will continue to ensure that our police forces have the resources they need to keep Canadians safe.
     Tom Quiggin, of the Terrorism and Security Experts of Canada Network, said that Canada has a series of deep networks whose aim is to create further extremism in Canada by recruiting young Canadians overseas to die in places like the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Somalia, and elsewhere. These networks have been set up by the Muslim Brotherhood. He said that confronting these extremist networks in Canada will be the work of a generation and that budgetary support for the RCMP, CSIS, and CBSA is a positive step in the right direction,
     Canadians are speaking loud and clear. They know that our Conservative government, led by the Prime Minister, is on the right track to protect Canadians from the threat posed by the so-called Islamic State.
    I would like to focus my comments on the first part of the bill, the security of Canada information sharing act.
    Knowledge is power, as the old saying goes. In this day and age, the government has a lot of information about a wide swath of activities of the people of Canada. While some may argue that a succession of Liberal prime ministers expanded the size, scope, and reach of government far too intimately into the lives of Canadians, that is a question for a different day.
    The fact of the matter is that whether it is an examination of tax records, information obtained by officers at the border, or things observed by consular officials, there is a great deal of information under the control of the Government of Canada that could be relevant to national security investigations.
    Shockingly, right now it is prohibited for agencies of the Government of Canada to share most information with their counterparts in the national security field.
    Let me give members an example given by the Commissioner of the RCMP.
     An individual who has travelled abroad to engage in terrorism arrives at a Canadian embassy to seek consular assistance. The individual in question has recent bullet wounds and clearly looks as if he has been engaged in fighting. The individual asks for Canadian travel documents so he can return home immediately. The embassy employee is prohibited from passing on their concerns that this individual may be involved in terrorism to the RCMP. They have to orchestrate a chance meeting with their RCMP liaison officer in the hallway so that they can become aware of the risk posed by this individual.
    It is completely ridiculous that the right hand of government cannot know what the left hand is doing. This is why I am pleased to support the bill.
    Some, particularly members of the NDP, will tell us that this legislation would go too far. It would cause information to be given to CSIS regarding peaceful and legitimate dissent, and ordinary people would find themselves accused of being terrorists.
    To that I respond with a question. How?

  (1205)  

    As I read the bill, it in no way targets protesters. In fact, it prohibits the sharing of information regarding protest or dissent.
    Further, even if somehow a peaceful protest spontaneously turned into a threat to national security, I fail to see what possible information the government could be sharing that would cause such great offence.
    What seems to be happening here is that the New Democrats' continuing talking points about civil liberties are a fig leaf to hide their real agenda. They are simply opposed to any measure at all to increase national security. We do not have to look far to see this. Every time our government brings forward new financial resources for security, they vote against it. They voted against the Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act. They even voted against making it a criminal offence to travel overseas for the purpose of engaging in terrorism. I hate to say it, but I believe this stems from the fundamental NDP left-wing ideology.
    The NDP member for Pontiac was previously a candidate for the Communist Party of Canada, and part of his platform was the repeal of all national security laws, including the no-fly list. This is absolutely preposterous, but it does explain their opposition to the common-sense measures before us today.
    Let us listen to what credible Canadians are saying about the bill. Ms. Raheel Raza, president of the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, said that this legislation is important to combat radicalization and that we need better tools to track jihadis who travel overseas. She said:
...unfortunately we are living in a post-9/11 world, and times are such that personal information needs to be shared. That's the reality and I don't have a problem with it.... Again, the larger picture is that of the security and safety of Canada.
    Tahir Gora, of the Canadian Thinkers Forum, said:
     The government's proposed Bill C-51, when passed by Parliament, shall help Canadian Muslims to curb ex2tremist elements
    Canadian experts support this important legislation. I will vote in favour of this legislation, and I encourage all my hon. colleagues to do the same.
    Mr. Speaker, I think we should put that on YouTube to show the idiocy of the Conservative Party position on that.
    We are told that the willingness to defend the charter of rights, which is a fundamental of our country, and I do not know if my colleague has ever read the charter of rights, stems from a leftist ideology that he says comes from the Communist Party. I would say that sounds moronic, but I know that might not be parliamentary. However, it shows the level of ignorance the government will go to to attack people who are not afraid to stand up for basic civil rights in this country.
    I notice the government has had zero money in four years to deal with deradicalization. There has been nothing. There is no money to go after terrorist financing, yet it will go after charities. The Conservatives have consistently attacked charities. Why do they go after charities? It is for the same reason they are going after New Democrats. They say that charities that stand up for the environment are some kind of foreign radical threat.
    This is an attack on civil liberties, and that man should be the poster boy for it.
    Before I go to the hon. member, I just remind all hon. members to maintain not only the letter of the parliamentary rules but the spirit of them as well in terms of debate in this place.
    The hon. member for Pickering--Scarborough East.

  (1210)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague, even though he is not listening and he is leaving the chamber.
    Order, please. Members are not allowed to state whether another member is in or out of the chamber. In this case, I would go back to the hon. member for Pickering--Scarborough East.
    Mr. Speaker, I did not hear any question from the member regarding the bill. He made preposterous allegations against the bill and against Canadians who are working in the police, the RCMP, and CSIS. They have an allegiance to respect the laws of this country.
    This member was implying that these members will somehow not respect the charter of rights.
     Regarding the fact that the NDP voted against any measures regarding the security of Canadians, I do not have another way to say it except to encourage the members to vote this time for the security of Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I can tell you why the NDP did not have a question about the statement he just made, and it is because the NDP has not read the bill.
    It has been very clear since Bill C-51 was first introduced that there has been a lot of misinformation pushed out by the NDP, whether it is intentional or whether it is because of a complete lack of understanding. It is also interesting that yesterday one of the members of the NDP actually referred to the two terrorist attacks that took place in Canada back in October as very unfortunate incidents. New Democrats simply cannot come to terms with the term “terrorism” quite yet.
    I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his commitment to keep Canadians safe. I would like to ask him how dangerous it would be if Canadians actually listened to the rhetoric from the opposition party instead of the credible witnesses that we brought to committee who had more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement and security intelligence and also those who have been studying terrorism for more than 10 years.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to outline a few of things that this bill would do. It would allow Passport Canada to share information of potential terrorist travellers with the RCMP. It would stop known radicalized individuals from boarding planes bound for terrorist conflict zones. It would criminalize the promotion of terrorism in general. For example, statements like “kill all the infidels wherever they are” would become illegal. It would allow CSIS agents to speak to the parents of radicalized youth in order to disrupt terrorist travel plans. It would give the government an appeal mechanism to stop information from being released in security certificate proceedings if it could harm a source. All of these elements are opposed by the NDP.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Beaches—East York.
     I would say that it is a pleasure to rise to speak to Bill C-51 were it not for the contents of this bill and the direction in which the government is taking us in such a worrisome fashion.
    Let me pre-empt my comments by confirming that the primary role of government is to keep its citizenry safe from threats, both domestic and foreign. Those are threats that can be borne out by groups. They can also be threats to our liberties and security borne out by a government itself that no longer has the ability to maintain any semblance of balance and understanding of what it is to live in a free and fair democracy.
    The Conservatives were so concerned about privacy and freedoms that they cancelled the long form census because it was such an intrusion on the privacy and rights of Canadians, yet they are now embedding in Bill C-51 the right of the state to have warrantless search and seizure powers without any oversight from a judge. Consider that for a moment. The Conservatives did not want the government knowing how many bathrooms Canadians have in their homes, but now they say that they want to legitimize and legalize the act of a warrantless search not only on homes, but on people's emails and phone conversations in their very private lives. There was no extension of power granted of oversight to the public or to any oversight body at all when handing out these extraordinary powers to the spy agency of Canada.
    The Conservatives have made no case whatsoever of the need for this bill. They have not been able to cite an incident where a terrorist activity took place but would have been prevented had this bill been in place. In fact, there have been a number of arrests in Canada over the last number of years involving potential terrorist threats well before they even happened, yet the Conservatives say that they need to hand CSIS these broad powers.
    If it is not for legitimate security reasons, then what is it for? One does not have to go too far back into the Conservative history to realize that the Conservatives do have an agenda here.
    The Conservatives time and time again have shown who their enemies are. We all recall the famous enemies list. The Prime Minister's Office called it the list of friends and enemy stakeholders, back in 2013. This was a memo from the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada asking government officials to compile a list of stakeholders who were friends and stakeholders who were enemies, in their words. Fast forward to the then natural resources minister, now the Minister of Finance, who, in attacking opponents of his pipeline dreams in northern British Columbia, said that opponents were foreign-funded radicals and enemies of the state.
    Take those two comments for what they are, that people are enemies of the state for opposing an industrial project, a pipeline that is highly controversial and in fact opposed by two-thirds of British Columbians. Is that what enemies of the state have become? Are they anybody who happens to have an opinion and anyone who happens to have the audacity to be against a government's policy or industrial proposal which, by the way, threatens our very way of life in northern British Columbia?
    There are three points of this bill that are most worrisome.
    First of all, the definition of terrorism has been vastly expanded to include things like economic interests and countering government policy. If the net is cast so broadly to include anything as a terrorist activity that happens to contravene something that the government of the day wants to push forward, we have to ask ourselves what type of country we are living in and what type of country is imagined by the Conservatives.
    The second point is something that has already been struck down in court from a previous bill that tried to counteract money laundering and terrorism, but here the Conservatives go again with warrantless search and seizure. The ability to go in without a warrant and conduct searches was struck down recently by the Supreme Court, but here the Conservatives go again, trying it again. At the foundation of what this democracy and any free and right-thinking democracy stands for is that the state simply cannot, without the purview of a judge and without rational and proper discourse, go in and interfere with the private lives of Canadians.

  (1215)  

    The last point is an important one. The level of oversight is already so weak that we have heard from commission after commission looking into the Air India bombing, for example, that oversight needs to be improved. What have the Conservatives done? They have expanded powers but they have not improved any oversight.
     After some tragic events in my riding, one involving Ian Bush, a young man who when interacting with the RCMP in a confrontation was killed, the Bush family and many right-thinking British Columbians fought for years to bring more public oversight to the RCMP. The Conservatives rallied against this saying that public oversight of our police forces was unnecessary and that we were somehow demeaning security and police forces by even asking for it. Lo and behold, British Columbia was able to bring in public oversight of the RCMP just as police oversight has been brought in in Alberta and Ontario. The United States is finally contemplating the very same thing. With extraordinary power comes extraordinary responsibility and it is right for the public to ask for some level and measure of oversight.
    We see in this bill that if the lawyers for CSIS, the spy agency itself, determine that CSIS may contravene our charter or interfere with people's civil liberties by some action it is undertaking, such as spying on them, tapping their phone or breaking into their email accounts, then under this law CSIS may go to a judge and seek a warrant. Some would say that is enough for oversight, but the judge never sees CSIS again, and off it goes on its merry way. Did CSIS expand its search and investigation of Canadians or go beyond? The judge and the public would never know because Parliament has no oversight capacity.
    We have implored the government through dozens of amendments to take on some of these basic and reasonable requests. Of the 48 witnesses who appeared before the committee, many of them called by the Conservatives, 43 said that this bill is flawed and needs major fixes. Many witnesses, experts in matters of security and civil rights, said that the bill had to be scrapped entirely. Former Supreme Court judges, former prime ministers, both Liberal and Conservative, called this bill what it is, which is an affront to basic Canadian values. For me, as someone who has great faith and pride in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to see the impact on those rights and freedoms proposed by this bill, with little to no justification at all, is incredibly worrisome.
    We would think with all of the terrorist threats and certainly with all of the rhetoric we hear from the Conservatives that going after money laundering and terrorist financing would have been the first order of the Conservative government. In the last four years we have not seen any increase in CRA's budget to do just that, to go after money laundering and terrorist financing. There has been nothing, no increase at all. However, there has been an increase in Canada Revenue Agency's budget to go after charities, birdwatchers, environmental groups, first nations groups, anybody who had the audacity to suggest an opinion that was different from that of the government, who had the audacity to suggest that they disagreed with some Conservative policy or another. Here we are with a government that claims to have the security interests of Canadians, yet so often and so consistently it disregards our civil liberties, our rights and freedoms, and infringes on the values that Canadians so cherish.
    Coming from the northwest of B.C., I will suggest this. The Conservatives have managed to pull off some rare feat. They have managed to bring gun owners, environmental groups, first nations, loggers, and groups from across the political spectrum in my part of the world to come to a place of agreement in their opposition to this bill. It is a rare feat in politics to bring so many different divergent groups together in unity in opposition to an idea. That idea is expressed in Bill C-51. It is an idea that is abhorrent to Canadian values, is contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and is contrary to any sound policy-making.
    If the intention is to protect Canadians, let us protect Canadians from true threats to our security and from threats by a government that wishes to abuse its powers.

  (1220)  

    Mr. Speaker, once again, that speech proves that NDP members have either not fully understood the bill, perhaps did not read it, or they are intentionally misleading Canadians.
    When I hear such things, that the bill contains the ability for CSIS to conduct warrantless searches and seizures, it is absolutely ridiculous. Actually, right in the bill, there is a requirement that CSIS would have to obtain a warrant.
    In fact, we heard from many witnesses on this particular issue. One of them was Ray Boisvert, who is the former assistant director of CSIS. He talked extensively on the warrant process, and that it is one of the most onerous warrant processes of any of its kind. He also went on to say that, “My sense from reading the legislation is that those safeguards are protected and are further enhanced.”
    Once again, we have a situation where NDP members are perhaps woefully misleading Canadians, whether it is intentional or because they just simply have not read the bill.
    I would like to ask the member specifically if he could point to the page, the clause and the sentence so that Canadians can actually reference this bill and see exactly where he is misleading Canadians.

  (1225)  

    Mr. Speaker, of course, to suggest an hon. member would mislead Canadians is contrary to the rules of this place.
    We look through the bill and we find numerous instances in which the requirement of CSIS to seek a warrant is at the discretion of CSIS. My friend says, do not worry, the spy agency in all matters will seek out a warrant before it infringes upon the rights of Canadians. Who is going to determine that? Not Parliament, not a judge, but CSIS would determine it first. CSIS may wonder if they would break anyone's rights, maybe, maybe not, but if CSIS determines it, then CSIS goes ahead.
    I do not know what happened to the Conservative Party. I remember there used to be a certain libertarian streak within the party that thought about the sanctity of individual rights and freedoms. Privacy was an important thing for Conservatives. I remember that was their main argument on the gun registry. It was certainly their argument on cancelling the long form census, which was an idiotic move that was condemned on all levels and across the political spectrum.
    Privacy was paramount to the Conservatives, yet without any justification, any proof that there are certain threats that would require this type of extension of government powers over Canadians, this type of intrusion into our private lives, we have a government that says if we oppose its policy one is an enemy of the state. Those are not our words. Those are the words of the current Minister of Finance.
    Well, a+b=c in this case, and it is clear where the Conservative agenda is. Conservatives are spending more money going after charities than they are terrorists. One wonders what the true agenda of the Conservative Party is in this matter.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am concerned that the Conservatives are misleading Canadians by claiming that it is crucial to pass Bill C-51.
    The measures adopted after the 2001 legislation were only used after the events in October. Recently, there have been more arrests of people who represent a threat.
    Does my colleague think the issue was a legal problem that tied the hands of those involved or the poor use of existing resources and options and the underfunding of certain agencies responsible for security? Did we need more money or more laws?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we know that between 2009 and 2014, the Conservatives cut the RCMP budget by $420 million. That is a fact. I wonder how Conservatives square that with their need for this bill. Between 2012 and 2013, CSIS itself had its funding cut by $44 million. Therefore, bleed them of resources, bleed them of expertise, and claim that there is a crisis so great that we have to trample over the rights of Canadians. That is the situation that the Conservatives have claimed.
    Parenthetically, my disappointment, the only word I can use properly today, with where the Liberals stand on this is devastating, simply because I am looking for the justification as to why a party that brought in the charter, with our help and support, is now so willing to join with the Conservatives in taking out vast sections of the charter with the bill. The Liberal leader said that this conversation might be different if we were not months from an election campaign, but we are. Therefore, there is is a political element to this entire conversation that is worrisome.
    We can do much better than this. We can defend the rights of Canadians and protect Canadians from threats. Those two things have to happen at the same time as they are born from the same root. It is what Canadians expect legislators to do, rather than play the kinds of politics that we see the Conservatives doing day in and day out.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-51 at third reading. Of course there was only ever one proper way to dispose of the bill and that was some time ago in the legislative process at second reading and as per the reasoned amendment put forward by my NDP colleague, the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, which suggested that we decline to give second reading to the bill. I was pleased this morning to second another such reasoned amendment, which was in effect to throw the bill out so that we did not discuss this and the bill never became law.
    I want to take a moment to thank the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca and the member for Alfred-Pellan for leading our caucus in vigorous opposition to the bill, because the bill is unworthy of any Canadian government to lay before the House, as the Conservative government has done. Certainly it is unworthy of any opposition support, as the Liberals have done. It is so because what is rotten about the bill lies at its very heart, with the bill's premise that it is only by way of sacrificing the rights and freedoms of Canadians that we are able to make Canadians safe.
    I have listened carefully to Conservatives and Liberals trying to rationalize this premise. They cannot. They compensate with hyperbole, with an extremism in their language, all of their own. Liberals, the self-proclaimed party of the charter are the Conservatives' allies in this. They are afraid of what the Conservatives might do to them if they disagree. They have turned on the charter and have agreed to support a bill in which our rights would not be rights anymore, because if we considered them so, goes the logic of the bill and of the Conservatives and Liberals who support it, we could not and would not be safe here in Canada.
    This is what it has come to, their consent to a bill that would give the Canadian Security Intelligence Service new radically altered authorities. CSIS was originally charged with a broad mandate but limited power, certainly, no so-called kinetic powers, no powers to disrupt, arrest or, in the terms used by Forcese and Roach, “to do things to people in the physical world”. This is not only no longer the case, but through the bill CSIS would be provided with such kinetic powers with little constraint, restricted only from committing bodily harm, obstructing justice and violating a person's sexual integrity.
    The provisions of Bill C-51 would provide CSIS with the authority to take measures both at home and abroad to disrupt threats when it has “reasonable grounds” to believe that “there is a threat to the security of Canada”. Activities to disrupt threats are not to contravene a right or freedom guaranteed under the charter, unless authorized by a warrant under the act. Here, the bill turns the idea of judicial warrants on its head. In the normal course, judicial warrants are designed to ensure the preservation or integrity of charter rights, specifically to protect against unreasonable searches and seizure. The special warrant system laid out in Bill C-51 would pre-authorize the violation of absolute rights such as, for example, the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.
    This represents a departure from our constitutional tradition in Canada and the role of the judiciary in that tradition. Section 1 of the Charter allows rights to be violated where such violation is considered “reasonable” in a free and democratic society, but only when prescribed by law, which usually means specified by statute, which is something determined, democratically, here in the House. It depends in turn on some rigorous, legal justification. This tradition does not permit a judge to make a new exception to a charter right, but the bill would, or at least it seeks to.
    Let me heap a few complications on top of this situation. First, the bill does not provide for any oversight of CSIS' own determinations of whether or not it ought to, or needs to, seek a special warrant. The bill leaves such decisions to CSIS absent any check or scrutiny of those decisions.

  (1230)  

    It is only in the instance that something goes wrong or when its activities morph into criminal investigations led by the RCMP that such decisions may come under some scrutiny, potentially, it is worth noting, threatening the prosecution of the case. It is worth noting, too, that where warrants are brought forward by CSIS, seeking pre-authorization by the court of the violation of a charter right, such considerations are to be dealt with in secret.
     Forcese and Roach illustrate the problem by way of their comparison of the open and public discussion in the British Parliament of the validity of exclusion orders for British citizens who have joined ISIS or ISIL. Whatever one might think of those exclusion orders, the fact of parliamentary debate stands in stark contrast to the provisions of this bill, which would have such discussions take place with only a judge and the government side present, and in the absence of any person or representative body to argue against the charter breach.
    Perhaps a system of special advocates and advocacy will emerge or be adopted by the courts, to be seen. We are left most certainly, inevitably under this bill with the decisions of the judiciary to deny or permit violations of the absolute rights of Canadians being made in secret and being kept secret, far from the scrutiny of anybody.
    Another problem is the matters before the judiciary, under this special warrants system, are not restricted to matters of terrorism. It is a far broader scope of matters and conduct that fall subject to this system. Terrorism is only one such form of activity that falls under broadly defined security concerns of the bill; so does interference with critical infrastructure, and so does interference with the capability of the government in relation to, for example, the economic or financial stability of Canada.
    This broad language, potentially at least, brings first nations most obviously but also any civil society group making territorial claims in response to development projects, such as mining or other extractive activities, into the ambit of this bill and subject to the special disruptive activities of CSIS and special warrants process of the courts.
    This broad language again, potentially at least, brings any civil society group, environmental groups for example, that Conservative ministers have been known to refer to as eco-terrorists, engaged in civil disobedience activities investigations with respect to energy infrastructure, for example, into the ambit of this bill and subject to the special disruptive activities of CSIS and special warrant processes of the courts.
    None of this, none of what I have said today, is to deny the very real threat of terrorism to the safety and security of Canadians. How can we? From 9/11 onwards at least, we have recognized the threat, our vulnerability and the need to respond to protect ourselves.
    Whatever that hate is that moves ISIL to do what it does, we cannot but acknowledge that it has inspired some Canadians to leave here and join them, and it has inspired at least a couple of Canadians to turn that hate on their own here at home. We cannot forget Corporal Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. We cannot forget October 22, when all of us in this place wondered, for at least a moment, if that was to be our last moment.
    The impossibility of supporting Bill C-51 was captured most simply and elegantly by the Leader of the Opposition when he said that we cannot protect our freedoms by sacrificing our freedoms.
    Our challenge is not to forsake who we are and what we believe in when we are afraid, when we are tested. Our challenge is to ensure that Canadians are safe and secure in a Canada that protects their rights and freedoms. That vision of Canada is the New Democrats' vision of Canada. It is different from the Conservative vision represented by Bill C-51. It is different from the Liberals' vision represented by their fear of not supporting Bill C-51 and by their fear of Conservatives.
    It is the only vision offered here today in this House that is consistent with the long, proud history of this country, and the only vision that will ensure that we have a long, proud future.

  (1235)  

    Mr. Speaker, once again we are hearing about the bill containing unreasonable search and seizure, which is absolutely not the case. In the NDP member's speech, we heard that this would give CSIS the powers to do whatever it wants. That is absolutely not the case. In fact, to inform the member opposite, right now law enforcement makes the decisions when warrants are required. Police have to apply for a warrant, and the same process would occur with CSIS.
    I want to clarify for the record that, once again, the NDP is pushing out information that is inaccurate, whether it is intentional or whether it is simply because of a lack of understanding of the bill. With respect to the bill itself, there are multiple conditions that would have to be met for someone to apply for a warrant and, as well, the judge might place conditions on that warrant. So all of those safeguards would be in place.
    Does the member believe that our national security agencies, including local law enforcement in his area, are incapable of determining when a warrant is required?

  (1240)  

    Mr. Speaker, it would most certainly not be the same case as the current system of judicial warrants that are sought by police. Those warrants are sought to ensure that there is no invasion of charter rights, that the integrity of the charter is upheld, and that is what judges determine, and those warrants are monitored by judges from the beginning of the criminal process to the end. This would not be that process. This, in fact, would turn that process on its head. These are warrants explicitly intended to seek a breach of somebody's charter rights or freedoms. That process would occur not in open court subject to the scrutiny of the public, but in secret courts, in secret trials.
    The Conservative Party is a party that has turned Canada, through this bill, into a country of secret trials and secret hearings, and this is not the Canada we support and believe in. The parliamentary secretary would be wise and would make a far better member of Parliament by acting in good faith and speaking honestly in this House about what is really in the bill and not continuing to misrepresent what Conservatives are doing to Canada, to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of this country, through the bill.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Beaches—East York for his very thoughtful presentation today. He talked about threat disruption, and said activities to disrupt threats would not contravene a right or freedom guaranteed under the charter unless authorized by a warrant under section 21.1 of the act. It would be left, as he pointed out, to CSIS to determine whether such a warrant should be sought from a judge, in secret, without the benefit of a special advocate or others who might know the security-tested information and participate effectively.
    I had the honour of being appointed by the former minister of justice, now Minister of Foreign Affairs, to play the role of special advocate. I ask my hon. friend, as a lawyer, if he thinks this is consistent with Canada's commitment to rule of law to have no one there except CSIS and a judge talking about these unprecedented powers, without the benefit of someone like a special advocate to test the evidence, which was found to be constitutionally required elsewhere. I wonder why not here, and does he think this squares, therefore, with the rule of law?
    Mr. Speaker, it is a fine question, probably better addressed to an actual lawyer, which I am not. However, most clearly, the bill is very simple in what it ultimately puts forward. It puts forward a judicial system in this country that is not consistent with constitutional traditions of Canada in that it does not respect the rule of law. We have seen judges under current law criticize CSIS for not seeking warrants when it should have. For the government to suggest that no oversight is required of CSIS to ensure that it is not seeking warrants when it knows full well that there is a potential breach of someone's charter rights is extraordinarily naive or misleading.
    I am very pleased to provide my views on the important subject of what our Conservative government is doing to combat terrorism. Terrorism is not some far-off problem for others to deal with. It hits us right here at home.
    That is because the international jihadi movement has declared war on Canada and its allies. The members of that movement hate our values, our freedom, and our prosperity. In fact, Canadians have been targeted specifically for our values that make Canada the best country in the world to live, work, and raise a family. Tragically, we saw the most horrific manifestations of this in late October. Two brave members of the Canadian Armed Forces were killed in cold blood by jihadi terrorists. That is what brought about the legislation that is before us today, the anti-terrorism act, 2015.
    I am proud to support this important legislation that builds on our strong record of protecting Canadians from violent terrorists. We have taken action to limit the ability of terrorist organizations to fund-raise within Canada, through the Criminal Code terrorist-listing process. We passed the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, which allows victims of terrorism and their families to hold state sponsors of terror financially accountable. We passed the Combating Terrorism Act, which makes it a criminal offence to travel overseas to engage in terrorist activity. We also passed the Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act, which modernizes the tools available to our national security agencies. This is a record of which Canadians can all be proud.
    It is shocking but certainly not surprising that the NDP has opposed us every step of the way.
    There are four key elements in the legislation before us today: one, this bill would allow for information sharing internal to the government; two, it would enhance the passenger protect program, known as the “no-fly list”; three, it would criminalize the distribution of jihadi terrorist propaganda; and four, it would give CSIS the tools to disrupt terrorist plots before they end in tragedy. These are very common-sense changes that would protect us from the real jihadi terrorism threat. On this side of the House, we know that this threat is real. We have heard it in witness testimony. It has evolved, it is growing, and it is real.
    We have also seen attacks planned and carried out both in Canada and in other western countries. I would remind this House of the chilling words of the Islamic State:
    If you can kill a disbelieving American or European—especially the spiteful and filthy French—or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be.
    That threat is very real, and we must take action to degrade and destroy this threat. That is why our government will not sit on the sidelines, as the Liberals would have us do, and why we are joining the international coalition to defeat ISIS. Credible Canadians know that we must take action to deal with this threat, specifically the action outlined in our bill, the anti-terrorism act, 2015.
     Professor Elliot Tepper of Carleton University said:
    Bill C-51 is the most important national security legislation since the 9/11 era.
    [It] is designed for the post-9/11 era. It's a new legislation for a new era in terms of security threats. While it's understandable that various provisions of the legislation attract attention, we need to keep our focus on the fundamental purpose and the fundamental challenge of combatting emerging types of terrorism.
    Professor Salim Mansur of the University of Western Ontario said:
     Bill C-51 is directed against Islamist jihadists and to prevent or pre-empt them from their stated goal to carry out terrorist threats against the west, including Canada.
...the measures proposed in Bill C-51 to deal with the nature of threats that Canada faces, I believe, are quite rightly and urgently needed to protect and keep secure the freedom of our citizens.
     Scott Tod, deputy commissioner, investigations, organized crime, Ontario Provincial Police, said:
    Bill C-51 offers improvements for the federal police to share information among our justice sector partners, security partners, but more importantly and hopefully, with the community partners and government situational tables designed to reduce the terrorist threat and improve community safety and well-being.
    It is clear that our measures would protect Canadians from those who wish to harm us.

  (1245)  

    The first duty of any government is to protect the safety of its citizens, and that is exactly what our Conservative government is doing. The anti-terrorism act 2015 would ensure that our police forces have the tools they need to protect Canadians against the evolving threat of jihadi terrorists. We reject the argument that every time we talk about security, somehow our freedoms are threatened. Canadians understand that their freedom and security go hand in hand. Canadians expect us to protect both, and that is exactly what we are doing with this legislation because there are safeguards in this bill.
    The fundamental fact is that our police forces are working to protect our rights and freedoms and it is jihadi terrorists who endanger our security and would take those freedoms away. What is more, we will never apologize for taking jihadi propaganda out of circulation. In fact, if companies that provide website content hosting services or other businesses are profiting from this type of horrific material, they should seriously reconsider their business models and lack of commitment to the values we cherish here in Canada.
    Across this country, businesses, large and small, depend on a strong economy, clear rules of marketplace conduct, dependable transactions, and secure data. The reality is that there is no profitability without a stable security environment, both physical and virtual. This legislation would strengthen our national security and would benefit businesses, as well as all consumers.
    It is clear that our Conservative government can make the tough decisions necessary to keep all Canadians safe, and I hope that when this bill is voted on tomorrow night, all members of the House will stand with me in supporting this very important piece of legislation.

  (1250)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened closely to the hon. member's speech, and I would really like her to explain the difference between keeping Canadians safe and expanding the rules that restrict our rights and take away our freedoms.
    As we speak, an online group has gathered 205,000 signatures from people who oppose this bill. Some 82% of people were in favour of it, but after just two days, now only 33% support it. The more Canadians know about the bill, the less they want it.
    Why is the government refusing to amend the bill or agree to any amendments?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we heard from credible witnesses throughout the testimony, those with law enforcement and security intelligence experience and those who deal with terrorism. Every one of the individuals who went before the committee agreed that the threat of terrorism is real, it is evolving, and we need to deal with it on an urgent basis.
    The legislation before us has the safeguards to protect both the privacy and the freedoms of Canadians. This bill targets terrorism. It targets terrorists. Again, we are dealing with misinformation that has been pushed out by the New Democrats, whether intentionally or because they completely do not understand the contents of the bill. If we read the legislation, we see the safeguards are very clearly there, and I am very proud to say that I will be supporting this piece of legislation.
    Mr. Speaker, I will say the Green Party completely agrees with the NDP and is actually committed to ensuring this bill is repealed after an election, not just amended or fixed. It cannot be fixed.
    I am not surprised to hear the parliamentary secretary repeat that somehow those of us in opposition who oppose this bill do not understand it. I can assure everyone that I understand it fully. This bill is dangerous, and it is dangerous precisely because it would not make us safer from terrorists, as we have heard from many security witnesses, both in the House committee and now before the Senate committee.
    The bill would create silos. RCMP operatives and CSIS operatives would be given powers to disrupt, with no pinnacle control or command, no one to know whether the CSIS operatives were giving permission or commitments to witnesses that they would never be called, who may be part of an RCMP investigation that needs that witness' testimony. The way in which this is being set up, in the words of security experts, particularly Joe Fogarty, who is a British security expert, is that we are “sitting on a tragedy waiting to happen”. This is not good legislation to protect us from terrorists, and it would certainly be unacceptably intrusive and destroy charter rights and freedoms through secret trials.
    Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely false. There are measures contained in this bill. Again, she referred to the activities of CSIS. CSIS would have to obtain a warrant from a judge. A section of the charter would actually be applied in order to determine whether a warrant is required. CSIS would have to provide pages and pages of documentation with respect to the activity it would undertake. Therefore that is absolutely false.
    I have to say that in committee the officials tried to explain something to the member, and she completely disregarded what the officials said. Again, I stand on this side of the House speaking very clearly about the importance of this legislation, what the measures are that are contained within it, and why is so important to make sure Canadians are kept safe.

  (1255)  

    Mr. Speaker, could the parliamentary secretary cite the importance of Bill C-51 and the sharing of information between the RCMP, CBSA, CSIS, and others?
    Mr. Speaker, most Canadians would expect that this is already being done, but it is not.
     When I spoke to my constituents about this issue, they found it completely unbelievable that our current security agencies did not have the ability to share pertinent information. The provisions in Bill C-51 would create a new information sharing act which, just as the hon. member mentioned, would allow agencies to share information pertinent to national security.
    Witnesses in committee spoke about the importance of pieces of information coming from various sources that, when pieced together, created a puzzle. With this, they are able to determine more with regard to security threats.
    This is absolutely crucial to national security and to keeping Canadians safe. That is why I am supporting the bill.
    Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to participate in this important debate today.
    Recent polls have shown us that national security and the fight against jihadi terrorism is one of the most important issues for Canadians from coast to coast. I regret that so many of my hon. colleagues on the other side of the House refuse to use that modifier to describe this new and very dangerous form of terrorism and they refuse to recognize this as one of the most important issues facing Canadians.
     The vast majority of my constituents in Thornhill share that concern. I have received any number of phone calls over recent months, from folks who want to know precisely what we will do to keep our communities safe from jihadi terrorists.
    I am proud to respond to each and every one of those phone calls to explain the content of the bill before us today, the anti-terrorism act, 2015, because it gives me an opportunity to highlight the strong record of this Conservative government.
    First, we tabled the economic action plan 2015, which would invest nearly $300 million in the fight against jihadi terrorism. This is above and beyond the fact that we have increased the resources available to our national security agencies by one-third since coming to office. We have listed dozens of new groups as terrorist entities to prohibit them from operating, from recruiting, from fundraising and from doing business in Canada. These include the Islamic State, Jabhat al Nusra, al Shabaab and al Qaeda.
    We passed the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act to allow the families of those who had been killed in terrorist acts to seek compensation from state sponsors of terror.
    We passed the Combating Terrorism Act to give new tools to stop individuals from travelling overseas to engage in terrorism.
    We passed the Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act to modernize the tools available to CSIS when investigating threats to Canada.
     Also, we introduced the bill which is before us today, the anti-terrorism act, 2015.
    The bill, I would remind the House, would do four key things. It would create a system for internal government information sharing. It would improve the passenger protect program, colloquially known as the “no-fly list”. It would criminalize the dissemination of terrorist literature and propaganda. It would also give CSIS the ability to disrupt planned terrorist attacks before they happen.
    These measures are just good old-fashioned common sense. It makes no sense that the right hand of government should be prohibited from knowing what the left hand is doing. That is why we are eliminating the silos and the roadblocks that potentially act as roadblocks to the safety of Canadians.
     It makes no sense that individuals we suspect may be travelling abroad to engage in terrorism would be allowed to board an airplane. It makes no sense that we allow terrorist recruiters to post propaganda online with impunity. It makes no sense that we would prohibit our national security officials from taking action to foil a terrorist plot.
    That is why we are moving forward with the legislation. It simply makes good, common sense. However, as the old saying goes, common sense is not always all that common.
    The NDP member forBeauharnois—Salaberry said, “Bill C-51...will only increase this disproportionate representation in our prisons”. That is ridiculous.
    Let me clear. The bill would be targeted at terrorists. It would not be targeted at protesters, or environmentalists or whatever other voter bloc the NDP wants to confect. To fearmonger by suggesting that the legislation would somehow lead to the incarceration of aboriginals is simply irresponsible. Any individual who is not engaging in terrorist activities or distributing jihadi propaganda would be able to continue to go about their daily lives without feeling the slightest impact of the legislation.

  (1300)  

    Members do not have to take my word for it. Former Supreme Court Justice John Major had this to say, “citizens who are not validly under suspicion will not have some manufactured reason for their private lives to be interfered with”.
    Going even a step further, Ray Boivert, a former senior official at CSIS, said, “anybody who had an issue they'd like to protest will now become a target of the security establishment. I think you should not...flatter yourself to that degree”.
    A fundamental fact is that we are taking action to prevent Canadians from being targeted by jihadi terrorists.
     Not long ago, barely six months ago now, we suffered two terrorist attacks on our own soil. We lost two brave members of the Canadian Armed Forces. We must never forget those attacks, particularly in the context of discussing the modernization of our national security legislation.
    While the NDP and the Liberals put their collective heads in the sand and wish that national security was not an issue that we are faced with, our Conservative government will continue to make the tough decisions.
    While the NDP leader has fantasized any number of times of conspiracy theories, most notably his skepticism over the death of Osama bin Laden, and while the leader of the official opposition has refused to accept that Canada has in fact been attacked by terrorists, our Conservative government will continue to make the tough decision.
     While the Liberal leader makes juvenile one-liners about whipping out CF-18s, our Conservative government will continue to make the tough decision.
     The fact is that Canadians know they can only count on the Conservative government to make the tough decisions to keep Canadians safe from terrorists threats, from specifically jihadi threats.
    As my times draws to a close, I am reminded of comments at the public safety committee by Louise Vincent, the sister of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who was killed in cold blood by a jihadi terrorist. She said:
If C-51 had been in place on October 19...Martin Couture-Rouleau would...have been in prison and my brother would not be dead today.
    When I vote on this important legislation, I will be keeping those words in mind. I hope my NDP, Liberal and other opposition colleagues will do the same.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I care about what happened to Warrant Officer Vincent's family every bit as much as my colleague does. In that regard, of course, everyone in the House feels the same.
    However, if I had as much time as my colleague to ask my question and if I wanted to be as insulting as the countless examples he hurled at us for 10 minutes, things could get ugly in the House today.
    The Conservatives like to say that they are tough on crime and that they are making tough decisions, and I have to wonder if the reason they have refused to accept any of the amendments suggested by anyone in the House is in order to appear tough.
    Is it to please their electorate, to appear tough, or is there actually a valid reason behind all this?

  (1305)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.

[English]

    I think it is very clear, and we have heard any number of times during the debate today and in previous days of debate in the House, that our government listened very closely to the spectrum of witnesses that came before the committee. We have been listening to those concerns and responding with a number of amendments. We have listened as well to the expert advice that in fact this new phenomenon of jihadi terrorism requires new abilities within the security agencies of our country.
     I and our government are convinced that Bill C-51 would provide a balance between recognizing and protecting essential Canadian rights and also ensuring the security of our country against these new threats of terrorism.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to take the opportunity to pose a question regarding the government's inability to incorporate parliamentary oversight into the legislation. That is sad, given that other countries and Canada's allies, in particular the Five Eyes, already have parliamentary oversight.
    When the member for Mount Royal was the Liberal minister of justice, he brought in legislation and the current Minister of Justice actually supported parliamentary oversight.
     It seems to me that this legislation could have been much better had the government simply adopted what seemingly all of the stakeholders and people before committee acknowledged was needed, which is more oversight. Maybe the member could provide some comment as to why he believes that parliamentary oversight was not provided for in this bill when so many people wanted to see it.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague has asked a very thoughtful and reasonable question.
     As we have explained in the House any number of times, we believe that third party, non-partisan, independent, expert oversight of our national security agencies is a better model than political intervention in the process.
    The member has referred to any number of times in this debate our Five Eyes partners. I would remind him of something said recently by the former legal chief of Military Intelligence, Section 5, and Military Intelligence, Section 6, or MI5 and MI6 as they are popularly known. The former legal chief said that judicial oversight is something which is lacking in the British system. At the time, the former legal head of MI5 and MI6 praised the French system, because it does have exactly that, and said that it removes the non-expert, political contamination of some national security cases, and in fact, through the expertise, knowledge, and maturity of a judge, it provides the right to balance the interests of national rights, human rights, civil rights, and security issues.

  (1310)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to talk about Bill C-51. It will be an honour for me to represent the people of Pierrefonds—Dollard over the next 10 minutes. I have received many emails and inquiries about this bill.
     I recently visited the Gérald-Godin CEGEP. I was surprised at how interested the students there were in certain political issues, including federal ones. Sometimes we get the feeling that this stuff is not very relevant to their everyday lives. I was especially surprised to see that they know this bill by name and were able to provide a brief summary of Bill C-51 when I mentioned it. This means that the bill is quite important to them and that people in the community are talking about it.
     Before I continue, I would just like to say that I will be sharing my time and that I will give a 10-minute speech on Bill C-51.
    Today, as I have done for the past four years, I am speaking on behalf of the people I represent. I would like to share their concerns with the House and the Conservative government.
    I was in this place, with my baby, during the shooting last fall. The next day, I even returned to this place with my baby, because I knew that it was important not to give in to fear and intimidation. I was also confident in Parliament's ability to protect the parliamentarians, tourists and Canadians who were here. If there was one hope that sustained us following those tragic events, it was the hope that parliamentarians would work together to find a solution that was really in line with the seriousness of the situation, while avoiding a knee-jerk response to this threat, this intimidation, this fear.
    Unfortunately, I get the impression—and I am not the only one—that Bill C-51 is the kind of response that many of us were hoping to avoid following those tragic events. It is a reaction that makes use of arguments based not only on fearmongering and partisan politics, but also—and this is the most important part—arguments that have not swayed the official opposition and that ignore all of the criticisms, comments and suggestions made by experts and community groups across Canada.
    In such an important and sensitive debate, a responsible government has a duty to unite people around a fight and intelligent measures, instead of creating divisions and spreading information that can seem partisan and inflammatory.
    Earlier I mentioned my constituents, those who have written to me.

[English]

    I have received approximately 50 emails, letters and phone calls in the last few weeks from people I represent in the House of Commons who are concerned about Bill C-51. I want to thank them for participating in their democracy, but also for sharing their concerns with me.
    Madam Fine wrote:
     I'm writing to call on you to take a firm stand against the government's reckless, dangerous and ineffective Bill C-51. I'm asking you to side with Canadians and vote against this legislation.
     I will do just that. I will vote against Bill C-51. She said also:
     If this bill passes, the government could spy on anyone, at any time, and we wouldn't even know when we've been a victim. Surely we don't want to create a shadowy and unaccountable secret police force that will trample on our freedoms.
    I thank Madam Fine for writing to me. She is not the only who wrote to me with those kinds of concerns. Those concerns are based not only on what the opposition is saying, because the government tried to blame the opposition for scaring people about Bill C-51, but experts and groups have also raised concerns and informed the Canadian population about Bill C-51.

  (1315)  

     There was a study done at committee recently. It is a shame that the government did not consider or pay more attention to the advice that was given by our Canadian experts on that matter.
    I have another email from someone who does not live in my riding, which is interesting. He lives in Baie d'Urfé, which is a municipality represented by a Liberal member of Parliament. Of course, he did not have an open discussion with his member of Parliament because the Liberals said vaguely that although they were not in favour of Bill C-51, they would indeed vote in favour of the bill. We do not necessarily understand why, but we know that his member of Parliament would not support him.
    Mr. Lahey writes:
    Many people--I include myself--are deeply concerned about Bill C-51 passing.
    I have reviewed the bill itself and have concerns over the loss of privacy that will be hard to reverse, the implications for active covert operations...and even the allowance of torture seems covered.
    Further on he writes:
    The bill is clearly taking advantage of that event—
    He is talking about the tragedy that happened last fall in Parliament.
—to drive this massive redesign of the intelligence system, at the expense of every citizen's personal sovereignty and privacy.
    Further on he wrote:
     Please--make a bit of noise over this issue during this final reading and debate period.
    The nation does not need and does not WANT this bill to pass. Of this I am pretty sure.
    I thank Mr. Lahey for taking the time to look at the consequences. I fully agree with him that this bill has to be stopped.
    Mr. Mojtahedi wrote, “I wanted to thank you and the NDP for standing against Bill C-51”.
    He continued:
    We should not remain silent when the government spends massive amounts of public resources and most importantly limits our civil liberties instead of fighting more serious threats to public security.
    Another constituent wrote:
    I note now that certain polls are indicating that support for the bill is falling, and that continued criticism is increasing. Mr. Allan Gregg, former Conservative pollster, has just come out strongly against it. Could you reassure me that you are continuing the good fight in Parliament and would you please inform me of any further actions on a local level that might help you?
    I can assure Mr. Roloff that I will continue to fight against Bill C-51 with my NDP colleagues. The fight is not over.
    We went door to door with a lot of volunteers to inform people about Bill C-51. We asked them what they thought about it, and we showed them a petition. One man specifically told me that he was totally against Bill C-51 but he did not want to sign the petition. He was scared to give his personal contact info, because he was scared that the government would spy on him with the passage of Bill C-51. That shows that people are scared of those new powers and the impact of Bill C-51.

[Translation]

    Many other people wrote to me to share their concerns. They want Parliament to oppose Bill C-51. They at least want parliamentarians to think carefully and listen to the concerns of Canadians and experts. That is why the NDP is here, and that is why we want the Conservatives to pay closer attention to the concerns raised all across the country.

  (1320)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member's statement quite intently. We hear the words “secret police” a lot from the opposition, which just baffles my mind. The reason it baffles my mind is that as a retired police officer, I know that I can walk out these doors and speak with an RCMP officer who is not secret. I can go to any border crossing and speak to CBSA officers. They are not secret.
    CSIS is a spy agency, it is not a police agency. I wonder if the member could clarify to the House what the secret police is. I would like to meet them as well because I do not know who they are.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. He obviously paid attention to certain parts of my speech, and I am sorry if the words I used offended him or anyone else. I was quoting a number of people in my riding who wrote to me. I am not saying that there is a secret police force or a conspiracy of some kind.
    However, what we need to take away from the emails from the constituents who wrote to me is that they are concerned that these new powers are being given without the oversight system required to ensure that these new powers for our law enforcement agencies, which play a very important role in our communities, are used in a fair way and do not violate any rights or freedoms.
    Bill C-51 does not provide this guarantee, and that is why people are concerned.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member making reference to reflections on constituents and what they bring to her and how she is bringing that to the House. I would like to add to those reflections.
    The incident that occurred here on the Hill last fall was followed by numerous discussions among my constituents. When I say numerous, I could not think of an issue in the last four or five years that was more talked about by my constituents, whether it was at the local McDonald's restaurant, public meetings, one-on-ones at doors or groups of seniors. They talked a great deal about what was happening in Ottawa and they were genuinely concerned about the issue of terrorism.
    In addressing the issue of terrorism, there are some aspects of Bill C-51 that deal with some of the concerns that were raised. Does the member not agree that the legislation could have been a whole lot better if the government had accepted amendments? The one amendment that I would have loved to have seen is parliamentary oversight. Because of the government's refusal to accept amendments, we do not have the robust legislation that we could have had.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comments. I agree with him.
    If the government had been more open not only to what the experts said in committee, but also to the opposition's amendments, then we might have been able to come up with a bill that everyone could agree on and that responded to people's concerns.
    I agree with my colleague that the threat is real and that concrete and effective measures need to be taken to protect all Canadians. It is Parliament's duty to do so, and it is an important one. We agree on that. The thing we disagree on is the approach. Bill C-51 is a threat. Canadians should not have to choose between their safety and their right to privacy. We can and must have both. This bill imposes severe restrictions.
    For example, Mr. Mercier told me that very vague terms are used to define some key words in Bill C-51, which leaves room for abuse by people in high places. Mr. Mercier asked that I oppose this bill.
    That was one of the dangers pointed out by our experts. The wording of this bill opens the door to abuses. Instead of reviewing the wording used in Bill C-51 and making significant changes to respond to the concerns, the Conservatives moved forward, which is regrettable.

  (1325)  

    Mr. Speaker, this week we are commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, in which the allies fought to defend freedom and democracy. I cannot help but make a link to the bill we are debating, because it will reduce our hard-won freedoms. Did we learn nothing from those ordeals? Today, this government is showing all Canadians that it thumbs its nose at the central tenets of democracy. The government is muzzling the opposition by shortening debate on a bill about something as important as security.
    The reason for this gag order is simple: in committee, 45 witnesses indicated that the bill as it now stands is flawed and should be amended. We are talking about 45 witnesses. That is a lot, particularly when we know that most of them were government witnesses. Given this testimony and such overwhelming opposition from civil society and experts, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Prime Minister should have understood that Bill C-51 was not the best solution to the public safety issues we are facing. This bill was not developed in consultation with the other parties, all of which recognize the terrorist threat and support the adoption of effective, concrete measures to keep Canadians safe. That is not what Bill C-51 does. Instead, it violates our rights and freedoms, the fundamental rights of first nations and the right of various groups in civil society to protest, just to give a few examples.
    When we received the budget, almost two months late, I was hoping to see a big envelope for the fight against terrorism. When I looked to see what was allocated in the budget I was surprised to see that the money was not there. For the Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the envelope was a little less than $300 million over five years. Five years. Before 2017, these agencies will collectively receive less than $20 million to combat terrorism. That is a drop in the bucket and it is an insult to the work being done by our police services. These agencies are overburdened and are being forced to reassign staff to do the work they are being asked to do. This budget gives them nothing but crumbs to do their job.
    When a government claims to want to protect our communities, our cities and our entire country, in order to serve Canadians and to protect our national security, it needs to put its money where its mouth is. It needs to allocate the money needed. The government needs to redirect money and ensure that our law enforcement agencies have the funding they need to take action. However, there is nothing to this effect in Bill C-51 or in the 2015 budget tabled by the Conservative government. I am extremely disappointed to see the lack of leadership from this government and its obvious failure to take seriously the fight against terrorism and radicalization. There are a lot of things missing in the Conservatives' botched approach. For example, it would have been nice to see the Conservatives propose ways to combat radicalization. Various stakeholders have spoken about this. This kind of work is being done in some of our regions and communities, as well as in the United States.
    The language of the act is both extremely vague and extremely broad at the same time. It is so broad that any act of protest could be considered an act of terrorism.

  (1330)  

    The bill defines terrorism as:
...any activity...if it undermines the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of Canada...interfere[s] with critical infrastructure...or the economic or financial stability of Canada.
    At first glance, it is hard to see terrorism in there. This definition casts its net far too wide, so much so, that anyone in the House could be convicted of terrorism for opposing a pipeline. The problem is similar to the one with preventive detention. I have to hand it to them, the Conservatives know how to play with words.
    More specifically, a judge could authorize preventive detention, and not just when he is absolutely certain that it is a matter of terrorism, because a suspicion will do: “believes on reasonable grounds that a terrorist activity may be carried out”. The judge can thereby order the arrest of a person if it “is likely to prevent the carrying out of the terrorist activity”.
    Therefore, absolute certainty will no longer be needed to determine the action to be taken. Instead, that decision will be based on suspicions. That is not how the legislation is supposed to work. Intelligence on law-abiding citizens will be compiled and forwarded to the police. What we have here is the listing of people. People will be listed! One of the worst instruments of totalitarian regimes is indeed seeing the light of day here, in Canada. Big brother is watching us. What about the right to privacy set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
    I am hearing members on the other side of the House argue that it is for the security of Canadians. However, who will provide strict control over this collection of information if no judge verifies the practices and if no mechanism or authority controls the agency's work? It is like having a fox guarding the henhouse. Countermeasures and safeguards need to be put in place to prevent any excesses and abuse.
    With this bill, the Conservatives want us to believe that there is a conflict between security and freedom. They want Canadians to have to choose between their rights and their security, claiming that the two do not go together.
    That is not the NDP's position. We feel there is no choice to be made. Both are possible. They always have been, and they always will be.
    Ultimately, terrorism has won. By using fear, the Conservatives have succeeded in making us give up our freedom. If the Conservatives believe they are acting in the public interest, they are completely wrong. They are headed in the wrong direction, and it is our duty to take a stand against any measure that will be detrimental to our most fundamental principles.
    More security, yes, but at what cost? The Conservative government is betraying this country's most fundamental commitments, betraying our historic values and betraying all Canadians.
    What will we tell our children?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, again, misinformation is being relayed to Canadians from the NDP. Whether it is intentional or because of a complete lack of understanding is still up for debate. Even in committee, with the very first amendment that was brought forward by the NDP critic, the officials who were present at committee had to correct him and indicate he was wrong. It is absolutely unbelievable that we are still hearing the same things from the NDP, that the bill targets protesters and whatnot. Very clearly, New Democrats do not understand the bill.
    Also, I would like to point out that the information sharing act would be the responsibility of the privacy commissioner, who could review any of those agencies respecting the information sharing act, as well as the auditor general. In addition, internal processes would be developed.
     I have been hearing throughout debate with the NDP that somehow the ability of CSIS to obtain a warrant is going to be done in some private court and there would be no representation from the other side. When law enforcement officers obtain warrants, it is not in a public forum. There is no representation from the person they are seeking a warrant against. Imagine for a moment that a police officer seeking a warrant for a wiretap has to bring in the person he wants to do the wiretap against, to defend himself.
     I would like to ask the member whether she believes that our national security agencies have the intelligence and capability of determining when warrants are required?

  (1335)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the preamble of my colleague's question. We are telling the truth. Forty-five witnesses commented on the bill, among them former prime ministers. We are not relaying misinformation, as my colleague claimed.
    As for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, in the past it misled its oversight body. In 2014, the Security Intelligence Review Committee stated: “This investigation also found that SIRC had been seriously misled by CSIS on this same point.”
    It is right there in black and white. I am not making anything up, these things do happen. That is why we are asking for guidelines and safeguards to at least protect the collection of this information and to see what the agency is doing. Organizations always need oversight and monitoring.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, in the member's concluding comments, she stated that the terrorists have won. I beg to differ. I believe that the resilience of Canadians is something we can all learn from. I would suggest that Canada, more than most countries, has weathered the issue of terrorism exceptionally well. When we look at specific situations that have arisen over the last decade, we can be very proud of the way things have evolved.
     I would agree that there are many shortcomings in this piece of legislation. The legislation could have been better had the government been more receptive to listening to Canadians, other stakeholders, and members of the Liberal caucus. I know that the critic for the Liberal caucus did a fabulous job bringing forward amendments. Had the government accepted the amendments, we could have had some of the most robust legislation in the world to deal with terrorism.
    Would the member agree that with amendments, this could have been a much better—
    The hon. member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to what my Liberal colleague said. However, I am sorry to see that, even though the Liberal Party is saying that the bill is not good, it still plans to vote with the Conservatives. The Liberals need to get their story straight.
    Next, let us talk about consultation with the other parties and about the amendments that the government should listen to. I said it in my speech: unfortunately, as usual, the Conservative government does not want to listen to experts, scientists or members of Parliament. What is more, the Conservatives are not giving us enough time to debate an issue as important as security.
    When I say that terrorism has won, it is because these two parties are unfortunately playing on the fear of voters and saying that only they have the power to protect Canadians.

  (1340)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Etobicoke Centre.
    Tonight we vote on this important legislation, the anti-terrorism act, 2015, and I am very proud today to stand in support of it. This is really an important bill that would protect Canadians from those who have openly vowed to do us harm, particularly the international jihadi movement.
     This bill has strong support from my constituents in Calgary Centre and from Canadians from coast to coast to coast in every province and in every single demographic. Still, there are a lot of myths being perpetuated about this bill, many of them by the opposition, and we have heard that today. Today I would like to debunk them.
    Here is the reality. Unfortunately, we all know that the threat environment we face in Canada today has escalated considerably from what it used to be. We have seen the recent ISIS-inspired acts of terror against soldiers in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and here in Ottawa. In the House, we all lived through the shooting on Parliament Hill on October 22, 2014. Believe me, it brought home to me and to many Canadians the need to take these threats on our soil very seriously.
    Thankfully, authorities have foiled planned attacks in places as close to home, for my constituents, as the West Edmonton Mall.
    This bill would protect our security by giving CSIS the authority to act on serious threats to protect Canadians.
    In the past, if CSIS had information on a planned terrorist attack that was about to take place in Canada, it had no authority to go out and disrupt that terrorist plot. This legislation would not only give it the power to disrupt terror plots but would allow the security agencies to receive information from other government departments so that they could protect Canadians from terrorists. It is important to note that CSIS's actions are subject to a review afterward by a committee of experts in the field, SIRC, the Security Intelligence Review Committee.
    Contrary to what we keep hearing from the NDP, the right to protest would be protected. In fact, we have listened to Canadians, and we specifically excluded protests from this legislation right from the get-go. To make it crystal clear, in response to feedback from Canadians, after the fearmongering of the opposition, when the anti-terrorism act, 2015 came to committee, we reviewed it and reworded the bill. The bill was changed from allowing lawful advocacy, protest, and dissent to removing the word “lawful” so that Canadians' right to protest in general or to participate in civil disobedience would not be affected.
    We listened. The right to protest is an important freedom to Canadians, and this bill and our government fully recognize that.
    We also recognize our duty to update our laws in the face of new threats so that we can keep Canadians safe.
    There are four key measures contained in this bill. The first would create a system for internal government information-sharing. The second would improve our passenger protect program, known as the no-fly list. The third would make it a crime to disseminate jihadi terrorist propaganda. The fourth would give CSIS the ability to disrupt planned terrorist attacks before they happen. This is absolutely common sense, and Canadians get that.
     People in my riding are concerned about the threat to Canada by the jihadi terrorist movement, and they told me again as recently as last weekend. They are also concerned, frankly, about the response of the NDP and the Liberals to terrorists.
    The NDP has consistently put its head in the sand about the fact that Canadians are being directly targeted by jihadi terrorists that oppose our values and our way of life. The NDP leader even refused to call the horrific attacks in October what they were, jihadi terrorism, despite very clear evidence. The Liberal leader made juvenile jokes about Canada wanting to show the size of its CF-18s when it moved to confront this terrorist threat.
    Let us debunk some other misconceptions advanced by the NDP and the Liberals. If it is through lack of doing the homework Canadians expect of them, I can help them with that.
    Some have said that aboriginal and environmental protests could come under surveillance by CSIS, so let us read the text in the bill. It says that information could be shared between government institutions regarding “interference with critical infrastructure”. If one read that and only that, one might suppose that protesting the construction of a pipeline could, in theory, meet that definition.

  (1345)  

    However, if one read slightly further, one would see that it would not meet the core of the definition, which is an activity, or activities, that “undermines the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of Canada or the lives or the security of the people of Canada”. That is a very different measure and distinguishes between peacefully protesting against a pipeline, which is protected, and bombing a pipeline and endangering the lives of Canadians, which is not.
    I have already debunked the myth that CSIS would not require warrants to disrupt this kind of serious threat. That is just not true.
    Right now, CSIS is restricted from engaging in any disruption activities. It could not even approach parents of a suspected radical and encourage them to dissuade their son from his radical beliefs. Without Bill C-51, CSIS can only talk to parents to gather intelligence. Under Bill C-51, CSIS could talk to parents and ask them to speak to their children to help stop a threat or to stop their engaging in conversations in online chat rooms.
    This hits really close to home for me and my riding of Calgary Centre. In my riding, several young men, born and raised there, have been radicalized into flying to Syria to join jihadist terrorist groups, including ISIL. Their parents are understandably distraught and have asked for help from the government. Christianne Boudreau, one of those distraught mothers, whose son went to Syria to fight with ISIS, where he was killed, called on the government to go further than just taking away the passports of radicalized young people. While she does not like all aspects of this bill, as I have said, she has called on Canada to start educating families so they can intervene before young people get to the point of radicalization. This bill would enable that.
    She she has said that the propaganda is out there on social media and on the Internet and it is readily accessible.
     This bill would tackle that problem by removing terrorist materials from the Internet. It would make promoting or advocating a terror act a crime, punishable by up to five years in prison. By the way, the RCMP has also been embarking on deradicalization strategies to help combat youth being lured onto a deadly path.
    Here is another myth. Some people have said that this bill would curb free speech. Canada already has hate laws, but they apply only to hate speech against an “identifiable” group and as such can exclude general threats against Canada or all Canadians. These are exactly the kinds of threats used by ISIS and al Qaeda when referring to “the west” or “infidels” in their hate propaganda. The new definition would allow us to pursue the people who are radicalizing others through their propaganda and are advocating violence.
    These are the tools our law enforcement agencies say they really need to face down this terrorist threat. Credible experts have widely come out in support of this bill. Scott Tod, the Deputy Commissioner of Investigations and Organized Crime for the OPP, had this to say:
    Bill C-51 offers improvements for the federal police to share information among our justice sector partners, security partners, but more importantly and hopefully, with the community partners and government situational tables designed to reduce the terrorist threat and improve community safety and well-being.
    That is something we all want.
    Professor Salim Mansur, of the University of Western Ontario, said, “the measures...I believe, are quite rightly and urgently needed to protect and keep secure the freedom of our citizens”.
    The Heritage Foundation said that Bill C-51 is, “a balance between greater physical protection without loss of civil liberties.... There is transparency and openness”.
    This is an excellent bill that would help to protect Canadians. I am proud of this legislation. I am proud of the new investments we made in the budget, and I am grateful for the nearly $300 million earmarked to fight jihadi terrorism, which the NDP seems to pooh-pooh. I am pleased that we have doubled the budget of SIRC to allow for more robust review and accountability.
     I believe that Bill C-51 would give Canadians what they want and expect from our government: a law that would protect both their safety and their freedom. The majority of Canadians support this bill, and when it comes to a vote tonight, I urge everyone in the House to vote in favour of it.

  (1350)  

    Mr. Speaker, I do not doubt the sincerity of my hon. colleague across the way, but the government really has its head in the sand on this. I do not know how the member can ignore the hundreds of emails she has been receiving from constituents, hers and others from across the country, who are expressing profound disappointment in the government and profound worry about what this bill means for our civil rights. We are talking about experts across the country. We are talking about people who really know how legislation should be crafted.
    Hundreds of my constituents have contacted me. They are worried about this particular bill. I feel a responsibility to listen, and I think the government should also be listening.
    How can she explain that the government just will not accept Canadians' opinions on this bill and change this badly drafted legislation?
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member across the way knows that we all understand the New Democrats are trying to circulate their form letters out there right now.
    We also understand that The Globe and Mail has said that there has hardly been a bill before Parliament that Canadians have been as strongly in support of as Bill C-51. That was before the four amendments we made after listening to what Canadians said.
    This is what is being said against Canadians by ISIL:
    If you can kill a disbelieving American or European--especially the spiteful and filthy French--or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be.
     This is ISIL spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani. Canadians understand that threat, and that is why they support this bill.
    Mr. Speaker, for my hon. friend from Calgary Centre, it is true that CSIS did not have the powers to disrupt plots, but the RCMP did. We have not been powerless. Nor have been helpless. We have measures to confront terrorist plots. That is why the members of the Toronto 18 were arrested and that is why the VIA Rail plot was disrupted.
    We have consciously and deliberately set the RCMP up as the police agency in our country. CSIS was consciously and deliberately set up as intelligence gathering only. This is for the very good reason that we can create a lot more mischief and danger by having different police forces operating differently and not controlled by any pinnacle control. That is why so many security experts have said that this still makes us less safe.
    On the point about propaganda, and it is the same point I would have hoped to have made for the member for Thornhill when he spoke, the bill does not specify that it is about jihadi propaganda. In fact, it uses terminology that is so vague that none of the legal experts appearing before committee could understand what it was intended to catch. It is about terrorism in general. Unlike our laws on hate speech and unlike our laws on child pornography, this bill would not exclude private conversations. Experts are concerned that the language in the bill around propaganda would prevent people from reaching out to others and preventing their radicalization.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to relate a little story for the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands because it might help her understand this bill more when she says that the RCMP already has powers of arrest.
    There was an example in an airport where CSIS knew there was somebody who was a radical Islamic jihadist who was in the airport security. The agents could not do anything to arrest the individual, who was about to get on a plane. They had to have an offline conversation with the RCMP or with the security forces in the airport, telling them that they may want to walk through the waiting room and see if there was anyone they recognized there. Fortunately, that was done. That information was passed on and the person walked through the waiting room and was able to detain a radical about to get on a flight, who could very well have posed an extreme danger to Canadians.
    This kind of thing just does not make sense to Canadians. Canadians wonder whether we already can share that kind of information between our security agency and our RCMP. The answer to that is no, but under this bill we could.

  (1355)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House to speak in favour of this very important bill before us today.
    The anti-terrorism act, 2015, is all about making Canadians safer. We must remember that the international jihadi movement has declared war on Canada and her allies. We heard my hon. colleague say that a little earlier in her speech. Canadians are being attacked; we have been attacked. We are being targeted solely because the jihadi terrorists hate our values. They hate our freedom and they do not want us to have it.
    We must also remember what brought about this discussion. If we had asked most Canadians a year ago or more whether they wanted more action to protect our national security, they would likely have said that the previous strong actions by our Conservative government would have been enough. However, October 22 changed all of that. We were attacked twice in three days by admitted jihadi terrorists, in their own words.
    Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo were killed in cold blood by jihadi terrorists. These attacks made it clear that our security legislation had to change and evolve with the times. Evidently, that is not clear to some.
    The NDP member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin said that these attacks were merely unfortunate events. These comments are shocking and quite frankly offensive. I hope the member or the NDP leader will do the right thing and stand in his place and apologize to the families of the victims of these attacks.
    Back to the topic at hand, I would like to highlight the fact that budget 2015 has invested nearly $300 million to combat jihadi terrorism. This is above and beyond the fact that we have increased our funding for national security agencies by one-third since coming to office.
    Given that there has been a substantial amount of misinformation spread by the opposition, I would like to highlight, in the simplest terms, what exactly Bill C-51 would do.
    The bill would allow for information possessed by one agency of the government to be shared by another agency of the government when national security would be at risk. It would modernize the passenger-protected program, colloquially known as the no-fly list. It would criminalize the production and distribution of jihadi terrorist propaganda. It would also give CSIS new tools to stop terrorist attacks before they happen. These are very common-sense measures that strike the right balance.
     As members know, there is no liberty without security. Contrary to what has been suggested by many members of the NDP, it is ISIS and not CSIS that poses a threat to the lives and security of Canadians, and we in the House have a duty to look to that.
    The first duty of any government is to protect the safety of its citizens, and that is exactly what our government will do. The bill would ensure that our police forces would have the tools they need to protect Canadians against the evolving threat of jihadi terrorists. I have spoken to police officers in Toronto and they have told me just that. They need this bill to pass. They need these tools.
    We reject the argument that every time we talk about security, our freedoms are threatened. Canadians understand that their freedom and security go hand in hand. Canadians expect us to protect both, and there are safeguards in the legislation that would do exactly that.
    The fundamental fact is that our police forces are working to protect our rights and our freedoms, and it is the jihadi terrorists who endanger our security, who would take away our freedoms in a heartbeat. We have only to look overseas to see what ISIS has been doing.
    What is more, we will never apologize for taking jihadi propaganda out of circulation. In fact, if websites that provide content hosting services or other businesses are profiting from the dispersal of this type of horrific material, they should seriously reconsider their business model and their lack of commitment to the values that bind us as Canadians.
    Across the country, businesses, large and small, depend on a strong economy, clear rules of marketplace conduct, dependable transactions and secure data. The reality is that there is no profitability without a stable security environment, both physical and virtual. The bill would strengthen our niche in security and would benefit businesses as well as consumers.

  (1400)  

    I have heard the members of the NDP say that no experts support this important legislation, and that is simply not true. I would ask them if they do not believe that Justice John Major is an expert. He said, “I don't think Parliament is equipped as a body to act as an oversight, which is what is being proposed.”
    Order, please. The time for government orders has expired. The hon. member for Etobicoke Centre will have five minutes remaining when this matter returns before the House.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Second World War

    Mr. Speaker, on May 8, 1945, the Second World War ended in Europe. It began on September 1, 1939, when Nazi Germany attacked Poland, later joined by the Soviet Union, their infamy consummated by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. World War II unleashed evil of an unimaginable scale, with a cost so high it is still difficult to comprehend: the Holocaust; Stalin's gulags; the rape and slaughter of millions; forced deportations; the assault on language, culture and national identities.
    The war ended and a new Cold War began with half of Europe shrouded in darkness until Communism was defeated. Today, Vladimir Putin threatens global peace and security once again, as he wages an illegal war in Ukraine and annexes territory, just like Hitler did.
    World War II provided us with many lessons, and those remain relevant today and we should listen. It is fitting that the commemoration of the war's end takes place where it began: in Poland.
     It is our solemn duty to Zachor to remember the sacrifices of those who fought and those who perished for our freedom and never again allow evil to flourish.

[Translation]

International Day of the Midwife

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise today to mark the International Day of the Midwife, established in 1992 by the WHO to bring attention to the important work being done by midwives around the world.
    Midwives are extremely important to the health of mothers and children during pregnancy, childbirth and the post-partum period. There are currently more than 1,300 midwives in Canada, and this number is growing every year, thanks to our rigorous and high-level training.
    Canadian midwives are recognized around the world for their expertise and the quality of their care. That is why I introduced a bill to make May 5 the National Day of the Midwife, which was unanimously passed by the House. We must recognize the invaluable contribution that midwives make to our health care system.
    I want to thank the Canadian Association of Midwives, the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives and the Regroupement des sages-femmes du Québec for supporting my bill. I sincerely hope that on this day next year we will be able to celebrate the National Day of the Midwife here in Canada for the first time.

[English]

Physician-Assisted Suicide

    Mr. Speaker, most baby boomers will not die on the golf course. Nobody lives forever. Some people listening probably believe Elvis is still alive or that they will have a second chance as a zombie. A lot of young people these days fantasize about becoming immortal vampires. Personally, I would not want that hickey. A rare few will live long and prosperous lives and die in their nineties while having sex with their bride of 65 years.
    Some people may end up in a situation like Sue Rodriguez, a victim of ALS. She asked Canadians, “If I cannot give consent to my own death, whose body is this? Who owns my life?” On February 6, 2015, the Supreme Court yelled back to Sue, “It's your life, Sue. You decide your fate”, and with that, physician-assisted death became legal in Canada.
    Let us talk about it.

[Translation]

University of Ottawa Alumni Week

    Mr. Speaker, as a proud graduate of the University of Ottawa, I want to recognize that institution's Alumni Week, which is this week, until Saturday, May 9. It has been officially proclaimed by the City of Ottawa and it pays tribute to the 92,000 graduates living in this region.
    This year the University of Ottawa is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a public institution. My alma mater is now a world-class teaching and research institution and the largest English-French bilingual university in the world. Many other members here are also graduates. I see someone nodding.

  (1405)  

[English]

    On this special week, it is with pride that I invite all fellow citizens of our region to celebrate the success of this institution and its contribution to our economy.
    I invite you, Mr. Speaker, a University of Ottawa alumnus, to proudly wear our school colours of garnet and grey, which I am wearing today.
    I also invite MPs to join Alex Trebek, another proud alumnus of the university, to a reception in our speaker's lounge, following today's question period. À bientôt donc. He may have some questions for us to answer.

Yellowhead

    Mr. Speaker, I had the pleasure over the weekend to meet up with four separate groups of volunteers from my great riding of Yellowhead. These groups were from the Carrot Creek and the Peers 4-H Clubs and Edson's Holy Redeemer High School travel club and its local football club.
    The volunteers started as early as 6 a.m. to clean up highways around Alberta, especially around my riding so that my part of Alberta is kept clean and beautiful.
    Parents, teachers and students all participated in this great community effort. I had the opportunity to drive to several spots where the clean-ups were being done and was able to meet and greet with kids, parents and teachers.
    I applaud them for their community spirit. Their time and work, and that of others, makes our country a great place to live. My sincere thanks goes out to all volunteers around Canada.

[Translation]

Compton—Stanstead

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by mentioning the passing of a friend and collaborator, André Nault. A pioneering ecologist and co-founder of the Friends of the Earth, his courage and his battle for a better world will always be an inspiration to us.

[English]

    Last week, I had the pleasure to welcome the great member for Sackville—Eastern Shore in Compton—Stanstead. We spoke to veterans from all across my riding and visited various sites. For instance, Ogden's Weir Memorial Park in honour of Robert Stanley Weir, who wrote the English version of our national anthem; and Hatley village, where over 3,000 people attend each year one of the oldest Canada Day parades. We also paid tribute to Louis St. Laurent, Canada's 12th prime minister, born and raised in Compton, where he was buried in 1973.
    I would also like to pay tribute to a fantastic man, Mr. David Woodard, who devoted most of his life to helping veterans. For over 35 years at the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch No. 5, he helped many and continues to do so. Mr. Woodard is celebrating his 63rd birthday today. I wish him a happy birthday and thank him for his work.

The Netherlands

    Mr. Speaker, with the spectacular spring weather we have been having here in Ottawa this week, the tulips are starting to bloom and that is very appropriate because today is Dutch liberation day. It was on May 5, 1945 that the Nazis surrendered Holland to the mighty advancing Canadian troops, thereby ending five years of occupation. As we recognize the 70th anniversary of these defining moments of our history, we enjoy the bright colours of tulips here in Ottawa. They are a symbol of the enduring friendship between Canada and the Netherlands, a symbol of freedom and liberation and a source of pride for all Canadians.
    We were also proud to see many Canadian flags when the Prime Minister visited this past weekend as well.
    However, along with tulips and flags, ours is a mutual friendship and partnership. Canada has benefited greatly from the courage, industriousness and creativity of the Dutch people who came here following World War II and who gave birth to new generations of Canadians since.
    I am blessed to have many constituents of Dutch descent in my community and we are very mindful of them today as well as our brave veterans who fought valiantly as we recognize this important anniversary in our respective histories.

Maldives

    Mr. Speaker, the situation in the Maldives is a cause of concern to Canada. Canada condemns the crackdown by the Maldives government and its lack of respect for democracy.
    We are appalled by the trial and treatment of former president Mohamed Nasheed. An effective review of the investigation and legal proceedings is significant to ensure that international and domestic obligations related to fair trials and the rule of law are respected. We are also concerned that the opposition leaders have been arrested. These actions go against the core principles of the Commonwealth. Canada will continue to call on the Maldives to reaffirm its commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
    Canada stands with the Maldivian people who have peacefully congregated to call for the release of political prisoners and the restoration of the rule of law.

Toronto Transit

    Mr. Speaker, in Toronto, people are waiting on buses that take forever, waiting on platforms for the morning train that will arrive already full. But before relief comes for the public, billions will go to the one-in-ten families eligible for income-splitting, hundreds of millions will be sheltered by those who have money enough to shelter.
    When new federal funding for transit finally arrives, Toronto's share will be a small package wrapped in red tape, enough to put a few buses on the road or perhaps a boring machine in the ground, but not both. Transit under-investment in Toronto has been costly to date and without consideration for the future of a city region expected to grow by 2.5 million people and add 1.5 million jobs over the next decade and a half.
    My city is a globally relevant city with great potential not just for itself and those who live there, but for all of Canada and yet, nowhere to be found in the city of Toronto is the Government of Canada. That has to change if Toronto is to become all that Toronto should be.

  (1410)  

[Translation]

The Netherlands

    Mr. Speaker, May 5 marks the 70th anniversary of Liberation Day, the day when the Nazi forces occupying the Netherlands were pushed out and a starving people ravaged by war was liberated.
    During the nine-month offensive, more than 7,600 Canadians lost their lives and many more were wounded.

[English]

    Thousands of Canadians lie buried far away from the homes and families they left behind. Today, the bonds of mutual respect and friendship between our communities and countries endure, forged by the sacrifices made in the name of freedom and strengthened by our shared values of freedom, democracy and rule of law.
    To the Canadian veterans who played such a crucial role in the liberation of the Netherlands, we will never forget their sacrifice.

The Netherlands

    Mr. Speaker, today throughout the Netherlands people are celebrating and commemorating what happened 70 years ago with the liberation of the Netherlands at the hands of the Canadians and our allies. As a Dutch-born parliamentarian, I am very proud to stand on behalf of my family, my colleague from Sidney—Victoria and his family, and all of the other Dutch members of Parliament here to once again thank the one million Canadians who wore the uniform of Canada and liberated my parents. In fact, it was because of that military that my father said, “If they have a military like that, can you imagine what kind of country they come from?”
    One of those heroes was featured on CBC last night, the great Ed Carter-Edwards, who was a pilot shot down and interned at Buchenwald. Last night the CBC told his very poignant story. At the end, he said he will never forget, but maybe he will forgive.
    On behalf of the Royal Canadian Legion and all veterans organizations that keep alive the memories of those veterans I want to say, “Do not regret growing old, it is a privilege denied to so many.”

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, our low-tax plan for families is working. Under our Conservative government, the tax burden on Canadians is at its lowest level in more than 50 years. As part of that, every family with children will benefit from our new family tax cut and enhanced universal child care benefit.
    The leader of the Liberal Party told us yesterday that he would take away our family tax cut and replace it with a family tax hike. The Liberal leader is also ideologically opposed to income splitting, and quite frankly seniors should be worried. That is why Canadians know it is only our government that can be trusted to keep taxes low and protect the benefits they already receive.

Prince Edward Island Election

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate all candidates who put their name on a ballot for yesterday's election in Prince Edward Island. The last month has been filled with hard-working campaigns on all sides, in every corner of the province. I know members of this House are looking forward to working together with all of the new island MLAs.
     I want to sincerely congratulate Premier Wade MacLauchlan and his team. The premier has been gracious and optimistic throughout the campaign and will be a true champion for the people of Prince Edward Island, focusing on prosperity, engagement and helping our small province stand tall within our great country and around the world.
     On behalf of all members of the House of Commons, congratulations to Premier MacLauchlan, the new Liberal government of Prince Edward Island and all members of the Prince Edward Island provincial legislature.

  (1415)  

[Translation]

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the leader of the Liberal Party presented a plan that focused on tax increases for middle-class Canadians. He is proposing to replace the family tax cut with a family tax hike.
    The Liberal leader is promising to eliminate the universal child care benefit, which the Liberals have long said is spent by parents to buy beer and popcorn. He confirmed that he will increase taxes for families that earn less than $60,000 a year and use tax-free savings accounts to put money aside.
    Middle-class Canadian families know that they can count on our Prime Minister and our Conservative government to keep their taxes low and protect the benefits they already receive.

Labour Law

    Mr. Speaker, if there is one thing Canadians will not tolerate, it is hypocrisy. That is why they were so surprised to see the member for Beauséjour attacking the rights of NDP employees in the media in the same week that the Liberal leader was trying to court the labour movement.
    It seems as though the Liberals have realized that they cannot have it both ways. Either they protect workers' rights, through good times and bad, regardless of what the polls say, or they make empty speeches and change their tune when it suits them.
    The Liberals have clearly made their choice. To quote Jerry Dias, the president of Unifor, the Liberal House leader's criticisms leave the impression that “workers' rights can be disregarded in the cause of cheap political theatre”.
    We in the NDP made our choice a long time ago. We have always defended workers' rights, through good times and bad.

[English]

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, our government's family tax cut and enhanced universal child care benefit will benefit 100% of families with kids. The vast majority of benefits go to low- and middle-income families. The leader of the Liberal Party plans to take this all away. Instead of giving the majority of low- and middle-income families a break, he will be taxing middle-class families, taxing small businesses and taxing seniors. The opposition's position is clear: raise taxes on the middle class. That is why we are the only ones Canadians can trust to lower taxes and balance the budget. The good people of Nipissing—Timiskaming know that our family tax cuts lower their taxes and the Liberal tax plan or hike increases their taxes.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, the numbers do not lie. The Conservatives' economic policy is getting us nowhere. According to Statistics Canada, Canada's trade deficit has reached $3 billion. The Conservative government's policies are making Canadian companies less competitive and getting in the way of creating of good jobs.
    Will the Conservatives do something about this? What is their plan for reducing the trade deficit?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, no government has done more to advance Canada's trading relationships. We concluded trade agreements with 38 different countries over 9 years. What is more, last year, Canada's trade surplus was $5.2 billion, which was a turnaround of $12 billion. Exports last year were up another 10% from the previous year.
    Our government remains focused on creating jobs through aggressive trade promotion, while of course the NDP wants to raise taxes on the middle class. That is not what we are going to do.

Child Care

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative economic plan is failing Canada. Under its mismanagement, we just posted another record trade deficit, swelling to $3 billion in March alone.
    The Conservative plan is also failing families that face layoffs and growing job uncertainty while struggling with rising costs, and still the Conservatives have no plan to create even a single affordable child care space. When will the Conservatives stop ignoring the needs of Canadian families and deliver the NDP's plan for $15 a day child care?
    Mr. Speaker, what we recognize is that families across the country have a variety of child care needs. We refuse to dictate to Canadian families how they should be looking after their children. We refuse to say that, if they are not using a licensed daycare spot, they do not deserve support. That is not what we are saying. That is what the NDP says.
    What we are saying is that every family in the country with children deserves support. That is what we are delivering in tax cuts, in direct benefits, and in other tax benefits, like our child fitness tax credit. We are supporting families. We are supporting their right to choose how they look after their children.

  (1420)  

Manufacturing Industry

    Mr. Speaker, both the old-line parties have tax gifts for the wealthy instead of creating affordable child care spaces.
    While our trade deficit is soaring, imports of industrial machinery actually fell. That is a bad sign for a manufacturing sector that suffered from Conservatives' neglect. We have lost more than 400,000 jobs under their watch alone. Fewer good manufacturing jobs means more families are struggling to pay the bills as costs like child care continue to rise. Will the Conservatives scrap handouts to the wealthy and instead invest in boosting job creation and creating affordable child care spaces?
    Mr. Speaker, on the subject of manufacturing, in this year's budget we put forth accelerated capital cost allowance, which has been called for by the manufacturing sector for a long time.
    While New Democrats may not like our policies when it comes to manufacturing, here is who is endorsing our budget: the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers' Association, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, the Railway Association of Canada, the Canadian Steel Producers Association, the Agricultural Manufacturers of Canada, the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, and the Canadian Tooling and Machining Association. I could go on, but those who know what it takes to build manufacturing in Canada support our government and support our budget.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, last night the NDP put forward amendments to scrap every provision of Bill C-51, yet Liberals and Conservatives voted to push C-51 ahead without any changes.
    Legal experts, eminent Canadians, and former prime ministers all said the bill is dangerous and it should not go forward as is. How can Conservatives, who claim to stand up for individual freedoms, and how can Liberals, who say they defend the charter, continue to stand up and vote in favour of a bill that is so seriously flawed?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the real question is this: how can the NDP refuse to give our police the tools they need to protect Canadians?
    How can they deny the fact that there were terrorist attacks in Canada in the past six months? The truth is that our government will continue to take responsible and balanced measures to protect Canadians from terrorism.
    Mr. Speaker, citizens, aboriginal communities, unions, business people, experts, prime ministers and more all agree that Bill C-51 is dangerous and unnecessary. However, that did not stop the Liberals and Conservatives from standing up yesterday and voting against the NDP's amendments to withdraw the most controversial clauses from the bill.
    The final vote on the bill is being held tomorrow. How can the Conservatives and Liberals still vote in favour of such a controversial bill?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, after months of hearings and words and debate, after hearing the sister of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and stakeholders from all over the country, New Democrats are still opposing measures to keep Canadians safe.
    We know what is right. We know what to do and we will do it. The member should stay tuned.

[Translation]

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that we need to put in place measures to help families and the middle class, which continue to go into debt under this Conservative government. We can cut their taxes and provide larger, simpler, fairer benefits than those offered by this Conservative government.
    Why are the Conservatives helping people with $10,000 to put aside instead of helping families that are tired of steadily going into debt under the Conservative government?
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the leader of the Liberal Party announced that he wants to hike taxes for those earning less than $60,000 a year by eliminating tax-free savings accounts. He announced that he wants to replace our family tax cut with a family tax hike. The Liberal leader will take money away from families and increase their taxes. We are doing the exact opposite.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, only a third of Canadians can afford a TFSA. Fewer than a quarter of that third can afford to max out. It is a tool focused on 8% of Canadians. The other 92% are no where close.
    To help them, the vast majority, to help nine out of ten Canadian families, why not cut the middle class tax rate right across the board? Why not give those families a bigger child benefit, clean, simple, fair, tax-free, right across the board? Why not?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Liberal leader admitted that his plan for higher taxes has a $2 billion hole in it.
     The Liberal leader admitted that he would have to raise taxes on people earning less than $60,000 a year by cancelling their expanded tax-free savings accounts. He admitted that he would replace the Conservative family tax cut with the Liberal family tax increase. He admitted that he would get rid of the universal child care benefit, yet he also admitted that after all those tax hikes, he would still have a $2 billion hole, which he would need to cancel pension splitting for seniors in order to fill.
    Mr. Speaker, just repeating a falsehood does not make it true. Canadians are mocking this minister. They do not believe a word he says.
    He cannot justify why this tired government is against a big middle class tax cut. He cannot justify why it is against a better child benefit, bigger, fairer, absolutely tax free for every middle-class family and all those trying to get there.
    He punishes single moms and dads, but gives a $2,000 tax break to those earning a quarter of a million dollars. Why?
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Liberal leader admitted he would raise taxes on people earning less than $60,000 a year.
    In fact, two-thirds of those who have maxed out their tax-free savings account earn less than $60,000 a year.
    The Liberal leader admitted that he would cancel the Conservative family tax cut and replace it with the Liberal family tax increase by cancelling income splitting for parents.
     He would also have to cancel income splitting for seniors in order to help make up for the $2 billion hole that the Liberal Leader admits is in his plan.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Members need to come to order. It is becoming increasingly difficult to hear both the questions and the answers. We need a little bit of order, please.
    The hon. member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier.

[Translation]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, during his latest visit to Iraq, the Prime Minister prevented journalists from publishing images of our special operations forces soldiers for security reasons. However, he released images showing the faces of these soldiers for a promotional campaign. When the issue was raised, the video was taken off the Web. Now there is talk of posting it again. Quite frankly, that is shameful.
    Does the Prime Minister realize that posting this promotional video on his website compromises our soldiers' safety?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the safety of our troops is our number one priority. For this reason, there are protocols in place before images or videos are posted. When concerns were raised about a few specific images, these were taken down immediately so we could review whether the protocols were properly applied.
    After a second review, it became apparent that two of these videos should not have been posted. We regret the error and are reviewing all protocols with respect to the publication of such images.
    Mr. Speaker, reviewing them? The Conservatives should be following them.
    While on tour in Iraq and Kuwait, Canadian media signed and respected the directive from DND not to publish images of special forces soldiers for security reasons, but the Prime Minister's Office did not, and posted a series of videos showing the faces of Canadian soldiers.
    We gather that these videos have been pulled down for now, but there remains a simple question. Why is the Prime Minister's Office breaking rules intended to protect the safety of our forces just to make promotional videos for the Prime Minister, and who over there will take responsibility for this fiasco?
    Mr. Speaker, as I just said, we regret this error. These images were taken down and they will not be re-posted.
    We are very proud of our members of the special operations forces who are stationed in Erbil, in northern Iraq, aiding and assisting the Iraqi security forces and Kurdish peshmerga to ensure we are able to defend that region and protect Canadians from the Islamic State, a death cult with genocidal tendencies.
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the parliamentary secretary acknowledged that the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service looked into allegations of prisoner mistreatment in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011. According to him, there was no mistreatment.
    Now it appears that there was a second investigation, this one by Lieutenant-Colonel Sylvie Beaudry, requested by the provost marshal. Was the minister aware of this second investigation and report, and what were its conclusions?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, as I stated yesterday, the government is aware of these investigations. This happened several years ago. They found that there were no grounds for any charges to be laid.
    We have always said that we do not approve of any misconduct by military members. However, members of the Canadian Armed Forces consistently demonstrate tremendous professionalism, particularly with respect to protecting and promoting human rights, and working under international law when they are dealing with prisoners of war.
    Mr. Speaker, there needs to be more transparency about these reports if the Conservatives want the public's trust.
    There was also troubling news today about a directive by the Department of National Defence that would allow Canadian forces to seek out and share information, even if it could put someone in foreign custody at serious risk of torture. We already know that this directive, which violates Canada's international obligations, is in place for four other Canadian security agencies.
    Will the minister immediately disclose the contents of the directives that he has given to the Department of National Defence?
    Mr. Speaker, there is no policy in place as alluded to by the member. We always act with the utmost professionalism and ensure that the Canadian forces have the tools they need.
    I just want to remind the member why we are over in Iraq and carrying out combat missions in Syria. It is because we believe that ISIL is a threat to us in Canada. We will co-operate with our coalition partners to ensure that the ethnic and religious minorities that have been targeted by ISIS are no longer submitted to its genocidal threats.

[Translation]

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, the Senate expense scandal is an illustration of this government's mismanagement.
    Just as we are learning that 10 or so other senators are under criminal investigation by the RCMP, the crown prosecutor is trying to prevent a Senate report from being submitted as evidence at former senator Duffy's trial—
    Order. I believe I have already made a ruling on questions on this issue.
    The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I think you will agree that it is the responsibility of government to ensure transparent accountability in all areas of spending.
    This is very concerning, since the Prime Minister himself made a promise to Canadians that he would clean up the backroom culture of corruption in Ottawa, but that has not happened. Now we are seeing that at least 10 other senators who may have been involved in financial misconduct—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. The hon. member for Vancouver Kingsway.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, despite Conservative spin, the numbers do not lie.
    Canada just posted a $3 billion record trade deficit in March, and this followed a $2 billion deficit in February. Now we see the Conservatives starting to cave in at the TPP table. After being asked to affirm his support for Canada's supply manage sectors, the Prime Minister ducked, dodged and dissembled.
    Will the government stand in the House and clearly tell Canadian consumers, farmers and rural communities that it will completely defend Canada's dairy, poultry and egg industries in all trade talks?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said many times in the House, our government continues to promote Canadian interests across all sectors, in all regions of Canada at the TPP negotiating table.
    That has never prevented us from actually securing trade agreements that protect our farmers and promote the interests of our farmers. We make no apologies for ensuring that any deal reached must be in Canada's best interest.
    As always, we will only sign an agreement that is, indeed, in Canada's best interests.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, obviously, we cannot trust this government to stand up for Canadians. Farmers are not the only ones who are worried about the future of supply management in Canada. The agriculture ministers for Quebec and Ontario are asking the Conservatives to commit to defending supply management in the discussions on the trans-Pacific partnership. Will the Conservatives do what Quebec and Ontario are asking and confirm their support for supply management today, in no uncertain terms?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, unlike the New Democrats, who do nothing to promote trade, we have reached agreements with over 38 countries since we took office. We have always protected and promoted the supply management system. Poultry, egg and dairy producers are in good stead, and we are going to continue to defend all of Canada's industries.
    In good stead, Mr. Speaker? The Conservatives are saying one thing, but doing another. The Prime Minister's recent statements on the future of supply management are worrisome to Ontario and Quebec. The Prime Minister said that Canada faces “difficult choices” in the trans-Pacific partnership negotiations. He said that Canada cannot, alone, stop a deal from happening if we do not like it.
    I have a simple question for the Conservatives. Will they defend supply management, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, the past is an indication of the future. In the past, we have signed free trade agreements with many countries, including the European Union and South Korea. We have always made sure to promote the interests of all industrial and agri-food sectors. I would invite the opposition members to support these free trade agreements because we know that freedom brings prosperity to Canada.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives like to brag about the number of trade deals they have done, but in March they presided over the largest trade deficit of $3 billion in Canada's history. That makes, for the first quarter, a trade deficit of $7 billion.
     This weakness is especially worrying, given Statistic Canada's recent report that businesses intend to cut R and D spending by 2.6% this year, a worrying indicator for the future. The numbers do not lie.
    When will the government stop hiding behind absolutely ludicrous talking points on the TFSA and admit that its economic policies are failing Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, we will put up our record on trade against the Liberal record any day.
    The last time the Liberals spoke seriously about trade was in 1993 when they were threatening to tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement. Today their idea of trade is to legalize the illegal trade of marijuana.
    On this side of the House, we are standing up for law-abiding citizens.

[Translation]

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, I have a very simple question for the government.
    The NDP has already come out against it. Do the Conservatives oppose a tax hike for people who earn $200,000 or more to give back to the middle class, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals want to increase the taxes of people who earn less than $60,000 a year.
    In fact, two-thirds of people who maxed out their tax-free savings accounts earn less than $60,000 a year. Are we in favour of the Liberal plan to increase their taxes? No, we are absolutely not going to hike the taxes of the middle class.
    We are going to cut the taxes of families to help them keep more of their money. We also oppose the Liberal plan to eliminate income splitting for our seniors, because it is irresponsible.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal plan would help the middle class and those Canadians who are working hard to join it. It would include the Canada child benefit, a tax-free monthly benefit that would be bigger, simpler and fairer than the Conservative plan.
    Under the Liberal plan, a family with two children and an income of $45,000 would receive $4,000 per year, more than under the Conservatives. Under the Conservative plan, it is the wealthy who get the tax breaks.
    Why do the Conservatives not understand that they can do more for the people who need it if they do less for the people who do not?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal leader admitted yesterday that even after all of his tax increases, he would have a $2 billion hole in his plan. Even after raising taxes on those people who use tax-free savings accounts, he would have a $2 billion hole. Even after cancelling the Conservative family tax cut and replacing it with a Liberal family tax hike, he would have a $2 billion hole.
    We know that with this $2 billion hole, and I think Alex Trebek would agree, under the Liberal tax increase, paycheques of Canadians would truly be in jeopardy.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, firefighters are the first responders in many terrible situations. It is our duty to help them by providing training to volunteer firefighters and treatment to those suffering from post-traumatic stress.
    Despite their promises, the Conservatives and some Liberals voted against the NDP's bill. The bill would have provided volunteer firefighters with protections when they have to take time off work.
    Why does the government not care about this problem and why is it abandoning those who protect our lives on a daily basis?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to be part of a government that recognized the operational stress injuries of federal employees, including our soldiers.
    Representatives of civil society and various fire departments and police forces are on Parliament Hill today. As first responders, these individuals sometimes face considerable challenges.
    Obviously, we respect provincial jurisdictions. We will continue to work with our partners, but today, let us take a moment to recognize the significant challenges our first responders face in situations that are sometimes difficult and tragic.
    I want to thank them for the important work they do for Canadians.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, across the country we are seeing an increase in post-traumatic stress disorder and suicides among police, firefighters and paramedics. Seventeen first responders have taken their lives so far in 2015. Canadians depend on these people to keep us safe and, in return, we have an obligation to ensure they have the resources they need.
    The issues of PTSD and suicide among first responders must be taken seriously. Instead of claiming it is not part of their jurisdiction, will the Conservatives take concrete and specific actions to help address the health and safety needs of first responders?
    Mr. Speaker, we always take our responsibility seriously when it comes time to support our police officers and front-line officers. That is why, despite the lack of support from members of the NDP, we have increased our funding, and they have the opportunity to do so in supporting our budget.
    This being said, operational stress injuries are not only happening in the military sphere, but in all walks of life. We will continue to work with our provincial partners and our municipalities to take the challenge. Let us recognize the outstanding work that is done by our first responders. They play a great role in our society and we thank them for that.

Tourism Industry

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have also neglected the tourism industry.
    Tourism is responsible for over 600,000 jobs in Canada, but over the last decade, Canada has dropped nine places as an international tourism destination, from seventh to a shameful sixteenth place.
    Under pressure, the Conservatives have finally decided to talk about recapturing the U.S. tourism market, but why did it take so long, and why do we still not have plan?
    Will the minister tell us exactly how much money will be invested in the connecting America campaign?
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that NDP members at least took some time to read the budget. They know that we are putting more money into the tourism industry and more money into U.S. advertising. It is very true. This is good news. Members in the industry asked us to put more money into the U.S. to attract more U.S. travellers to Canada. That is something we are going to do. It is a done deal.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives sat on their hands when American tourists started deserting Canada. The Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism even boasted about cutting the budget of the Canadian Tourism Commission, an agency that helps promote our industry abroad.
    This morning I moved a motion at the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology to point out that in Quebec City alone, tourism employs 15,000 people. It employs 600,000 people throughout Canada.
    We want a number. Can the Conservatives tell us how much they will invest in order to repair the damage they have done?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, the tourism industry is an $89 billion industry in Canada. It is a very important industry, and that is why, last fall, my provincial colleagues and I reached a Canada-wide consensus. It was not the NDP that did that. It was our government that reached a consensus with the provinces to ensure that there is reinvestment in the United States. That is what we are going to do because we want more travellers from the United States to come and visit our beautiful and great country.

[English]

Telecommunications

    Mr. Speaker, in today's digital economy, Canadians live in a world where access to the Internet is essential to create jobs, to realize economic opportunities and to link Canadians to online services.
    Last summer, our government announced the connecting Canadians program, which will connect 280,000 households to affordable, high-quality broadband services.
    Could the Minister of Industry give the House an update on the other steps our government is taking to help connect rural and remote communities to high-speed, affordable telecommunications services?
    Mr. Speaker, we often forget but we should remind ourselves that while Canada is the second largest country in size, we are the 37th largest in terms of population. This means that our most rural, most remote and northern communities, often aboriginal communities, are completely cut off from the rest of the country, and indeed, the rest of the world.
    This is why today our government is proud to announce that we have made changes that will reduce regulatory fees for satellite companies that provide rural and remote communities access to satellite services. This is essential for public safety, economic opportunities and ensuring that all Canadians have equal access to the digital world.

[Translation]

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the Shoal Lake aboriginal community was forced to declare a state of emergency because the ferry that connects it to the shore, the only way in and out of the reserve, is in such poor condition that it failed the Transport Canada inspection.
    The community, which has been under a boil water advisory for 17 years, has been asking for a long-term solution for years.
    Will the minister intervene immediately so that the community can lift the state of emergency?
    Mr. Speaker, our immediate priority is to ensure the health and safety of Shoal Lake residents. That is why our emergency management team is in constant contact with the community. We will continue to offer help if the community needs it. To date, we have received no requests for help. However, we are also working with the aboriginal community and Health Canada to ensure that residents have access to medical services. We stand ready to provide any help required.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the minister's response to emergencies is always too little, too late. The state of emergency in Shoal Lake has been years in the making.
    Shoal Lake was cut off from the mainland in order to provide Winnipeg with clean drinking water, leaving Shoal Lake residents dependent on an unreliable ferry and dangerous ice roads. For 17 straight years, they have been under a boil-water advisory. They need a year-round road to the mainland and potable water.
    Why has the Conservative government continued to fail first nation communities like Kashechewan and Shoal Lake? When will the Conservatives finally take real action on infrastructure needs?
    Mr. Speaker, our government continues to take action so that first nations across Canada have the same quality of drinking water as all Canadians. That is why since 2006, approximately $3 billion have been invested in first nations' water and waste water infrastructure and related public health activities. We have made targeted investments in more than 130 major projects and have funded the maintenance of over 1,200 water and waste water treatment projects, and we will continue in that vein.

Telecommunications

    Mr. Speaker, almost a decade after the Conservatives took power, Internet access in parts of rural ridings like mine still needs to be improved. The government is only now introducing a new satellite fee structure. In a country where telecom companies make huge profits and Canadians pay some of the highest fees in the developed world, I am told by satellite companies that northern Ontario is not a priority.
    What is the government going to do to ensure that rural Canadians, like my constituents in Thunder Bay—Rainy River, get access to affordable high-speed Internet now?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, that is a good question and I respect the member's sincerity on the matter, but of course we have taken action as a government. I just mentioned the satellite fee structure that we put in place.
    Beyond that, we have our connecting Canadians program. We have done an RFP, and we have had a return from all of Canada. Our goal was to have 280,000 households connected, which would take us to over 99% of all households connected in Canada, and we have exceeded that with over 300,000 households. We are going to be making announcements next week, starting in Kenora. Then we are going to go to the Columbia River valley. We are going to go all across this country. We are going to make sure that all Canadians are connected to high-speed Internet all across the country.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, there is a deep inequality among Canadians when it comes to high-speed Internet access. For many people outside of major centres, access to high-speed service quite simply does not exist or is unaffordable.
    The minister announced a reduction in the cost of operator licences, but nothing guarantees that this will give Canadians, particularly those in rural areas, real access to better service at a lower cost. Once again, wishful thinking is at play here.
    When will the minister take the needs of people in businesses in rural regions seriously?
    Mr. Speaker, we have already taken peoples' needs seriously. That is why we proposed providing the amount required to enhance the power of wireless and high-speed services in every region of Canada.
    We will make announcements next week in each region, including Quebec. All Canadians will have access to good quality high-speed Internet. We need to involve all Canadians.

[English]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, Corporal Esther Wolki took a knife and began cutting into her arm in an attempt to end her own life. A decade in the military, including a tour in Afghanistan, racism, and now sexual abuse have finally broken this Inuk soldier. Corporal Wolki's experience is yet another disturbing example of the government's neglect of the women and men in uniform.
    Why are the minister and Prime Minister sitting on the sidelines when action is urgently needed to fix what Justice Marie Deschamps called the culture of misogyny in the Canadian Armed Forces? Why the silence on the part of the minister and the Prime Minister?
    Mr. Speaker, sexual misconduct of any kind has no place in the Canadian Armed Forces. Major-General Christine Whitecross is travelling to CFB Shilo today and will discuss this case with the leadership at CFB Shilo. She will ensure that Corporal Wolki has been offered and has access to the support that she deserves and requires. The Chief of the Defence Staff has accepted all the recommendations from the Deschamps report and is acting on them.
    Since 2006, our government has continuously fought on behalf of victims and enhanced the laws in this country to combat sexual assault.
    Mr. Speaker, journalists covering the Prime Minister's recent trip to Iraq were lectured about not broadcasting the faces of Canada's special forces soldiers as doing so might endanger them. However, the PM's own online 24 seven propaganda channel has violated that rule. However, this is not the first time. Two months ago, the Minister of National Defence tweeted a picture of special forces soldiers carrying the coffin of Sergeant Doiron.
    What is wrong with the government which is endangering the lives of our soldiers? Is it blatant self-promotion or incompetence?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier today, if the member was listening, the safety of our troops is our number one priority and for this reason there are protocols in place before images or videos are posted. We regret this error. After reviewing all the protocols with respect to the publication of these images, these images have been removed and will not be re-posted.
    We are very proud of the work that the special operations forces are doing in Iraq in training and assisting the Kurdish peshmerga and Iraqi security forces in dealing with the genocidal death cult called ISIS.

[Translation]

Citizenship and Immigration

    Mr. Speaker, several concerns have been raised about the Conservatives' express entry program.
    This time, the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada is sounding the alarm and suggesting that the program cannot identify registered francophone immigrants. There are more than 22,000 people in the recruitment pool, but apparently only 200 are francophone. This represents barely 2%, while the target for francophone immigrants is 4%.
    How will the minister ensure that his own targets for francophone immigration will be reached with this program?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, our government is proud to be the only government in the history of Canada to have attracted more than 2,500 francophone immigrants to the provinces and territories outside Quebec every year since 2006.
    The new express entry program will allow us to identify many more francophone immigrants and to ensure that they settle in all regions faster than ever.
    We have provided funding for francophone communities and francophone immigration networks in the roadmap. We are taking action to enhance the francophone presence throughout Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, this is more bad news for francophone communities outside Quebec.
    The president of the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada has criticized the lack of measures to increase francophone immigration. The last time she appeared before the Standing Committee on Official Languages, Ms. Kenny even described the situation of francophone immigration outside Quebec as scandalous. She is asking the federal government to take drastic measures right away to avert disaster for the communities.
    Will the government listen?
    Mr. Speaker, the scandal is the NDP's failure to recognize the progress that has been made in this area.
    This Conservative government is the only one in Canadian history to have brought over 2,500 francophone immigrants to our country. We do not even know how many francophones immigrate to Canada through Quebec's programs and how many of them settle in other provinces. We have strengthened the capacity of all of the francophone immigration networks to receive francophones in record time in every province and territory of Canada.

[English]

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, Canadian families in my constituency of Saskatoon—Humboldt are pleased with the government delivering on results for 100% of Canadian families with children through our family tax cut and universal child care benefit.
    Could the Minister of Employment please give the House an update on how our plan is delivering for hard-working, middle-class Canadian families?
    Mr. Speaker, our family tax cut and benefits help 100% of families with kids. Family tax cuts through income splitting will put up to $2,000 in the pockets of couples. The universal child care benefit will grow to $2,000 per year for kids under age six, and $720 for kids ages six through seventeen.
    The Liberals have announced that they would raise taxes on families. They would replace the family tax cut with a Liberal family tax hike. They would roll back the tax-free savings accounts. Even after all that, they admit that they would have a $2 billion hole. We are lowering taxes for Canadians.

Seniors

    Mr. Speaker, raising the age for old age security from 65 to 67 years is nothing short of a Conservative attack on seniors. Conservatives claim that all seniors are flush with cash, but we know the opposite is true. Seniors and those nearing retirement make up more than 30% of bankruptcy filings in Ontario and have more debt than younger people have. Many others face growing debt and tight cashflows. Doubling the TFSA limits will be of no help to seniors filing for bankruptcy.
    Why do the Conservatives have such contempt for Canada's seniors?
    Mr. Speaker, for seniors who have just downsized and want to invest the proceeds of their sale, or seniors who have had one spouse pass away with a small inheritance following, the tax-free savings accounts allow them to save. That is why almost two-thirds of those who max out their tax-free savings accounts have incomes below $60,000. However, the Liberal plan has a $2 billion hole and that means they will not only have to eliminate income splitting for families, but they will also eliminate it for seniors.
    Raising taxes on vulnerable seniors is the last thing we should be doing. We should lower their taxes.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, last month, the Minister of National Defence committed to considering the proposal from the Duchess of Kent Legion, in London, to move into the officers' mess at Wolseley Barracks. Like so many branches of the Legion across Canada that care for and reach out to our veterans, the contribution of this Legion to the London community and our veterans is immeasurable. However, time is running out.
    Has the minister made a decision on the proposal? If not, when can the Legion and the community expect an answer?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, properties are rightly assessed to ensure they meet all requirements. In this case, these buildings are aging infrastructure that is almost 60 years old and is no longer suitable or required for the Canadian Armed Forces. The Government of Canada remains fully committed to the military presence in London; this includes a joint personnel support unit, a military family resource centre, and the reserve force units' medical and dental clinics located there.
    This government will continue to use taxpayer dollars wisely and stand up for our forces.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, the opposition parties sadly oppose our tax cuts for northern families and, instead, propose tax hikes on the middle class.
     They even support a carbon tax, which would make life far more difficult for northern families.
    When the Liberals were in government, they failed to meet the obligations to the people in Nunavut and—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please.
     The member should know that questions should touch upon the administrative responsibilities of the government, not other parties.
    We will move on to the hon. member for Thunder Bay—Superior North.

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, 126 first nation reserves have unsafe drinking water. In Scandinavia and Europe, zero communities have unsafe drinking water. One such reserve is Shoal Lake 40, in Thunder Bay—Rainy River, which has had to boil its water for 17 years.
    The reserve wants to know, and the Council of Canadians wants to know. Why does Winnipeg get safe water from Shoal Lake while the first nations on that very same lake do not?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, our government continues to take action on first nations across Canada so that they have the same quality of drinking water as all other Canadians. That is why, since 2006, we have invested approximately $3 billion in first nations' water and waste water infrastructure and related public health activities. We have made targeted investments in more than 130 major projects and funded maintenance of over 1,200 waste water and water treatment projects.
    As a matter of fact, in the economic action plan of 2014, we committed a further $320 million for two years.

[Translation]

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, subsequent to a Bloc Québécois motion that was unanimously adopted in the House, for nearly 10 years, the Canadian negotiation policy required negotiators to keep the supply management system intact. The government said repeatedly that it would defend that position. However, now, the Prime Minister is saying that we will have to make sacrifices during the negotiations for the trans-Pacific partnership. Everything seems to indicate that the federal government is preparing to sacrifice supply management.
    Can the Minister of International Trade confirm that the negotiators' mandate is still defined by the Bloc Québécois motion that received unanimous support?
    Mr. Speaker, what has the Bloc Québécois done for agricultural producers in Quebec and Canada? Nothing. What will the Bloc Québécois do for them? Nothing.
    What we have been doing since 2006 is negotiating free trade agreements and providing economic freedom while protecting the principles of supply management. That is something concrete, and I am telling agricultural producers in Quebec that the past is an indication of what the future holds.

[English]

Presence in Gallery

    I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of:
    In the category of distinguished Canadians, this University of Ottawa alumnus is the honorary chair of the campaign cabinet of the University of Ottawa and the popular host of Jeopardy.
    Who is—Alex Trebek?
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
    The hon. opposition House leader is rising on a point of order.

Points of Order

Oral Questions 

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, last week you allowed a question from a Conservative to a Conservative minister that touched on the Avon Maitland District School Board and whether or not they would be providing unpaid leave to an employee.
    I can give you many other examples of Conservative questions to Conservative ministers that have absolutely nothing to do with the federal government at all, not government operations or government administration, but those questions are allowed.
    Today we had two very relevant and pertinent questions from the member for La Pointe-de-l'Île and the member for Timmins—James Bay. Those questions touched on the ministry of justice, on the work of the Auditor General currently in examining the Senate spending scandal. Even more important, the Senate spending scandal and the Prime Minister's appointment of those senators are actually issues that have been debated in this House of Commons around appropriations bills.
    Mr. Speaker, as you know, Bill C-54 was adopted and given royal assent on March 24, 2015. That was a bill that was debated in this House of Commons.
    There are traditions in this House that go back for decades. Those traditions allow for questioning the government on its administrative responsibilities. Your decision today was inexplicable, and I would like to say that—

  (1505)  

    I will stop the hon. member there.
    As the member will know, when questions fall outside the bounds of the administration of government, as today, both on the NDP side and on the government side, as it turns out, they are ruled out of order.
    As I mentioned to the member the last time he brought this up, I can provide him with the ruling I gave in January 2014 and hope that will help him understand, going forward.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[English]

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015

    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Etobicoke Centre has five minutes left for his response.
    Mr. Speaker, I left off by remarking that I had heard members of the NDP stand in this place and say that no experts support this important legislation, Bill C-51.
    I would ask them if they do not believe that Justice John Major is an expert, and he said:
     I don't think Parliament is equipped as a body to act as an oversight body, which is what is being proposed.
    I would ask what they think about former assistant director of CSIS Ray Boisvert, when he said C-51:
...will be a very effective tool to get...[jihadist propaganda] material off the Internet.
     I would ask what they think about the Canadian Thinkers' Forum, which said:
     The government's proposed Bill C-51, when passed by Parliament, shall help Canadian Muslims to curb extremist elements....
    The fact of the matter is that credible experts are fully in support of this very important legislation.
    As my time is drawing to a close, I would like to draw my colleagues' attention to the most important thing I heard from witnesses who came to speak on the anti-terrorism act 2015. Louise Vincent, sister of slain Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent said:
     Had Bill C-51 been in force on October 19...Martin Couture-Rouleau...would have been in prison, and my brother would not be dead.
    That is probably the most poignant quote. That is what I will be keeping in mind when I vote on this legislation. I call on all members to put aside their ideology and support this important legislation on behalf and for all Canadians and all of Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, I am quite astonished that the hon. member would cite former Supreme Court justice John Major as someone in favour of this legislation. He is, as an expert, someone who does not think Parliamentary oversight is as effective as a national security advisor. That is what he repeated multiple times in his testimony, that this bill should not be passed without a national security advisor. In his own words he said that, from what he has seen with the present proposed legislation, nothing in the present proposed legislation is going to ensure adequate information sharing between the RCMP and CSIS.
    In other words, the hon. member, no doubt through talking points about legislation with which he is barely familiar, has ignored the actual testimony of a former Supreme Court judge who has urged this House not to pass Bill C-51 in its current form.

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am astounded that the hon. member understands so very little. I used to be a member of the Canadian Forces and worked in a domestic operations cell, so I understand something of how our agencies work together and the co-operation and intelligence sharing that happens. I can say from my experience then and my experience today as a parliamentarian that this legislation is needed. It is common sense. We have arrived at a very different point in our history and we have to be nimble in our legislation and in the defence of our nation, our democracy, and our citizens. We have to modernize our security protocols so that all of our security agencies interact, so that all of our coordination is done with the sole intent of keeping Canadians safe and maintaining our security, our prosperity, and above all, our liberty.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member across the way, and he made reference to a specific quote by an individual. Therefore, I would like to get a sense of the government's position. Is it the government's position that, had this legislation that we are currently debating been in place, it would have prevented a life from being taken in either of the terrorist attacks last fall?
    Mr. Speaker, that is a distinct possibility, because as I spoke to this individual, it was noted and noticed that where the peace bond process comes in, if there is an opportunity to seize upon an individual ahead of the commission of a crime, or a potential crime in a terrorist context, that is indeed possible. I have spoken to our police in Toronto, in my area, and others who are involved in the intelligence field, and friends I have amongst police officers through long acquaintance and service with them, and I learned that this very important legislation would allow them to identify early anybody who is suspected of being in commission of a potential terrorist act and to intervene and interdict in order to protect Canadians.
    I do not want to be the guy to have to explain why a whole bunch of people got killed when law enforcement would have been able to act sooner.
    Mr. Speaker, I am just following up on the question from our colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands.
     I would like to ask my colleague from Etobicoke Centre whether or not he realizes that Mr. Justice John Major was one of the signatories to the letter from the four former prime ministers, including the Right Hon. Joe Clark, criticizing this bill and indicating that oversight and review must accompany the bill or it should not pass. Is he aware that Mr. Justice Major, whom he cited in support of the bill, was a signatory to that letter?
    Mr. Speaker, we have multiple quotes from multiple stakeholders across Canada, Justice Major being just one of them. We have all kinds of testimony from other stakeholders such as the former assistant director of CSIS, people in universities, and those who are acquainted with security protocols and study this for a living, including, as I just pointed out, Louise Vincent, who is possibly and probably the most poignant of these folks.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House once again to speak out against Bill C-51. Today, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl. I am proud to rise to make the Conservative government acknowledge the thousands of Canadians who are demonstrating against this bill every day.
    On this side of the House, we hear them and we will not forget them. We are still trying to get the Conservative government to listen to reason and we will fight Bill C-51 to the end. We will not give up.
    We have heard all kinds of surprises on both sides of the House with respect to Bill C-51, especially in the last few minutes, when one of my Conservative colleagues spoke about the witnesses who appeared before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
    I cannot help but to respond to that, since my colleague claimed that former Supreme Court justice John Major was in favour of Bill C-51. This is a great example of how the Conservatives like to twist words in the debate on the content of the bill, the real consequences of Bill C-51 and the testimony given at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
    John Major also signed a letter with other former Supreme court justices and former prime ministers in which they outright opposed Bill C-51. I would suggest that my colleague look at the blues to see what was said in the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
    He could also simply read the letter that Mr. Major signed with other eminent Canadians who fiercely opposed Bill C-51. This led to an in-depth study, among others, carried out by other people who originally supported Bill C-51 but who then opposed it, explaining that they wanted to support a measure that protects us against terrorism and radicalization, but not a bill that goes this far and that violates our civil rights and freedoms.
    I hope that members on the other side of the House will do their homework. Since we vote tomorrow evening, they still have a chance to change their minds and to vote with the official opposition to get rid of this bill, go back to the drawing board and come back with a more effective measure to truly combat terrorism and radicalization.
    I do not have a lot of time to discuss the bill, but I really want to emphasize that more and more people across Canada are getting angry about this so-called anti-terrorism bill. What the Conservatives have really introduced is an anti-rights and anti-freedoms bill. Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Vancouver, Montreal and Quebec City. People have been demonstrating loudly in every city.
     Thousands of people have signed online petitions against Bill C-51, and we have presented those petitions in the House of Commons. Eminent Canadians, former prime ministers, first nations leaders and aboriginal communities, members of environmental movements and very high-profile people also oppose Bill C-51. Recently, business people have also spoken out against this bill. Since the government likes to go on about how it always consults business people, it should consider their expert opinions on the consequences of this bill. Most of these people agree that Bill C-51 is both useless and dangerous.
    Also, as I mentioned earlier during question period, I am concerned about the Conservative-Liberal alliance on this bill. Some Conservative members are boasting about protecting individual rights and freedoms, when they are completely undermining these same rights in this bill. Frankly, it is astonishing. In addition, the Liberals keep saying that they are staunchly defending the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, there are no similarities whatsoever between Bill C-51 and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Conservatives and the Liberals are talking out of both sides of their mouths.

  (1515)  

    Honestly, it is disappointing to see that the Liberals are trying to score political points with Bill C-51. Initially, people were in favour of the bill. However, the more we talked about it, the more people realized that the bill made no sense. Now, their strategy is backfiring on them.
    I also deplore that the Conservatives are not listening to what the opposition has to say in the House, which is really regrettable. They have decided to limit debate several times and forced us to vote on time allocation motions. Therefore, we were required to limit debate on Bill C-51. In addition, we had to fight bitterly in committee to get a few hours with witnesses. If the Conservatives could have acted alone, without consulting anyone in committee and without conducting any studies, they would have. In fact, 45 of the 48 witnesses who testified before the committee told us that Bill C-51 should be amended or completely scrapped, and that we should go back to the drawing board. What did the Conservatives do?
    All the opposition parties proposed over 100 amendments, and only three were accepted. What party proposed those three minor amendments? Of course, it was the Conservative Party. None of the amendments put forward by the opposition was accepted. There is nothing in the bill that was mentioned by the witnesses. We, on the other hand, based our proposals on what the witnesses said. We tried to fix anything in Bill C-51 that could have been fixed. The Conservatives systematically refused every amendment put forward by the opposition. Clearly, they want to go it alone. They absolutely refuse to listen to any criticisms of this bill. It is sad, because ultimately, this is going to backfire on them. I am thinking of the extremely important discussions we had with eminent professors. Craig Forcese and the Canadian Bar Association come to mind, as well. At committee, I asked them if the bill was constitutional in its current form. That is perhaps the very first thing the government should examine closely before introducing a bill. The witnesses told me that large parts of the bill are unconstitutional. The bill will not stand up in court.
    That raised the ire of Canadians across the country. This bill will end up before the courts and they will show that it is unconstitutional. As a federal government, its first order of business was to verify whether the bill it is introducing is constitutional and this government did not even do that. According to experts, Bill C-51 is unconstitutional. I hesitate to say that this is incompetence, but it is not far from it.
    The members across the way keep saying that Bill C-51 contains vital tools that the police have been asking them for. That is not so. The number one thing that the police forces and our institutions have been asking for is money. I talked to a number of police officers. We could restart the study and rehear the experts in committee. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Border Services Agency, and the municipal and provincial police are saying that the police services desperately need money. Some even told us that they could see that certain actions could well lead to terrorism. Unfortunately, they cannot do anything about it because they do not have enough manpower to deal with it. It is very serious.
    There have been several arrests. I must point out the incredible work done by members of the RCMP, among others, in recent months. Several preventive arrests related to acts of terrorism have been made. We must point that out. Arrests are being made, but there could be more if they had the money they need.
    Personally, I was expecting that there would be a sizeable amount of money in the 2015 federal budget in order to fight terrorism. Unfortunately, that is not the case. There is an envelope of less than $300 million for the RCMP, the Border Services Agency and the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency. This will not be disbursed before 2017. In the meantime, these three agencies have less than $20 million to combat terrorism.
    I do not want to be lectured about how Bill C-51 contains vital tools. The basic problem is funding. This shows that the government is unwilling to listen to the agencies that work on the ground.

  (1520)  

    Mr. Speaker, for the past few days, we have been treated to a show of mental gymnastics. The government is trying to convince us that our rights will be protected by a law that actually seeks to eclipse them. That makes no sense. We have learned one thing, and that is the difference between the Liberals and the Conservatives. In fact, they both want to make the same mistake, except the Liberals claim that they are aware of it. That is all we have learned to date.

  (1525)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Laurentides—Labelle for once again pointing out that the Conservatives and the Liberals are united on Bill C-51.
    When it comes to rights and freedoms, there is a less obvious problem that comes to mind. I did not get much of a chance to talk about it in my speech. I am talking about the Security Intelligence Review Committee. Although the members of this committee are good at what they do, their powers are not broad enough. This has to do with our rights and freedoms. Bill C-51 gives a lot of powers to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, as was the case with Bill C-44 a few months ago. The problem is that the additional powers given to CSIS do not come with a proper oversight mechanism. In its current form, the Security Intelligence Review Committee only conducts a review after the fact. From the beginning we have been asking for ongoing oversight to ensure that our rights and freedoms are protected at all times.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague who was fortunate enough—I am not sure if that is the right word—to sit on the committee. It is clear that this is a partisan bill, to say the least, if not outright propaganda. I would say that normally, one great thing about our democratic system is that bills are sent to a committee, where each party is called upon to improve it. If we did not choose to introduce the bill, we can at least try to improve it.
    My question is very simple. I know that the NDP proposed some amendments to improve this bill, even though the party essentially agreed with it. How many amendments were accepted by the Conservative government?
     Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Trois-Rivières for his question. This is a problem we have run into in most committees during studies of most Conservative government bills.
     How many NDP amendments were accepted? None. How many Liberal Party amendments were accepted? None. How many Green Party amendments were accepted? None. How many Bloc Québécois amendments were accepted? None. How many amendments from independent MPs were accepted? None. How many amendments were accepted in total? Three. Who proposed them? Conservatives, of course. Moreover, they were minor amendments that changed absolutely nothing about Bill C-51.
    Anyone can see that this is clearly a bill that we should all have been able to work on together, especially since we are constantly being reminded about what happened on Parliament Hill on October 22. When that happened, we all agreed to work together to combat terrorism, radicalization and incidents like that one. However, the Conservatives decided to work in isolation, all by themselves. They made all kinds of lovely promises and kept bringing up that incident. They started by politicizing the debate. Then they decided not to work with the opposition, which is totally unacceptable. They also decided not to listen to the majority of the witnesses. I would like to remind my colleagues across the way that 45 of the 48 witnesses clearly stated that the bill needed to be amended substantially or sent back to the drawing board. If that is not working in isolation, I do not know what is.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I stand in opposition to Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism act, 2015. Unfortunately, terrorism is a real threat. It cannot be denied. It is a reality of life, even here in Canada.
     Public safety must be a top priority of government. There is no debate on that point. However, what the whole debate comes down to, in its simplest form, is summed up in a quote from the leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, the leader of Her Majesty's loyal opposition, that I repeat often: “[W]e cannot protect our freedoms by sacrificing them”. We cannot protect sacred Canadian freedoms by sacrificing those sacred Canadian freedoms.
    This bill would give more power to the government agencies responsible for protecting Canadians, but it would give that power without increased oversight. It would be unchecked power, and that is a threat to freedom.
    I was a journalist in my previous life. I was a newspaper man. I liked to say that if you cut me, I would bleed ink. These days, I would probably bleed a radio clip. I savour the freedom I had as a journalist and as a columnist to go where the story took me, to write what needed to be written, and to say what needed to be said. I was not in the business for the money, that is for sure. That is not what drove me.
    In the mid 2000s, I was the editor-in-chief of a weekly newspaper called The Independent. My last task every week, after the rest of the paper had been edited and put to bed, was to write my own column, an opinion piece called “Fighting Newfoundlander”. Before I wrote that column, I would ask myself one simple question, just one, and it was this: What am I afraid to say? Then I would say it. I would write it.
    I miss that freedom as a member of Parliament. There is no freedom I hold in higher regard. However, I savour freedom in general. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, the people I represent in St. John's South—Mount Pearl, and all Canadians should not have to choose between their security and their rights, or their security and their freedom. That is the Prime Minister's false choice. The Prime Minister goes too far in putting politics ahead of principle and in putting fear ahead of freedom.
    I want to return for a moment to October 22, 2014. It was my oldest son's 19th birthday. It was also the day of the shootings on Parliament Hill. I remember speaking to my son on a telephone from a safe room in the East Block after the gunfire in Centre Block. We had been evacuated from the caucus room. I remember telling my son that I was safe and that everyone around me was alive, and happy birthday.
     I remember what I call my foxhole moment, lying on the floor of the caucus room, hiding behind an overturned table and locking eyes with Glenn Thibeault, the then-member of parliament for Sudbury. Like everyone else around us, we did not know what was happening. We knew that there was gunfire just outside the door. I imagine that Glenn Thibeault saw in my eyes what I saw in his eyes: terror, the fear of being shot, and the fear of being killed. That is what I mean by my foxhole moment. My foxhole moment was, of all places, in the Parliament of Canada.
    The next day, Parliament resumed sitting, and I was proud. I could not be prouder of the way the country responded in the wake of such terror and tragedy. All leaders spoke in the House. All leaders embraced the nation. The nation embraced them. The Prime Minister made a statement that I have repeated often. He said:
    In our system, in our country, we are opponents but we are never enemies.
    In this House, we are united by the desire to better our country. As opponents, we disagree on how to get there, but we all strive for a better Canada and a better Newfoundland and Labrador. I like to think that anyway. We are opponents, but we are never enemies.

  (1530)  

    However, the Prime Minister said something immediately after the October 22 attack on Parliament Hill. He gave a statement that I thought foreshadowed where we are today and why I have such reservations about the bill. The Prime Minister called the shooter a terrorist, and he described the terrible event as a terrorist attack. In fact, in a statement, he said:
...this will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts and those of our national security agencies to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats, and keep Canada safe here at home.
    He said “all necessary steps”, but this bill is a step too far. It was almost as if the government was looking for an excuse to proceed with its agenda, and it had found an excuse in the October 22 shooting.
    Bill C-51 would allow all federal departments and agencies to share information that may be relevant to national security, information not just on terrorist attacks, and to share that information with Canadian intelligence and law enforcement agencies. However, Bill C-51 would still compromise the basic principle of privacy rights in Canada. That basic principle is this: information should only be used for the purpose for which it was collected.
    Although our spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and the RCMP are governed by the Privacy Act in their collection, use, and disclosure of information, many of the departments and agencies that would now be allowed to share information with them are not covered by these laws. The Privacy Commissioner is concerned that the bill would allow information on many law-abiding Canadians, as most of us are, to be collected and shared with law enforcement without reasonable cause and would potentially allow the government to build personal profiles on each and every one of us.
    An even bigger concern is who exactly would keep an eye on who is keeping an eye on us. Bill C-51 would give CSIS greater powers but would not correspondingly expand oversight of CSIS, and without proper oversight, the door would be wide open for abuse, the abuse of our basic Canadian freedoms.
    On top of the lack of oversight, the Conservative government continues to cut the budgets of those agencies on the front line against terrorist threats, including the RCMP and CSIS. They have both had their budgets cut each year, starting in 2012. The RCMP saw its spending decrease by $420 million between 2009 and 2014. The budget at CSIS was cut by $44 million between 2012 and 2013. The government cut the tools it already had to fight terrorism, and now it is increasing the scope of CSIS but would provide no further oversight of the process.
    Questions have also been raised about the bill with respect to the question of what constitutes a threat to the security of Canada, especially with the terms being so broad and oversight being so inadequate. There are concerns that under the legislation, environmental or first nations groups that set up a picket line or blockade could be interrupted by CSIS. Experts warn that legitimate dissent could be lumped in with terrorism, and that is not very Canadian. It is absolutely un-Canadian. It may be Conservative, but it is not Canadian.
    Questions have been raised too about how journalists, satirists, artists, and others who report on or mock statements about terrorism may be impacted by the bill. Could there come a day when a columnist asks himself or herself, “What am I afraid to write”, and then makes sure that he or she does not write that? In the words of Benjamin Franklin: “People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both”.
    We must not allow that to happen. Our Canadian freedoms are not for trade. The Conservative government has forgotten that, which is why it has to go.

  (1535)  

    Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the hon. member's speech. He spoke much about terrorists and satirists. I wonder, perhaps, if he may be a satirist himself. I noticed that he commented that he was amazed to hear the Prime Minister say that the October 22 incident was a terrorist attack. I guess I have three questions for the member.
    Was he in the opposition room on October 22? Has he seen the bullet holes that have been left in the door of that same room? If this was not a terrorist attack on October 22, exactly what was it?
    Mr. Speaker, I was in this place on October 22 when the attack occurred. I was in the caucus room, down the Hall of Honour, right across from the Conservative caucus room.
    I have had many tours. I have brought many people from St. John's South—Mount Pearl for tours of Parliament since then. What everyone wants to see are the bullet holes, the bullet hole in the door to the Library of Parliament and the bullet hole from the bullet that went right through the door of our caucus room and lodged in the soundproofing cushioned door on the inside. People want to see that.
    Have I seen the bullet holes? I have seen the bullet holes. Was that a terrorist attack? The Prime Minister made a statement on the night of the shooting, and he called this man a terrorist. He called this a terrorist attack, but as far as anybody knew right then, this was a deranged individual, an individual with problems. The red flags went off in my mind immediately.
    It was immediately branded as a terrorist attack. We did not know that. From my perspective, it was the Conservative government using this for its own agenda. Its own agenda is what we have in front of us today, Bill C-51.

  (1540)  

    Mr. Speaker, my question is in regard to oversight. The government seems to want to give the impression to Canadians that oversight is being provided through our judicial system. Yet in other nations, particularly the Five Eyes nations, of which Canada is a part, as opposed to judicial oversight there is parliamentary oversight, something we in the Liberal Party have been advocating.
    I wonder if the member might comment as to why it is important that Canada have parliamentary oversight as opposed to the judicial oversight model the government is proposing.
    Mr. Speaker, what is parliamentary oversight? I guess it is the ability of parliamentarians to provide oversight on bills.
     I have seen so many examples of how this Prime Minister and the government have complete contempt for Parliament, complete contempt for parliamentarians. There is the number of times it has introduced closure or time allocation on bills, which I understand is the most in history. It has done it 100 times, more than any other government in history. The government, all it has is contempt.
    Nothing could come sooner than October 19, election day, when we will get rid of the majority Conservative government. Parliamentary oversight? What is that?
    Mr. Speaker, in a sense, the bullets that were fired in this place have gone through the heart of our very charter.
    The reality of the damage being done here is that this shooter has succeeded. His attack on Parliament was meant to diminish this Parliament, to diminish the value of this Parliament, and by putting this law into place, that is exactly what we are doing.
    Mr. Speaker, the member just made a statement. The bullets fired in this place went right through the very heart of the charter.
    They went through doors. There were bullets lodged in walls. However, the damage done that day, done to this Parliament, is what we are seeing manifest in Bill C-51. It is unforgivable.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to engage in this debate. Before I do, I will let the House know that I will be splitting my time with the hard-working member for Edmonton Centre.
    I have before me the bill. One of the important pieces of Bill C-51 comes in the preamble of the bill. It says:
    Whereas activities that undermine the security of Canada are often carried out in a clandestine, deceptive or hostile manner, are increasingly global, complex and sophisticated, and often emerge and evolve rapidly...
    We have an obligation in Parliament to ensure that when we ask our law enforcement agencies and our security intelligence services to deal with these ever-evolving, complex and changing threats, we provide them the mechanisms to do so. To ask them to keep up with the evolution of these threats and the sophistication of them with one hand tied behind their backs is irresponsible as a government, unfair to them and unfair to all Canadians.
    To assure everyone, and the Canadians participating by watching this debate, in the preamble itself and embedded throughout the 63 pages of Bill C-51, all of which I have read, studied and gone over multiple times, it states that information that is relevant to “the security of Canada is to be shared in a manner that is consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the protection of privacy”. That is embedded in the very beginning of the legislation and it is consistent throughout the bill in a number of the sections. I am sure I will have time to go over those with some of the questions members may pose for me.
    Canadians want strong action to deal with the jihadi terrorists who exist today globally and who are affecting our country. That is exactly what we would do with the anti-terrorism act, 2015 and why I am proud to support it.
    The bill would do four concrete things. It would create a mechanism for internal government information sharing for the purpose of protecting national security. It would modernize the passenger protect program that is colloquially known as the “no fly list”. It would criminalize the production and dissemination of jihadist propaganda. It would also give CSIS some new tools to stop terrorist threats before they end in tragedy.
    The fact is that the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada and her allies. Canadians are being targeted by terrorists simply because they hate our society and the values it represents. Jihadi terrorism is not a human right; it is an act of war.
    It is why our government has put forward measures to protect Canadians against jihadi terrorists who seek to destroy the very principles that make Canada the best country in the world in which to live. That is also why Canada is no longer sitting on the sidelines. Some of us would prefer that we do that instead of joining our allies in supporting the coalition in the fight against ISIL. Our government believes it is not right to sit on the sidelines, that we have an obligation and a duty to act, and we will.
    Our government has increased resources available to our police by one-third and we have allocated more resources to CSIS, the RCMP and CBSA by almost $300 million to bolster our front-line services in our efforts to counter terrorism. Our government will continue to ensure that our police forces have the resources they need to keep Canadians safe.
    I would like to focus my remarks on the new powers for CSIS to disrupt threats before they happen. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, some of these changes are very much common sense.
    Oftentimes CSIS agents are positioned to intervene at an early stage because they primarily operate in the pre-criminal space when the terrorist attack is being planned. However, shockingly, in current day agents are prohibited from taking any action to disrupt those plots. They can only collect information.
     I will read a quote from Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, the president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. He said in committee, “It's amazing to me that disrupting is currently prohibited. Remember, disrupting doesn't mean you're arresting these individuals. You're not violating their personal property rights. You're just taking them out of commission. You're actually disrupting a plot”.
     I think to all Canadians, it would seem common sense, that when our security intelligence services have information that they have reasonable grounds to believe there is a terrorist plot in the making, they would then have the ability to somehow disrupt that plot.

  (1545)  

    Sometimes that kind of action boils down to things as simple as approaching parents and speaking with them about a family member or a child who CSIS believes is becoming radicalized. Imagine, present day, when our security intelligence services knows this information, there is no provision in law for them to go into the home, engage in discussion and then engage in a plan to deal with that information and stop the radicalization to prevent it from manifesting itself further. I think Canadians would be alarmed to know that information could not allow our security intelligence services to take a simple step of talking with families or people in our country to prevent a terrorist threat.
    We might hear instances where they currently do that, but that is in the context of their present mandate of intelligence gathering rather than actual threat disruption. These are examples of threat disruption that do not require a warrant and are currently legal for anyone to do. It would not make sense for CSIS officers to require warrants in order to ask parents to speak to their children or engage in conversations in online chat rooms, which are becoming more and more the mode of communication in our present day technological world.
     As clearly outlined in the bill, CSIS would need a judicially-approved warrant for anything that would infringe on the rights of an individual or any activity that could be contrary to law. Furthermore, the judge would need to be convinced that such powers were reasonable and proportional to the threat. In fact, in those sections there are more than four stages of approach that officers have to go through prior to those warrants being authorized. Those stages are far more onerous and detailed than any other provision in criminal law that a regular law enforcement officer needs to go through. How do I know that? I have done those myself as a law enforcement officer.
    The provisions contained in the bill in terms of the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency first even reaching the approval stage to take that matter before a judge is one full stage. The officers then have to demonstrate to a judge that all of the conditions would be met for a warrant to be authorized. There are no less than eight conditions for that step to take place. The judge then has the opportunity to accept or deny that request or ask for greater information and modify it. If a warrant is authorized by the judge, CSIS officers who have sought the warrant then have to ensure, under legislation, that the conditions for which the warrant was granted still exist prior to taking any action. Therefore, there are four different levels with multiple conditions under each level to ensure effective and proper oversight of the granting of any action.
    I know the opposition wants to fearmonger and suppose that now CSIS can all of a sudden get warrants to interrupt and access the information of Canadians or stomp all over their rights. This is a four-stage process, including final judicial review, that puts onerous and legislative conditions on CSIS officers.
    I know I have limited time left, but I know Bill C-51 would ensure the right balance between the protection and preservation of the freedom of Canadians, while at the same time ensure that our law enforcement and security service agencies have the tools they need in a modern context so they can stop these threats that, as I mentioned in the preamble of this bill, are ever-evolving, global in nature and changing daily. It is our obligation as a responsible government to ensure they have the tools to do their job to keep Canadians safe, while preserving everybody's collective freedom.

  (1550)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I was just at a meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance, where they are currently studying the obviously illegal financing of terrorist activities.
    In preparation, I read the testimonies of people who had appeared, including a former RCMP officer who said that RCMP officers simply do not have the knowledge required to fight illegal financing, for instance. They are not specialists, but rather generalists. When they become specialists, they are promoted elsewhere.
    He also said that there was no money. Bob Paulson, the RCMP commissioner, said the same thing, that the RCMP does not have the funds it needs. It has to transfer resources from the organized crime section to the fight against terrorism. It seems to me that there is a problem here.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes the need to continually invest in the front-line law enforcement service, but, as the member rightfully pointed out, in every aspect and on every occasion, the RCMP does not have all the tools it needs to combat terrorism. One of the tools we are able to provide it is greater legislation. That is part of it. It is not all about money. It is not all about financial resources. Sometimes it is about policies and legislation, and Bill C-51 reflects that.
    Bill C-51 also has an essential element, which is to build critical partnerships between law enforcement and security service agencies. If we were to ask the RCMP to do this on its own, it is already behind the game. However, the bill would allow information sharing between departments so all departments in the Canadian government could ensure they were partnered in this to identify and help protect and prevent these threats.
    That is why we have allowed additional authority for CSIS, so one agency is not on its own trying to deal with a threat that is global in nature, sophisticated and rapidly evolving. It is not responsible for us to expect one agency in the Government of Canada to do it on its own and the bill would ensure that all agencies could work together effectively. That is what Canadians expect, and that is what we are delivering.

  (1555)  

    Mr. Speaker, I believe a great number of Canadians were quite surprised at the degree to which we had seen the radicalization of Canadian citizens. One of the areas of concern that my constituents and, I suspect, many people have is how the legislation would impact websites and the Internet.
     Given the member's background, I would ask him, in layman's language, to best explain how he feels this legislation would help law enforcement officers, in particular, and others to deal with the issue of the Internet and the potential radicalization through the Internet.
    Mr. Speaker, in layman's terms, it would allow different agencies, such as CSIS, on one hand, to identify propaganda information that tries to recruit or promote terrorism activity that is being disseminated online or being utilized in blogs for a direct or generalized targeting of Canadians for the purpose of terrorism growth, enhancement and recruitment. Where law enforcement agencies did not have the ability in the past to intercept or act on them, whether it is CSIS or the RCMP, this legislation would allow those agencies to identify them. There is a portal now, and a hope and a reason, for Canadians to report the online dissemination, promotion or recruitment of Canadians using these new technologies.
    As the bill states, the ever-evolving threat is coming more and more in the form of this broad-based dissemination in the technological world, in any form of social media, whether it is Facebook, the Internet, Twitter, whatever it happens to be. This would give our law enforcement agencies the tools to identify and interrupt that when they arrive.

Business of the House

    Mr. Speaker, I believe if you seek it, you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:
    That, notwithstanding any standing or special order or usual practice of the House, no later than 15 minutes prior to the expiry of the time provided for government orders later this day, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands be permitted to speak for up to 10 minutes to the amendment to the motion for third reading 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, that up to five minutes be made available following her speech for a question and comment period, following which all questions necessary to dispose of the third reading stage of the said bill be deemed put and a recorded division deemed requested and deferred until Wednesday, May 6, 2015, at the expiry of the time provided for government orders.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015

    Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise today to discuss the anti-terrorism act, 2015, or as we know it, Bill C-51.
    I am proud to support this legislation. It is important legislation that would keep Canadians safe from jihadi terrorists. It is a part of the puzzle.
    The focus of my remarks today is Canadian values.
     Some members of the opposition have said that the bill before us today would somehow violate Canadian values, that it would stop protests, and that it would cause the incarceration of aboriginals and environmentalists. These arguments are, of course, nonsense. The vast majority of people who have complained to me about Bill C-51 have never even taken the time to read it. They get their information from the Internet, which is not exactly the font of all knowledge.
    If we look at the text of the legislation, in several parts it states clearly, for all those who bothered to read it, that protest, dissent and artistic expression are not to be targeted. They are not to be targeted by any part of this bill. The only thing that is targeted is terrorism.
    Let us look at amendments to the Criminal Code regarding the distribution of jihadist propaganda. It says right in the bill that it is about promotion of terrorist offences. These are violent acts that put the lives and property of Canadians in danger.
    The opposition has said that we are limiting freedom of speech. Well, freedom of speech does not include promoting the killing of innocents simply because they have not adopted the killer's perverted view of religion. We will never apologize for taking jihadi propaganda out of circulation, and in my view, the opposition should certainly not advocate for retaining it.
    Several NDP members have cited an op-ed by some high-tech business owners critical of the bill. I admit that it is nice to see the NDP supporting business in some way, but I digress. I would suggest that if websites providing content, hosting services or other businesses are profiting from the dispersal of this type of horrific material, they should seriously reconsider their business model and lack of commitment to the values that bind us as Canadians.
    Let us look at what experts had to say about this portion of the bill.
    Ms. Raheel Raza, President of the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, said, “legislation is important” to combat radicalization and that we need better tools to track jihadists who travel overseas. She also said:
...unfortunately we are living in a post-9/11 world and times are such that personal information needs to be shared. That's the reality and I don't have a problem with it. ...the larger picture is that of the security and safety of Canada.
    Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy said, “By beginning to focus on those who “may” commit, you will begin to hold accountable not just the jihadists on the field of armed jihad but the jihadists in the stands who are cheering on the field warriors about to plant an explosive. You will begin to finally hold accountable the neo-jihadists at the pulpits and in the social media who glorify militant Islamism and demonize Canada, Canadians, your protection forces and your government.”
    Mr. Ray Boisvert, former assistant director of CSIS said:
     I think it will be a very effective tool to get that material off the Internet.
    Those are the facts. We must take this material out of circulation. The culture that accepts and normalizes the transmission of material like “kill the infidels wherever they may be” is not compatible with Canadian values. The fact that members of the opposition reject this common sense argument is simply astounding. These types of comments coming from the NDP, and the Liberals to some extent, simply underline the fundamental difference in how we approach the protection of Canadians and Canadian values.
    The Liberals, who I believe are going to support the bill, have said that revoking the passports of those who are seeking to travel for the purposes of committing acts of terrorism runs against Canadian values. Well, for me, a Canadian value is not cutting off the head of those one disagrees with, like the so-called Islamic State.
    If the Liberals reject that value comparison, I guess that speaks for itself. However, I suspect it is not terribly surprising that the Liberal Party may have such a shallow view of legislation to protect national security. After all, this is the same party whose leader made juvenile phallic quips about the size of CF-18s during the debate on sending our young women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces into battle in Iraq and Syria.
    The NDP members are certainly no better. They have voted to allow terrorists to travel overseas to engage in terrorism without criminal consequence. They have voted against allowing victims of terrorism to receive compensation, and they have voted seven times against increasing resources for the RCMP and CSIS.

  (1600)  

    This is a shameful record that Canadians will remember for quite some time. We have not listened to them and we are taking action to dramatically increase the resources available for the RCMP, CSIS and SIRC.
    The fact of the matter is that the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada. Canadians are being targeted by jihadi terrorists simply because these terrorists hate our society and the values it represents and the actions we have taken to protect the people who share our values.
    Jihadi terrorism is not a human right; it is an act of war. That is why our government has put forward measures to protect Canadians against jihadi terrorists who seek to destroy the very principles that make Canada the best country in the world to live in. It is also why Canada is not sitting on the sidelines as some would have us do. It is instead joining our allies in supporting the international coalition in the fight against ISIL.
    I am extremely proud of the men and women serving the cause of freedom in Iraq and Syria from their bases in Iraq and Kuwait. I am proud to know many of them personally.
    Further, our government has already increased the resources to our police forces by one third. The Liberals and NDP voted against those increases each step of the way.
    Now, budget 2015 will further increase resources to CSIS, the RCMP and CBSA by almost $300 million to bolster our front-line efforts to counter terrorism. Our government will continue to ensure that our police forces have the resources they need to help keep Canadians safe.
    In the aftermath of 9/11, we learned that if only the security and other agencies in the United States had been talking to each other and sharing information, that awful tragedy would not have happened. Can we all imagine what the world would look like today without 9/11? It is hard to imagine. Regrettably, I think that the perpetrators of 9/11 would have simply tried to find a different soft spot through which to inflict their poison and terror. We cannot let Canada be that soft spot.
    What we are proposing with Bill C-51 will simply bring us up to the same level of institutional capacity and operational interaction that is enjoyed by our Five Eyes allies: Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Our Conservative government is standing up for the protection of Canadians from those who wish to harm us. We will continue to take strong action in this regard, while the NDP and Liberals obstruct and oppose these important measures every step of the way.
    The issue of the security of Canadians today and in generations to follow is too important to not be taken very seriously.
     I hope that some members on the other side of the House will reject the demands of the big union bosses in the opposition leader's office and will vote with their constituents and with their consciences in support of this important legislation.
    What Canadians can count on is this government's support for the values that brought us through many dark days of other conflicts, like the Second World War in Europe, the end of which, 70 years ago, we celebrate this week. The people of the Netherlands could count on Canadians then and Canadians can count on us now.

  (1605)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I just heard the words “vote with their constituents”. The timing is good because in only a few minutes, I received a dozen tweets from people in my riding asking me to vote against Bill C-51.
    I will vote the way the people are asking me to, and they are asking me to vote against it. The more people hear about this bill, the more they oppose it.
    I imagine that the hon. member also has constituents in his riding who wrote him to ask him to vote against Bill C-51.
    Well, will he vote “for his constituents”?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our constituents will react to whatever we have been telling them in a lot of respects. Frankly, I have been telling the truth to constituents. Here is the bill and here is what they have objected to.
    First of all, I ask my constituents if they have actually read the bill and can identify the part of the bill that gives them concern; and 99 times out of 100 they cannot because they have not read the bill. They are listening to special interest groups or people with ideologies that they are perfectly within their rights to have. I do not deny that.
    However, when people actually read the bill, actually understand it, actually sit down and debate it, most Canadians agree that we do need to protect Canadians from terrorism, that just because we are taking measures to enhance national security does not automatically mean that we are decreasing freedoms. That just does not compute.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened attentively to the member's speech. He seems to have forgotten that it was a Liberal government that brought in the anti-terrorism act and he seems to have also forgotten that two or three years ago, the Liberal opposition supported the reintroduction of preventative arrests, which had sunsetted under the anti-terrorism act.
    My question has to do more with how we ensure that any bill meant to protect the safety and security of Canadians is effective in the sense that it would not create an abuse of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which would then lead to the bill being challenged and weakened. That is a problem. When we have a bill that aims to achieve something, if it is then challenged and struck down by the courts and weakened, we have not achieved our objective.
    I think it is very important that measures be taken to ensure that the bill would be solid against a challenge.
    I would like to hear why the member feels the bill will not be challenged and that the courts will always agree with the bill, in all aspects.

  (1610)  

    Mr. Speaker, perhaps I was too hard on the Liberals. I should not do that because I believe they are going to support the bill, ultimately, and I do acknowledge that, at times in the past, they have done the right thing. We hope they will continue to do that.
    With respect to challenges, we cannot tell somebody not to challenge a bill. That is perfectly within anybody's rights. If they feel strongly enough about it, they can do that. We believe the bill would withstand that kind of challenge. There is oversight in the bill and we do trust the judiciary. There is judicial oversight before the fact. There is SIRC review after the fact. We just doubled the SIRC budget and the complement of people on SIRC is now up to full strength. There is considerable oversight before and review afterwards, so we believe that the bill would withstand a challenge, which I agree is probably inevitable. This is the kind of measure that does not sit with everybody.
    This may sound odd, but the great thing about Canada is we have never had to face this kind of challenge on our shores. Please do not take this the wrong way, but I guess the difficulty with Canada, or Canadians, is we have never had to face this kind of challenge on our own shores and we just do not get it yet. We started to get it on October 20 and October 22. I think most Canadians continue to get it, and we do have to do something about it in a preventative way so that we do not have to face this kind of thing on our shores.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and speak again to Bill C-51, which is drawing to the conclusion of the parliamentary process.
     I have had a lot of feedback from constituents in Vancouver Quadra. There has been positive feedback. There have been people who have said that the measured approach which the Liberals have taken gives them confidence, that the Liberal Party is the only party whose members are really talking about both the importance of improving security measures for our country and the importance of privacy and civil liberties, and how that balance would go forward together, hand in hand, under a potential Liberal government. Others have communicated with me their concerns about Bill C-51 and so I want to address those concerns.
    Before I get into that, though, I do want to say that this bill is a signature strategy of the Conservative government and the Prime Minister. That strategy is to package some positive elements of public policy together with some negative elements of public policy in one bill for political and partisan reasons. The reason would be to make an effort to divide the progressive vote.
    The government wants to fragment the centre-left voters for the purpose of holding onto power. That is the intention of the Conservatives' omnibus bills. They put positive elements in a bill that has some very negative elements, and they force other parties to choose apparently to reject the positive elements by voting against the bill because of its negative elements, or to choose to accept unacceptable elements in order to signal support for the positive elements. The Conservative government has taken the view that bad public policy of packaging bills this way is worthwhile to pursue its own partisan interests for its own potential re-electability.
     I would say to any citizen who is following this debate to think very carefully about what the Conservative government and the Prime Minister are trying to do with this bill. What the Prime Minister wants the progressive voter to do is to split the centre-left vote so that the Prime Minister can be returned to power in the next election. Voters should think very carefully about whether they are falling into that trap, and whether their vote and campaigns on this bill are exactly what was intended by the Prime Minister, for whom partisan gamesmanship always trumps good public policy.
    I can think of several other bills that were this kind of packaging of positive elements with negative elements in order to jam opposition members and to be able to later say that members voted against this, that and the other, should the opposition members decide not to support a bill because it has some landmines in it, some points of bad public policy.
     One of the examples of that kind of tactic is what I would call the Internet snooping bill. That is the bill on which the Conservative minister of the day stood in this House and asserted that opposition members were either with the Conservatives or they were with the child pornographers. That kind of approach did not sit so well with the Canadian public. There was an outcry at that kind of partisan simplification, especially on a bill such as that, which had some real weakening of Canadians' rights and which eventually the government had to withdraw because of the outcry.
    The government has done the same thing with the cyberbullying bill. Again, it packaged positive things, defending young people from cyberbullying, but also included attacks on their rights and privacy with respect to access to the Internet and social media.

  (1615)  

    In the first example that I gave, the Internet snooping bill, the Liberals were positioned to vote against the bill. In the second case, the cyberbullying bill, the Liberals elected to vote for the bill because of its positive elements to protect young people from cyberbullying, although we were not in favour of some of the elements of enhanced access to Canadians' private information.
    This bill, Bill C-51, is part of that long lineage of the shamelessly bad public policy on the part of the Conservative government in order to pursue partisan objectives. The Liberals are voting for this bill because of the positive elements, and we have laid out our amendments, representing our concern about the undermining of charter rights and freedoms and privacy in Bill C-51.
    Permit me first to reinforce that the Liberal Party of Canada is the party that brought in the first anti-terrorism legislation after the 9/11 attacks, so we do support reasonable provisions for our security services. The Liberals have been in government, unlike the NDP, so we have members who have been inside with top security clearance and who are aware that there are real security threats to Canadians, and that it is important for a government to respond to that. After all, it is a primary objective of any government to provide for the collective security of the members of its society, and the Liberals take that responsibility very seriously.
    While the Conservatives may inflate the true risks to members of our society here in Canada based on the instances of the terrorist attacks last fall, there have been some real changes to the threats to Canadians, and the Liberals accept that. We acknowledge that, and we want to see security improved to reflect that.
     It used to be that a terrorist threat was more like the one that occurred on 9/11, with an organized attempt to create damage here in our country. That is still a threat that we need to guard against. In addition, the use of social media and the kinds of campaigns to radicalize young people that are being conducted by Daesh, or ISIS, are new channels for terrorist activities and threats. Therefore, it is reasonable and appropriate, and I would say it is necessary, for the government to respond and to reduce access to those channels. That is what Bill C-51 would do. That is why the Liberals are supporting this bill.
    The kinds of provisions that would be brought in by this bill include provisions which, had they been in place last fall, could well have saved the life of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. In thinking about how to respond to a bill that deliberately puts security improvements in with other measures that are not respectful of the privacy and other rights of Canadians, it is important to think about human life. The provisions for privacy and for human rights could be amended by a future government that acknowledges the importance of those principles. Clearly, the Conservative government does not, because it has never talked about them as a priority in any way.
    However, should someone die as a result of an incident that could have been prevented by improving security, that is something that can never be undone. That is one reason we believe that this bill should go forward.

  (1620)  

    The Liberals brought forward a number of amendments to make this bill better and to address our concerns with respect to security and civil liberties. After all, we are the party of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We are the party that brought in the charter, and celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2012, unlike the Conservatives who refused to acknowledge the anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    What many citizens are not aware of is that the government did approve a number of amendments in response to issues raised by the public and by the Liberal Party of Canada. The government removed the word “lawful” from before the words “advocacy and protest” so that legitimate forms of demonstration are not captured by this legislation.
    The government's amendments narrowed the scope of information sharing from “with any person for any purpose” to 17 government departments and agencies, therefore restricting the possibility for abuse. It amended this bill to limit and clarify the minister's intervention powers over Canadian airlines. Furthermore, the government clarified in law that CSIS is not a police agency and has no power of arrest.
     The government has come partway toward the public's and the Liberals' concerns about lack of protection of privacy and charter rights. These are necessary and welcome changes, but they are not enough. Additional changes are needed to protect citizens' rights and privacy.
    Canada is the only nation of its kind without national security oversight being carried out by parliamentarians. Canada's response to terrorism must also include a robust plan for preventing radicalization before it takes root.
    The current government has not adequately legislated transparency and accountability measures into this bill. The Liberal Party is committed to making those improvements. We are committed to providing national security oversight, not just for CSIS but for the collection of government agencies and departments that have security and intelligence responsibilities.
    We are committed to bringing in a robust form of prevention so that young people, usually young men but more and more young women, who are at risk of being attracted to radical ideologists and promoting terrorism here at home can actually have the support that is needed to change that path. Engaging with rather than marginalizing communities, for example the Muslim community, is a very important objective of the Liberal Party. Our party has committed funds, as well as having a plan to strengthen protection and prevention of radicalization in Canada.
    Furthermore, the Liberal Party would sunset this entire bill in three years. That would provide a time period to see which of the concerns the public and the experts have are actually real concerns and which ones are theoretical. Within three years, there would be a full review of this bill under a Liberal government with improvements put in place as necessary.
    I would like to point out that when the Liberals brought forward stronger security measures after 9/11, it was a completely different approach than the one taken by the Conservative government. It was an approach based on good public policy. It was an approach based on really addressing the weaknesses in the security regime in Canada, but working with members of the public and opposition to ensure that that balance with privacy and human rights and freedoms was protected.
    The Liberal government of the day had a robust set of committee hearings. I believe there were 19 separate days of hearings. It brought in a full set of amendments to reflect any concerns that were heard. That contrasts directly with the Conservative government's approach of cutting off debate, using time allocation in debate and in committee, and essentially adopting a few amendments but ignoring others that are necessary changes.

  (1625)  

    That is why the Liberal Party will campaign with a commitment to address the full range of concerns of experts and Canadians alike, should Liberals form government.
    What should be underpinning this kind of legislation are principles, such as democracy, and the role of the Canadian public in engaging in public policy changes that would affect them. That principle was not respected by the government's process. The government is tipping the scales away from the principle of humanity and of thinking about the rights and freedoms of Canadian citizens. That is part of a pattern with the government. It eliminated the mandatory long form census, which provides real data on which to found public policy changes and address human needs in our society, reflecting the needs of newcomers, people of various cultures, religions and languages. The mandatory long form census was an important tool that we no longer have.
    The government has muzzled scientists, the very people who provide evidence on how to move forward with good public policy to address the issues that face us as a society. The government has the responsibility to work with citizens and respond with law and policy to address the evidence.
    I am pleased to say that it was a Liberal initiative to strengthen privacy and rights in a private member's bill. That was my private member's bill, Bill C-622. I invite anyone following this debate to go to my website and find the material on Bill C-622. It was a bill whose timing coincided with the attacks last fall, in October, so it is not surprising that it did not receive the support needed to pass. I will acknowledge the opposition members who supported this bill. One Conservative member supported it as well, but the rest of the Conservatives did not. It was a bill intended to increase the accountability and transparency of our signals intelligence agency, CSE.
    Bill C-622 was developed in concert with the very experts who have been providing commentary in committee on Bill C-51, so I had the privilege of working for a number of months with experts in security in the Canadian Armed Forces, the intelligence community and the privacy community to develop Bill C-622. I am grateful for the support that I received by all Liberal members in the House.
    Bill C-622 would have taken away the minister's power to secretly authorize the interception of Canadians' protected information, including metadata. It would have placed the authority in the hands of an independent judge of the court. It would have strengthened accountability and transparency internally at CSE, and established new requirements, a new mandate for the commissioner and a list of improvements for privacy and rights. It would have established the intelligence and security committee of Parliament to oversee our security agencies.
    The Liberal Party is the only party committed to both strengthening security provisions as needed, as the world changes around us, and protecting and enhancing privacy and charter rights of Canadians. I invite members of the public concerned about this bill to look at the Liberals' record and the reasons for supporting Bill C-51 so that we can prevent the death of a Patrice Vincent in the future.

  (1630)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to raise a couple of contradictions. The member talked a fair bit about principles and about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Just at the end she was saying that the Liberal Party is there to protect both privacy and the charter. However, we know that Bill C-51 is actually an attack on the charter and the rights and freedoms of people yet the Liberal Party is supporting it. We also know that, in terms of the reasoning behind the Liberal Party supporting this, the Liberal leader said, while he was in British Columbia, that the Liberals were supporting the bill to not give the Conservative government a stake to whack them over the head with during the election campaign. That is not taking a principled stand.
    With the changes to privacy and information sharing there is also the potential for a large database of information on law-abiding Canadian citizens to end up being stored in one location for some potential nefarious use down the road. In Toronto, we are dealing with something very similar to that with the issue of carding, where many individuals are being stopped by the police for no reason and having their information taken down. I would like to ask the member her opinion on that behaviour.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member bringing up the issue of contradiction. I will note that his party, the NDP, is voting against this bill but has not committed to repealing it, should it be in a position to do so.
     In my remarks there was no place where I said that this bill is perfect. There are improvements that need to be made, and this bill was deliberately designed this way by the Conservative Prime Minister and government as a political partisan tool. There are improvements that need to be made. We in the Liberal Party have committed to making those should we be in a position to do so. We are clear and transparent about our commitments and we will deliver on those should we have an opportunity to form government.

  (1635)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague has done some exceptional work on the issue of oversight of our national security agencies. I would like her opinion as to why the government is so doggedly committed to avoiding oversight. For example, we know that the government will not create an oversight committee, but there is also another issue which the Liberals tried to resolve through an amendment in committee. That issue revolves around SIRC's mandate to review operations undertaken by CSIS to reduce threats to Canada.
    The bill requires that the committee, SIRC, study “at least one aspect” of CSIS' activities. Why only one aspect? Why not more than one aspect? Why not all aspects?
    Why is the government doing all it can to avoid oversight? What is it hiding?
    Mr. Speaker, it is mystifying why, against all expert advice and against the examples shown by the other nations of the Five Eyes, the current government has been blocking proper oversight of the security agencies. One can only speculate. Possibly, that is part of my contention that this is a politically partisan-driven bill. It is deliberate bad public policy to strengthen a security agency while not equally strengthening the oversight. Therefore, it is about partisan objectives and not about good public policy.
    What the government is missing is the fact that a parliamentary oversight committee of all of the agencies and departments that deal with security and intelligence would actually make those functions far more effective because the oversight committee would reduce the siloing that currently exists with the different agencies, would identify where there are gaps and duplications, and would make security far more effective. Why the Conservatives would not want that is beyond me.
    Mr. Speaker, twice in her remarks the member for Vancouver Quadra used the word “mystified”. I was a child of the sixties. My first vote was in 1968. I did not vote Liberal. I know members are shocked, but I have to say at the time we were inspired by the words that came out of Pierre Trudeau. When the Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into place it was a good thing for Canada and I give recognition to that.
    However, what is interesting is we have had four previous prime ministers, three of them Liberal, 100 professors and lawyers say that this is a flawed bill and should be withdrawn. I am very much mystified as to why the Liberals would support something where the history of their own party rails against it.
    Mr. Speaker, when the NDP member mentions the word “freedoms” I would like to remind the member that freedoms do not exist when there are attacks that could have been prevented or guarded against. Those freedoms would be simply eroded. That is why it is important that a government keep up to date with security requirements that our changing security environment requires. That is why the Liberals are supporting the bill.
    I would ask the member whether he would want it on his conscience should there be an attack that leads to deaths of Canadians because of the loopholes that the bill is attempting to fix. The Liberals are clear that the privacy and rights sides of the equation are not properly respected by the Conservative government on purpose and those can be fixed. The Liberal Party has made a commitment to do that. We have been open and transparent about our intention to do that. It will be in our platform and it will be an urgent mandate for us should we form government after the next election.

  (1640)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to pick up on the question that was just posed to my colleague about recognizing that the Liberal Party is the party that brought in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Pierre Elliott Trudeau recognized the importance of the issue. It is the Liberal Party today that is recognizing that Canadians are concerned about the radicalization that has been taking place in different ways, about the potential threat of terrorism. Canadians as a whole are very much concerned and want government to do what it can to make sure that we are combatting terrorism and at the same time providing assurances in terms of rights and freedoms.
    We know the Liberal Party's position is very clear. We will vote in favour of the legislation. If the government continues to fail to make those amendments, as it appears to, such as parliamentary oversight, the Liberal Party will take it as a part of its election platform where we are committed to making those changes.
    The leader of the New Democratic Party on the other hand is saying that if he forms government, he will not scrap the legislation but will make changes. Could member explain the difference?
    Mr. Speaker, the difference ties into a comment I made early on in my remarks that the Liberal Party is the only party that is concerned about having both effective security measures to protect Canadians in a changing threat landscape and provisions to ensure privacy and the protection of rights.
    Bill C-622 that I had the privilege of leading the debate on in the House last fall, which was supported by all of the Liberal members, is an expression of how our party sees not just protecting rights and freedoms, but actually enhancing them in the face of changing technologies and the changing situation in our society. That is what Bill C-622 would have done had the Conservatives not voted it down. It is the kind of measure that we strongly believe in. It can be taken as an example of our commitment to not just protecting, but actually enhancing and improving transparency and accountability of the agencies that hold our rights and privacy in their hands.
    Mr. Speaker, I am delighted that I will be sharing my time today with the member for York Centre.
    There is no liberty without security. This is a principle that is fundamental to accept when we discuss the important bill before us today. I want to bring this debate back to principles. We must ensure that Canadians are protected from terrorism. The security of a country is the first responsibility of any government.
     Let us not beat around the bush. The international jihadi movement has declared war on Canada and its allies. We have seen it in Paris, we have seen it in Cope