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Monday, February 23, 2015

Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates



Monday, February 23, 2015

Speaker: The Honourable Andrew Scheer

    The House met at 11 a.m.



[Private Members' Business]



National Anthem Act

     moved that Bill C-624, an act to amend the National Anthem Act (gender), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
     He said: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to speak to the bill entitled “an act to amend the National Anthem Act”. The bill proposes a simple change in the English version only. It proposes that “True patriot love in all thy sons command” become “True patriot love in all of us command”; therefore, changing only two words: “thy sons” with “of us”.
    There are many reasons we would want to sing “in all of us command”. We love our country and all of its people. Our anthem is important to us, and we want it to clearly include every Canadian. All of us are proud to sing O Canada, and O Canada should embrace all of us.
    These two words that we want to reintroduce in O Canada are small yet meaningful, and would ensure that more than 18 million Canadian women are included in our national anthem
    As Canadians, we continually test assumptions, and indeed symbols or anthems for their suitability, as we did with our flag 50 years ago. It is a sign of courage and thoughtfulness that, as a nation, we are willing to say this is just not good enough for us. We have done the right things many times. We have the opportunity to do the right thing now with respect to the English version of our national anthem.
    Hearing the words “True patriot love in all of us command” would make the anthem crystal clear and inclusive, which is the essence of what it is to be Canadian.
    The French version of O Canada was popular and remained unchanged from the moment it was sung on June 24, 1880. However, it took some time for the English version to emerge. Lest us not forget that the English version is not a translation of the French O Canada, even though they share the same music. A number of poems were set to Calixa Lavallée's music, including one written in 1908 by Judge R. Stanley Weir, of Montreal, in honour of the 300th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City.
    Here are the words from the first verse that Judge Weir wrote, in 1908:

Our home and native land!
True patriot love thou dost in us command.

    As members can hear, “us” is exactly what we are trying to put back in our anthem
    Judge Weir is known to have amended his poem in 1913, 1914, and 1916. By 1913, he changed the second line of the poem to “True patriot love in all thy sons command”. Many believe the change was in response to the events leading up to the First World War, in which men and women from Canada proudly took part. We do honour the Canadian men who fought for liberty on those battlegrounds. We honour them and all who died. We honour them in our anthem.
    Canadian women also served in the First World War, not as soldiers, but in other functions, especially, as nurses, and many died. We have commemorated them in Parliament's Hall of Honour; however, we have not commemorated them in our anthem.
    In 1927, the 60th anniversary of Confederation, the government authorized Judge Weir's song for singing in schools and at public functions, but kept the second line from the 1913 version, not the original 1908 gender-neutral version.
    Incidentally, other words were changed in 1927, and again in 1980, when it was enacted by Parliament. The National Anthem Act was introduced, passed, and given royal assent, all in the same day, on June 27, 1980. The rapidity with which this was done did not allow sufficient time to deal with some concerns, such as the lack of inclusiveness of the English version. A commitment was given that time would be devoted in the following session to further considering O Canada, including in particular the words “thy sons”. Unfortunately, it did not happen.
    Since 1980, there have been nine private members' bills introduced in Parliament to change the second line of the English anthem so as to include both women and men. Unfortunately, until now, none have been debated or voted upon in the House. Today could become an interesting moment. I invite my colleagues to engage in this debate, which could lead us to deciding to include our daughters and granddaughters in our national anthem.
    Thirty-five years is a long time to wait to bring about a simple yet meaningful change, especially with the 150th anniversary of Confederation quickly approaching. The House now has the opportunity to rectify the 1980 oversight.
    We can restore words that were written and sung 107 years ago. We should not fear such a change. The English lyrics for O Canada have already been changed five times since 1908. The first version, the 1908 one, was inclusive, but then the words were changed. The line “thy sons command” perhaps seemed more appropriate because of our soldiers' participation in the First World War; however, it is not inclusive enough for our time.
    Some may wonder or ask why. In the century since the introduction of “thy sons” in our national anthem, numerous events justify returning to the “us” of the original version from 1908. Here are some of these noteworthy changes:
    Women were first granted the federal right to vote in 1918, by the government of Sir Robert Borden.
     Canada held its first federal election in which women were allowed to vote and run for office in 1921. It was the year that Agnes Macphail was elected to the House of Commons, making her Canada's first female member of Parliament.
    There was the 1929 Persons Case, where the Famous Five succeeded in having women recognized as persons and thereby eligible for appointment to the Senate. A few months later, in early 1930, Canada's first female senator, Cairine Wilson, was sworn in.
    Less than a minute into 1947, once the Canadian Citizenship Act came into effect, the first born Canadian citizen joined us, Nicole Cyr-Mazerolle, a woman.
    The Royal Military College of Canada, in Kingston, started admitting women as students in 1980. Now women serve as soldiers, and just recently a woman was promoted to the rank of major-general, Ms. Christine Whitecross.
    The adoption of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in 1982, has led to the gradual and rigorous implementation of equality between men and women, which the charter guarantees. We would be taking a very important symbolic step by ensuring that our anthem respects our charter.
     Let us remember and celebrate the fact that our Canadian women won more medals than our men during the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. It is no longer just “he shoots, he scores”; it is also “she shoots, she scores”.
    When I took the oath of office for the Privy Council, I swore allegiance to the Queen of Canada. Three times, she has been represented by female Governors General, and we have had and have many women Lieutenant Governors. Why are Her Majesty and her representatives not included in our anthem?
    Chris Hadfield, my colleague from Westmount—Ville-Marie, and the other men who have risked their lives in space are included when we sing “thy sons”, but their colleagues, Julie Payette and Roberta Bondar, are not. This is far from appropriate.
    In 2013, the Restore Our Anthem campaign was launched to change the English words from “thy sons” to “of us”.
    Former prime minister, Kim Campbell, internationally renowned author, Margaret Atwood, Senator Nancy Ruth, and former senator, Vivienne Poy, have lent their support to the campaign. The hon. Belinda Stronach also supports this.
    Author Wayne Johnston said, “This is a no-brainer. All thy sons? Citisons? All of us, of course. Sing it loud and proud. My wife, sisters, mom,”.


    Jacquelin Holzman, former mayor of Ottawa, sings “all of us” already. CFRA talk show host Lowell Green told me that he supports this change. Ms. Maureen McTeer, Canadian lawyer and author, wife of the Right Hon. Joe Clark, 16th prime minister of Canada, sent me a note supporting this initiative. Former MP and leader of the NDP, Mr. Ed Broadbent, also confirmed his support to me.
    Former Conservative senator Hugh Segal said:
     Our national anthem should reflect the women and men who have led and sacrificed to shape our history. [Sing all of us] is right about what needs to be done.
    Jonathan Kay, of the National Post, stated:
    Perhaps the best argument for bringing O Canada into the 21st century is the fact that if our government doesn’t do it, ordinary Canadians will.
    In fact, that is what is happening. Choirs across the country have already taken up the new language. Some musical groups that are now advancing an inclusive national anthem are the Toronto Welsh Male Voice Choir, the Vancouver Children's Choir, and the Elektra Women's Choir.
    The Ottawa Citizen supported my bill in an editorial titled, “What's so scary about an inclusive anthem?” The following is an excerpt from that editorial:
    It’s a little bizarre that so many people consider the anthem’s current lyrics to be sacrosanct when the very line in question is the result of a change to the lyrics.
    In a similar move, the Austrian legislature changed its national anthem in 2011, adding the word “daughters” to make the lyrics inclusive. If Austria can do it, why can't we?
    Even our neighbours to the south have taken note of the inequality of our English anthem. The New York Times had this to say:
    Although Canada's public schools are trying to eliminate sexism from the curriculum, every morning when "O Canada" is sung in English, half the population is effectively excluded.
    It is actually a little more than half of the population.
    Last, but certainly not least, let us not forget Nichola Goddard, who, in 2006, became the first female Canadian solider to die in combat. She died in Afghanistan serving us. She deserves to be included in our anthem just as much as our sons. Her mother also supports this symbolic, yet very meaningful change to our anthem.
    We have come a long way. The strides made by women in our society have been significant and should be fully recognized. Our anthem should not ignore the increasingly important contribution of 52% of our population. There are Canadians everywhere in our country in support of the change being advocated with this bill.
    There are also some who are opposed to it. They believe our anthem is fine as it is. This reminds me of the debate that we had in Canada 51 years ago about adopting a new flag. It was a fierce, sometimes acrimonious, debate. In the end, the right decision was made. The proof is that today our flag is embraced by an overwhelming majority of us. I repeat the words, “of us”. I believe that including all “of us” in our anthem will yield the same results.
    The only goal of this bill is to honour the contribution and sacrifice of our Canadian women, as well as those of our men, in our national anthem. I look forward to a respectful, and hopefully non-partisan debate, and eventually to a free vote.


    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Ottawa—Vanier for so ably outlining the history of the anthem in English in this country. He has pointed out, of course, that the original version was “in all of us command” and that over the years it was changed to “all thy sons command”.
    As the member pointed out, this is a minor change in wording, and in some ways is largely symbolic in terms of recognizing gender equality in this country. I need only to point to the House of Commons, where women make up only roughly 21% of the members.
    I wonder if the member for Ottawa—Vanier could highlight the importance once again of this symbolic change, where women still do not have equality in this country.
    Mr. Speaker, again, I have said that it is two simple words, however, they are very meaningful ones.
    If we are to respect our charter, if we are to respect the equality of men and women in our country, we should do so in our national anthem. I know some colleagues think by singing “thy sons” we include everybody, but we do not. We exclude 52% of our population.
    I have three grandchildren, a grandson and two granddaughters. I want my national anthem to command “true patriot love” not only in my grandson but in my granddaughters, and that is the right thing to do.
    It is going back to the original version, which was all inclusive. I do not understand why we cannot do that. I hope my colleagues will reflect seriously on this and do the right thing.


    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for bringing this forward again. I know a number of members in this place previously brought this proposal forward, including the member for Vancouver East. I look forward to her comments on this bill.
    It is important for us to keep in mind, when we consider the bill and eventually vote on it, that many women society serve in our armed forces, many women are in senior positions in our armed forces, and they put their lives at risk.
    I am proud that I am from Alberta where the famous five were from. If they were here today, I think they would be cheering on the member and those who support the bill.
    What is really important, as the member has done, is going back to the original version but putting it into plain language, which we have undertaken to do in our law-making.
    Could the member speak to any conceivable reasons why on Earth we would only honour half of our population when we give honour to our country?
    Mr. Speaker, I suspect what happened in 1913, as I mentioned, was that we were at war. We joined World War I and sent our soldiers. At that time, only men were on the front lines as soldiers.
     That is no longer the case today. Women and men serve as soldiers on the front lines. I mentioned the first woman who died as a soldier.
    If the rationale in 1913 to use “thy sons” was because we only had sons fighting for our freedom, that is no longer valid. We no longer just have sons fighting for our freedom; we have daughters are fighting for our freedom as well.
    Let us revert back to the 1908 version and include us all in our national anthem.


    Mr. Speaker, we have to honour traditions because they are very important. However, we recognize that changes happen and that we have to make changes as we progress.
    Take, for example, Canada's flag, whose 50th anniversary we just celebrated. It has been changed over the years. When we take a look at that, we see that Canadian society has evolved, as have our policies, and if those policies are discriminatory or do not recognize the fundamental need for equality, we have to make changes.
    The Prime Minister said that there would have to be changes, but we doubt that he will be supporting this excellent bill.
    Can my colleague comment further on that?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.
    We must not forget that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which was introduced in 1982 and came into force in 1985, guarantees gender equality.
    Cabinet decided not to vote in favour of this bill, and that is why I am calling for a free vote. I believe that enough MPs have enough respect for the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and for the fact that 52% of our population is not recognized in the English version of our national anthem to vote to revert to the 1908 version that included all of us.
    I think it is the right thing to do. I hope that my colleagues will agree and that a majority of us will recognize and accept that women are just as important as men in our country.


    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to address Bill C-624, an act to amend the National Anthem Act with respect to gender, which seeks to amend the act to replace the words “thy sons” with the words “of us” in the English version of the national anthem. The intent of this change is to make our national anthem gender neutral. The verse would then read “True patriot love in all of us command” rather than “True patriot love in all thy sons”. O Canada is not a direct translation. Therefore, the lyrics of the French national anthem would not be affected by the proposed bill and would remain the same.
    In addition to O Canada, Canada also has a royal anthem, God Save the Queen, that is performed in the presence of members the royal family and as part of the salute accorded to the Governor General and Lieutenant Governors at ceremonies and events across our country.
    Canada has a rich history of other patriotic songs as well, such as the Ode to Newfoundland and The Maple Leaf Forever, that preserve our heritage and history in song.
     National symbols and anthems are very important aspects of a country. They are very important to national identity. They represent the beliefs and values of citizens and tell the story of a nation, its people, environment, history and traditions. They can be used to instill pride and unity in a nation's population, and this is particularly true of our national anthem.
    Every country has its own set of symbols that establishes its identity and sets it apart from other countries around the world. Our symbols are as diverse as Canada's history and include the coat of arms, our motto, the national flag of Canada, our official colours, the maple tree, the beaver, the national horse of Canada, our national sports, the tartan and, of course, our national anthem. Together, these symbols help explain what it means to be Canadian and express our national identity. For Canadians, these symbols provide connections across space and time, and are a source of unity and pride.
    As we head toward 2017, our government will focus on increasing Canadians' awareness and fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of our country's history, symbols and institutions as we celebrate our 150th anniversary.
    The symbols of Canada can heighten not only our awareness of our country, but also our sense of celebration in being Canadian. Our national anthem represents a legacy that has been passed down from our predecessors. It is a source of national pride. A 2012 survey found that 78% of Canadians believed our national anthem to be a great source of pride. Another poll conducted in the same year found that 74% of Canadians believed that our national anthem best reflected what Canada really was.
    Our government is committed to promoting and protecting our symbols and institutions. These pillars of national cohesion are key in building awareness and appreciation of shared experiences and pride. National symbols represent the country and its people. The lyrics of the national anthem have remained untouched since it was adopted as the official national anthem in 1980.
     Although many bills have been tabled seeking to modify the national anthem to make it gender neutral, none of the bills was successful.
    In the 2010 Speech from the Throne, our government committed to looking at changing the lyrics for gender neutrality. However, following this speech, the public strongly expressed its opposition to changing the anthem and the government opted not to modify it. Further research to seek Canadians' opinion on this subject was conducted and there was a clear indication that Canadians loved their anthem and wished to see it kept as it is. A 2013 study found that 65% of Canadians opposed the change. Only 25% supported the change and 10% had no opinion on the issue.


     After that clear message, how can we possibly support the bill? Canadians across our country, men and women alike, are against the change and have voiced that. Supporting this bill would be telling them loudly and clearly that what the majority of Canadians want does not matter and that their opinions do not matter to the government.
    As mentioned, our symbols are a celebration of who we are as a people. They are designed to unite a population that possesses similar views, outlooks and goals. If our anthem is a celebration of who we are as a people and represents the beliefs and values of citizens, how can we change it without the consent of those very same citizens? It is the opinion of Canadians across our country that counts. No government can go against the will of its people.
    I believe gender equality to be a very important issue. Our government has come a long way in ensuring that the many contributions and achievements of women are recognized and that their role in society is highlighted. This is accomplished through the designation of special days such as International Women's Day and Women's History, by presenting awards, by highlighting the significant role women continue to play in the building of our country during commemorations and celebrations, and by making specific investments through Canada's economic action plan.
     For example, since 2007, our government has provided over $146 million in funding through the Status of Women Canada's women program, which aims to achieve the full participation of women in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada.
     There is certainly work left to be done to ensure that gender equality in all aspects of Canadian life is realized. It is incumbent upon all of us to continue to work toward that key objective. However, given that Canadians oppose changing our national anthem, our government will not support this bill. Our government will continue to recognize women in the various tangible ways it has been doing and will remain committed, with conviction, to protecting and preserving our national symbols.


    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Ottawa—Vanier for bring forward this important bill. He made wonderful comments in support of the bill, and I agree with everything that he said.
     I am proud of the fact that over the years several former members of the NDP, including Svend Robinson and Judy Wasylycia-Leis, and myself in the 40th Parliament, have had exactly the same bills. The bills tried to change the wording of our national anthem.
    As I stand here today, I have to ask myself if it is 2015. As I was getting ready for this speech, I noted that a Conservative member would be speaking to the bill before me. I wondered what Conservative members would say in opposition to the bill. What could it be? This is totally a no-brainer. This is about gender equality. This is about a minor word change in our national anthem that would reflect our whole country.
    I thought this would be a unanimous situation and that the bill would go through, which would have been great, but lo and behold, the parliamentary secretary stands up on his principle that no government could vote against the will of the people. Then I think back to that terrible omnibus bill on voter suppression; that bill was certainly against the will of the people.
    The Conservatives say they cannot vote for this legislation because it would mean that the opinion of Canadians does not matter. That is just utter nonsense. This is about reflecting the present-day nature of our society.
    I presume that the Conservative member is reflecting the general view of the government, although maybe not the view of individual members. What I find really disturbing is that the Conservatives seem to be resting their argument on upholding tradition, even though the original version from 1908 of our national anthem, as the member sponsoring the bill has pointed out, states “True patriot love thou dost in us command”. Even though the original version was gender-neutral, the Conservatives are stuck on the idea that when the wording was changed in 1980 to “True patriot love in all thy sons command”, those words suddenly became tradition, and they do not want to deviate from that tradition.
    What is tradition? Tradition is something that we value, and it is important, but tradition also evolves. Tradition evolves based on the diversity of society. Some traditions are really bad. If we rested on tradition and we use that as the principle of an argument as to why we would vote against the bill, we would not have seen same-sex marriage or racial intermarriage. God help us, we would not have seen women or aboriginal people voting. That would have been sticking with tradition at the time when those issues were debated.
    This idea that somehow we cannot deal with this issue because it is about tradition and a legacy is absolute nonsense. I would hope that Conservative members, or at least every woman on the other side of the House, will support the bill before us today. It is offensive that the national anthem that we treasure, the national anthem that we sing on so many occasions, does not reflect who we are.
     O Canada is sung many times in my community in East Vancouver at community events. It is sung many times on Canada Day. I already incorporate this change, as do many other people. We heard from the member for Ottawa—Vanier about some of the choirs that already do that, which is wonderful. This practice is already taking place. This idea that Canadians are not behind this idea does not reflect what is taking place in practice across the country.


    We have noted that the change would not affect the French version and that this is a debate about the English version of our anthem, and I happen to think that the symbolism of the national anthem is important in this country. If we recognize the role and sacrifice of women in the Canadian Armed Forces and we recognize, support, and uphold the role and the value of women in our society generally as Canadians, then this kind of symbolic change is very important.
    I want to appeal to the Conservative members to stick to the plan they had in 2010 when this issue was mentioned in the Speech from the Throne by the Prime Minister. I appeal to them not to suddenly retreat from what was a good position, a logical position, a position of respecting tradition while also respecting diversity. They are not mutually exclusive. I want to encourage members of the Conservative side to look at the bill and to think about history and who we are as a society, and to remember that we are approaching the 150th year of this country. This is a very timely and appropriate debate as we approach that very important anniversary.
    I am very proud to say that members of the NDP get this. We understand that it is a very important symbolic but simple initiative, and it needs to be undertaken by this House. What are we here for? We are here to display leadership.
    If we listen to what our Conservative members are saying, at least the parliamentary secretary, every time there is a poll and somebody says, “I am not sure about that. Do not do that. It is about tradition”, we would just do nothing, is that it? We would just all pack it up and go home and do everything by poll, which I really have to wonder about, being from B.C., where polls have become pretty suspect when we look at elections, for example, and even here in Ontario.
    This is not legislation by poll. This is not about being a member of Parliament by poll. This is about reflecting on what our country is about and reflecting that it is 2015 and not 1980, and that women are not only prominent in this country but also need to be more prominent. If the national anthem cannot reflect us as women, then heck, we really have not come very far.
    Let us get rid of the illusions. Let us get rid of the smokescreen of these polls and the idea that the Conservatives do not wish to go against the will of the people. We can all think of examples of the Conservatives throwing in the face of the Canadian people anything that they believed in to motivate their own political agenda.
    I want to end on a positive note and say thanks to the member for Ottawa—Vanier for bringing this matter forward again. The fact that it has come forward on a number of occasions means that it is an enduring issue. It means that it is something that needs to be dealt with, and it will keep coming forward until the folks on the other side, or those who are naysayers, understand that we need to be in a modern-day society and that this change in our national anthem is long overdue.
    I really hope, because it is a private member's bill, that individual members from all sides of the House will think about the bill, think about who they are, think about women in this country, and think about what this national anthem actually says. On that basis, they will come to what I think is the only conclusion that one can come to, which is that we should be supporting this change. We should be going out and celebrating that change. We should be talking to our constituents and the people who are worried about tradition. We have so many arguments to show how tradition itself evolves and can represent the diversity of Canada.
    I thank the member for the bill. I look forward to hearing from other Conservative members and I hope very much that they will accept a modern-day bill and not be stuck in a sexist and discriminatory frame of mind. I hope that they will support the bill.



    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House today and, as the Canadian heritage critic for the Liberal party, express my support for Bill C-624, An Act to amend the National Anthem Act (gender), sponsored by our indomitable colleague, the member for Ottawa—Vanier.
    It is a seemingly simple bill, perhaps one of the simplest bills we have ever debated in this House. It simply changes two little words in the English version of our national anthem. However, since that change will have immense symbolic significance, we would not expect it to receive unanimous support right away.
    I therefore want to examine the arguments made against this bill with an open mind, and demonstrate that they do not outweigh those in its favour.


    The bill proposes making the English version of the national anthem gender neutral by changing two little words in one of the verses. Thus, the verse “True patriot love in all thy sons command” would become “True patriot love in all of us command”. They are two small words, “thy sons” to “of us”, but they are an important symbol.
    Why change it? It is because the new gender-neutral wording would make Canada's anthem gender inclusive, thus catching up with the evolution of Canadian society and confirming one of the most important values espoused by Canadians, which is the equality of women and men.
    This is the only, but important, purpose of the bill.


    Who, then, would want to oppose such a change and why? Do all of us here in the House not support gender equality? Of course we may not always agree on how to promote equality, but I am quite certain that we all agree with the objective.
    Moreover, it would be completely unfair to accuse everyone who opposes the bill of also opposing gender equality.



    My understanding is that those who disagree with the proposed change argue that O Canada is a historical artifact that must be preserved in its current form for purposes of heritage and historical integrity. They argue that the past has contributed to the Canada of today and serves as an indicator of how far we have come as a society and a nation.


    We have to recognize that that is a valid argument. Take the French version of O Canada, for example.
    Some might say, and rightly so, that it is not inclusive enough for today's Canadian society. The French version of the anthem begins with making reference to the land of our ancestors, when the ancestors of many Canadians were not born on this land. It urges us to wear the cross, when many of us are not adherents of the Christian faith.
    Nevertheless, in response to those arguments, I think we might say that the beautiful poem written by Adolphe-Basile Routhier in 1880 is part of our heritage and must be respected. It reminds us where we came from and helps us determine together where we want to go.
    Let us call it the heritage argument. Today's Canada was born of yesterday's Canada and did not come out of nowhere. Our national anthem serves to remind us of that. That argument has merit. By the same token, it is not an absolute. There are other arguments to consider.
    When we weigh all sides of the issue, it seems that the small change proposed in Bill  C-624 is quite justified. Better still, it is desirable and I have two arguments to back that up.
    Firstly, the heritage argument in this specific case supports changing the two words as proposed by Bill C-624. If we look at the heritage side of this matter, then it would be more accurate to say that we are reverting back to the original version rather than making a change.


    The original version, written in 1908 by Judge R. Stanley Weir, had “True patriot love thou dost in us command”. The bill proposes returning to this original historical form, though using contemporary English, so it would be “in all of us”.
    The English lyrics for O Canada have been amended a number of times since 1908. They were amended in 1913, 1914, 1916, 1927, and 1980. That does not mean they changed these lyrics without very valid justification, but it shows that they are not untouchable, particularly when the proposed amendment would, in one fell swoop, bring our national anthem closer to its original 1908 form.
    It also shows that while the words have been amended on various dates, what has stood the test of time is the spirit of patriotism that continues to be embodied by Canada's anthem and Canadians who rise to sing it.


    Secondly, the two-word change proposed in Bill C-624 is not only true to our heritage but it is also likely inevitable. If we do not make that change now, it will be made another time.
    It would be better for us to get on the right side of history by making this change ourselves right away rather than leaving it for the legislators of tomorrow to do.


    If “thy sons” does not become “of us” today, it will tomorrow.
    A similar evolution happened in Austria, where, in December 2011, legislators voted to add three little words to the first verse of their national anthem. Thus “homeland of great sons” became “homeland of great daughters and sons”.
    The English lyrics of Canada's anthem were adopted in 1980. They have been criticized ever since for excluding women, so if we do not fix the problem, the debate can only grow with time. Between 1984 and 2011, no fewer than nine bills have been introduced in Parliament to make these lyrics gender neutral.
    Even the current Conservative government, in the 2010 Speech from the Throne, proposed to amend the anthem to make the lyrics gender neutral. It stated, “Our Government will also ask Parliament to examine the original gender-neutral English wording of the national anthem”. The government supported reverting to the original 1908 poem, replacing the current “in all thy sons command” with “thou dost in us command”. Although the government changed its mind 48 hours later, general support for such a change has only increased since.
    In 2013, an online campaign entitled “Restore Our Anthem” was launched to make the English version of the national anthem gender neutral. Prominent Canadians such as Margaret Atwood, Kim Campbell, Vivienne Poy, Nancy Ruth, and Belinda Stronach have lent their support to the campaign.



    An increasing number of Canadians are willing to embrace this change because it is so simple and consistent with today's values of equality.


    Choirs and musical groups across the country, such as the Toronto Welsh Male Voice Choir, the Vancouver Children's Choir, and the Elektra Women's Choir, have already taken up the new language. It is inevitable that the words “thy sons” will be replaced with “of us”, if not today, tomorrow.
    Therefore, let us support Bill C-624 for all of us. Let us support the small but important change our colleague, the member for Ottawa—Vanier, rightly proposes. Our anthem will thus remain true to its original lyrics and most importantly, true to our daughters and sons both, who equally stand on guard for thee, the true north strong and free.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address Bill C-624, an act to amend the National Anthem Act with respect to gender.
    The purpose of the bill is to amend the act to make the lyrics of the anthem more gender neutral. Specifically, the bill seeks to replace the words “thy sons” with the words “of us” in the English version.
    The lyrics of the national anthem have remained unchanged since it was adopted as the official national anthem in 1980, as members have heard today. Several attempts have been made to change the lyrics, so we have been down this road before, but these attempts have not been successful.
    Additionally, as the media has reported and recent studies have demonstrated, Canadians have voiced their opinion that the anthem should not be changed. A 2013 study by Forum Research found that 65% of Canadians opposed the change, only 25% supported the change, and 10% had no opinion on the issue.
    First, let me mention the many ways the Government of Canada is recognizing women and their significant role in society. One of the ways Canadian women are celebrated across Canada is through the designation of special days, as the parliamentary secretary mentioned, such as International Women's Day and Women's History Month. Our government is also recognizing women through awards commemorations and investments in the economic action plan.
    International Women's Day has been celebrated since 1911. This global day of recognition and celebration provides an opportunity to highlight the contributions women have made and are continuing to make in society. It is also a time to reflect on the progress in advancing women's rights and equality and to reflect on the challenges that are still facing women, not only in Canada but all around the world.
    On March 8, 2015, Canada will once again participate in this special day with events and activities to raise awareness and to pay tribute to the economic, political, and social achievements of women. International Women's Day is celebrated not only by the government but also by organizations, charities, educational institutions, women's groups, corporations, and the media.
    Another form of recognition for women in Canada is the Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case, a landmark victory for Canadian women, which has also been mentioned this morning. These awards, which were created in 1979, the year in which Canada celebrated the 50th anniversary of the persons case, annually honour five recipients. The award continues the tradition of the famous five, and it recognizes Canadians who have made an outstanding contribution to the goal of equality for women and girls in Canada.
    The entire month of October is designated Women's History Month. It provides an opportunity to build understanding and to recognize women's achievements as a vital part of our heritage. We celebrate the accomplishments of Canadian women and recognize their contributions in this way.
    Activities for Women's History Month take many forms: events, exhibits, film screenings, and classroom activities. Canadians are encouraged to learn about and better appreciate women's contributions to history and their fight for equality, which is a powerful, ongoing social movement.
     It is another opportunity to bring to the forefront the work of the famous five: Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney, and Irene Parlby, from Alberta. Their tireless efforts created a new precedent for women. It is also an opportunity to recognize other women in Canada's history who achieved important firsts or other significant accomplishments, women such as Cairine Ray Wilson, the first woman in the Senate of Canada, or Harriet Brooks, Canada's first woman nuclear physicist, or Roberta Bondar, Canada's first female astronaut.
    Canada is proud that women have the opportunity to participate in every aspect of Canadian life. From entrepreneurs to astronauts to world-class athletes, women are making their mark, changing their nation for the better, and inspiring future generations.
    This is not to say that equality has been fully realized, but Canada is making real progress toward this goal. As we look forward to Canada's 150th birthday, the Government of Canada is marking important milestones that have shaped our nation. The commemorations of the First and Second World Wars are under way. These commemorations are opportunities to celebrate Canada's heroines, who served their country with dedication and courage.
    Yes, today women are part of every aspect of military life. All of us in this House probably know of at least one or two or more strong women serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. However, in 1913, when military involvement was mandatory, that is, conscripted, only men were conscripted.


    I believe this Liberal member's intentions are honourable but tend to the sentimental, if not revisionist. Women's contributions on the home front should be honoured and commemorated. Canadian women not only served in military roles but also assumed unprecedented roles, working in factories, offices, and volunteer organizations that supported the war effort.
    In my own riding of Mississauga South, a small arms building is still in existence. It was a factory for Lee-Enfield rifles and Sten machine guns. In fact, there were over 5,000 women working there at any one given time creating and making these Lee-Enfield rifles for the entire allied efforts. I know the contributions women made in the great wars.
    The 1914 change reflected the reality of the appalling toll in young male lives, reflected as the price paid for their so-called “true patriot love”. The reference to “thy sons” is clearly a military reference to the Great War. It is not about sexism or discrimination, as the NDP member opposite said. I see it as respect for Canada's history.
     It is not simple either, as one of the Liberal members mentioned. With two small words, the Liberals would have us believe that this is insignificant, but erasing history does not accomplish the goal of gender neutrality or equality for women. Concrete actions taken to improve the lives of Canadian women accomplish this goal.
    As I have said, our government recognizes women and their significant role in society in a variety of ways, including with special days, awards, commemorations, and investments through the economic action plan. These tangible forms of recognition show the value placed on women in Canadian society.
     We have heard from Canadians on this issue, and they have spoken loudly and clearly. They overwhelmingly do not want to open the issue. This is an issue for the Ottawa bubble, not for ordinary Canadians, including strong women from coast to coast to coast who want us to reject this bill.
    Our tradition of the anthem will remain intact in its current form, and the Government of Canada will continue to show its support for women in positive and tangible ways that celebrate their accomplishments, recognize their contributions, and support their future success in Canadian society.



    The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]


Anti-terrorism Act, 2015

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to indicate at the outset that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Victoria.
    Bill C-51 is now before us so that we can debate something that is of great importance to the people of Canada. I think its short title is the “anti-terrorism act, 2015”. There is a real question as to what it is really about.
    In fact, The Globe and Mail, one of the oldest and most prominent newspapers in Canada, says:
    On close inspection, Bill C-51 is not an anti-terrorism bill. Fighting terrorism is its pretext; its language reveals a broader goal of allowing government departments, as well as CSIS, to act whenever they believe limply defined security threats “may”—not “will”—occur.
    That is a pretty fierce condemnation of a piece of legislation by what purports to be a serious government interested in dealing with terrorism.
    Let us make no mistake. Terrorism is a real threat and everyone agrees that public safety is a top priority for any government. However, Canadians do not have to choose between their security and their rights. This is in fact a false choice presented to the people of Canada by the current government and by the Prime Minister.
    When the member for Ottawa West—Nepean was announcing his retirement as foreign minister, he quoted John Diefenbaker that "Parliament is more than procedure—it is the custodian of the nation's freedom.”
    I believe that is right. What we are doing here today on this side of the House is what we can and must do as parliamentarians to protect the freedoms of Canadians, because that is the issue here. The issue is that we need to have concrete measures that would keep Canadians safe without eroding our freedoms and our way of life. Unfortunately, time and time again, the current Prime Minister and the current government is putting politics ahead of principle.
    Once again, The Globe and Mail stated, on February 1:
     Under the cloud of fear produced by his repeated hyperbole about the scope and nature of the threat, he [the Prime Minister] now wants to turn our domestic spy agency into something that looks disturbingly like a secret police force.
    Canadians should not be willing to accept such an obvious threat to their basic liberties.
    Where does that come from? It comes from the provisions in the bill itself, which would give additional powers to CSIS that it does not already have and, arguably, does not need; and which would allow for information-sharing broadly between 16 government departments. The bill does not specify this would be limited in nature. It would cause problems that have been described and outlined by many prominent citizens—former prime ministers, former leaders of political parties, academics, legal expects, former justices of the Supreme Court of Canada—all of whom have condemned the legislation as going too far and giving unnecessary and dangerous powers to government agencies with a profound lack of parliamentary oversight.


    The government's position on oversight is that we already have enough, that we have a robust system. We do not. We do not have any system of oversight for the Canada Border Services Agency. We have an appointed body, SIRC, that deals with CSIS, but it is not an oversight agency. It says so itself in its most recent report and it makes the distinction between oversight and review. It says it is a review agency that looks at things some time after the fact. It does not have oversight on a continuous basis over what is going on in the moment on the day. Therefore, it is not an oversight agency. It says so itself and recognizes that oversight is a different value and is required.
    Its provisions have been put before the House to provide the kind of oversight that we could use, oversight that some of our Five Eyes friends have over intelligence. Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America have robust parliamentary or congressional oversight with the power to know what is going on and to keep an eye on things.
    This has been rejected outright by the government. There was private member's bill, Bill C-622, that would have modernized a piece of legislation that was before the House in 2006, a piece of legislation that arose out of the committee that you, Mr. Speaker, sat on, along with the current Minister of Justice, who said at that time that this would be a desirable, necessary, and important measure to be undertaken. That bill died on the order paper, but Bill C-622, which proposed modernizing that legislation to some extent—which I am not saying we agreed with entirely—was before the House and was defeated by the government at second reading.
    Also before the House is Motion No. 461, a motion that I presented to the House on October 24, 2013, calling for a special select committee of the House, like the one the Speaker and the Minister of Justice sat on, to devise the best and appropriate form of oversight by Parliament that might be required given the change in circumstances since 2004 and the experiences of other jurisdictions, for us to devise the best system for our Parliament.
    Although it was offered up for debate, the government House leader refused to allow it to be debated, saying there was no necessity for any more oversight than already in place. That flies in the face of all the experts, the academic experts and people who have studied this time and time again, such as lawyers, judges, former leaders, and former prime ministers, who have all said that parliamentary oversight must be present in a system that protects the rights and freedoms of individuals in this country when we are dealing with this kind of legislation.
    The bill is extremely intrusive. It gives significant police powers, including the power to disrupt activities. I heard the Minister of National Defence—who all of a sudden is the spokesperson for Public Safety, as I do not know what happened to the Minister of Public Safety, who seems to have disappeared off the map since the new Minister of Defence was appointed—say several times over the weekend in various interviews that “No, no, no, we're giving powers to the judiciary, not to CSIS”. That is wrong. The power to disrupt in section 42 of the bill would be given to CSIS directly. It would only be when CSIS decided that whatever it wanted to do would actually violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that it would have to go a judge, and the judge supposedly would be allowed to tell CSIS that it could break the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    I do not think that is constitutional. I do not think a judge can have a licence by legislation to violate the Constitution of Canada, which is what the bill would allow. That is how bad this legislation is. that in itself is enough to say that the bill is bad, wrong, unconstitutional, and cannot be supported. I will leave it at that.


    Mr. Speaker, the member just finished saying that the legislation is bad, unconstitutional, and cannot be supported. The New Democrats were saying last week that they would vote against this bill at second and third reading, and that in principle it is a bad bill. Over the weekend we heard the leader of the New Democratic Party saying that if in fact the New Democrats were elected as government, they would not revoke the legislation, that they would leave it in place. There seems to be some inconsistency in the NDP position on the issue.
    In principle, if the New Democrats support the legislation if it ultimately passes—and that is what the leader of the New Democratic Party is saying they would do if they formed government—then why would they be voting against it in principle here? In the Liberal Party, we have indicated that we support the bill in principle, but that it has to be amended. We are pushing hard for those amendments.
    Why will the New Democrats not join the Liberal Party and be more transparent in their position and just say what needs to be said, that in principle the legislation has some steps worthy of support but that it must be amended, and then push for those amendments?
    Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the member gets his information. I am sure he must have misunderstood whatever might have been said by the Leader of the Opposition, because we are clearly not going to support it, nor would we keep in place if it were passed, as it is unconstitutional legislation. I cannot imagine how the son of the father of the charter of rights can ask his caucus to vote in favour of legislation that clearly would give a judge the power to override in secret, on an individual case, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    I say to the hon. member that if they are pushing hard against it, they are pushing with a straw.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his address on this bill, which I am sure he could speak to for several hours with his concerns about it, but which he put very succinctly in the brief time he had.
    What the hon. member from Newfoundland and Labrador has raised is one of the most significant aspects of the bill, the misleading, uninformative statements by the Minister of National Defence on it. In fact, as the member pointed out, the bill would add very strong additional powers to the intelligence body. As the member said, the minister has said that the new powers would be only for the judges.
    Could he elaborate on my understanding? It would only be in the discretion of CSIS to choose to think that if it were maybe acting beyond the bounds of the law, then it could go to a judge.
    Mr. Speaker, the discretion to decide whether there is a violation of the charter of rights is quite astonishing. In fact, clause 42 says, “The Service shall not take measures to reduce a threat to the security of Canada if those measures will contravene a right or freedom guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”, unless they go to a judge.
     The determination would have to be made by CSIS officials that they would violate the charter. Who is CSIS to make these determinations in the first place? Only if the people at CSIS were sure that it would, would they then go to a judge.
    When we look at the experience of CSIS in dealing with the judiciary already, it has been found to have misinformed—in other words not told the truth—to Mr. Justice Mosley in an application in relation to getting secret powers. There is a real question here as to whether this would be abused, would likely be abused, or would be possible to abuse, particularly if there is no oversight.


    Mr. Speaker, I rise with great sadness today to debate Bill C-51. I am sad because the Conservatives appear to be using national security as a wedge issue, using fear to divide us at the very time Canadians rightly demand non-partisan collaboration to keep us safe from very real threats and to protect the very rights and freedoms that define our precious democracy. I am sad because it did not need to be this way.
     Canadians will remember the touching speeches given by our Prime Minister and all leaders in the House in the aftermath of the shooting incident in Parliament in October.
    On October 23, the Prime Minister said, “In our system, in our country, we are opponents but we are never enemies. We are Canadians, one and all”. Then he introduced this bill in a campaign-style rally away from Parliament. He used rhetoric of war and spoke in front of the largest Canadian flag I have ever seen.
    I am also sad the Liberals did not stand up. I guess they fear that they will have to support a bill like this because the polls say that. It is very difficult to explain on the doorstep their position on such critical legislation.
    On a personal note, I do understand the very real threats to security in our country. For many years, I was legal counsel to the Security Intelligence Review Committee. I received a top secret clearance and conducted terrorism hearings. A couple years ago, the present Minister of Foreign Affairs, then justice minister, appointed me as a so-called special advocate to do national security work under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act where national security issues arise. I do understand the need to take action on national security. Would that we can do it while holding hands across the aisle, as we did on October 23.
    The government has simply failed to make the case for the new powers it seeks. This is another omnibus bill by the Conservatives, containing 62 pages, and amending a great number of statutes. It would expand the powers of CSIS dramatically but would fail utterly to strengthen oversight and review powers. Noted anti-terrorism expert and University of Toronto Law Professor Kent Roach told me a few days ago that we already had a dozen anti-terrorism sections in the Criminal Code.
    The government has failed over and over again to give a single example of how the amendments it seeks in Bill C-51 would be used. It has added offences such as “communicating statements, knowingly advocates or promotes the commission of terrorism offences in general”. Most lawyers who I have consulted with have no idea how words as vague as “terrorism in general” appear in a legal text.
    Terrorism, let us break that down. When the Attorney General of our country, the Minister of Justice, was asked what that meant, he said, “Look it up in the dictionary.” What do the words “in general” have to do in a legal text. Under section 7 of the charter, unconstitutionally vague language is bound to be thrown out by the courts as soon as they get a chance to see it.
    The Minister of National Defence, who appears to be the new spokesperson on this bill, argued that it was wrong to describe Bill C-51 as a bill that would give new powers to police and intelligence agencies. In his view, it would award new authority to judges and courts to approve the use of the extra discretion afforded in the bill.
     How is that working so far? In its annual report last year, the Security Intelligence Review Committee said, “In one investigation, SIRC...had been seriously misled by CSIS”.
    As well, my colleague from Newfoundland has reminded us that in 2013 Mr. Justice Mosley said that CSIS “withheld information in a deliberate decision to keep the Court in the dark”. That is, in and of itself, very disturbing.
     The government has refused calls for more oversight of our national security apparatus, notwithstanding that information sharing among many departments would now be permitted, despite the Privacy Commissioner of Canada's serious concerns about what that would mean as information of a personal nature goes across the bureaucracy unimpeded.
     We are already limiting debate on this bill. We will have had three days to debate this important bill. Notwithstanding the fact that former prime ministers, former justices of the Supreme Court of Canada and all sorts of experts have looked at it and said that it is unconstitutional and should not be adopted, the government appears to be willing to bull ahead and will probably not accept amendments that will be offered, which is disturbing.


    When I was at SIRC, I was very proud, after consultation with all three of the parties in the House at the time, to work under Rosemary Brown, former B.C. cabinet minister, wartime expert in security, Saul Cherniack, who had been cabinet minister in Manitoba, Frances Lankin, Liberals, NDP, Conservatives, all working in the national interest. That is now how the Conservatives have let it unravel at this point.
    What does “consultation” mean? Apparently, the Leader of the Opposition gets a phone call from someone saying, “We're going to appoint this person. How do you feel about that?” There is no one in whom the official opposition would have any confidence in this work. The proof in the pudding is that the person who was appointed to chair, this, by his own admission, with little or no vetting, is now serving time in a Panamanian jail. That is how this proud agency has been deformed.
    Let us talk about lack of money and lack of new powers to deal with the kinds of new powers that have been given to CSIS, such as disrupting. This was supposed to be an intelligence agency. Does nobody remember what happened when barns were burned in Quebec and we said, after the McDonald Commission of Inquiry, we should have an intelligence-gathering agency. CSIS will not be that anymore. Apparently, now it will be given the powers to disrupt, whatever that means, and to do so not only in Canada but anywhere else it wants. The Conservatives are turning that agency into another law enforcement agency. That is not what was intended in CSIS. They have utterly deformed the bill.
    As my friend from Newfoundland so ably pointed out, one really has to ask what the Conservatives understand by the rule of law. They would amend section 42 to apparently allow the agency to decide what is contrary to the charter or unlawful. It is shocking what this section would appear to do. Do not take my word for it. Read clause 12.1 as it would be amended by this statute. Apparently, the service would be able to take measures that would contravene the charter and other laws if it were authorized to take them by a warrant that a court would give, as if that is supposed to make us happy.
    Notwithstanding the lack of oversight that I have tried to describe, it would provide new powers that are frightening to many people in my community. The job of the official opposition is to inform and engage with its communities. All opposition members do that. This Friday night there will be a town hall meeting in Victoria, which I know will be packed with national security experts, my colleague, the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, the NDP public safety critic and me, all speaking to this.
    I was on people's doorsteps this weekend, and they are very concerned. We hope they will rise up and fight, like they did against the unfair elections act, to try to get the government to actually see why all of these former prime ministers and supreme court justices just might be onto something.
    The government will tell us not to worry, that lawful advocacy protest and dissent does not matter, that the act will not affect dissent. If people are blockading a road, if Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King were engaging in civil disobedience, that is, by definition, unlawful. People may be blockading a road on a mountain. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip was arrested in the Burnaby protest against Kinder Morgan. He has reason to fear once these powers are used against him, which, of course, will spread across 16 government agencies and possibly go abroad as we share information with other intelligence agencies around the world.
    People are concerned, especially when the Conservatives call us who opposed, for example, the Enbridge pipeline eco-terrorists or foreign-funded radicals. Does anyone think there is a reason why people in my community may be a tad worried about what the government is doing? We are worried. Canadians should be worried. This is overkill and it is unnecessary.
    I was proud to be in a party that stood up against another government when 465 people were thrown in jail, not one of whom was ultimately convicted, when the War Measures Act was passed. We stand up against this bill proudly because our constituents demand us to do so, and we will.


    Mr. Speaker, could the member provide some clarification on actual position of the New Democratic Party?
    I will quote a Global news story from yesterday. The headline is that the NDP leader “won't commit to scrapping anti-terror bill, if ever in power”. It states:
    Though vehemently against the bill, NDP Leader...if in power, would not necessarily scrap the Conservative’s “anti-terror” bill—but he would definitely change it, he said in an interview Sunday.
    When I posed the question to his colleague, the member for St. John's East, he was very clear that the NDP would revoke the legislation. Who does the member believe is correct, the leader of the New Democratic Party who says that the party would revoke it or his colleague from St. John's East who says that it would not revoke it?
    Mr. Speaker, let me be perfectly clear. As others have said, we are voting against the bill.
    I understand my colleague from the third party believes it is coherent to say that the bill is bad, that we need new powers and that we need to change oversight, but they will support it anyway. In my view, that is not coherent.
    If there is any doubt about it, let me just say it as loudly and clearly as I can for my colleague that we will vote against this unconstitutional, unnecessary, inefficient legislation.
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad my colleague from Victoria mentioned the matter of unlawful. The Minister of National Defence mentioned many times over the weekend that we should not worry, that lawful protests and dissent were okay.
    However, so many times, whether it be a strike that is not exactly in keeping with the existing labour laws, protest movements like Idle No More, or some of the matters that the member mentioned, they are clearly not authorized by law, which is the proper definition of “unlawful”. It seems to me that it is a very serious problem. It is fooling people into thinking that it is harmless, because if they are not breaking the law, they have nothing to worry about. However, the issue of lawfulness is a real problem for the application of this legislation.
    Would the member care to comment on that?
    Mr. Speaker, I have heard the government defend that somehow, the magic incantation of lawful advocacy, protests and dissent is the Holy Grail, and that we need not worry about it. However, as the member properly points out, the word “lawful”, as with so many of the key terms in the bill, is completely undefined. The member is right that it is not authorized by law.
    What I have tried to say in my remarks is that sometimes civil and or criminal injunctions are transgressed by people. That, by definition, is unlawful, I presume. They are engaged in civil disobedience because they understand that there is a consequence of civil disobedience. That is what the sense often involves in the labour context and in the environmental context.
    I have had indigenous leaders come to me, frightened by what this might mean as they engage in the kind of dissent that is obviously taking place up and down our coast against the Enbridge northern gateway pipeline. They have asked for legal advice and what this would mean. Would CSIS be going after them, disrupting their activities, infiltrating them?
     Do we need our intelligence gathering agency to do that? We have a perfectly competent RCMP that does that, and has done it well, and that understands the need to gather evidence carefully, and so forth. To turn an intelligence agency into some kind of law enforcement agency like this is really reprehensible.


    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to debate Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism act, 2015, and I want to mention at the outset that I will be sharing my time with the member for Yukon.
    This is a very important bill. Over the last few years, I have noticed a real change in what is happening across the world and in Canada. Hardly a week goes by that I, like many Parliamentarians, do not wake up to news of extreme incidents or threats somewhere in the world. A couple of days ago we heard that al Shabaab was threatening Canadians in malls, malls where our children go, malls where grandmothers go. The West Edmonton Mall was named specifically.
    Clearly, times have changed. Times are a lot different from what they were in the sixties and the seventies, before communication changed and before the Internet. If I mention places like Copenhagen, Brussels, Sydney, Paris, and Ottawa, one would think I was listing some of the freest cities in western democracies. Sadly, however, this is a list of the locations of the most recent jihadi terrorist attacks.
    Let us make no mistake: the international jihadi movement has declared war on Canada and war on our allies. That is important. We are seeking to degrade and destroy the so-called Islamic State through the committed and professional work of our Canadian Armed Forces, and I think everyone in this House should be very proud that when Canada calls, they do the job we ask of them and they do an amazing job. We are taking important measures to strengthen the protection of Canada.
    I have been listening carefully and I think the NDP has been sowing some confusion about what is contained in the bill. I will reflect on some of the comments made by the leader of the NDP and share some of the inaccuracies in his comments last week.
    The leader of the NDP has accused Bill C-51 of being both overly broad and not doing anything. That is a bit of a square circle. How can a bill be overly broad on one hand and not really do anything on the other?
    That in itself reflects an issue in terms of the approach of New Democrats to the bill, whose leader said that the provisions to criminalize the promotion of terrorism generally have no business in the criminal law.
     It is currently not a criminal offence to advocate or promote terrorism generally. The ability to arrest someone who is, in general terms, advocating or promoting the activity of terrorism does not exist. The threshold for arrest in the Criminal Code is specific to someone who knowingly instructs, directly or indirectly, any person to carry out a terrorist activity.
    As an example, the jihadists are saying, “Go hurt Canada.” In the case of the threat to the West Edmonton Mall, are the jihadists instructing specifically or more generally? We need to make sure we capture those sorts of threats to Canadians.
    The anti-terrorism act of 2015 would make it an offence to advocate or promote terrorism in broader terms. It states:
    Every person who, by communicating statements, knowingly advocates or promotes the commission of terrorism offences in general
    —which could mean malls or hurting Canadians—
—other than an offence under this section—while knowing that any of those offences will be committed or being reckless as to whether any of those offences may be committed, as a result of such communication, is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years.
    By way of example, if someone posts a video on YouTube calling for death to infidels wherever they may be, as was done by a recent Canadian-linked jihadist, it is not currently a criminal offence. I am sorry if the opposition does not believe that should be a criminal offence, but frankly, I believe that if someone makes that kind of threat, it clearly should be defined as a criminal offence. This legislation will change that.


    The leader of the NDP has also said that the legislation before us today would allow the targeting of legitimate protesters, and that too is inaccurate. Again, it is an attempt to fearmonger about this particular bill.
    Under the legislation, the threshold for CSIS to engage in disruption is met if there are reasonable grounds to believe that a particular activity constitutes a threat to the security of Canada. Previously, CSIS did not have disruption powers, allowing it only to collect and retain information. We previously heard that this was an issue. To be quite frank, if CSIS knows of an imminent threat, I want it to be able to act, not turn the information over to another agency so that maybe some action will be taken after whatever has been planned has been completed.
    “Threats to the security of Canada” are qualified by the following points, but “threats” do not include lawful advocacy, protests, or dissent unless carried on in conjunction with any of these listed activities, which would not be amended by Bill C-51: first, espionage or sabotage that is against Canada or is detrimental to the interests of Canada, or activities directed toward or in support of such espionage or sabotage; second, foreign-influenced activities within or relating to Canada that are detrimental to the interests of Canada and are clandestine or deceptive or involve a threat to any person; third, activities within or relating to Canada directed toward or in support of the threat or use of acts of serious violence against persons or property for the purpose of achieving a political, religious, or ideological objective within Canada or a foreign state; and four, activities directed toward undermining by covert unlawful acts or directed toward or intended ultimately to lead to the destruction or overthrow by violence of the constitutionally established system of government in Canada.
    What the leader of the NDP may be getting confused about is the power of the sharing of information between government institutions. The bill states:
...a Government of Canada institution may, on its own initiative or on request, disclose information to the head of a recipient Government of Canada institution whose title is listed in Schedule 3, or their delegate, if the information is relevant to the recipient institution’s jurisdiction or responsibilities under an Act of Parliament or another lawful authority in respect of activities that undermine the security of Canada, including in respect of their detection, identification, analysis, prevention, investigation or disruption.
    The NDP leader's claims are simply false. Absolutely no change would be made to what constitutes a threat to the security of Canada. The measures he is pointing to deal with information sharing between government departments.
    Further, the CSIS Act specifically states that threats to the security of Canada do not include lawful advocacy, protest, or dissent. The new legislation states that activity that would undermine the security of Canada does not include lawful advocacy, protest, dissent, and artistic expression. It is very clear, and again I think some fearmongering has gone on.
    We reject the arguments that every time we talk about our security, our freedoms are threatened. Canadians understand that freedoms and security go hand in hand. Canadians expect us to protect both, and there are protections in this legislation that would do exactly that. The fundamental fact is that our police and our national security agencies are working to protect our rights and our freedoms, and it is jihadi terrorists who would endanger our security and who would take away our freedoms.
    We have covered what the bill would not do, but we should look at what it would do. I have a lot of things to say about what it would do, but it looks as if I will not have time to discuss them all. I will quickly try to fit in a few.
    Bill C-51 is a comprehensive package that would criminalize the advocacy or promotion of terrorism. It would counter terrorist recruitment by giving our courts the authority to remove things that are online. It would enhance CSIS' power to address threats, in that we are not going to sit and wait for threats but are going to address them. The bill would provide law enforcement agencies with enhanced stability to disrupt terrorist offences and activities.
    Another issue is the passenger protect program related to people who are travelling by air for the purpose of engaging in terrorism. The bill would make it easier for our law enforcement agencies to do the job that we ask them to do and share relevant national security information.
    Many of my colleagues will speak to other components of the bill. This is important legislation, and we are doing the right thing for Canadians. We have hit the important balance between security and the protection of freedoms.



    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives eliminated the position of inspector general of CSIS and left two agency positions open for months and months.
    Why are the Conservatives insisting on reducing civilian oversight rather than enhancing it?


    Mr. Speaker, oversight is important. SIRC has done an annual report indicating the measures it takes and the watching it is doing.
     It is also important to note that this particular legislation would give powers to CSIS to stop threats. We need to look at it currently. If CSIS knew something was going to happen imminently, it would have some warrant provisions, but oversight over these powers is there, and it is important.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party and the leader of the Liberal Party will argue, and I support it wholeheartedly, that there is no real oversight. In fact, the government could be doing a whole lot more.
     Canada is a member of the Five Eyes nations. We are talking about the United States, England, Australia, and a fifth one. Only Canada does not have parliamentary oversight. All the others have parliamentary oversight.
    Why does the member believe that Canada should stand alone and not have parliamentary oversight, given the importance of individual rights and freedoms?
    Mr. Speaker, our government believes that independent, expert, third party oversight is absolutely critical. There is no question.
    However, even though every country does something one way, does the member actually think that we should not have the sovereignty to determine what a good way would be for Canada?
    I believe his party, back in the day, actually did not support changes to the system because at the time it believed that third party independent oversight was important. Obviously, the third party oversight does report through the normal parliamentary channels.
    Mr. Speaker, I was listening with great interest to the speech of my colleague, the parliamentary secretary. Bill C-51 contains provisions of information sharing. The information sharing component is a common sense measure to keep us safe.
    Could the parliamentary secretary provide examples of how reducing silos within the government can keep us safe?
    Mr. Speaker, we need to look at what Canadians think is common sense. For example, if someone comes in to see a consular official in Beirut and the official is very concerned about the history that person presents and about injuries that might be consistent with some activities that are less than savoury, to think that this consular official could not actually share those concerns with an organization such as the RCMP and CSIS does not make sense, although obviously that information sharing has to be done in a prudent way.
    I think most Canadians will agree that if someone was raising five or six red flags, they would be concerned about that person and what that means to the safety and security of Canada. It would be more than appropriate to take some measures and flag that particular person.


    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to speak in support of Bill C-51, anti-terrorism act, 2015.
    First and foremost, my support for the bill is driven by one single overarching principle, that the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada.
    In the bill, the preamble sets out something that is important to note. I will read directly from Bill C-51, which states:
    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;
    That is important because as we ask Canadian security intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies across our country to detect, assess, and prevent threats in an ever-evolving global terrorism climate without themselves evolving, it is both unfair to Canadians, unrealistic to the agencies we task with this role, and irresponsible as a government.
    Information sharing can provide critical and otherwise unrecognizable links to exclude or include certain individuals, activities, or groups that could pose a threat to the security of Canada. It is not unusual for Canadian security intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies to share information to determine inculpatory or exculpatory evidence that would help them focus their investigations, to prevent or exclude the possibility of a particular activity, group, or individual from participating in those threats.
    We have put forward measures to protect Canadians against the jihadist terrorists, as I have said, who have clearly waged a war on Canada. They have done so because they target our society and they hate the values that we represent.
    The legislation effectively breaks down silos that exist between government agencies. These silos put Canadians' lives at risk. I think any constituent, mine in particular, would expect that if one branch of government knows information that would be a threat to our security, then naturally that information could be shared with other branches of government.
    Currently, it is not a clear case. This legislation seeks to achieve that. Of course, we on this side of the House reject the fundamental argument that is always put forward by the opposition, that every time we talk about security somehow our freedoms are threatened.
     We understand that freedom and security go hand in hand and that Canadians expect us, as parliamentarians, to protect both. As I read through the entirety of this bill, all 63 pages of it, there are many checks and balances that I am sure I will be able to talk about as this debate continues. They ensure both the protection and preservation of Canadians' freedoms while at the same time ensuring that security intelligence agencies, our law enforcement agencies, and the multiple departments within the Canadian government that are tasked with Canadians day-to-day security are able to do the job that we expect them to do.
    Sometimes I believe that those on the other side of the House forget all of this, but the fundamental fact is that our police and our national security agencies are working to protect our rights and freedoms. That is what jihadist terrorists want to endanger. They want to take that away from us. In essence, the provisions of this bill are designed to do specifically what the opposition is proposing that this legislation is threatening
    That being said, of course, it is important that there be a robust accountability structure. In my view, the Canadian model of third party, non-partisan, and independent oversight of our national security agencies is superior to the political intervention in the process that is being suggested by the opposition.
     Further, we also know that well-ingrained in this bill are key elements of new legislative authorities that require judicial review and judicial authorization. In other words, in plain language, before any action can be taken, each of the agencies tasked with the responsibilities require show cause. They require warrant authorization, and those warrants require in-depth explanation as to the reasonable and probable grounds that exist to ask for warrants, to ask for intervention, to ask for the mechanisms to disrupt, interrupt, or proceed with investigations to deal with the threats that they face.


    Therefore, any characterization by the opposition that this would impede Canadians' rights, when certain sections specifically express the legal requirements to respect that, in my opinion, is the opposition challenging the ability of our courts to exercise their judicial oversight when it comes to assessing the merits, need, and expeditious requirements of anything that law enforcement or security intelligence agencies come to them with. Obviously, I have full confidence that our courts and judiciary can determine, based on the merits, evidence, and information provided by law enforcement agencies on their own, without Parliament trying to intervene.
    Additionally, we have heard comments that there are not enough resources to combat terrorist threats in Canada. We have increased the resources that are available to our national security agencies by a third. The Liberals and the NDP have voted against those increases each step of the way. Despite their votes against these increases, of course, our government will continue to ensure that the national security agencies have the resources they need to keep Canada safe, and that includes the legislative resources they require.
    There can be no liberty without security, and I will tell members what Canadians feel about this.
    Four in five Canadians surveyed by the Angus Reid Institute say that they support this legislation, with 91% in favour of making it illegal to promote terrorism. There are 89% who favour blocking websites that promote terrorism, and 87% support making it easier for law enforcement agencies to add a terror suspect's name to an airline's no-fly list. There are 80% who favour extending the length of time that a terrorist suspect can be detained without charges to seven days from three days; and 81% support giving government departments the authority to share private information, such as passport applications or commercial data, with law enforcement agencies.
    It is fairly clear that Canadians understand this legislation. Canadians understand the threats that we face. Canadians understand the roles of law enforcement agencies and security intelligence information. Canadians understand the gaps that currently exist. Canadians also understand the measures we are taking to fill those gaps, to allow Canadians, those agencies, and those groups and organizations that work with those agencies, with an opportunity to engage in this battle without one hand being tied behind their backs.
    As I said in my introductory remarks, it is both unfair, unreasonable, and irresponsible for us to expect law enforcement agencies and security intelligence agencies in this country to fight an evolving global terrorism threat without themselves evolving. That makes no sense. We are effectively asking them not to utilize all of the tools and resources that the terrorists are able to utilize in terms of access to information. We are asking them to operate two steps behind in a world that is continually and rapidly changing, effectively, efficiently and harmfully, not only to our nation but to other nations.
    It is incumbent upon us to make sure that we are providing our security intelligence and law enforcement agencies with these tools. As I have said, and as is it contained within the bill, there are the necessary protections and preservation of Canadians' freedoms, respect for the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, judicial oversight and review, as well as three and four stages of checks and balances.
    I think this piece of legislation has struck the right balance between allowing our law enforcement and security agencies to do the job we expect them to do while at the same time ensuring the privacy and protection of the freedoms we enjoy and deeply respect in this country.


    Mr. Speaker, the previous government speaker talked about fearmongering. It is the Conservatives who are fearmongering. Now this colleague talks about the fight evolving on global terrorism threats and that they need to evolve as well. What Conservatives need are dollars to use the current legislation already in place, and they can only do that if they have enough staffing in place. We saw last week, with respect to the fight against sexual exploitation for children, where the government held back $10 million in unspent funding, basically to take down the deficit.
    We have current laws in place that are not being used, which would help to protect that. The Conservatives are the ones who are trying to instill fear in Canadians, in believing that they need to look over their shoulder day after day. That is wrong. We should ensure that the RCMP and police officers have the right tools, which takes dollars. The Department of Public Safety has seen a total of $688 million in cuts over the past three consecutive years.
    Does my colleague not believe that these cuts by the government are negatively impacting the ability of our public safety agencies to conduct their work and keep Canadians safe?
    Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned in my introductory remarks, our government has increased investments in the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. We continue to invest. That is one piece of it. We can also talk about front-line law enforcement agencies. It was our government that brought in things like the police officer recruitment fund and doubled and tripled the number of RCMP officers. I recall, in 1998, when the Liberal government actually cut the funds, and I was in depot when they closed it down. There were no front-line police officers coming out at the time. It has been our government that brought forward police officer recruitment, put more law enforcement officers on the front line, and more in our communities. Guess who voted against that? The opposition voted against it.
    It is not just financial resources that would allow law enforcement officers to do the job they need to do. They need the legislative tools. They also need to know, and Canadians need to know, that there are consequences to actions that people take. Coincidentally, not only are we giving law enforcement agencies the tools to do their jobs, we are providing consequences for the judiciary to consider when people are convicted.
    However, guess what? Once again, the opposition voted against that. Members think that having law enforcement running around this community in great numbers, not enforcing any laws with any tools, or not having any consequences for actions, is public safety. It is not at all. It is a total package, and it is a package that opposition members never support.
    Mr. Speaker, in the past year, I have had many debates about democratic reform regarding the Senate and the judiciary, about how many of the members of the government, primarily the backbench, talk about being less keen on seeing people appointed as opposed to people who are elected as serving as some sort of oversight.
    The member talked about judicial review and how he has completely satisfied that. Although I appreciated many parts of his speech, the part of the package I am concerned about is this oversight that gives power to Parliament. Very specifically, why is parliamentary oversight not a good idea for this legislation?
    Mr. Speaker, most of what is embedded in the legislation is around law enforcement agencies and security intelligence agencies discovering, on reasonable and probable grounds, either an offence or an activity that would cause them concern. Clearly, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Transport Canada, Canada Border Services Agency, or the Canadian Security Intelligence Service are not going to take the information they have and provide that to members of Parliament so we can all vote on whether or not they get a warrant to act. They have to show cause in front of a justice. That is the natural course of law enforcement investigative procedures. The justice needs to consider that.
    There are parameters clearly detailed in this legislation around what the law enforcement and security intelligence agencies have to present in a show cause. There are considerations that are deeply embedded in this legislation that tell the justices what they have to consider, including the nature, extent, and quality of the information in context to the current environmental conditions. Then they can apply that to granting of a warrant or granting of an activity for law enforcement agencies. That is something we cannot debate in the House of Commons. There are protective measures that are required because of national security, individual security, witness security. It only stands to reason that it happen in the courts, and not on the floor of the House of Commons.


    Mr. Speaker, let me start by saying how proud I am of our leader and our party for taking a principled stand against this flawed piece of legislation.
    As I move closer to retirement, I have been reflecting on my past nine years here in Ottawa. I often think about all those individuals, not only in my riding but right across this country, who are deeply committed to the cause of social justice. As a member of Parliament, it has been an honour for me to work with them in our common struggle for a better world. The issues have been many: world peace, food sovereignty, climate change, the environment, poverty, violence against women, and many others.
    As a party, we have taken principled stands against the ideologically driven policies of the current Conservative government, such as its so-called tough-on-crime agenda, the abandonment of environmental protection, and anti-labour legislation. Today our position on Bill C-51 is consistent with this proud NDP tradition.
     I should say that with all this anti-terrorism and anti-Muslim hype generated by the Conservatives, it would have been easy to come out in support of this draconian piece of legislation. After all, it appears, as the polls are saying, that Canadians are afraid, and they want tougher laws to protect them against terrorists. However, as the official opposition, that would not be in the best interests of Canadians.
    I believe that my party has taken the responsible approach, and I am very proud of it. After carefully listening to experts and studying Bill C-51 in detail, we have determined that the bill would be a direct threat to the rights and freedoms we currently enjoy in this country. Here I would like to offer my sincere thanks to my colleagues from Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca and Alfred-Pellan and the research team for their due diligence on Bill C-51.


    The following points summarize our concerns.
     This bill threatens our way of life by asking Canadians to choose between their security and their freedoms. The bill was not developed in consultation with the other parties, all of whom recognize the real threat of terrorism and support effective, concrete measures to keep Canadians safe.
    What is more, the bill irresponsibly provides CSIS with a sweeping new mandate without equally increasing oversight. It contains definitions that are broad, vague and threaten to lump together legitimate dissent with terrorism. It does not include the type of concrete, effective measures that have been proven to work, such as working with communities on measures to counter radicalization of youth.
    We agree that terrorism is a real threat and everyone agrees that public safety should be a top priority for any government, but Canadians should not have to choose between their security and their rights. The Prime Minister is offering them a false choice.
    We need concrete measures that protect Canadians without eroding our freedoms and undermining our way of life. However, time and time again, the Prime Minister goes too far and puts politics before principles.



    As I endeavoured to study this bill, I read through various articles that appeared in our mainstream media. A number of them, such as the National Post editorial of February 19, dealt with the efforts of university professors and national security specialists Craig Forcese and Kent Roach, who have produced three exhaustive analyses of Bill C-51. They are concerned about the new powers granted to CSIS to engage in disruptive activities.
    We have also recently learned from an internal RCMP document that the environmental movement is already being targeted as a national security threat. According to the National Post, “that does not require a particularly paranoid mind to be interpreted as evidence that the environmental movement is already being targeted as a national security threat”.
    Prior to CSIS being created in 1984, the RCMP had engaged in disruptive activities that were illegal. That is why the McDonald Commission was created and why CSIS was given a mandate to collect and analyze information and produce intelligence about potential national security threats to Canada. Now, under Bill C-51, they would be able to do legally what the RCMP was doing illegally in the 1960s and 1970s. This is a direct threat to the rights and freedoms we currently enjoy.
    As our leader stated:
    Bill C-51 would expand CSIS’s mandate to spying on ‘interference with infrastructure and interference with economic or financial stability.
    The language is so broad that it would allow CSIS to investigate anyone who challenges the government’s social, economic or environmental policies. What is to stop this bill from being used to spy on the government’s political enemy?
    We have also learned that former CSIS officer Francois Lavigne is alarmed by this bill. According to an article that appeared in The Windsor Star:
    He believes the measures proposed in C-51 are unnecessary, a threat to the rights of Canadians and that the prime minister is using fascist techniques to push the bill.
    Mr. Lavigne was part of the barn burning, off-the-leash Mounties group whose law-breaking ways led to the McDonald Commission and the eventual establishment of CSIS in 1984. He spent years tracking dangerous radicals without the powers the government wants to give CSIS. He said:
    I find it a little convenient that in the past few years that these radicalized people are the biggest threat to ever hit us. There are more people dying because of drunk drivers or because of gang violence.
    It would also appear that the Conservative government is using terror to deflect us from real problems facing Canadians, such as the loss of jobs, the growing disparity between the rich and the poor, and climate change, to name a few. History is full of examples of irresponsible leaders rallying their citizens by exaggerating threats to their security. As Mr. Lavigne goes on to say:
    Some of these tactics are taken right out of the fascist playbook. Create an enemy that is hard to identify. Make it an enemy that is nebulous and seems to be able to do things that nobody else can. Don't define the enemy. Just identify. Generate fear around that enemy. Then send out the message that the only people who can deal with this enemy are us.
    This is totally irresponsible and, I would say, immoral on the part of the Conservative government.


    As our leader said, the NDP believes that current laws, at this time, allow the police and intelligence officers to do a good job. Providing new legislative tools is not the only solution. We must first ensure that our officers have the financial resources they need to better enforce laws.
    In the end, any legislative measure to fight security threats must satisfy the following principle: the legislative measure must protect both Canadians and their civil liberties. The protection of civil liberties and public safety are both fundamental Canadian values. What is needed is a more rigorous legislative approach to fight terrorism based on evidence and facts, an approach that provides for strict monitoring of security agencies.


    There is a lot of concern that this bill has been rammed through with the typical time allocation, not giving enough time for experts and the public to consult with the government, as happened in 2001 after what happened in New York City, when it took time, and committee meetings and hearings were held. This is being rammed through under the guise of fear.
    I would like to quote from a disturbing article I read this morning in The Globe and Mail by Campbell Clark, which said:
     Two things are clear: First, the Conservatives think this bill will help them win an election, and second, they don't want people to understand it. That's a bad combination for a bill that will change things in secret, in ways we won't know for years.


    Mr. Speaker, I would give it a different twist. We recognize that when we are fighting terrorism, one of the issues is resources. When we think about the RCMP, there has been a question as to the government's commitment to ensuring that it has the resources necessary to deliver on its current responsibilities. We have seen cutbacks and budgets that have been intentionally underspent.
    My question for the member is related to the idea that we can bring forward legislation, but unless we provide the resources necessary to support the legislation, we will not really be that much further ahead. I wonder if the member might comment on the issue of resources, whether it is for the military, for fighting terrorism, or for whatever it may be.
    Mr. Speaker, one would think that when we had a new perceived or real threat, we would do our homework. One would think we would look at the existing legislation to see what was working and what was not. One would think we would look at the resources that should be there, and if they were not there, one would think a responsible government would add additional resources, using the current system we have. One would also think there would be good parliamentary oversight of a new piece of legislation we were trying to put in. None of this has happened.
    The bill is being rammed through without any kind of oversight. It is being rammed through as a fear tactic. It is meant to kind of wield all this hype and fear of so-called jihadists and Muslims, all lumped into one, as a fear tactic, and, I am afraid, as an election platform for the next election.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend, the member for British Columbia Southern Interior, very much for his presentation. Since I will not have an opportunity to speak to the bill, because of closure, I want an opportunity to put one of the concerns I have in opposing the bill to my friend and ask for his comments.
    Much has been made of the notion that the bill would have judicial oversight. I want to make it very clear that it would not have judicial oversight unless CSIS agents themselves decided that a step they were about to take would violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    I put to my friend that we know that the Minister of Justice often disagrees with the Supreme Court of Canada about when the charter is being violated, yet we are to trust that somehow CSIS agents, who have at this point been empowered with the responsibility to interfere with and reduce a nebulous cloud of potential threats to Canadian security, would have the judicial wherewithal to figure out when something is about to violate the charter. Only then would they have to go to a judge for a warrant, and they would never have to go back to that judge to report on their activities.
    This is not judicial oversight. This is not checks and balances. This is creating a scenario we have been warned about, as my friend pointed out, by numerous royal commissions. That is why we should keep intelligence services separate from police and keep them under close scrutiny.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her comments. It is good that she had a chance to make them.
    I agree. I have been going through all sorts of papers over the last few weeks. One of the common themes is that there is not this oversight. One of the common themes is that the bill would grant power without having careful control. This is why the bill needs to be studied carefully, not in the span of two days or one and a half days. It needs to be looked at, and it needs to be amended. I certainly hope that even if the bill goes further, the government will look at the amendments we have proposed.
    We are going to be resuming debate, but I would draw to the House's attention the fact that we have used up the five hours allowed for speeches of 20 minutes and questions and comments of 10 minutes. We are now down to speeches that would only be for 10 minutes and questions and comments for five minutes.


    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak today in support of Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism act, 2015. This important and timely legislation, as many of our colleagues have said, fills important gaps in Canadian law relating to threats to our national security. This bill is comprehensive and would address, among other things, improved information sharing so that national security and law enforcement agencies can more effectively share information relating to threats, and improved security for air transportation. It would also strengthen the tools available to our intelligence and law enforcement communities.
    The anti-terrorism act, 2015, would help prevent, detect, and respond to terrorist threats and activities. There are two important prevention measures in the bill that I would like to speak to today, namely, the terrorist propaganda seizure and take-down powers. Prevention can come in various forms, and this legislation has a number of measures that would support this pillar, including improved information sharing.
    As we all know, the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada and her allies. As we have seen in Copenhagen, Brussels, Sydney, Paris, and even right here at home in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa, jihadi terrorists are attempting to destroy the values that make Canada the best country in the world to live, work, and raise a family. Clearly, Canada is not immune to homegrown terrorist threats. Therefore, the legislation before us today also includes, in support of the terrorism prevention pillar, measures to address the radicalization of these homegrown threats.
    Bill C-51 proposes two provisions that would address the proliferation and availability of terrorist propaganda that can contribute to the radicalization of our youth and turn them toward terrorism. These new powers would complement the proposed indictable offence of promoting and advocating the commission of terrorism offences in general.
    Specifically, the proposal is to create two warrants that would allow for the seizure of terrorist propaganda. “Terrorist propaganda” would be defined to mean any writing, sign, visible representation, or audio recording that advocates or promotes the commission of terrorism offences in general—other than the proposed new offence of advocating terrorism offences, which I just mentioned—or counsels the commission of a terrorism offence. The effect of this change would be to authorize courts to order the seizure and forfeiture of terrorist propaganda material, whether in a tangible form, such as a poster, or in electronic form, such as a website.
    Currently there exists a shocking gap. The Criminal Code does not presently authorize the confiscation of terrorist propaganda produced for sale or distribution in Canada, or that is stored on or made available by a Canadian server. The first new warrant would be similar to the provision in the Criminal Code governing the seizure and forfeiture of hate propaganda in a hard-copy format, such as in books or magazines.
    Terrorist use of websites and social media to recruit and radicalize youth to violence is a growing concern. Currently, police can only ask that a website host voluntarily remove the material, which would usually only occur after a conviction. However, when the person who posted the material cannot be found because they are abroad or have posted it anonymously, the removal of such offensive material is very difficult, and it may be available to the public for some time thereafter.
     The anti-terrorism act, 2015, proposes to authorize a court to order the removal of terrorist propaganda from Canadian Internet services, even when the person who posted it cannot be found. This proposed power is similar to ones that already exist for other materials that Parliament has deemed harmful, such as hate propaganda, child pornography, voyeuristic material, and most recently with the passage of Bill C-13, the protecting Canadians from online crime act, intimate images.
    Some of these provisions have been in the Criminal Code since 2002 and help facilitate the removal of such harmful content from Canadian Internet services, which in turn limits Canadian exposure to such harmful content.


    Courts must have the power to order the removal of such terrorist propaganda when posted online. That is exactly what this new take-down provision is designed to accomplish. Under this new provision, judges may order both the person who posted the terrorist propaganda and the Internet service provider to remove the material that is terrorist propaganda. It is focused only on the removal of the material that is available to the public, so that even in the absence of a prosecution, police will still be able to remove this material from Canadian servers.
    As I mentioned earlier, these types of warrants are not new to the Criminal Code. They are also not new to the international community. For example, the United Kingdom has had similar powers in place since 2006, and Australia provides for the takedown of restricted online material, such as terrorist propaganda, through its Broadcasting Services Act.
    As an additional complementary amendment to these new tools, Bill C-51 also proposes changing the customs tariff to include the new concept of terrorist propaganda. This change would ensure that Canada Border Services Agency officers would be authorized to inspect and seize terrorist propaganda material.
    These new tools are not only complementary to the proposed new offence of advocating and promoting the commission of terrorism offences in general, but they are also consistent with Parliament's past approach relating to content that we have deemed harmful to Canadian society.
     As I have said, these tools are designed to help address the radicalization of Canadian youth toward violence by assisting in the removal of terrorist propaganda material. I would like to quote Avi Benlolo, the president and CEO of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre, who says:
    It is especially significant that this new legislation will enable the removal of websites promoting jihad and related materials on the internet. Jewish communities are a favourite target of jihadis, and the provisions of this bill will do a great deal to help ensure the safety and security of all Canadians as we continue to fight this threat to western democracies.
    I hope that all members of the House heed these words and support these proposals in Bill C-51 as a positive step toward making Canada and the world a safer place.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened to the hon. member's speech on this bill, but I remain very puzzled by the member's comments.
    The Minister of National Defence has been quoted as saying that none of the new powers in Bill C-51 accord new powers to CSIS, that the new powers are only accorded to the courts.
    I am wondering if the hon. member can elaborate for us. Would the member agree with the minister that in all cases where CSIS officials take down material that is explained publicly or posted on a website, or intervenes directly in an activity where they fear that there are “terrorism activities” taking place, those are not new powers for CSIS? Does the member agree with the Minister of National Defence, or is he taking another position that the bill in fact accords specific new powers to CSIS?
    Mr. Speaker, quite frankly, I am puzzled why the NDP is against safety and security for Canadians.
    This is not hard. These measures will make Canada safer. Back in 2001, when we had the first terrorist incident, similar measures to these were passed.
    We simply think that third-party, non-independent, expert oversight of our national security agencies is the model. Furthermore, key powers of the new legislation will be subject to judicial review and judicial authorization.
    Let us get on with protecting Canadians.


    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party has been fairly clear on this legislation, in the sense that we support it and will be voting in favour of it in principle, primarily because it is a step forward.
    We have pointed out a concern that many Canadians share, that the government needs to do more to protect the rights and freedoms of Canadians. We take this seriously. When addressing the House on the legislation, the leader of the Liberal Party put forward a model of parliamentary oversight.
    Surely to goodness, the member recognizes that other countries like England and the United States already have parliamentary oversight in some form to deal with these issues. Given that other countries have oversight, and because there is such a great need for Canada to do more on the oversight issue, why would the government not accept a Liberal Party amendment that would ensure parliamentary oversight? Everyone wants parliamentary oversight. Why will the government not allow Canada to have parliamentary oversight?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said in my earlier remarks, I go back to 2001 and the first terrorist attack. The member might recall that it was a Liberal government that passed the Canadian Anti-terrorism Act in response to the attacks in the United States on September 11. The expanded powers at that time were highly controversial, due to their widely perceived incompatibility with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in particular the act's provision allowing for secret trials, lengthy detention, and expensive security and surveillance powers. The Liberal government passed that act and the sky did not fall.
    This legislation is needed right now, 13 years later. The sky will not fall. We need protection. We need safety and security for Canadians and we need it right now.


    Mr. Speaker, although the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness claims that no wrongdoing will result from the application of Bill C-51, unfortunately Canadian history is replete with examples of abuse, wrongdoing and lack of transparency. This leads the official opposition to effectively exercise its full role and remind members of past experiences.
    First, I would like to speak of the events of October 1970, when terrorist acts were committed in Quebec. The government imposed martial law and expanded the powers of the RCMP. Probably ill-informed of the real risk of the terrorist threat in Quebec, RCMP officers performed illegal acts in carrying out their duties. They infiltrated groups, stole documents, opened mail, and carried out searches without warrants and widespread wiretaps without making a distinction between dissidence and subversion.
    Over the years, the criteria for determining the existence of a security threat to a country have been expanded to include the personal characteristics of the suspects, groups and associations, which are not terrorists. For example, the separatist activities of individuals or political groups like the Parti Québécois were closely monitored by the RCMP. At the time, Quebec separatist activities were perceived as potential security threats, according to the report of the Commission of Inquiry Concerning Certain Activities of the RCMP, presented in August 1981.
     Robert Samson, an RCMP officer, revealed that he had broken into the offices of the Agence de presse libre du Québec, made up of young left-wing idealists, as pointed out in the book Enquêtes sur les services secrets. These declarations led to the creation of the Keable provincial commission of inquiry in 1977, which was responsible for looking into the RCMP's illegal activities in Quebec.
    Another commission was created at the federal level, chaired by Justice McDonald. Its report revealed how RCMP informants had infiltrated the upper levels. In 1978, the Ligue des droits et libertés dealt a blow with its Opération liberté, or operation freedom. In the name of national security, it warned the public about the illegal activities of the RCMP, the Sûreté du Québec and the Montreal Urban Community Police Department.
    The Ligue des droits et libertés presented a report to the McDonald Commission, and in response to its recommendations, the RCMP lost its authority over national security intelligence services, and a civilian agency was created to take over those responsibilities, giving rise to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
    This look at the past was necessary so that we can understand what is happening now. Like the member for Outremont, the leader of the official opposition, who has 35 years in politics, I am presenting my arguments against this anti-terrorism act, 2015, in a clear and fair manner. As I just showed, there were cases of abuse in the past. At the time, fear was used to justify illegal actions against individuals who were not terrorists but dissidents who held a different political opinion.
    The government is repeating the errors of the past. It is stirring up people's fears about terrorist attacks to justify spying on them and violating their rights. This is not so much about implementing new laws as it is about ensuring that there are enough resources on the ground to be able to intervene.
    Recently, there were six terrorism-related arrests. Clearly, the police can take action, but they need resources.


    I would like to take the time to share a simple analogy that will help people understand what is going on here. Imagine a nurse working the emergency room alone. Obviously she will not be able to take care of all of the patients because there are too many. What does the nurse do? She focuses on the most serious cases and the highest-risk patients. She knows that in the meantime, other patients are not doing well, but she does not have the time to deal with them. She focuses on the most urgent cases and tries to keep an eye on the others. Unfortunately, she will miss some cases. Maybe while dealing with the most serious cases, she will not notice that another patient's condition is deteriorating.
    When incidents like these happen, we put additional resources in place while waiting to review what happened. We review what happened, put new policies and rules in place, decide that there should be more oversight and so on. When we think we have identified the problem, we take away the resources that were added while the matter was under review.
    The poor nurse is still doing the job all by herself. She may know that she has to check on all of the patients, but she does not have time to do it. She therefore deals with the most urgent cases. She would be happy if fewer sick people came to the hospital where she works and if fewer people had heart attacks. However, no one is doing anything about prevention, so just as many sick people are coming to the hospital and the nurse is still doing the job alone.
    In this case, it is not the policies or regulations that are causing problems. Resources must be put in place to correct the situation. When it comes to radicalization and terrorism, which is what we are dealing with right now, the problem is not policies. We know that we can make arrests. The problem is resource-related. We need to put human resources in place to ensure that people do not slip through the cracks and that we are not just dealing with the most serious cases because we have too much on our plate and we do not have time to manage everything that needs to be managed. We need to put resources in place to prevent young people from becoming radicalized and going to fight abroad. To do that, we need people on the ground. We also need social workers who can work with the communities concerned to prevent this sort of thing from happening.
    I believe that I clearly demonstrated that when we are talking about problems like this, it is not always a matter of introducing new laws; it is a matter of resources, intervention and a presence on the ground. Regardless of the number of laws we create, we will never solve the problem if the resources are not available. That is why it is important to put those resources in place.
    Recently we learned that the government is not even spending all of its budget envelopes. We learned that the RCMP and National Defence have returned money to the public purse because they did not use it all. Those departments have already experienced budget cuts and yet they are not even using their whole budgets and are returning the surplus to the public purse. Could those departments not at least use all of the money at their disposal? That would be a good start.
    We must not sacrifice our fundamental freedoms because of the fear of terrorism. Following the October 22 attacks, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition stood up here and said that they would not give in to fear. I was proud that they said that. However, when we pass legislation that violates our individual freedoms, I honestly believe that we are giving in to fear. The police are able to intervene. What is needed is resources. We must not violate people's rights. We must not use bills that, in a roundabout way, allow attacks on political dissidents and non-violent activist groups under the pretext of being able to intervene sooner. The government is missing the boat. There is no direct link between this bill and the kinds of acts we want to prevent.


    Under the guise of wanting to protect Canada from potential terrorist acts, the bill includes many people who should not be subject to such measures. By making the bill much too broad, the government has missed the boat entirely.


    Mr. Speaker, I found it interesting that yesterday all the newscasts reported that al Shabaab members had come out and threatened areas of our great country of Canada where a great deal of innocent people gather every day. They hate the freedoms we have in our great country every day.
    I know my colleague wants to sit down with those people and talk to them about not doing that. These threats are coming through on the Internet and social media from other parts of the world.
    The member talked about the need to put resources on the ground. In fact, we have increased our resources for security. We may have stopped some from the top, but we have increased the numbers. The unfortunate part is that NDP members talk about that, but they never stand and support giving them any money or adding people to our security forces.
    My question is about our freedoms and at the same time protecting our security. Does the member see any way that they can run in parallel?



    Mr. Speaker, I believe that it is entirely possible to protect people under threat, such as those in Edmonton, where a shopping centre has been targeted, not by changing existing laws but by truly increasing resources.
    People in Muslim communities, for example, regularly talk to their imams to find out who currently holds extremist views. We must be able to target people who pose a risk. We will never have enough resources to spy on everyone all the time.
    We have to be able to target people who are particularly at risk and that means having a presence in the community. We should not be adding new laws; we should be adding people on the ground who know exactly who poses a risk.
    We will never be able to monitor everyone at the same time. It can easily take 12 police officers to keep an individual under surveillance around the clock. There will never be enough police officers in Edmonton to keep tabs on 1,000 people all at once.
    That is why we need to know exactly who poses a risk. To do that we have to be in the community.


    Mr. Speaker, as the Liberal Party has pointed out, some aspects of the legislation are beneficial for the security of Canadians. The bill would build upon the powers of preventive arrest. It would make better use of no-fly lists. It would allow for a more coordinated information approach with different departments and agencies.
    However, we have also expressed great concern with regard to other issues, one of which I focused on this morning, which is the need for additional oversight. It is a major issue for the Liberal Party. We need to have parliamentary oversight, which is something other countries in the world already have.
    Would the member provide some comment on the need for parliamentary oversight and whether she sees any value or positive things within the legislation?


    Mr. Speaker, of course we must provide parliamentary oversight. I already raised this issue with the Standing Committee on National Defence when I was a member of that committee.
    However, the Liberals support this bill and are saying that they will propose amendments to correct its major flaws, even though they know full well that the government will reject all their amendments without even reading them. Since the beginning of this Parliament, the government has accepted roughly six opposition amendments to its bills. I wish the Liberals luck in getting their amendments adopted.
    It is extremely hypocritical of the Liberal Party to support the bill despite its major flaws and even though the government rejects all its amendments. I do not know whether the Liberal Party is doing so because it did more than just spy on people when it was in office, especially during the October crisis and the referendum period in Quebec. Nonetheless, this is very hypocritical of the Liberals and I am sorry that they are not taking a stand on this bill.


    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to add my voice to the debate on Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism act, 2015.
    The international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada. We have tabled this important legislation to stop terrorists dead in their tracks before they can harm law-abiding Canadians. The legislation before us contains a number of provisions that work toward a common goal, which is to protect Canada and Canadians. It is a broad approach to a global program that has reached our doorsteps.
    I will focus my remarks today on important amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, commonly known as IRPA, and specifically to Division 9 of the act.
     As members of the House know, IRPA sets out the legal framework for Canada's immigration and refugee programs. Our immigration programs serve a number of purposes, including enriching the social and cultural fabric of Canada, reuniting families, and strengthening our economy.
    However, the immigration program also plays a fundamental role in maintaining the integrity of our borders and safeguarding our national security. In this respect, the government must sometimes turn to Division 9 of IRPA, which contains mechanisms that allow the government to use and protect classified information when deciding whether a non-citizen can enter or remain in Canada.
    Indeed, Division 9 mechanisms and their predecessors have been used for more than three decades. These include security certificates before the Federal Court and applications for non-disclosure before the Immigration and Refugee Board and the Federal Court.
     Certificates commonly known as “security certificates” are perhaps the most well-known proceeding under Division 9. They are used in exceptional circumstances when classified information is required to establish that a non-citizen is inadmissible to Canada for serious grounds of security, human or international rights violations, or serious or organized criminality.
    The information involved in these cases, which we commonly refer to as “classified information”, cannot be disclosed publicly because doing so would injure national security or endanger the safety of a person. The certificate is signed by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. It is then referred to the Federal Court. If the Federal Court determines the certificate is reasonable, it becomes a removal order that is in force.
    The system includes strong safeguards. There is broad judicial discretion to ensure the overall fairness of the proceedings. Furthermore, since 2008, special advocates who are non-governmental lawyers with the required security clearance to handle classified information protect the interests of non-citizens during the closed portions of the proceedings.
     In 2014 the Supreme Court of Canada found that the security certificate regime provides for a fair and constitutional process. Today we see that the recent phenomenon of individuals travelling abroad to engage in terrorist-related activities reinforces the need for Division 9 proceedings. In some of these cases, Division 9 may be the only mechanism available to pursue immigration proceedings against non-citizens so that they are unable to obtain or retain an immigration status, such as a permanent residency, and pursue their removal from Canada.
    Given the nature of the global threat environment, it is critical that the government be able to rely on effective and fair mechanisms to protect classified information in immigration proceedings before the courts and the Immigration and Refugee Board. Therefore, we believe that it is important to make limited and targeted changes to Division 9.
    Recent Division 9 cases have shown that there are times when classified information has become part of a case, even when it was irrelevant, repetitive, or not used by the government to prove its allegations. It also did not allow the persons subject to the proceedings to be reasonably informed of the case against them. The lack of clarity in Division 9 with respect to what information needs to form part of a case has increased the length of time needed to complete these proceedings. This is inconsistent with the legislative obligation to ensure expediency in these cases.


    Classified information must always be handled according to specific procedures distinct from those used to handle unclassified information. These procedures are meant to protect the classified information and reduce the risk of its being compromised. The current lack of clarity in Division 9 has also resulted in classified information becoming part of the court proceedings even though it was not used or needed. This is inconsistent with the need to reduce the risk of information being compromised.
    Furthermore, as it stands now, an appeal or judicial review of an order to publicly disclose classified information can only take place at the end of the proceedings. By the time this appeal could take place, it would be too late, as the information could have already been disclosed publicly. This disclosed information then could result in injuring national security or endangering people.
    To avoid releasing information, the government may elect to withdraw from the proceedings the classified information that has been ordered to be publicly disclosed, which could potentially weaken the case. The government could also withdraw the allegations against the person, but this is inconsistent with the need to ensure that we pursue all avenues to deny entry and status to individuals who are inadmissible to Canada, especially for serious reasons such as treason.
    That brings me to the amendments found within Bill C-51, which are designed to address these challenges.
    First, we intend to amend Division 9 to clarify what classified information forms part of a security certificate before the federal courts in cases involving classified information before the Immigration and Refugee Board.
    This would include information that is relevant to the case, that forms the basis of the case—in other words, information upon which the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration rely—and that allows the person to be reasonably informed of the case against them.
    Relevant information that is not relied upon would also be provided to specific advocates, but this information would not automatically be included as evidence in the case. To ensure fairness, special advocates would have discretion to review this information and determine if some of it should also be included as evidence.
    This would codify a practice that has evolved over time in Division 9 cases since the Supreme Court's decision on security certificates in 2008. It would help provide more certainty as to how these cases are being conducted, thus reducing the amount of time needed for these cases and making the process more expedient and fair for the person.
    The regime would also be amended to allow the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to ask a judge to be exempted from providing some relevant classified information to the special advocates that is now relied on and which does not reasonably inform the person of the ministers' case.
    To be clear, a judge would make this decision and would have broad discretion to communicate with special advocates as required. Special advocates could also make submissions to the court as to whether the exemption should be granted. The judge would only grant the exemption if he or she were satisfied that the information did not enable the person to be reasonably informed of the ministers' case.
    The final measure we are taking is to allow the government to appeal or to seek judicial review of orders to publicly disclose information that it considers injurious to national security or the safety of any person during Division 9 proceedings rather than at the end of those proceedings. This will provide another opportunity to argue before the court that this information should not be made public.
    The changes we are making to protect Canadians are important. I encourage all members of the House to support Bill C-51.


    Mr. Speaker, we need to reiterate that Canadians do not have to sacrifice security over their rights. It has to be both. I am wondering if the member is aware that there is already legislation in place under the Criminal Code, in section 46, that takes on all of the concerns the Conservatives are indicating are their reasons for bringing the bill forward.
    The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness says Canada will not be intimidated. Why is it, then, that today we are debating a bill that actually says, yes, we are being intimidated? I think that is atrocious.
    The government says it is investing all of this money. All the Conservatives are talking about is how much they have invested. They are not talking about how much they spent, because if we look at how much they spent, we see that it certainly is not the appropriate amount of money that they have actually invested.
    On that note, it is about security and about the proper tools. Those tools are currently in place and can be used. Could the member tell me how many times since 2001 the government has resorted to the recognizance with condition provisions that allow police to make preventive arrests?


    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for her question, but obviously it has been vetted by her party, which unfortunately opposes protecting Canada and Canadians.
    It is currently not a criminal offence to advocate or promote terrorism. The New Democrats want that to stay. The ability to arrest someone who is in general terms advocating and promoting the activity of terrorism does not exist. The New Democrats want that to stay.
    The threshold for arrest in the Criminal Code is specific to someone who knowingly instructs, directly or indirectly, any person to carry out terrorist activities. The anti-terrorism act, 2015, would make it an offence to advocate or promote terrorism in broader terms:
    Every person who, by communicating statements, knowingly advocates or promotes the commission of terrorism offences in general—other than an offence under this section—while knowing that any of those offences will be committed or being reckless as to whether any of those offences may be committed, as a result of such communication, is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years.
    We are trying to protect Canada and Canadians. We are at war with terrorism and need to act accordingly. To do nothing, as the New Democrats suggest, is irresponsible. It is not what Canadians want nor what Canada needs.
    Mr. Speaker, the security of Canadians and the protection of their rights and freedoms is important to the Liberal Party. It is something that we have been advocating for since the government brought forward this legislation. One of the ways in which the government can best address the concerns of the Liberal Party and what Canadians as a whole expect of the government is to provide clear oversight.
    We are calling on the government to recognize the importance of parliamentary oversight. This is something that the U.S.A., England, and Australia have already done. The question for the member is this. Why not Canada? Why not have parliamentary oversight here in Canada to ensure the rights and freedoms of all Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I do acknowledge that the Liberal member is consistent in believing that national security will work out, that everything will work out, that the economy will manage itself and everyone will live in harmony and love. However, that is not reality.
    War has been declared against Canada and we are taking appropriate action. Creating a carbon tax and hiring more bureaucracy to manage this would be irresponsible. It would not protect Canadians. What we would do as a result of this legislation, Bill C-51, needs to be supported by every member of the House.
    Mr. Speaker, we heard the opposition members talking about resources. In my intervention, I mentioned that our government has already increased the resources available for national security by one-third. Of course, the New Democrats voted against that increase.
    Would the member comment on this? It is not only about resources but about the fact that this legislation would also allow for tools that would enable us to do more with the resources we have so that we would not be asking our law enforcement agencies and security intelligence services to deal with this threat with one hand tied behind their backs.
    Mr. Speaker, the member is quite right. I want to thank him for serving Canada over the years, not only as a police officer formerly but also here as a member of Parliament.
    We have increased the resources available, but every time the New Democrats and the Liberals have opposed this. We want to have a strong and safe Canada, and Bill C-51 would give our police and security forces and CSIS the tools they need.


[Statements by Members]


Thalidomide Victims

    Mr. Speaker, thalidomide victims are grateful to all members of Parliament for unanimously adopting a motion to give the victims financial compensation for the injustices against them and their years of pain and suffering.
    However, the government has to make arrangements to ensure that the compensation promised is paid out as soon as possible. The victims cannot wait any longer. A woman in Montcalm called to thank us for the motion adopted in December, but now she is asking if we are going to keep our promise and how long that will take.
    I am calling on the government to do everything it can to compensate the thalidomide victims without further delay. Madam Minister of Health, it is your responsibility to get the ball rolling so that the thalidomide victims do not have to wait any longer.
    It is high time to put words into action.



Business Excellence Awards

    Mr. Speaker, my riding is well-known for its innovative and entrepreneurial culture. One of the key drivers of our success is the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce. Its annual Business Excellence Awards celebrate outstanding companies, individuals, and organizations.
    I am pleased to recognize this year's recipients and their awards, as announced at last week's gala: Maureen Cowan, community leader; Al Hayes, volunteer of the year; Lesley Warren, young entrepreneur; Wilfrid Laurier University, environment and sustainability; Economical Insurance, employee engagement; Drayton Entertainment, tourism; St. Mary's General Hospital, innovation; Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort, non-profit; Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro, workplace health and wellness; and in the three business of the year categories: Zoup!, Caudle's Catch Seafood, and Ontario Drive & Gear.
    I congratulate all winners and I thank the chamber for promoting business excellence in our community.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, while considering the Kinder Morgan proposal that would drastically increase tanker traffic off the coast of my riding of Victoria, Conservatives stood by as the National Energy Board limited public input and cross-examination by intervenors, including the NDP. They gutted long-standing environmental protections and continue to ignore climate change. Now, they are again standing by as Kinder Morgan is allowed to keep its plans for oil-spill recovery secret from the people of Victoria and all British Columbians—the very kind of plans that are routinely available across the border in Washington state.
    This deplorable secrecy does no favour to the resource industry, which depends on social licence from first nations and from communities small and large, who are being trampled by a government that allows our resources to be sold at any price.
    Canadians deserve laws that protect us from toxic spills, make polluters pay, and rise to the challenge of climate change, and they deserve a government with a plan to invest resource revenue in the public interest and to build an advanced low-carbon economy powered by renewable energy.

Charity Hockey Game

    Mr. Speaker, February 15 was an exciting day in Newmarket—Aurora. Not only was it the 50th birthday of Canada's national flag, it was also the Battle of York charity hockey game between the Newmarket Hurricanes and the Aurora Tigers.
    The annual matchup between the junior A hockey club rivals, hosted by the Newmarket Hurricanes, has raised an impressive $111,000 to date. Dozens of individuals donated their time and resources to make the Battle of York 2015 one of the most successful yet. This year's proceeds will go toward the cancer centre at Southlake Regional Health Centre.
    It was a thrilling game, played during this Year of Sport in Canada. With hundreds of fans cheering players on both sides, it was more than just a game; it was sport at its finest, bringing hockey lovers and community together for a tremendous cause.
    I congratulate all the players involved and to the Newmarket Hurricanes and the Aurora Tigers junior A hockey clubs on a job well done.

Acts of Bravery

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize three young men from Marystown, in my riding of Random—Burin—St. George's.
    The heroic actions of 18-year-old TJ Fitzpatrick and Justin Saunders and 17-year-old James Stapleton saved the lives of three people from almost certain death in a blaze that destroyed a hotel in the early morning of February 16.
    When TJ noticed smoke coming from the hotel, he alerted the local fire department. While waiting for the fire department to arrive, he and his two friends forced their way into the building. Once inside the smoke-filled hotel, the trio made their way into rooms, looking for sleeping guests.
    It was because of their efforts that two guests staying at the hotel and the receptionist were safely led from the building. Just 20 minutes after TJ came upon the scene, the hotel was completely engulfed in flames.
    When asked about their actions, they said they just did what anyone else would do in the same situation: “You don't think about yourself. You just think about who might be inside.”
    I ask all members to join me in recognizing the bravery shown by TJ Fitzpatrick, Justin Saunders, and James Stapleton.


Trinity Western University

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are shocked to find out that an organization is attempting to deny Canada's brightest students the right to work in Canada because of their religious views.
    The Bank of Montreal has been discriminating against Trinity Western University students. BMO has aggressively opposed TWU law school graduates from practising law in Canada. This is one of Canada's largest banks. Why is it attacking religious freedoms?
    Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms confirms and protects our religious freedoms. Both the Supreme Court of Canada and the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia have upheld these democratic rights. The Supreme Court has said that our religious freedoms should be permitted to exist and should be encouraged to thrive.
    Canadians want their rights and freedoms to be taken seriously. They do not want a big national bank to bully a small private university. Canadians want their banks to focus on what they are there for, to focus on the economy and to provide financial assistance to Canadians.
    We call on the Bank of Montreal to reverse its discriminatory position and respect the religious freedoms of all Canadians.


    Mr. Speaker, Welland Hospital, in my riding, is under threat of closure. Last month, about 70 people gathered at the Welland Civic Square for a meeting organized by the Niagara Health Coalition and launched a petition to save Welland Hospital.
    I fully support the efforts being made to save Welland Hospital and the services people rely on. I would like to thank the many people who have taken the initiative and been involved in the campaign.
    Welland Hospital serves 51,000 city residents, as well as the communities of Port Colborne, Fort Erie, Pelham, and Wainfleet, meaning that almost 100,000 people rely on Welland Hospital.
    The Niagara Health System says it is too expensive to maintain the number of existing hospitals in the Niagara region. Having two hospitals or maybe just one will save millions of dollars in operating costs, it says. It might be true, but it shows that we are not making health care the priority it really deserves to be.
    We are beginning to see in Welland and Niagara the impact of the continuing neglect of health care by successive governments, both Liberal and Conservative, here in Ottawa. The Conservative government's $36 billion cut to health care transfer payments is affecting real lives in my community.
    We need better health care. We need to give it the attention it deserves. A healthy, productive community relies on easily—
    Order, please. The hon. member for Oakville.


    Mr. Speaker, the world is waking up to the potential health risks of electromagnetic radiation from cellular phones, Wi-Fi, baby monitors, iPads, and other tablets.
    France banned Wi-Fi in daycare centres and elementary schools and, for older children, teachers must turn off Wi-Fi when it is not being used for teaching. The Israeli Knesset has ordered radiation testing in all Israeli schools, banned Wi-Fi from preschools and kindergartens, and restricted its use to one hour a day for students up to Grade 3. Taiwanese lawmakers have banned the use of electronic devices for children under two altogether, and parents who allow older children to use iPads and smart phones face fines.
    Oakville-based Canadians 4 Safe Technology is on the Hill today with cancer expert Dr. Anthony Miller to address the potential harms from wireless radiation.
     Manufacturers' safety warnings are hidden in fine print in tiny booklets that most users never see. My private members' bill, Bill C-648, would make sure that Canadians can see the safety warnings they deserve to see so that they can use wireless devices safely.

Rideau Canal

    Mr. Speaker, in ongoing efforts to attract more boaters to the Rideau Canal, much of which runs through my riding of Leeds—Grenville, Parks Canada is operating a two-for-one deal at the beginning of the upcoming season.
    From May 15 to June 30 this year, boaters who purchase a single lock and return permit or a one-day permit will receive a second one free. Boaters can purchase the permits and receive their second at any lock station along the canal. This applies to both motorized and non-motorized boats.
    This promotion builds upon our government's continuing efforts and commitments to this historic waterway. Last year, we concluded an extensive visitors' experience study, which is leading to further investment in the canal and extended operating hours.
    I encourage everyone to visit Burritts Rapids, Merrickville, Rideau Ferry, Portland, Westport, Newboro, Chaffey's Lock, Jones Falls, Seeleys Bay, and many other places along the canal, and get to see what the canal has to offer families and visitors alike.


Friends of Sébastien Métivier Foundation

    Mr. Speaker, the name of a young boy from the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve area will be forever etched in our minds. Sébastien Métivier disappeared 30 years ago at the age of eight. The body of his friend, Wilton Lubin, who was 12, was found, as was the body of Maurice Viens, a four-year-old boy, but Sébastien was never found.
    His mother and sister never gave up. They continued looking for him and they created Les amis de Sébastien Métivier, a foundation to provide support and assistance to the families of other missing or murdered children.
    Thanks to the commitment and generosity of these two women and the directors of the Repos Saint-François d'Assise cemetery, these parents will now have a place, a monument, where they can gather and where those who sadly do not have the means can bury their children.
    Congratulations and thank you, Christiane Sirois and Mélanie Métivier. You are extraordinary women.



Royal Canadian Mounted Police

    Mr. Speaker, earlier this month, the civilian review and complaints commissioner for the RCMP finally released his report into the RCMP's handling of the June 2013 flood in High River, Alberta.
    Members will recall that both the Canadian military and the RCMP were called upon to undertake a search and rescue operation in response to the devastating flood situation there. However, long after the town was secured those efforts by the RCMP changed into forcibly entering homes and seizing legally owned firearms and ammunition. The report confirms that hundreds of those firearms were taken without the legal authority to do so.
    Back in June of 2013, our government raised the alarm after hearing reports that firearms were being seized by the RCMP. Law-abiding Canadians should never face unlawful search and seizure of their personal property. The RCMP clearly has a long road ahead of it in restoring the reputation with law-abiding gun owners. Some accountability in light of the report's finding would be a good start.


Bank Fees

    Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, we organized a day of action on affordability in Joliette. The day was a huge success, and lots of people joined me to say that we expect more from a responsible government.
    The NDP wants to limit credit card interest rates and reduce ATM fees. The banking sector is not very strictly regulated, and at a time when we are all being asked to tighten our belts, there is no reason to let this economic sector get ever richer at the expense of small depositors. Instead of 19% interest rates and $3 transaction fees, we think the maximum interest rate should be prime plus 5%, and transaction fees should be no more than 50¢.
    Those are the kinds of solid ideas that bring the people of Joliette together. Our day of action on Saturday was amazing. I am happy to see that our community is willing to take action to make change, one step at a time.



    Mr. Speaker, our government's responsible resource development plan is creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians. That is why I am proud to be part of a government that recognizes the importance of creating the best fiscal conditions for energy investment and development.
    The natural resource sector supports 1.8 million jobs, contributes toward nearly 20% of our economy and provides government revenue for important programs like health care, education and infrastructure, in contrast with the high tax and spend agenda of the Liberals and the NDP, who would both implement a carbon tax that would raise the price of everything.
    Our low-tax plan is delivering results for Canadians by creating jobs and economic growth from coast to coast to coast. Residents in my riding expect our government to ensure that our natural resources are developed for the benefit of future generations of Canadians. I am proud to say we are doing just that.

Premier of Prince Edward Island

    Mr. Speaker, about four hours ago, the 32nd premier of Prince Edward Island was sworn in. We now have the distinction of not only having the first ever female premier in Canada, but the first ever premier who got his Order of Canada before becoming premier.
    Wade MacLauchlan transformed the University of Prince Edward Island as the president of UPEI from 1999 to 2011. Prior to that, he was the dean of the UNB law school and prior to that he taught law at Dal, where one of his more under-accomplished students was me, although that should not be held against him.
    He grew up in rural Prince Edward Island, where he began and developed his entrepreneurial spirit selling newspapers. Now he will be selling Canada's smallest and nicest province in his self-described role as optimist in chief.
    The theme of his leadership campaign was “People, Prosperity and Engagement”. He urged all to raise the level of debate and to call on people's better nature, which is something we could certainly learn from here.
    I invite the House to join me in welcoming the 32nd premier of the Province of Prince Edward Island as he leads Canada's smallest and nicest province. As his dad, Harry, would say “It's a great day”.



    Mr. Speaker, New Brunswickers are deeply concerned about an apparent new Liberal plan that would allow provincial Liberals to raise taxes and tolls without getting the consent of New Brunswickers with a referendum. This is exactly what Liberals do. They raise taxes and take money from average Canadians.
     At the federal level, in addition to the Liberal carbon tax to raise the cost of everything, it has been exposed that the federal Liberal leader will reverse our tax cuts that help Canadians. Perhaps only someone with a trust fund could understand how middle-class Canadians could afford these higher taxes and higher costs on everything.
    We reject the high tax and high debt Liberal plan. Our government stands with hard-working New Brunswickers and Canadians who want to keep taxes low. We will continue to work to put money back into the pockets of hard-working Canadians and New Brunswickers, where it belongs.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, as the great Bill Blaikie once said, “It's not about where you sit, it's about where you stand”, and tonight we will see where MPs stand on this overarching, vague and dangerous bill, Bill C-51, a bill that has been condemned by experts, editorial boards and average Canadians. It would provide the Canadian Security Intelligence Service with a sweeping new mandate to disrupt—and that is the key word, “disrupt”—the actions of Canadian citizens.
     In question period, the minister has refused to explain what kinds of actions this new mandate would allow. The Conservatives have also been unable to explain why these and other new measures in the bill are necessary or how they would have prevented past attacks.
    We cannot save our freedoms by sacrificing them. We cannot do as the Liberals are and pledge a vote for draconian legislation before even reading it.
    The New Democrats have a different vision. We will stick to our principles and oppose this bill. We will not allow anyone to bully us away from standing by our principles and defending the freedoms and liberties that define our Canadian way of life.


    Mr. Speaker, mothers and fathers should be able to make the important decisions that affect their own children. That is why our new family tax cut and enhanced universal child care benefit will give 100% of families with kids an average of nearly $2,000 per child. That is nearly $12,000 over the child's first six years. Our government trusts that parents know what is best for their kids.
    However, both the Liberals and the NDP are against putting back money into the pockets of hard-working families. In fact, the Liberals would reverse our tax cuts and impose more taxes on middle-class Canadian families.
    On this side of the House, we will not hike taxes like the Liberals and NDP will. On the contrary, we are proud to ensure that mom and dad have the final say in where their money goes.


[Oral Questions]


Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, serious human rights violations are sometimes committed in the name of national security, which is why a real oversight mechanism is needed for our security agencies.
    On the weekend, the Minister of National Defence rejected such a measure. Worse still, that is the same minister who is claiming that Bill C-51 does not give our security agencies any additional powers.
    Why should Canadians trust a government that is trying to protect its bill and security agencies from the scrutiny of parliamentarians? What does it have to hide?
    Mr. Speaker, as we saw again this weekend, the threat from extreme jihadists is real and is targeting places here in Canada. That is why I encourage all members to support Bill C-51.
    For us, safety and freedom go hand in hand. Indeed, we have a bill that will ensure that there is even greater judicial oversight and that the attorney general must give his or her consent. Let us send this bill to committee and get the job done for Canadians.


    Mr. Speaker, from the day the Prime Minister announced Bill C-51 in a campaign-style event, this has been about politics and not about protecting Canadians.
    Bill C-51 is a 62-page omnibus bill that amends no fewer than 13 acts, and despite ministers not being clear and sometimes even contradicting each other on the bill, the Conservatives still want to force it through after only a few hours of debate.
    If the government is so confident about the bill, why is it ramming it through to avoid debate? Why is it trying to keep it away from public scrutiny?


    Mr. Speaker, we have seen again this weekend how the jihadi extremists' threat is real. That is why we need to move on and put measures in place to keep Canadians safe.
    Under his leadership, our Prime Minister, in one of the largest communities in our country, was proud to announce a bill that would fix the issue we face in our country, and when in this very place, we were attacked.
    I invite the member to support the bill and to send it to committee. I will be more than happy to answer all the questions he has on the bill so we can keep Canadians safe.
    Mr. Speaker, we all agree public safety is important, but it must never be used as an excuse for dividing Canadians.
    There is growing criticism that Bill C-51 goes too far. First nations in particular are sounding the alarm about how the bill would impact them. Grand Chief Terrance Nelson spoke out, saying, “Treaty rights, land rights, natural resource development, any protest like that, they could be considered eco terrorists”.
    Does the government not understand that the bill is not just about terrorism? Is it really blind to the fact it can also target legitimate dissent and take away fundamental rights of Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, the member should spend less time fearmongering and more time reading the bill.
     On the third page of the bill, protests are not even included. What is included is tools to ensure that those who are there to protect us will be able to protect us, such as sharing information or preventing high-risk travellers from being in an airplane.
    When will the member read the bill and have a more balanced question?


Automotive Industry

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are apparently considering selling off General Motors shares in order to balance the budget, even though Canadians would lose $600 million in the process.
    Can the Minister of Finance tell us whether he is really planning to sell the GM shares at a loss in order to balance the upcoming budget?


    Mr. Speaker, at the height of the recession, our government took decisive action to support the automotive industry, including purchasing shares of General Motors. This decisive action helped to save over 52,000 jobs in Canada.
    Our government is committed to selling more shares at a time and place that is in the best interests of all Canadians.
    Just to be clear, Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives will not rule out selling GM shares at a loss of hundreds of millions of Canadian tax dollars for their political gain.
    The Conservatives have never taken the auto sector seriously. Under their watch, we have lost tens of thousands of good paying auto jobs, and many plants still face uncertainty, including the GM plant in Oshawa.
    Why is the government in such a hurry to sell off GM shares at the expense of Canadian workers and Canadian taxpayers?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association says that budget 2014 “demonstrates the government’s continued recognition of the importance of the auto sector to Canada’s economy..”.
    Add to that, news just last week that both Ford and GM are going to be building new cars in Canada. Add to that, the fact that Chrysler has announced that it is investing $2 billion into its plant. Add to that, the fact that Ford is expanding its footprint in Oakville, adding 1,200 new jobs. Add to that, the fact that Honda is expanding. Add to that, the fact that Toyota is expanding. It shows, again and again, that our government gets, supports, and is building the Canadian auto sector.


The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, since the Conservatives were elected to power, job creation has been half of what it used to be, and economic growth has been anaemic.
    In response to that, the Conservatives are eliminating programs that help veterans and cutting funding to security agencies and the RCMP. Why? They are doing that in order to provide tax cuts to which 86% of Canadians are not entitled.
    Why are the Conservatives refusing to come up with a real plan for job creation and economic growth, one that will help all Canadians, not just the richest ones?


    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has it wrong, but that is not surprising coming from a party whose leader thinks that budgets balance themselves.
    Obviously, we have a plan not just to balance the budget, but also to create jobs. We have already created 1.2 million net new jobs through our tax cuts.
    The Liberals want to increase taxes for the middle class. It is clear that that will kill jobs, and we are going to stop them from doing that.


    Mr. Speaker, greater economic growth is critical to lifting the fortunes of the middle class.
    Since 2006, the government has had the worst growth record of any Canadian government in 80 years, a paltry 1.7%. Since Conservatives have come to power, job creation in Canada is less than half of what it was before they came to power. Wage growth is also down by nearly one third. The middle class is struggling just to get by, let alone get ahead.
    Why is there no plan for growth, jobs, or fairness?
    Mr. Speaker, there is a plan. It is called the low-tax plan for jobs and growth.
    It is no surprise that that member would get so many facts wrong in his question because his leader says that the budget will just balance itself. He probably thinks that household budgets work that way as well.
    Most families cannot rely on a multi-million dollar trust fund to pay the bills. They work hard every day to put food on the table and put money in their bank accounts. We are lowering their taxes so that they can keep more of the money they earn.
    The Liberals would raise taxes on the middle class. We are cutting them, and we are just getting started.
    Mr. Speaker, the government's own former employment minister said “wage rates have barely kept pace with inflation...”.
    Economic growth is also crucial to balancing the government's books. Conservatives have failed to generate growth, so they have to concoct a balance: 70% of infrastructure funds get punted into 2019, $1 billion gets clawed back from veterans, $10 billion is gone from DND, and the Mounties cannot keep up with child porn. Why? It is so that those earning $233,000 can get the biggest tax break. How smart is that?
    Mr. Speaker, anyone whose leader thinks that budgets balance themselves could never make sense of the basic numbers that Canadian households calculate every single day.
    Let us talk about those numbers. We brought forward a family tax cut and an enhanced universal child care benefit that will help 100% of families with kids. On average, those families will have an extra $1,000 in their pockets, starting right now. In fact, as we speak, Canadians are getting ready to fill out their tax forms to enjoy the benefits of the family tax cut. That tax cut is in place.
     The Liberals would raise taxes. We will not let them.


Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the number of people opposed to the Conservatives' anti-terrorism bill is growing every day.
    Former prime ministers, former Supreme Court judges, first nations leaders and security and privacy experts all believe that this bill is very problematic.
    Given that it has many flaws, the NDP will move an amendment this evening to ensure that the bill does not proceed.
    Will the Conservatives listen to reason and support this amendment?
    Mr. Speaker, at a time when we are facing a terrorist threat from jihadist extremists who are targeting Canada, it is completely irresponsible to want to just sit back and do nothing.
    Today, members will have an opportunity to rise and support protecting Canada against terrorism by voting for Bill C-51. This balanced bill has five measures. We can debate them in committee with experts and representatives and study the bill clause by clause. The responsible thing to do today is to support it and take action to protect Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives should have consulted experts before introducing Bill C-51.
    Canadians expect the government to defend our freedoms and values while keeping us safe. However, Bill C-51 completely misses the mark. The Conservatives are asking the RCMP to neglect some aspects of our security and are flatly refusing to use proven methods for combatting radicalization.
    Why are the Conservatives so insistent on doing something that clearly does not work?


    Mr. Speaker, our balanced bill includes measures to prevent radicalization, in particular by allowing intelligence officers to reduce the threat by, for example, visiting the parents of a child who could fall prey to radicalization and shutting down websites that spread jihadist propaganda.
    These are concrete examples from Bill C-51, a bill that is necessary and that has been well received. It is very important for parliamentarians to send it to committee so that it can be fully debated. This evening we will have the opportunity to vote for Bill C-51 in order to protect Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, as a former mayor of Gatineau always said, it is important to walk the talk. Unfortunately, that is not the case with the Conservatives.
    The Conservatives are about to give CSIS and the RCMP sweeping new powers, but we learned last week that they diverted $1.7 billion that was supposed to go to the RCMP. That money could have been used right away in the fight against terrorism.
    The government can introduce all the legislation it likes, but what is the point if we do not have police officers and inspectors on the ground to enforce it?
    Mr. Speaker, we have increased the RCMP's budget seven times. Unfortunately, we have not been able to count on the opposition's support.
    Unlike the opposition, on this side of the House, we are ensuring that our intelligence and law enforcement agencies have the resources they need to carry out the primary responsibility of any government, that of protecting the public.


    Mr. Speaker, Canadians were promised that cuts would not impact services, but it turns out that the Conservatives so-called deficit reduction plan is having real consequences for critically important areas of law enforcement. The RCMP unit dedicated to stamping out child pornography underspent by $10 million over five years.
    Why have the Conservatives allowed this critical investigative team to be underfunded? Does the minister think that is acceptable?
    On the contrary, Mr. Speaker, we have doubled the human resources dedicated to tackling child and sexual exploitation. It so happens that we have increased the budget so much that the RCMP is having difficulty finding the human resources to fill the positions. Why? It is because those of us on this side of the House are taking action despite the lack of support from the opposition.
    Canadians can count on the Conservative government to protect Canadians, to protect victims, and to protect children from sexual exploitation.
    Mr. Speaker, we will always support legislation that protects children, but police need resources too. The Conservatives do not get it. The parliamentary secretary dismissed millions in lapsed funding to stop child sexual exploitation as “accounting issues”. It is much more than that.
    This police unit receives more than 40,000 tips on child pornography every year, and there is already a huge backlog.
    Does the minister not understand that child sexual exploitation is a critical public safety issue, not something on which to balance his books?
    Mr. Speaker, our government clearly understands that we need to do something against sexual exploitation.
    We can be proud of the agenda of this government over the last 10 years that has targeted this crime. We have doubled our resources, so much so that the RCMP is having a hard time finding the resources to fill these positions.
    We will continue despite the lack of support from the opposition. Canadians can count on us.


National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, we are already having a hard time getting clear answers from this government on its war in Iraq, and now the Minister of National Defence is opening the door to a mission in Syria and even Libya.
    The military mission in Iraq, which was supposed to be limited, is taking on a whole other dimension. Can the minister set the record straight? Is he considering sending our troops to Libya?


    Mr. Speaker, let us be clear: we have special forces in Iraq to help the Kurdish peshmerga forces. We also have the air force hitting Daesh and ISIL targets in Iraq. Thanks to our contribution, we have stemmed the growth of the Islamic State in Iraq.
    We will consider the success and effectiveness of our military mission there shortly, as a government, before making any decisions. If we decide to extend the mission, we will move a motion in the House.
    Mr. Speaker, we are eager to see the motion. Canadians expect any deployment of our soldiers to be debated here in the House, not on a radio station.
    The consequences are too serious for this to be taken lightly. The minister is quite aware that he has no legal justification for intervening in Syria, unless he wants to ask Bashar al-Assad's permission.
    Can the Minister of National Defence clarify his statements? Is the government planning Canadian military involvement in Syria?
    Mr. Speaker, the framework for our military mission in Iraq is clear and is set out in the motion that was approved by the House last October. We will consider our allies' needs. We are in consultation with the United States and a coalition of over 20 countries, including Arab countries, to see what Canada can do to help fight this genocidal terrorist organization.
    This is a security mission and a humanitarian one, and it is appalling that a particular political party does not want to get involved.


    Mr. Speaker, we are looking for a bit of clarity from this government, not just more and more rhetoric.
    The Minister of National Defence knows that he should not be publicly musing about becoming militarily involved in Libya or Syria. He knows full well that Canada has not made a legal case for bombing in Syria. The Prime Minister has said that it would require the support of the Assad regime to do so.
    Can the minister assure the House that there are no plans for military operations in Syria or Libya?
    Mr. Speaker, of course, the House knows that the Canadian Armed Forces are engaged in this multi-country, international coalition involving western democracies and Arab countries against this genocidal terrorist organization in Iraq, supporting the Kurds with an advice-and-assistance mission for the peshmerga, as well as hitting ISIL targets through tactical strikes by the Royal Canadian Air Force.
    I would like to inform the House that just last week the RCAF managed to lead the destruction of an ISIL armaments factory. That is the mission to which we are committed.
    The government will consider its options and the needs of where Canada might be able to contribute, and we will table a motion in the House in due course.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, Mohamed Fahmy showed up this morning for the beginning of his retrial, only to find that it was postponed for another two weeks.
    Earlier this month, because of strong and personal advocacy from the Prime Minister of Australia, Australian citizen, Peter Greste, who had been convicted with Mr. Fahmy, was released and deported from Egypt.
    The obvious question: Will the Prime Minister personally call President el-Sisi to push for the immediate release of Mr. Fahmy?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada continues to call for the immediate and full release of Mohamed Fahmy. The prospect of Mr. Fahmy continuing to stand trial is unacceptable.
    Canada advocates for the same treatment of Mr. Fahmy that other foreign nationals have received. I, the former minister of foreign affairs, and the Prime Minister have been raising this case with Egyptian officials at the highest level for some time. We will continue to do so. Our officials are providing consular assistance to Mr. Fahmy to ensure his well-being.



The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have already begun their election campaign at taxpayers' expense. Yesterday during the Oscars they were trumpeting their income splitting scheme, which will put more money in rich people's pockets.
    In my riding, social housing units are closing for lack of funding. Infrastructure is crumbling before our eyes. The CBC, which they dislike, is being bled to death by their cuts.
    Meanwhile, the Conservatives are wasting money on election ads. Last week, they budgeted an extra $11 million.
    When will the Conservative government start using taxpayers' money to serve Canadians?


    Mr. Speaker, Canadian families know that they are better off under this Conservative government than they have ever been before. As Canadian families are filing their income taxes, they are going to be benefiting from our family tax cut as well as our expanded and increased universal child care benefit. We have done that at the same time as increasing jobs, cutting taxes, and balancing the budget. We have done it with good, sound fiscal management.
    That is something the opposition members do not know about, because they think the budgets balance themselves.
    Mr. Speaker, the same Minister of Finance who has shown no action when it comes to introducing a February budget is now seeking millions of dollars more in tax dollars for new action plan ads. Economic growth has flatlined. Middle-class Canadian families are struggling. Canadians need more action and fewer action plan ads.
    Why is the minister spending his time writing ads and not writing a February budget?
    Mr. Speaker, we know that Canadians have to balance their budgets each and every day. That is why we are focused on making sure that we have strong jobs, a strong economy, low taxes, and more actual dollars in the pockets of Canadian families. We want Canadian families to know about that. As they are filing their income taxes this year, they can access our family tax cut retroactive to 2014. They can access, starting January 1, our expanded universal child care benefit.
    They are going to increase taxes. They are going to create a bigger burden on Canadian families. We are going to make life easier for Canadian families.
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are ignoring the challenges faced by middle-class families. They have cut funding for veterans. They have cut public health funding to educate Canadians about the importance of vaccinations. Meanwhile, the Conservatives are shovelling more money into economic action plan ads.
    When will the Conservatives lay off the action plan ads and start focusing on the things that really matter to Canadians, like supporting veterans or protecting children?
    Mr. Speaker, what Canadian families know is that under the Liberals, transfer payments to the provinces went down, deficits went up, taxes went up, and services went down.
    Under this government, we have created more jobs. We have lowered taxes for Canadian families. We have increased benefits to them directly. We know which government they can trust. It is this Conservative government.



    Mr. Speaker, Canadian families are already struggling to make ends meet, and now some parents have to pay $200 to have their baby vaccinated or $40 to see an ophthalmologist. However, those fees violate the principle of accessibility in the Canada Health Act.
    Do the Conservatives realize that by making such draconian cuts to transfers to the provinces, they are making it harder for Canadian families to access health care?


    Mr. Speaker, the member might want to check the Constitution. The reality is that we are now transferring more money for health care to the provinces than ever in the history of Canada, and it is the provinces' responsibility to decide what vaccinations they cover in their public systems. Basic vaccinations are covered by the provincial system, and we encourage all parents to vaccinate their children.
    Mr. Speaker, the issue is that the Conservatives act as if they had nothing to do with extra medical fees, when the main reason hospitals, clinics, and doctors are looking for money is that the provinces do not get enough from the federal government. These kinds of practices threaten the universality of health care, which is a fundamental part of the Canada Health Act, yet the Conservatives are still planning on cutting health transfers to the provinces over the years.
    What does the minister have to say to Canadians who now have to pay hundreds of dollars each year in extra medical fees?


    Mr. Speaker, what I would say to Canadians is that we value our public health care system. That is why we now have the highest recorded health transfer dollars in history going to the provinces. In fact, we are talking record funding now. It will reach $40 billion annually by the end of the decade.
    The only government that has ever cut transfers to the provinces for health care was the previous Liberal government. We are committed to continuing to increase health transfers year after year.


    Mr. Speaker, now that Telus has decided to implement usage-based billing, middle-class Canadians, who are already paying some of the highest Internet rates in the world, will now have to pay even more. This is something the Conservatives used to rail against. Now it is common practice across the sector.
    Every month Canadians are getting nickel-and-dimed, while the current government bails on its responsibility to protect consumers. Why have the Conservatives given up the fight against usage-based billing?
    Mr. Speaker, of course that is entirely not the case. It was the President of the Treasury Board, as the industry minister, who took up the fight, went forward, and defended consumers on this very file.
    More important than that, and more broadly going forward, is that in last year's budget, and we will have announcements coming up very soon, was our connecting Canadians program to ensure that all Canadians are bound together and have full access to high-speed Internet in all parts of this country. This is an aspiration this country has had for a very long time. For 13 years, the Liberals aspired to get it done. They never got it done. Through our connecting Canadians program, in partnership with the private sector, we are going to make sure that all Canadians have access to high-speed, reliable Internet service so that they can have full participation in the digital economy and all the opportunities of the future.
    Mr. Speaker, they have had four years to act and protect consumers, and they have failed.


    All of the major Internet service providers now use usage-based billing.
    The Conservatives' empty rhetoric against this kind of billing remains just that: empty rhetoric. Canadians, who keep paying more and more for their Internet service want more than just talk; they want action.
    What is the minister doing to protect consumers and to ensure that the Internet remains accessible at a reasonable price?
     Mr. Speaker, as I just said, through our connecting Canadians program, we will continue working with the private sector and the provinces in every region of Canada to ensure that all Canadians have access to high-speed Internet in the future, to protect consumer opportunities and the economy of the future and to ensure a digital future that everyone can access.
    In economic action plan 2014, we included $405 million invested in partnership with the private sector. This will guarantee access to the digital future for every region of Canada, and we are very proud of that.



    Mr. Speaker, millions of families across Canada will benefit from our government's family tax cut and benefits plan, but New Brunswick residents are deeply concerned about a plan by the new provincial government that will allow the Liberals to raise highway tolls and taxes without first getting the consent of voters in a referendum. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is concerned that this is unfair, and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says that the Liberals are clearing the way for future tax increases.
    Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance please update this House as to what our government is doing to keep taxes low?
    Mr. Speaker, this is what Liberals consistently do: raise taxes and take money from Canadians' pockets. The federal Liberal leader has said that he could convince Canadians to accept a tax hike. According to the media, he is even looking at reversing the doubling of the children's fitness tax credit.
    We reject the Liberal high-tax plan. Our government stands with hard-working New Brunswickers and all Canadians who want to keep taxes low. We will continue to put more money back into their pockets, where it belongs.

Food Safety

    Mr. Speaker, Canadian families expect the government to make sure that the food they are putting on their family tables is safe. New reports from a CFIA inspector are actually quite distressing. She said she was regularly intimidated by abattoir operators just for trying to do her job. When she brought forward her concerns, her supervisors dismissed them.
    Is the minister aware of this situation, and if indeed the minister is, does she really think this level of oversight will keep Canadians' food safe?


    Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, in the last budget we invested another $390 million in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. That is almost $1 billion, under our government, into food safety. Today the Conference Board of Canada rates our food safety system number one against 17 other OECD countries. We are very proud of that. We can always do better.
    In terms of this issue, I am aware of it, and I have asked the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to provide a safe and respectful workplace and environment, as we all expect, and I know it will be doing that.


    Mr. Speaker, La Presse revealed today that inspectors from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are victims of intimidation when they perform their duties to the letter. They are even transferred if they report problems or are too insistent. Staff cuts are putting even more pressure on the remaining inspectors.
    Does the minister realize that the credibility of the agri-food industry and public safety are called into question by today's revelations?


    Mr. Speaker, this is an issue I take seriously, and I do expect the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to provide a very safe and healthy work environment. Of course, there are avenues. There is whistleblower protection. There is also the labour department and the Labour Code. Again, there are employee assistance programs available for any employees who may need them.



    Mr. Speaker, the closure of the Parmalat Canada plant in Marieville will result in the loss of 92 good jobs. This is a real catastrophe for our community and all the families affected.
    While the NDP is providing ideas to kick-start the economy, the Conservatives are doing nothing to keep jobs, like those in Marieville, in our small communities.
    What does the Minister of Employment and Social Development have to say to the people of Marieville who are going to lose their jobs? Why is he so insensitive to their problems?
    Mr. Speaker, it is sad for those people who will lose their jobs in this case. However, if we look at Canada's overall economy, 1.2 million net new jobs have been created since the recession.
    We definitely want to ensure that our policies, investments and approaches for the future will not only protect, but also strengthen our ability to create jobs in every region.
    That is what we are doing in the manufacturing sector, and I hope that the NDP will abandon its proposed corporate tax increases and will want to protect the quality of our jobs.


    Mr. Speaker, the Target store in my riding is slated to close within weeks. Dozens of part-time employees will be without work. Many will not qualify for EI benefits in a city where only 20% of the unemployed do. The finance minister empathized. That and no benefits buys people what? He also promised every assistance to find new jobs. There is no sign of that.
    Where is that help? What happened to the promise of help?
    Mr. Speaker, we obviously sympathize with those families who are suffering through this difficult time, but the member's question contained a clear falsehood. He said there has been no help. In fact, we have already hosted over 1,500 Target employees for information sessions on the benefits they can receive through our generous employment insurance system, on the training that is available to help them retool for new jobs, and on the jobs that are already available and vacant looking for workers at this very time.
    The last thing these families and the businesses that might hire them need is higher taxes and irresponsible government spending, which is all the NDP has to offer.

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, it is clear that this week's national round table on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls will not replace a national public inquiry. It could, however, be a step in the right direction. There is a cry for federal leadership and genuine collaboration to address this national tragedy that is ongoing.
    Why would the Prime Minister refuse to attend this week's round table on what is clearly an urgent national crisis? Is it because it is not very high on his radar?


    Mr. Speaker, as you are aware, the Minister of Status of Women and the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development will be attending the round table on behalf of the federal government.
    Since coming to office, we have taken action on this issue. That includes passing more than 30 criminal justice and public safety initiatives, including tougher sentences for murder, sexual assault, and kidnapping and mandatory prison sentences for the most serious crimes. The opposition, sadly, votes against these bills.
    Our government has taken strong action to address the broader problems facing aboriginal women.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, Igor Sechin and Vladimir Yakunin are two close friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin. While both have been sanctioned by the United States, they are not on Canada's list. The media have described Canada's sanctions against Rosneft, Mr. Sechin's company, as “relaxed”. The government's hypocritical talking points about the number of people Canada has sanctioned ring hollow with our allies and with Canadians. This is about quality, not just quantity.
    When will the government match its actions to its rhetoric and sanction Sechin and Yakunin?


    Mr. Speaker, that is not accurate. We have the toughest sanctions in the world.


    As a matter of fact, we sanctioned over 270 individuals and entities, which is more than the United States and the European Union. We need no lessons here from the Liberal Party.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, after a recent cyberattack on the National Research Council, Canadians were kept in the dark for three weeks. It seems Conservatives were more worried about how they looked in the media than about keeping Canadians informed about the latest security breach.
    Communications security officials say every cyberattack on government networks last year could have been stopped if computers had been properly protected. Why did the government keep this breach under wraps, and what is it doing to better protect against these cyberattacks?


    Mr. Speaker, we take cyberattacks very seriously. That is why we implemented a strategy to fight cyberattacks and why we are investing $245 million. It is important for Canada—the government, our industries and the general public—to protect itself from these attacks, and we are going to continue to invest and introduce measures to enhance cybersecurity in our country.
    Mr. Speaker, this summer, the National Research Council of Canada network was hacked. Highly strategic information belonging to Canadian companies and scientists was allegedly stolen. Nevertheless, the National Research Council did not inform the public until three weeks later.
    Does the government realize that its lack of transparency is undermining the trust needed for Canadian researchers to work together?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my colleague that our Conservative government is the one that implemented the first cybersecurity strategy. We are investing $245 million in that strategy, which seeks to protect government entities, promote co-operation with the private sector and encourage individuals to protect themselves from cyberthreats.
    We take cyberthreats seriously and we are acting accordingly.



    Mr. Speaker, Canadian families know that we are the only party that trusts parents to do what is right for their own families. That is why our government has taken real action to help Canadian families by introducing the family tax cut and the enhanced universal child care benefit.
    Could the Minister of State for Social Development please update the House on our government's initiatives to put more money in the pockets of Canadian families?
    Mr. Speaker, I especially want to highlight today the expanded universal child care benefit for parents who have children between the ages of seven and 17. It is a brand new benefit that provides $60 a month for every child between those ages.
    Parents have never received that benefit before. We would encourage parents to talk to their accountant, look at the CRA website, or call another Conservative member of Parliament to find out about those benefits.
    However, parents should not talk to opposition members. They would take that benefit away.


Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is sitting on its hands instead of bringing Mohamed Fahmy home. Fahmy is free on bail while he waits retrial. The Liberal Party has repeatedly called on the Prime Minister to step in, but so far there has been no response from the PMO. Why is the Prime Minister sitting on the sidelines? Why will he not pick up the phone, call the president, and secure Canadian Mohamed Fahmy's freedom?
    Mr. Speaker, the Canadian government, including myself, the former minister of foreign affairs, and the Prime Minister, has been raising the case with Egyptian officials at the highest level for some time. Canada advocates for the same treatment of Mr. Fahmy as other foreign nationals have received.
    We continue to call for his immediate and full release. The prospect for Mr. Fahmy to continue to stand trial is unacceptable, but our officials are providing consular assistance to Mr. Fahmy, and we are ensuring his well-being.


National Capital Commission

    Mr. Speaker, the mayors of Ottawa and Gatineau are working hard to better coordinate their efforts. They both say that the NCC finally considers them to be real partners. What is worrisome, however, is that the new minister responsible for the NCC declared that he would fight for the people of Ottawa. Once again the Conservatives are ignoring the Outaouais.
    Will the minister rectify this situation and focus on issues that matter to people on both sides of the river, such as protecting Gatineau Park?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is obviously working on improving the quality of life of all people in the national capital region. I have the honour to represent the Ottawa side, but I would be quite honoured to work with the hon. member and other members of the House to help the people on the other side of the river.
    We have a great country and we can work together to improve it.


Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, our government is proud to support projects that create jobs, grow the economy, and protect the environment. That is why we have invested significantly more than the Liberals did in clean energy technology, and these investments are achieving results.
    Can the Minister of Natural Resources tell the House about the actions we are taking to promote jobs and growth in the natural resources sector?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Thornhill for his question. Yes, last week, I was in Quebec City and Toronto. There was a media frenzy around our announcements of significant support for world-leading ecotechnology.
    Our sustainable development technology Canada fund is bringing clean tech and clean green-energy solutions to the marketplace and creating good jobs for Canadians. For every dollar invested by our government, the marketplace has responded with 14 private sector dollars for the more than 57 mature companies accessing this fund. We can contrast that with the Liberal carbon tax that would raise the price of everything.
    Canadians can count on this government and the clean energy sector to protect the environment without—


    The hon. member for Montcalm.


    Mr. Speaker, thalidomide victims have been patient so far. These survivors are models of bravery and resilience. In spite of serious disabilities and often with limited resources, they have continued to fight for compensation, .
    We need to remember that these people were victims of greed and the Canadian government's mismanagement and that we all agreed to compensate them.
    Can the Minister of Health tell us when these victims will receive compensation? Can she at least start making the lump sum payments in the coming weeks?


    Mr. Speaker, this tragic event, while it happened in the 1960s, continues to remind us of the importance of patient safety and drug safety, which is something our government is firmly committed to.
    I continue to be in contact with Mercedes and the thalidomide survivors association, and we are working toward a resolution.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, U.S. President Barack Obama recently commented that the climate crisis is a bigger threat to security than terrorism, whereas here in Canada, the RCMP has put forward a report that characterizes people working for progress on the climate crisis as anti-petroleum ideologues. It reflects a real lack of understanding of the science.
    This is very worrying, particularly in light of the measures proposed in Bill C-51. To the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, what measures will he take to educate the RCMP as to the real threat of climate change so that it understands the science and understands that the threat is not the people who want to get us off of fossil fuels but the people who pander to the oil industry?


    Mr. Speaker, Canada's approach is generating results. Our economy has grown substantially, while greenhouse gas emissions have decreased. Our per capita emissions are now at their lowest since tracking began in 1990. We have one of the cleanest electricity systems in the world, with 79% of our electricity supply emitting no greenhouse gas emissions. Canada also became the first major coal user to ban the construction of traditional coal-fired electricity generation units.
    We will continue to move forward with regulatory measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining job creation and economic growth.


International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, in September, Canada and Europe signed a free trade agreement that had been finalized a year earlier. Dairy producers have been worried ever since the agreement was signed. A number of small producers in my region are worried they will have to close up shop if nothing is done to compensate for the massive influx of subsidized European cheese on the market.
    The Conservative government said it would compensate producers. However, to this day, dairy producers still do not know how the government plans to address the supply management problem that threatens Quebec's fifth-largest industry.
    My question is this: exactly how does the government plan to protect this industry from the downsides of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement?


    Mr. Speaker, our government has always defended Canada's supply management system, and this agreement will continue to do so.
    The three pillars of our domestic system of supply management remain intact. We will monitor any impact of this historic agreement on dairy producers' income, and if production levels are negatively affected, we will assist them financially.


Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, I have to say that I did not hear a very clear answer.
    On January 27, I asked a question in the House about the inhumane situation that blogger Raif Badawi has been subjected to for far too long. I know the government has already said several times that it has called for clemency and has asked the Saudi government to set aside the sentence, but the government must see that that is not enough and that it is time to get serious.
    The blogger's health is deteriorating by the day, and his wife and children fear for his life. We cannot continue to sit idly by as he continues to suffer.
    Will this government commit to taking real action? Will it tell us in concrete terms what it plans to do to liberate Mr. Badawi and reunite him with his family in Canada?


    Mr. Speaker, we are concerned about the loss of dignity and human rights and we are calling for this to be respected, keeping in mind this person is not Canadian and we can only do what we can do.

Presence in Gallery

    I would like to draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of Mr. Andriy Parubiy, First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Ukraine.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]


Committees of the House

Public Accounts 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the following reports of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts: the 12th report on Chapter 6, Transfer Payment Programs—Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, of the spring 2014 Report of the Auditor General of Canada; the 13th report on Chapter 3, Aggressive Tax Planning, of the spring 2014 Report of the Auditor General of Canada; and the 14th report on Chapter 2, Support for Combatting Transnational Crime, of the fall 2014 Report of the Auditor General of Canada.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109 of the House of Commons, the committee requests the government table a comprehensive response for the 12th, 13th and 14th reports.



Business of the House

[Business of the House]
    That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practices of the House, any Member rising to speak during the debate pursuant to Standing Order 53.1 on Tuesday, February 24, 2015, may indicate to the Chair that he or she will be dividing his or her time with another Member.
    He said: Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and I believe you will find unanimous consent for this 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)

    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties in the House, and I move:
    That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, on Wednesday, February 25, 2015, (a) any recorded division deferred, or deemed deferred, to that day shall be taken up at the conclusion of oral questions; and (b) any recorded division demanded in respect of a debatable motion, other than an item of private members' business, on that day shall be deemed deferred to the conclusion of oral questions on the next sitting day which is not a Friday.
    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)


Impaired Driving  

[Routine Proceedings]
    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a number of petitions signed by Canadian citizens.
    The petitioners would like to see tougher laws and the implementation of new mandatory minimum sentencing for those persons convicted of impaired driving causing death. They also would like to see the Criminal Code of Canada changed to redefine the offence of impaired driving causing death as vehicular manslaughter.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to table a petition from Canadians in support of the New Democrats' climate change accountability bill.
    The petitioners state concerns that the government has failed to address climate change and its impacts on the day-to-day lives of Canadians, and the fact that the Government of Canada has cancelled the eco-energy retrofit program, which saves taxpayer dollars.
    Mr. Speaker, I have received a series of petitions from people in Thunder Bay—Superior North and northwestern Ontario. The petitioners are concerned about the NWMO's, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, plan to bury waste, quite likely in 1 of 15 northern Ontario communities
    The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to not allow the construction of nuclear waste depositories in northern Ontario, nor the transport of radioactive material through northern Ontario communities.


    Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition signed by a number of folks in my riding who are calling on the government to adopt international aid policies that support small family farmers, recognizing their vital role in the struggle against hunger and poverty, to ensure that Canadian policies and programs are developed in consultation with these small family farmers and that they protect the rights of small family farmers in the global south to preserve, use and freely exchange seed.


Consumer Protection  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to present a number of petitions on behalf of the residents of my riding.
    The first pertains to abusive credit card and ATM fees. The people of my riding are also calling on the government to do away with the controversial $2 fee that people have to pay to get a paper copy of their bills delivered to their homes.


    Mr. Speaker, the second petition calls on the government to adopt legislation that includes international aid policies that support small farmers, especially women, and recognize their essential role in the fight against hunger and poverty. It also calls on the government to do away with the controversial seed legislation.


    Mr. Speaker, I bring forward today a petition signed by many of my constituents asking for the government to look at ways in which it could adopt international aid policies that support small family farmers, especially women, and recognize their vital role in the struggle against hunger and poverty.
    The petitioners ask that we ensure that policies and programs are developed in consultation with small family farmers and that they protect the rights of small family farmers in the global south to preserve, use and freely exchange seeds.

Shark Finning  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today with two petitions.
    The first petition is from hundreds of residents primarily from the Halifax area who call on the government to take action to stop the trade, possession and sale of shark fins in Canada.
    We do not fish for shark fins within Canada, but the trade in them from other countries is a threat to millions of the species around the world.


Mining Industry  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is signed by residents in my riding of Saanich—Gulf Islands, particularly Victoria.
    The petitioners call upon the government to take action, as some private members' bills have attempted to do, on corporate responsibility in the mining sector, particularly for the creation of an ombudsman to investigate complaints, to make findings public and to recommend actions to improve the sustainability and respect for human rights within Canadian mining companies abroad.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to present a petition today in support of the climate change accountability act.
    The signatories to the petition draw the attention of the House to their concern about the inaction of successive federal governments to address climate change, all the while giving billions of dollars of public money away in the form of oil and gas industry subsidies.
    The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to support the NDP's climate change accountability act, a law that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and hold the government accountable for doing so.


    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition today from 200 of my constituents in the city of Burnaby and the city of New Westminster as well as a handful of people from Vancouver and Surrey in beautiful British Columbia.
    The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada and the House of Commons to commit to adopting international aid policies that support small family farmers, especially women, and recognize the vital role they play in the struggle against hunger and poverty. They also call upon the Government of Canada to ensure that Canadian policies and programs are developed in consultation with small family farmers and that they protect the rights of small family farmers in the global south to preserve, use and freely exchange seeds.

Questions on the Order Paper

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

Government Orders

[Government Orders]


Anti-terrorism Act, 2015

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to join in this critical debate on Bill C-51 as we, like parliamentarians around the world, continue to seek ways of safeguarding our country's security in the face of terrorism, while securing also our rights and freedoms, as we have been grappling with for so many years.
    Indeed, after the attacks of September 11, 2001, it was said then that the whole world had changed. Anti-terrorism law and policy became principle and priority not only for our government but for governments everywhere. It was, in fact, mandated by the UN Security Council Resolution 1377, adopted in the months following 9/11, which called upon states to unequivocally condemn “all acts, methods and practices of terrorism as criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, in all their forms and manifestations, wherever and by whomever committed”.
    I must state, parenthetically for reasons of time but not unimportantly, that the notion of a parliamentary debate when time allocation has been imposed on this comprehensive and crucial legislation is, to put it mildly, a misnomer.
    First, Bill C-51 is not simply one act. It is omnibus anti-terrorist legislation composed of five different acts. It is not just one bill but five bills bundled together into one omnibus legislation of compelling character. Each bill, whether it deals with cross-government information sharing and coordination and enhanced powers for that purpose; or the securing of air travel, or Criminal Code amendments, including lowering thresholds for terrorism-related peace bonds; or expanded powers of detention; or a new offence of knowingly advocating or promoting terrorism or being reckless in that advocacy; or legislation to expand the powers of CSIS, what is referred as “threat disruption activities”; all impact on national security agencies and on those national security powers. There is also, which has almost not been discussed at all, amending the security certificate procedural regime for government appeals of court ordered disclosures.
    Underpinning all of this, and tucked away in the information sharing act and provisions, but only there, is an effective reframing of a terrorist threat as a threat to national security, a selective redoing not only of our anti-terrorism law but our national security law, and where a terrorist threat is conflated with a national security threat, which can include also threats to economic and fiscal stability or a threat to the infrastructure and the like. In other words, it is a reframing that is being carried out without the necessary debate on this crucial legislation.
    Admittedly, over a decade after 9/11, the world may well have changed again, and we must continue to ensure that the enhanced powers are to be found in our law and vested in our national security agency for purposes of protecting Canadians from terrorist threats with the tools needed to counter those threats. However, what has not changed are the fundamental principles that must underpin our approach to combatting terrorism.
    I outlined those principles when I appeared both before the House and Senate justice and public safety committees respectively as minister of justice a decade ago, and I will recall them now in the context of this present parliamentary debate on a new bill, Bill C-51, but reflecting and representing a long-standing global challenge.
    Let me summarize the foundational principles.
    The first fundamental principle is that there is no inherent contradiction between the protection of our security and the protection of human rights. As I wrote in the wake of October's assault on our parliamentary precinct and of the murders of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, while we often hear about the need to strike a balance between protecting Canadians from attack and protecting individual freedoms, we must remember that these are not mutually exclusive objectives or opposite ends of the spectrum, but rather an appropriate and effective strategy that must view security and rights, not as concepts in conflict, but as values that are inextricably linked.


    In other words, terrorism constitutes an assault on the security of our democracy and an assault on our fundamental rights to life, liberty, and security of the person. In this sense, therefore, anti-terrorism law and policy are intended to protect the security of a democracy like Canada and to protect our fundamental rights to life, liberty, and security of the person.
    However, the reverse is also true and must be read together as part of this foundational principle, namely, that anti-terrorism law and policy must always adhere to the rule of law and must always comport to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Torture must, everywhere and always, be prohibited. Minorities must never be singled out for differential or discriminatory treatment. Also, as we emphasized 10 years ago when tabling legislation to that effect and as I emphasize again, such anti-terrorism law and policy must also be subject to a comprehensive oversight review and accountability mechanisms.
    This leads me to the next principle, which might be called the “contextual principle”. By this, I refer to the approach taken by the Supreme Court, according to which charter rights and any limits imposed on them must be analyzed not in the abstract but in the factual context that gives rise to them. As such, the debate we are having today must be anchored in the reality of the increasingly lethal, if not barbaric, and international nature of terrorism; the proliferation of transnational terrorist entities that invoke Islam at the same time as they subvert it for their purpose; the increasing potential for cyberterrorism; the sophistication of transnational communications, transportation, and financial networks, including the explosive use of social media, which ISIS alone is said to be using 100,000 times a day; the increasing radicalization of those exposed, for example, to these social media, including our Canadian youth; and the potential for what in our recent experiences have been characterized as “lone-wolf terrorists”.
    This brings me to the third principle. The third principle is that the threat posed by terrorism, which is increasingly transnational in character, must be part of a global response. Indeed, previous Canadian anti-terrorist measures have implemented international conventions and undertakings mandated by the UN Security Council, which I referred to earlier, and we must continue, therefore, not only to mobilize our domestic legal arsenal against terrorism but also to participate in strengthening international mechanisms to confront this international threat.
    Let there be no mistake about it: when we deal with such terrorists, we are dealing with Nuremberg crimes and Nuremberg criminals, with hostis humani generis, with enemies of humankind. Our domestic criminal-law, due-process model standing alone is insufficient. It must be joined with the overall international legal arsenal, and much of our anti-terrorism law and policies in fact must be anchored in the 14 anti-terrorism international treaties for that purpose.
    The fourth principle flows from the third one. It is that nonetheless there still is a need for due-process safeguards in the application and implementation of our domestic criminal law. This remains of vital importance and must be included in any foundational underpinnings for this and other anti-terrorism legislation.
    The fifth principle is that of proportionality. As the Supreme Court has ruled, there must be a proportionality between the effects of the measures for limiting charter or other rights under this legislation and the objective that has been identified as sufficient importance.
    There can be no doubt that the threat of transnational terrorism comports with the first requirement of a proportionality test, namely, that there be a substantial and compelling objective for the limitation of charter and other rights. However, we must still ensure that the measures we enact respect this principle in other ways: they must be tailored specifically to their objective and not be over-broad or vague; they must intrude as little as possible upon our charter rights and other rights, and not undercut any of them; and their impact on civil liberties must not outweigh their remedial character.
    This leads me to the sixth principle. We must consider and learn from anti-terrorism measures proposed and enacted in other jurisdictions similar to our own, and indeed from our own previous experiences in this regard. All free and democratic societies are grappling with the same issues we are grappling with today, and their efforts to remain both secure and free must be considered as part of our deliberations.


    The seventh principle is the need for counterterrorism measures to focus on prevention. Admittedly, we must seek to disable and dismantle terrorist networks and disrupt terrorist plots before they result in injury and death, and that accounts for the enhanced approach to giving increased power to CSIS. However, it also means that those powers that are invested in CSIS must obey principles of proportionality. It also means intervening to prevent or undo radicalization and supporting local and community initiatives in this regard.
    To conclude, we must emphasize the importance of oversight, of an accountability mechanism, and of a parliamentary review mechanism, all of which are missing in the present legislation.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are fundamentally opposed to taking away passports from those who would travel overseas and engage in terrorist activities. In fact, the leader of the Liberal Party went as far as saying it was against Canadian values.
    However, with respect to the passenger protect program, we are actually expanding the legislation so that we could issue a no-board order for someone who is suspected of travelling overseas to engage in terrorist activities. As well, there would be certain provisions with regard to terrorism, such as peace bonds. Also, judges could impose conditions, such as surrender of a passport.
     My question for the member of the Liberal Party is this: does he agree with his leader that it is against Canadian values, or has he somehow come to the realization that these provisions in the bill are needed and the Liberal Party has decided to support it, or is this a section of the bill that the Liberal Party is actually against?
    Mr. Speaker, I set forth some foundational principles that would apply to this specific issue as well as others. When I said that we need to invest certain powers, I was referring in particular to those that relate to parts of part 3 and to part 4 of the bill. The hon. member has referred to part 2.
    This brings me exactly to the point I was saying. The bill has five major pieces of legislation bundled together in omnibus anti-terrorism legislation. I would be delighted if the hon. member, since we cannot do it here in debate, would allow us in committee to address the whole issue of securing air travel, which she mentioned in particular, as well as each of the other facets of this omnibus anti-terrorism legislation, which time does not permit us to address here. I suspect, if precedent be our guide, that we will not be able to do so in committee either.


    Mr. Speaker, the member has indicated a lot of areas where there should be some oversight. On this side of the House, we believe it is extremely important to have oversight when it comes to CSIS and the RCMP. We need to have that oversight.
    However, the Liberal Party is willing to pass the legislation even though that oversight is not there. That is quite problematic. It is willing to do it afterward, either during a federal election by campaigning on it or doing it only later on, when they think they are going to form the government. Well, it is no surprise that we cannot predict the future. We need to ensure that the safety of Canadians is in place, but we also have to make sure that their rights are also protected.
    François Lavigne was a CSIS officer. He used to be with the RCMP as well. He spent years tracking dangerous radicals without the powers the government wants to give to CSIS. There are currently powers in place. There are mechanisms, practices, and laws necessary for dealing with terrorists in section 46 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
    Therefore, I wonder if my colleague could explain why this former CSIS worker is saying we should not be going down this route but Liberals are saying that we should go down this route.
    Mr. Speaker, the primary thrust of the hon. member's remarks had to do with the question of oversight mechanisms and the issue of our support for legislation which may not, at the end day, have such an oversight mechanism.
    The point is that we are hoping that there will be not only oversight mechanisms but review and accountability mechanisms as well. That is why we are proposing them.
    I was one of a number of Canadians who signed on to a statement that was published on February 19 in The Globe and Mail. This statement calls for just such an integrated series of oversight, review, and accountability mechanisms, with Parliament at its core. I would hope that the government, which looks to public opinion and finds that some 80% of Canadians are in support of this bill, will also look to the fact that two-thirds of Canadians also want a robust and integrated oversight mechanism system that has a parliamentary review mechanism and parliamentary oversight at its core as part of overall accountability.
     This is something that was called for in the Arar commission, which we as a Liberal government set up. We tabled legislation in 2005 calling for such an oversight mechanism. All parliamentarians agreed to it. We lost the election, and for the last 10 years, the Conservative government has done nothing about implementing that mechanism. I hope the Conservatives will do it now.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to discuss Bill C-51, anti-terrorism act, 2015.
    This is important legislation that was developed with much consultation. In the wake of the horrific terrorist attacks this past October, our Conservative government, led by the Prime Minister, the Minister of Public Safety, and the Minister of Justice, consulted with Canadians from coast to coast while they were developing the legislation before us today.
    We saw the results of those consultations when statistics come out last week: four out of every five Canadians fully support this legislation. That is because they know that the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada. Canadians are being targeted by jihadi terrorists simply because they hate our society and the values it represents.
    That is why our government has put forward these measures that protect Canadians against the 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 not sitting on the sidelines, as some would have us do, and is instead joining our allies and supporting the international coalition in the fight against ISIL. In line with measures taken by our allies, these new measures will specifically ensure that our law enforcement and national securities agencies of Canada counter those who would advocate terrorism, prevent terrorist travel and the efforts of those who seek to use Canada as a recruiting ground, and disrupt planned attacks on Canadian soil.
    I 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 protections in this legislation to do exactly that.
    It is currently not a criminal offence to advocate or promote terrorism. The ability to arrest someone who in general terms is advocating or promoting the activity of terrorism does not exist. The threshold for arrest under the Criminal Code is specific to someone who knowingly instructs, directly or indirectly, any persons to carry out terrorist activity.
    The anti-terrorism act, 2015, makes it an offence to advocate or promote terrorism in broader terms, a measure that is supported by 90% of Canadians, according to a survey done by the Angus Reid Institute. The fundamental fact is that our police and national security agencies are working to protect our rights and our freedoms, and it is jihadi terrorists who endanger our security and would take away our freedoms.
    CSIS currently does not have the legal mandate to take action to disrupt threats to Canada in order to keep Canadians safe. When the CSIS Act was originally developed, Soviet espionage was the greatest threat to our national security. Today, violent jihadists are the greatest threats to Canada and Canadians, and the threat continues to evolve. It is imperative that we provide our national security agencies with the tools they require to face this evolving global threat.
    Let us look at a case study. A terrorist entity puts up a terrorist-promoting propaganda video on YouTube, which concludes with the words “Attack Canada” on the screen. No description of the kind of attacks to be carried out is given. Under the current law, counselling the commission of a terrorism offence is criminal, whether the attack is carried out or not. However, the counselling must relate to committing a specific terrorist offence, for example, counselling someone to kill someone for a political, religious, or ideological purpose.
    In the case study, there is insufficient detail to allow one to conclude that the person was counselling to do a specific terrorism offence in the Criminal Code to kill someone, as opposed to disrupting an essential service. Under the new anti-terrorism act, posting such a video, with its call to carry out attacks in Canada in general, which is a form of active encouragement, would now be caught by the criminal law.
    With respect to oversight, I think third-party, non-partisan, independent expert oversight of our national security agencies is a better model than political intervention in the process. Furthermore, the key powers of the new legislation are subject to judicial review and authorization. In fact, any activity that infringes on a person's privacy or charter rights would require a warrant, such as entering a person's home to remove their passport, or tampering with a possible chemical weapon to render it harmless.


    I would like to acknowledge the concerns raised by the Liberals and the NDP regarding resources for national security agencies.
    Our Conservative government has already increased the resources available to our national security agencies by one third. The Liberals and the NDP voted against these increases each step of the way. Seven times our Conservative government brought forward proposals for more funds for these agencies, and seven times the NDP and the Liberals voted against these measures.
    Despite the Liberals' and the NDP's votes against these increases, our government will continue to ensure that our national security agencies have the resources they need to keep Canadians safe.
    I mentioned earlier in my comments that Canadians had expressed strong support for the legislation. I would like to take this time to discuss what some prominent Canadians think about the legislation before us today.
    CSIS director, Michel Coulombe, said:
     Last fall, two terrorist attacks took place in Canada, the first one in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and the second in downtown Ottawa. Since then, the threat has accelerated as extremist groups call for additional attacks on Canada.
[...] CSIS welcomes the introduction of legislation to better enable the government to safeguard the nation's security interests. The new legislation will help CSIS protect Canadian lives from a terrorist threat unprecedented in our country's history.
    What is more, Bob Paulson, the Commissioner of the RCMP said, “The recent terrorist attacks on Canada and against our allies have shown us that the threat can materialize rapidly and that we cannot be complacent when it comes to terrorism. The proposed legislation would provide the RCMP with new tools to carry out its national security criminal investigations and, ultimately, to keep Canadians safe”.
    Members opposite may say it is a certainty that the national security agencies whose powers would be enhanced would be supportive. They may say that they are interested in a view from the academics.
    Queen's University professor, Christian Leuprecht, said:
     There's a balance to be struck here between civil liberties and between protecting individual, public, and community safety [...] I think the government is trying very hard to strike a fine line and find a middle ground....
    The opposition may say that none of that which I have cited speaks to oversight.
    To that, I would answer with comments from Ron Atkey, the first chairman of the Security Intelligence Review Committee. He said:
     Some of the instant critics [...] have missed the mark in decrying lack of oversight. [...]
    But regarding new powers of terrorism disruption to be given to CSIS, oversight is alive and well.
    I would also like to cite S.A. McCartan, a criminal prosecutor, in Ontario. He said:
     Canada is alone amongst Western countries in not allowing its spy agencies any powers whatsoever to prevent terror. It is alone in having a spy agency still operating 30 years in the past. It's time to fix that.
    Last, I would like to quote two esteemed members of Canada's Jewish community.
    David Cape, chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said:
     We welcome this legislation which enhances the capacity of authorities to address a growing threat in our society. We are supportive of the Government of Canada's efforts to respond to the terrorist threat in as comprehensive and forceful a way as possible.
    Avi Benlolo, of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, said:
     It is especially significant that this new legislation will enable the removal of websites promoting jihad and related materials on the Internet. Jewish communities are a favourite target of jihadis, and the provisions of this bill will do a great deal to help ensure the safety and security of all Canadians as we continue to fight this threat to western democracies [...]
    As I said earlier, 82% of Canadians support the legislation.
    I am proud to be part of a government that is standing up for the wishes of Canadians, as well as delivering important measures to keep them safe.



    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his remarks. I am sure that he is acting in good faith, but the problem is that history has proven him wrong.
    We are experiencing a new version of October 1970. In October 1970, the government panicked as it scrambled to respond to a terrorist threat, much like the current government is doing now. Parliament voted on a law and the government acted on it. Over 300 people were imprisoned, and it was not until much later that we realized that none of those individuals had any ties to the Front de libération du Québec.
    We need only look at the debates I have here in my hand. Jean Marchand said that there were 5,000 FLQ members in Quebec. David Lewis responded that if we wanted to catch them, we had to begin by making sure that our RCMP officers spoke French.
    The question is quite simple. Is it not better to have police officers than useless laws that put innocent people in prison?



    Mr. Speaker, it is not surprising that New Democrats bring forward fearmongering tactics. They talk about an isolated incident that occurred. New Democrats automatically assume that CSIS and the RCMP would be the body to commit abuse and human rights abuses. I think that is an unfair assumption. This is simply speculation, and if, for some reason, serious human rights abuses occur, then not only is SIRC in place as an oversight body, but so too are the courts.
    This is a judicial oversight at the front end of the process, and new powers are provided to our judicial authorities to tackle this at the front end. I am confident that they will be quite capable of doing that.
    Mr. Speaker, whether it is SIRC or our courts, it has been very clearly illustrated to the Government of Canada that it is just not good enough.
    It is not just the Liberal Party or Canadians as a whole who are saying that. We have seen other jurisdictions, including the United States, England, Australia and others that have recognized the value of parliamentary oversight, which is what we have been advocating.
    At some point, because of time allocation, the bill will be going to committee sooner as opposed to later. My question to the member is, to what degree does he believe that the government will respond to amendments from the opposition, given its past track record for not accepting opposition motions or amendments?
    If there are solid amendments that are supported, does he believe that the government is obligated, at the very least morally, to not only entertain them, but to also allow them to be passed so that we can improve the quality of the legislation that the Liberals are in principle supporting?
    Mr. Speaker, in response to the hon. member, that is the purpose of committee work, and that is why we encourage this legislation to get to committee and not be held up in the House.
    In my role as a committee member on public accounts and the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, we take the opposition's views quite seriously. We do listen and we bring forward witnesses. The whole purpose of that process is so that we ultimately bring forward good solid legislation.
    Although I am not on the public safety committee, I have confidence that all members will take the questions very seriously.
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have the opportunity to speak to this bill, though many of my colleagues in the House who would also like an opportunity to speak to such an important bill that mixes security and freedom will not have one because we are under time allocation.
    Bill C-51 makes it very clear that the Prime Minister meant what he said when he remarked that we would not recognize Canada when he got through with the bill. The party of one will make sure that this country is not the same after his reign is finished. We will not recognize Canada after Bill C-51 is made law and used for many years. We will not recognize what this bill can do to Canada, including today when we stand to speak about a couple of jihadist threats that have potentially occurred in Canada and speak about the bill in that regard. We will not recognize what the bill would do to Canada because it will come in the actions of CSIS over many years, as CSIS uses its new powers to work in Canadian society and, through Bill C-44, in various ways abroad to change the very nature of Canadian society.
    The Conservative Prime Minister has demonstrated time and again that disagreement is not something he tolerates or understands. In fact, we heard the former Public Safety minister Vic Toews call environmentalists eco-terrorists in 2012. The current finance minister, in his time as natural resources minister, basically made the same kinds of remarks.
    We live in a world where we know that we have to balance the environment and the economy and where those questions require debate, disagreement and, many times, civil confrontation. Now there would be a new set of rules. It is hard to think that that type of interaction could in any way be a threat to national security when we talk about how we are balancing what we do in this country between the environment and the economy, but that is quite clearly laid out in this bill. It underlies this bill.
    This bill would likely create even greater divisions and alienation in our society than exist now. That is generally what happens when there is more authoritarian and secretive behaviour in society, with more opportunities for collusion under the law to take out the people who are not liked or the people who are somehow thought to be threats to Canada.
    When one views the government's actions and words of concern about environmentalists, it is understandable that many Canadians are starting to speak up about Bill C-51. Yes, the initial poll showed that a lot of Canadians liked the idea of security against terrorism; but did they understand what was in the bill, and are the Conservatives allowing them to understand that by continuing this debate in the House of Commons? No, they are not. They are closing the debate down because they know darn well that as this debate continues and things come out, others will ask for a better bill and a better understanding of the nature of what the Conservatives are proposing.
    To be specific, Bill C-51 threatens our way of life by asking Canadians to choose between their security and their freedoms. It asks Canadians to choose, but the Conservatives do not actually ask Canadians; they simply put this bill forward, apply closure, and send it through committee in very little time. That is what will happen.


    A bill like this should take time. We should be at it for months, maybe a year, getting the bill right. We do not have any rush. After Air India, we did not change anything for many years. We did not have significant problems. We are not having significant problems today.
    Bill C-51 was not developed in consultation with other parties. That is very much the case. This thing was brought up in a very big rush after October 2014, as we heard commentators from the Conservatives Party say here today.
    The bill irresponsibly provides CSIS with a sweeping new mandate without equally increasing oversight. Actually, there is no oversight; there is review, and we need to keep those separate. There is the Security Intelligence Review Committee, which is not an oversight committee but a review committee that looks at things the agency has done long after it is finished. Oversight says more immediacy. The Conservatives say that a judge will do that, but only if CSIS takes it to a judge. In many cases, they may not.
    I want to talk about threat disruption, which is an interesting subject. When we think of groups that may be formed to do something the government opposes, like environmental action, CSIS might say, “Then if they might do something unlawful in the future, perhaps we should get involved right now to deal with threat disruption. Maybe we should put a CSIS member into that organization. Maybe we should undermine the organization first before it becomes a problem”. That would fit under the law. That is called threat disruption. If we disrupt something before the unlawful action is taken, how can anyone prove there was unlawful action? This works both ways. We can disrupt people now because we think in the future they may do something wrong.
    The bill does not provide anything to make our society work better. The bill does not do anything to build communities, to build understanding—absolutely nothing. It is all secretive. It is all behind the scenes. There is nothing here that says we have a job to do in our society to bring people together.
    When we look at the promotion of terrorism, how can we judge that? How can we judge the promotion of terrorism? What is incitement to terrorism? Is it someone saying that their son or daughter has been injured, that they are angry about it and that they do not like what the government has done. Is that incitement to terrorism? What is being suggested in this?
    Quite obviously the government has made the bill so large that it simply cannot answer those questions today. How will we answer them in the future? It will only be through the actions of what happens here. If we have oversight by parliamentarians, we may have a chance to control some of the bill going forward. If we do not, then we will rely on non-elected individuals to determine what the bill does, and that is simply wrong.
    Why do we not deal with this in a better fashion than what the government has proposed to do? Why did we go in this direction? The party of one is responsible for this. The Prime Minister would not come into Parliament and stand to speak to the bill. He chose to do it somewhere where he did not have anyone to criticize him, to ask him questions. Why would someone make such a large effort to promote the bill without that type of commentary in the House? I really find that wrong-headed, but it is more the style of this Prime Minister, the party of one.
    Clearly, we oppose the bill. We will continue to oppose the bill because it is not done right. It will not protect Canadians. It will affect their rights in the future. We do not understand exactly how it will affect their rights, but it will do that without the proper oversight of parliamentarians.


    Mr. Speaker, in his speech the member alluded to the fact there is no immediacy with this and that we should take a year to debate this kind of bill. I wonder how many incidents have to happen before a bill like this is necessary. How many threats does this country have to receive, how many incidents have to happen, how many times does it have to happen internationally before this House should be vigilant, take action, and make sure the legislative tools are in place for our security forces to ensure that the next incident is not one of catastrophic proportions? That is what this government is trying to do right now. Why would he want to delay that?
    Mr. Speaker, to answer that I think I would go back to another generation, my father's generation, and the individuals who went to fight for our freedoms and values in the Second World War. They did not fight there to lose those values or to see them taken away by legislation in the House. Therefore, when we deal with those types of issues, when we think of the 50,000 individuals who died in the Second World War while standing up for those rights and freedoms, then we of course deal with this very carefully.
     What the government has proposed does not allow us to do that. The legislation is far too broad. I have pointed out a number of areas that we need to work on. If the government does not want to work on these, if it continues in the same fashion it has had with all the other legislation it has brought before Parliament in the last four years of its majority term, this simply will go ahead.


    Mr. Speaker, the New Democrats have been relatively clear in their position that they will vote against this bill in the House. Outside the House the leader of the New Democratic Party has now indicated that he would not scrap the bill if the NDP were elected, but that he would definitely make some changes to it.
    The position of the Liberal Party has been that the legislation includes initiatives that are ultimately worth passing, but that the bill falls short. There is a real need for amendments, one of them with respect to parliamentary oversight, an issue that I have raised time and again when asking questions today.
    Therefore, my question for the member is this. Can he explain to the House the actual position of the NDP? If they were to form government, is the leader of the New Democrats right when he said that they would not scrap the legislation they so adamantly oppose today?
    Mr. Speaker, the reality of what we will do with this bill will be clear tonight when we vote against it. That is very clear. There will not be any question about what our motives or our intentions are tonight. We will vote against it.
    The Liberals are the ones who are jumping up and down and squirming in their seat trying to figure out how they can both support and not support it. We do not like this legislation. We do not think it is proper. We will vote against it tonight.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. friend from the Northwest Territories for his presentation, and the official opposition for standing against this legislation.
    Having read and reviewed it, the more I look at the bill the more I find bizarre provisions within it. I want to highlight one of them, which is that this bill authorizes CSIS to operate outside of Canada, but only requires that it get a warrant if it plans to break a domestic law. I do not know if the official opposition has studied this to figure out if CSIS has any restrictions whatsoever, except for it not to cause bodily harm, kill anyone, or violate their sexual integrity, if it intends to go to another country and break the law there.
    Mr. Speaker, Bill C-44, the bill that went through the House previously, gave CSIS the ability to work outside the country and only obey Canadian laws. That is something that other international spy agencies do, but we have not done so in the past. Now we have a situation where we will do this type of work, which will obviously come back on us should others do the same to us.
    I think Canada has changed its whole international perspective of trying to bring countries together and conciliate into an incredible jingoistic approach, a man-with-a-big-hat-and-no-cattle approach.
    Mr. Speaker, it is truly an honour to rise today to speak about such important and noteworthy legislation. The anti-terrorism act, 2015 proposes changes that hold great promise in terms of enhancing Canada's capacity to confront the terrorist threat.
    Let me be clear. The international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada and her allies. This is because they despise modern society. They would take away rights for women. They would go back to barbaric, theocratic laws. On this side of the House, we will not stand for any action or inaction that gives these terrorists any power in the world, though some on the other side of the House may disagree.
    During my time today I could speak at length about any one of a number of meaningful changes that will help us address the threats our country faces at the hands of violent extremists and individuals who travel abroad for terrorist purposes. Specifically, they include the need for measures to counter advocating terrorism on the Internet; amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to better protect classified information for immigration proceedings; the expansion of the passenger protect program as a further step in confronting the challenge of terrorist travellers, including the creation of a robust legislative basis for the program; and an enhanced mandate for CSIS that would see it move beyond playing a passive role of intelligence gathering to a role that would include threat disruption activities, thereby bringing it closer in line with the mandates of Canada's allied agencies.
    Indeed, the bill addresses all these areas and more. However, today I want to focus my remarks on another area, one that, while perhaps not immediately obvious, would have clear benefits in helping us strengthen our overall national security framework. The element I am referring to includes changes that would enhance information sharing practices across federal government departments and agencies.
    It is becoming quite clear that the current legal framework governing information sharing can, in some instances, prevent or impede the sharing of information when national security interests are at stake. Therefore, we have proposed some very prudent and measured changes that would allow government departments and agencies more latitude to share information, when appropriate, for reasons of national security.
    Part of living in a free and democratic society means having defined legal limits on how government institutions treat the information in their possession. Indeed, information sharing is rightly limited by important laws, such as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Privacy Act. Our federal institutions take their obligations very seriously when it comes to protecting information.
    In addition to the charter and the Privacy Act, to which all government institutions are bound, institutions are also subject to their own specific mandates and legal regimes governing information sharing practices. These often include explicit limits on how information can be shared. While we all understand why such measures are in place, we can no longer allow them to impede any activity that has the real potential to significantly contribute to our national security.
    As one example, the Department of Public Works and Government Services is limited in how it can share information related to people and companies that deal in controlled goods, such as weapons and military equipment. At times, such information could well be germane to national security threats, yet we are not in a position to share it for those purposes. I am confident that we can all agree that this raises serious concerns, from a national security perspective.
    We can, and we must, do better. Given the current environment, permeated with the real and persistent threat of terrorism, it is vital that these institutions be in a better position to work together more effectively.
    It helps if we think about it as a puzzle. In the course of carrying out their responsibilities and mandates, different organizations collect information that, on its own, serves a specific purpose, but these organizations may come across specific information from time to time that they feel raises concerns from a national security perspective. If these organizations can share that information, government organizations with legal mandates related to national security can more effectively put those pieces together and create a more complete picture of a given threat so that appropriate action can be taken.
    Simply put, the current framework for our federal institutions is not as conducive to information sharing for national security purposes as it needs to be, owing to particular complexities and restrictions.


    Our government is convinced that taking steps to rectify these gaps and restrictions would help us better protect Canadians and Canadian interests. Security needs must be taken into consideration, and information needs to be more effectively and rapidly shared among federal government partners.
    With this new legislation we have the opportunity to provide for that by explicitly authorizing information sharing within the Government of Canada for security of Canada purposes. In this way, we could provide clear authority to all federal institutions to disclose information, either proactively or in response to a request, to designated recipient institutions. To be clear, these designated recipient institutions would only be those with clear responsibilities or jurisdiction related to Canada's national security. Further, it is worth noting that the new bill would not require that information be shared. Rather, the holder of the information would retain discretion as to whether or not to share.
    We have proposed amendments to certain existing acts, as well, to resolve barriers. For example, an amendment we have proposed to the Customs Act would mean that CBSA would be legally permitted to share customs information with Citizenship and Immigration Canada for the purpose of administering or enforcing a Canadian passport order when national security was involved.
    Members of the House will know that the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act was passed in July 2014 to provide authority to revoke the citizenship of dual nationals involved in activities that jeopardize the security of Canada. It is essential for officials of Citizenship and Immigration Canada to have the right information to enforce this new authority, and this amendment would help to allow for that.
    Before I conclude, I want to note that our government is confident that our federal government institutions will take up and use this new information sharing authority responsibly and with due regard for the charter and legal requirements. They will respect the fine balance between privacy and security, just as Canadians expect.
    It is important to note that independent review bodies, such as SIRC, the Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner, and the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP, as well as the Privacy Commissioner and the Auditor General, will provide an important counterbalance to the new authorities provided in Bill C-51.
    As always, our government stands ready to take appropriate action to protect the safety and security of Canadians at home and abroad. This legislation is further proof of that commitment.
    I urge all hon. members to support us as we take this important step forward to strengthen Canada's national security.


    Mr. Speaker, the more I go through the bill, the more I have to wonder if this omnibus legislation should not be called the national information sharing and intervention against ordinary Canadians act.
    What is most concerning to Canadians and experts, particularly legal experts, privacy experts, and anti-terrorism experts, as they go through the bill is the fact that the government has put together a lot of measures that go far beyond the measures to be expected in responding to terrorism threats. One such person is the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, who has warned that the act may allow departments and agencies to share the personal information of all individuals, including ordinary Canadians, who may be suspected of terrorist activities. He is deeply concerned. He says that the bill is not clear about whose information would be shared with national security agencies, for what specific purpose, and under what conditions, including applicable safeguards.
     I need only point out to the hon. member that the first part of the bill, the security of Canada information sharing act, lists nine instances when activities arise when information can be shared between agencies. Only one of those nine is terrorism. The other eight situations have nothing to do with terrorism. The government is going to allow all of these agencies to share information, and there are no clear criteria, as pointed out by the Privacy Commissioner.
    Could the member advise if the Privacy Commissioner was questioned, was met with, was consulted in drafting this legislation? If so, what was his advice?
    Mr. Speaker, the question was about the nine agencies listed.
    I gave the example, in my speech, of Canada Border Services Agency. If a Canadian was suspected of being a terrorist, this legislation would allow CBSA, at its discretion, to share that information with the relevant authorities. It would give law enforcement agencies the tools they need.
    Mr. Speaker, people outside of this chamber, even beyond our borders, have recognized that there are issues related to the protection of rights and individual freedoms. People have legitimate concerns. As a political party, we have been pushing having parliamentary oversight as one of the mechanisms that would ensure that the rights and freedoms of individuals were protected.
    Why does the government appear to be so adamantly opposed to what other countries, such as the United States, England, and Australia, have already done and put in parliamentary oversight? Why does the current government want to prevent Canadians from having the same sort of oversight other nations already have? I do not understand the Conservatives' logic.


    Mr. Speaker, when I spoke I mentioned the independent review agencies that are responsible for the robust oversight of the anti-terrorism measures CSIS would take. The obvious one is SIRC, the Security Intelligence Review Committee. There are the Office of Communications Security Establishment Commissioner, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission, the Privacy Commissioner, and the Auditor General. It was decided years ago, when there was a Liberal government in Canada, that the oversight should be independent and third party, as opposed to being done by parliamentarians.
    What we need to remember is that Canada is being targeted because these terrorists hate our society and what we stand for. This legislation would give our law-enforcement and security agencies the tools they need to deal with this very real threat.


    Mr. Speaker, we all recognize the serious threat posed by terrorism. It poses a very real threat that we need to address in a thoughtful, effective manner.
    Unfortunately, not only does Bill C-51 leave out measures that have proven effective against radicalization and terrorism, but it also contains provisions that pose a threat to our freedoms and our democracy.
    It goes without saying that Canada needs to identify and stop potential terrorist acts. However, we already have the mechanisms needed to do so. Our institutions have powers allowing for surveillance, intelligence gathering, immigration checks, preventive detention, arrest and imprisonment. What they do not have are the resources needed to enforce the existing laws.
    Jeff Yaworski, the assistant director of operations at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, told the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence that, because of limited resources, CSIS is incapable of properly monitoring the 80 Canadians suspected of being terrorist sympathizers who went abroad and then returned to Canada. CSIS therefore does not have the resources it needs.
    The Commissioner of the RCMP, Bob Paulson, also testified at the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, and he said that resources were also an issue for the RCMP-led integrated national security enforcement teams. He said:
...over 300 additional resources were transferred in to enhance the capacity of INSETS from other federal policing priority areas such as organized crime and financial crime.
    Despite our legislation and our systems, we are lacking resources. We are being forced to give up on things such as fighting organized crime—another security issue—rail safety, food safety and public safety. The Conservative government is doing a poor job of dealing with these issues.
    Instead of allocating resources where they are needed, this government has introduced a bill with such vague terms that it would allow the government to legally spy on its political enemies or civil society groups that are opposed to the government's political plans.
    Under this bill, anything that interferes with Canada's economic or financial stability or infrastructure or undermines Canada's territorial integrity may be considered an activity that undermines national security.
    A Federal Court judge, at an in camera meeting where only the government is represented, could authorize the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to take any appropriate action warranted by the circumstances in order to reduce threats to Canada's security. We want to reduce threats to Canada's security. However, the definition in this bill is so broad that it no longer has anything to do with terrorism. Furthermore, the judge could authorize these measures even if they breached the law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    Does this mean that a protest against an oil pipeline, for example, could be considered as interfering with infrastructure and thus a threat to our security? Could this be considered terrorism?
    The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is always telling us that the act does not apply to lawful protests or artistic expression. However, in Montreal, major protests are sometimes declared unlawful when in progress because the participants did not want to provide the route. Does that make them terrorists? These protests often take place in the riding that I am pleased to represent.


    When an environmental group climbs a tower to put up a banner, that does not represent a threat to Canada, but it does not fall within the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness's definition. We have to wonder whether this leaves the door wide open to spying on these individuals and taking what the government calls preventive measures.
    We can see how this government treats people who oppose it. The Canada Revenue Agency is practically harassing people, the government is cutting funding and there are all kinds of other measures. A lot of people, from environmentalists to aboriginal groups to various civil society groups, are very concerned, and rightly so.
    Meanwhile, the whole bill is very vague. It proposes that we make it illegal to promote terrorism in general. Of course no one wants to promote terrorism, but why add “in general”? For example, will this affect journalists who might give very neutral and objective reports on what groups considered terrorist groups are demanding? Will that fall under this category? The bill is not clear. That is why people are worried.
    What is worse, the bill gives the Canadian Security Intelligence Service police powers, without any explanation for why this is necessary. In the 1970s, after a number of cases of abuse, in particular in response to the events of the October crisis, the government rightly separated intelligence services and police services for good reason, after detailed analyses. Now, all of a sudden, this government wants to give police powers back to the intelligence services, which have an essentially secret mandate and much less public accountability. That is why a respectable newspaper like The Globe and Mail, which no one can accuse of anarchism or leftism, talks about the Prime Minister's secret police.
     Lastly, to top it all off, although the bill grants additional powers to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, it does not contain any measures to enhance oversight, although that is definitely necessary. This could put us in line with many of our partners and allies who also have mechanisms of oversight by elected representatives, to ensure that all mechanisms are working. We know that the existing oversight body is working with limited resources. It has not always been able to obtain the relevant information from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. We also know that the Prime Minister appointed Arthur Porter to lead that body, a man who is now facing numerous charges himself.
    I only have a minute left but I want to point out that, while President Obama invited representatives from around the world to Washington last week to discuss community-based initiatives to prevent radicalization, this bill is completely silent on that topic. It is an extremely important issue, however. We must work on prevention.
    As a final point, since I do not have time to talk about everything here, I want to say that it is important to have a debate in the House. It is extremely important for Canadians to really understand this major issue that we are dealing with. However, it is clear that the government is constantly muzzling us with its many gag orders.




    Mr. Speaker, I want to continue on a point that I think is important. The member from St. John's East said earlier today that the NDP is “clearly not going to support” this legislation, “nor would we keep [it] in place if it is passed.”
    That is what the NDP is saying inside the House of the Commons.
    Outside of the House of Commons, the leader of the New Democratic Party says something different. He does not say that the NDP is going to scrap the legislation; he said in a interview with Tom Clark of Global News that the NDP would change it.
    Does the member not see the inconsistency in what the NDP is saying inside the House versus what it is saying outside the House? Perhaps she could provide some clarification on that point, not on how the NDP is going to vote on this legislation but what it would do if it passes. Would the NDP scrap it or would it amend it? One member says inside the House that the NDP will scrap it, but the leader says they would change it.
    Mr. Speaker, I think we have been very clear. We do not like the legislation. When we form government, we are going to change it, because we do not like it. We are going to vote against the legislation.
    I think it is a bit rich for the member to talk about something like incoherence when his party says that it does not like the legislation but is going to vote for it anyway.


    As they say, “we see the mote in our neighbour's eye, but not the beam in our own”.


    Mr. Speaker, I noted that at the outset of her remarks on the bill, my colleague raised concerns that have been raised by a number of people, including the Commissioner of the RCMP. They are concerned about the shortage of resources and the RCMP's having to second additional people in just to deal with the mandate they have currently.
    It would be of interest to the House that I had a constituent come to me deeply disturbed because the RCMP, which was about to file charges with the prosecutors in a serious securities fraud case, suddenly wrote to my constituent to say it was not undertaking that case because it was not going to be continuing its commercial crime sections. There is now this new division called “federal serious and organized crime”. That raises the concern that the RCMP, our main national investigation authority, is already facing serious problems.
    Is the current government now turning to CSIS to fill some of that vacuum, or are we going to have a problem that the main body that we have appointed and have appropriate controls on is now no longer able to deliver its mandate because it is under-resourced?



    Mr. Speaker, I think that the lack of resources is a critical point, and that is very typical of the Conservative government. They have a lot to say, and they want to make sure everyone hears them, but they do not follow up with resources or action. The first thing they need to do is provide resources. The case that my colleague talked about is very interesting.
    As to the fight against online pornography and child pornography, the people across the way talk an awful lot, but they are not coming up with the resources needed to do the work, even though that is critical.
    Mr. Speaker, the first part of Bill C-51 provides definitions of terrorist activities. The definitions are so vague they could potentially cause problems. For example, a Canadian journalist interviews a terrorist leader abroad, then runs the interview in Canada: that is a terrorist activity. A group of fishers who think the environment in their region is in jeopardy decide to use their small boat to stop an industrial activity in local waters: that is a terrorist activity. A Canadian public servant deems the clandestine operations of security forces to be undemocratic and he blows the whistle to opposition politicians: that is terrorism. Canadian academics, researchers, travel abroad, discuss global warming and share Canadian information: that is terrorism.
    Is that acceptable in a free and democratic society?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. As there is not very much time left, I will not repeat all the examples he provided.
    Indeed, this is the concern. The bill is so vague that it can give rise to just about anything. Just yesterday, people in my riding told me that they did not trust the Conservative government at all, knowing what it is capable of.


    It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the question to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment is as follows: the hon. member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, Status of Women.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism act, 2015.
    This is not the first legislation that the Government of Canada has introduced to keep Canadians safe from terrorist acts. Following the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, Parliament passed the Anti-Terrorism Act, which provided a good response to the terrorist threat as it was then. However, if we fast-forward 14 years, we can see that a lot has changed in the threat environment
    Today we know that groups, like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, are actively encouraging their followers to carry out acts of violence against western nations, including Canada. We know that individuals in Canada are radicalizing to violence, advocating for others to join them, and attempting to leave Canada to train, recruit and participate in terrorist activities abroad. The recent arrests and terrorism-related charges laid by the RCMP of individuals in Ottawa and Montreal are a testament to that reality.
    It is clear that the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada. Canadians are being targeted by jihadi terrorists simply because the terrorists hate our society and the value it represents.
     Jihadi terrorism is not a human right; it is an act of war. That is why our Conservative government has put forward measures that protect Canadians against jihadi terrorists who seek to destroy the very principles that make Canada the best country in the world to live.
    In order to effectively deal with these rapidly changing threats, our anti-terrorism laws must change as well. That is why we have made it a key priority to introduce measures in recent months to give our national security agencies the tools and resources they need to keep Canadians safe from terrorist threats.
     This includes passing the Combating Terrorism Act to make it a criminal offence to travel for the purpose of terrorism. It includes passing the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act to establish a new authority to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual nationals who are convicted of an act of terrorism. It also includes introducing the protection of Canada from terrorist act to confirm that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service can conduct its intelligence gathering on threats to Canada outside of our borders.
    We continue to take proactive measures to counter violent extremism, working closely with leaders in communities to help them identify early warning signs of radicalization to violence and build resiliency against the terrorist narrative being broadcast from extremist groups around the world. The legislation before us is one more way that we are addressing the terrorist threat.
    The elements within the bill fall under the purview of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Minister of Justice. However, for my time today, I will look in more detail at the elements that fall under the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Those elements will strengthen Canada's national security in a number of ways.
    First, the bill would create the security of Canada information sharing act, which would improve how information related to national security would be shared across federal departments and agencies. As it stands today, some information that could be critical to a national security investigation, such as immigration records or passport information, cannot be shared by the agencies involved due to legal restrictions in place. This new act would remedy this by removing specific prohibitions and giving federal institutions the authority to share information as it relates to national security in a responsible manner that respects both the need to keep Canadians safe and to safeguard their privacy rights.
    The bill would also enact the secure air travel act, which contains measures to address terrorist travel. As I mentioned at the outset, we know that individuals are leaving or attempting to leave the country to take part in terrorist-related activities. With a stronger passenger protect program in place, authorities would have more tools to help them address these threats, including the ability to deny boarding or ensure the individual would be subject to additional physical screening at the airport.
    Under the secure air travel act, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Minister of Transport would work together to ensure individuals who caused a security risk would be identified and that air carriers would be taking appropriate actions, as directed, to manage these risks.


    The legislation also contains measures that would enhance the mandate of CSIS.
     As we have heard during debates on the protection of Canada from terrorist acts, CSIS is a key security agency that works abroad to collect and report intelligence on threats to the security of Canada outside of our borders. We believe it must be given an expanded mandate to move beyond being Canada's note takers. As such, this bill proposes to provide CSIS with the authority to actively disrupt threats to the security of Canada, within Canada or outside Canada. The new authorities of CSIS will be subject to robust safeguards to ensure that they are used responsibly, proportionately and, most important, in a manner that is consistent with the CSIS Act, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the fundamental principles of democratic accountability that Canadians expect.
    Finally, I will speak to the changes proposed to Division 9 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, IRPA. As we have heard, Division 9 of IRPA, although not used frequently, can help the Government of Canada ensure that non-citizens who pose a threat to our national security are denied entry or status. To this end, the legislation before us includes limited changes that would ensure Division 9 would continue to be used in a fair and effective manner, while better protecting classified information used in immigration proceedings.
    The bill accomplishes this by proposing two changes.
     First, it would authorize the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to appeal or seek judicial review of orders to publicly disclose classified information while a proceeding is under way. This is critical because, today, the ministers have to wait until the proceeding is finished before being able to appeal. This new authority would halt the public disclosure of classified information until a determination of a potential harm of disclosure could be made.
    Second, the bill proposes changes to the law in order to clarify the information that forms part of Division 9 cases before the Federal Court and the Immigration and Refugee Board. With this change, only specific information can be included as part of the proceedings. This means information that is relevant to the case, information that the government relies on to make its case and information that allows the non-citizen to be reasonably informed about the case.
    The bill before us is another important initiative to strengthen our country's national security. It will complement our existing counterterrorism measures and demonstrate Canada's leadership in taking a proactive stand against acts of terror.
    I urge all members to support the anti-terrorism act, 2015.


    Mr. Speaker, the anti-terrorism bill was introduced last Wednesday and the government introduced time allocation after only three speakers. We had less than one full day of debate and the government introduced time allocation.
    Personally, I will not have an opportunity to speak to the bill. I have heard concerns about this bill in my riding, concerns about the lack of oversight and how the line between security and freedom has been blurred, and that is dangerous.
    Again, the government has now introduced time allocation or closure on a bill 88 times, the most in history.
    My question for the member is pretty straightforward. Why will the government not allow me to speak to the bill? Why is it limiting debate? If the hon. member could direct his answer to the people of St. John's South—Mount Pearl, they would love to hear the answer.
    Mr. Speaker, the first thing the member should do is speak to his whip as to why he is unable to speak to this. It is not my role to play as to his whip's choice of who will speak to a particular bill.
    We so often hear this discussion about limited time. I have sat in the House over the last number of days listening to the members opposite speaking to this, spending half their time crying about the lack of time. If they would actually use their time wisely, maybe they could make the points they claim they are unable to make on the legislation.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up on the importance of the committee stage.
     During the minority governments, the Conservatives were much more sympathetic to amendments. In previous majority governments, whether it was the Paul Martin or Jean Chrétien government, there was a great deal of respect for opposition members bringing forward amendments, and many amendments were passed. Since we have had a majority Conservative government, the Prime Minister's Office seems to say no to amendments, unless they are Conservative amendments.
     Canadians as a whole support the need to improve this legislation. One of the most significant ways we can improve it is to have a parliamentary oversight committee established. I made reference to this earlier. It would protect the individual rights and freedoms.
    Does the member believe, given the importance of the legislation, that the government will, at the very least, not only entertain but allow for some of these opposition amendments to see the light of day and, ultimately, be incorporated into the legislation, thereby giving Canadians stronger anti-terrorism legislation?
    Mr. Speaker, one of the things they keep coming back to is the whole aspect of oversight, making it sound like there is absolutely no oversight whatsoever over CSIS. That is a complete fallacy. In fact, I have a quote here from Ron Atkey, the first chair of SIRC. He said:
    Some of the instant critics...have missed the mark in decrying lack of oversight...regarding new powers of terrorism disruption to be given to CSIS, oversight is alive and well.
    We believe that very strongly.
     It is very interesting. We hear members from both parties across the way talking about the lack of funding and opportunities. As a government, we have increased funding to national security agencies in our country by a third, yet seven times the Liberals and NDP have voted against that increased funding. Then they stand in the House and decry the fact that there is not enough funding for these agencies.
    They have to decide one way or the other whether they want the funding or do not want the funding, but please be consistent.


    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to stand in the House today to speak on Bill C-51, our government's anti-terrorism act, 2015.
    I am pleased to be here today to discuss this legislation that would protect Canadians from the evolving threat of terrorism and keep our communities safe. The world is a dangerous place. This was brutally demonstrated this past October when Canada was the target of two vicious separate terrorist attacks. The anti-terrorism act, 2015, would provide Canadian law enforcement and national security agencies with additional tools and flexibility to keep pace with evolving threats and better protect Canadians here at home.
    In line with measures taken by our allies, this legislation shows that our Conservative government is taking additional action to ensure that law enforcement and national security agencies can counter those who advocate terrorism, prevent terrorist travel and the efforts of those who seek to use Canada as a recruiting ground, and disrupt planned attacks on Canadian soil.
    The legislation before us today also includes checks and balances to ensure that it respects the rights of Canadians and complements other legislation passed by our government in order to better protect Canadians and secure institutions, including the Combating Terrorism Act and the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act. In brief, Bill C-51 includes a comprehensive package of measures that would criminalize the advocacy or promotion of terrorism offences in general, counter terrorist recruitment by giving our courts the authority to order the removal of terrorist propaganda online, enhance the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's powers to address threats to the security of Canada while ensuring that courts maintain oversight, and would provide law enforcement agencies with an enhanced ability to disrupt terrorism offences and terrorist activity.
    It would also enhance the passenger protect program by further mitigating threats to transportation security and preventing travel by air for the purpose of engaging in terrorism. As well, it would make it easier for law enforcement agencies to detain suspected terrorists before they can harm Canadians and toughen penalties for violating court-ordered conditions on terrorist suspects. In addition, it would enable the effective and responsible sharing of relevant national security information across federal departments and agencies to better identify and address threats. It would ensure that national security agencies are better able to protect and use classified information when denying entry and status to non-citizens who pose threats to Canada. Finally, it would provide additional protections to witnesses and other participants in national security proceedings and prosecutions.
    Our Conservative government is serious about taking action to keep Canadians safe. Recent attacks in Canada, which led to the deaths of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, as well as attacks in France, Australia,and Denmark, are reminders that the world is a dangerous place and that Canada is not immune from the threat of terrorism.
    Recent terrorist actions in Canada are not only an attack on our country but also on our values and society as a whole. Unlike the NDP and Liberals, our Conservative government understands that extreme jihadists have declared war on all free people, and on Canada specifically. That is why we will continue to protect the rights and safety of all Canadians. We will not, however, privilege the so-called rights of terrorists and others who would harm Canadians over the rights of law-abiding citizens. The proposed legislation would provide our security and law enforcement agencies with the required tools and flexibility they need to effectively detect and disrupt national security threats before they happen, thus keeping Canadians safe.
    I would like to address some of the misconceptions surrounding the legislation. There is continued coverage of calls for parliamentary oversight of Canada's national security agencies. Recently, several Canadians, including former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and former Prime Minister Joe Clark, called for greater oversight of Canada's national security agencies. I believe that third party, non-partisan, independent, expert oversight of our national security agencies is a better model than political intervention in this process. What is more, the key powers of the anti-terrorism act, 2015, are subject to judicial review and judicial authorization.


    Let us look at the facts. The international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada. Canadians are being targeted by jihadi terrorists simply because these terrorists hate our society and hate the values it represents.
    The bill targets terrorism. Jihadi terrorism is not a human right, as some on the other side would have us believe. It is an act of war. That is why our government has put forward measures that would protect Canadians against jihadi terrorists, who seek to destroy the very principles that make Canada the best country in the world to live. That is also why Canada is not sitting on the sidelines, as some would have us do. We are instead joining our allies in supporting the international coalition in the fight against ISIL.
    In addition to misconceptions regarding the accountability framework, there are many misconceptions about who is targeted by this legislation. The NDP leader has alleged that the new anti-terrorism bill changes the definition of a threat to the security of Canada to include matters that interfere with the economic stability and infrastructure of the country. The NDP leader alleges that these changes mean that legitimate dissent and protest would now be considered threats to Canadian security.
    These allegations are completely false. Section 2 of the CSIS Act, which outlines exactly what is considered a threat to the security of Canada, is not being amended in any way by the anti-terrorism act, 2015. Section 2 of the CSIS Act states that “A threat to the security of Canada does not include lawful advocacy, protest or dissent”. The measures in the bill that are pointed to fall under a list of activities that undermine the security of Canada, and are there for the purposes of information sharing between government departments. Even though he has mixed up two very different pieces of legislation, it is important to note that Bill C-51 qualifies that list by stating that “Activity that undermines the security of Canada does not include lawful advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression”.
    It is unfortunate to have to say that the claims made by the leader of the NDP are completely false. There is absolutely no change being made to what constitutes the threat to the security of Canada. The measures that the leader of the NDP is pointing to deal with information sharing between government departments. Further, the CSIS Act specifically states that threats to the security of Canada does not include lawful advocacy, protest or dissent. The new legislation states, “Activity that undermines the security of Canada does not include lawful advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression”.
    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 protections in this legislation that do exactly that.
    The fundamental fact is that our police and national security agencies are working to protect our rights and our freedoms, and it is jihadi terrorists who endanger our security and who would take away our freedom.
    Given that the leader of the NDP has so wilfully misunderstood the legislation before us today, I hope he heeds my remarks and undertakes further efforts to understand this legislation. Once he does, I am quite convinced that he will be compelled to support these important measures.
    Mr. Speaker, many of my NDP colleagues have raised serious and grave concerns, but I think that Canadians who are watching the debate do have to understand that SIRC has not been devoid of partisan influence. I would like the hon. member to speak to that.
    The head of SIRC was a Conservative bagman who is now in jail in Panama. How does the member stand up in the House and talk about these oversight agencies as being non-partisan when they in fact have been?


    Mr. Speaker, I am sure that all members of SIRC have some kind of political affiliation of one sort or another. To suggest anything other would be somewhat naive, but SIRC is an independent, non-partisan body that provides oversight of CSIS.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to go back to the issue of the need for amendments to the legislation.
    Both the New Democrats and the Liberals have now clearly indicated that they would not scrap the legislation if they were provided the privilege of forming government in this country. The issue is that both parties, if they were in that position, would bring forward amendments to what we currently have.
    I wonder if the member would not recognize the value of having those amendments passed today, as opposed to having to wait. Why not improve the legislation, because not only do both opposition parties in the House want parliamentary oversight, for example, but also a majority of Canadians for their rights, freedoms, and so forth to be protected.
    Mr. Speaker, oversight is an important question that I think we have addressed, in that any measures in the new act would certainly be subject to oversight from a judicial perspective and would require judicial approval before any warrants were issued.
    With regard to amendments, this debate is for the purpose of a vote at second reading and the bill would go to committee, which will do a very robust review of it. I am sure that we will have very lively debate there and hear all kinds of opinions. If there is something that comes forward during that debate, we will gladly consider it.
    I am delighted to hear that we have the support of both opposition parties, and perhaps they will ensure that the bill finds a speedy way through the process.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of members to the distinction between lawful protests and those many forms of respectable, non-violent civil disobedience, often heralded after unfair laws are removed, such as when Rosa Parks sat down in the whites only section of a bus. This law would restrict the protections of lawful protests against these things
    According to Professors Roach and Forcese, who analyzed the bill, even the violation of a municipal bylaw could put someone outside the scope of lawful protest. So we need amendments for clarity.
    I have now asked the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Public Safety, and the Prime Minister to clarify whether non-violent civil disobedience will be exempt from the act, and every time I get a response that is non-responsive, that ignores the reality that on occasion non-violent civil disobedience is an appropriate form of protest.
    Mr. Speaker, when drafting the bill, our legislators and ministers anticipated exactly that question. That is why I will again refer to the bill and read it verbatim: “For greater certainty, it does not include lawful advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression”.
    The question was anticipated. It has been dealt with. I do not know how much clearer it can be.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join the debate on Bill C-51 today.
    Canadians are well aware of the harm that terrorism can cause and the fear that it can bring. The overarching aim of terrorist activity is to instill fear and to divide us from one another and weaken our society. An important duty of Canadians, therefore, is to be vigilant against this divisiveness, as we will always be stronger when we are working together and united against acts of intimidation.
    In recent decades, particularly since the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, the global security landscape has undergone massive changes, in part due to the evolution of the Internet and electronic technologies. An important responsibility that falls on the government and parliamentarians is to improve our security system and framework so as to meet the challenges of our times in a manner that upholds our most cherished democratic values and principles. The Liberal Party and most Canadians recognize that our laws must adapt to reflect the changing global security landscape, and Bill C-51, the government's anti-terrorism act, takes some productive steps to meet our collective security needs.
    One measure that this bill would put in place is to lower the evidentiary threshold for detaining a suspected terrorist. In fact, had it been in place six months ago, this measure might have prevented the tragic death of Quebec CAF member Patrice Vincent. His murderer was under surveillance and that person's passport had been revoked in June of last year, but due to the lack of concrete evidence, he remained free.
    The bill also would serve to put certain important programs, such as Canada's no-fly list, on a firmer legal foundation. Better coordination of information sharing among Canada's many security departments and agencies is also a positive aspect.
     However, there are deficiencies in this bill, many of which have been pointed out to me by constituents of Vancouver Quadra, and the Liberals have written amendments to address those weaknesses.
    The bill does not include the critical accountability that is provided by review and oversight mechanisms to ensure proper checks and balances on information sharing. This is in fact one of the overarching areas for improvement to this legislation that should be articulated through debate and expert testimony at committee, and there should be fair consideration of amendments. A bill of this importance deserves a proper, thorough, and non-partisan process.
    Bill C-51 is inadequate in other areas, particularly with regard to the far-reaching and vaguely articulated definition of “national security”, and in terms of the lack of a sunset clause to provide Parliament with an opportunity to quickly review and correct any negative consequences of the bill.
    Finally, there should be a much more robust commitment to preventing the radicalization of Canadian young people in the first place by funding and working with their families and communities to that end and by strengthening our social safety net regarding mental illness.
    I would like to talk more about the need for greater oversight and review.
    As many members know, last year I put forward my private member's bill, Bill C-622, the CSEC accountability and transparency act. This bill proposed to modernize the framework for accountability and transparency for Canada's signals intelligence agency, the Communications Security Establishment Canada. It would have brought the 14-year-old laws governing this agency up to date to account for advances in Internet and communications technologies and it would have strengthened the mandate of the CSE commissioner. Furthermore, Bill C-622 would have assigned a committee of parliamentarians with security clearance the responsibility to review and report on all of the intelligence and national security activities of our government, the very oversight that is being called for right across Canada by experts and non-experts alike.
    Despite widespread support from security, defence, and privacy experts and from opposition MPs, my bill unfortunately did not receive support from the government and was therefore defeated.
    To put the need for this kind of parliamentary oversight and review mechanism into perspective, Ottawa-based journalist John Ivison has correctly pointed out that “Canada is the only country among our close allies that lacks a dedicated parliamentary committee with substantial powers of review over matters of national security and intelligence.”
    He is right, and we should have one. Just as our security laws must be improved to meet the challenges of today, so too must Canada's framework for transparency and privacy protection evolve in order to cope with fast-paced, changing technology.


    As journalist Glenn Greenwald noted in the Oscar-winning—as of last night—documentary, “When the decisions that rule us are taken in secret, we lose the power to control and govern ourselves.”
    That is not what Canadians want. The federal Privacy Commissioner and all our provincial privacy commissioners stated in a recent communique:
    Canadians both expect and are entitled to equal protection for their privacy and access rights and for their security. We must uphold these fundamental rights that lie at the heart of Canada's democracy.
    What do our partners south of the border think about these things? One example is the United States Department of Homeland Security, in which the understanding of that balance is explicit. The department “embeds and enforces privacy protections and transparency” in all of its systems, programs, and activities, according to its privacy commissioner, who oversees a staff of 40 people in that department alone. In a recent speech, Homeland Security's deputy secretary Mayorkas confirmed that not only is this integral to the DHS mission and crucial to maintaining public trust, but it has also resulted in Homeland Security becoming a stronger and more effective department.
    If the government adopts the Liberal Party's reasonable amendments to create this balance, we can move beyond the dichotomized debate that pits security against Canadians' freedom and liberty.
    As it stands, Bill C-51 would give CSIS broad powers to disrupt not only real or perceived terrorist threats but also threats that might undermine the economic or financial stability of Canada. This is too broad. It is just not necessary for guarding against any legitimate risks and threats from terrorists. It could also be very harmful in further chilling important rights for citizens to have a voice, and rights for civil society groups that disagree with government policies in a peaceful way. The Liberal Party will be proposing amendments to rein in and better define the vague and far-reaching new powers that would be granted to CSIS in the bill.
    To assess Bill C-51's effectiveness in keeping Canadians safe and ensuring our freedoms and values are respected, a future Liberal government will require a review of the entire bill in three years to ensure any aspects that are unaccountable or harmful are quickly identified and fixed.
    In addition to granting CSIS greater powers, let us acknowledge that preventing individuals from becoming radicalized and falling into violent extremism in the first place is important and is an effective second track toward reducing these incidences and the terrible harm they create. Let us not forget that several of the recent actual and planned terrorist attacks involved young men who were suffering from mental illness and addiction and turned to violence. Canadians experienced a deep sorrow on behalf of the victims and their families.
    This situation is the reason the government must allocate more resources and be a partner. The government must consult with a variety of stakeholders from police to social agencies and from families to religious leaders and collaborate in developing community-based strategies to prevent radicalization at the outset and to improve support for those suffering from mental illness and addiction. That is a commitment that the Liberal Party has made and will bring into our platform.
    Currently, through the work of local and provincial governments, community and religious leaders, and friends and family members of the disaffected youth, there are a number of innovative models for supporting youth at risk and lending them support and guidance. However, more funding and more focus on this aspect are needed. A Liberal government would provide them.
    As an aside, I want to mention that supporting mental illness would have a great deal of benefit in our society, aside from reducing terrorist risks. Let us not forget that over 3,000 Canadian men commit suicide every year. Many of them are in their 20s, and most of them are under the age of 45. The grief and sorrow caused to their families and to our society could be significantly reduced with a greater emphasis on the second track, the track of prevention and support for those with mental illness challenges.


    In 2001, in response to the September 11 attacks, the Liberal government introduced a number of anti-terrorism measures. We understood then, as we do today, that sometimes quick action is needed. We did, however, make sure there were full hearings. Amendments were made. We heard from the public. We heard from Parliament in committees. We also built in a sunset clause so that the bill could be corrected and be great legislation.
    We believe that is possible. The Conservative government has the choice to take that path rather than the path of unilaterally charging ahead. We invite the Conservatives to take our amendments seriously. If not, we will be campaigning on them. If elected, we will be sure that they are put into effect in order to respect our most deeply prized democratic values.


    Mr. Speaker, my colleague mentioned in her speech the need for oversight. I am wondering if the member would comment on clause 42 of the bill, which clearly spells out that CSIS shall not undertake any measures to reduce the threat to the security of Canada that can contravene the rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    If CSIS is going to take any action, a warrant is required. When a warrant application is made, eight conditions have to be put forward to satisfy a justice. The judge then needs to agree that those conditions exist. The judge then needs to authorize that warrant and authorize a number of conditions around that warrant to intervene in any activity that could jeopardize the security of Canada.
    Furthermore, the bill expressly states that even after a warrant is authorized, the Security Intelligence Service would have to deem the conditions to still exist before the warrant could be executed. Regardless of whether the warrant is issued by a judge, before the warrant could be executed, the security service would still have to assess whether or not those conditions still prevail. If they do not, CSIS is accountable under this legislation.
    Does the member not see that stringent condition as reasonable oversight, and that judges can properly determine the validity of an application made by CSIS?
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague across the way is mistaking intention for oversight. That may be in the law, but who knows if that would actually play out? That is what oversight is all about. Do we simply provide the criteria and the conditions and let the security agency go forth and conduct operations? Do we never need to know or understand whether all of the conditions were satisfied? That is the point of oversight.
    The report of the Maher Arar commission made it clear that even though there were rules, they were not being properly applied.
    Oversight does not look at just one particular piece of evidentiary decision-making. It also looks at how intelligence and security are being managed across all of the agencies. Are there gaps that could be filled to be more effective? Are there duplications? Are there ways in which privacy is not being respected, regardless of the law? That is the point of oversight, and that is why all of our allies have such a structure.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her very powerful presentation. I wonder if she shares our concern about the new power to disrupt that this legislation would bring in, which would transform an intelligence service into a law enforcement agency, contrary to the McDonald commission of inquiry after which CSIS itself was created.
    Does she share our concern that the warrant that would be given to allow disruptive activities could override the charter and other Canadian laws in many circumstances? It seems to me an extraordinary change in our rule of law system. I would be interested in knowing if my colleague shares those concerns.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party believes that it is important to update the law to increase Canadians' security, because times have changed. We are concerned about overly broad powers, and that is why we are going to bring forward a number of amendments. We invite the Conservative Party and the minister to understand how our amendments would make this a much more effective bill. It would bring in protections against overuse of security measures. Right now, there are some unclearly undefined edges that need to be fixed.
    Why would the government want to go forward with a poor bill when, with some reasonable and focused amendments, it could go forward with a good bill?


    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to join the debate on Bill C-51, anti-terrorism act, 2015.
    Today's world is a dark and dangerous place. We find existential threats to western civilization all around us. We saw the manifestation of these threats in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and in Ottawa this past October.
    However, Canada is not in isolation. Terrorists have struck the hearts of Paris, Sydney, Copenhagen, and Brussels. This past weekend, jihadi terrorists called for attacks on shopping centres around the world, including the iconic West Edmonton Mall.
    It is clear that jihadi terrorists have declared war on Canada and her allies. This war is not only against our physical existence and our people, but also our values. These terrorists hate us for the very reason that Canada is the greatest country in which to live, work, and raise a family. They dislike our equality; they dislike our modernity; and they dislike our prosperity.
    However, Canada will not be intimidated by threats from any terrorist organization, which is why we are not sitting on the sidelines. Instead, we are joining our allies in supporting the international coalition in a fight against ISIL.
    Our national security and law enforcement agencies are continually monitoring for threats against Canada and its citizens and will take the appropriate actions to ensure the safety of all Canadians. Terrorist threats such as these demonstrate why our Conservative government is committed to passing the anti-terrorist act, 2015, to further protect Canadians against jihadi terrorists who seek to destroy Canada.
    In line with measures taken by our allies, we are taking additional action to ensure that our law enforcement and national security agencies can counter those who advocate terrorism, prevent terrorist travel and the efforts of those who seek to use Canada as a recruiting ground, and disrupt planned attacks on Canadian soil. The bill would also make it easier for law enforcement agencies to detain suspected terrorists before they can harm Canadians, and toughen penalties for violating court-ordered conditions on terrorist suspects.
    Recent events in Canada and around the world remind us that we live in a dangerous world where terrorists target anyone who does not think like them. That is why our Conservative government is intent on giving law enforcement agencies the tools they need in order to counter these threats.
    Much has been said by the NDP about the new Criminal Code offence in the legislation of promoting terrorism. It has suggested simultaneously that this power would be overly broad and would not accomplish anything. How it performs these verbal gymnastics is a matter for another day.
    However, allow me to say that on this side of the House we believe that jihadi terrorism is an act of war and not a human right.
    Allow me to give an example of how this power would work in practice.
     Let us say that a terrorist entity puts on YouTube a terrorist propaganda video that concludes with the words “Attack Canada” on the screen, and, through investigation, an individual in Toronto has been identified as the person posting the video. There is no description of the kinds of attacks to be carried out.
    Under the current law, counselling the commission of a terrorist offence is criminal, whether the attack is carried out or not. However, the counselling must relate to committing a specific terrorism offence, for example, counselling someone to kill someone for a political, religious, or ideological purpose. That would be the terrorist offence of committing an indictable offence that constitutes a terrorist activity.
    In this scenario, there is insufficient detail in the video to allow one to conclude that the person is counselling a specific terrorist offence under the Criminal Code to kill someone, as opposed to disrupting an essential service. Under the new powers in the anti-terrorism act, 2015, posting such a video with its call to carry out attacks in Canada in general, which is a form of active encouragement, would now be caught by the criminal law.
    Further, the NDP has also alleged that there are insufficient grounds to justify broadening the powers of law enforcement agencies to lower the threshold for terrorism peace bonds.
    Allow me to give another example of why this power is urgently needed.
    Let us say that the RCMP is conducting an ongoing investigation of an individual, after being alerted by a family member that he is planning to travel to Syria to participate in terrorist training. After an initial investigation, he explains that his wish is only to visit a dying relative. The RCMP discovers social media web postings to the effect that he is planning to leave very soon for Syria, but no other information is available. He has not made any travel plans. There is not enough evidence to support a criminal charge. However, the RCMP wishes to obtain a terrorist peace bond to stop him from travelling.


    Under the current law, the RCMP can seek a peace bond if there are reasonable grounds to fear that an individual will commit a terrorism offence. While the act of leaving Canada for the purpose of receiving terrorism training is a terrorism offence, he has not yet attempted to leave for Syria. The current requirement of “will” may be too high of a threshold to meet with the available evidence in this case.
    With the proposed changes, the RCMP would need to satisfy the court that it has reasonable grounds to fear that the individual in question may commit a terrorism offence. Under this new lower threshold, the court would more likely find that the oral testimony of the family member and the public social media posting to be sufficient to order the terrorism peace bond. In this case, if the peace bond were granted, it is likely that the court would consider imposing conditions that the individual report to the police and not leave the jurisdiction without permission, surrender his passport, and, if available in the jurisdiction, provide for electronic monitoring and/or counselling.
    These are concrete examples of what the legislation would do. It is absolutely necessary that these measures be put in place to keep Canadians safe.
    While the Liberals have a checkered history, full of opposition to common-sense national security policies, like voting against combatting the so-called Islamic State, I am pleased to see that they have indicated their support for this legislation. Conversely, I would note that the NDP has stayed consistent with its soft-on-terror approach and will vote against this legislation. This is similar to its previous votes to allow convicted terrorists to keep their citizenship, and to stop travelling abroad for terrorist purposes from becoming a criminal offence.
    I certainly hope that my remarks, as well as those of my colleague, will have changed a few minds on the other side of the House. All Canadians are watching in anticipation to see whether members on the other side of the House will join our Conservative government in taking responsible action to protect our national security.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask if the member shares a concern that the opposition party has with respect to the Security Intelligence Review Committee and the way the government is currently appointing members to that body.
    Members will recall the compromise in the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, which is the reason we do not have what our friends in the United Kingdom or the United States have. They have security-cleared parliamentarians who provide real oversight vis-à-vis the security service in their respective countries. The reason we had the compromise here was because we were going to have people whom the Prime Minister, in consultation with the other parties, would appoint to this agency to provide that review function.
    Now, of course, there is nobody on the Security Intelligence Review Committee in whom the official opposition would have any particular confidence, whereas in the past, it was very different.
    Does the member have any concerns about the way that the Security Intelligence Review Committee currently operates?
    Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this anti-terrorism legislation sort of falls into a well-known English expression, which says that “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of care”.
    If there is suspicion of a terrorist act, we need to address and curtail or stop that before it happens. Therefore, the oversight of the judicial body that we have, which includes the specialists in law enforcement and security, would already be addressed before this sort of thing happens.
    The purpose of this is to address those cases, to prevent them from happening and harming Canadians and our democracy.
    Mr. Speaker, it is safe to say that both the leader of the Liberal Party and the leader of the New Democratic Party are now saying that if they were provided the opportunity to govern, they would not ditch the legislation, but they would want to make amendments to it. We have gone further. The Liberal Party indicates that there is a series of amendments we would like to see implemented today. They would make a difference and provide us with better legislation, possibly to the point where there might not need to be changes after the next election, if in fact it were adopted.
    Given the government's past record of not accepting opposition member amendments at the committee stage, and given the importance of the legislation, can the member provide any assurance to the House, and, more specifically, to Canadians, that the government would be receptive to allowing, debating, and accepting amendments brought forward, whether they are from the Liberal Party or the New Democratic Party, once the legislation gets to committee stage?


    Mr. Speaker, our parliamentary system, our democratic process, is precisely that.
    We are only at second reading. From this, we go to a committee where the bill will be vigorously debated. Any proposal or amendment that is reasonable and reflects the will of Canadians will certainly be considered. Not only is there parliamentary debate on this issue, but even before it passes into law it will still have to go to a Senate review.
     Our parliamentary process, our democracy, is vigorous enough to review all of the provisions of this bill.
    Mr. Speaker, I am indeed relieved to find an opportunity for a speaking slot when time allocation is imposed on such legislation. It is rare for any one of us who sits on this side of the House representing one of the smaller parties to have an opportunity.
    Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism act, is such a dangerous piece of legislation that I am very relieved to have a chance to explain my concerns before it goes to committee.
    First of all, let us set some context. We keep hearing here today in the context of this debate, and in fact when the Prime Minister launched this bill, not on the floor of the House of Commons, but in a campaign-style event, that we are in a dangerous world and that we must be terrified, that we must be afraid all the time of a monstrous terrorist threat. We are told we are at war.
    The reality is that we are not at war. We are a country at peace. There is definitely a threat from a terrorist group, and terrorist groups around the world. They are particularly a threat in the regions in which they operate. ISIL and ISIS are despicable. There are not enough words in a thesaurus to sum up the brutality and the sadism of their acts.
    However, the reality is that if Canada were at war, I do not think our Minister of Foreign Affairs would just have resigned his position, announcing to this House that things were in good shape as he left.
    We are a country, thank God, that is at peace. I hate to remind colleagues, but there have been terrorist threats around world for a long time, and they have not always stayed far from Canada's shores. I think all of us remember the troubles with Great Britain and what they called “the Irish troubles”, the troubles of Northern Ireland, in which members of the royal family were blown up by IRA bombs. Terrorism operated in the Commonwealth then.
    We have seen the threat of Tamil Tigers. We have seen the threat of FARC. There are, and continue to be, dreadful assaults by Boko Haram throughout Nigeria. We also know that these terrorist activities have come to Canada, the most extreme of these events being in 1985, when, in a Canadian airport, a plane was loaded with a bomb. As we all know, in the Air India disaster, 329 people died, most of them Canadians.
    These things have taken place before, and I think it is a disservice to the people of Canada to ramp up the fear factor. Where there is a threat, we need to be clear-eyed, sober, sensible, and, above all, not fearful. People do not make good decisions when they are too afraid to think straight. This is a time when leadership requires that we think clearly and calmly, and that we do not exaggerate or torque the nature of the threat for partisan gain, which I think is what is happening here.
    Let us all agree that where there are threats of terrorism, we take them seriously, that we do everything possible to reduce the risk of terrorism. In the context of Canada, that means reducing the threat of radicalizing Canadian citizens and Canadian residents to take up—inspired through all sorts of misguided, alienated, disenfranchised, and misinformed views—the cause of ISIS or other extremist groups. We must avoid the radicalization of Canadians by these monstrous organizations.
    However, are we hopeless? Are we helpless right now? Have we not passed laws? In fact, we have. Since 9/11, there have been no fewer than eight laws passed which have expanded powers to fight terrorists. The RCMP has new powers, and has had them for more than a decade. Let us remember that the RCMP has been successful in locating, disrupting, and arresting people who had in mind a terrorist plot: the Toronto 18, and the VIA Rail plot.
    Full credit is to be given to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for using the tools they have already been given by this place to monitor those who are extreme, to watch what they are planning, to move in to intercept them, and to arrest them and subject them to trial.
    We already have security certificates, which it can be argued violate fundamental principles, like habeas corpus, that violate the right to know exactly the charges against a person and one's right to having a lawyer. These have been accepted in Canada.


    The RCMP and CSIS have not yet used all the powers that existing laws have already given them to confront the terrorist threat, yet we are here today confronted with an omnibus bill that goes further than anything ever brought forward in a Parliament of Canada to trample on our rights and liberties, unlike in the U.K.
    In the U.K., they just passed the Counter-terrorism and Security Act 2015, which proactively puts programs in schools, mental health institutions, and prisons to address the threat of radicalization. We now have good information that at least one of the factors in the terrible events recently in Paris and Copenhagen was radicalization in prison. Surely we should be following the lead of those countries that are using approaches to engage to preempt and avoid radicalization in those institutions. The bill before us does not do that.
    We need mental health and addiction counselling. I do not subscribe to the view that I have heard repeated in this place over and over again that the events of the shooting of October 22 here in Parliament and earlier that week in Quebec were terrorist attacks. They were horrific. They were murders, like the attacks on RCMP officers in Moncton or in Alberta, where RCMP officers were shot by people who were either criminals or mentally ill and disturbed. We absolutely condemn such actions, but to describe them as terrorism is both to expand the reach and branding rights of despicable groups like ISIS and to misunderstand what took place.
    We know that the man who broke into this place, having just murdered Corporal Nathan Cirillo, had just two years earlier gotten himself arrested by sharpening a stick and trying to rob a McDonald's. He then waited for the police to show up so he could beg a judge to send him to jail so that he could get addiction counselling, so that he could get help, because he knew he was a threat to himself and to others.
    It is a failure of our system not because we did not have enough laws to put him in jail at that time or have surveillance on him as a potential terrorist; it is a condemnation of the system that he fell through the cracks for mental health counselling and addiction counselling. We could have saved two lives, Corporal Nathan Cirillo's and the shooter's, had we had a program in place. That is where we should be putting our attention.
    To turn my attention to the bill before us and what is wrong with it, and there is so very much wrong with it, I will start with the fact that in its information sharing provisions, it is so over-broad and overreaching that it could require information collected about every Canadian. There is almost no one who could not be seen to be snagged at some point by this definition and the way in which information would be shared.
    The Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Daniel Therrien, has expressed his concerns. Virtually every privacy expert in Canada thinks the information sharing contemplated by part 1 of the bill is extreme. It would essentially apply to every agency of Canada and could provide a complete profile of every citizen and everything they do. This must be tightened up. If we are going to have this kind of information provision in the interest of terrorism, then the definition should be about terrorism, not about things that could include dissent of all kinds.
    Again, I have heard many Conservative members of Parliament say that there should be no concern about non-violent civil disobedience, but then they parrot back to me a definition that clearly excludes non-violent civil disobedience. It says:
    For greater certainty, it does not include lawful advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression.
    Well, the use of the word “lawful” at the beginning of that phrase has been interpreted by other legal analysts, not just me, but by numerous scholars who have been looking at this proposed law since it was brought forward, to apply to all aspects. If people violated a municipal bylaw, they would no longer be engaged in a lawful activity.
     This needs to be clarified, and despite my efforts in asking the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Minister of Justice, and the Prime Minister, no one has yet said that it is not their intention to cover and criminalize non-violent civil disobedience, beyond a level that is already criminal, because people take an active conscience to break a law they find unjust.
    There is more here than I can get to. However, moving ahead, in part 4 we have been told that there is judicial oversight. There is no such thing. It is only in instances where CSIS agents believe that what they are about to do will violate the charter that they would go to a judge to get a warrant. This is not judicial oversight. Are these CSIS agents going to be trained in the law? The Minister of Justice and the Supreme Court of Canada frequently disagree about what is a charter violation.


    We have lost the inspector general for CSIS. That position of oversight was removed in an omnibus bill in 2012. This bill cannot be simply fixed with more oversight. It would be better to scrap it and start over, starting with an evidence-based question: What do law enforcement agencies tell us they need that they do not already have?
    Mr. Speaker, there is one thing I do agree with. The member mentioned that we should be clear-eyed and sensible, and I agree with that completely. However, earlier today in debate, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands questioned the ability to apply the Canadian charter to our intelligence services in operating overseas. I question this, because what she is implying is that CSIS should somehow use the laws in other countries.
    When we talk about some of the countries where we are tracking threats, we are talking about countries like Somalia and Iran. I do not think there is a single person in Canada who would think the laws that govern those countries and their human rights violations would somehow trump what we have here in Canada with the Canadian charter.
     I would like to ask the member this. Does the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands actually believe that the laws of countries like Somalia or Iran are far better than what we have here under the Canadian charter?
    Mr. Speaker, I have to say I had a hard time understanding what the parliamentary secretary's point was.
    I have not at any time in debate suggested that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada was in any way inferior to foreign laws. My question was very clear. Even after Bill C-44, which allows CSIS to operate in other countries, this bill says that CSIS will operate within or outside Canada, but it will only need a warrant when CSIS agents realize that they are about to break a domestic law.
    This does not confine itself to countries like Iran and Somalia. CSIS agents operating anywhere in the world would appear to be, based on this reading of this act, empowered to break laws in other countries without any judicial oversight anywhere, and that strikes me as overreaching.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her thoughtful speech on the very serious issue of fighting terrorism.
    First, let me say that nobody in the House supports terrorist activities. However, what I see happening in the House today is an absolute travesty and an attack on parliamentary democracy. I was elected by my constituents and was sent here to represent them, but there will only be two hours of debate on Bill C-51, which is major legislation. It needs to be examined very seriously. I heard the parliamentary secretary say just a few minutes ago that it is going to go through the parliamentary rigour of Parliament, yet many MPs' voices are not going to be heard because they cannot debate.
    I would ask my colleague to comment on that.


    Mr. Speaker, I did not think I would see the level of concern about this bill coming from the Canadian public as quickly as it did. Commentators, whether The Globe and Mail editorial board, National Post writers, or Rex Murphy, and I think it has been at least several decades since I have agreed with anything Rex Murphy has said, have all said that this bill requires study. This is fundamentally different from any bill we have ever seen before the House of Commons. We need to have a proper study.
     We had closure of debate at second reading. There are rumours of moving it quickly through committee. I hope those rumours are not true, but we will find out when the committee announces its list of witnesses.
    We need a proper review, and the government needs to show a willingness to take on amendments. Otherwise, this will not protect Canadian rights and liberties; this will be an assault on Canadian rights and liberties.
    Mr. Speaker, I share several of the concerns and issues that have been raised, but I want to ask about the issue of civilian and parliamentary oversight, which is fundamental to good policing, a good judicial system, and confidence in the judicial, policing, and security systems. In the hon. member's perspective, what would constitute appropriate parliamentary oversight and appropriate civilian oversight?
    The idea that we are shortening debate on this scares me. The notion that amendments will not be received on this frightens me. However, the lack of civilian oversight to me is a fundamental flaw in this legislation.
    What would constitute good civilian oversight and appropriate parliamentary oversight, in the member's view?
    Mr. Speaker, let us go back and say what it is that the Conservative administration thinks is adequate oversight.
    We are told that the Security Intelligence Review Committee is enough. It is instructive to remember that this is a part-time board that looks at complaints about CSIS.
     We used to have an inspector general for CSIS who acted as eyes and ears for the Minister of Public Safety to spot when things were going off the rails. It is not that we do not love the RCMP and trust them and all that, but let us face it, we have a history of barnburning. It was a mistake, but it happened. We have seen oil installations blown up.
     We need to have at least an inspector general to watch what the spies are doing and make sure the minister knows about it to keep things from going off the rails. SIRC cannot do it, and we need more, not less.
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today and lend my voice in support of Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism act, 2015.
    Working to secure the safety and security of Canadians is a sacred duty that our government takes very seriously. That is why our counterterrorism efforts, guided by a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy, have been front and centre in our legislative agenda.
    We continue to make real progress in measured and decisive ways to improve our country's ability to address the terrorist threat. Notably, we brought in the Combating Terrorism Act, which made it a crime to travel or attempt to travel to engage in terrorist activity abroad. I am compelled to note that the NDP opposed making it a crime to travel abroad to engage in terrorism. In fact, the member for Surrey North said that the Combating Terrorism Act: not about preventing terrorism. We already have a comprehensive justice system and enough legislation to protect Canadians from acts of terrorism, as well as a variety of capable institutions to facilitate these laws. Rather, this bill fundamentally attacks our rights and freedoms.
    To this claim I would say two things. First, jihadi terrorism is not a human right; it is an act of war. Second, and tragically, we saw very clearly in late October that more tools need to be made available to law enforcement to stop terrorism.
    More recently, we introduced the protection of Canada from terrorists act to ensure CSIS has the firm legal footing it needs to investigate threats to the security of Canada from wherever they originate. Yet again, the NDP stood against these common sense measures, measures that are moving us in the right direction.
    As I have said, recent events demonstrate we have more work to do to ensure Canada is as well equipped as possible to confront the multi-faceted and evolving national security threats we face, not only those direct threats posed by international terrorists like al Qaeda and the Islamic State but also those from within our very borders, including terrorist travellers and lone-wolf actors whose actions can be difficult to detect and disrupt.
    It is difficult to overstate just how considerable and pressing these threats really are. The attacks we have seen recently against our country and our allies are grim and painful reminders of the threats we face to our security, to our freedom, and to our liberties.
    The threat remains real. In recent months the RCMP has made arrests and laid terrorism-related charges on several individuals, including individuals in our nation's capita, but these attacks have also strengthened our resolve. As parliamentarians, it is incumbent upon us to take action with decisive measures to protect Canada and Canadians from rapidly evolving national security threats, just as we have proposed in the legislation before us.
    These measures will allow for more effective information sharing between federal government departments when it comes to legitimate matters of national security. They will allow us to capitalize on the significant and unique expertise of CSIS by providing the organization with a mandate to engage in activities that will help disrupt threats to our great country. They will allow us to take action to stem the tide of terrorism material on the Internet.
    The bill before us will allow us to do all these things, but during my time today I would like to outline the measures we have proposed to improve an existing national security tool, the passenger protect program. This program, introduced in 2007, serves as an important component of Canada's multi-layered approach to aviation security. It complements other aviation security measures such as the screening of people and goods, the physical protection of facilities and aircraft, and airport policing.


    As members may be aware, the Government of Canada maintains a specified persons list under the program and provides it to air carriers in a secure manner. Air carriers must screen all passengers booked on flights to, from or within Canada against the list and report any potential matches to Transport Canada officials, who decide if it is necessary to issue an emergency direction to deny boarding. As it stands, the goal of the program is quite simple: to keep individuals who may pose an immediate security threat from boarding commercial flights. Its entire focus is to target threats to transportation security such as terrorist or other criminal acts that pose a danger to passengers, crew, aircraft or aviation facilities.
    While this remains a concern, we also have to contend with another disturbing threat reality.
     I would remind all members that our nation's top security officials have voiced their concern about a growing number of individuals with Canadian connections travelling by air to places like Syria, Somalia and Iraq to participate in terrorist activities. They engage in attacks. They engage in recruitment. They receive training. As of early 2015, the government is aware of a number of individuals who have left Canada for these types of activities in conflict zones. We can only imagine the sleep that officials lose over the fact that some of these individuals return quite possibly with the determination and know-how to plan and, worse, to carry out attacks on Canadian soil. While such individuals do not pose a direct threat to aviation security at the time of their departure, nonetheless they are a menace to Canada, to our allies and certainly to their destination country.
    The program is currently not designed to address this very real and present threat, and must be updated to remain a relevant and effective national security tool. In order to deny boarding, the current requirement to demonstrate an immediate threat to aviation security precludes the program from mitigating lower levels of risk.
    Authorities are limited in their ability to prevent individuals from travelling by air for terrorism purposes when a case does not meet the threshold for criminal prosecution or other law enforcement tools. Therefore, through this legislation, our government is taking to strengthen and expand the program to better address this type of threat.
    As we have heard, this proposed legislation will usher in important changes that will see the program evolve into a more effective tool in our counterterrorism arsenal. To that end, we are proposing a new stand-alone act to provide a firm legislative basis for the program. This is significant since the program is currently defined under administrative policies, rather than enshrined in law. Putting it on a firm legislative foundation will go a long way toward improving its administration and operation.
    The responsibilities for the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Minister of Transport will be clearly defined to reflect the most important change we have proposed to the program, which is a new mandate. With this legislation, we would expand its mandate so it would serve not only as a tool to mitigate threats to aviation security but one that would further support our commitment and our duty to prevent individuals from travelling by air for terrorism purposes.
     The bill would authorize the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to establish a list of persons when there would be reasonable grounds to suspect that the individual would pose a threat to transportation security or would travel by air to engage is terrorist-related activities. As well, the minister would be authorized to issue directions to air carriers in order to respond to the threat posed by a listed person. These operational directions could include denial of boarding or additional physical screening prior to boarding. By establishing the passenger protect program as a tool with a dual mandate to prevent threats to aircraft and help prevent terrorist travel, we would ensure it would be much more reflective of today's threat environment.


    Finally, whether it is changes to the program or it is other measures outlined by my colleagues today, this comprehensive legislation contains precisely the kinds of adaptations we need to make to address the ever-changing threat environment. I therefore call on all members of the House for their support of the bill.
    Mr. Speaker, all of us in the House are concerned with the threats to the security of Canadians and I would assume that all of us take the protection of the security of Canadians as our priority.
    However, I am stunned and confounded that the government would do voluntarily to our country what those who oppose freedom and democracy would have done to it. We send young men and women around the world to protect what the government is denying to Canadians through this bill.
    What this bill has defined as “terrorism”, with its broad and sweeping definition, has significant overlap with what Canadians understand to be reasonable expression of opinion and the normal practice of dissent in a free and democratic society. I have heard nothing from the Conservatives nor from the Liberal Party, which is supporting this bill, that would justify that.
     I would like to give the member another opportunity to justify denying Canadians their freedoms voluntarily by the Government of Canada through this bill.
    Mr. Speaker, we have been following the growing threat of terrorism across the globe for the last number of years. We heard from a speaker earlier that clearly terrorism was something that we had witnessed for decades. However, the pace, the barbarity and the culture of this terrorism is growing at a rate that is alarming at least.
    When we look back to October 22, we look to the threats to our country, we look at trials that are already under way in the country for threats that were made against rail lines recently and for the recent Boston bombing. We have to take action. We simply cannot stand back and say that what we have is good enough. We simply must react.
    For my colleague opposite, I encourage him to join us in acting today.