Thank you, Mr. Chair.
As I was saying, the Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act aims to clarify the powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, in other words to confirm that CSIS has the capacity to act outside the country and to exchange information with our allies, which is especially important in the context of individuals who travel outside the country for terrorist purposes.
This first element provides legal clarification. It confirms the existing power of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to carry out activities abroad and to protect its informers and its employees.
This was the first significant law, but there were gaps to be filled, which is why our government introduced a second bill in 2015 dealing with our anti-terrorism measures, in order to provide tools to not only the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, but also the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other departments and federal organizations to break this silo culture that exists in federal agencies when it comes to sharing information on national security.
The measures that were passed yesterday in the House of Commons and that will soon go before the Senate will enable the government to reduce the threat specifically in the case of jihadist terrorist activities before they manifest themselves. We will be able to intervene at the start of the process, particularly in the context of radicalization, for instance, by criminalizing the promotion of terrorism in general and by being able to shut down websites containing terrorist propaganda. Obviously, we are going to prevent radicalized individuals from leaving Canada to take part in terrorist activities. We are well aware of the growing number of Canadians who may wish to leave the country to commit terrorist acts.
I also want to point out that in the 2015 budget, which was tabled just a few weeks ago, our government is committing to increasing national security resources by close to $300 million, especially for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well as the Canada Border Services Agency.
Another important thing to note in the budget is that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service watchdog, the review committee, will see its budget doubled in order to enhance its surveillance of our security agency.
The third bill, the common sense firearms licensing act, as you know, will provide safe and sensible firearms policies for Canadians. You have reviewed this bill already.
The goal is simple. As you know, it's to remove red tape while keeping Canadians safe from gun crime. As Greg Farrant of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters said, this bill:
...proposes reasonable amendments to...the Criminal Code that make sense, that eliminate red tape, and introduce additional public safety measures. It does not make guns easier to get. It does not allow firearms owners to transport them at will wherever they want, and it does not put guns in the hands of the “wrong people”.
On the contrary, Mr. Chairman, as you know, anyone who is convicted of domestic violence will see their licence removed. We are also reinforcing the capability for the CBSA to exchange information with the RCMP so that we have better control and can restrict the importation, particularly in the case of illegal firearms. We are making mandatory training for anyone who is willing to possess or acquire a firearm.
There was a major development over the winter in our relationship with the Americans in terms of reinforcing our security measures and the fluidity at the border as part of the “Beyond the Border” agreement.
I had the privilege of signing a customs pre-clearance agreement with the U.S. Secretary of State, Jeh Johnson, in Washington. It was one of the pillars of the “Beyond the Border” agreement, and we have now accomplished this important step. I tabled the agreement before Parliament when I returned from Washington.
The agreement is based on the success of existing pre-clearance operations. It has been around for over 60 years in the airline industry. These operations paved the way for customs pre-clearance for land, rail and maritime transport. So it is an important step that will help us improve the fluidity of transportation and movement of goods and people at the border, while reinforcing security mechanisms.
As part of our efforts to protect Canadians from violent crime, we recently introduced the life means life act to ensure that a life sentence means life in prison.
As you can see, our government has one priority, which is to keep Canadians safe. This has been a consistent theme for our government since we were elected in 2006. This commitment to protecting Canadians is reflected in the main estimates for 2015-16.
The total amount that you are studying this morning is $8.5 billion for the fiscal year. This is an increase of about 1% in expenditures over last year. I would like to provide you with the key points.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service is requesting $537 million for 2015-16 to ensure national security. The Canada Border Services Agency is seeking a total of approximately $1.8 billion, an increase of 2.2%. Mr. Portelance will be able to explain how he intends to invest those amounts. There are major capital projects to improve the physical facilities and to enable a faster flow of passengers through our border crossings.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is at the heart of our plan and plays an important role in managing border security. With the $2.6 billion requested for the fiscal year, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will continue to integrate its commitments when it comes to implementing legislation related to cross-border activity within the “Beyond the Border” agreement signed by President Obama and our Prime Minister Harper.
As you know, the Correctional Service of Canada contributes to public safety by making sure that the correctional system actually corrects criminal behaviour. To perform this vital function, the Correctional Service of Canada is seeking total funding of approximately $2.4 billion for the coming fiscal year. This represents an increase of approximately 1% over the last fiscal year.
My colleague who is with me today, Mr. Guimond, is the Deputy Minister of Public Safety. He coordinates all public safety operations with the agencies, but also those that relate to natural disasters. He is seeking funding of approximately $1.2 billion for the 2015-16 fiscal year, which is an increase of 2.5% over the previous fiscal year.
It is worth noting that this request from Public Safety Canada is an increase of $86.4 million, but that it affects the disaster financial assistance arrangements, so that in 2015-16 we expect to transfer $848 million to the provinces that were hit with natural disasters. These amounts will make it possible to meet existing and future obligations to communities seriously affected by flooding and other natural disasters.
Mr. Chair, you will probably remember that in January, our government announced a modernization of the disaster financial assistance agreement, which adjusts the eligibility threshold to take into account inflation and ensure the program's financial viability. This also includes additional measures for the national disaster mitigation program. The goal is to support the provinces in their projects to reduce the impact of natural disasters.
It is also important to keep in mind that the fixed maximum rate of 90% for large-scale disasters is maintained. Our government is there to help. In early April, I invited the provinces to submit projects to reduce natural disasters and their impact, especially with respect to flood risks. It may include measures and studies relating to flood areas.
To conclude, I am pleased to present to you today an impressive track record realized by our agencies. I will be pleased to answer your questions. Obviously, these are large amounts, but they are necessary to ensure the safety of Canadians. I would like to assure you that this money is being well used by the representatives of our agencies. I would like to congratulate them on the important work they have done over the year, during which they have been particularly called upon, and I'm thinking about what happened just a few metres from here.