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View Joe Oliver Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you and the committee members to discuss Bill  C-59.
This bill implements key aspects of budget 2015. These elements represent our government's latest measures to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.
Before I get into the details, let me remind the committee of past promises. We promised that once the crisis of the recession passed, we would take action to balance the budget. Equally important would be how we balanced the budget—not by slashing transfer payments to provinces. Unlike the Liberals in the 1990s, we refused to undermine support for the health care and education Canadians rely on, nor did we engage in reckless structural spending schemes or higher taxes. Rather, we promised a balanced budget, balanced fiscally and balanced in the benefits it would offer all Canadians. These are promises made and promises kept. This budget is balanced.
It protects historical transfer payments, which have increased by 62% since we came to power. It has reduced taxes to create an overall federal tax burden that is already at its lowest level in 50 years.
And it builds on a record of success Canadians can be proud of.
Over 1.2 million more Canadians are working now than at the end of the recession. The majority of these jobs have been full-time, high-wage, and in the private sector.
According to KPMG, total business tax costs in Canada are the lowest in the G-7, some 46% lower than those in the United States. In the index of 61 economies, the IMD World Competitiveness Centre ranked Canada 5th in the world for economic competitiveness. The Centre for American Progress says that Canada has experienced continuing middle-income growth, while for many countries it had halted. And Bloomberg has ranked Canada as the second most attractive place in the world to do business.
We've come so far together as Canadians but we are still confronting challenges, including the dramatic decline in the price of oil. Canada is a trading nation deeply intertwined with the global economy. International storms inevitably touch our shores.
Since the recession, the global recovery has been difficult, with the risk of becoming what the managing director of the IMF calls “the new mediocrity”. So what are we doing to move forward here in Canada? Let me talk about some aspects from our latest budget.
I will start with taxation. For families, seniors, and small businesses, we are putting more money and leaving more money in the pockets of Canadians. We have reduced taxes more than 180 times since 2006. In this budget we are going even further.
Economic action plan 2015 implements the family tax cut, expands and enhances the universal child care benefit, and increases the child care expense deduction dollar limits. These benefits will help those who care about their kids most, mum and dad.
We're taking even more action for mums and dads in this budget. We're giving them new opportunities to save for their kids' education, for the down payment on a home, for a new small business, or for retirement. The budget proposes to nearly double the tax-free savings annual contribution limit from $5,500 to $10,000. This will give Canadians, parents, seniors, and hard working people across the country even more freedom to save money tax free. In fact, 60% of those who maxed out on their TFSA contributions last year earned less than $60,000. Three-quarters of contributors earned less than $75,000. This measure is aimed at those who need our help the most: low and middle-income Canadians.
Family means duty: the duty to protect each other. This is a fundamental Canadian value and it is reflected in our values as a government.
Our budget expands compassionate care employment insurance benefits from six weeks to 26 weeks. We are making it easier for Canadians to take care of a sick or dying loved one. I'm deeply proud of this reform, as is our Conservative caucus, the whole caucus. No one is more deserving of our support than those who take time to support their families at times of great need.
This budget also includes a new measure to meet one of the government's most important obligations, which is to protect Canadians here in the country and abroad. When we take a look around the world in 2015, a sad truth emerges: our country is not immune to the dangers of international terrorism.
Our government understands the dangers and is taking action to combat the threat. Today's legislation includes several measures to ensure the continued security of Canadians.
Bill C-59 empowers us to reform House of Commons security, ensuring the safety of elected officials as they go about the business of the nation. It strengthens our ability to revoke passports on grounds of terrorism or national security. To further improve the security of Canada's immigration system, Bill C-59 proposes to expand the use of biometric screening to verify the identity of all visa-required travellers seeking entry into Canada.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, we remain undaunted in our efforts to build a more prosperous Canada. The continued weakness of the global economy means we must take relentless action to create jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity.
That starts with small businesses, Canada's greatest job creators. Alone, they account for half the working men and women in Canada's private sector, so we are working hard to put more money back in the pockets of Canada's entrepreneurs.
Today's legislation breaks new ground. It cuts the small business tax rate to 9% by 2019, the largest tax rate cut for small business in more than 25 years. This means an annual tax reduction of up to $38,600 that can be reinvested in a business to fuel its growth and create jobs for Canadians.
Many of these small businesses work in the manufacturing sector. As this committee knows, manufacturing represents over 10% of our GDP and employs 1.7 million people across the country.
Manufacturing built this country. It built my home province into an economic engine of Confederation. Unlike the Liberal leader, who questioned the role of manufacturing in Canada's future, for this Conservative and for this Conservative government, the words “made in Canada” continue to fuel pride and, of course, jobs. That is why we must give manufacturers the tools they need to create the products and the jobs of the future.
Today's legislation includes an accelerated capital cost allowance for machinery and equipment used in manufacturing and processing. This new 10-year tax incentive will result in a deferral that is expected to reduce federal taxes for manufacturers by $1.1 billion over the period from 2016-20. It will create even more jobs for hard-working Canadians.
Let me end with one more job creation measure, a major new infrastructure program: the public transit fund. This program, increasing to $1 billion per year by 2019, will be a permanent source of financing to provinces and municipalities for major public transit projects. It will help cut congestion in Canadian cities, saving families time in traffic and saving businesses from higher costs.
This fund is one more addition to our government's historic infrastructure investments, which together represent the largest long-term federal commitment in our country's history.
Mr. Chair, this is just a brief overview of the many measures in Bill  C-59 that will benefit Canadians.
Canada's economic action plan is working, creating jobs and growth and building a stronger, more prosperous, more confident Canada. I'm prepared to tell you more about it today as I answer your questions.
Thank you.
Thomas Quiggin
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Thomas Quiggin
2015-05-28 8:49
Good morning, Mr. Chair, and honourable members. Thank you for inviting us here today.
Just by way of introduction, let me say that in Canada there are a series of deep networks that have the ideology, infrastructure, and organized financial support to develop multiple avenues of extremism here in Canada. The intent of these networks is to create a political, social, and cultural space where issues of extremism and radicalization can be advanced, while questions about their activity are silenced through manufactured claims of Islamophobia and racism. These networks, aided by overseas propaganda efforts, will provide an increasingly large stream of young Canadians who will use their Canadian passports to continue to become suicide bombers, jihadist fighters, and propagandists.
Many believe we should simply allow such individuals to travel overseas, and there is a certain logic that support that. However, exporting murderous suicide bombers and propagandists may not be the best way Canada contributes to this trans-national, long-term series of overseas conflicts.
Islam itself is in the throes of a long-term struggle for the soul of the faith. Historical analogies to similar events in the past are tenuous, but the protestant reformation in Europe lasted from roughly 1517 to 1648, in other words, 130 years. Almost 30% of the population of what we would now call Germany was destroyed in that time period. The current upheaval in Islam has been under way for about 90 years, but it's reasonable to say this will probably last for another full generation.
Hassan al-Banna's formation of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 can be seen symbolically as marking the start of the modern day politicized struggle for the future of Islam, much as Martin Luther is seen symbolically as having started the reformation in 1615. While the outcome of the struggle for the soul of Islam is not clear, it's reasonable to assess at this moment Islamist voices of extremism are in the lead, and they are ascendant.
The question is, how should we view this extremism in Canada? Here it is increasingly difficult to distinguish the difference between the ISIS rhetoric, which we hear over there, and the rhetoric of local Canadian efforts, which are created and distributed over here. This is not surprising, given they are inspired by the same basic ideology.
We cannot here today examine all aspects of extremism, but I believe the most recent issue of the ISIS magazine, Dabiq, issue number 9, provides a useful example and a point of entry, which we can discuss. An article in the recent Dabiq is entitled “Slave-Girls or Prostitutes” and examines the role of women in ISIS, with a focus on justifying the roles of those girls and women who have been captured and are now held as sexual slaves.
At about the same time that report was published, Zainab Bangura, the United Nations special representative on sexual violence, reported that ISIS is institutionalizing sexual violence. The brutalization of women and girls is central to their ideology. The question arises, is it possible to tell the difference between the statements made by ISIS propagandists over there and the information and material that is being generated over here?
Let me read five short statements about the extremist views of women and try to imagine which one of these statements is from ISIS and which was created and distributed here in Canada. Statement 1, beating women in Islam is a type of education; statement 2, women may enjoy being beaten at times, as it is a sign of love and concern for them; statement 3, forced sex is not rape and they should be thankful; statement 4, the husband has many rights over his wife, and first and foremost she must obey; statement 5, the wife may not deny herself to her husband.
Of those five statements, only one of them comes from Dabiq magazine, namely, statement 3 about forced sex. The other four statements are all statements being made in Canada, distributed in books, put on videos online, etc. All of this is here in Canada, all of it in the open, and all of it available through open source. These statements are so offensive, so repugnant, and so barbaric it is difficult to catalogue the various affronts.
The same comparison can be made with other extremist issues, such as the killing of innocents and suicide bombings. These statements also do not address the degree to which female genital mutilation exists in Canada. We do not have useful statistics on this because the various legislative and medical bodies refuse to address the issue here in Canada, unlike the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.
Canada probably has the highest rate of forced suicides, meaning murder or honour killings, amongst young south Asian women. This is for a series of reasons due to extremism and culture, but again at best we have second order statistics, as feminist groups and others are either afraid to tackle the issue or they do not find the killing of brown women in Canada to be significant.
I am aware that front-line police forces are aware of the issue at hand. They're trying to deal with it. They're trying to educate themselves, but they lack official statistics. They lack community support and they lack political backing.
Much of Canadian civil society, including feminists, academics, social justice advocates and NGOs, is either frightened into submission and fears speaking out or believes that it is correct to approve of such abuse because one must be tolerant of other cultures. Silence, in my view, implies consent.
Hence, we see York University Muslim Students' Association handing out books advising that it's correct to beat your wife because she'll see it as a sign of love and concern, yet there is no overall societal reaction to this or other such statements.
The question arises, of course, who are the networks that are advancing this extremism in Canada? As noted above, the wellspring of much of this ideology comes from the Muslim Brotherhood. Dr. Lorenzo Vidino, who is perhaps the world's leading expert on the Muslim Brotherhood outside of the Middle East itself, recently testified at the Senate of Canada on May 11 of this year. His view, as he expressed it to the Senate, is that the Muslim Brotherhood has some eight to ten front groups in Canada, but the four best known ones are the Muslim Association of Canada, CAIR-CAN, otherwise known as NCCM, and Islamic Relief Canada. He identified IRFAN as the fourth, although of course they have been put out of business as of this year when they were declared a terrorist entity.
In conclusion, let me say that I believe the discussion about passport seizures and revocation is timely, appropriate, and necessary. Unfortunately, as the recent seizure of some 10 passports at the Montreal airport suggests, this is an ongoing problem. It's going to increase in magnitude as a series of overseas conflicts continue.
By way of my own background, I've been involved with and testified in an international hostage-taking criminal case. I've testified and been declared a court expert in terrorism in a criminal trial. I've testified multiple times and been declared a court expert in national security certificates. I've testified and been declared a court expert in the IRB and I testified at the Air India inquiry. I've also testified to the Senate and the House on multiple occasions in the past and I actually helped train the special advocates, lawyers, and judges who work within the national security certificate cases and others.
It should be noted as well that I've testified on both sides of the aisle, defence and prosecution, including testifying for the defence when questions of innocence and due process have arisen concerning Muslim Canadians caught up in national security issues. As such, my view based on experience in the court system is that the ultimate arbitrator of the human rights of Canadians remains the court system. While a bit slow and on occasion ponderous, innovations such as the special advocate system have worked and have ensured that the intelligence community and the judicial system have remained functional even under the most trying of circumstances over a period of years.
Based on my experience, the bill provides judges with considerable latitude to accept, deny, or discard any and all evidence put in front of them. This is made particularly clear under the “Appeals” section of the bill, subclause 4(4) and in particular paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (e), which offer judges and by extension defence lawyers, the widest possible latitude to discredit misleading or weak evidence put before them. Thus I believe a balance can be achieved when a passport revocation occurs.
I believe that an independent judiciary, a system that we have here in Canada, remains a trustworthy and credible force. It is capable of dealing with the issue of whether or not the privilege of having a Canadian passport—and it's a privilege not a right.... If that privilege has been revoked and the passport is removed, I believe that the judges are capable of assessing the information at hand and whether that person would have used it to travel abroad to commit acts of terrorism or otherwise.
Mr. Chairman and honourable members, thank you.
Christian Leuprecht
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Christian Leuprecht
2015-05-28 8:59
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Distinguished committee members, thank you for having me. I will be pleased to answer questions in both official languages, but if I may, I will speak in English.
My presentation will have three parts.
The first is laying out why I think this particular issue we're dealing with today will continue to persist for years to come; why I sympathize with the measure; and why I think there are good ways of rationalizing this particular measure, both within the Canadian context and the comparative context.
Here's why this is going to be a persistent problem. I think there have been two fundamental changes that have brought this whole phenomenon much closer to home. Those are two revolutions.
One is the communications revolution, which has made it so much easier for people to get their twisted messages out. Everybody has a mobile phone. Aside from the ability to spread one's message in a way that would have been much more difficult a couple of decades ago, we also have what sociologists call the “filter bubble”. This phenomenon says that even though we have a very pluralistic social media universe, individuals are increasingly reading only the types of information that reinforces the biases and stereotypes they already hold. As people start to buy into this type of extremist narrative type of messaging—which that might cause them to engage in violence and travel abroad for either the purpose of committing violence, or joining an organization that the Government of Canada has decided is an organization we'd rather not have them join—I think that media communication is a major part of it.
The other is transportation. It's so much easier and cheaper today to get anywhere. For a couple of thousand bucks, you get on a plane in Edmonton and you fly to Istanbul and find your way to the border. If you think about a hundred years ago, if somebody immigrated to Canada they left everything behind. They maybe sent a letter or so back, but they wouldn't be thinking about going back. Staying in touch would be very difficult. I think these two fundamental revolutions have very much changed the game.
There's another element that I think is going to be a challenge for years to come with this phenomenon of extremist travellers, or “foreign terrorist fighters” as the UN calls them. It is the immense structural imbalances that afflict the countries that span from North Africa through to Pakistan, this arc of countries. It is the very high fertility rates that lead to severe demographic imbalances and very large youth bulges. If you look at a country such as Pakistan, you're going to have a 50% increase in their population over the next 40 years. These are recurring or replicable phenomena in most of the countries throughout the region, and yet we have social structures, economic structures, and political structures that are ill-adapted to this demographic growth.
In part, for instance, if you're smart and an ambitious young person, even if you try, it's very difficult for you to get a job because many of the economic structures and the state structures are so ossified you can't get a job unless you have all sorts of connections with senior elites, and whatnot. It's no wonder we have a large bulk of individuals in the region who are frustrated and who buy into extreme solutions and narratives not necessarily because they might be entirely convinced by the ideology being peddled, but because they're the one organization that gives them some hope of changing the circumstances in which they live.
What we've seen over the last 30 or so years, as a result, is what you might call the phenomenon of the globalization of terrorism. Previously we had domestic terrorism and we had international terrorism, both state terrorism and state-sponsored terrorism. What we've seen is this proliferation of this phenomenon of transnational terrorism and the narratives that go along with it, and now also the opportunity of ISIS, which has essentially turned the al Qaeda strategy on its head and deliberately tries to hold and control urban centres and lines of communication among these urban centres. If you wanted to join al Qaeda it was really hard. You had to get to Pakistan, and you had to find your way over to Waziristan. That was a dangerous trip and many people didn't make it. Now it's so easy to join these organizations.
While I think we can manage the ISIS phenomenon, it becomes a bit of a whack-a-mole game. As a result of these imbalances that I've laid out for you, I think instability and extremist-type narratives in these types of organizations are going to be a persistent problem for years and decades to come.
The challenge we have with people travelling abroad is going to be a persistent challenge. Sure, it dates back to the Spanish revolution and, as some of you might know, we still have the Foreign Enlistment Act on the books that was implemented at the time to dissuade individuals from going. We had this problem with German Canadians and Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. We had this challenge with some members of the Sikh community joining Babbar Khalsa, and with some members of the Tamil community joining the LTTE. As a result of these revolutions that I've laid out, this is a whole new world. It's no longer limited to particular ethnic or religious communities, because these narratives can speak to just about anybody.
As a result, what do we need? We need a much more nuanced tool kit for our security services. We've done a good job of focusing on what you might call “criminal pre-emption”, but we need to have a more nuanced tool kit in what my colleague Craig Forcese calls “administrative pre-emption”. Passport revocation is a very important component with regard to precision kinetic counterterrorist intervention, not for some mass community radicalization, whatever, talk, but rather targeting that small portion of individuals looking to travel abroad to engage with these organizations.
I might remind the committee that, of course, it's not just about adults travelling abroad. It's also about youth travelling abroad. I think the state has an obligation toward minors, toward people under 18, to intervene in ways that it might not with adults.
We also need to remember that these people will return. We know that about one-third of foreign fighters have returned. We know nine out of ten of them return deeply disillusioned and with serious mental health issues. And we know that about one out of ten—from is Thomas Hegghammer's study out of Norway, based on a sample of over 1,000—returns as a hardened ideologue.
One way or another, there are significant implications for Canadian society and for the Canadian taxpayer, if we don't engage in more effective administrative pre-emption.
Why do we need to do this? In itself, this will have a deterrent effect, if people understand that their passport may end up being revoked or they may not have one issued.
I think we also need to protect the integrity of the Canadian passport. As a result of incidents in central Asia and in north Africa, the Canadian passport in these regions is not treated now with the recognition and respect it had previously. So I think we need to be at the forefront of making sure we protect the Canadian passport as one of the most respected travel documents in the world.
I would like to finish on the premise that a passport is not an entitlement but more like a driver's licence. If you engage in conduct that clearly contravenes the collective interest, as Canadian society has outlined it, then you simply don't have the right to that particular document.
However, I might perhaps have one suggestion in closing that the committee might want to entertain. When we take people's drivers' licences, we don't take them forever, in most cases. We take them for a limited period of time. I wonder if the committee might want to consider some sort of a sunset clause built into the provisions here, whereby there is some obligation on the government to renew the provision of either not issuing a passport or renewing the revocation of that particular passport. Moreover, if we do have a permanent revocation of somebody's document, we need to make sure that we have an administrative procedure that independently confirms the assessment by the minister and by our law enforcement and security agencies that this individual's actions are so severe that they need to have that document essentially revoked for a lifetime. That would be the caveat that I might introduce.
Thank you for your time.
Thank you for your attention.
Christian Leuprecht
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Christian Leuprecht
2015-05-28 9:11
I guess, ultimately, for me, the purpose is getting Canada up to speed with provisions that many of our allies already have, which they have used successfully for years, or in some cases, for decades, especially in Europe.
My persistent argument is that I think we've just had our heads in the sand for too long because we've been very lucky geostrategically to be so far from all this instability. We need to learn from our allies and like-minded countries. In particular, the U.K., Germany, France and Spain have dealt with the phenomenon of terrorism and had to confront this for a longer period of time, and we can see that freedom and security are not a zero-sum game, but rather, that free societies are also secure societies. There are ways of reconciling these competing priorities to serve societal interest as a whole.
I think the ultimate purpose here is to make sure we have provisions that are commensurate with the phenomenon of the globalization of transnational terrorism, on the one hand, but that on the other hand, are sufficiently nuanced to respond to our constitutional and charter environment while effectively providing a more nuanced tool kit, especially for our law enforcement and security and intelligence agencies.
If we simply rely upon criminal pre-emption as the main tool, which is sometimes what the critics will say—that criminal pre-emption is essentially a national security investigation with the objective of ultimately laying a charge—it is very expensive. It is cumbersome.
We've had the commissioner of the RCMP come before Parliament and say that it's breaking his organization to run the investigations he's currently running. The standard of evidence to obtain a conviction is very high. It's not just about laying a charge. It's about making sure we collect the evidence, with the crown having sufficient confidence that they'll actually be able to obtain a conviction.
In the case of youth, do we necessarily want these individuals to end up with a criminal record as a result of what they did, or do we just want to make sure that we take the necessary pre-emptive measures so that they are not able to follow through, and so that, hopefully, with some appropriate intervention—and I think there's a lot more that we can do on the intervention and the prevention side—they will come to their senses and understand that this was perhaps not the best decision to make?
Thomas Quiggin
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Thomas Quiggin
2015-05-28 9:15
Mr. Chairman, sir, I think that if you're going to tackle the issue of people travelling overseas to become extremists and terrorists, or whatever, and if you're going to tackle the issue here in Canada itself, which is a somewhat different thing, there needs to be a strategic, operational, and tactical approach.
At the strategic level we should be looking, as I mentioned earlier, at crippling the networks we have here in Canada, which create these social, political, and cultural spaces where it's okay to talk about this kind of stuff, where it's okay to do that. That means going after their charities, going after their organizations.
At the tactical level, which is where I believe the passport issue is, we need, as my colleague says, a better tool kit. I think the passport issue is a tactical one. It is a way of catching people as they are leaving Canada and going overseas to commit themselves to this kind of activity.
Is it preventative? Yes, it is, in the sense that it prevents them from going overseas. Is it preventative in the sense it will stop radicalization in Canada? That I'm not quite so sure about, but I do think it will provide a useful means of bringing this issue up onto the public radar.
The Canadian government and Canadian civil society are reluctant to challenge the narrative of extremism in Canada, for a series of cultural, political correctness reasons, etc.
We just saw 10 people pulled over at Montréal-Trudeau airport a week ago Saturday as they were on their way to travel to ISIS. Hopefully, those kinds of things will bring out a larger discussion. Parents sitting around the family dinner table can say, “This is what's going to happen to these people,” and folks like us can use this, as well, as a means of discussion.
Is it a good preventative measure? I think yes, in the sense that it's tactical and will stop people at the point of exit. Also, it's one more means of challenging the extremist narrative in Canada, something that I don't think we're doing a good job of anywhere.
Christian Leuprecht
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Christian Leuprecht
2015-05-28 9:17
Can I have a 30-second follow-up on this?
We need to be careful not to confound categories. Terrorists, radicals, and extremist travellers, as the government likes to call them, are not necessarily one and the same thing. They're sociologically distinct categories. The reason I say this is that in this discussion we shouldn't conflate the problem of mass radicalization with the problem of the very small group of individuals who engage in unlawful conduct or travel abroad. We have people who travel abroad who have not been radicalized and who have not necessarily bought into radical narratives. We know, based on my own survey work, that we have no lack of sympathy in this country with radical narratives, but very few people who actually act on that sympathy.
We can't use one policy tool to address two very distinct problems. We need to have different types of policy tools. This, for me, is a kinetic, tactical, precision-type of intervention for that very small community of people who are looking to engage in unlawful conduct by leaving the country to join an organization or engage in activity that we have deemed unlawful. It is not, in my view, going to do anything or much about the problem of mass radicalization. That's a different issue and we need different types of tool kits.
Christian Leuprecht
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Christian Leuprecht
2015-05-28 9:20
Sure. The provision in Germany, for instance, is a long-established provision. I think Germany is a particularly interesting comparison. We often talk about France and the U.K., but I think in terms of a societal predisposition with regard to security, we don't look at Germany and countries like Spain enough. They have diverse societies and social structures, and perhaps the way the population thinks there is a bit more the way we do.
In Germany, of course, it comes out of Germany's history and its very robust regime to protect the integrity of the German constitution. As a result, they have much more robust measures against anybody who would call the German constitutional order into question, either within the country or by attempting to leave the country to engage in activities that might either call the integrity of the German constitutional regime into question, or call the integrity of governments elsewhere in the world into question.
I don't see these provisions that are available to countries as an aberration. I think there are many other administrative pre-emptive provisions that we might want to consider, but I think this is one of the more prominent ones. In part, I also say this because because criminal prosecution is difficult and expensive, and is not always in the interests of perhaps...especially when we talk about minors. I think this is something where we need to have a wider array of options, not simply for the sake of security but within broader context in which this phenomenon is occurring.
Christian Leuprecht
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Christian Leuprecht
2015-05-28 9:23
We have some measure of that. I think we have relatively crude tool kits at present and I think some of the measures that have been introduced provide us with a much finer, more precise ability to intervene pre-emptively and proactively. There are different grounds for why different entities need to be more proactive in the pre-emptive realm, if you want.
I see this provision as complementary, not as a duplication, and I see it as a necessary complement. I believe that the judicial remedies that are built in are sufficient to reassure me that somebody who believes they have been treated inappropriately—because this provision represents a significant degree of state intervention in people's lives—will have appropriate judicial recourse against that intervention. To me, this is absolutely integral, but it's also why I would suggest that such interventions come in the way that they're proposed here, with a time limit, after which the minister or the appropriate institution needs to rearticulate that particular ban. I say this because inherently we all change over our lifetime and we shouldn't just.... In some ways we can use the examples of people who change their views on these particular issues, hopefully demonstrating that people do come to their senses and see that this is not a prudent course of action.
Christian Leuprecht
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Christian Leuprecht
2015-05-28 9:25
I just spent the last 10 days having discussions about exactly this in Spain and Portugal with some of our allied agencies and partners. Like John Horgan, who is probably the premier expert on de-radicalization programs, I am skeptical about many of these programs.
They tend to have three components: a prison intervention component, a sort of counter-narrative component, and a sort of targeted intervention component for individuals who are particularly high risk. This is what the prevent strategy in the U.K. is based on.
We have challenges with regard to being able to measure the effectiveness of many of these programs. We basically have to take people's word for it. There's lots of evidence that these programs are being subverted, that they're being undermined, so ISIS has very successfully positioned the prevent program as a brainwashing and neo-colonial type program.
There's some challenge with regards to human rights, because many intelligence services, I think, make the assumptions that as you watch too many jihadi videos, you're bound to do something violent. The causal path here doesn't work because there is no one model or process of radicalization, but we do know that there are certain triangulations of factors that make individuals far more susceptible to violence.
There's one thing that we haven't done particularly well in research, and as a result in public policies, and that is that we don't have a good understanding of the triangulation of variables of individuals who are more likely to fall into either the spell of these types of narratives or engage in some sort of action.
Thomas Quiggin
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Thomas Quiggin
2015-05-28 9:31
Mr. Chair and honourable members, let me first clarify my own points. My comments on NCCM are not really my own views. It Is the view of the United States State Department that CAIR-CAN, otherwise known as NCCM, is the Canadian chapter of CAIR in the U.S. The founders of CAIR-CAN in court documents, in affidavits here in Canada—
Thomas Quiggin
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Thomas Quiggin
2015-05-28 9:33
Obviously, there's a problem at hand. I won't go into it any further, but perhaps I can send the clerk a list of 23 different statements made by CAIR-CAN, the U.S. State Department, the United Arab Emirates, and the U.S. court system that CAIR-CAN is in fact the Canadian chapter of CAIR in the U.S. I'll drop it and won't get any further into it.
Your question directly is why should Canadians care about this? Why should the proverbial soccer mom or the guy who drives the forklift in the factory care about this? I believe the answer is that this kind of extremism in Canada is spreading, it's growing.
My colleague has pointed out that the communications revolution and the transport revolution have made it increasingly possible for young Canadians to go off and quite literally get themselves killed or to kill other people. As Canadians, I think we have an obligation to our youth who are our future to try to keep them away from this sort of thing as much as possible. Canada as a state has an obligation to other countries to make sure that we are not exporting people from Calgary and Montreal to become suicide bombers and kill large numbers of people in other conflicts overseas.
I know it's a bit of an abstract issue to many people. They ask why they should care. The answer is you should care because it's occurring in your community. It's your youth at risk, it's your youth being challenged. A number of people tend to think this is a Muslim issue, and it is to some extent, but the reality is it's a convert issue as well, which affects all other faiths in Canada, including those who have no particular faith.
I think it's also worth pointing out that right now the focus tends to be on ISIS, al Qaeda, al Nusra, and Jemaah Islamiah. But if we were having this conversation in 1985, we'd have probably been looking at Sikh radicalization in Canada. If we'd had this conversation in 1995 we might have been looking at Tamil radicals, the LTTE, etc. I have no doubt this conversation will be had again 10 years from now and I don't profess to know who the next group will be, but this is an ongoing issue in Canada and all the evidence, as my colleague points out, suggests this is going to be increasingly an issue in Canada. So, yes, it's important; and, yes, we need to get it now.
Thomas Quiggin
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Thomas Quiggin
2015-05-28 9:36
The short answer is that for most of the women in ISIS, the evidence to date appears to show that they wind up in brutalized, distressing relationships where most of the time they want to get back out of the country when they realize how bad it is.
For a minority, however, including the two young women who I believe are from Manchester in the U.K., they actually rise to senior positions as recruiters where they are capable of recruiting other women from other countries around the world.
So the short answer is that most women who go there wind up brutalized and in horrible conditions and look to get out, but a small proportion of them go on to be leadership figures in the community where they can exercise that influence around the world.
Thomas Quiggin
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Thomas Quiggin
2015-05-28 9:39
Mr. Chairman, honourable members, I worked for a year and a half in Singapore. One of my colleagues there, Haniff Hassan, is regarded as one of the world's experts on deradicalization.
In the case of Singapore I think that passport revocation to them is a cut and dried issue, and they do it very quickly and very clearly. But I think it's worth pointing out that in Singapore it's done in the context of a much larger program. It's seen as one tool in the tool kit.
Singapore has a very effective deradicalization program, but as Dr. Leuprecht pointed out, it's successful because it's very narrow, very focused, and is very knowledgeable on life as it exists in Singapore. It's not just about moving the person away from the radicalized thinking, but also at looking at their families, their future, and how to integrate them back into the larger society.
So my short answer would be that passport revocation is good and a necessary tool, but I think it should exist as part of a larger larger effort, or tool kit as Dr. Leuprecht describes it.
Christian Leuprecht
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Christian Leuprecht
2015-05-28 9:41
The model that is being attempted in both Toronto and Calgary is an adaptation of the hub model that was originally developed in Glasgow on the criminalization side to keep youth out of the criminal justice system. Dale McFee brought it to Prince Albert. There is a variant of it in 14 communities throughout Ontario.
That model was intended to keep people out of the criminal justice system. It's not a deradicalization tool. The essence of it is recognition that there are multiple agencies that we need around the table: social agencies, education, public health, mental health, guidance counsellors, employment counsellors, and whatnot. We need an effective strategy, but one that is tailored to each specific case.
I'm a bit concerned about the broad remit that somehow we can have a one-size-fits-all deradicalization program, as opposed to the interventions that we know work in keeping people out of the criminal justice system, namely targeted intervention among multiple agencies that is designed for each specific case with sensitivity to that specific case.
What I want to stress is that from the most recent data we have, for instance, from the Saskatchewan hub, 52% of cases are brought by police, but police only end up being the lead agency in 12% of these cases. There's a recognition that by and large law enforcement and security intelligence need to be supporting agencies in getting people to desist from activity that might cause them to fall into the criminal justice system, but they're not, in most cases, ideal as the lead agency.
Instead of macro level deradicalization programs, I would favour a more nuanced type capability. We do have two pilot projects at least in Canada.
Thomas Quiggin
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Thomas Quiggin
2015-05-28 9:44
I'm not quite sure how you're using the term “special advocate”, sir. Do you mean special advocate in the national security certificate sense, where we have a lawyer who's a special advocate, or do you mean a particular post?
Thomas Quiggin
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Thomas Quiggin
2015-05-28 9:44
I don't believe we require a special position or a particular appointment of a special advocate who would do nothing but that. Having been closely involved in and having testifed at criminal cases, and having been closely involved in national security certificate cases in the Federal Court, I have had close personal contact with the special advocate system where lawyers and judges are granted special status and given special security clearance to work on this. I believe giving defence lawyers special advocate status is a hugely powerful tool. It's useful. I believe that judges, when they're given that status, are an immense contribution to the process.
If there is a situation where a passport has been revoked—
John Davies
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John Davies
2015-05-26 8:47
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'm happy to provide a brief overview of the measures being proposed in Bill C-59, specifically with regard to the prevention of terrorist travel act in tandem with the proposed changes to the Canadian passport order. The proposed amendments underline the government's continuing commitment to strengthen national security and protect Canadians at home and abroad, as they are intended to address the evolving global threat environment.
To begin, let me provide you with a brief overview of the changes to the Canadian Passport Order announced on May 7 related to national security.
First, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness will have the authority to cancel a passport when there is reasonable grounds to suspect it will prevent the commission of a terrorism offence, or for national security purposes. After a passport is cancelled, law enforcement and border control partners are notified and the passport can no longer be used for travel. However, cancellation is a temporary measure used until investigation is completed. If at the conclusion of an investigation there are insufficient grounds to revoke the passport, the passport will be reissued to the individual.
In some circumstances the passport may be cancelled by the minister without prior notice to the individual. In these instances the individual will be notified as soon as possible after the cancellation.
The order also provides an administration reconsideration mechanism to challenge passport cancellation decisions. Once a person has been advised of a cancellation, they are given 30 days to respond and provide information that will be taken into account by the minister when reconsidering the decision to cancel. The individual can appeal the cancellation before the Federal Court of Canada within 30 days of the date on which they receive the notice of the reconsideration decision. Provisions to appeal cancellation are provided for in proposed section 4 of the prevention of terrorist travel act.
Second, the minister can also refuse or revoke a passport when there are reasonable grounds to believe it will prevent the commission of a terrorism offence, or for national security purposes.
Finally, the order also provides the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness the authority to refuse passport services for up to 10 years, during which an individual may not apply for a passport. During a period of refusal of passport services, a person may be required to travel on an urgent, compelling, or compassionate basis. There is an existing mechanism administered by Passport Canada to allow them to travel under these circumstances.
In these situations, an individual may submit an application for a temporary passport for travel and provide the documents necessary to support the justification.
Supporting these changes to the Canadian Passport Order are the legislative measures before you today.
These measures allow individuals to challenge passport decisions, protect information used in those proceedings, and set out the rules for both an appeal of the cancellation or a judicial review of the refusal or revocation.
In national security cases sensitive information is often required to support the cancellation or revocation of passports. During judicial proceedings protecting that sensitive information from disclosure is important to prevent adverse impacts on national security, or for the safety of the person. The government must balance the requirement to protect sensitive information with the ability to successfully uphold passport decisions taken on national security or terrorism grounds.
These proposed amendments will enable a Federal Court judge to protect sensitive information when presiding over proceedings for passport cancellation, revocation, or refusal of services for national security or terrorism purposes. The judge will be required to consider sensitive information in making the decision and to protect that information from disclosure if, in the judge's opinion, the disclosure could be injurious to national security or endanger the safety of any person. While some sensitive information may be withheld, the individual would still receive a summary of the information that was used to make the decision.
In addition, in the context of appeals and judicial review of national security passport decisions in the Federal Court, an individual may introduce information to respond to the government's case.
Overall, this approach should streamline the process and result in more timely decisions, which are in the interest of all parties.
The procedures have been designed to provide the individual with an opportunity to present their case and to be reasonably informed of the government's case. These measures are also consistent with the ability of the courts to review other ministerial decisions, such as the listing of terrorist entities and the listing of persons provided in BillC-51 under the secure air travel act.
These safeguards strike a good balance between the right to protect Canadians against the threat of terrorism and the right of affected individuals to fair treatment.
Thank you. I am happy to take any questions the committee might have on the measures being proposed.
John Davies
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John Davies
2015-05-26 8:53
I'll try to do that and I'll look to my colleagues to support me here.
Just to be clear, the reference to temporary investigation was with respect to cancellation of passports. Cancellation is seen as to allow an investigation to continue. The person is given notice—or not, depending on the situation. The person has 30 days to apply for reconsideration of the decision. There is a reconsideration process. If on reconsideration the decision is upheld, then the person has 30 days to file an appeal with the Federal Court.
Essentially, cancellation could be a means to an end. If the investigation goes on and it is found that there are reasonable grounds not just to suspect but to believe that the person would be using the passport for terrorism purposes or purposes that could threaten national security, you could see that person's passport being revoked or refused.
Essentially, if cancellation takes you to a higher threshold, there is more evidence that can be used. There is a continuum that could end up leading to denial of passport services for up to 10 years.
John Davies
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John Davies
2015-05-26 8:56
I'll try.
The first thing to say is that the legislative changes contained in the budget implementation act are really around the disclosure of information and protecting sensitive information as the decisions are made. The changes to the Canadian passport order that were announced at the same time will help lower the thresholds and make it more efficient as well in revoking, refusing, or cancelling a passport.
What has happened here, similar to the case under BillC-51, I suppose, is that the tools we have to address travel for terrorism purposes are being improved. It's just another option in the tool kit. There may be other ways to address terrorist travel, but I think the important thing with the changes we're talking about here today is that they give another option to national security agencies and law enforcement bodies to consider, which they may want to use in addressing terrorist travel.
John Davies
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John Davies
2015-05-26 8:58
It's very similar to the discussion we had with the secure air travel act. There are very similar provisions in that, as well as within the changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act proposed in division 15.
Often the cases around passport revocation, refusal, or cancellation rely on sensitive information. This could be information provided by sources who have put their lives at risk, for example, to provide that information to intelligence or law enforcement bodies. It could have been provided by our close allies who obtained it through sensitive means and gave it to us in trust that it would not be made public. There are a lot of other reasons as well that are really important to ensure that the incentives are strong to move this kind of information, in this case, into an administrative setting to allow these kinds of decisions to be made and acted upon.
John Davies
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John Davies
2015-05-26 8:59
Certainly, if it were a sensitive source, if the name of the person who has offered information, say, to a law enforcement or intelligence body were made public, obviously that person's life could be at risk. If the information coming from our allies were made public, then obviously there would be a risk that we would not get any more information from that ally.
John Davies
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John Davies
2015-05-26 9:01
The existing situation is that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration makes the decision on national security grounds. The change here is that the Minister of Public Safety will be making those decisions. Similar to the Minister of Public Safety's role in the passenger protect program, national security decisions around the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act are now going to be under the Minister of Public Safety.
John Davies
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John Davies
2015-05-26 9:01
Yes, for national security reasons only. That's contained in the Canadian passport order that was made public a few weeks ago.
That's one issue.
John Davies
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John Davies
2015-05-26 9:02
The passport order does not spell out in detail the definition of national security. That definition is pretty much the same as it has been since 2003. There are a lot of definitions for national security in various acts—in the CSIS Act, in the security of Canada information sharing act, and so on. Just as is the case for the Investment Canada Act and the Canada Evidence Act, there are a number of other acts that spell out national security as one of the rationales for taking an action, in this case refusing or revoking a passport.
Ritu Banerjee
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Ritu Banerjee
2015-05-26 9:02
Maybe I could add that the departments and agencies that would be engaged in investigating individuals and putting forward information for either revocation or cancellation would be CSIS and the RCMP. We would be relying on their mandates. In the case of CSIS, they investigate threats to the security of Canada, so that would be one basis, one point of consideration. For the RCMP, it would be meeting a criminal threshold related to a wide swath of terrorism offences that are articulated in the Criminal Code.
That gives you a bit of a sense of what we're looking for in terms of national security.
Ritu Banerjee
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Ritu Banerjee
2015-05-26 9:03
The definition of threats to the security of Canada in the CSIS Act goes beyond terrorism, if that's what you're alluding to.
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