Interventions in Committee
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View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
I'm sorry, but let me go to my second part of the question.
You become aware of terrorist propaganda being launched at Canadians, but it's by a Canadian on foreign soil. How do you interpret the act as being able to respond to that? Do you have to let it go or can you respond?
Shelly Bruce
View Shelly Bruce Profile
Shelly Bruce
2018-03-22 12:15
We are prohibited from targeting Canadians anywhere, so if there is a direct correlation, and that activity is emanating from a Canadian's communications, it's off limits.
Thank you.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you for being here this morning, gentlemen. Your input is very valuable.
Mr. Newark, this week, public safety officials appeared before this committee with regard to Bill  C-59. They said that the bill would create a flexible framework that could respond to emerging threats. Yet the bill says nothing about returning Islamic state fighters. It says nothing about fighting the emerging threats from Russia and China. Nor does it say anything about modernizing our ability to control the funding of terrorism.
Leaving aside the creation of a new review agency and the part-time position of commissioner, and the implementation of the CST and the National Defence Act, the wording of this bill is unnecessarily complex and shows little intent to take the security of Canadians seriously.
Mr. Newark, you talked about the cyber threat and changes in terrorist propaganda. In your opinion, what key feature is missing from the bill?
Scott Newark
View Scott Newark Profile
Scott Newark
2018-02-15 11:29
As I say, the biggest one I have questions about is the terrorism propaganda. To circle back and answer, precisely because the proposed definition is section 22 of the Criminal Code—which is counselling another person to commit a criminal offence—the way I read the language of that, in effect that offence is already there.
I guarantee you, sir, that if that wording is used, there will be occasions when defence counsel will come to court when somebody is charged, and ask, “Who was it that he was counselling to commit the offence?” If you don't have another person involved, you aren't able to prove the offence.
That compares to the general notion, which reflects the reality of what we're dealing with now: we know that what would be included in the definition of terrorism propaganda is what is being used in radicalization, recruitment, and facilitation, including and especially in domestic circumstances. That's what we're actually facing.
To your point, though, about the larger issues, I'll go back to what I said before. I actually think there are things in Bill C-59 that help us deal with the reality of returning jihadis. The most important thing is that the government did not change the evidentiary level in section 810.011, the terrorism peace bonds. It's still “may commit”. Had that been raised up to “will commit”, that would have put a much more significant barrier on things.
The other thing that is very important in this bill is the provision that requires annual reporting on the number of peace bonds that are actually used, and also a five-year reporting on the impact of the bill itself. In my experience in government, that tends to bring about accountability. I assure you that if those provisions are included, throughout the different offices of the security branches and agencies there will be whiteboards going up with people writing on them, “Okay, I'm responsible for this. I've actually got to deliver this.” That's a good thing, because I think accountability tends to produce results.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you.
General Day, you were the first Canadian general to command the special forces. You were part of the JTF and the special forces for nearly your entire career.
People often have a naive perception of the jihadi movement. You have been deployed all over the world. With members of the special forces, you have come into contact with those people.
In your opinion, do the Canadians who fight alongside jihadis abroad represent a threat to Canadians? Please tell us your views since you have fought those people.
Michael Day
View Michael Day Profile
Michael Day
2018-02-15 11:32
Thank you very much for the question.
I will try to answer in French, but I might miss some slight nuances. I will answer the other questions in English.
I would like to briefly address the previous question.
As a practitioner, a focus solely on the legislation by this committee will miss about 80% of the potential gaps you've asked about. The reality is that legislation has to have practices in place and structures in place under those practices to support that. That's the total capability. There's lots of legislation in Canada that is not enacted because it lacks the practices, the structures, the reporting mechanisms, and everything else. I would be very guarded about focusing solely on gaps in legislation. As the guy on the practitioner side of the house, I would argue that we need to be a little more holistic.
With regard to your specific question, I think it's excellent. Jihadists or religious extremists fall along a pretty broad continuum spanning adventure seekers, malcontents, the disenfranchised, and the truly committed. We will receive back in Canada that complete continuum. Anybody who believes that every individual coming back is either wholly bad or just situationally good, and so on, is fooling themselves.
We will receive those people who went for reasons unrelated to the actual clash between Daesh, ISIS, and so on, and who were turned off by what they saw.
Equally, we will see people coming back here, fully determined to continue to prosecute that conflict. People are fooling themselves. I've dealt with these people around the world. They are committed. You're fooling yourself if you declare otherwise, and you're lying. You should know better.
Scott Newark
View Scott Newark Profile
Scott Newark
2018-02-15 11:34
If I could just add to that as well, I very much agree. I don't think some of the communications have been as effective as they could and should have been about this. However, I completely agree with General Day about the nature of the individuals you're dealing with.
It's not going to be one-size-fits-all. Use all the tools in the tool box, which does include things like de-radicalization and rehabilitation. We use that kind of approach in our criminal justice system as well. It's important that we use all the tools in the tool box and not just one.
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
In the less than a minute and a half that I have left, I am struggling between which questions to ask. I will ask this.
Mr. Day and Mr. Newark, you talked about the barriers of intelligence-gathering evidence and the struggle that we currently have and the challenges it presents to prosecute criminals to begin with, including returning ISIS terrorists.
How would you suggest we deal with this? They are very real concerns and there are limitations currently on protecting Canadians and holding those who are criminal and returning to do harm to us accountable. How do we fix that?
Scott Newark
View Scott Newark Profile
Scott Newark
2018-02-15 11:41
Included in my recommendations that I supplied to the committee are some specific recommendations in relation to that.
However, as you know, with the rule in our system—and it does apply now to terrorism cases because it's done through the criminal justice system—the real issue isn't whether or not the evidence is relevant, the issue is whether the evidence is admissible.
That's why I think the aspect of things like preambles, and saying that we've considered the privacy issues, and even after the fact making sure you have review bodies like the committee on BillC-22 asking why you didn't share this information, are the kinds of things that I think will help us. However, we need to be ready in advance of those people coming back.
When the RCMP, for example, talks about 120 cases, I certainly hope that number is because of actual cases that are created, as opposed to some analyst doing a statistical judgment on what it should be, because we should be ready for this.
View Sven Spengemann Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you both for being here.
I want to pick up on the exchange you had with colleagues on the other side regarding the strategic threat setting for this bill. This morning, we had Mr. Fadden in front of the Standing Committee on National Defence, and Mr. Fadden testified last week in front of this committee.
This morning, he said that one of the threat vectors that he's most concerned about—and it echoes your conversation a few moments ago—is the multiplicity of terrorist organizations with considerable reach. You spoke about the 120 returning ISIS fighters, or whatever the number is.
What else is there in the strategic threat setting that Bill C-59 in 2018 seeks to address beyond returning ISIS fighters?
Michael Day
View Michael Day Profile
Michael Day
2018-02-15 11:43
I could maybe make a couple of comments about the strategic piece. I work with Dick Fadden quite regularly, and I'm aware of his views. I would support them.
We tend to be focused on, quite frankly, not just the smallest numerical threat in terms of the number of foreign fighters, again who fall along a continuum.... Not all of them are true threats, some of them are incredibly significant threats. However, it tends to obfuscate or blind us to the reality of homegrown terrorism and the networks to which they're connected. I am not yet seeing...and quite frankly there continue to be inhibitions or obstacles to associating those two network pieces.
I think we have to recognize the difference and the blurred line now between state and non-state actors, not just in the cyber domain, but quite frankly in the information domain writ large, and the fact that they have a variety of different aims. Some of them are about security, some about gaining advantage, some of them are commercial-industrial, and some are political. Some of them—if we look south of the border and what they're affecting—are merely to disrupt and create chaos.
I am concerned that current legislation, although it is targeted towards a specific area and is necessary, by itself is insufficient.
We need to have a more holistic look. I'm not proposing that they would all be rolled into Bill C-59, but rather there should be a series of actions and legislation that deal with the whole panoply of threats that Canada faces on an ongoing basis.
View Blaine Calkins Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you. I have two questions that I'm sure will consume the entirety of the five minutes.
The question that I have for you, Mr. Day, is in regard to the turf battles. Do you believe that Bill C-59creates an environment that will mitigate these turf battles, and if not, what do you suggest?
Mr. Newark, my question for you falls along the line of our knowing what our allies are doing around the world. We've seen the history book play out in advance for them with attacks that have happened in places like the Brussels Jewish museum. We've seen what's happened in Europe in 2014 and 2016. With all the attacks that have happened, Belgium expanded the definition of what constitutes a terrorist offence, and lowered its threshold for conviction in line with the 2014 UN Security Council Resolution 2178 and the 2016 European Union directive on terrorism.
In fact, one of these returnees was identified in Belgium. Once one of these returnees is identified by the Belgium authorities, they are systematically arrested and presented to an investigating judge. In Germany now, in every case of a returning foreign terrorist fighter, the prosecuting authority opens a criminal investigation immediately.
What are we doing so terribly wrong on this issue of returning foreign fighters that could or should be included in this bill?
I'll let Mr. Day go first, and then Mr. Newark, please.
Michael Day
View Michael Day Profile
Michael Day
2018-02-15 11:51
I have never seen any legislation during my time, certainly in the last 20 years in service where I had significant dealings here in Ottawa, that has ever forced any true interaction or mitigation of the turf battle. Legislation by itself doesn't do it. The enaction of subsequent processes and structures to support the legislation has the ability to get after that. I have little confidence that there will be a fundamental realignment of the senior public service to allow for those gaps to occur. This will be tremendously unpopular with the deputy's community in this town, but the reality is until you have a deputy with the responsibility for whole-of-government coordination of intelligence and security responding to an accountable minister, there will be no changes.
Scott Newark
View Scott Newark Profile
Scott Newark
2018-02-15 11:52
Just on that point, I would also like to add I think either this committee or the C-22 committee could have a really significant role by calling people in and asking why this didn't happen, and the kinds of non-sharing activities you were describing to ask those very kinds of informed questions. Not as a finger-pointing exercise per se, but as a lessons-learned exercise. I have seen this work out when I was with the Ontario government; it produced some positive results. We were able to learn from it, and not repeat the silo kind of activities.
With respect to your question to me, again I will go back to the point that I think we should emphasize in this country using all the tools in the tool box, including criminal prosecution where necessary and appropriate, although keeping in mind how difficult that may be. Think about that. If you're dealing with people who have been detained overseas, the evidence you get from them has to end up being admissible in court. That could be challenging.
The larger issue is our successful integration of people into Canadian society. I think we have done a vastly better job of doing so in Canada and the United States than they have in Europe, When you see instances of organizations or groups doing things that are trying to stop that integration, that should be a red flag. I wrote a piece for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute some years ago about that kind of a strategy, about how you deal with it, and that is one of the points.
In my opinion, we have been very successful in integrating people from different cultures into our society, and we should continue with it.
Alex Neve
View Alex Neve Profile
Alex Neve
2018-02-13 15:55
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. Good afternoon, committee members. It's always a pleasure to be in front of this committee. I very much welcome the opportunity to address you on this issue.
I want to begin by highlighting to you that in the course of my 18 years now—I'm getting to be an old-timer—as secretary general of Amnesty International Canada, the number of Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and other individuals with close Canadian connections who are imprisoned abroad in circumstances where there are very serious human rights concerns has grown exponentially. From perhaps one or two cases per year, it is now common for us to be monitoring 20 to 25 such cases at any one time, something I once rarely imagined would arise in my human rights work. Canadians held as Amnesty International prisoners of conscience, political prisoners facing unfair trials, prisoners at risk of torture and executions—these people have now, unfortunately, become relatively commonplace and a significant part of our human rights program.
What accounts for that dramatic increase? First of all, the world is a much smaller place and business, work, studies, humanitarian work, journalism, family visits, and personal travel take more Canadians to more corners, including dangerous corners of the world, more frequently. Second, there are growing numbers of Canadians who hold multiple nationalities and many governments that refuse to recognize their Canadian nationality. Finally, in a post-September 11 world, we find that many governments have felt increasingly emboldened to disregard fundamental due process and human rights safeguards for prisoners when they invoke allegations, spurious or well-founded, on grounds of national security. Mohamed Fahmy's experience is one such example. You will hear from him in a moment.
When Mohamed returned to Canada he was passionate about wanting to pursue a reform agenda—reforms on many fronts, including Egypt, which is no small challenge. He very much wanted to draw from his experience, and the similar cases taken up by Amnesty International over the years, to formulate an agenda for reform in Canada as well, to strengthen consular laws, policies, and practices so as to ensure that Canadian officials are doing all they can to protect Canadians imprisoned abroad in circumstances involving serious human rights violations.
That is why we launched the protection charter in January 2016, two years ago. We welcome this opportunity to be here to highlight some of the charter's key recommendations to you. There are 12. I'll just refer to each of them without going into detail.
One, enshrine the right to consular assistance and equal treatment in Canadian law. Two, develop transparent criteria regarding such matters as support to families, issues around medical treatment, and collaboration with civil society and lawyers. Three, do more to protect Canadian journalists abroad. Four, actively defend Canadian nationality in cases involving dual or multiple nationalities. Five, do not allow unjust foreign laws or practices to deter or limit Canadian action. Six, establish an independent office for review of consular assistance. Seven, provide consistent support for death penalty clemency. Eight, institute review and oversight of Canadian national security agencies. Nine, address post-release concerns such as access to justice and freedom of movement. Ten, ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Eleven, develop a network of governments ready to assist each other with consular cases. Finally, twelve, establish guidelines regarding government action on behalf of detained permanent residents and other prisoners with close Canadian connections.
Two years later, we have welcomed significant progress in four of these areas: death penalty clemency is restored; review of Canadian national security agencies is part of Bill C-59; consultations regarding ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture are under way with provinces and territories; and there is a developing intergovernmental network through the Global Consular Forum.
Mohamed and I would like to highlight five of the eight remaining recommendations, which we continue to urge the government to adopt.
Before we turn to Mohamed and then back to me, I want to also begin, though, by reminding us all why this matters so very much: Ronald Smith, Canadian citizen on death row in Montana since 1983; Wang Bing Zhang, one of the first Chinese post-graduate university students to study in Canada, with numerous family members who are Canadian citizens, including his daughter, imprisoned in China since 2002; Huseyin Celil, citizen, imprisoned in China since 2006; Bashir Makhtal, citizen, imprisoned in Ethiopia since 2007; Mohamed el-Atar, citizen, imprisoned in Egypt since 2007; Saeed Malekpour, permanent resident, imprisoned in Iran since 2008; Raif Badawi, whose wife and three children are Canadian permanent residents, imprisoned and sentenced to flogging in Saudi Arabia in 2012; and Li Xiaobo, whose son is a Canadian citizen, imprisoned in China since 2014 immediately following an earlier eight-year term of imprisonment.
Those are some of the most entrenched cases of concern for us at this time. We're also following other cases in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Syria. These are the individuals and the families for whom your study and proposals for consular reform have real consequences for life, liberty, safety, and justice.
I will now turn things over to Mohamed.
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