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Results: 1 - 30 of 164
View Michel Picard Profile
Lib. (QC)
In this committee's previous discussions, we have received comments on the offensive dimension of certain powers or capabilities of the CSE. It is well known that groups that are terrorists or associated with terrorists, such as Daesh, benefit from online informal networks of sympathizers, structures and communications. This new armada or new equipment at the disposal of these terrorist groups represents an additional threat.
How should the offensive approach of the CSE be defined? How will this offensive approach respond to the new threat?
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much.
We heard the minister speak about threats to our security, from a cybersecurity perspective, emanating from state actors, rogue states in particular, and non-state movements such as terrorist organizations. I wonder if you could speak to whether or not cyber-attacks take a different form, depending on whether they're launched by a state actor or by a terrorist organization. I think there could be a perception that terrorist organizations are not capable of carrying out very sophisticated sorts of attacks. That is changing. The fact is they can mount sophisticated attacks. It wasn't the case before, but now we're seeing that. Could you speak to that?
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?
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you for that.
Given the fact that we live in a new environment now, we have Canadians who, whether they are homegrown terrorists or they've gone away and come back, pose a threat, will pose a threat, and continue to pose a threat to national security. In your experiences collectively as a group, is there something we need to do to change things so that, if there is an imminent threat to Canadians by a Canadian, you can do something about it?
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
I would also just quickly point out, Mr. Newark, that you spoke about non-state actors. Daesh has demonstrated a capability, albeit not a very advanced one, to carry out cyber-attacks. That's there, and it's emerged.
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
I don't mean to cut you off.
You alluded in your remarks to your concern about the speech crime provision in Bill C-51 being modified under Bill C-59. I was reading a piece that you wrote—it might have been for iPolitics as a matter of fact, back in the fall—where you pointed to your opposition to this.
Just for the record, under Bill C-51, it was a crime for one to “knowingly advocate or promote the commission of terrorism offences in general”. Under Bill C-59, this has been replaced with something much more common in criminal law: “counselling another person to commit a terrorism” act.
I have read your criticism, so I want to jump immediately to ask you a question about how the offence was phrased in BillC-51. Take the example of a journalist or a group of protestors who were supporting a group—now the times don't align here but I think you'll appreciate the example—of anti-apartheid activists, under the ANC and under Mandela. You know very well that, particularly in the early history of their activism against apartheid, they advocated for non-lethal attacks on public infrastructure.
Now if a journalist here in Canada were writing in favour of that kind of an approach—again, the anti-apartheid movement was one of the most important struggles of the 20th century—it's entirely conceivable, and I'm not the only one to use this example, that they could have been charged under the wording in BillC-51.
To shift now, to pivot to a counselling offence, doesn't this clarify and bring greater understanding to what is permissible and what is not permissible?
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?
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.
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?
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?
View Sven Spengemann Profile
Lib. (ON)
Let me give you a couple of examples. One of them is from just over a year ago, and that's the attack in Sainte-Foy in which six Muslim men were shot by a self-radicalized right-wing extremist. I think that's probably the most generic way to describe it.
Yesterday, we had a very tragic mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. There is no indication of any terrorist organization, but an individual who obviously was very disgruntled, disenfranchised, disconnected from reality in some way, and he shot 17 individuals.
Are those national security questions, or are they questions of local law enforcement?
View Michel Picard Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you.
Mr. Newark, in your article, “ C-59: Building on C-51 Towards a Modern Canadian National Security Regime”, in part 7, with respect to the terrorist definition you say, “Hopefully, the Government will be closely called on to explain its actual purpose in making this change, which will almost certainly handicap the carefully crafted and scenario-relevant tool that is the current [section 83]” regarding promotion and advocating terrorism.
The minister came and explained that the definition under Bill C-59 was so vague and so wide that it was inapplicable. Therefore we decided to modify it in order to be able to apply it because nothing happened under the old definition. What is your view on this comment?
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.
View Blaine Calkins Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Newark, just to reiterate what you said earlier about the current provisions that BillC-51 put in place where it is an offence to broadly counsel someone to propagate terrorist propaganda. This means that in a particular case somebody who is propagating terrorist propaganda could unknowingly influence somebody to commit a terrorist act without that person who is propagating the propaganda even knowing that somebody was going to commit the offence.
Let me get to my point. Bill C-59 is proposing that somebody would only be charged if they had counselled somebody, which means that somebody would have to commit the act, and we would have to trace that back to whoever counselled them, whereas the legislation as it currently exists could stop the person from propagating the terrorist activity in the first place, thereby preventing the activity from happening.
Is that a fair assessment?
View Michel Picard Profile
Lib. (QC)
Among the challenges that present themselves are lone wolves who make their crime seem like an act of terrorism and a threat to national security. We talked about this with the first panel of witnesses.
When someone commits a crime and decides to shout, “Allah Akbar”, it does not mean it's a matter of national security. How should we deal with that?
My colleague Mr. Spengemann gave several examples of cases that are not really related to terrorism and have no political overtones, but are indeed crimes.
What acts should be considered as national security problems?
View Michel Picard Profile
Lib. (QC)
My question is incomplete; I should have gone further.
An officer who is speaking to a Canadian about the nature of their behaviour or because they have information that leads them to handle the case more or less delicately—we hope more delicately—could come to that conclusion. That is the issue of lone wolves.
View Michel Picard Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you.
I would like to ask one last and more general question.
The most recent departmental report on the terrorist threat continues to indicate that the threat level is medium. This has not changed for four years. The last report for 2014 also indicated that the threat level was medium.
Does bill C-59 provide the tools required to keep the terrorist threat level at medium? Do you also have tools to help us reduce this threat level?
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I will talk about ISIS fighters. We know that 180 Canadians decided to wage Jihad around the world, especially in Irak and Syria, but also in other places, including Africa. Some 60 of them are known and have returned to Canada. Ten of them are followed more closely by our police services and CSIS, but there is a legal problem. Will Bill  C-59 help Canada take measures to enable it to prosecute those people, even if it means deporting dual citizens?
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
There is an example I would like to look at with you.
Jack Letts, alias Jihadi Jack, has Canadian citizenship and British citizenship. Of course, Great Britain does not want to take him in. We heard on Friday that Mr. Letts and his mother were trying to put pressure on our government to allow him to come here, to Canada. There is an issue with evidence. If Mr. Letts enters Canada, he will be free before we know it because we have a problem. We don't have the evidence needed to detain him.
Do you have a relationship with Five Eyes governments or those of other countries—I assume you do—through which you could get evidence that could incriminate him here, or do we have no way to take action?
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I will ask my first set of questions to our guests who are here in the committee room with us today.
We heard from the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs that the proposed change with respect to the promotion and advocacy of terrorism effectively makes the change to the Criminal Code somewhat redundant. Yet, we need to ensure that those promoting lone wolf attacks are stopped from promoting violence and hate.
Are the changes that are proposed from advocating or promoting terrorism to “counselling” it a fundamental shift from that? You spoke about it earlier, sir. Is there anything more you want to add on that?
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
For the sake of time I'm not going to pursue it, but I'm really interested to know what you think those solutions might be, for another day.
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
For me to properly understand, you're suggesting that the language in the former Bill C-51 might actually serve national security interests better than the proposed language in Bill C-59. Is that correct?
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Mostyn, in testimony on Canada's national security framework you said:
...the Jewish community is particularly vulnerable to hate propaganda throughout the world, and many of the most powerful terrorist organizations in existence today, such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and Daesh, rely upon the promotion of hatred with a particular focus on anti-Semitism to inspire acts of terror.
As we know, we don't have to look very far in time to see a place where this very much is the case, and still is the case, from the attacks on supermarkets in Paris to the endless calls for the death of Jews and the democratic state of Israel by regimes like Iran.
When we think of those real-life examples, does this bill go far enough? Does it do enough to protect Canadians in its minority communities against radical Islam terrorism?
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
I appreciate your comment that the law itself doesn't necessarily make this, but that it's the application of it that will add to national security. I appreciate those comments.
You spoke earlier, in your follow-up to my colleague's questions, of the link between hate and terrorism. If I understood you, you're suggesting that all terrorism, or terrorism generally, is rooted in hate.
View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to all three of our witnesses for being here today. I believe you were here when we were studying the national security framework the last time. I seem to recall being on a panel with both of you when we were looking at that, so I appreciate your coming back.
It always concerns me when our discussions on terrorist attacks focus solely on ISIS and not on the attacks on our Muslim community and by right-wing groups. That has come up. I think I mentioned the last time you were here that when there is an attack on the Muslim community, I am always struck by the fact that the first people to step up are from the Jewish community. I think it's because of that long history of hatred towards the Jewish community that you recognize the impact. Certainly in my own community, I know there's Halton Interfaith Council and tremendous co-operation, and that it is the Jewish community that is always the first to step up when there is an attack on the Muslim community.
I just want to thank you for that and make sure that our conversation is on the broader terrorism threat, not just on ISIL.
We had the Minister here—and this is directed to B'nai Brith, because you were talking about advocacy versus counselling—and law enforcement here, and I believe there were other witnesses as well, although I don't recall for sure. They agreed with what the minister said about the ability to prosecute, that advocacy did not give them the tools they needed and that counselling actually would give them the tools to go out to get those prosecutions.
I'm wondering if you saw that testimony and if you would agree with what they were saying. I will put that to both of you, just quickly.
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
If you have more suggestions, I would think the committee would be open to receiving those. That would be great. Thank you.
To the guests who are here, the committee has heard that terrorist groups will continue to operate and coordinate and recruit online. We do also know that there is a rise in online hate. You had said previously that terrorism is rooted in hatred. Does this bill go far enough to deal with the online hate, and to limit that in some...?
Mr. Nesbitt, please feel free to join us in your comments.
View Sven Spengemann Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
My questions are for Mr. Mostyn and Mr. Matas.
Mr. Mostyn, can you give us an overview of the strategic threats assessment that this bill is situated in? It's called a national security act, it's broad, and it's supposed to encompass any threats that come our way.
The committee heard a lot about cyber-threats, it heard a lot about terrorism and radicalization and violence. Is that the entire basket? Are there others, and how would you rank the two in relative proportion to each other, vis-à-vis your own concerns?
View Sven Spengemann Profile
Lib. (ON)
This will be a complex question and answer, but to what extent are these concerns linked to international terrorist organizations like ISIS, like Al Shabaab, like Abu Sayyaf, who are preying primarily, almost exclusively, on young people downside of the age of 30? Are the domestic threats generated in Canada or are they strongly linked to what's going on outside our borders?
View Yves Robillard Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Peschard, when you last appeared before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, you also criticized the new offence of advocating or promoting the commission of terrorism offences. Several individuals have said that this new offence would be unconstitutional because it is vague and too broad and would unreasonably limit freedom of expression.
The new section 83.221 that we are proposing concerns the counselling of another person to commit a terrorism offence. What do you think of this new wording?
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Gentlemen, thank you for being here with us today.
Mr. Peschard, you mentioned in the introduction to your brief that changes obviously occurred after September 11, 2001. You also put the words "war on terror" in quotation marks. Do you feel there is no terrorism now, that we have no reason to fear terrorism?
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