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Results: 1 - 9 of 9
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.
Paul Martin
View Paul Martin Profile
Paul Martin
2018-02-01 11:03
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'll continue.
Building on what Laurence spoke about in terms of harmonizing and working together as police agencies, from the federal agencies to the municipal agencies and the provincial in between, there are three major concerns for the committee to consider from the policing standpoint. There are perhaps many, but certainly three for your consideration: the terrorism peace bonds, the intelligence-to-evidence conundrum, and then encryption. I'll speak to them separately.
The terrorism peace bonds manage some of the threat posed to Canadian citizens but not all. They do help manage in some cases, but something to consider is that with the terrorism peace bonds there are conditions imposed. I can provide an example of an individual subject to the peace bond who is not permitted to use computers, or not allowed to access the Internet for a number of different reasons that I'm sure are obvious. There is no mechanism in place right now for police officers of jurisdiction to go in and ensure that the person is complying with those conditions, so that's something for consideration.
With respect to the intelligence-to-evidence conundrum, we know how the intelligence lives in one space and the enforcement piece lives in another space. It's my understanding, after talking to my colleagues, some more learned than I, who have been involved in this field for some time, that this discussion has been ongoing for more than 15 years in terms of how we can improve the speed, flow, and direction of this information so that we can share it in a quicker fashion. Incidents such as the Aaron Driver one made it very obvious to the policing field how fast information moves, and how fast it has to move in order to detect, deter, and ultimately deal with a threat nationally.
Something to consider is how that's going to happen. The 9/11 Commission was very clear on the fact that information needs to be shared amongst the different agencies. Police agencies right now do share a lot of information, but that's something for this committee to consider as this bill proceeds.
With respect to encryption, we've heard a lot south of the border as far as going dark is concerned. We've heard all these different terms, but encryption, whether it be in the hardware itself or with the use of applications that are encrypted end to end, poses a very difficult issue for policing and how to monitor people who would carry on criminal activity, whether it's for terrorism or for organized crime. We've seen a number of examples in our jurisdiction and throughout Ontario, and certainly across this country.
The important thing is that we must be focused on the principles and not the technology, and where an individual or group is using any form of communications to support terrorism or other designated criminal activity, this may be intercepted by specified authorities with the proper and appropriate judicial authority.
Laws regulating access to communication data would be, in principle, the same as those currently in place for other forms of telecommunication intercepts, companies ensuring data is available to access if required, warrants being issued by the appropriate authority, and then both time limits and regular scrutiny and review.
I throw that out to the committee to consider as we go forward and you talk about this bill. These are really the top three concerns that seem to spread generally across the policing community: the terrorism peace bond and the future of that, the intel-to-evidence conundrum, and encryption.
Thank you very much for your time.
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Chief Martin and Deputy Rankin, for being here today.
I want to go back to the comment one of you made earlier with regard to peace bonds. We know that Bill C-59 increases the threshold from “is likely” to “is necessary” to prevent a terrorist activity in order to even obtain a peace bond in the first place.
Determining that a peace bond with certain conditions is necessary to prevent an act of terrorism is a pretty high bar. The amount of evidence that would go into proving that is nearly the same as to prove a criminal charge, to lay an information.
Can you explain to the committee the importance of peace bonds, and if you've used them, how often you've used them? In your opinion, could this new, increased threshold be a risk to Canadians?
Paul Martin
View Paul Martin Profile
Paul Martin
2018-02-01 11:16
With respect, the RCMP has used peace bonds a total of 14 times that they have records of, five of which were the 810.011, which was the peace bond introduced as part of the Anti-terrorism Act of 2015. Currently there are none in effect, but those are the statistics.
There's always a concern if the threshold is made higher. As I said, peace bonds are not the panacea. They're not necessarily going to stop it, but they can help control and mitigate it. It's not going to stop all threats, but yes, there's obviously a concern any time the threshold is made higher. We feel that we currently have a number of tools that help us to detect, deter, and respond to terrorism in this country.
Laurence Rankin
View Laurence Rankin Profile
Laurence Rankin
2018-02-01 11:17
The benefit of them once they are imposed is the ability, among other things, to conduct full-time surveillance on the subject if there's GPS tracking involved, interview the subject, and monitor the individual. It's effective in managing some of the threats posed by an individual, but there are limitations, as the chief mentioned in his opening statement, in terms of enforcing conditions such as access to the Internet when they're using that computer device in their own residence.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'll get right into it.
As an opposition, we have been asking the government on numerous occasions about the returning foreign fighters. One of the responses that was given by Minister Goodale is that “our government uses a variety of tools to combat terrorism, including the Global Coalition against Daesh, security investigations, surveillance, monitoring, intelligence gathering, lawful sharing, collection of” information.... He also said “peace bonds”.
One of the things you said, Mr. Martin, that was quite disturbing to me was the fact that currently there are zero peace bonds that exist in Canada, and yet there are returning jihadists that we're aware of. We're not aware of the exact number. Do you find it problematic that we're not issuing peace bonds to monitor returning jihadist terrorists at this point?
Paul Martin
View Paul Martin Profile
Paul Martin
2018-02-01 11:50
There would have to be a threshold in order to get a peace bond for one of these individuals in the first place, so they'd have to demonstrate something. I can't speak to any specific cases or things that are being looked at, but yes, currently there are none in effect right now. There have been, and should it be appropriate to do so and we have the evidence to get it, that's what we would be seeking.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
My question, then, is, if this piece of legislation asks for that threshold to increase from where it was previously, is there the potential or the risk that law-abiding Canadians are being placed at risk at this point, given the fact we are aware—the government is aware—that there are returning jihadists? We don't know the number, but we know they're out there. Is the Canadian public at increased risk because of the increase in that threshold?
Paul Martin
View Paul Martin Profile
Paul Martin
2018-02-01 11:51
Well, any increase in the threshold will make it a little more difficult for law enforcement to potentially get a peace bond. What we'd have to use is one of the other tools at our disposal. Perhaps that is surveillance or some other tool that is available to law enforcement and that we could use at that time. Law enforcement—and I'm sure I can speak for our RCMP brothers across this country—is not going to allow Canadians to be at risk if we can do something about it and we have tools at our disposal.
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