1st Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 148, Issue 156

Thursday, April 25, 2013
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

The Senate

Special Committee on Anti-Terrorism—Proposed Study on Radicalization

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Today I gave notice of an inquiry that will call the attention of the Senate to the issue of radicalization in Canada. I have been doing research on this issue for several years, but I believe that in the Senate we do our best work together in committee. I have corresponded with the Chair of the Senate Anti-terrorism Committee about a study on radicalization before, and I understand the formal process for initiating a Senate committee study.

Most committees, including the Anti-terrorism Committee, must receive an order of reference from the Senate before they can study an issue. This would mean a motion for the Anti-terrorism Committee to study radicalization. I understand, of course, that we would require widespread support in the Senate.

That is why I wrote to the leader first on January 7 and then on April 3 to ask her to support my proposal. Unfortunately, I have not heard from her. The importance of studying processes of radicalization in Canada has received greater attention recently due, in part, to the terrorist attacks in Algeria, the United States and, sadly, now in our country.

What we do not know about radicalization, how it happens, how to prevent it and how to reverse it, far exceeds what we do know.

The leader has expressed her and the government’s recognition of the capacity of Senate committees to produce important, valuable studies on Canadian public policy before. Would the government support the Senate Anti-terrorism Committee conducting a study on radicalization in Canada?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I must point out that when the Senate struck the Anti-terrorism Committee it was specifically to deal with legislation. We were very clear about that at the time.

We just passed a very important piece of legislation that originated here in the Senate, in the form of Bill S-7. It passed through the House of Commons and I believe will be assented to this afternoon.

I am well aware of the senator’s interest in this area. As a matter of fact, I signed a letter to her earlier today thanking her for sending me the transcript of her appearance on a radio show “The Current.”

Having said that, as Leader of the Government in the Senate, I can address the very good legislation and many measures we are taking to combat terrorism. I cannot, obviously, pass judgment on the requests that various senators make or the motions they put down in the Senate. Clearly, that is the purview of the Senate.