1st Session, 42nd Parliament,
Volume 150, Issue 65
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker
Amendments to Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Thank you, minister, for being here once again.
Minister, my questions are on Bill C-51. Before I go to this subject, with what Senator Day was saying on Bill C-22, may I suggest that for Senate, instead of putting “may appoint,” you use the words “shall appoint.” Then there will be no doubt that there will be senators on that committee.
Minister Goodale, I know you are doing consultations on Bill C-51 and that these consultations are ongoing. It would be useful for us to know when these consultations will finish and when you are planning to table a bill on Bill C-51.
Minister, I want to share this very quick note with you. I’m very concerned when there are consultations on human rights. The issues discussed in Bill C-51 are around human rights. How do you consult on human rights? It affects some people’s rights, and I’m really worried that the tyranny of the majority can affect human rights.
But my question is more practical. There have been many instances of CSIS agents visiting law-abiding citizens at home and at work in a manner that can be summed up as intimidation. Many people call me saying that Bill C-51 is alive. Liberals promised to deal with it right away. Minister, it’s been a year. CSIS is knocking on the doors of innocent Muslims — and I’m not exaggerating on that. I get calls all the time from people saying, “Trudeau said he will deal with Bill C-51. This will stop.” When will it stop?
Hon. Ralph Goodale, P.C., M.P., Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness: Senator, I very much appreciate the question, and I appreciate the passion with which you expressed it, because many of those sentiments, I’m sure, are shared very fervently by all of us.
In the platform, we laid out eight or nine things that we would do in response to what we considered to be the errors in Bill C-51. The first and most prominent of those was to create a committee of parliamentarians to provide the oversight that should have been provided when the law was changed two years ago but wasn’t. But we’re going to remedy that situation by creating the committee of parliamentarians. That’s in Bill C-22.
It received second reading in the house. It’s before the House of Commons standing committee now. In the next number of days, Minister Chagger and I will be dealing with our ministerial appearances before the committee, and I hope that the bill will be arriving in the Senate for your consideration very shortly.
That was commitment number one, and we’re well advanced in delivering on that.
Commitment number two was to create a new initiative to deal with community outreach and counter-radicalization. I’m happy to report that the money necessary to get that started was included in Mr. Morneau’s budget in the spring, and we are now in the process of recruiting the individuals who will serve in that initiative to make Canada the very best it can be at identifying the issues around radicalization in advance and then intervening in the appropriate ways effectively to head off tragedies before they begin.
The Aga Khan has often said that Canada is the finest expression of pluralism the world has ever seen. If we wish to retain that record and reputation, we have to get very good at this whole process of counter-radicalization — understanding it and dealing with it effectively.
Some municipalities across the country are way ahead. The City of Montreal is well advanced, as is the City of Calgary and others across the country. We need to build that network and knit it together. That process is now under way.
We also indicated there were six specific legislative amendments that we would be dealing with in respect of Bill C-51. One is the paramountcy of the Charter — to make sure that the Charter is fully respected and complied with. Second is protecting the right of civil protest so that it is not diminished. Third, we need a more precise definition of “terrorist propaganda” than the rather broad language that is used in the legislation now.
Fourth is clarifying the rules around appeals of registrations on no-fly lists, where the language in the statute as it presently stands is not satisfactory. There are issues around warrants when they’re used for activities in relation to the Communications Security Establishment and the Department of National Defence. That needs to be clarified. Then there is providing a three-year review of all of Canada’s anti-terrorism laws.
Those were the specific commitments that we made at the time of the platform. All of those will be implemented.
We are now consulting with Canadians about what else they want to see included in their national security framework so that we can shape it not as some kind of pale replica of what once was Bill C-51, but shape it for the future as Canadians would want it shaped. Canadians did not have the opportunity for this kind of consultation two years ago. We are determined that they are going to have their say.
We are conducting round tables and town hall meetings. I’m meeting personally and individually with a long list of subject matter experts on all sides of this equation. We’re conducting an online consultation as well. Everyone is invited to participate in that. To date, we’ve had over 9,000 responses, in terms of specific considered responses, and there are about another 7,000 that you would, I guess, put in the form of petitions or form letters. But that’s a very significant amount of input, and the website will remain open until December 1 for Canadians to have their say.
When all of that is assembled, we will report to Canadians on what we heard so that Canadians will have a full scope and a full assessment of what their fellow citizens had to say, here. The government will then shape its legislation, as early as possible in the new year, based on the input that we have received.
We understand it’s urgent, we understand Canadians expect us to get it right, and we want to do just that.