Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the Government has introduced legislation to protect Canadians from the evolving threat of terrorism and keep our communities safe. The Prime Minister made the announcement at Richmond Hill’s Bayview Hill Community Centre. He was joined by Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and Julian Fantino, Associate Minister of National Defence.
The world is a dangerous place and, as most brutally demonstrated by last October’s attacks in Ottawa and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Canada is not immune to the threat of terrorism. The proposed legislation will provide Canadian law enforcement and national security agencies with additional tools and flexibility to keep pace with evolving threats and better protect Canadians here at home.
In line with measures taken by our allies, the Government is taking additional action to ensure our law enforcement and national security agencies can: counter those who advocate terrorism; prevent terrorist travel and the efforts of those who seek to use Canada as a recruiting ground; and disrupt planned attacks on Canadian soil.
The proposed legislation includes checks and balances to ensure it respects the rights of Canadians and complements other legislation passed by our Government in order to better protect Canadians and secure institutions, including the Combating Terrorism Act and the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act.
· The proposed legislation includes a comprehensive package of measures that will:
o criminalize the advocacy or promotion of terrorism offences in general;
o counter terrorist recruitment by giving our courts the authority to order the removal of terrorist propaganda online;
o enhance the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)’s powers to address threats to the security of Canada while ensuring that courts maintain oversight;
o provide law enforcement agencies with enhanced ability to disrupt terrorism offences and terrorist activity;
o enhance the Passenger Protect Program by further mitigating threats to transportation security and preventing travel by air for the purpose of engaging in terrorism;
o make it easier for law enforcement agencies to detain suspected terrorists before they can harm Canadians and to toughen penalties for violating court ordered conditions on terrorist suspects;
o enable the effective and responsible sharing of relevant national security information across federal departments and agencies to better identify and address threats;
- ensure that national security agencies are better able to protect and use classified information when denying entry and status to non-citizens who pose a threat to Canada; and,
- provide witnesses and other participants in national security proceedings and prosecutions with additional protection.
· Although not part of this proposed legislation, we are also working with communities to prevent radicalization and intervene when individuals show signs of becoming radicalized.
“Our Government is serious about taking action to keep Canadians safe. Recent attacks in Canada, which led to the deaths of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, as well as attacks in France and Australia, are reminders that the world is a dangerous place and that Canada is not immune to the threat of terrorism. Recent terrorist actions in Canada are not only an attack on our country, but also our values and our society as a whole.” –Prime Minister Stephen Harper
“This piece of legislation is an example of how our Government is taking action to combat terrorism and keep Canadians safe. The recent terrorist attacks in France, Australia, and here in Canada are reminders that no country is safe from the threat of terror. As a result our Government has shifted focus to home-grown terror. This legislation will ensure that all security and law enforcement agencies have the necessary tools to keep Canadians safe and ensure that all terrorism offences are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This is just another step in our unwavering commitment to combat the global fight against terrorism.” – James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirk-Interlake