Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, further protects Canadians from ever-evolving terrorist threat
OTTAWA, June 18, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Steven Blaney, Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today welcomed the Royal Assent of Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015.
Canadians know that Canada is unfortunately not immune to the ever-evolving threat of terrorism. This legislation highlights our Government's continued commitment to taking swift action to combat jihadi terrorism and protect Canadians. The Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, provides our police forces with the tools and flexibility they need to protect Canadians against serious and evolving threats from terrorist organizations like ISIS while at the same time incorporating measures to ensure the civil liberties of Canadians.
The Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, will directly address the threat of terrorism by enhancing our Government's ability to share information between relevant Government departments and agencies for national security purposes; criminalizing the advocacy and promotion of the commission of terrorism offences; preventing terrorists from travelling and recruiting others; and providing our police forces with the additional tools they need to prevent, detect, deny and respond to the threat of terrorism.
Without security, there can be no liberty. Our Government knows that that the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, strikes the right balance, with a range of provisions to strengthen safeguards.
The Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, serves to:
- Stop those who promote terrorism by creating a new Criminal Code offence that will criminalize the advocacy or promotion of the commission of terrorism offences (now in force);
- Counter terrorist recruitment by giving our judges the authority to order the seizure and forfeiture of terrorist propaganda material and the removal of terrorist propaganda from Canadian websites (now in force);
- Provide the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) with the ability, under the authority of a court, to intervene to prevent specific terrorist plots (now in force);
- Enhance the Passenger Protect Program by further mitigating threats to transportation security and preventing travel by air for the purpose of engaging in terrorism-related activities (these amendments to the Secure Air Travel Act and related amendments will come into force on a date fixed by an order of the Governor in Council);
- Make it easier for our police forces to temporarily detain and apply to a court to have conditions imposed on suspected terrorists before they can harm Canadians and toughening penalties for violating court-ordered conditions on terrorist suspects (these amendments to strengthen the terrorism recognizance with conditions and peace bond powers will come into force in 30 days);
- Enable the responsible sharing of relevant national security information across federal departments and agencies (the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and related amendments will come into force on a date fixed by an order of the Governor in Council);
- Ensure that the Government is better able to protect and use classified information when denying entry and status to non-citizens who pose a threat to Canada; (these amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act will come into force on a date fixed by an order of the Governor in Council); and,
- Provide witnesses and other participants in national security proceedings and prosecutions with additional protection (most of these amendments are now in force).
- Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to provide $292.6 million over five years to our police forces for additional investigative resources to help them keep pace with the evolving threat of jihadi terrorism and to continue protecting Canadians.
- Economic Action Plan 2015 also proposes to provide $12.5 million over five years, starting in 2015–16, and $2.5 million ongoing thereafter, in additional funding to SIRC to enhance its review of CSIS activities.
- Recent legislative changes made through the Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act ensure that CSIS can fully investigate threats to the security of Canada abroad.
- In 2015, our Government introduced the Prevention of Terrorist Travel Act and changes to the Canadian Passport Order to revoke passports and prevent the travel of those seeking to engage in terrorist activity abroad.
- In 2015, measures through the Citizenship Act came into force to enable the Government of Canada to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens and deny it to permanent residents who are convicted of terrorism, high treason, treason or spying offences, depending on the sentence.
- In 2013, the Combating Terrorism Act brought in four terrorist travel offences, including making it a criminal offence of leaving or attempting to leave Canada for the purposes of participating in any activity of a terrorist group or facilitating terrorist activity.
- In 2012, our Government released Canada's Counter-terrorism Strategy, which guides over 20 federal organizations to prevent, detect, deny and respond to the threat of terrorism.
"Recent attacks on Canadian soil in Saint-Jean-sur Richelieu and at our National War Memorial and Parliament buildings in the heart of our democracy are reminders that jihadi terrorism is a global threat, and that Canada is not immune to the menace of terrorist organizations like ISIS. Our Government's top priority is ensuring the safety and security of all Canadians. With the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, we are providing police forces with the additional tools they need to prevent, detect, deny and respond to the threat of jihadi terrorism while fully protecting our civil liberties. Without security, there can be no liberty, and our Government knows that these measures serve to protect both."
- The Honourable Steven Blaney, Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
"As we have all witnessed, terrorism knows no borders and Canada is facing an unprecedented threat to our national security. Attacks in Canada, which led to the deaths of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, as well as recent attacks in France and Australia, are stark reminders that the world is a dangerous place and that the threat of terrorism is very real. That is why our Government has adopted the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, to provide our police forces with the tools they need to protect Canadian families and keep our communities safe."
- The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
"The terrorist threat to Canada's national security interests has never been as direct or immediate. The scope of the threat, the speed of change, and the ease with which people engaged in threat related activity can connect means we no longer have the luxury of time to contemplate our response. The new measures are essential for this evolving threat environment."
- Michel Coulombe, Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)
''The recent terrorist attacks in Canada, and similar attacks around the world, are clear examples of how a terrorist act can move from an idea to action overnight. These new provisions give the RCMP, and all law enforcement in Canada, new authorities to react at the earliest possible opportunity to help ensure the safety of Canadians."
- Bob Paulson, Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
"Bill C-51, Anti-Terrorism Act, will enable Canada's intelligence and law enforcement communities to share information in a responsible, timely and secure manner. The Act will support our intelligence agencies with the identification of potential threats before an incident, in order to respond quickly and protect lives. The protection of Canada from terrorist activity and building a safe environment for our Citizens is now a reality."
- Robert Morrison, Chief Superintendent, RCMP (retired)
"The Jewish community is an at-risk community, and we welcome the government's efforts to respond in a forceful and comprehensive manner to the serious and growing threat of terrorism."
- David J. Cape, Chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA)
"Bill C51 is a reflection of the international extremist pressures on Canada as well as the generously funded deep networks in Canada that create the social, cultural and political space for extremism and radicalization. This generational struggle against jihadist based extremism will cause Canada and other free nations to constantly update their criminal laws as well as other societal responses to these issues. Canadians should expect a series of long term debates over how we balance the Constitutions and the Charter of Rights against foreign based extremists who seek to exploit and weaken our society and to adjust to their ideology."
- Tom Quiggin, Senior Researcher at the Canadian Centre of Intelligence and Security Studies at Carleton University
"Bill C-51 adapts Canada's national security instruments to a rapidly evolving threat environment. That threat environment has seen a proliferation of radical groups and individuals committed to violent extremism as a means to promote ideologies and worldviews that are fundamentally at odds with Canadian values and our democratic way of life. C-51 is one in a series of measures that bolster Canada's capacity to deter those intent on harming us, and the democratic principles Canadians espouse. The federal government has a constitutional obligation for peace, order, and good government. Rather than taking safety, security, peace, prosperity and harmony for granted, we need to defend the democratic freedoms, equality, and justice that bind us as Canadians."
- Christian Leuprecht, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Royal Military College
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SOURCE Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada
For further information: Jeremy Laurin, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, 613-991-4666; Media Relations, Public Safety Canada, 613-991-0657