With the intention of keeping Canadians safe, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the government’s new legislation to protect Canadians from the evolving threat of terrorism.
In line with measures taken by Canadian allies, the government is taking additional action to ensure 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.
“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,” said Prime Minister Harper.
The proposed legislation includes checks and balances to ensure it respects the rights of Canadians and complements other legislation passed by the Government in order to better protect Canadians and secure institutions, including the Combating Terrorism Act and the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act.
Canada is not immune to the threat of terrorism as demonstrated by last October’s attacks in Ottawa and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. 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 at home.
“Our Government understands that extreme jihadists have declared war on us, on all free people, and on Canada specifically. Our Government will continue to protect the rights and safety of all Canadians. We will not, however, privilege the so-called rights of terrorists and others who would harm Canadians over the rights of law-abiding citizens. The proposed legislation would provide our security and law enforcement agencies with the required tools and flexibility they need to effectively detect and disrupt national security threats before they happen, keeping Canadians safe,” Prime Minister Harper.
The proposed legislation includes a comprehensive package of measures that will criminalize the advocacy or promotion of terrorism offences in general including countering terrorist recruitment by giving our courts the authority to order the removal of terrorist propaganda online.
The powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) will be enhanced to address threats to the security of Canada while ensuring that courts maintain oversight. Law enforcement agencies will be provided with enhanced ability to disrupt terrorism offences and terrorist activity.
Air travel will also be affected by the new legislation. The new Passenger Protect Program is expected to make it easier for law enforcement agencies to detain suspected terrorists, further mitigating threats to transportation security and preventing travel by air for the purpose of engaging in terrorism.
The legislation will also enable federal departments and agencies to effectively and responsibly share relevant national security information to identify better and address threats.
Although not part of the newly proposed legislation, the government plans to work with communities to prevent radicalization and intervene when individuals show signs of becoming radicalized.
According to Prime Minister Harper, ways national security agencies can better protect and use classified information when denying entry and status to non-citizens who pose a threat to Canada are also being examined.
Members of the roundtable also recognized provision should be made for witnesses and other participants in national security proceedings and prosecutions to be provided with additional security protection.
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.
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