IN THE HOUSE ~ What kinds of activities would Bill C-51 allow CSIS to undertake?

    M. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NPD): Monsieur le Président, hier, nous avons posé une question simple au ministre concernant le nouveau projet de loi antiterroriste. Encore une fois, nous n'avons eu aucune réponse.

    Le projet de loi C-51 prévoit d'étendre les pouvoirs du SCRS au-delà des activités de renseignement pour lui permettre de perturber des actes terroristes, ou de l'ingérence quelconque, avant qu'ils ne surviennent.

    Le ministre peut-il expliquer clairement les types d'activités qui seront autorisées?

    Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. This is a very important question. In fact, there has been some erroneous and some inaccurate reporting around this subject.

    CSIS' mandate to disrupt threats will be based on the definition of “threats to the security of Canadaâ€�. It is found in section 2 of the CSIS act. It has been based on CSIS' primary investigative mandate since 1984. The definition includes espionage, sabotage, foreign-influenced activities, terrorism, subversion; and it explicitly excludes lawful advocacy, protest or dissent.

    Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it seems the more questions we ask on this, the fewer answers we are actually getting. Canadians deserve better. They actually deserve concrete and fulsome answers to the questions we are asking.

    Allowing CSIS to go beyond the collection of intelligence and into the business of enforcement and the disruption of threats is a major shift. It is the duty of the government to clearly explain what is meant by this change and why it is necessary. What kinds of activities would Bill C-51 allow CSIS to undertake? Who will determine when Charter rights—Canadians' rights and freedoms—are threatened and judicial oversight is required?

    Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC): The short answer, Mr. Speaker, would be, of course, a judge, but I will point out that the powers being granted to CSIS will be subject to strict limits. CSIS will be forbidden from taking any measures that cause, intentionally or by negligence, death or bodily harm, violate the sexual integrity of an individual or willfully obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice.

    CSIS will not become a law enforcement agency. CSIS employees would not be given powers of peace officers, such as the ability to arrest or imprison individuals. CSIS has always been and will continue to be required to seek a warrant.


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