Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Terrorist Activity

Honourable senators, the Conservatives want Canada to be a safe and secure country. We do not want to live in fear of walking down our streets, using public transit, becoming fully involved in our community and making our own choices. Some parts of the world are threatened, but we will not have to be afraid for our national security here in Canada.

Last week, Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice Daniel Petit, introduced the Combating Terrorism Act.

[English]

This provision will enable Canada to do its job to fight the threat of terrorism and provide more tools for both police and prosecutors to prevent and investigate terrorist activities. This measure will let Canadians live their lives without fear.

[Translation]

As you know, the 2001 Anti-terrorism Act improved security in Canada. But with time, amendments are needed to improve and update the measures that are in place.

Because a government resolution to extend the investigative hearing and recognizance with conditions provisions expired on March 1, 2007, this bill gives us an opportunity to improve the legislation in order to continue providing a safe, secure environment for all Canadians.

The proposed legislation would add safeguards to those already included in the original legislation to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals who may be subject to these provisions.

In particular, the investigative hearing provisions of the bill would amend the Criminal Code to allow the courts to compel a witness who may have information regarding a terrorism offence to appear in court and provide that information.

Moreover, the proposed provisions on recognizance with conditions would require a person to enter into an agreement before a judge to abide by certain conditions in order to prevent a terrorist activity. These provisions are designed to aid in the disruption of the preparatory phase of terrorist activity.

I wholeheartedly subscribe to the statement made by Mr. Petit, which I will quote by way of conclusion:

The first duty of every government is to protect the safety and security of its citizens, while also ensuring the protection of their fundamental rights.

Honourable senators, the new provisions announced by the government will help protect Canada and make it stronger.