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Third Reading of Bill C-51 - Anti-terrorism Act

Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 149, Issue 148

Hon. Lynn Beyak: Honourable senators, it's been a privilege and it is a privilege for me to serve on the National Security and Defence Committee with my own side, of course, because we have similar beliefs on this issue, but also with Senator Day, Senator Mitchell and Senator Jaffer. Their commitment and dedication is outstanding, and I would be remiss if I didn't say that. Although I disagree with them, I have the utmost respect.

Senator Jaffer, we did have one witness, but he was by video conference, so technically, we are both right. It was Haras Rafiq, Managing Director of the Quilliam Foundation. He testified by video conference, didn't he, to the hearings?

Senator Jaffer: No.

Senator Beyak: I'm sorry. Anyway, what we heard from him was he was the former director of the U.K. government task force looking at countering jihadist extremism in response to the 2005 bombings in the London subway. Also, there were other witnesses during all the hearings who were Muslim, but they weren't specifically on Bill C-51.

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They told us that clearly we must identify the enemy before we can fight it. If we do not want our streets to resemble the radical Islamic uprisings in Brussels, Belgium, Vienna, Paris and London, we'd better get our heads out of the sand and follow the lead of our allies.

In the U.S., the Central Intelligence Agency can, pursuant to the National Security Act, conduct domestic threat disruption with an executive order. In the United Kingdom, MI5 can, pursuant to section 1 of the Security Service Act, conduct any activity to protect national security.

The Norwegian Police Security Service has a mandate to prevent and investigate any crime against the state, including terrorism. The Finnish Security Intelligence Service is mandated to prevent crimes that may endanger the governmental or political system and internal or external security, pursuant to section 10 of the Act on Police Administration. We must ensure that CSIS has the same tools here in Canada to keep Canadians safe. Bill C-51 gives them those tools, I believe.

Finally, I have Muslim friends. I worked in the United States on national security for several years. I have Muslim friends and associates there and here in Canada. They call themselves Muslims Facing Tomorrow, and one of them was quoted on October 2, 2008, saying something that all my Muslim friends believe as well:

Islam is my private life, my conscience . . . [but] my faith does not take precedence over my duties . . . to Canada and its constitution, which I embrace freely. . . . I am first and most importantly a Canadian. . . . Only in a free society like Canada will you find Islam as a faith and not a political religion.

In the words of Louise Vincent, the sister of slain Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, "If C-51 had been in place on October 19, Martin Couture-Rouleau would have been in prison and my brother would not be dead today."

For her and our other fallen victims, we owe Bill C-51 to Canadians, for the rights of 35 million — looking always at the rights of minorities, of course, but at national security as a bigger picture. Thank you.