OTTAWA — The Conservative's new anti-terror legislation would dramatically increase powers for Canadian spies, giving them police powers to detain, surveil, and disrupt suspects' activities.
The terrorism bill, tabled Friday in Parliament, allows the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to directly intervene to dissuade and disrupt their targets' plans. Currently, CSIS is limited to gathering intelligence, which can be handed over to police agencies.
It also gives the agency new powers to “disrupt radical websites and Twitter accounts” used by organizations deemed threats to Canada. The bill allows CSIS to get a 120-day court order to directly disrupt communications — such as blocking calls to mobile phones, or providing “counter-messaging” online.
The bill lowers judicial thresholds for police recognizance and terrorism peace bonds. Previously, police required to prove that an individual will commit a terrorist offence before taking action. Under the proposed legislation, police would only need to convince a judge an offence may be committed.
Other proposed measures:
• Passport officials can proactively share information of a Canadians applications with national security agencies.
• No-fly orders will be expanded to prevent individuals suspected to be terrorists from flying.
• Extending preventative arrests to last up to seven days, up from the current two day limit.
• Requiring Internet service providers to take down websites hosting terrorist propaganda, subject to the authorization of the minister of justice and a federal court order.
Requiring building owners to allow CSIS operatives to bug tenants’ rooms, subject to a court order.
The bill would create a new criminal offence for the “advocating or promoting” terrorist activities online or offline — such as calling for a specific or general attack on Canada. The legislation does not prohibit the “glorification or celebration” those acts or terrorists, however.
The proposed measures would also increase information sharing between federal departments and law enforcement agencies.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is formally unveiling the sweeping changes at a news conference in Richmond Hill on Friday. Joining him are Justice Minister Peter MacKay and Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney.
The proposed legislative changes are spurred in part by the attacks overseas and here in Canada. In October, Martin Couture-Rouleau fatally ran down Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que. Two days later, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot and killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who was standing sentry at the National War Memorial. He then stormed Parliament Hill, where he was shot and killed by security officials.
The two attacks spurred fears of homegrown terrorists and the radicalization of young people in Canada.
Canadian government's anti-terror bill