Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will introduce legislation next week that will substantially alter exisiting national security measures, The Canadian Press reports. The previous Conservative government passed Bill C-51 in response to a terrorist attack in the nation’s capitol of Ottawa.
After shooting an army reservist who was guarding the national cenotaph, a lone-wolf assailant ran across the street and began shooting inside the Parliament buildings. Had he not been taken out by sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers, the gunman could have killed dozens of Members of Parliament.
Under C-51, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) was given additional powers to fully investigate terrorist threats and not merely be an information conduit for the police.
Public Safety Mnister Ralph Goodale is expected to reign-in those powers. Trudeau has repeatedly promised to deal with the “problematic elements” in the Conservative bill. That includes his objection to a federal no-fly list. Trudeau has promised that Canadians placed on that list will have their appeals subject to a mandatory review.
Liberals have already introduced legislation that will reverse another of former prime minister Stephen Harper’s national security legacies: stripping convicted terrorists who are dual nationals of their Canadian citizenship.
The Liberal amendments will also include more oversight for the Canada Border Services Agency while tightening the definition of terrorism.
Critics of the Liberal initiative say this is entirely the wrong time to weaken national security, given the spate of terrorist attacks in the U.K., and tie the hands of CSIS. Former CSIS director and Harper national security advisor Richard Fadden says Canada remains a terrorist target and urged the Liberals to consider the consequences of their legislative actions.
“I believe the government should move with caution in removing some of the authorities Parliament has given to national security agencies,” Fadden told the National Post.
“First, because the threat remains real and, secondly, because the additional powers that might be scaled back have not — to my knowledge — either been abused or overused.”