A report released by the Public Safety Minister on Wednesday, which has been circulating for months, has been the subject of intense debate, with the Liberals arguing that the measures are needed to fight the growing threat posed by foreign-based terror groups, while opponents say they have been used to crack down on legitimate political dissent.
The Liberal government says the legislation will help ensure Canadians are more protected against homegrown threats and that it has “reduced the risk of terrorist attack by deterring foreign fighters from returning home.”
But critics of the legislation have warned that the new measures have not made a significant dent in the threat posed to Canada from overseas, or that the law will only worsen existing vulnerabilities.
While the new legislation is the subject that has garnered the most attention in the last two weeks, the government’s own internal review of the proposed law found that the measure had “a number of flaws” that would require further investigation.
Among the most troubling, according to the study, were the government�s “misleading” claim that the proposed legislation would prevent people from coming back to Canada “who pose a threat to national security.”
The report also noted that the “policies and procedures” the government introduced to implement the new law “were insufficient” and that the existing laws are “effective.”
The legislation is a key part of the Trudeau government�ve rebranding efforts as part of its “Make in Canada” campaign.
In the coming months, the Trudeau administration will be pushing ahead with an ambitious, multi-year plan to overhaul Canada’s security system to make it more efficient, efficient and secure.
Among its other priorities is the creation of a new, more effective national anti-terror centre that will be led by a new commissioner, tasked with working with the RCMP, CSIS and the federal intelligence agency.
The federal government has promised to spend $100-million on the centre, but critics have warned the money could be used to expand surveillance and gather intelligence on individuals who may be in the country illegally.
The report said that the federal government could have implemented the measures outlined in the legislation much more quickly.
The new law does not address how the government will collect data on foreign nationals living in Canada, or how the information gathered will be used.
The document does note that, in order to be considered an imminent threat to the security of Canada, the “person must be known to have or be suspected of engaging in terrorism activity.”
But that language does not provide any definition of “terrorism activity.”
Nor does it mention the potential for a foreigner to be a threat if they are “present or active in the commission of a terrorist activity,” a standard that has been used by several countries, including Russia and Syria.
The Liberals have long been criticized for being too soft on terrorism, and have argued that the bill will give the federal security services more tools to catch people who may not be dangerous.
The law will also require the federal and provincial governments to share information about the people living in their territories, which critics have said could result in a national database that will have the ability to track those who have not been convicted of a crime and have not committed a serious offence.
The bill also includes an anti-terrorist provision that is “intended to enhance public safety by encouraging cooperation between federal and local police forces and law enforcement authorities in Canada and abroad,” but it does not specify how that cooperation will be done or what information will be shared.
While there is no specific provision for sharing information on foreign individuals living in a province, the federal law does require provinces and territories to share data on Canadians who live in a jurisdiction other than their own, but there is also no requirement for the provinces and territory to share any information on those Canadians living in another jurisdiction.
The Public Safety Act is the product of a four-year public consultations process, which began in January.
While many aspects of the law have been debated in the public consultation process, the main point of contention has been whether the government can include information about foreign nationals in the data collected under the legislation.
The government said it will consider such information, but added that it will only share it with other federal and province agencies if those agencies agree.
“We do not need to share all information about Canadians, and we don�t need to provide that information to the police,” said a government spokesperson.
“When we receive the information we are able to use it in accordance with the law and the needs of our agencies.”
However, the spokesperson did not provide a timeline on when information will go to police and what information may be shared with them.
“As a general rule, we will share any data we receive with law enforcement agencies that are authorized to do so under the law,” the spokesperson said.