Harper announces increased CSIS powers to combat terrorism

Harper with York police
January 2015 photo of Prime Minister with York police

Canada will expand spying powers, criminalize terrorism "promotion" and increase the use of "classified information" to punish non-citizens as part of sweeping changes to improve security, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced at Richmond Hill today. 

"Our government understands that extreme jihadists have declared war on us, on all free people, and on Canada specifically," Prime Minister Harper said. "Recent terrorist actions in Canada are not only an attack on our country, but also our values and our society as a whole.”

He discussed the possibility of revoking the Canadian citizenship of people proven to be engaged in terrorist activity.

The Prime Minister's Office released a list of changes proposed in its package of security measures:

    • criminalize the advocacy or promotion of terrorism offences in general;
    • counter terrorist recruitment by giving our courts the authority to order the removal of terrorist propaganda online;
    • enhance the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)’s powers to address threats to the security of Canada while ensuring that courts maintain oversight;
    • provide law-enforcement agencies with enhanced ability to disrupt terrorism offences and terrorist activity;
    • enhance the Passenger Protect Program by further mitigating threats to transportation security and preventing travel by air for the purpose of engaging in terrorism;
    • make it easier for law enforcement agencies to detain suspected terrorists before they can harm Canadians and to toughen penalties for violating court-ordered conditions on terrorist suspects;
    • enable the effective and responsible sharing of relevant national security information across federal departments and agencies to better identify and address threats;
    • although not part of this proposed legislation, we are also working with communities to prevent radicalization and intervene when individuals show signs of becoming radicalized.
    • ensure that national security agencies are better able to protect and use classified information when denying entry and status to non-citizens who pose a threat to Canada; and,
    • provide witnesses and other participants in national security proceedings and prosecutions with additional protection.

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