OTTAWA, February 15, 2012 – The Government of Canada today introduced amendments to the Criminal Code that would ensure that Canada has the tools it needs to combat crime and terrorism and protect its citizens.
"Our Government remains committed to keeping our streets and communities safe. Terrorism will continue to be a threat for the foreseeable future," said the Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.
"The Government needs to provide law enforcement officers with the means to anticipate and respond effectively to terrorism."
"These important amendments will compliment the Counter-Terrorism Strategy announced last week," said the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety.
"The Strategy explains how we work with our partners at home and abroad to prevent individuals from turning to terrorism, to detect threats as early as possible, to deny terrorists the means and opportunities to attack, and to respond rapidly and effectively should an incident occur."
The provisions of the Combating Terrorism Act (Bill C-17 from the previous Parliament), which proposed to re-enact the investigative hearings and recognizance with conditions measures, are being reintroduced. New offences of leaving or attempting to leave Canada to commit a terrorism offence are also being proposed.
Holding an investigative hearing would allow the Courts to compel a witness who may have information regarding a terrorism offence to appear in court and provide information. The proposed recognizance-with-conditions provision would require a person to enter into an agreement before a judge to abide by certain conditions, in order to prevent the carrying out of a terrorist activity. These proposed amendments, which expand upon the many safeguards contained in the original Act, are designed to help disrupt plans and preparations for terrorist attacks and investigate past acts of terrorism.
The new offences of leaving Canada, or attempting to leave Canada, to commit a terrorism offence are intended to deter persons from leaving Canada to attend terrorist training camps or engage in other terrorist activity abroad.
Some of the proposed amendments fulfill Parliamentary recommendations that were made following the Parliamentary review of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
An online version of the legislation can be found at www.parl.gc.ca.
Building Resilience Against Terrorism: Canada’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy can be found at www.publicsafety.gc.ca.
Backgrounder: Strenghening Counter-Terrorism Legislation
Julie Di Mambro
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice
Public Safety Canada