Hello. This is Ralph Goodale.
Governments have no greater responsibilities than keeping their citizens safe and safeguarding their rights and freedoms.
These are fundamental obligations that underpin the new national security legislation that I had the honour of introducing recently in the House of Commons.
That legislation follows unprecedented public consultations, in which tens of thousands of views were received – valuable input to shape our proposals. I want to thank all of those who made the effort to participate.
What we're proposing in Parliament is clearly stronger and better because of all that advice, which we've published on the Government of Canada's Open Data Portal, so everyone can see what was said.
As you might expect, in such a large volume of input there are sharp differences of opinion. But Canadians unequivocally want accountability, transparency and effectiveness from their security and intelligence agencies.
They also expect compliance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and respect for privacy.
Consistent with what we heard, the new legislation will modernize and enhance our security and intelligence laws—to ensure our agencies have the tools necessary to protect Canada and Canadians—and all within a legal and constitutional framework that safeguards our rights and the open, inclusive, generous, democratic character of our country ... the very things that make Canada, Canada.
In addition to a new committee of parliamentarians, with extraordinary authority to scrutinize security and intelligence activities, we're advancing a new EXPERT review body that will also have jurisdiction across the entire Government to complement the work of parliamentarians.
As promised, we are tightening the definition of "terrorist propaganda"; protecting the right to legitimate protest and advocacy; upgrading no-fly list procedures; and ensuring the paramountcy of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
And we'll bring our security and intelligence legislation into the 21st century. When much of it was written, back in the 1980s, the fax machine was cutting edge stuff. But over the past 25 years, advanced information technology has revolutionized everything. The world works differently and so it is incumbent on our laws to accurately reflect that reality.
We expect our security and intelligence agencies to adapt to all that innovation —effectively—to keep us safe, while fully respecting our rights.
Our new legislation sets the framework. We all have a stake in this ... so all Canadians can have confidence that both our security and our freedoms are being properly protected. That's the goal.
Thank you for your advice in helping us get there.