Combating Terrorism Act (S-7)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, it was a previous Liberal government that brought in the provisions in the wake of 9/11 and sunset them. We have had those provisions for extreme and unusual measures to deal with terrorism, which contravened our normal practice of criminal law. We have plenty of existing criminal law, as my colleague mentioned, to deal with these issues.

Why then would we bring back measures that we have not had for a number of years and that did not cause any trouble by their absence but could now become part of the fabric of Canadian law-making and creep into other areas of criminal investigation? I think it is dangerous. I would appreciate my colleague’s comments on that.

Francis Scarpaleggia: Mr. Speaker, those measures have already been in the fabric of Canadian law and they will become part of that fabric again but only on a temporary basis because they will sunset.

This is obviously a complex issue. It is important to keep in mind that these measures do seem to be charter-proof based on what I understand of court decisions. We have to take that into account. We often get up in the House and say we cannot vote for this or that because it is against the charter, and that is all very well and good. That is the way it should be. However, when something is charter-proof, it becomes difficult to argue that we are tearing the fabric of Canadian society in an irreparable way.

I understand that these are serious questions and they have to be studied in committee.