Combating Terrorism Act (S-7)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. friend from Toronto—Danforth for raising some very specific and ongoing implications of the legislation.

It also occurred to me that the process of intending to leave the country could become a terrorist act. In conjunction with that, if we look at clause 83.23, we then have by association others drawn in, “A person who knowingly harbours or conceals any person who they know to be a person who has carried out a terrorist act or facilitates it”.

By extension, if planning to leave the country to go overseas for what is alleged to be a terrorist activity, such as camp training, would this sweep bring in others who, in normal context, would be seen to be doing an innocent activity?

Craig Scott: Mr. Speaker, that, in fact, was discussed a little in the Senate hearings.

The general principles of the Criminal Code that connect one offence to other acts, such as complicity, various forms of aiding and abetting, they all apply. The question of a broader circle of people being drawn into the criminality that these new provisions would enact is very real.

The official government witnesses before the Senate committee tiptoed around this. They acknowledged that it was a real issue but there was a sense that we did not really want to criminalize other’s assistance.

Now, of course, all the intention standards would have to be there. If one innocently helps a person leave the country by helping out with the person’s passport but does not know why the person is leaving, then there is no connection. However, the moment one knows why, one would absolutely be drawn into the orbit.

One of the witnesses, I believe it was Mr. Fadden but it might have been another witness, commented along the lines that we should not be naive about how many people actually do assist others to leave for this purpose.

The idea of a wider circle beyond the person leaving does appear to be in contemplation.