POLITICS

Anti-Terror Bill To Be Scaled Back As Tories Respond To Criticism

03/27/2015 03:46 EDT | Updated 03/27/2015 04:59 EDT

The government will propose a handful of amendments to the proposed anti-terror bill when it goes to clause-by-clause review on Tuesday, CBC News has learned, including a proposal that would protect protests from being captured by the new measures.

"Many witnesses were concerned that by saying "lawful" protests would not be considered terrorist acts, it meant that protests which were not necessarily terrorist, but not necessarily legal, could be," CBC News correspondent Chris Hall explained in an interview on CBC News Network on Friday afternoon.

"For example, incidents of chaining yourself to a fence to protest, a logging decision or mine development."

That section will be changed to narrow the scope of what might be captured as a terrorist-related activity, he said.

The government will also put forward an amendment to make it clear that CSIS agents would not have the power to arrest people.

Sources have told CBC News that the Tories may propose as many as 10 amendments. They could also vote to reject particularly problematic elements during clause-by-clause review.

"As we have said for many weeks, we are open to amendments that make sense and that improve the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015," a senior government official told CBC News.

Thus far there is no indication the government will heed the calls for increased oversight.

The Tories could, however, introduce separate legislation to expand the mandate and boost the powers of the Security Intelligence Review Committee that oversees CSIS.

Both the New Democrats and the Liberals have already served notice that they plan on putting forward amendments as well, the bulk of which would go further than what the government will propose.

The House public safety committee will begin clause-by-clause review on Tuesday.

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