Liberals Promise Action On Anti-Terrorism Law Is Coming Soon

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WINNIPEG — The Trudeau government will deliver soon on its promise to set up a parliamentary oversight committee for Canada's national security agencies.

And it will follow that with a public review of anti-terrorism legislation, government House leader Dominic LeBlanc told delegates at the Liberal party's first convention since winning power last fall.

LeBlanc said legislation to create the committee will be introduced before Parliament breaks for the summer. He hopes it will pass quickly in the fall.

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MPs, from left, Dominic LeBlanc, Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott speak onstage at the 2016 Liberal Biennial Convention in Winnipeg on May 27, 2016. (Photo: John Woods/CP)

The committee would include MPs and senators from both the governing and opposition parties and would monitor the operations of 19 different agencies that have responsibility for national security — including the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the secretive Communications Security Establishment.

LeBlanc said Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale will also "in the coming days'' launch a public review of anti-terrorism legislation passed by the previous Conservative government.

The Liberals supported that legislation, but promised to repeal some controversial provisions to ensure a better balance between security and individual civil liberties.

Guide coming 'in the very near future'

Among other things, the Liberals promised to narrow the definition of terrorist propaganda and ensure that lawful protest and advocacy could not be considered terrorism.

They also pledged to require that the government review all appeals by Canadians on the no-fly list, to limit CSE's powers by requiring a warrant to engage in the surveillance of Canadians and to require a statutory review of the Anti-Terrorism Act after three years.

"You can have deep and reliable and pervasive respect for people's charter rights but you can also have the appropriate security tools and agencies to keep the country safe,'' LeBlanc said.

"We've never accepted it's an either-or proposition.''

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, who is working with Goodale on the review of anti-terrorism legislation, said the government will release "in the very near future'' a paper that will be used as "a guide that invites Canadians into the discussion around national security.''

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