Canada security bill provides new powers to combat terror

Fri Jan 30, 2015 3:46pm EST
 
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By Andrea Hopkins

RICHMOND HILL, Ontario (Reuters) - New anti-terror legislation in Canada would make it a crime to call for attacks on the country and give a much larger role to the government's main spy agency.

The bill introduced by the Conservative government on Friday would give the spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the ability to disrupt attacks by interfering with travel plans or communications, for example. In the past, CSIS has been limited to the collection of intelligence.

The bill, whose passage is assured because the Conservatives have a majority in Parliament, would also make it easier for police to make preventive arrests.

"Jihadi terrorism as it is evolving is one of the most dangerous enemies our world has ever faced," Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who faces a general election in October, said at a news conference. "Violent jihadism is not a human right. It is an act of war."

The government promised the legislation after a gunman attacked Canada's Parliament Buildings in Ottawa in October after fatally shooting a soldier at the nearby National War Memorial. The attack by a so-called "lone wolf" Canadian convert to Islam came two days after another Canadian convert rammed two soldiers in Quebec with his car, killing one.

Harper also cited recent attacks in France and Australia, saying such events show the danger of terror is not a future possibility but current and imminent.

To make recruitment more difficult, the legislation would give the courts authority to remove terrorist propaganda from the Internet.

It is already illegal to counsel someone to commit specific terrorist attacks, but the bill would make it illegal to make a general call for attacks in Canada.   Continued...

 
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks at a news conference in Richmond Hill, Ontario, January 30, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch