Sweeping laws could usher in new age of anti-terror efforts for Canada

Newly tabled anti-terrorism legislation would give Canada’s spy agency more power to thwart a suspected extremist’s travel plans, disrupt bank transactions and covertly interfere with radical websites. The plan to boost the Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s ability to counter terrorist threats flows from a review of fatal attacks on two Canadian soldiers last October — incidents the government believes were fuelled by Islamic extremism. CSIS would become an agency that actively tries to derail terror plots, not just one that collects and analyzes information about such plans. As expected, the bill would also make it easier for the RCMP to obtain a peace bond to restrict the movements of a suspect and it extends the period for preventative arrest and detention.

Jihadist terrorism is not a future possibility, it is a present reality. It seeks to harm us here in Canada, in our cities and in our neighbourhoods through horrific acts.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

The bill proposes giving the RCMP power to seek a judge’s order to remove terrorist propaganda from the Internet. It would also create a new criminal offence of encouraging someone to carry out a terrorism attack. On Oct. 22, Michael Zehaf Bibeau shot Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, an honour guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, before rushing into Parliament’s Centre Block. Two days earlier, Martin Couture-Rouleau had fatally rammed Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent with a car in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. After a chase, police shot and killed the knife-wielding assailant. It soon emerged the RCMP had been monitoring the man — who harboured jihadist sympathies — for months.

The Mounties even prevented him [Couture-Rouleau] from travelling overseas, presumably to join militant fighters. But they did not have enough evidence to arrest him or further limit his movements, saying extreme beliefs were not a crime.

The Canadian Press reports