Conservatives table new bill to beef up spy agency

WATCH: The attacks in Ottawa and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que. last week have strengthened the government’s resolve to toughen anti-terrorism laws. But, critics say there are already powers in place that aren’t being used to their full extent. Jacques Bourbeau reports.

OTTAWA – The Conservatives tabled new legislation on Monday that would give Canada’s spy agency the authority to conduct investigations outside of Canada.

The legislation, called Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act, makes changes to the CSIS Act and the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act.

Other changes include:

  • giving the Federal Court the ability to issue warrants for CSIS to investigate threats to national security outside Canada;
  • protecting the identity of CSIS sources from disclosure, similar to informants;

The changes to the Citizenship Act include:

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  • allowing the government to seek earlier implementation of citizenship revocation provisions;

The provisions allow the Immigration Minister to revoke citizenship from dual citizens convicted of terrorism, high treason or spying offences.

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The government says it is aware of 130 people with Canadian connections who were suspected of taking part in terrorism-related activities in Iraq, Syria and other countries.

WATCH: Minister Steven Blaney says it’s time for Canada to stop “underreacting” to potential terrorist threats

It says last year, the country’s national security agencies also dealt with two separate conspiracies to conduct attacks in Canada.

“Our government remains focused on ensuring the safety and security of Canadians,” Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said in a release.

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“The crucial role that our security and intelligence plays in keeping Canadians safe cannot be overstated. We will continue to equip the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect Canadians with tools they need to address terrorism in an increasingly dangerous global environment.”

WATCH: A new bill tabled by the Conservatives would dramatically expand the powers and capability of Canada’s spy agency. Is this the right move after the events of last week, or an overreach of government power? 

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