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Canada announced an anti-terror law criminalising public terror threats, strengthening CSIS

Feb 2, 2015 12:33 IST

The Government of Canada on 30 January 2015 announced an anti-terror law criminalising public terror threats and giving more teeth to Canadian Security Intelligence Services (CSIS). The anti-terror measures were announced by the Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Toronto, Canada.

The anti-terror law was introduced in the House of Commons and is the second piece of legislation which the Stephen Harper government has introduced since the October 2014 terrorist attack in Ottawa and Quebec.

Main Features of the Anti-terror Law

• It allows anyone suspected of being involved in a terror plot to be detained without charge for up to seven days from the present three days.
• It empowers Canadian Security Intelligence Services (CSIS), the spy agency of Canada, to thwart attacks directly in a significant expansion of their powers.
• Further, it allows CSIS to directly approach terror suspects in order to disrupt their plans as against the current practice of only collecting intelligence and passing the information on to police.
• CSIS will also be able to cancel plane or other travel reservations made by Canadians suspected of being involved in terrorism. However, the new activities by CSIS will require approval by a judge.
• It makes it a crime for a person to call for terror attacks on Canada generally or to promote or advocate others to carry out terrorism elsewhere. At present, it is a crime to make a specific threat.
• The penalty for giving public threat will be a maximum of five years in prison.
• Authorities will be able to remove terror-related material from any Canadian website.
The new law still has to be passed in the Parliament but Harper's Conservative government has a majority of the seats so passage is all but ensured.

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