Canada's parliament passed a proposed anti-terrorism bill in its second reading on Monday with a 176-87 vote in favor.
Liberals and Conservatives voted to extend power for Canada’s national security agencies, while the NDP opposed.
The proposed omnibus bill would grant the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) expanded powers to identify and foil suspected terrorist plots. In addition, the burden of proof for arresting suspects in terrorist activity would be reduced, and CSIS would have the authority to remove terrorist propaganda from the Internet, pending court approval.
The measures are intended to stretch government powers to protect “against activities that undermine the security of Canada.”
The legislation as been criticized by many for granting enforcement agencies too much power. The Huffington Post Canada reported that last week, four former prime ministers and five former Supreme Court justices issued a joint statement demanding stronger supervision over Canada's security agencies.
NDP MP Peter Julien claimed that the legislation is too broad. “Does the government not understand that the bill is not just about terrorism?” Julien asked. “Is it really blind to the fact it can also target legitimate dissent and take away fundamental rights of Canadians?”
Harper revealed the proposed legislation during a visit to a Richmond Hill community center on January 30.
“Our government understands that extreme jihadists have declared war on us, on all free people, and on Canada specifically,” Harper said at the time. The new laws, he said, would give police and security agencies “the required tools and flexibility” needed to stop threats before they happen.