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Mar 31, 2015 at 02:02 PM

Welcome to my online office. I have set up this website to give you a chance
to interact with me directly and to learn a little bit more about my work to
Stand Up for St. Catharines in Ottawa. I hope you will take the time to read
my blog, check out the community calendar and look at the services available
through my Community Office. Most of all, I hope you will take the time to
communicate your ideas and concerns by commenting on my blog, voting for the
online polls or sending me an e-mail. This website is here for you, so
please share your thoughts and ideas.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Rick Dykstra

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage


Government of Canada announces new benefit for Canadian Armed Forces members and Veterans
Mar 31, 2015 at 10:23 AM

Benefit to recognize and compensate for very serious injuries and diseases

March 30, 2015 – Ottawa – Veterans Affairs Canada

The Honourable Erin O’Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs, unveiled today the proposed new Critical Injury Benefit (CIB), which will provide a $70,000 tax-free award to support the most severely injured and ill Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and Veterans.   

The proposed new CIB is intended to address the immediate impacts of the most severe and traumatic service-related injuries or diseases sustained by CAF members and Veterans, between the time the injury or disease occurs and the time when their condition becomes medically stable. The CIB is in recognition of the stress and hardship CAF members and Veterans go through in the weeks and months following a sudden event resulting in traumatic injury or disease. The CIB is intended to work alongside the existing benefits and supports delivered by Veterans Affairs Canada for which injured Veterans are eligible, and it is separate and apart from disability award payments.

This announcement was one element of the new Support for Veterans and their Families Act introduced in the House of Commons today to provide new support for CAF members and Veterans, and their families. Along with the Critical Injury Benefit, other proposed initiatives in this new legislation include:

  • the Retirement Income Security Benefit for moderately to severely disabled Veterans beginning at age 65 and their survivors; 
  • the Family Caregiver Relief Benefit for eligible Veterans requiring ongoing informal care—a tax-free grant of $7,238 annually;
  • the addition of a purpose statement to the New Veterans Charter recognizing the Government’s obligation to CAF members, Veterans and their families; and
  • the authority for Veterans Affairs Canada to provide advice and information to CAF members and Veterans, and make decisions on applications for benefits and services prior to their release from the military to help them successfully transition to civilian life.

Quick Facts

  • The new Critical Injury Benefit will be one of many supports available to serving members and Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces with service-related injuries or diseases.
  • The Critical Injury Benefit focuses on those who need it the most: Veterans who endure sudden and severe injury or disease while in the line of duty.
  • The Critical Injury Benefit will work in concert with existing services and benefits to establish a continuum of support from the onset of a severe and traumatic injury or disease.
  • The critical injury benefit will be paid to eligible CAF members and Veterans who have suffered a sudden, severe and traumatic injury or developed an acute disease since April 1, 2006.

“This new benefit will provide immediate recognition and compensation to CAF members and Veterans who have made a tremendous personal sacrifice, and will provide them with security and peace of mind following a critical injury or illness. Our Government will continue to support Canada’s Veterans and ensure the changing nature of the needs of Veterans is met with the best possible service.”
The Honourable Erin O’Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs  

Associated Links

Veterans Affairs Canada is committed to ensuring Veterans are treated with the care, compassion and respect they deserve. Veterans and their families are at the center of everything we do. #VeteranCentric

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Government of Canada Announces Agreement with Lincoln and Welland Regiment Foundation
Mar 23, 2015 at 04:31 PM

New Niagara Military Heritage Centre will help connect Canadians to the rich military history of Niagara region

March 23, 2015    Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario     Parks Canada

Rick Dykstra, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Member of Parliament for St. Catharines, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced an agreement between Parks Canada and the Lincoln and Welland Regiment Foundation towards the creation of a new military museum in Niagara-on-the-Lake at Fort George National Historic Site.

Tracing their roots to Butler’s Rangers in 1777 and the settlement of Niagara in the 1780s, the Lincoln and Welland Regiment has a storied past and played a significant role throughout Canada’s military history.

Using a portion of the Lakeshore Property within the Battle of Fort George National Historic Site, a new Niagara Military Heritage Centre will reflect close to 250 years of Niagara’s military history. 

Parks Canada is committed to working with the Lincoln and Welland Regiment Foundation to connect Canadians and international visitors with the significant events that contributed to Canada’s rich cultural heritage.

Parks Canada has a long and positive working relationship with the Lincoln and Welland Regiment Museum, who have a tangible link to this land where their soldiers defended Canada during the War of 1812.

Quick Facts

  • Though they have been known by different names over the centuries, the Lincoln and Welland Regiment participated in many significant nation-building event in our history – from the American Revolutionary War to the War of 1812; the Fenian Raids to the South African War; the First and Second World Wars to the Korean Conflict; and peacekeeping missions overseas.
  • The Lincoln and Welland Regiment won a Battle Honour for their brave actions at the Battle of Fort George during the War of 1812.
  • The current Lincoln and Welland Regiment Museum is located in a series of buildings known as Butler’s Barracks National Historic Site, owned and maintained by Parks Canada.
  • As Canada nears its 150th birthday in 2017, the Government of Canada invites Canadians to learn more about the major sites, persons and events that have shaped their country’s history. Canada’s national historic sites – including the national historic sites in Niagara – enable Canadians to experience their rich history and heritage in a special way and play a big part in the celebration of Canada 150.

“Places like our Niagara National Historic Sites and the future Niagara Military Heritage Centre are testaments to the dedication of Canadians to their country and provide us with a tangible link to our history and opportunities to learn about our past. As we approach Canada’s 150th birthday, our Government encourages Canadians to reflect on the people and events that have shaped Canada into the strong, proud and free country that it is today.”
Rick Dykstra
Member of Parliament for St. Catharines and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

“Our Government is pleased to work with the Lincoln and Welland Regiment Foundation to enhance our community and engage all Canadians in the remembrance and commemoration of our proud military history. A new Niagara Military Heritage Centre will honour 250 years of military sacrifice and Canadian determination in Niagara.”
The Honourable Rob Nicholson
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Member of Parliament for Niagara Falls

Additional Link

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Updated: Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015 - Questions & Answers, Myths & Facts
Mar 27, 2015 at 12:00 AM

Questions and Answers

The Bill states that it does not target individuals who engage in “lawful advocacy and protest.” Does this mean that unlawful protests will be targeted?

The Bill specifically excludes “lawful advocacy or protest” from its application. A protest that is unlawful (for instance, peacefully occupying a pipeline construction site) could only be subject to the information sharing provisions of C-51 as “interference with critical infrastructure” if the protest also met the definition of “activities which undermine the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of Canada or the lives or the security of the people of Canada”. In this way, C-51 is able to distinguish between illegally but peacefully protesting a pipeline from, for example, the bombing of a pipeline and endangering the lives of Canadians.

The Bill states that CSIS would not require warrants for all its threat disruption activities. What activities will not require a warrant?

CSIS’s present mandate prohibits it from engaging in any disruption activities. That means that CSIS cannot currently approach the parents of a radicalized youth and encourage them to dissuade their child from traveling to a war zone or conducting attacks here in Canada. CSIS does speak with parents at present, but only in the context of its current mandate of intelligence collection (ie, asking questions) rather than threat disruption (ie, preventing and persuading). Threat disruption that would not require a warrant can be understood as any activity that is not contrary to Canadian law. For example, it would not make sense to require CSIS officers to obtain warrants in order to ask parents to speak to their children, or engage in conversations in an online chat room. CSIS would, however, need a judicially-approved warrant for any activity that would infringe upon an individual’s privacy or other rights, or any activity that would be contrary to Canadian law. Furthermore, a judge would need to be convinced that such activities were reasonable and proportional to the threat.

Canada already has laws against hate speech. What will be criminalized that isn’t already covered by existing legislation?

Canada’s current hate speech laws apply only to the incitement of hatred toward an “identifiable group”. As such, general threats against, for instance, "Canada" or "all infidels" are not crimes under the current Criminal Code. ISIS and Al-Qaeda propaganda often generalizes against “the West” or the “infidels”. While clearly in conflict with Canadian values, the imprecise nature of these threats are a challenge to existing legislation. The new C-51 definition will better enable law enforcement to effectively pursue those distributing radicalizing propaganda and advocating violence "in general."

Why does C-51 contain no additional oversight mechanisms, particularly Parliamentary oversight?

Independent, expert, non-partisan oversight of our national security agencies is a better model than political intervention in the process. Further, the key powers of the new legislation are subject to judicial review and judicial authorization. The Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) carries out reviews and investigations of CSIS activities, and reports publicly on the findings. Currently, there are 18 employees who work for this agency, in addition to five board member slots. C-51 does provide a new review obligation that requires SIRC to examine annually one aspect of CSIS’ performance of its new threat disruption mandate.




Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015: What People Are Saying

On the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC):

SIRC is an “…example of the Canadian legal system striking a better balance between the protection of sensitive information and the procedural rights of individuals.” – Supreme Court of Canada, 2007

“Our model of ongoing and methodical review also has the distinct advantage of allowing for a full and impartial assessment of CSIS’s performance, arguably better positioning it to detect potential problems earlier.” – SIRC Annual Report 2013-14

On the letter from lawyers against C-51:

It is: “…way over the top. You’ve got to come back to what we’re dealing with – a serious problem of terrorism in Canada. You can’t have a half-hearted war against that. You’re going to have some abuses that creep up no matter how carefully the legislation is drawn. But you’ve got to arm our people with some authority to root out terrorists.” – Justice John Major, former Supreme Court Justice and Chair of the Air India Inquiry

Support from stakeholders:

“Bill C-51 is aimed at violent Islamic jihadi terrorists, and those are the persons against whom its provisions are to be enforced. The reasons are clear enough provided one makes reference to facts and events of the real world, today. Unlike their critics, the authors of Bill C-51 are sensible enough to have recognized the danger.” – Barry Cooper, Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute.

“We welcome this legislation which enhances the capacity of authorities to address a growing threat in our society. We are supportive of the Government of Canada’s efforts to respond to the terrorist threat in as comprehensive and forceful a way as possible.” – David Cape, Chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA)

Why we need C-51:

“This is a message to Canada and all the Americans, we are coming and we will destroy you… after Iraq we are coming for you Barack Obama.” – Farah Shiradon, Canadian foreign fighter

"If you can kill a disbelieving American or European --especially the spiteful and filthy French--or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be.” – ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani



Myths and Facts

Some have said that C-51 is not effective. Can you give me some tangible examples of exactly what this Bill will do?

  1. Allow Passport Canada to share information on potential terrorist travelers with the RCMP.
  2. Stop known radicalized individuals from boarding a plane bound for a terrorist conflict zone.
  3. Criminalize the promotion of terrorism in general, for example statements like “kill all the infidels wherever they are” would become illegal.
  4. Allow CSIS agents to speak with the parents of radicalized youth in order to disrupt terrorist travel plans.
  5. Give the Government an appeal mechanism to stop information from being released in security certificate proceedings if it could harm a source.

Some have alleged that the Conservative Government is not correct in stating that other allies allow their national security agencies to disrupt threats. What allies can do this work?

In the US the Central Intelligence Agency can, pursuant to the National Security Act, conduct domestic threat disruption with an executive order. In the United Kingdom, MI5 can, pursuant to section1 of the Security Service Act conduct any activity to protect national security. The Norwegian Police Security Service has a mandate to prevent and investigate any crime against the state, including terrorism. The Finnish Security Intelligence Service is mandated to prevent crimes that may endanger the governmental or political system, and internal or external security, pursuant to section 10 of the Act on Police Administration. We must ensure that CSIS has the same tools to keep Canadians safe.

Some have said that this legislation will transform CSIS into a secret police force with no accountability, while also violating our basic freedoms and Charter rights. What is wrong with oversight?

Everything about this statement is wrong. C-51 gives no law-enforcement powers to CSIS. CSIS cannot arrest any individual. It cannot charge any individual. What is proposed in C-51 is efforts to stop terrorist attacks while they are still in the planning stages. And what’s more, these efforts are subject to robust judicial oversight, and review by the Security Intelligence Review Committee. This is far more in-depth than our allies. At all times, rights under the Constitution are protected.

Will the Communications Security Establishment be able to spy on Canadians as a result of C-51?

No. CSEC’s mandate does not change under C-51. CSE acts within the law to protect Canada’s national interest and keep Canada and Canadians safe from threats. CSE works to monitor terror and other threats globally.



C-51 – What Canadians are Saying

If C-51 had been in place on October 19, Martin Couture Rouleau would have been in prison and my brother would not be dead today - Louise Vincent, sister of slain Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent

The NACC and our member airlines understand the need to update Canada's passenger protect program in light of the evolving nature of security threats, and we continue to support the program under C-51. – Marc-Andre O’Rourke, National Airlines Council of Canada

Bill C-51 is the most important national security legislation since the 9/11 era. It is designed for the post-9/11 era. It's a new legislation for a new era in terms of security threats. While it's understandable that various provisions of the legislation attract attention, we need to keep our focus on the fundamental purpose and the fundamental challenge of combatting emerging types of terrorism. – Professor Elliott Tepper, Carleton University

Bill C-51 is directed against Islamist jihadists and to prevent or pre-empt them from their stated goal to carry out terrorist threats against the West, including Canada. The measures proposed in Bill C-51 to deal with the nature of threats that Canada faces, I believe, are quite rightly and urgently needed to protect and keep secure the freedom of our citizens.– Professor Salim Mansur, University of Western Ontario

So-called “Civil Liberties” Groups, Then and Now

This is truly a blank cheque, for there is nothing which falls outside that description of terrorism. One’s reading matter, record library, video collection, writings, teaching, etc. suddenly become suitable objects of surveillance, as does how one spends one’s leisure time and with whom. – BC Civil Liberties Association, 1983 discussing the creation of CSIS

The government's proposed definition of “terrorist activity” is simply too broad. Aside from the fact that you could have targeted Martin Luther King's civilly disobedient freedom rallies and marches through the American South, because they disrupted local transportation, it would potentially brand as terrorists doctors, teachers, and nurses who threaten to strike or withhold services in the face of provincial orders deeming their work an essential service. It could also brand as terrorist the actions of first nations individuals who blockade an airport or a highway.– BC Civil Liberties Association, 2001, discussing the Anti-terrorism Act

It would make criminals of individuals whose sentiments may never even leave the confines of their own living room, so long as their listener is someone who might commit a terrorism offence. The new offence contains no requirement that the speaker actually intends a terrorism offence to be committed. It contains no requirement that the listener commit a terrorism offence, either. – BC Civil Liberties Association, 2015, discussing the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015

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  • Download Myths and Facts in PDF

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