Canada passes legislation to fight nuclear terrorism

A Canadian parliament meeting passed the Nuclear Terrorism Act on Tuesday to help keep communities safe by combating nuclear terrorism.

The act is an amendment to the Criminal Code act. There were four new amendments made, which include making offensives out of creating a device, possessing or trafficking nuclear material, using or altering nuclear material, committing an offense meant to obtain nuclear devices or materials and threatening to commit any of the previous offenses.

Three of the mentioned offenses come with a maximum sentence of life in prison, while the threat offense comes with a maximum penalty of 14 years in jail. All of these punishments are similar to the Criminal Code's level of punishment on other terrorism offenses.

This new legislation will also permit Canada to ratify the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

The Nuclear Terrorism Act is supposed to combat nuclear terrorism by enhancing the domestic legal framework available to respond to these acts of nuclear terrorism and fulfilling international commitments Canada has already made in the sector of nuclear security.

"Our Government recognizes the importance of combating and preventing the serious global threat of nuclear terrorism," Rob Nicholson, a minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, said. "This legislation will improve our existing approach to counter-terrorism by punishing those who aspire to commit acts of nuclear terrorism."