MPs pass sweeping national security bill

The Liberal government's sweeping national security bill has cleared a key legislative hurdle.

MPs voted 168 to 125 yesterday to approve the bill in principle and adopt changes made during an early committee review.

The bill fleshes out Liberal campaign promises to soften contentious anti-terrorism measures brought in by the Harper government after a gunman stormed Parliament Hill in October 2014.

The Conservatives say the Liberal bill will make it harder for security agencies to do their work, while New Democrats argue it gives agencies licence to impinge on civil liberties.

MPs put forward dozens of amendments during the committee review, but few were adopted.

The bill would limit, but not eliminate, the powers that allow the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to actively disrupt terror plots.

The Conservatives gave C-SIS explicit authority to derail terrorist threats, expanding on the service's traditional intelligence-collection mandate.