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NDP slams timing of anti-terrorism-bill debate

Ottawa MP Paul Dewar responds to a question during an NDP leadership debate in Quebec City on Feb. 12, 2012.

CLEMENT ALLARD/Clement Allard/The Canadian Press

MPs will debate legislation on Monday that would give Canadian authorities more powers to combat terrorism.

The latest version of the Combating Terrorism Act, which was introduced in the Senate in February of 2012, had been ready to received a third debate in the Commons since February. On Friday it was placed on the calendar for this coming week.

Among other things, it creates a new criminal offence that would apply to people leaving Canada for the purpose of committing certain terrorist acts abroad.

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NDP Foreign Affairs critic Paul Dewar questioned the timing of the debate.

"They could have brought this forward weeks ago, months ago," Mr. Dewar told Question Period.

"Sadly, what they're doing here is that they're using this as an opportunity to, in some ways, look like they're doing something."

The Liberals have indicated they will support the bill, though the decision to have it debated on Monday and Tuesday has pushed back a motion of their own which would strip party whips of their power to decide which MPs are allowed to make members' statements in the House of Commons.

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