Canada strengthens anti-terrorism laws

The Canadian parliament on Wednesday approved new provisions to strengthen its anti-terrorist laws in the wake of the Boston marathon bombing and a foiled plot to attack trains near Toronto.

The House of Commons voted 183 to 93 in favor of the bill, which had already received Senate approval.

The new laws restore provisions from the 2001 anti-terrorist legislation that had expired in 2007, such as allowing authorities to keep suspects in preventative custody or under surveillance.

They also allow a judge to compel a witness -- under penalty of imprisonment -- to testify, if they may have information about a terrorism offense, past or future.

The law also provides for 10 to 14 year jail terms for people who leave or attempt to leave Canada with the intention of participating in a terrorist activity or carrying out attacks overseas.

The Conservative government has made several attempts in recent years to re-instate the measures from the 2001 anti-terror legislation.

Last week, after citing the April 15 attack in Boston in which two bombs near the marathon finish line killed three and wounded 264, the government, at the last minute, re-jigged the agenda at the House of Commons to accelerate the vote on the bill.

It will take effect in the coming days.

Human rights advocates had argued that several of the provisions were unnecessary and violate civil liberties.