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NEWS RELEASE · 28th November 2012
BCCLA
Statement on Reintroduction of Anti-Terrorism Provisions

Bill S-7, also known as the ‘Combating Terrorism Act’, would allow persons to be detained for up to three days without charge (“preventive arrest”); strip individuals of their basic rights as accused under criminal proceedings to know and challenge evidence against them; threaten them with criminal punishment; and compel individuals to testify in secret before a judge in an “investigative hearing". Further, the judge may impose imprisonment of up to 12 months if the person does not enter into recognizance.

(enter into recognizance = imposed conditions to secure release, ie: avoid all contact with those engaged in, or participating in, pipeline protests) This note is not part of this news release: TD

Individuals subject to these provisions do not necessarily have to be suspected of committing any crime. It is enough that they are alleged to have information relating to a terrorism offence, or that they are alleged to be associated with another individual suspected of committing (or about to commit) a terrorism offence, or that they are otherwise suspected of potential future involvement with a terrorism offence. Furthermore, the scope of Bill S-7 extends beyond Canada’s borders, and could potentially result in a reliance on foreign intelligence. Without the ability to challenge evidence, there is no guarantee that the evidence is accurate, or was not obtained from a third country or source that conducts or condones torture as a method to elicit information. [It should be noted that the Canadian government has already given the green light to law enforcement agencies to accept information that may have been derived through torture, in violation of international agreements and standards].

In all such cases, individuals may find themselves caught up in these detention and interrogation provisions without any effective legal recourse.

Under these provisions, individuals could be forced to testify in a court of law, arrested, detained or made subject to bail conditions – all without charges being laid. Individuals have no right to know, and no opportunity to challenge, the basis on which they are being subjected to preventive arrest or required to attend investigate hearings.

While the proposed investigative hearings give the appearance of respecting due process, such as requiring judicial authorization, use and derivative use immunity, and the right to counsel, they still do not comply with the spirit of due process and the right against self-incrimination.

Investigative hearings not only introduce the notion of inquisitorial justice, they also transform the role of the judge who then becomes an actor at the service of police investigations. In addition, investigative hearings run counter to the essential principle of the separation of powers in a democracy and undermine the independence of the judiciary. Moreover, there are no safeguards to prevent a third country from relying on that testimony to unlawfully detain or lay charges against that individual, their family members or acquaintances while abroad.

The stigmatizing effect of being labeled a terrorism suspect, or an individual associated with terrorist activities, must also be considered. The stigma attached to an accusation of terrorism is severe, and comparable only to being branded a rapist or child molester. Yet the provisions proposed in this bill would effectively tar an individual as a terrorist, even though law enforcement officials may not have any grounds to lay charges or any evidence to secure a criminal conviction. The potential harm to individual reputations not to mention their livelihoods and continued employment cannot be discounted nor trivialized.

The Criminal Code, prior to the adoption of the Anti-Terrorism Act in 2001, was already an effective tool to counter terrorism. It allowed for lawful surveillance, evidence-gathering, prosecution, conviction and punishment while also upholding an individual’s Charter rights to the presumption of innocence, due process and a fair and transparent trial. These so-called anti-terrorism provisions do not maintain these basic legal standards.

The reintroduction of these sun-setted provisions adds no value to our law or to law investigation and enforcement. Indeed, they may actually impede effective counter-terrorism measures by tipping off potential perpetrators that they are under investigation. This was reaffirmed by the Air India Inquiry Report, released in 2010, which stated that electronic surveillance is an important evidence-gathering tool in anti-terror investigations.

It cannot be emphasized enough that the effectiveness and necessity of these provisions have simply not been demonstrated. The preventive arrest and investigative hearing laws, in effect from 2001 to 2007, were never once used for their intended purpose, and every major criminal terrorism-related incident in Canada since 2001 has been disrupted and prevented without the need for preventive detention or investigative hearings.

Renewing these provisions would normalize exceptional powers inconsistent with established democratic principles and threaten hard-won civil liberties. Commitment to the rule of law means that counter-terrorism measures must adhere to the values embodied in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and cannot infringe on basic rights.

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA), the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN), the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG), the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) and La Ligue des droits et libertés are united in their opposition to the reintroduction of controversial security provisions into the Criminal Code of Canada. All are in agreement that the current powers of law enforcement already allow security agencies to pursue, investigate, disrupt, and successfully prosecute terrorism-related crimes.

We urge Canadians to reject these unnecessary encroachments on fundamental liberties and to call upon their elected representatives to do the same when this bill comes to a vote.

Endorsed by:

British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA)

Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)

Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA)

Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN)

International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG)

La Ligue des droits et libertés
The no plan plan
Comment by blocky bear on 1st December 2012
Harper needs to fill the Bilderberger`s new jails. Bilderbergers have allocated the land and people of Canada to the part of the world known as China. Bilderbergers are not nationalists,leave it for us plebians. We learned these lessons in grade seven, remember?They are laying it out for the brave new gasping future,when only the chosen will be able to breath.
d.b.~~~u.s.c.
Terror/Terrorism is a tactic
Comment by Catherine on 30th November 2012
"Terror/terrorism is a military tactic - NOT an enemy that which war can be declared and waged." It's not that much different than using propaganda (read government advertising) to further a political agenda.

The tools of oppression - threat of violence, lack of prior claim, propaganda, isolation, marginalization, denigration, imprisonment, torture, forced poverty, myths of scarcity etc.

Governmental response to any perceived or impending social crises is to throw money at all these tools of oppression so that when the people begin to rise up in outrage, they have all the force and tools available to push them down, oppress them and imprison them or even murder them using "drone" attacks.

This is what the forcing of Globalization ie Capitalism (free enterprise/free markets) is all about.

As Karl Marx said, money turns everything into a commodity that can be bought and sold:
Government, Honor, Morality, the re-writing of history, Legality. Nothing is immune to purchase.

So, Who did our governments (Prov & Fed) sell us out to?

The real war we should be fighting is the War on Corruption and Fraud! Strike the root not the branches of evil!

If we refuse to fight our government's wars we are labelled unpatriotic. When we do, what remains is, in most cases, fatherless children. It is then easy for the corporate elite to enslave the mothers left to raise them (in poverty) as they will do anything to keep their children from starving! This is the perfect marriage between government and corporation.
Stephen H.
Comment by Amy Scott on 28th November 2012
He happens to believe that there is only one right way to live... aka: the civilized heirarchical agenda.
aka: lack of imagination

Anyone not participating or dropping out of that agenda, the less power that agenda has over people.

So of course he's going to try and force everyone to live this way of life, either by bribery, laws, programs, or destroying their livelihood.

I don't blame him though, this cultures ideologies were severely rammed down his throat. None of us are exempt.

His views are not different from any other in government. The people in government only govern the 'one right way to live' (our culture). So voting is not a way out obviously, it just encourages hope that someone else is going to help make lives better, and produces no change.

We can always spot our culture at work when we see that the food is locked up, and if we want some then we have to work very hard to buy it.

Anyone that wants to live a little differently is using their imaginations and putting the ideas to practical use to find a way.

edit: i liked your post David. And if we go a bit farther back, we'd see witches burned at stakes and people getting stoned for having a different outlook and a different way of living.
Soviet style justice comes to Canada
Comment by David on 28th November 2012
The proposed law is clearly based on the Soviet legal system imposed by Stalin. The Soviets brought in these measures so that dissidents, that is, those who held different political beliefs than the ruling Communist Party, or those who knew others who held different political beliefs, could be detained indefinitely without being charged with any crime or without being told why they were being detained.

In order to be released, detainees were required to finger others who (allegedly) held anti-Communist beliefs. The result was that thousands of citizens who really weren't dissidents at all were imprisoned in Siberia for decades based on false testimony extracted by torture. Hey, if your choice is to remain silent and be held in jail indefinitely or else to name names and be released, most wrongly detained citizens will obviously do whatever is necessary to achieve freedom.

So, the purpose of the new law is not to protect public safety, rather it is entirely political. Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party truly hate Canadians who hold views different than their own, such as environmentalists and trade unionists. They would prefer to have us all executed by para-military forces, but that would be a little too obvious. The problem is finding a way to muzzle political views which challenge the views of the Conservatives using Canadian law. The idea is to put thousands of innocent people in jail, just like in Stalin's Soviet Union, to get the message out to Canadians that dissenting political opinions will no longer be tolerated in Canada.

How un-Canadian!
robert
Comment by robert on 28th November 2012
Harper and his Oil Corrupt Cronies are a cancer to this country. Oh and I am sick of your governments commercials on all the good the oil sands are doing for communities across this nation and they should be banned like cigarette commercials and if they are funding our social programs why does our health care get worse every year ?
Artist
Comment by Roy Henry Vickers on 28th November 2012
IT IS UNBELIEVABLE THE HARPER WOULD CALL THOSE WHO LOVE THEIR COUNTRY AS TERRORISTS IF THERE IS ANY TERROR IT IS IN THE ACTIONS OF OUR GOVERNMENT> PEOPLE BE AWARE!!!!