Conservatives on Terror laws in Canada

Posted by admin on Apr 16th, 2009

* CKUT Radio: Terror laws in Canada. Interview: Roch Tassé from International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group:

* Hour: Anti-terror terror. Conservatives extend police powers by Stefan Christoff

The Conservative government has reintroduced two controversial provisions within the post-9/11 Anti-Terrorism Act. If passed, the recently tabled legislation would once again extend policing powers like investigative hearings and preventive arrests. These extraordinary measures expired in March 2007 when the opposition parties at the time refused to reaffirm them.

“We are totally against this new bill because a strong case has not been made as to their necessity,” outlines Roch Tassé, co-ordinator at International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group in Ottawa. “These are laws that have not been used in any post-9/11 national security cases – this is legislation that spells out an erosion of freedoms and civil liberties for people in Canada, a daunting extension of policing powers.”

Although the Bloc Québécois and NDP are slated to vote against the legislation, the position of the Liberals, who originally introduced the Anti-Terrorism Act in 2002, is not yet clear.

Under the reintroduced legislation, security services and police can arrest “suspects” of terrorism, and legally hold them for up to three days without approval from the legal system. Authorities can make people
testify at closed-door investigative hearings without laying any formal charges or the accusations being brought forward in a court of law.

“Essentially, through the ‘investigative hearings’ the right to remain silent is erased, a bedrock to legal rights in a democratic society,” explains Tassé. “Without any formal charges being brought forward, an individual would be obliged to answer questions. This is a law that clearly could lead to an abuse of policing powers.”

Comments are closed.