Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Civil liberties and human rights groups oppose Bill S-7 (Combating Terrorism Act)

Toronto - November 28, 2012 - Representatives from civil liberties and human rights groups will testify before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security on Wednesday, November 28 and Monday, December 3 to express their opposition to Bill S-7 (Combating Terrorism Act).

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.  

In a joint statement released today, 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.

Excerpt of joint statement:

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.

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].

Public Safety committee hearings on Bill S-7

November 28
Where:  151 Sparks Street, Room 306 When:   4:30 - 5:30 p.m , Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Who:    Carmen Cheung, Senior Counsel, British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA)
              Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel, Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA)       

December 3

Where:  To be determined
When:   tbd, December 3, 2012
Who:     Denis Barrette, spokesperson, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) and la Ligue des droits et libertés

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