Journal des Alternatives

Joint statement on the new Security Legislation

8 November 2007

Alternatives support a broad alliance of human rights, civil society and community organizations that are calling on Parliamentarians to reject the new legislation that re-instates the use of the security certificate and allows “special advocates” to speak on behalf of the detainee.

The Supreme Court in February struck down the security certificate in Charkaoui v. Canada but the government
hopes that the addition of the special advocate measure will allow the security certificate to remain a legal
practice in the eyes of the Supreme Court although this law (minus the special advocate clause) is nearly
identical to the previous, unconstitutional one.

The emergence of these provisions ensure that law enforcement and security agencies will be given
extraordinary powers to detain and question individual suspects accused of terror activities without due process.
Furthermore, the suspects have no means to defend themselves as they are forbidden to see the evidence, if any,
against them, thereby further eroding the principles of the legal system.

This legislation also does not address human rights concerns and violations and does not even attempt to limit
the powers of our policing bodies. The Conservative government does not even appear interested to relate our
legitimate concerns regarding the egregious nature of the bill.

Canada is well on its way to creating a two-tier justice system - one for non-citizens and one for citizens. The
implication that non-citizens pose a serious threat to Canada underlies this piece of legislation; it is a part of
immigration policies and not part of the Criminal Code. If a citizen were detained under a security certificate,
one may be assured of the public outcry resulting from several violations of the Charter.

We want to remind the Harper government that the re-introduction of the security certificate measure indicates a
contempt for organizations in Canada which are opposed to this bill and represents a categorical and outright
departure from the legal values of this country because it:

1) threatens fundamental civil and human rights guaranteed by the Constitution;
2) erodes the role of judges in our legal system;
3) discriminates against non-citizens from racialized communities;
4) gives augmented and unnecessary powers to law-enforcement personnel who have made grievous errors in the
past;
5) constructs two separate, unequal justice systems for non-citizens and citizens;
5) betrays the lawyer-client privilege contained within our Charter;
6) is absolutely unnecessary to keep Canadians safe.

This coalition of organizations supports the rejection of the bill and a return to legislation which takes into
account Canada’s history as a fair and just nation. We believe that this bill and the Anti-Terrorism laws in this
country do nothing to quell the threat of terrorism and instead impose threats to human rights and the rule of law.
A strong commitment to safeguard human rights and the freedoms allowed by our Constitution will be a much more secure and sound means to keep those living in Canada safe from terror and rights abuses by the state. We
do not want and should not have to live in fear from the state and each other.


The coalition consists of the following groups:

Adala - Canadian Arab Justice Committee, Vancouver
Al-Huda Lebanese Muslim Society
Al-Nahda Social and Cultural Club
Albilad Newspaper, London
Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians
Bayan Centre, Progressive Iranian Canadian Muslims
BC Southern Interior Peace Coalition, Grand Forks, BC
Brampton Coalition for Peace and Justice
Canadian Arab Society of London, Ontario
Canada Palestine Association, Vancouver
Canada Palestine Support Network, Ottawa
Canadian Islamic Congress
Canadian Labour Congress
Canadian Peace Alliance
Chinese Canadian National Council
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid
Coalition of Arab Canadian Professionals and Community Associations, Ottawa
Communist Party of Canada
Council on American-Islamic Relations Canada (CAIR-CAN)
Creative Response
CUPE Local 2191
CUPE Ontario
Forum Musulman Canadien - Canadian Muslim Forum (FMC-CMF)
Gerald and Maas, editions, Ottawa
Hamilton Council of Canadian Arabs
Islamic Ahlul Bayt Assembly of Canada
Islamic Society of York Region
Jewish Women’s Committee to End the Occupation
Justice for Mohamed Harkat Committee
Lawyers Against the War
Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
Moroccan Association of Toronto
Muslim Council of Montreal
Muslim Unity Group
National Anti-Racism Council of Canada
Niagara Coalition for Peace, St Catharines
Niagara Palestinian Association, St Catharines
Not In Our Name (NION): Jewish Voices Against Israel’s Wars
Ontario Federation of Labour
Palestine House, Mississauga
Palestinian and Jewish Unity, Montreal
Parole Arabe, Montreal
Peaceworks, Midland
Salaheddin Islamic Centre
Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, Carleton University
Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, McMaster University
Somali Canadian Diaspora Alliance
Somali Canadian National Congress
TARIC Islamic Centre, Toronto
The Muslim Services, Toronto
Voice of Palestine, Vancouver


CONTACT:

Mohamed Boudjenane
CAF Executive Director
Email: ed@caf.ca
Tel: 416-493-8635 x 23

Khaled Mouammar
CAF National President
Email: benwalid@rogers.com
Tel: 416-879-6766

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