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Thursday, March 01, 2007

The sound of freedom and rights...

As Lindsay noted in his comment on my last post, some reversals of rights-infringing laws have taken place recently in Canada. These are laws put in place in the name of security, but which human rights groups, civil rights organizations and level-headed citizens believe go too far. We're not talking a blatant Guantanamo Bay or extraordinary rendition (kidnapping and secretly flying people to hidden jails), but every infringement is a risk to a free society.

Last week, our Supreme Court determined that Security Certificates went against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and gave the government a year to re-write the law. These certificates, once issued against a foreign national or permanent resident, lead to detention without charge, a secret hearing without witnesses or a requirement to reveal evidence...and then lead indefinite detention or deportation without notice...including to countries known to torture. There are currently 5 men detained under these. The government will now have to find a balance, where at minimum, the detained with have counsel and the counsel will be security-cleared to see the evidence and act on thedetainee's behalf. Amnesty worked very hard with others on this and my good friend Michael Bossin (hi Michael) presented our oral case before the Supreme Court (pro-bono I might add). He's a eloquent devil, that Michael!

Other good news. A federal judge in Canada ruled on another case saying that under no circumstances should Canada deport any person to known or likely torture.

And as Lindsay pointed out, our government motion was defeated this week in extended some element of the Ant-Terrorism criminal law (call it preventative detention powers for the police, in simple terms).

Now if we can get some charges going in Canada for complicity in aiding the US kidnapping-flights in Canadian airspace (and landing), it will be a very nice roll we're on. Germany and Italy have already beat us on this one - charging national and U.S. citizens with crimes.

Two steps forward - one step back... humanity's approach to progress - if we're vigilant.

And I'm proud of our Court - see their smiling faces above.

Get American to even look like it knows it made a mistake is very difficult. Perhaps if Canada leads the way, we'll think we can save face.
Wow, they look so festive (I mean, think about our Court in the somber black robes). They remind me of Christmas!
For more material on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms I encourage you and your readers to visit www.charterofrights.ca -- an unbiased, plain language, and interactive look at the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It also contains relevant case law and precedents. The website is available in English, French, Chinese (traditional), German, and Italian with 6 more languages planned.
Octavian, I think the current US adminstration is afraid of opening the legal floodgates by admitting a single thing - it's not just arrogance, it's big bucks in lawsuits and possibley jail time.

Jublu - yes, aren't our Canadian judges cute? Chief Justice is the woman front centre.

Thanks for the tip Grenwolde (and for visiting).
Hello, Gary.
This is great news. It made me feel better just reading it.
Thank you for your efforts.

I was reading a few days ago about how a backlash effect tends to be rather generalized and broad-sweeping. Let's hope that this is the case with the current gung-ho restriction of liberties in the name of security going on.

Just thinking that cattle rustling is still a problem in some places. We can't afford to wait until the very last potential terrorist is dealt with effectively to return our society to a semblance of decency (presuming we had some semblance of decency before).
At one point, we all agreed that lynching was not equivalent to distribution of justice. Hmmmm.... Just thinking (ie, rambling)....

Again, thanks.
Hi Gary
Great posting and news. I have posted “Fear now rules our centre stage” about the untenable position in Aussieland.
I have also included link in my article to yours. Best wishes

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