In the Shadow of the Law

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The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) appreciates this opportunity to respond to the first annual report on the application of Bill C-36, the Anti- Terrorism Act. The ICLMG has a broad and diverse membership that brings together international development and humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs), church groups, unions, environmental, human and civil rights advocates, other faith groups and associations representing immigrant and refugee communities in Canada (a complete list of members appears in Appendix 1). Members of the ICLMG have come together out of a shared concern in protecting individual freedoms, democratic values and civil liberties in Canada …

The events following September 2001 have made some people think that weakening legal safeguards and trampling on human rights will make us safer. In fact, though, we are made safer by laws and processes that guarantee respect for everyone’s rights.

We deplore the fact that many within Canada’s policy elite bow to persistent U.S. pressure – direct and indirect - to bring our laws and practices into conformity with theirs. Many Americans also consider that their essential liberties and constitutional guarantees are being threatened…

We believe that Parliament and the government of Canada must reassert a commitment to the essential rights and protections of Canadians as embodied in Canada’s Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms. All proposed legislation dealing with security and concerns like international terrorism must be tested in the light of these prior and fundamental claims.

Finally, we reiterate our call for the immediate restitution of due process in all judicial procedures and for the creation of a Parliamentary mechanism to examine and to oversee the combined effect of all the legislation and other measures (present and future) that form part of Canada’s anti-terrorism agenda.

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