‘Draconian’ anti-terrorism laws not needed – No more powers

From CBC News Sept 7, 2011, “‘Draconian’ anti-terrorism laws not needed, opposition says

“Prime Minister Stephen Harper must explain why “draconian” anti-terrorism measures that were scrapped in 2007 are once again necessary, opposition MPs said Wednesday.

“The prime minister has to explain to us why, if these measures are so important and so necessary, they were not in place for four years. Is the prime minister saying that for the last four, five years, we’ve been at risk? At greater risk because the measures have not been in place? I think he has to answer that question,” interim Liberal leader Bob Rae said.

Rae was reacting to Harper’s disclosure in an interview with CBC chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge that his Conservative government plans to bring back two controversial clauses of anti-terrorism legislation that were sunset in 2007.”

From Ottawa Citizen, Sept 8, 2011, “No more powers

“In the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, there have been too many instances of security trumping rights even in democratic countries – most notably the use of torture, the establishment of a quasi-permanent detention camp at Guantanamo Bay and the practice of extraordinary rendition. Canada’s hands have not been clean; the stories of Maher Arar, Abousfian Abdelrazik and Omar Khadr – among others – show that the price of freedom is indeed eternal vigilance.

At the same time, there have been real terrorist threats to this country from within and without. And it’s worth noting other democracies allow for preventive detention, some for much longer than 72 hours. But during the years that preventive detention was available in Canada – between 2001 and 2007 – it was never used. That contradicts Harper’s argument the expired anti-terrorist measures were “useful” and “necessary.”

The actions of police at the G20 summit in Toronto last year, when more than 900 people were arrested during a single weekend, showed that even in a well-governed and free country such as Canada, we can never simply trust that authorities will use extraordinary powers appropriately. In the last few years, police forces have not demonstrated that Canadians should entrust them with more power; if anything, they have eroded confidence in their judgment.”

From Vancouver Sun, Sept 8, 2011, “PM Harper slammed for plans to bring back sweeping anti-terror laws

“Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae said Harper is putting too much focus on Islamic extremists without noting that there are terrorists from other backgrounds.

“We don’t have to single out just one,” Rae told reporters Wednesday.

“I think if you look at the outbursts of extremism around the world, I don’t think that you can limit it to just one religion, or ideology or form of nationalism.”

And he said Harper should prove his case for why contentious measures — preventive arrests and investigative hearings — should be re-instituted.

“Is the prime minister saying that for the last four or five years we have been at risk, at greater risk, because the measures have not been in place? I think he has to answer that question.”

NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar said the upcoming 10th anniversary of 9/11 should be a “time for reflection” on how to build a “more inclusive society to end extremism.”

“Let’s all guard against the knee-jerk demonizing and overheated rhetoric,” said Dewar. “Unfortunately, Mr. Harper continues to use divisive language for political purposes.”

Dewar said the prime minister’s plan to reintroduce the “draconian” anti-terrorist measures aren’t backed up by the facts.

“The government has produced no evidence to justify this move. Security is obviously important to Canadians, and we can make Canada secure without resorting to measures like these.””

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