Ottawa’s efforts to deport terror suspects to resume this fall (http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/story.html?id=696f5ed7-3add-468d-9f6d-caafd1ab767b)
Canwest News Service, 29th August 2008
“All five of the country’s security certificate cases have been scheduled to go before Federal Court judges in November and December – although there is one legal hurdle yet to clear.
“The federal judges will be asked to determine the “reasonableness” of the security certificates ….
“..Special advocates were introduced in response to last year’s Supreme Court decision that struck down the previous system as unfair: the high court said the process denied defendants the fundamental right to meet the case against them.
“Special advocates will be able to test the classified evidence presented by government witnesses and make submissions, but they will not be able to communicate details of what they learn to the defendant without permission of the judge…
“…The government uses the secretive security certificate process to deport foreign-born terror suspects. Canadian citizens must be charged under the Criminal Code.”
Clearly, besides all the other problems with this, the danger is that these men could be innocent and could end up being deported back to their home countries where they could be tortured. If they are believed to be guilty, they should be charged with an offence and given a proper trial. If they are innocent, they should be let go or sent somewhere safe.
Why is the evidence secret? Why the secrecy? People will either assume these men are guilty or the government is covering up its mistakes. I just assume the latter. That’s what secrecy is for – so the government can get away with whatever injustice it wants to perpetrate. As long as there is a so-called “war on terror”, there is this dubious justification for secrecy. So everything is done in the dark, justice can be abused, and government agencies are shielded from public scrutiny – the same agencies who are supposed to serve us.
There is no accountability with these “special people” in government who are “protecting us” or God knows what they are doing. And I suppose many Canadians, strangely, defend this state of affairs about which they have no information and no input. I guess they identify with those who have the power to abuse.
Say I’m a typical Canadian citizen who feels uncomfortable with this situation. Would I vote for the Liberals who created it or the Conservatives who maintained it? I would want to talk to the candidates about it and I would assume that a Liberal or Conservative candidate supported it unless they stated otherwise. Does the NDP have a clear policy against it? If it did, what if I disagreed with the NDP candidate about too much else? This shows a flaw in having a system of representatives instead of direct democracy where citizens vote issue by issue. In the meantime I would hope for a real Libertarian candidate and talk to them about this issue, and related issues such as what happened to Maher Arar.
August 30th, 2008