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Canada Rejects Anti-Terror Laws 507

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the shot-down dept.
Coryoth writes "The Canadian parliament has voted against renewing anti-terror laws that had been introduced after September 11, 2001. The rejected laws included provisions to hold terror suspects indefinitely, and to compel witnesses to testify, and were in some sense Canada's version fo the Patriot Act. The laws were voted down in the face of claims from the minority Conservative government that the Liberal Party was soft on terror, and despite the fact that Canada has faced active terrorist cells in their own country. The anti-terror laws have never been used, and it was viewed that they are neither relevant, nor needed, in dealing with terrorist plots. Hopefully more countries will come to the same conclusion."
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Canada Rejects Anti-Terror Laws

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  • by the computer guy nex (916959) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @03:44PM (#18184938)
    This Canadian legislation gave new powers to the government that did not prior exist.

    The PATRIOT ACT (please use it in caps, as it is an acronym) simply applied certain powers the US Government already had to potential terrorists. It did not make sense for us to have more power against drug cartels than terrorist cells, which is the reason why PATRIOT ACT will not be completely voided anytime soon.
  • by wwwrench (464274) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @03:53PM (#18185040) Homepage
    Canada has faced active terrorist cells in their own country.

    Well, just to put this in context...

    The Mounties, scared the hell out of Canadians by announcing that these people acquired three tons of ammonium nitrate, and were quoted in their press conference as saying "To put this in context, the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people took one ton of ammonium nitrate."

    Only later did it come out that it was undercover Mounties who sold them fake ammonium nitrate, and even encouraged them to buy the stuff.
  • by Bullfish (858648) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @03:53PM (#18185054)
    The anti-terrorism act is still there. Just a portion of the laws are being allowed to expire. Frankly, I never saw the point of the laws in the first place. If there ever was a real terrorist issue, we have enough criminals laws to deal with them. That is what they are... criminals. Sometimes they are better armed and organized than the average bear, but they can also be three kooks with an ax to grind.

    If the threat was more widespread, we always have the emergencies act ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergencies_Act [wikipedia.org] ) which replaced the war measures act ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Measures_Act [wikipedia.org] ).
  • by AJWM (19027) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @03:58PM (#18185128) Homepage
    ... when you can invoke the War Measures Act [wikipedia.org]?

    That's how Canada dealt with (domestic) terrorists the last time. [wikipedia.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:07PM (#18185240)
    "This has absolutely nothing to do with moral objection, as many Liberal members broke rank from their party and actually voted *for* the bill."

    Many? I only counted one, MP Tom Wappel.
  • by Coryoth (254751) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:08PM (#18185252) Homepage Journal

    I mean, really - is anything in Canada a true target? My understanding that the "cells" in Canada were in place for attacks on targets in the US.

    The plan was to bomb major buildings in downtown Toronto, so yes there were significant targets, and yes they were Canadian targets. As to cells being in place to attack US targets - well that implies or assumes some sort of overall governing strategy which simply doesn't seem to be the case. The Canadian terrorist plot that was foiled was, much like the London bombings, a case of home grown terrorists who were simply "inspired by", but had absolutely no links to, Al Qaeda. The claim that there is some worldwide terrorist network that is out to get the US seems to be more a phantom created by certain US politicians than anything. The reality seems to be unconnected groups who, inspired by the publicity given to "global terrorism", decide that terrorism seems to be a way to take out their personal (and often local an homegrown) frustrations. There is no terrorist mastermind behind it all. And that's one of the reasons why local law enforcement is already sufficiently empowered to deal with such groups without any special provisions for "terrorists". We need to stop treating "terrorists" as anything significant and start treating them like the common criminals they are.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:10PM (#18185274)
    From the Wiki link you gave:

    "The War Measures Act (enacted in August 1914, replaced by the Emergencies Act in 1988)"

    So no, they can't invoke the War Measures Act.
  • The laws were used (Score:3, Informative)

    by flyingfsck (986395) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:14PM (#18185352)
    Some blokes were in jail for a long time without ever hearing why. It is through their court action that it got struck down.
  • by Eric Damron (553630) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:22PM (#18185466)
    The PATRIOT Act (Please don't upper case "act") did amend various laws but in doing so it also altered those laws giving the government powers that it never had before.

    Sectons 505 and 805 for example have already been struck down as unconstitutional. I expect more to follow.
  • Re:Hold the phone... (Score:5, Informative)

    by fishboy (81833) <pieter.blokker@ca> on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:24PM (#18185512) Homepage
    The five individuals you speak of have been held on security certificates, an aspect of Canadian law that was not part of the Anti-terrorism act that will sunset tomorrow. Certain aspects of those security certificates, however, were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme court of Canada last week in a 9-0 ruling, giving the government one year to come up with provisions for adequate defence for the accused and a means for the dealing of evidence that is deemed essential to national security.

    The anti-terrorism act was largely a means by which the government of the day dealt with the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, both to appease the public that something was being done about terrorism, but mostly to head off accusations from the Bush administration that Canada was soft on terrorism. They were never used because Canadian law already possessed draconian measures to detain suspects indefinitely without charge, the ability to try them without ever revealing the charges, and to use evidence that they and their lawyers are not allowed to see.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:27PM (#18185562)
    Don't get too excited, even after the supreme court struck down certain portions of the TERROR! bill, the conservative prime minister Stephen Harper said they would ignore the ruling..
     
     
    OTTAWA - Only days after the Supreme Court struck down parts of the security-certificate regime as unconstitutional, Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed to "sustain" the system used to detain non-citizens believed to pose a national-security threat.

    The Supreme Court ruled Friday that withholding evidence from individuals detained on security certificates violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
     
     

    What the fuck is the problem with these red-neck politicians from oil rich states & provinces?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:32PM (#18185628)
    I hate to say it but (pretty much) every American does not understand the nature of what happened ...

    This law was not voted down because of some greater principle, this was (mostly) a political action taken in order to make a party that is sinking in the polls (the Liberal party) look better. If the Liberal party was in power they would (probably, being that they created the law in the first place) have voted in favor of the law.
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:40PM (#18185772) Journal

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the US import most of its oil from Canada. Hitting Canada would have a dramatic effect on the US.
    The U.S. imports about 19% of its crude oil from Canada
    The next runner up is Saudi Arabia with 15.4%

    Honestly though, the oil market is so tight & unstable that serious disruptions in any large country's output would have a dramatic effect on the U.S. and the rest of the world.

    Consider that Canada's total (not just crude) oil production is ~64% of Iran's.
  • by jdevivre (923797) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:40PM (#18185782)

    Negative, the cell that was arrested intended to attack Toronto.
    For our globally-challenged American readers: Toronto does not have (many? [grouptourplanner.com]) sugar maple sugarbushes. Picture L.A. with a small fraction of the following: "marine layer", vanity, and racial tension (just the lingering reflection of the racist crap promoted by American entertainment and media). Lived in both. Same traffic. Less guns.

    In your face, PM Harper. Face it, you don't even look American...
  • by Yez70 (924200) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:48PM (#18185914)
    Here's an old list of Bush's resume: http://www.laughparty.com/view/id/945/ [laughparty.com]

    As for the specific Bush/Nazi connection:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,131254 0,00.html [guardian.co.uk]

    http://ecosyn.us/Bush-Hitler/ [ecosyn.us]
  • summary is wrong (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:52PM (#18185976)
    Summary says "The rejected laws included provisions to hold terror suspects indefinitely", but the article says "The measures allowed suspects to be detained without charge for three days", which is a huge difference. And that had to be personally approved by the Attorney General, and reviewed by a judge withing 24 hours.

    Plus the comment about it being used to detain 5 people is wrong - that was security certificates, which were not part of this act, and were struck down last week by the Supreme Court.
  • by donweel (304991) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:52PM (#18185982)
    Also don't forget it was the liberals who invoked the "War Measures Act" which invoked military law to deal with the FLQ a French Canadian Separatist group accused of kidnaping a british diplomat in the 70's. http://archives.cbc.ca/IDC-1-71-162-429-11/on_this _day/conflict_war/ [archives.cbc.ca]
  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @05:00PM (#18186116) Journal

    The PATRIOT ACT (please use it in caps, as it is an acronym) simply applied certain powers the US Government already had to potential terrorists. It did not make sense for us to have more power against drug cartels than terrorist cells, which is the reason why PATRIOT ACT will not be completely voided anytime soon.
    Umm, no. That's a line of propaganda you've taken hook, line, and sinker.

    The PATRIOT Act (FYI, 'Act' should not be in all caps, since it is not part of the acronym) removes restricitons on apprehension of suspected terrorists that remain for drug & RICO suspects. The PATRIOT Act is a wish-list from law-enforcement agencies (including unconstitutional provisions) that was rushed through on the pretext of preventing terrorism -- it's all the the things they wished they could do, but couldn't (even under RICO) prior to 9/11.
  • by fishboy (81833) <pieter.blokker@ca> on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @05:05PM (#18186198) Homepage

    Some blokes were in jail for a long time without ever hearing why. It is through their court action that it got struck down.
    That is a seperate issue, the five individuals of which you speak were being held on security certificates, which has nothing to do with the Anti-terrorism Act and its sunset clause. Certain aspects of those security certificates, however, were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme court of Canada last week in a 9-0 ruling, giving the government one year to come up with provisions for adequate defence for the accused and a means for the dealing of evidence that is deemed essential to national security.
  • by Jerry Rivers (881171) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @05:06PM (#18186208)
    Yes Canada did invoke the War Measures Act in 1970 to deal with a serious (and murderous) terrorist insurrection. Most Canadians outside of Quebec hardly noticed. It may have been akin to squashing a fly with a sledgehammer but it was nevertheless very effective and, dare I say, supported by the majority of Canadians (even those in Québec) who had little sympathy for what amounted to a relatively small band of self-serving pseudo-intellectual thugs who resorted to kidnapping and murder to try and strong-arm their way into power. The leader who invoked the Act is today seen as one of the greatest leaders the Country has ever known, even by those who still disagree with many of his economic and social policies. He was also the man who was the driving force behind the repatriation of the Constitution and its embedded Bill of Rights.
  • by Brickwall (985910) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @05:29PM (#18186534)
    The leader of the Liberal Party, Stephane Dion, has integrity and fights for what he believes in.

    Funniest comment ever. This guy was minister of the environment for four years, and didn't do a thing to curb carbon emissions. Now that he is in opposition, he's Mr. Greenjeans. He's a hypocrite and an opportunist; integrity is one thing he doesn't have.

  • by Froster (985053) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @05:31PM (#18186566)
    Also significant in the political context is that the Liberal Party is deeply divided by this issue. I am sad to say that it is also largely along linguistic and ethnic lines. Senior Liberals in English Canada such as former ministers like John Manley and Anne McLellan, as well as current members such as Bob Rae argue that this legislation was necessary, while a large number of French civil libertarian MPs as well as minority MPs representing ethnic communities argued against it. To resolve this imbalance, Dion used the sledgehammer of Liberal party discipline and invoked a 'three line whip' which basically means that Liberals voting with the gov't on this bill would be subject to harsh party discipline up to expulsion from caucus, expulsion from the party, or refusal of the leader (Dion) to sign nomination papers. This virtually means that any Liberal MP voting against this would basically be ending their career as a Liberal MP. Both the Liberals and the Conservatives played politics on this, and I dislike it about both of them, but for the Liberals to force their members to vote in this way is undemocratic in my opinion. They make a big stink about protecting civil liberties by striking down a law that passed constitutional review by the Supreme Court, and act in an undemocratic way to do this, violating other civil liberty principles.
  • by Idarubicin (579475) <allsquietNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @05:33PM (#18186596) Journal

    ... when you can invoke the War Measures Act?
    It's a good thing that they can't invoke the War Measures Act, then. It was replaced by the Emergencies Act [wikipedia.org] in 1988, no doubt in large part because the provisions of the War Measures Act would have been deemed unconstitutional under the Canadian Constitution (in particular, the terms of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms [wikipedia.org], adopted in 1982).

    The Emergencies Act is more circumscribed in the powers which it grants. Declaration of a 'state of emergency' is subject to a review and vote by Parliament. Uses of the Act's powers are subject to judicial review, under reasonably strict constitutional tests.

  • by ergo98 (9391) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @05:56PM (#18186916) Homepage Journal

    I mean, really - is anything in Canada a true target? My understanding that the "cells" in Canada were in place for attacks on targets in the US.

    We've been one of the most active forces in Afghanistan, and were there from the start. And if you believe that terrorists hate freedom/the West/women without veils, then we're obviously as much of a target as the US.

    Oh, and we're a member of the G7, a major resource exporter, and the only country that Osama explicitly threatened that hasn't seen related terrorist bombings.

    In other words, you're overwhelmingly ignorant on the real world.
  • by Joelfabulous (1045392) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @06:06PM (#18187066)
    Also, the formerly Canadian beer companies are now mostly owned by their (mostly) American counterparts...

    So "Molson Canadian" is an oxymoron now, I guess. I hate the marketing too...
  • by gobbo (567674) <wrewrite @ g m a i l.com> on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @07:53PM (#18188414) Journal
    Labatt's is owned by Interbrew, a Belgian transnational.

    The only Canadian beer these days is the regional mid-sized breweries (being scooped up like candy by the transnats) and the microbrews that are springing up everywhere.
  • by abigor (540274) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @08:11PM (#18188652)
    You are probably thinking of this: http://www.newsroom.ucla.edu/page.asp?RelNum=6664 [ucla.edu]

    If so, you are wrong.

    Key quote:

    "Only Fox News' "Special Report With Brit Hume" and The Washington Times scored right of the average U.S. voter.

    The most centrist outlet proved to be the "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer." CNN's "NewsNight With Aaron Brown" and ABC's "Good Morning America" were a close second and third."
  • Re:Allah Ackbar! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jerry Rivers (881171) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @08:53PM (#18189122)
    "...i am glad to see the nutty left are still well represented on slant.!"

    The "nutty left?" You call them that because they have a federally mandated universal health care system? Nevermind that the current minority federal government is Conservative, or that only two of the ten provinces have a socialist government, while four out of ten are Conservative and four are Liberal. I know that for some people anyone left of far right is consider a nutty far-leftist, but really Canada is a moderate country, not a socialist one.
  • by ArtDent (83554) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @09:07PM (#18189262)
    4 years? Try 19 months. July 2004 to February 2006.

    Not incidentally, that's just 6 months longer than the current Conservative government has been in power. How much progress do you think they will make by September?

    In his 19 months, Dion created a plan. The Conservatives cancelled it. What did you expect would happen?
  • by ragefan (267937) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @09:27PM (#18189456)
    Here is a list of Terrorist attacks within the United States or against Americans abroad [infoplease.com].

    I count only 4 attacks on U.S. soil before Sept. 11, 2001 since 1920, 2 (possibly 3) of which were by Americans citizens. The attacks outside of our country are much harder to prevent without going outside our jurisdiction.

    There were no attacks from 1995 (OK. City until 2001) and the indication is that the potential for the attack on 9/11 was known but ignored. Since that time the first world trade center bombing in 1993 all we get is reactive measures, and very little proactive measures to security. Only now when some detail comes out about a potential threat, everyone freaks out, and there is a larger knee-jerk reaction, and then everything goes back to the way it was 6 months ago. For example, after the attempt with shoe bomb, we had months of taking shoes off before boarding planes, then there was the "explosives" in water bottles, no carry-on containers.

    I think the problem is administration wants to be seen to do something, so does the things that affects us the most directly and therefore most visible, rather than the things that prevent then from happening.

  • by StikyPad (445176) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @11:58PM (#18190560) Homepage
    Here's the reference, but unfortunately it says "The first, second, and third most centrist outlets are respectively Newshour with Jim Lehrer, CNN's Newsnight with Aaron Brown, and ABC's Good Morning America. [ucla.edu]"

    It goes on to say, "The fourth and fifth most centrist outlets are the Drudge Report and Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume." Nonetheless, the scale was 0-100, with 100 being most liberal and 50.1 being centrist. Brit Hume's score was 39.7, making it clearly conservative.

    And finally, "Our method only measures the degree to which media is liberal or conservative, relative to Congress," ergo even FOX's most centrist show is more conservative than Congress.
  • by Skrynesaver (994435) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @06:48AM (#18192328) Homepage

    What kind of fucking crack are you smoking? The date system here is the exact same. The only people who choose DD/MM/YYYY are the French.

    We need an "-1 Uninformed insular idiot" mod. All European countries use the more rational DD/MM/[YY]YY format though the ISO YYYY-MM-DD is obviously the best, alphabetic sorting is equivalent to chronological and all that.

    The frankly bizarre [M]M/[D}D/[YY]YY format is a PITA to deal with.

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