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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 jmagar.com (67146) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @03:52PM (#18185030) Homepage
    The sunset clause kicked in and it has rightfully expired. But what amazes, and impresses, me most is that a number of MPs chose not to vote. Abstained. Their reasoning [www.cbc.ca]: The provisions have not been used, and thus can be argued to be not needed. But the conflicting position is that since they were not used, they were not abused. The environment that existed to warrant the creation of these provisions has not gone away, and since we have not abused the provisions, then we should keep them... just in case.

    Both are sane positions, but I favor the one where civil rights are not taken away. A good day for all Canadians.

  • by twilight30 (84644) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:08PM (#18185260) Homepage
    Generally, I don't agree with Coyne, but, he is pretty sensible for a Conservative, and I respect his opinions. Today's Post column [andrewcoyne.com] brings up a good point:

    It is a sign of the oddly disembodied nature of the debate that most of the points advanced could have been made by either side -- could and were. The sunsetted provisions, it was pointed out, one allowing police to arrest suspects without warrant and hold them for up to 72 hours, the other empowering judges to compel evidence at special investigative hearings, have never been used. Ha, says one side, so they're unnecessary! Ho, says the other, so they've hardly been abused, have they?
    In our knee-jerk anti-Tory attitude we often forget that the Liberals were the ones who proposed -- and passed -- this legislation in the first place.

  • by mikelieman (35628) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:13PM (#18185336) Homepage
    If it's IMPORTANT it'll get renewed. If it's NOT IMPORTANT it'll just go away.

    I don't see a downside. Anyone?

  • by hooded_fang (964565) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:29PM (#18185590)
    Yeah the Liberals proposed and passed the legislation but it was never meant to last forever. Most people agreed that it was needed at the time but due to the haste in which it was made law it was obvious that it would need to be changed. I really dont dig the fear politics that Harper likes to use. What scares me is the possibility of losing my freedoms and rights so that a perceived security can be achieved. What security is that where most of the laws can actually be used detrimentally to the people they are trying to protect. Yes anti-terror measures need to be in effect but we have the time now to look at the original provisions and make the necessary changes. I dont think that noone has abused them in the past is a good reason for keeping them as is. Harper's been busy changing the system to politicize it (ie: police having influence on judges/how is that fair if the police have been abusing the citizens) and even though things may not have been abused in the past, this doesnt mean that they won't in the future. I live in a city that was recently branded as having the worst police in North America (yay another badge of pride for Vancouver) and it chills me to think that people like that should influence my rights. What happens if a power hungry cop takes out someone cause he can't control himself. It happened to a guy who happened to be walking by a police action during a riot in Vancouver a few years back. A police officer who was a bit too amped decided to broadside a guy in the mouth for being nowhere near the action. The guy lost his teeth and the cop got suspended without pay. If you give the cops an influence of the way the courts run then the cop stands the chance of having no punishment. I for one would rather relook our rules than slip further into a police state. If we just say "it's to punish terrorists" when will those rules be changed to come after other unworthies? After all its easier to be a conservative in a liberal society than a liberal in a conservative society.
  • by fishboy (81833) <pieter AT blokker DOT ca> on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:38PM (#18185744) Homepage
    The Liberal Party of the day enacted the legislation largely to appease the Bush administration during a time when no one was really sure of the extent of global terrorism. They also sought provisions that would ease the minds of the Canadian public. Wisely, the inserted a sunset clause that called for renewal every five years.

    Considering that the provisions have never been used, you can hardly fault the same Liberal party, five years, three prime ministers and two leaders later, for allowing the legislation to expire in a world where global terror events have actually fallen since 9/11. Also, bear in mind that the ruling Conservatives voted for the legislation, along with the other opposition parties at the time, passing it 190-47, hardly what I would call a 'divisive' piece of legislation.
  • by xnderxnder (626189) <dan.hindgrindr@com> on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:43PM (#18185834)
    In our knee-jerk anti-Tory attitude we often forget that the Liberals were the ones who proposed -- and passed -- this legislation in the first place.

    So what? It was also the Liberals who defined this legislation with a sunset clause - specifically because it was not envisioned to be needed forever.

    The correct "anti-Tory" tack to take here is that the Conservatives are so gung-ho for law and order that they're insane enough to strip Canadians of civil rights over trumped up fears.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:49PM (#18185938)

    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.


    That's how propaganda and falsehoods from government work. Publish, promote, and shout a huge lie. Retract it quietly later.

    People remember the lie, and don't even see the retraction. The government doesn't get held accountable for the lie because they retracted it (and due to the propaganda model [wikipedia.org]). We've seen it over and over again.

    That Brazilian "terrorist" who was killed by UK police in the tubes for running away while carrying a bomb? He wasn't a terrorist. He wasn't running. He didn't have a bomb.

    The "liquid bombing plot?" There wasn't an imminent threat. They didn't have a target. They didn't have the materials. They weren't even really in the planning stages for it. They were encouraged to do it by undercover operatives. By the way, the plan wouldn't have worked even if they had executed it perfectly (the *boom* wouldn't have been big enough). But we still aren't allowed to bring toothpaste onto airplanes.

    Your example is just one of many.
  • Looks to me... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:55PM (#18186028)

    ...like all the Canadian Slashdot readers got the mod points today. Anything even slighly mocking Canada is getting modded "Flamebait, Troll, Redundant, Offtopic" Yet anything attesting to the superiority of Canada is getting modded up.

    Seriously folks, the moderation system doesn't contain +1 Agree and -1 Disagree for a reason. Try not to use it as such.

    Heck, you might as well mod this as flamebait, too. I don't care. It's your mod point to waste.

  • by Loundry (4143) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @06:01PM (#18187006) Journal
    You either convert -- or die.

    The Koran tells Muslims to give the kufr three choices: submit to Islam, pay the jizya as a dhimmi, or fight. So you don't have to "convert or die." You can, alternatively, live as a oppressed citizen under Islamic law.
  • Mistake in Summary (Score:2, Interesting)

    by FriendOfBagu (770778) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @06:25PM (#18187318)

    The rejected laws included provisions to hold terror suspects indefinitely

    Actually, the law that was voted on only included provisions to hold terror suspects for 72 hours, not indefinitely.

    The law about holding suspects indefinitely which the article mentions (and the article is clear that it's a different law) was struck down by the Supreme Court last week [signonsandiego.com].

    The law that could hold a suspect indefinitely required a "security certificate" to be issued by the government, and it only applied to foreign suspects.

  • by Jehosephat2k (562701) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @08:42PM (#18188984)
    http://www.safetystate.com/ [safetystate.com]
  • by iocat (572367) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @08:52PM (#18189106) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, except the worst element of the PATRIOT Act is they can get librarians to say what books you checked out, without a warrant. The Canadian law allowed compelling witnesses to testify (banned under our fifth amendment) and indefinite detention (banned under some other amendments). The Canadian law was SIGNIFICANTLY more authortarian than the PATRIOT Act.

    Although I guess how much people freaked out about the PATRIOT Act, shows just how jealously Americans really do regard their freedom. (Although I suspect most of the people who rail against the PATRIOT act have never read it, and wouldn't have protested nearly as vigorously against it if a Democrat was in the White House.)

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @09:52PM (#18189640) Homepage
    Let's ignore the attacks on the USS Cole, and the bombing of the Embassy in Kenya and Tanzania, those don't count because they were under the Clinton Administration?

    No, they don't count because they didn't happen on U.S. soil. You'd have to be insane to claim that there are fewer terrorist attacks on U.S. interests abroad today.

    But the whole argument is that they'd be attacking us here if they weren't attacking us there. Clearly that isn't the case.

    The simple answer is to claim the lions rock idea, which does make sense, but you probably don't live next door to a zoo, do you? Statistically you can predict that we should have been attacked in the last six years if we took no precaution, so that means in all likely hood the DHS works.

    Statistically the last attack before 9/11 on U.S. soil was in 1993, so no you wouldn't necessarily expect there to have been an attack by now, and the lack of such an attack is completely inconclusive regarding the efficacy of DHS.

    So one day after 10 years of peaceful living, I think to myself, well I've never been murdered or robbed, why don't I get rid of my gun and security system? Joe finds this out. Do you think I'm going to be safe the next day?

    Well you were safe from Joe for the 10 years before you got the gun and security system, so yeah, I'd think it's safe to say that you overstated the threat of Joe, and really the gun and security system did nothing.

    But that's not really the case. Before, you weren't without a security system, it was just a modest and practical one. Then one day Joe broke in, actually walked in by posing as a repair man which is actually his job, and you got all paranoid and decided you needed a gun and a super invasive security system that checked the bodily orfices of everyone that came into your house. Even though none of the security systems you implemented would have prevented Joe's attack, you still maintain that it is necessary. All it does is piss of your family and guests, though.

    We fought terrorism before 9/11. We don't need USAPATRIOT or DHS to do it now.

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