Tories seek to renew anti-terrorism powers

Law would restore 9/11-era abilities of police to arrest without charge, judges to compel testimony


Colin Freeze

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

Canada’s Conservative government wants to renew police powers intended to thwart terrorists in ticking-time-bomb scenarios.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announced Friday that his party would seek to pass a Combatting Terrorism Act that would revive some urgent powers. In dire cases, police could temporarily hold terrorism suspects without charge, and judges could compel testimony from individuals who may know about attacks, past or planned.

These emergency powers existed in Canada for several years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, but were never used. Parliament voted to repeal them in 2007, against the minority Conservatives’ wishes.

It’s unclear whether the Tories could pass the new act before the next election. Similar attempts at revival have died before.

The terrorism law plays to the Conservatives’ law-and-order base and puts the Liberals in a difficult position.

The Liberals actually passed the Anti-Terrorism Act in 2001, but wrote in a “sunset clause” as a concession to civil liberties. This meant the most invasive powers – preventive arrest and compelled testimony – required renewal by Parliament.

In 2007, the Stéphane Dion Liberals, then in opposition, joined other parties in voting down those powers.

Current Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff might have more trouble portraying himself as a champion of civil liberties. While an academic at Harvard, he wrote hawkish essays on fighting terrorism, including some about aggressive interrogations.

Mark Holland, the Liberal public-safety critic, said he was “encouraged” to see that some of his party’s recommended checks and balances were incorporated in the latest version of the bill.

“There’s still concern about making sure the right balance is found,” he said in an interview. The party will take no final stand until the bill has been examined, he added.





Commentary by the Ottawa Mens


Why have such draconian legislation?

The conservatives are ignoring any resemblance to what is called "legal reasoning", the balancing of the deprivation of rights for the overall protection of society.

The only problem is that this proposed legislation is very obviously flawed. It threatens the rights of anyone who might offend a local official such as a chief of police addicted to power.

Its already used in family court with "Power Orders and Sheffield Orders" draconian court orders where a litigant has all their rights removed, even the right to a trial on a criminal charge and they can already be thrown in jail repeatedly indefinitely.

So, who has these kind of powers? Ontario Superior Court Judges, So who abuses these powers? Its the "Underbelly of the Judiciary".

Take "Chucky" Hackland, none other than the Regional Senior Ontario Superior Court Judge in Ottawa. He signed orders sending Peter Roscoe off to jail without a trial, removing all his rights.

Justice Denis Power struck Roscoe's pleadings, and that order was partially overturned by the Court of Appeal.

Then there is the "worst of the worst" , the name given to Justice Allan Sheffield, who makes orders for indefinite restraining orders, and orders for child support based on no more evidence than a request for an order. These orders are virtually unappealable and are guaranteed to send a father to jail indefinitely for life.

His only recourse is to leave the country or commit suicide which was the course taken by Darrin White.

The Rule of Law and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada is a sick joke.

Men have no rights. Despite many women now out earning men, it is unheard of fora man to receive spousal support from a woman.