CAIR-CAN called before Parliamentary Committee on Bill C-17 (Anti-Terror Legislation)Tuesday, December 14, 2010 7:02 pm
(Ottawa, Canada – December 15th, 2010) The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) appeared on December 13th, 2010 as an invited witness for a Parliamentary hearing on Bill C-17: An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (investigative hearing and recognizance with conditions). The hearing, which was well received by many of the Members, took place before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security on Parliament Hill. The proposed legislation would allow persons to be detained for up to three days without charge (“preventative arrest”) and would also compel individuals to testify before a judge in an “investigative hearing.”
Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee delivered CAIR-CAN's presentation to the Committee, which highlighted the central concerns of Canadian Muslims regarding C-17. He was joined by CAIR-CAN Board Member Khalid Elgazzar, LL.B.
As a national Muslim civil rights organization, CAIR-CAN raised a number of serious concerns with respect to Bill C-17. Chief amongst these was the affect the provisions may have on the human rights and civil liberties of Canadian Muslims.
CAIR-CAN notes that, apart from a singular and widely criticized misuse of an investigative hearing during the Air India trial, neither of the proposed provisions has ever been utilized by the authorities from the time they were introduced as amendments to the Criminal Code in 2001 to when they expired in early 2007 when MPs voted against extending them. The current powers of law enforcement have already allowed security agencies to pursue and successfully prosecute terrorism-related crimes.
“Bill C-17 would further erode fundamental Canadian civil liberties without providing any clear recourse for those unfairly targeted by the system,” said CAIR-CAN Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.
In light of the proposed re-introduction of the investigative hearing and preventive detention provisions, CAIR-CAN said special attention should be paid to the implementation of an independent and transparent oversight system for all Canadian security agencies as recommended by Justice Dennis O’Connor in his report from Arar Inquiry.
View the video or listen to the audio of the hearing here.
CAIR-CAN’s statement to the Committee will be posted to the CAIR-CAN website.
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