February 22, 2013
CAIR-CAN Action Alert
 
Ask all Federal MPs to vote against Bill S-7 Combating Terrorism Act
(February 22, 2013) The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR.CAN), a national Muslim civil liberties organization, is calling on supporters and concerned Canadians to immediately contact their federal Members of Parliament asking them to vote against Bill S-7.
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Bill S-7, also known as the ‘Combating Terrorism Act’, would allow persons to be detained for up to three days without charge (“preventive arrest”); strip individuals of their basic rights as accused under criminal proceedings to know and challenge evidence against them; threaten them with criminal punishment; and compel individuals to testify in secret before a judge in an “investigative hearing”. Further, the judge may impose imprisonment of up to 12 months if the person is un-cooperative with such a hearing.

Read a joint press release by CAIR-CAN, BCCLA, CAUT, CCLA, ICLMG and La Ligue des droits et libertes here.

The Criminal Code, prior to the adoption of the Anti-Terrorism Act in 2001, was already an effective tool to counter terrorism. It allowed for lawful surveillance, evidence-gathering, prosecution, conviction and punishment while also upholding an individual‟s Charter rights to the presumption of innocence, due process and a fair and transparent trial. These so-called anti-terrorism provisions do not maintain these basic legal standards.

Renewing these provisions would normalize exceptional powers inconsistent with established democratic principles and threaten hard-won civil liberties.

TAKE ACTION NOW

We urge Canadians to reject these unnecessary encroachments on fundamental liberties and to call upon their elected representatives to do the same when this bill comes to a vote.

Find your Member of Parliament using your Postal Code.

NOTE: Please copy CAIR.CAN to: info@caircan.ca

SAMPLE TALKING POINTS FOR CALL


1. I am opposed to Bill S-7 and urge you as my Member of Parliament to vote against it.

2.The Criminal Code, prior to the adoption of the Anti-Terrorism Act in 2001, was already an effective tool to counter terrorism. It allowed for lawful surveillance, evidence-gathering, prosecution, conviction and punishment while also upholding an individual's Charter rights to the presumption of innocence, due process and a fair and transparent trial. These so-called anti-terrorism provisions do not maintain these basic legal standards.

3. Bill S-7 would allow persons to be detained for up to three days without charge ("preventive arrest"); strip individuals of their basic rights as accused under criminal proceedings to know and challenge evidence against them; threaten them with criminal punishment; and compel individuals to testify in secret before a judge in an "investigative hearing". Further, the judge may impose imprisonment of up to 12 months if the person refuses to testify.

4. The preventive arrest and investigative hearing laws, in effect from 2001 to 2007, were never once used for their intended purpose, and every major criminal terrorism-related incident in Canada since 2001 has been disrupted and prevented without the need for preventive detention or investigative hearings.

SAMPLE LETTER

Dear [Insert name of your MP],

I am writing to you today to express my opposition to Bill S-7 (Combating Terrorism Act), which aims to re-introduce the “preventative detention” and “investigative hearings” provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act adopted in a rush and in a climate of fear in December 2001. These two controversial provisions were subject to a 5-year sunset clause and expired in February 2006 when Parliament wisely voted against their renewal.

I urge you to vote against Bill S-7 for the following reasons:

•   Every major criminal terrorism-related incident in Canada since 2001 has been disrupted and prevented without the need for preventive detention or investigative hearings. The provisions relying on arbitrary powers and a low threshold of evidence cannot be allowed to replace good police work. They add no value to our law or to law investigation and enforcement.

•   The provisions of Bill S-7 have the potential to become instruments to deny due process. Under these provisions, individuals could be forced to testify in a court of law, arrested, detained or made subject to bail conditions – all without charges being laid. Individuals would have no right to know, and no opportunity to challenge, the bases on which they are being subjected to preventive arrest or required to attend investigate hearings.

•   Re-introducing these provisions would normalize exceptional powers inconsistent with established democratic principles and threaten hard-won civil liberties.

I urge you to reject these unnecessary encroachments on fundamental liberties and to vote against Bill S-7.

Sincerely,

Name
City, Province

CAIR-CAN is a national, non-profit, grassroots organization striving to be a leading
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