Security reform should protect our freedom

By Alex Neve, John Packer, Roch Tassé, Ottawa Citizen, 29 October 2014

(...) In the wake of last week’s attack in Ottawa the government is rolling out proposed changes to Canada’s security laws and practices. We don’t yet know the full extent.

On Wednesday, a remarkable group of judges, lawyers, journalists, activists, former diplomats, academics and community leaders came together in Ottawa. We were joined by individuals whose lives have been turned upside down by human rights violations associated with national security investigations, charges, arrest and imprisonment.

The conference marked the decade since the ground-breaking judicial inquiry into the shocking treatment of Canadian citizen Maher Arar was established in 2004. That inquiry found that Canadian actions, negligence and dysfunction had set Maher Arar up for grave human rights violations, including torture, in Syria. (...)

What came through loud and clear at yesterday’s conference, though, was that strong findings, important recommendations and precedent-setting rulings from judges have been matched by almost equal failure of government to comply and implement. (...)

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Photo: Ottawa Citizen

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