CAF News Release: Joint statement on the new Security Legislation

Canadian Arab Federation

La Fédération Canado-Arabe




November 8, 2007

Joint statement on the new Security Legislation

A broad alliance of human rights, civil society and community organizations are calling on Parliamentarians to reject the new legislation that re-instates the use of the security certificate and allows “special advocates” to speak on behalf of the detainee.

The Supreme Court in February struck down the security certificate in Charkaoui v. Canada but the government hopes that the addition of the special advocate measure will allow the security certificate to remain a legal practice in the eyes of the Supreme Court although this law (minus the special advocate clause) is nearly identical to the previous, unconstitutional one.

The emergence of these provisions ensure that law enforcement and security agencies will be given extraordinary powers to detain and question individual suspects accused of terror activities without due process. Furthermore, the suspects have no means to defend themselves as they are forbidden to see the evidence, if any, against them, thereby further eroding the principles of the legal system.

This legislation also does not address human rights concerns and violations and does not even attempt to limit the powers of our policing bodies. The Conservative government does not even appear interested to relate our legitimate concerns regarding the egregious nature of the bill.

Canada is well on its way to creating a two-tier justice system – one for non-citizens and one for citizens. The implication that non-citizens pose a serious threat to Canada underlies this piece of legislation; it is a part of immigration policies and not part of the Criminal Code. If a citizen were detained under a security certificate, one may be assured of the public outcry resulting from several violations of the Charter.

We want to remind the Harper government that the re-introduction of the security certificate measure indicates a contempt for organizations in Canada which are opposed to this bill and represents a categorical and outright departure from the legal values of this country because it:

1) threatens fundamental civil and human rights guaranteed by the Constitution;

2) erodes the role of judges in our legal system;

3) discriminates against non-citizens from racialized communities;

4) gives augmented and unnecessary powers to law-enforcement personnel who have made grievous errors in the past;

5) constructs two separate, unequal justice systems for non-citizens and citizens;

5) betrays the lawyer-client privilege contained within our Charter;

6) is absolutely unnecessary to keep Canadians safe.

This coalition of organizations supports the rejection of the bill and a return to legislation which takes into account Canada’s history as a fair and just nation. We believe that this bill and the Anti-Terrorism laws in this country do nothing to quell the threat of terrorism and instead impose threats to human rights and the rule of law. A strong commitment to safeguard human rights and the freedoms allowed by our Constitution will be a much more secure and sound means to keep those living in Canada safe from terror and rights abuses by the state. We do not want and should not have to live in fear from the state and each other.

The coalition consists of the following groups:

Adala – Canadian Arab Justice Committee, Vancouver

Al-Huda Lebanese Muslim Society

Al-Nahda Social and Cultural Club

Albilad Newspaper, London

Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians

Bayan Centre, Progressive Iranian Canadian Muslims

BC Southern Interior Peace Coalition, Grand Forks, BC

Brampton Coalition for Peace and Justice

Canadian Arab Society of London, Ontario

Canada Palestine Association, Vancouver

Canada Palestine Support Network, Ottawa

Canadian Islamic Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Palestinian Foundation of Quebec

Canadian Peace Alliance

Chinese Canadian National Council

Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid

Coalition of Arab Canadian Professionals and Community Associations, Ottawa

Communist Party of Canada

Council of Canadians

Council on American-Islamic Relations Canada (CAIR-CAN)

Creative Response

CUPE Local 2191

CUPE Ontario

Forum Musulman Canadien – Canadian Muslim Forum (FMC-CMF)

Gerald and Maas, editions, Ottawa

Hamilton Council of Canadian Arabs

International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group

Islamic Ahlul Bayt Assembly of Canada

Islamic Society of York Region

Jewish Women’s Committee to End the Occupation

Justice For Adil

Justice for Mohamed Harkat Committee

Lawyers Against the War

Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic

Moroccan Association of Toronto

Muslim Council of Montreal

Muslim Lawyers Association

Muslim Unity Group

National Anti-Racism Council of Canada

Niagara Coalition for Peace, St Catharines

Niagara Palestinian Association, St Catharines

Not In Our Name (NION): Jewish Voices Against Israel’s Wars

Ontario Federation of Labour

Palestine House, Mississauga

Palestinian and Jewish Unity, Montreal

Parole Arabe, Montreal

Peaceworks, Midland

Red Latinoamericano de Investigadores por la democracia y la paz, Sinaloa, Mexico

Salaheddin Islamic Centre

Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, Carleton University

Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, McMaster University

Somali Canadian Diaspora Alliance

Somali Canadian National Congress

TARIC Islamic Centre, Toronto

The Muslim Services, Toronto

United Steelworkers of America District 6

Voice of Palestine, Vancouver


For more information, please contact:

Mohamed Boudjenane

CAF Executive Director

416-493-8635 x 23

Khaled Mouammar

CAF National President


Established in 1967, the Canadian Arab Federation is a national, non-partisan, non profit and membership-based organization. CAF represents Canadian Arabs on issues relating to public policy.


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