Saturday, January 26, 2008

Coverage of Sudbury Action Against Bill C-3

The following article appeared in The Sudbury Star online edition about yesterday's action to demand that Liberal MP Diane Marleau vote against renewing so-called 'national security certificates' via Bill C-3. I haven't actually seen the print edition yet, so I'm not sure if it is in there or not. There was also rumour of a short video clip on the Star site, but I have been unable to find it.

Anyway, here's the article:

Marleau urged to reject security measure
Posted By Laura Stradiotto

Members and supporters of Sudbury Against War and Occupation are pressuring Sudbury MP Diane Marleau to vote against a bill they say is discriminatory.

One year ago, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and gave the federal government a year to revise the law.

Bill C-3 is about to go into its third reading and the activist group assembled outside Marleau's office Friday to ensure she takes a stand against it.

The bill re-introduces the security certificate process and gives the government authority to detain and/or deport terrorism suspects based on secret evidence.

"Even with the amendment, the basic features that make it unjust are still present," said Scott Neigh, SAWO member.

"It's still two-tier justice because the process still only applies to non-citizens. It's still a secret process, there's still secret trials where the accused never gets to know what charges might be brought against them, they don't get to know the evidence."

Bill C-3 gives the accused the chance to select a special advocate, or lawyer, to represent him. The advocate, although independent of the government, is appointed by a judge.

Neigh said that's inadequate because the amendment still doesn't ensure the accused gets access to a fair process. The accused could still end up being indefinitely detained or deported and never get the opportunity to defend himself.

The whole security certificate process should be abolished, said Neigh. Non citizens deemed as potential threats to national security should have access to the same justice system as Canadian citizens, he said.

"The government already has more than adequate powers under the regular Criminal Code to deal with related issues," he said.

"We've seen around the world that the best progress has been made in cases related to terror with ordinary police work. It's not these extraordinary powers that legislation like Bill C-3 gives the government."

In a written statement, Marleau said she has not made a decision yet.

"I will take the time to study the new bill and expect it to be based on the recommendations of the Supreme Court and House and Senate committees," Marleau said in the press release.

"While we, in the Liberal Party, would not have drafted this bill precisely this way, the primary concern must be the determination of whether the bill will address those flaws in the process identified by the Supreme Court."

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