News from ICLMG

NDP leadership candidates’ positions on national security and human rights

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This summer, we sent a questionnaire to the teams of the four New Democratic Party candidates in the federal leadership race. Our goal is to inform Canadians of the candidates’ positions on national security and human rights so they can make an informed decision if they vote in the NDP leadership race. To vote in the first round you must cast your vote online before 2 PM on October 1st. These answers will also be helpful for holding the new NDP leader accountable.

We have received answers from Niki Ashton and Charlie Angus. Here they are below. If we receive answers from Jagmeet Singh and Guy Caron, we will update the page. If you would like to know their national security positions, feel free to email their teams and request that they send us their answers to our questionnaire: info@jagmeetsingh.cainfo@guycaron.ca

Summary: We based our grading on how close the candidates’ positions were to ICLMG’s own positions. Charlie Angus’ and Niki Ashton’s answers were fairly similar. The main differences between their positions are to be found in their comments on the Terrorist Entities Listing (under the section on Bill C-59), Deradicalization, their overall perception of “war on terror” and their vision guiding the fight against terrorism.

Place your cursor on the X and wait for more comments to appear (if there are any).

NIKI ASHTON: A+

Questions

Yes

No

C-51 (ANTI-TERRORISM ACT, 2015)

Do you think Bill C-51 should be fully repealed? Why? X
BILL C-59 (AN ACT RESPECTING NATIONAL SECURITY MATTERS)
Are you in favor of the creation of the new National Security Review Agency? X  
Are you in favor of the creation of the new Intelligence Commissioner? X  
Are you in favor of the extension of CSE’s powers?   X
Are you in favour of the legalization of CSIS’s retention of Canadians’ metadata, even if it is unrelated to any criminal investigation?   X
Do the changes to SCISA and the definition of threats to national security go far enough?   X
Do you support the Terrorist Entities Listing?    X
What is your opinion on the use of peace bonds and preventative arrest for national security purposes?  See  comments
NO FLY LIST
 Are you in favour of abolishing the no-fly list?   
TORTURE
Do you think there should be a public inquiry into Canada’s transfer of Afghan detainees to Afghan authorities?  X  
SECURITY CERTIFICATES
Do you think the security certificate regime should be abolished?  X  
DERADICALIZATION
Do you agree with the government’s current plans on deradicatlization, including the creation of the Office of the Community Outreach and Counter-Radicalization Coordinator?    X
There are experts who have stated that deradicalization programs stigmatize Muslims further, and that it can create a chill on speech and activism considered “radical”. Do you agree? If you do, what would be your solution?  X  
NORTH AMERICAN SECURITY PERIMETER    
Do you support the Beyond the Border agreement and the integration of Canadian and US border security?   X
PRECLEARANCE AND PRIVACY AT THE BORDER
Do you support Bill C-23? Why?     X
Should border agents be allowed to search electronic devices and access social media accounts of people traveling to Canada?      X
MASS SURVEILLANCE AND METADATA
Do you support the mass collection of metadata?    X
Do you think mass government surveillance should be forbidden?  X  
CRIMINALIZATION OF DISSENT
Do you think more should be done to effectively protect freedom of expression and dissent in Canada from the impact of national security and anti-terrorism laws?   X  
ENCRYPTION
Do you believe individuals should have access to strong encryption?  X  
Should government agencies be granted special access through backdoors?     X
LAWFUL ACCESS
Do you support changes to lawful access rules that would compel companies to give a subscriber’s information or metadata to the government without a warrant?      X
Do you think that companies should be compelled to make their systems compatible with law enforcement’s interception tools?    X

What is your overall perception of the “war on terror”? 

The “war on terror” has been a moral, political, and humanitarian disaster. By supporting and participating in aggressive military endeavors, led by the US and NATO, we have contributed only to more death and devastation in the Middle East and elsewhere, without making any progress towards peace and security. It is time to radically reorient our foreign policy to be a force for peace in the world, in solidarity with the oppressed, and not an accessory of empire.

What is your general vision that would guide the fight against terrorism?

We have to recognize that military interventions have made the problem of terrorism worse, not better. For too long we have relied on the use of imperial power and violence to intervene in the affairs of countries overseas, causing significant harm to civilians and destroying the infrastructure of civil society. This has only increased the resentment and anger that fuels ideologies and organizations engaged in terroristic violence. We must move away from intervention and militarism, and focus our foreign policy on actions that can increase quality of life and goodwill: humanitarian assistance, support for refugees, and solidarity with oppressed groups.

CHARLIE ANGUS: A-

Questions

Yes

No

C-51 (ANTI-TERRORISM ACT, 2015)

Do you think Bill C-51 should be fully repealed? Why? X
BILL C-59 (AN ACT RESPECTING NATIONAL SECURITY MATTERS)
Are you in favor of the creation of the new National Security Review Agency? X  
Are you in favor of the creation of the new Intelligence Commissioner? X  
Are you in favor of the extension of CSE’s powers?   X
Are you in favour of the legalization of CSIS’s retention of Canadians’ metadata, even if it is unrelated to any criminal investigation?   X
Do the changes to SCISA and the definition of threats to national security go far enough?   X
Do you support the Terrorist Entities Listing?    X
What is your opinion on the use of peace bonds and preventative arrest for national security purposes?  See  comments
NO FLY LIST
 Are you in favour of abolishing the no-fly list?   
TORTURE
Do you think there should be a public inquiry into Canada’s transfer of Afghan detainees to Afghan authorities?  X  
SECURITY CERTIFICATES
Do you think the security certificate regime should be abolished?  X  
DERADICALIZATION
Do you agree with the government’s current plans on deradicatlization, including the creation of the Office of the Community Outreach and Counter-Radicalization Coordinator? See comments
There are experts who have stated that deradicalization programs stigmatize Muslims further, and that it can create a chill on speech and activism considered “radical”. Do you agree? If you do, what would be your solution? See above 
NORTH AMERICAN SECURITY PERIMETER
Do you support the Beyond the Border agreement and the integration of Canadian and US border security? X
PRECLEARANCE AND PRIVACY AT THE BORDER
Do you support Bill C-23? Why? X
Should border agents be allowed to search electronic devices and access social media accounts of people traveling to Canada?    X
MASS SURVEILLANCE AND METADATA
Do you support the mass collection of metadata?    X
Do you think mass government surveillance should be forbidden?  X  
CRIMINALIZATION OF DISSENT
Do you think more should be done to effectively protect freedom of expression and dissent in Canada from the impact of national security and anti-terrorism laws?   X  
ENCRYPTION
Do you believe individuals should have access to strong encryption? X  
Should government agencies be granted special access through backdoors?     X
LAWFUL ACCESS
Do you support changes to lawful access rules that would compel companies to give a subscriber’s information or metadata to the government without a warrant?      X
Do you think that companies should be compelled to make their systems compatible with law enforcement’s interception tools?    X

What is your overall perception of the “war on terror”? 

There are fundamental problems with Canada’s role in this open-ended conflict. Keeping citizens safe is the first job of any government, but we need an approach based on judicial oversight rather than executive discretion. Instead of cracking down on individual civil liberties and taking a broad-based, evidence-light approach to widening the scope of the intelligence and security agencies’ mandates, we needs to take a more holistic approach.

What is your general vision that would guide the fight against terrorism?

Canada should build bridges to different communities, take a proactive, independent policy in regions of conflict, limit radicalization by giving young people opportunities and hope for the future, and take a more proactive approach in defusing the rising phenomenon of right-wing paramilitary/militia organizations. We also face major challenges overall with cyber espionage, and are behind in protecting the data of Canadians and the government.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. Here at ICLMG, we are working very hard to protect and promote human rights and civil liberties in the context of the so-called “war on terror” in Canada. We do not receive any financial support from any federal, provincial or municipal governments or political parties.

You can become our patron on Patreon and get rewards in exchange for your support. You can give as little as $1/month (that’s only $12/year!) and you can unsubscribe at any time. Any donations will go a long way to support our work.panel-54141172-image-6fa93d06d6081076-320-320You can also make a one-time donation or donate monthly via Paypal by clicking on the button below. On the fence about giving? Check out our Achievements and Gains since we were created in 2002. Thank you for your generosity!
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New Ministerial Direction falls short on fulfilling goal of preventing the sharing, requesting or use of information tied to torture

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAZPAAAAJGQxNjE5NjEzLThmY2YtNGJmNS04ZDk5LTEyMWUxZjMwZTM1ZQOttawa – “Canada has made obligations under international agreements to in no way support torture, and has made public statements to that effect. This includes when it comes to information and intelligence linked to torture,” says Tim McSorley, the ICLMG’s national coordinator.

“The Liberal government has issued new directives on the collection, request and use of information tied to torture that, while they go further than previous rules, still do not meet those obligations,” he adds.

The ICLMG’s concerns include:

  • That the limit on the sharing and requesting of information is still set to whether there was a “substantial risk” of torture. This is the same threshold as previous directives, and remains too high a limit for rejecting certain kinds of information.
  • That even where a substantial risk of mistreatment is present, mitigating factors such as assurances and caveats can still allow for the sharing or requesting of information. There is no information on how those caveats and assurances are enforced once information is shared or requested.
  • That, regarding the use of information that was likely obtained through the mistreatment of an individual, the government only lays out three situations where this information cannot be used – leaving open other potential uses, such as initiating further investigations, developing profiles, or perhaps even placing them on the no-fly list.
  • That there is a lack of direction around the retention of information: For example, if information that was likely obtained through the mistreatment of an individual is provided to the government in an unsolicited manner, would that information be destroyed, or would it be retained for future potential use?
  • That, as in other reporting on national security issues, what will be shared publicly will not be enough to ensure true accountability and transparency in how information is shared, requested or used.
  • That information requested or shared by the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) is not covered by these directives.

The new directive does make some important changes:

  • The ICLMG welcomes the government’s more explicit wording in the directives regarding its opposition to the sharing, requesting or use of information that was likely obtained through the mistreatment of an individual (although policies must be amended to support that wording).
  • The ICLMG welcomes the elimination of “substantial damage or destruction of property” as an exception allowing the use of information that was likely obtained through the mistreatment of an individual.
  • The ICLMG welcomes the clearer responsibilities for the affected agencies to report on their use of this kind of information to the Minister and to the appropriate review bodies.
  • The ICLMG also appreciates the openness of the government in releasing these directives, allowing for public scrutiny, discussion and debate.

These improvements, though, do not account for what the ICLMG sees as the continued weaknesses in Canada’s policy on information sharing with foreign entities.

“We must be clear: so long as governments are willing to share, request or use information likely produced from mistreatment – even in exceptional circumstances – they are contributing to the value and propagation of this information on the international stage,” says McSorley.

As the government itself notes in the new directive, information obtained through the mistreatment of an individual – especially in instances of torture – is known for being unreliable.

The prohibition of torture is such a categorical and un-ambivalent principle that the only acceptable directives regarding the sharing, requesting or use of information is that it is guaranteed to not have been obtained through torture, or will not lead to torture.

On multiple occasions, the ICLMG has expressed its concerns to the Minister of Public Safety and the federal government, along with its willingness to discuss these directives. We believe that a direct consultation on these directives with the minister before their publication could have helped address some of these concerns, and we continue to offer to meet to help strengthen them in the future.

– 30 –

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. Here at ICLMG, we are working very hard to protect and promote human rights and civil liberties in the context of the so-called “war on terror” in Canada. We do not receive any financial support from any federal, provincial or municipal governments or political parties.

You can become our patron on Patreon and get rewards in exchange for your support. You can give as little as $1/month (that’s only $12/year!) and you can unsubscribe at any time. Any donations will go a long way to support our work.panel-54141172-image-6fa93d06d6081076-320-320You can also make a one-time donation or donate monthly via Paypal by clicking on the button below. On the fence about giving? Check out our Achievements and Gains since we were created in 2002. Thank you for your generosity!
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VIDEO: C-51 two years later: Will Bill C-59 restore human rights?

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UPDATE: Watch the video of the talk now

This panel is the first of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group’s National Security & Human Rights Speaker Series, sponsored by CUPE, the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

ICLMG will be hosting one panel per month for 5 months on an important and timely issue related to national security and human rights in Canada. Stay tuned for the next dates and topics!

Join us for our first panel: “C-51 two years later: Will Bill
C-59 restore human rights?”

When: Tuesday, September 26, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM

Where: 25OneCommunity, 251 Bank Street, 2nd floor, Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1X3

What: Micheal Vonn (BCCLA), Tamir Israel (CIPPIC, University of Ottawa) and Paul Champ (Champ and Associates) will be discussing the different aspects of the bill – oversight & review, information sharing, new powers for CSIS and CSE, the no-fly list – what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s ugly.

Our National Coordinator, Tim McSorley, will be moderating, and we will have a Q&A after each presentation. Le panel sera en anglais mais vous pourrez poser vos questions en français.

The event is FREE and open to everyone. We will be collecting donations in support of our work. RSVP on Facebook and invite your friends!

If you cannot attend, the event will also be livestreamed on our Facebook page: facebook.com/iclmg.csilcAnd you can support our work by giving at iclmg.ca/donate.

In the meantime, read and share our Open Letter to the Federal Government on C-59: New National Security Bill Fails to Reverse C-51 And Introduces Serious New Problems.

We hope to see you there!
______________
Who are our panelists?

Micheal Vonn is a lawyer and has been the Policy Director of the BCCLA since 2004. She has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia (UBC) where she has taught civil liberties and information ethics. She is a regular guest instructor for UBC in HIV/AIDS Care. She has been honoured for her work in HIV/AIDS with both an AccolAIDS Award and a Red Ribbon Award, and she is the recipient of the 2015 Keith Sacré Library Champion Award for support, guidance and assistance given to the BC library community. Ms. Vonn is a frequent speaker on a variety of civil liberties topics including privacy, national security, policing, surveillance and free speech. She is currently a collaborator on Big Data Surveillance, a multi-year research projected lead by Queens University. She is an Advisory Board Member of Ryerson University’s Centre for Free Expression and an Advisory Board Member of Privacy International.

Tamir Israel joined CIPPIC as staff lawyer after articling with the clinic. He conducts research and advocacy on various digital rights-related issues, with a focus on online privacy and anonymity, net neutrality, intellectual property, intermediary liability, electronic surveillance, spam, e-commerce, and Internet governance generally. His advocacy activities have taken him before the courts, various regulators, parliamentary committees, and international Internet governance fora. Prior to joining CIPPIC, Tamir received a J.D. from the University of Toronto and a B.A. from the University of British Columbia. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of Privacy International and lectures on Internet regulation matters at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Graduate & Post-doctoral Studies.

Paul Champ is a litigation lawyer with a focus on human rights, employment, labour, and public interest law. Paul has developed a practice in national security law and has acted as counsel in several important constitutional law cases dealing with fundamental human rights, including the settlement for Benamar Benatta, rendered to the US by Canadian officials and emprisoned for 5 years without charges, the case of Abdelrazik v. Minister of Foreign Affairs, in which the court ruled that Canadian government officials violated a Canadian citizen’s Charter rights by arranging for his unlawful detention by Sudanese authorites and refusing to provide a passport, and the case of Canada v. Khadr (2008), which found that Canadian government officials violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by interrogating a Canadian youth detained by U.S. in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. Here at ICLMG, we are working very hard to protect and promote human rights and civil liberties in the context of the so-called “war on terror” in Canada. We do not receive any financial support from any federal, provincial or municipal governments or political parties.

You can become our patron on Patreon and get rewards in exchange for your support. You can give as little as $1/month (that’s only $12/year!) and you can unsubscribe at any time. Any donations will go a long way to support our work.panel-54141172-image-6fa93d06d6081076-320-320You can also make a one-time donation or donate monthly via Paypal by clicking on the button below. On the fence about giving? Check out our Achievements and Gains since we were created in 2002. Thank you for your generosity!
make-a-donation-button

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