News from ICLMG

Press release: Appointment of our new National Coordinator, Tim McSorley

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Ottawa – The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) is happy to announce the appointment of Tim McSorley as its new National Coordinator. Mr. McSorley was previously the National Coordinator for the Media Co-operative, and, most recently, coordinator for the Voices-Voix Coalition, defending the right to dissent and free expression in Canada.

In recent months, the ICLMG has advocated for Canadians detained abroad, pushed for stronger review mechanisms for our national security agencies and been very active in the federal government’s consultation on national security, among many other things.

“With his experience running a coalition, and his knowledge of national security issues and policies, Tim McSorley is well positioned to lead ICLMG’s efforts for our national security apparatus to respect the rule of law and the rights of Canadians,” said Dominique Peschard, the coalition’s Co-Chair.

The ICLMG, created in the aftermath of the September, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, is a national coalition that brings together some 43 NGOs, unions, professional associations, faith groups, environmental organizations, human rights and civil liberties advocates, as well as groups representing immigrant and refugee communities in Canada. In the context of the so-called ‘war on terror’, its mandate is to defend the rule of law and promote civil liberties and human rights set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, federal and provincial laws, and international human rights instruments.

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The ICLMG is happy to meet Khaled Al-Qazzaz in Canada

cvplwqlwgaafhjl-jpg-largeThe ICLMG was very happy to meet Khaled Al-Qazzaz on Tuesday, one month after he was finally able to come back to Canada. Khaled and his family suffered a 3-year ordeal: Khaled was imprisoned without charges in Egypt and put in solitary confinement, then released but he and his family were prevented from leaving the country for more than a year. In the photo, we can see some of the people who have fought for Khaled’s release and return, especially his wife Sarah and brother in law Ahmad who were relentless. Welcome back!

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. Any donations will go a long way to support our work.

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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Testimony of Paul Cavalluzzo, representing ICLMG, at the Public Safety Committee expert panel on national security

paul-cavalluzzo-jpg-size-custom-crop-1086x724This week, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Defence hosted consultations on the national security framework in parallel with the official governmental consultations. It traveled to 5 cities – Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax – to meet with expert witnesses and hear what Canadians had to say about national security. The ICLMG was invited to the expert witness panel and was represented by national security lawyer Paul Cavalluzzo. Here is his testimony:

Having been Commission Counsel to the Arar Inquiry and a Special Advocate for many years, I can attest to the fact that national security intelligence and police agencies make mistakes.  In Mr. Arar’s case, inaccurate information sent by the RCMP to the FBI and CIA was likely relied upon in sending him to Syria where he was tortured for one year.

Mr. Arar’s case is not an anomaly.  Many innocent Canadians have been caught up in the response of our government and national security agencies to the threat of terrorism.  Since these agencies deal in intelligence and not evidence, mistakes are inevitable.  Some describe intelligence as “glorified rumours”.  Moreover, when mistakes are made the agencies are not always forthcoming.  For example, the Federal Court of Canada has been very critical of CSIS’s lack of candour in warrant applications and security certificate proceedings.  As a result, these agencies must be subject to effective review and oversight.  Otherwise we jeopardize the very values which these national security agencies were established to protect.  The overarching objective of review and oversight mechanisms is to ensure that CSIS and other agencies engaged in national security investigations are accountable for their activities.

In a democratic system based upon the rule of law and the protection of fundamental freedoms, every public institution must be answerable for its conduct particularly agencies such as CSIS and the RCMP which have such intrusive powers which can profoundly affect the lives of individuals in Canada.

These powers must be limited in order to ensure that the values of a free and democratic society such as Canada are protected – values such as liberty, the rule of law, the principles of fundamental justice and respect for equality.

This is the context in which a national security investigation must be conducted.  A basic principle of our system is that any public agency must be answerable for acting outside the limits placed on their powers.  Effective review monitors these agencies in order to ensure that the rule of law prevails.

Terrorism is a threat …however the level of the threat must be kept  in perspective.  As our Supreme Court has stated “in the end it would be a pyrrhic victory if terrorism were defeated at the cost of sacrificing our commitment to the values that are fundamental to our democratic society”.

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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. Any donations will go a long way to support our work.

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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