Past actions

Free Khaled Al-Qazzaz campaign: Email your MP now!

On July 3, 2013, the Egyptian military forcibly and illegally detained Khaled Al-Qazzaz, a Canadian-educated mechanical engineer, human rights activist and former school principal. After his health deteriorated, he was released from prison on January 2015. His Toronto-born wife, Sarah Attia, and their four Canadian children traveled to Egypt in February 2015 to bring him back home and they have since been prevented from leaving the country by Egyptian authorities, without reason. Email your MP now to urge them to intervene so that Khaled and his family can come back to Canada – and share widely!

TAKE ACTION NOW

Read the whole story here.

Take Action: Fix Canada’s Broken Access to Information System

Coalition calls on parties to improve the public’s right to know

HALIFAX (Monday, 14 September 2015)—The undersigned organizations have issued a joint letter to the major political parties in Canada calling on them to make concrete commitments to reform Canada’s access to information system.

A strong access to information system is vital to maintaining a healthy democracy. The public has the right to obtain the information it needs to participate meaningfully in the democratic process, while also holding Canada’s public officials and Members of Parliaments accountable. The current system is failing Canadians.

“When the Access to Information Act was adopted over 30 years ago, Canada was a world leader on this important democratic right,” said Toby Mendel, Executive Director of the Centre for Law and Democracy. “But decades of stagnation have left us in a miserable 59th position globally, far behind countries like India, Mexico, South Africa and Slovenia.”

“Canadians are being left in the dark,” said Tom Henheffer, Executive Director of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. “We have a right to know in this country and it’s being undermined. Urgent access to information reform is needed to hold politicians and public institutions accountable, to keep the public informed and to ensure Canadian democracy continues to function.”

“It is long past time these changes were made,” said Vincent Gogolek, Executive Director of Freedom of Information and Privacy Association. “The black holes in the Access to Information Act have to be closed.”

Our country deserves an open and accountable government. Political parties must make a clear electoral promise to undertake a comprehensive process of consultation leading to reform of the Access to Information Act. They must also express specific support for the rapid adoption of the following four reforms following the election:

  1. Strengthen the Office of the Information Commissioner with a larger mandate and order-making power.
  2. Eliminate loopholes and blanket exclusions and minimize exceptions to the Access to Information Act.
  3. Expand the scope of the Act to include all public authorities and other bodies which perform a public function or receive significant public funding.
  4. Require public officials to document and preserve all records of their decision-making.

How can Canadians help reform Canada’s access to information system? 

  • Send an email to your representatives: using the following simple one-click platform, you can easily make your right to information a priority to federal party leaders and your local MPs and senators based on your postal code.
  • Share your views on social media: tweet at Secretary of the Treasury Board @TonyclementCPC, Liberal Open Government Critic @Scott_Simms and NDP Treasury Board Critic @MRavignat using #ATIreform and #cdnfoi to let them know that you want to see immediate reforms to Canada’s access to information system.

Signatories:

BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA)

Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ)

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE)

Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF)

Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD)

Centre for Social Justice

Evidence for Democracy

Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec (FPJQ)

Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA)

Greenpeace Canada

International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group

PEN Canada

Politics of Evidence Working Group

Newspapers Canada

OpenMedia

Right to Know Coalition of Nova Scotia

Voices-Voix

PM Trudeau: Call on the UAE to free Canadian citizen Salim Alaradi now!

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Salim Alaradi, a Canadian citizen and father of 5 young children, has been detained without charge in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since August 2014. We are also worried that he was tortured. His health is deteriorating quickly as his family has informed us this week. Write to Prime Minister Trudeau to urge him to call on the UAE to free Salim Alaradi now!

PM Trudeau: Call on the UAE to free Canadian citizen Salim Alaradi now!

The Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

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Please share widely! SVP partagez!

   

 

Background information:

On August 28, 2014 Salim was arrested without charge from a hotel during a family vacation.  His family was never told why he was arrested or where he was taken.  Family members immediately informed Canadian authorities.

On the same day, his brother Mohamad Alaradi was also arrested and detained.

The UAE authorities refused to provide information to the family.  The family did not publicly advocate in hopes of Salim’s immediate release, however, his whereabouts remained unknown for over four months until a call was received and details of his location were provided.

After 4 months his brother Mohamad was released. Reasons for arrest or release where never shared and are considered arbitrary. It is suspected that his release was due to international pressure and to reduce attention on those detained.

During this period, it became clear that Salim’s arrest was one of several arrests on residents who held Libyan nationality. At least ten Libyan men, some with dual nationality, were detained in the UAE between 13th of August and 3rd of September. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch quickly investigated and issued reports confirming that Salim’s detainment was considered enforced disappearance and arbitrary under international law.

Find more information and actions on the Free Salim Alaradi campaign website spearheaded by one of Salim’s daughter here.

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