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ICLMG urges the Ministers of Justice and Foreign Affairs to act now for the return of Hassan Diab to Canada

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The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould
Minister of Justice
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada
K1A 0A6
Email: Jody.Wilson-Raybould@parl.gc.ca
Cc: The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Omar Alghabra, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Re: The case of Dr. Hassan Diab

Dear Minister Wilson-Raybould,

We are writing today to follow-up with you regarding the case of Canadian citizen and university professor Dr. Hassan Diab. We originally wrote to your office about Dr. Diab in April 2016, but did not receive a response. Since then, his case has grown even more concerning, and we would urge you to raise the issue with your French counterpart to ensure that Dr. Diab’s rights are protected.

Read the full letter

Sign the new petition

Watch the short documentary “Rubber Stamped: The Hassan Diab Story”

Join the Bring Hassan Home Campaign and visit the Justice for Hassan Diab website

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Tell your MP: “Vote against the weakening of national security oversight!”

Goodale & Chagger

UPDATE: MPs have voted in majority to limit the debate on C-22. The vote on the reporting stage – and thus the amendments proposed by the government – will take place tonight, Monday March 20th, around 7PM. We have updated this action so you can send a new message to your MP, urging them to reject the government’s proposed amendments to Bill C-22, which will weaken the oversight capabilities of the national security committee the bill proposes to create. Please send this new letter even if you already sent the previous one! Thank you!


On Monday, March 6, 2017, the federal government announced its amendments to Bill C-22, “An Act to establish the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.” These amendments would effectively cancel all amendments proposed by the Public Safety House Committee – despite the fact that Liberal MPs make up the majority of the committee – and revert the bill to its original, highly inadequate and worrisome text. Read our analysis of Bill C-22.

We are deeply concerned that the government’s amendments will leave the National Security Committee of Parliamentarians incapable of accomplishing its important oversight work. Please take 2 minutes of your time and send a letter to your Member of Parliament urging them to reject the amendments proposed by the government, strengthen C-22, reform our review mechanisms, and ensure transparency and accountability for Canada’s national security apparatus.

Thank you!

Copy and paste our sample message below into your own email, add your views, and send it to your MP! Make sure to include your name and postal code at the bottom of the message.

Find your MP and their email address here.

Dear Member of Parliament,

I am writing to you to express my great dismay over the federal government’s actions on Bill C-22, which would establish a National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. I encourage you to support the Public Safety Committee’s improvements to the bill, and to vote against the amendments being proposed by Minister Bardish Chagger.

The amendments that the government is proposing to the bill will seriously weaken the ability of the committee to carry out its work, and goes against the bipartisan solutions reached by the Public Safety Committee.

I also find it unacceptable that the government has moved to limit debate on such an important bill, especially considering that the Liberal MPs have strongly denounced such tactics when used by previous governments. The debate should have continued for as long as needed to reach a strong, bipartisan solution.

Like many Canadians, I believe that Canada’s national security agencies and policies must be accountable in their work and adhere to the values outlined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Key to ensuring this accountability is robust and in-depth oversight of Canada’s national security agencies and activities. The government’s announcement last summer of a Committee of Parliamentarians to oversee national security is a greatly welcomed step in that direction.

To accomplish its important work, however, members of this committee must have the power to investigate issues relevant to national security and have access to the information necessary to carrying out those investigations.

Minister Chagger’s proposed amendments to Bill C-22, though, would do the opposite, by giving Cabinet Ministers broad powers to limit what investigations can be carried out and limiting committee members’ access to important information needed to conduct their investigations.

Under these rules, how would Canadians have confidence that the committee will be able to fulfill its role?

The Minister’s amendments also don’t address the fact that the Prime Minister will have the power to vet committee reports before they are made public. This provision should be removed to ensure transparency. If not, the committee should at least be given the power to ask a judge to review the Prime Minister’s edits and settle any dispute on what should be made public.

More than a decade ago, the public found out about the tragedy of Maher Arar and other Canadians who faced torture and other abuses on the grounds of “national security.” At the time, a groundbreaking report from Justice Dennis O’Connor pointed out how we could improve transparency and accountability in national security. Since then, Canadians have been asking for parliamentary oversight as well as a strengthening of our national security review mechanisms.

Therefore, I ask you to vote against the government’s proposed amendments to the bill, push for the important proposals made by the Public Safety Committee to be integrated to Bill C-22, and to work towards the reform of our national security review mechanisms. Doing so will move Canada towards greater transparency and accountability.

Best regards,

Your name
Your postal code

 

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Don’t let the police steal Canada’s National Security Debate

A RCMP cruiser sits parked on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 28, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Matthew Usherwood

THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Matthew Usherwood

By Tim McSorley, National Coordinator, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group

When it comes to national security – rules governing everything from when you can be arrested to when the government can spy on your email – the RCMP feels that its voice and the voices of other law enforcement agencies aren’t being heard in the government’s public consultation on national security, which runs online until the end of this day, December 15.

« So far, [the debate] appears to be driven very much from one side, which is those that would like more privacy and more anonymity, » RCMP Chief Supt. Jeff Adam told the CBC and Toronto Star in November. The interview was part of a joint series on how police feel they are losing the tech race to criminals who they say are “going dark” behind encryption – a claim that has been heavily disputed, even by the Star’s editorial board.

While the RCMP feels its voice isn’t being heard, as soon as the online consultation was published, human rights and privacy organizations cried foul. They pointed to leading questions, hypothetical scenarios provided without evidence, and a questionable background document that all seemed to lay out an argument not only in support of the most problematic powers introduced in Bill C-51, but for bringing in concerning new police powers as well.

Could something so weighted towards police powers have truly excluded the police? As Vice Canada reporter Justin Ling has shown, it would appear law enforcement’s voice has been there all along.

A memo from last February shows that as far back as last winter, the RCMP was strategizing on getting new powers. In the memo, they lay out their plan for creating a “new public narrative” around national security, including four themes that weigh heavily on the framing of the national security consultation. As Ling explains it, they are:

  1. A lack of interception hardware on Canadian telecommunication networks,
  2. The use of encryption to protect communications,
  3. The deletion of user data by companies,
  4. And the inability to obtain users’ data hosted in some foreign countries.

Even a casual read of the consultation and supporting documents reveal how important these four perceived concerns are to the government.

So really, there was no need to have major media grant them a platform: police voices were already at the heart of the process.

So how can we make sure we swing the balance back?

Until the end of this day, December 15th, anyone can share their thoughts by filling out the online consultation, or by sending an email to ps.nsconsultation-consultationsn.sp@canada.ca.

Whether you want to call on the government to once and for all “kill Bill C-51” or want to dig into the nuances of how banks report suspicious financial transactions to the government, now is your chance!

At the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG), we think there are a lot of reasons to share your concerns, including:

  • Undoing new laws that threaten freedom of expression under the guise of limiting the promotion of terrorism
  • Protecting our right to privacy from new rules that give government agencies unprecedented power to share our private information between themselves and with foreign authorities
  • Preventing police and spy agencies from obtaining new powers that would violate our privacy, including obtaining Basic Subscribers Information (BSI) without a warrant, weakening encryption, intercepting a vast array of our communications, and forcing telecom companies into bulk data retention.
  • Bringing in a greater, integrated and independent review mechanism for all of Canada’s national security bodies. Right now only three out of twenty have independent review, and they are forced to work in silos, unable to examine the work of other agencies even when operations overlap.
  • Repealing the no-fly list which has proven ineffective and resulted in an untold number of false positives – including over 50 children.
  • Ensuring the government focuses on reducing all forms of violence and increasing equality for all communities, rather than further marginalizing Muslim, Arab and other racialized communities.

Many of the questions are technical and obscure, and not everyone is a national security expert. That’s why the ICLMG, along with several other groups, have put together guides to help decipher and answer the questions.

You can find our responses here: http://iclmg.ca/issues/our-answers-to-the-national-security-online-consultation/. Feel free to re-use and adapt them for your own answers.

The government has said it wants to hear from us. And the only way to make sure our voices are heard loud and clear is by sending in as many messages by the end of the day. Together, we can make sure to do away with invasive spying and the criminalization of dissent and put our laws to work protecting civil liberties and human rights.

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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