Author Archives: ICLMG CSILC

Bill C-59, the National Security Act, 2017, is now law. Parliamentarians have failed to protect Canadians’ rights and freedoms.

Ottawa, ON – On June 18, the Senate adopted Bill C-59, the National Security Act, 2017, and it has received royal assent on June 21st. Canadian parliamentarians missed important opportunities to protect fundamental rights and freedoms in Canada and internationally by failing to bring necessary amendments to the Act.

Once again, Canadian lawmakers have failed to act to ensure that national security laws do not come at the cost of privacy, free expression, due process and government transparency,” said Tim McSorley, national coordinator of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG). “Parliamentarians missed an opportunity to defend the rights of people in Canada today.”

The Liberal government has touted Bill C-59 as being a “fix” for the previous government’s controversial Bill C-51 (the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015). But while it brings some important improvements, Bill C-59:

  • Continues to allow CSIS to engage in secret and dangerous threat disruption powers;
  • Maintains the secretive No Fly List, which violates due process and has never been proven to be effective;
  • Preserves overly-broad information sharing rules that infringe on privacy and free expression;
  • Improves on review of national security activities by creating the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency, but falls far short by transferring the weakest aspects of current national security review bodies to the new agency;
  • Grants sweeping new surveillance powers to both the CSE and CSIS, including the collection of metadata, vaguely defined “publicly available information,” and the incredibly broad category of “unselected information” (which essentially means any information);
  • Introduces new powers to give CSIS agents or designated individuals immunity for committing crimes in the line of their work;
  • Fails to prohibit the use and sharing, in all circumstances, of information linked to mistreatment and torture;
  • Allows the CSE to engage in broad and powerful new “active cyber operations” with little oversight, creating the risk of retaliation as well as attacks from leaked new cyber-weapons.

On May 30th, Senators had sent the bill back to the House of Commons with four amendments. The government had since proposed to only accept two of the four amendments, and the House voted in favour of that proposal last week.

The amendments accepted include one to start the review of the National Security Act, 2017 after 3 years instead of 5 years, with the report being tabled in 4 years, instead of 6, as well as one to add a schedule to the Avoiding Complicity in Foreign Mistreatment Act that would list any head of department who has been given a ministerial direction regarding the use or sharing of information that could lead to, or is derived from, torture or mistreatment.

Although we welcome these amendments, they are highly insufficient and do not fix the numerous issues with Bill C-59. Numerous calls from leading civil liberties and human rights groups, and thousands of letters from the public urging further changes to the bill have been ignored.

The national security field is an opaque one, and staying informed of all the negative consequences of this bill will be difficult. Despite this challenge, the ICLMG will be monitoring the implementation of the act, and continuing its work of protecting civil liberties and human rights against the impacts of national security legislation in Canada.

Read our more detailed recommendations and our full brief to the Senate.

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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. 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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Senators fail to protect civil liberties by adopting Bill C-59 without crucial amendments

OTTAWA, ON, May 30, 2019 — Canadian senators missed an important opportunity to protect fundamental rights and freedoms in Canada and internationally by failing to bring necessary amendments to the National Security Act, 2017 (Bill C-59) before sending the bill back to the House of Commons.

Senators adopted Bill C-59 at third reading today, without any further amendments than the minor changes adopted at committee earlier in May. This move ignored calls from leading civil liberties and human rights groups, and hundreds of letters from the public to bring further changes to the bill.

“Once again, Canadian lawmakers have failed to act to ensure that national security laws do not come at the cost of privacy, free expression, due process and government transparency,” said Tim McSorley, national coordinator of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group. “Senators missed an opportunity to defend the rights of people in Canada today.”

The Liberal government has touted Bill C-59 as being a “fix” for the previous government’s controversial Bill C-51 (the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015). But while it brings some important improvements, Bill C-59:

  • Continues to allow CSIS to engage in secret and dangerous threat disruption powers;
  • Maintains the secretive No Fly List, which violates due process and has never been proven to be effective;
  • Preserves overly-broad information sharing rules that infringe on privacy and free expression;
  • Transfers the weaker aspects of current national security review bodies to the new National Security and Intelligence Review Agency;
  • Grants sweeping new surveillance powers to both the CSE and CSIS, including the collection of metadata, vaguely defined “publicly available information,” and the incredibly broad category of “unselected information” (which essentially means any information);
  • Introduces new powers to give CSIS agents or designated individuals immunity for committing crimes in the line of their work;
  • Fails to prohibit the use and sharing, in all circumstances, of information linked to mistreatment and torture;
  • Allows the CSE to engage in broad and powerful new “active cyber operations” with little oversight, creating the risk of retaliation as well as attacks from leaked new cyber-weapons.

The amendments adopted earlier by the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defense to reduce the number of years before Bill C-59 is reviewed, and to allow the Intelligence Commissioner to suggest conditions on surveillance authorizations, are positive, but severely insufficient.

The ICLMG has welcomed aspects of the bill:

A redress system for those erroneously caught up in Canada’s No Fly List will help ensure less travellers face undue interrogations, searches and delays at airports; although, due to unresolved issues around secrecy and due process, we maintain our position that the no-fly list regime should simply be abolished.

The new National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) and Intelligence Commissioner will both help to bring greater accountability to Canada’s national security activities. At the same time, senators failed to ensure that these bodies will have all the tools necessary to accomplish their important work: greater transparency and independence; the power to make binding recommendations; and the ability to provide redress for complainants when abuse is found, though, are all essential aspects missing from this bill.

Even if review and oversight were improved, though, it still would not make up for bad laws, warns the ICLMG. “The NSIRA and the Intelligence Commissioner will only be able to enforce the rules set out by lawmakers. Bill C-59 grants new powers for surveillance, maintains secretive CSIS disruption activities, allows for concerning new active cyber operations, and fails to address real threats to due process, free expression and privacy,” said McSorley. “With laws like these on the books, these bodies risk simply becoming rubber stamps.”

Read our more detailed recommendations and our full brief to the Senate.

– 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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Letter to Justice Minister Lametti: Release Report into the Hassan Diab Case Now

Feel free to use this template and send your own message calling for the public release of the report, and the launch of a public inquiry into the case of Hassan Diab: David.Lametti@parl.gc.ca and/or mcu@justice.gc.ca. Thank you!


The Honourable David Lametti
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0H8

RE: Segal Report into the case of Dr. Hassan Diab

Minister Lametti,

I write to you today regarding the necessity of making the report into the extradition of Dr. Hassan Diab public, and the ongoing need for a full, public and independent inquiry into the case of Dr. Diab, and the Extradition Act overall.

It has come to our attention that the report, written by Mr. Murray Segal, has been submitted to your office, but that there has been no commitment to when – or if – the report will be made public. After the more than a decade ordeal that Dr. Diab and his family have been through, and the severe allegations of misconduct towards officials in your office, it is imperative that the details of what occurred, and what recommendations are being made, be rendered public.

On behalf of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Groups’ 46 member organizations, I am urging you to immediately release the Segal report publicly. Further, we are once again calling on your office to initiate a public inquiry into Dr. Diab’s extradition and the failings of the Extradition Act itself. Regardless of the findings of Mr. Segal’s report, the mandate of his external review was too narrow. For example, it did not include an examination of the Extradition Act, nor did it grant Mr. Segal the power to compel testimony or documents.

The severity of what Dr. Diab has gone through merits the scope and thoroughness of a
public inquiry. Only this will ensure a full accounting of the facts, full redress for Dr. Diab,
and the information needed to make the necessary reforms so that no Canadian faces the
same travesty again.

The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group is a coalition of human rights, civil liberties, labour, humanitarian, faith-based and environmental organizations working to protect civil liberties in the context of national security and anti-terrorism. We have been active on Dr. Diab’s case from the start, as it raised serious questions about the low level of evidence and “guilty until proven innocent” approach that surrounds many terrorism related proceedings. We rejoiced when Dr. Diab returned to Canada and to his family and friends. But unless there is a full inquiry, justice for Dr. Diab will never be achieved.

We would be more than happy to discuss our concerns with you, either in person or by
telephone at 613-241-5298. And we hope you take prompt action on this issue.

Sincerely,

Tim McSorley
National Coordinator
International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group

cc: The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs Canada

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