This essay is a response to Margaret Wente’s troubling column “Can you ever argue about torture?” published in The Globe and Mail on February 1, 2013. The Globe and Mail declined to publish ICLMG’s response.
Remembering history does not mean accepting the horrible acts and the violations of the rule of law and civil liberties perpetrated for a “good cause”. Canada has ruined many lives in its involvement in the war on terror by adopting lax attitudes towards torture, using information obtained through torture, and abandoning individuals in countries where they were tortured because of erroneous information provided by our police and intelligence agencies. To this date, Canada still refuses to apologize and compensate the victims: Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati, Muayyed Nureddin, Benamar Benatta, and Abousfian Abdelrazik. Our cause, however good we think it might be, becomes morally bankrupt as soon as we use terrorizing and life shattering methods such as torture. We become who we are fighting against.
This day marks the 10th anniversary of Mohamed Harkat’s arrest under a security certificate. Ironically, it is also International Human Rights Day. ICLMG was on Parliament Hill with Mohamed Harkat, his family, Hilary Homes from Amnesty International, Ihsaan Gardee from CAIR-CAN, Randall Garrison, the NDP Public Safety critic and Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party to denounce the security certificate regime and demand that this human rights violation stops.
Me Denis Barrette, ICLMG’s spokesperson on Bill S-7, has testified before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security on Monday, December 3, to express our opposition to Bill S-7 (Combating Terrorism Act).
ICLMG opposes the reintroduction into the Criminal Code of Canada of two controversial provisions (“preventative detention” and “investigative hearing”) of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001 that were subject to a sunset clause and expired in February 2007. In a joint statement endorsed by a group of civil liberties and human rights organizations released last week, ICLMG reaffirms the position that the current powers of law enforcement already allow security agencies to pursue, investigate, disrupt, and successfully prosecute terrorism-related crimes.
Read the joint statement against Bill S-7
Read Me Denis Barrette’s testimony