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Top 10 Asks for the 2019 Federal Election

The 2019 federal election is here. We need candidates and their parties to commit to defending civil liberties. So we’ve created a list and easy-to-use tool to ask candidates in your riding to protect the national security and human rights related issues that matter to you!

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ICLMG’s Top 10 Asks for the 2019 Federal Election

1. Stop and effectively outlaw all mass surveillance

Canadian national security agencies have been caught conducting mass surveillance on multiple occasions, sometimes breaking the rules and other times authorized by the law. In some instances, after security agencies were found to be breaking the law, the government simply passed new legislation to legalize those activities. This is the case with various aspects of the new National Security Act, 2017.

2. Stop the surveillance, profiling and harassment of Indigenous people, Muslim communities and environmental defenders

Over the last decade, the Canadian government has profiled and spied on groups that challenge the country’s economic and natural resource priorities. Muslim communities, including student groups, are routinely targeted for questioning and surveillance. This must end.

3. End all deportations to torture, including Mohamed Harkat’s, and abolish security certificates

Mohamed Harkat, a refugee who has lived in Canada for more than 25 years, continues to face deportation to imprisonment and torture in Algeria under the secretive and due process-violating security certificate regime. This is despite his having never being charged with, let alone convicted of, a crime. The security certificate regime is a system that allows non-citizens to be arrested and deported. Security certificate laws deny the person accused access to the evidence being used against them, making it impossible to mount a full defence.

The security certificate system must be abolished. Deportations to torture must never occur. Mohamed Harkat must be allowed to remain in Canada.

4. Launch an independent and public inquiry into the case of Hassan Diab and the Extradition Act

Hassan Diab, a Canadian citizen, was extradited to France on terrorism allegations based on evidence that even the Canadian extradition judge found to be “very confusing, with conclusions that are suspect.” Dr. Diab spent more than three years in prison without charges, awaiting trial. While he is now back in Canada, he deserves justice and answers. And changes must be made to Canada’s extradition law to ensure this never happens again. The government must launch a full, independent, public inquiry.

5. Fix the many problems created by the National Security Act, 2017 (Bill C-59) and address the ongoing issues it perpetuated

The federal government touted Bill C-59 as addressing the problems with the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015 (Bill C-51) and bringing in new rules to keep Canada safe and protect our rights. In the end, the bill failed to undo the damage of C-51, and brought in troubling new powers that place our rights at risk.

6. Abolish the No-Fly List and the Terrorist Entities List

Both the No Fly List and the Terrorist Entities List rely on administrative tools that lack transparency and fairness, and undermine the rights of those placed on either list. In both cases, criminal code provisions that set a clear threshold for evidence and ensure the accused are able to mount a full defence would be better suited to address threats to airlines, individuals traveling overseas to commit crimes, or entities that have committed terrorism infractions. Furthermore, the US No Fly List should not be used by airline companies for flights that leave or land in Canada without passing through or “too close to” US airspace. This is a violation of Canada’s sovereignty.

7. Ensure justice and full redress for victims of torture

Despite Canada’s legal obligations under customary international law, international human rights treaties, international humanitarian law and Canada’s own Criminal Code, the government has failed in its obligations to provide justice and redress for victims of torture. This ranges from delaying court proceedings, to denying victims full redress, and to outright refusing to fully investigate claims of torture.

Canada should launch a commission of inquiry into Canada’s transfer of hundreds of Afghan detainees to torture, and provide full redress to Canadian survivors of torture, including Omar Khadr and Abousfian Abdelrazik.

8. Bring home Canadian citizens being detained in Syria

Those who have not committed crimes deserve support to lead full lives in Canada, and those who are identified as having committed crimes should be held responsible and prosecuted.

9. Suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States

The Safe Third Country Agreement allows Canada to turn away refugee claimants who wish to enter the country from the United States, under the guise that the US is a safe country for refugees and that they should therefore apply for asylum in that country. This agreement has been troubling since it was first adopted, but has raised even more concerns with changes brought in by the Trump administration in the US. The agreement undermines the rights of asylum seekers, and places their safety and security in jeopardy. The agreement must be suspended.

10. Address Islamophobia, xenophobia, hate, racism, gendered and domestic violence, unemployment, poverty and more, to create a better society for all

It is important to address these issues in order to prevent divisiveness, violence, social isolation and desperation, as well as creating a better society for all in general.

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