MCM calls on Parliament to reject the Security Certificate Bill C-3October 23, 2007
The proposed changes are nothing but a fig leaf to cover up a flawed law
Montreal, Quebec, October 23rd, 2007- The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) calls on the Canadian Parliament to reject the new government's Security Certificate Bill C-3, which is a rehash of the old Security Certificate law with few changes, such as the introduction of the "special advocate." MCM stated today that these changes do not meet the basic minimum requirements for fundamental justice as ordered by the Supreme Court Justices, who abolished the original security certificate law, declaring it unconstitutional in a unanimous ruling earlier this year.
"Security certificates are an affront to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms," said Salam Elmenyawi, president of MCM. "Global terrorism must be fought, but we must make clear that secret court hearings, secret undisclosed evidence, indefinite detention and deportation to torture are not part of the fight against terrorism. These acts are themselves a threat to our safety and are an attack on freedom."
The implementation of a so-called "special advocate" to defend the accused behind closed doors, without the defendant's full knowledge of the evidence, would be in breach of the right to a fair hearing and prevents the accused from "contradicting errors, identify omissions, challenge the credibility of the informants or refute false allegations," as stated in the Supreme Court judgment.
Adding the special advocate as a fix to such a flawed process would be nothing more than a fig leaf to cover up the lack of fundamental justice. Furthermore, the Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin wrote in the judgment: "The right to a fair hearing comprises the right to a hearing before an independent and impartial magistrate who must decide on facts and the law, the right to know the case put against one, and the right to answer the case."
How can we ensure the viability of this process if everyone who will be able to see the evidence is not accountable to the accused and would have to be approved by CSIS, who is the complaining party and the initiator of the Certificate at the first place, while the accused is prevented any access or intervention?
"National security is a matter that concerns us all," Elmenyawi said. "However the rule of law is the bedrock of our society and the foundation of our democracy, we cannot stay silent when fundamental justice is abandoned and when the rule of law is ignored."
MCM urges our government to rethink the Security Certificate as a solution for our immigration process or the Security of our Country. If we accuse anyone of connection to terrorism let us apply the criminal code.