Yesterday’s announcement in Washington, D.C. of a Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan amounts to the wholesale replacement of Canadian privacy and security standards with U.S. ones. The result is the virtual abrogation of the privacy rights of Canadians. This deal is nothing less than the integration of Canada within the US security regime without any protections for Canadians and other persons.
There are repeated references to “sharing information” and to “harmonizing” standards, approaches, processes or programs. Various security bodies will meet to decide standards, with no mention of the involvement of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. In fact most of the concerns raised by privacy experts in limited online consultations earlier this year appear to have been ignored. The perimeter action plan creates a clear and present danger for the safety of Canadians, who will be at even more risk of being labeled a security threat by the U.S., put on watch lists or otherwise denied the right to travel, with no redress mechanism. It is a complete rejection of the findings of Justice O'Connor and the Arar Commission.
We reaffirm our statement of principles on the proposed border action plan, in particular that no new security or information sharing initiative or recommendation should be implemented or substantially negotiated with the United States prior to an extended public and parliamentary debate in Canada.
We call on the government of Canada to provide a public accounting of current data-sharing arrangements between the Canada and the United States. And we demand that the remaining Arar Commission recommendations with respect to oversight of security activities and redress mechanisms for individuals be implemented prior to moving any further on the proposed perimeter action plan.
B.C. Civil Liberties Association
Micheal Vonn, Policy Director
Tel. (604) 630-9753
B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association
Vincent Gogolek, Executive Director
Tel. (604) 739-9788
Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Sukanya Pillay, Director, National Security Program
Tel. (416) 363-0321, ext. 256
Council of Canadians
Stuart Trew, Trade campaigner
Tel. (647) 222-9782
International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
Roch Tassé, National Coordinator
Tel. (613) 241-5298
Ligue des droits et libertés
Dominique Peschard, Président
Tel. (819) 715-7727
Steve Staples, President
Cel. (613) 290-2695
Stephen Harper and Barack Obama have agreed to a plan to smooth entry into the United States for Canadian goods and travellers that would see Canada work more hand-in-glove with the massive U.S. security bureaucracy to screen people and cargo for threats.
In return, the Americans are promising to negotiate agreements that will “pre-clear” U.S.-bound goods and travellers from Canada that are shipped by land, rail and water so all can pass more quickly across the shared border.
ERODING OUR FREEDOM
CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS
Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:
Rights and freedoms in Canada
1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.
Democratic rights of citizens
3. Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein.
Maximum duration of legislative bodies
Continuation in special circumstances
(2) In time of real or apprehended war, invasion or insurrection, a House of Commons may be continued by Parliament and a legislative assembly may be continued by the legislature beyond five years if such continuation is not opposed by the votes of more than one-third of the members of the House of Commons or the legislative assembly, as the case may be.(82)
Annual sitting of legislative bodies
Mobility of citizens
6. (1) Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.
Rights to move and gain livelihood
(2) Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right
(a) to move to and take up residence in any province; and
(b) to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province.
(3) The rights specified in subsection (2) are subject to
(a) any laws or practices of general application in force in a province other than those that discriminate among persons primarily on the basis of province of present or previous residence; and
(b) any laws providing for reasonable residency requirements as a qualification for the receipt of publicly provided social services.
Affirmative action programs
(4) Subsections (2) and (3) do not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration in a province of conditions of individuals in that province who are socially or economically disadvantaged if the rate of employment in that province is below the rate of employment in Canada.
Life, liberty and security of person
7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.
Search or seizure
8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.
Detention or imprisonment
9. Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.
Arrest or detention
10. Everyone has the right on arrest or detention
(a) to be informed promptly of the reasons therefor;
(b) to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right; and
(c) to have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.
Proceedings in criminal and penal matters
11. Any person charged with an offence has the right
(a) to be informed without unreasonable delay of the specific offence;
(b) to be tried within a reasonable time;
(c) not to be compelled to be a witness in proceedings against that person in respect of the offence;
(d) to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;
(e) not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause;
(f) except in the case of an offence under military law tried before a military tribunal, to the benefit of trial by jury where the maximum punishment for the offence is imprisonment for five years or a more severe punishment;
(g) not to be found guilty on account of any act or omission unless, at the time of the act or omission, it constituted an offence under Canadian or international law or was criminal according to the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations;
(h) if finally acquitted of the offence, not to be tried for it again and, if finally found guilty and punished for the offence, not to be tried or punished for it again; and
(i) if found guilty of the offence and if the punishment for the offence has been varied between the time of commission and the time of sentencing, to the benefit of the lesser punishment.
Treatment or punishment
12. Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
13. A witness who testifies in any proceedings has the right not to have any incriminating evidence so given used to incriminate that witness in any other proceedings, except in a prosecution for perjury or for the giving of contradictory evidence.
14. A party or witness in any proceedings who does not understand or speak the language in which the proceedings are conducted or who is deaf has the right to the assistance of an interpreter.
Equality before and under law and equal protection and benefit of law
15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
Affirmative action programs
(2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.(84)
Official languages of Canada
16. (1) English and French are the official languages of Canada and have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the Parliament and government of Canada.
Official languages of New Brunswick
(2) English and French are the official languages of New Brunswick and have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the legislature and government of New Brunswick.
Advancement of status and use
(3) Nothing in this Charter limits the authority of Parliament or a legislature to advance the equality of status or use of English and French.
English and French linguistic communities in New Brunswick
16.1 (1) The English linguistic community and the French linguistic community in New Brunswick have equality of status and equal rights and privileges, including the right to distinct educational institutions and such distinct cultural institutions as are necessary for the preservation and promotion of those communities.
Role of the legislature and government of New Brunswick
(2) The role of the legislature and government of New Brunswick to preserve and promote the status, rights and privileges referred to in subsection (1) is affirmed.(85)
Proceedings of Parliament
Proceedings of New Brunswick legislature
(2) Everyone has the right to use English or French in any debates and other proceedings of the legislature of New Brunswick.(87)
Parliamentary statutes and records
New Brunswick statutes and records
(2) The statutes, records and journals of the legislature of New Brunswick shall be printed and published in English and French and both language versions are equally authoritative.(89)
Proceedings in courts established by Parliament
Proceedings in New Brunswick courts
(2) Either English or French may be used by any person in, or in any pleading in or process issuing from, any court of New Brunswick.(91)
Communications by public with federal institutions
20. (1) Any member of the public in Canada has the right to communicate with, and to receive available services from, any head or central office of an institution of the Parliament or government of Canada in English or French, and has the same right with respect to any other office of any such institution where
(a) there is a significant demand for communications with and services from that office in such language; or
(b) due to the nature of the office, it is reasonable that communications with and services from that office be available in both English and French.
Communications by public with New Brunswick institutions
(2) Any member of the public in New Brunswick has the right to communicate with, and to receive available services from, any office of an institution of the legislature or government of New Brunswick in English or French.
Continuation of existing constitutional provisions
21. Nothing in sections 16 to 20 abrogates or derogates from any right, privilege or obligation with respect to the English and French languages, or either of them, that exists or is continued by virtue of any other provision of the Constitution of Canada.(92)
Rights and privileges preserved
22. Nothing in sections 16 to 20 abrogates or derogates from any legal or customary right or privilege acquired or enjoyed either before or after the coming into force of this Charter with respect to any language that is not English or French.
Language of instruction
23. (1) Citizens of Canada
(a) whose first language learned and still understood is that of the English or French linguistic minority population of the province in which they reside, or
(b) who have received their primary school instruction in Canada in English or French and reside in a province where the language in which they received that instruction is the language of the English or French linguistic minority population of the province,
have the right to have their children receive primary and secondary school instruction in that language in that province.(93)
Continuity of language instruction
(2) Citizens of Canada of whom any child has received or is receiving primary or secondary school instruction in English or French in Canada, have the right to have all their children receive primary and secondary school instruction in the same language.
Application where numbers warrant
(3) The right of citizens of Canada under subsections (1) and (2) to have their children receive primary and secondary school instruction in the language of the English or French linguistic minority population of a province
(a) applies wherever in the province the number of children of citizens who have such a right is sufficient to warrant the provision to them out of public funds of minority language instruction; and
(b) includes, where the number of those children so warrants, the right to have them receive that instruction in minority language educational facilities provided out of public funds.
Enforcement of guaranteed rights and freedoms
24. (1) Anyone whose rights or freedoms, as guaranteed by this Charter, have been infringed or denied may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain such remedy as the court considers appropriate and just in the circumstances.
Exclusion of evidence bringing administration of justice into disrepute
(2) Where, in proceedings under subsection (1), a court concludes that evidence was obtained in a manner that infringed or denied any rights or freedoms guaranteed by this Charter, the evidence shall be excluded if it is established that, having regard to all the circumstances, the admission of it in the proceedings would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.