Canada scraps anti-terrorism laws

Parliament rejects national security argument to extend controversial legislation.

    Harper said Canada's anti-terror measures were necessary to prevent attacks [Reuters]

    The laws allow the authorities to arrest and detain suspects for three days without charge and to compel individuals with knowledge of terrorist activity to testify before a judge.
    Neither piece of legislation has ever been applied.
    But all three opposition parties argued that they were a blatant violation of civil rights.
    Stephane Dion, leader of the opposition Liberal party, said the two measures were an unnecessary infringement on civil liberties and rejected charges that he was soft on terrorism.
    "These two provisions especially have done nothing to fight against terrorism, have not been helpful and have continued to create some risk for civil liberties," he said.
    Sunset laws
    Dion's deputy, Michael Ignatieff, said: "We've got to sunset these clauses... because the whole architecture of anti-terrorist legislation in our country needs amendment and reform."
    The legislature's move comes just days after Canada's top court struck down another controversial anti-terror measure.
    On Friday, the Supreme Court quashed portions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, deeming it unconstitutional.
    The law provided for the preventive detention of foreigners suspected of terrorist ties for many years based on undisclosed evidence presented at secret court hearings.
    The measures have been used since 2001 to imprison five al-Qaeda suspects.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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