Rocco Galati's submissions on behalf of the Canadian Islamic Congress
with evidence by others presented to the Justice Committee November 6,
re Canada's proposed ant-terrorism law Bill C36.
Good morning, Mr. Chair. I see I have four minutes. On behalf of my clients I want reiterate, and it's not mere speculation, that the Muslim and Arab communities will be directly affected. You just have to witness the approximately 800 illegal detentions in this country currently going on in the correctional centres before you even have Bill C-36 where Muslims and Arabs have been directed not to be able to phone their lawyers, see their lawyers, phone their families, see their family as of September 11. That's going on right now. I see it in the jails every day.
This bill is, in my humble submission, obscene in the net it casts. You might as well have deleted the constitution from our landscape. This bill is so overbroad, it catches socio-economic and political offences, it creates them, strikes, work stoppages, boycotts, protests, association assembly and free speech. What's insidious about this bill, if you read section 27 and the definition of what is a prejudicial act to the safety or interest of the state there are various economic crimes in here that relate back to the definition of terrorism which would catch, boycotts for environmental and ethical reasons would catch any legal strike against the financial markets. This is as much about stomping anti-globalization, anti-poverty, anti-logging protest as it is about terrorism.
In fact, if it were just about terrorism, this bill would be 10 to 15 pages long. You are invoking extraordinary measures that we haven't since June 21, 1941 and October 1970 in terms of secret trials • 0955 [English] In fact, if it were just about terrorism, this bill would be 10 to 15 pages long. You are invoking extraordinary measures that we haven't seen since June 21, 1941 and October 1970, in terms of secret trials, secret trial mechanisms, the abrogation of the right to remain silent, self-incrimination, the 72-hour detention without charge. You have investigative hearings that do away with all charter rights, and then you have seizure of property, and then to charge, convict and sentence someone even without knowledge if he's a facilitator with secret trials. I'm probably the only one in the room who's actually conducted these secret trials under the Immigration Act.
They are the substance of a dictatorship, of a police state. You don't get to see the evidence, ever. It's all dealt with by the judge, it's covered. The accused person never gets to see it. Now there's much made about what my client sees as the red herring of hate propaganda. This is not the place to deal with it. We have hate laws. When I was a crown attorney, I got death threats all the time from the criminals I was prosecuting. I've been getting death threats almost on a daily basis since 1997, ever since I've been representing members of the Muslim and Arab community. We can deal with those. You can catch the people phoning or sending the letters. That is not a sugar pill you put into an act that's supposed to deal with terrorism. If it's to deal with terrorism—and my client, the congress, applauds criminalizing terrorism and we applaud criminalizing the financing of terrorism—that has to be done with knowledge. It has to be done in an open and fair trial, no star chambers as you have them in this bill, and it has to be done....
You cannot have somebody criminally libel and losing their property, like the Italians and Japanese in the Second World War, for just being Muslim or Arab. That's what this bill does. It just repeats the historical injustices against a racial or religious minority that we've seen throughout Canadian history. The Muslin and Arab communities are going to be the brunt of this injustice. My clients find it offensive, and all Canadians should, to see this kind of bill deal with matters that are dealing with the criminal dangers of terrorism as we know them and fear them. All reference to economic and civil dissent have to be deleted here ...
... On the same note, thank you, Mr. Chairman, that wouldn't do it, because if you just did that...this, in my humble view and no offence to who drafted it, is a reptilian piece of legislation because it's really conniving in the way it works.
You have to deal with Section 27 of the bill that amends what is prejudicial to the safety and interest of the state, which then feeds in to subparagraph (b)(1)(B) because (B) talks about something that in whole or in part with the intention of intimidating the public or a segment of the public with regard to its security, and I underline, including its economic security. Now, you have to then go to the amendment under Section 27 of the Official Secrets Act, that defines that as a prejudicial safety interest, and then you have to go to subparagraph 3(1)(d),(f),(j),(k), and (l) and that covers...you can't do anything to adversely affect the financial markets, treaty negotiations for instance, in Quebec City, or APEC.
That amendment to the Official Secrets Act, coupled with economic security interests, means that political and economic dissent are still acts of terrorism under this law.
And I'll read you some of those subparagraphs that are there. If you do anything that “adversely affects the stability of the Canadian economy, the financial system or any financial market in Canada without reasonable economic or financial justification”. So the French farmer who wants to boycott McDonalds and maybe dump something with a dump truck is a terrorist under this provision.
Sub (l) "impairs or threatens the capability of the Government of Canada to conduct diplomatic or consular relations, or conduct" 1035 [English] so the French farmer who wants to boycott McDonald's and maybe dump something with the dump truck is a terrorist under this provision.
Sub (l) impairs or threatens the capability of the Government of Canada to conduct diplomatic or consular relations or conduct and manage international negotiations. So Quebec City, all the protesters would be terrorists and, in fact, RCMP Commissioner Zaccardelli was asked publicly a few weeks ago could he have used Bill C-36 in Quebec City and he said he might probably not, but yes he could have used it to arrest those as terrorists.
So deleting the lawful protest part of sub (e) does not do it. You have to go to (b) in 83.011(b)(i)(B) and you have to, unless you delete the amendments to the Official Secrets Act, now the Security of Information Act, you have to delete that reference to economic security because then that in turn makes all civil protests for anti-globalization, anti-logging, antipoverty, anti anything that doesn't have an economic or financial justification an act of terrorism and that's why I referred to this as reptilian before because it really is a slivery piece of legislation.
It's not clear in the definition of terrorism. It's by reference to economic and financial security and when you go over to the Official Secrets Act you see that anybody who voices an opinion converse to the government of the day is a terrorist under this. Lastly, yes, there are hundreds of people in the jails in Ontario, British Columbia being held illegally since September 11 who are not allowed to phone lawyers, they're not allowed to phone me, they're not allowed to see their family. That's been documented.
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