So one of our readers pointed out recently that the National Security Blog’s long overdue for an update, and he’s absolutely right, especially given the things we’ve been up to recently.
- In late October, the BCCLA issued its report on the UN Security Council’s 1267 Regime. As you’ll recall, the BCCLA launched a lawsuit challenging this Regime earlier this summer.
- In November, hearings resumed at the Military Police Complaints Commission on the transfer of Afghan detainees to risk of torture. The Commission heard testimony from all of the subjects of the complaint — the senior members of the Military Police who would have had responsibility to ensure adequate investigations into whether the Canadian Forces were properly transferring detainees to Afghan authorities. Cross-examination of these witnesses was conducted by our pro bono counsel Paul Champ, BCCLA Litigation Director Grace Pastine, and BCCLA Counsel Carmen Cheung. The evidence we heard was distressing: again and again, senior members of the Canadian Forces Military Police informed the Commission that they never initiated meaningful investigations into the transfers, despite the fact that transfers had to be halted following one of many reports of detainee abuse by the Afghans. One witness even told the Commission that he didn’t know which country the CF was transferring to. We’ll be back in Ottawa and before the Commission in early February, as it hears final submissions from all of the parties.
- While Grace and Carmen were at the MPCC, BCCLA Policy Director Micheal Vonn was down the street, testifying before the Standing Committee on Transport at the House of Commons on Bill C-42 and the US Secure Flight Program, and our concerns about the imposition of a foreign blacklist on Canadian soil.
Some things we’re keeping our eye on too, in the coming months:
- Yesterday, the Globe and Mail reported that the Parliamentary Committee set up to review Afghan detainee documents is ready to release documents and a status report.
- The Federal Court’s three decisions concerning Mohamed Harkat, one of the remaining individuals subject to the federal government’s deeply troubling security certificates regime. In its rulings, the Federal Court approved the reasonableness of the security certificate against Harkat, which permits the government to maintain Harkat’s virtual house arrest. It also affirmed the constitutionality of the new security certificate regime, which was modified following the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in an earlier case involving Adil Charkaoui, whose own security certificate was eventually struck down.
- The Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security started hearings this week on Bill C-17, which seeks to reintroduce into the Criminal Code so-called anti-terrorism legislation permitting investigative hearings and preventative detention without charge. The BCCLA is on the Committee’s list of witnesses; hearings on the measure are expected to resume following Parliament’s holiday recess.
And speaking of holiday recesses, the National Security Blog will be back in the new year with our updates and commentary, so we’ll see you then.