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BCCLA reacts to national security consultation announcement


VANCOUVER – Today, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association reacted to the federal government’s announcement of the much anticipated national security review public consultation.

Micheal Vonn, Policy Director for the B.C. Civil Liberties Association said: “This consultation will be critical to addressing the dangerous excesses and failures of oversight that have marked the recent transformation of Canada’s national security landscape. Our current approach is seriously flawed both in terms of public safety and human rights. Right now, we don’t even have a way to meaningfully assess the efficacy and legality of Canada’s national security activities. We need serious evidence-based reform, not legislative tweaking. We are confident that this is what the government will be hearing from the Canadian public and experts in the course of these consultations.”

The federal government has signaled some of the areas in which they are likely to focus reforms, including the ‘no fly’ list and the warrant process for CSIS violating individuals’ Charter rights. But there has been no official recognition of the need for reform on some other highly controversial aspects of national security.

Vonn continued: “When C-51 was introduced, Canadians took to the streets in the thousands to protest. The primary concerns of those Canadians was surveillance and secret police. It is essential that government understand that the new and essentially unaccountable “kinetic” powers of CSIS and the unprecedented surveillance enabled by the “Security of Canada Information Sharing Act” are deeply troubling to Canadians.”