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BCCLA presents to federal committee on no-fly lists

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Vancouver, B.C. – The BCCLA is presenting to the federal Public Safety Committee in Ottawa
today on no-fly lists and the dangers of this so-called anti-terrorism measure to the rights of Canadians. The BCCLA has long opposed punishing people in the absence of a criminal charge or conviction by preventing them from accessing air travel.

“Governments are increasingly turning to measures that treat people as outlaws without a fair
hearing before an impartial judge. People don‟t know how they get on these no-fly lists, and they don‟t know how to get off,” said Robert Holmes, President of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. “There have been too many instances of the no-fly system bungling things and then foisting the burden on innocent people to grapple with bureaucratic mix-ups.”

Holmes noted that in one case a woman was told to change her name to avoid future problems, adding that if those in charge think that telling innocent people to change their name
will solve a security issue, it leads to the question of how well the no-fly system is dealing with those about whom real cause for concern exist.

Canada is considering adopting the American no-fly list, along with the current Canadian no-fly
list, starting this June. The list excludes named individuals from air travel inside Canada. The
United States has told Canada that Canadian domestic flights will not be permitted to enter U.S. airspace if they do not screen against the American no-fly list.

“Prohibiting people from air travel can cost people jobs, prevent them from visiting family and friends, endanger their health and otherwise interfere with their lives,” notes Holmes. “The Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects mobility rights. It says government is not allowed to interfere with our „right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.‟ Nobody disagrees with lawful
investigation, prosecution and punishment of terrorists. But for those who are falsely named in a no-fly list, at the very least there must be a fair process to get off the list.”

For more information contact:
Micheal Vonn, Policy Director, (604) 630-9753
Robert Holmes, President, (604) 681-1310