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No 72-hour detention without charge, says BCCLA

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Vancouver, B.C. – The BCCLA is opposing a federal law that would move Canada from first in the world in guaranteeing a criminal charge within 24 hours of detention, to a position behind the United States, South Africa, New Zealand and Germany, by holding people for up to three days without charge simply by labeling an investigation a “terrorism” investigation.

“Canada will lose its leadership role in guaranteeing that a person must meet the minimum test
for a criminal charge before they lose their liberty through Bill C-17,” said Robert Holmes, President of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. “We dislike this proposal for many reasons, but most importantly because it compromises hard won rights and freedoms and doesn’t provide an adequate payback in terms of public safety.”

Holmes noted that the former head of Canada’s intelligence service, CSIS, Reid Morden, O.C., has been outspoken in opposing Bill C-17 as ineffective. The bill also reintroduces the “investigative hearing” in which police can force individuals to appear in front of a judge and answer questions about themselves, and their business and personal associates.

“Canada should reflect carefully on which anti-terrorism measures make us safer, and which
merely violate rights and provide the illusion of efficacy,” notes Holmes. “Both the federal
Liberals and the federal Conservatives have made supportive comments about this bill, and we
would urge them both to reconsider. History is a harsh judge of political gains made at the expense of due process and citizen rights.”

The BCCLA has written a letter to all federal parties on this issue, and made a formal request to present to the federal parliamentary committee on this issue.

Read the BCCLA’s letter to the federal party leaders >>

Read the text of Bill C-17 >>

For more information contact:
David Eby, Executive Director, (778) 865-7997
Robert Holmes, President, (604) 681-1310