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RELEASE: Rights groups welcome statement from eminent Canadians calling for review and oversight of national security activities

For immediate release

Today, a group of 22 eminent Canadians, comprised of former Prime Ministers, Ministers of Justice, Ministers of Public Safety, Solicitors General, Supreme Court of Canada Justices, and members of national security, law enforcement and privacy review bodies, published a statement in The Globe and Mail and La Presse calling urgently for an enhanced approach to national security review and oversight in the country.  The group includes men and women whose public service, in areas where they have been responsible for addressing wide-ranging national security challenges, stretches from 1968 to 2014.

This important statement comes at a time when Canada is considering a radical expansion of national security powers across government, but has made no equivalent proposals for strengthened review and oversight of the agencies and departments responsible for national security.

Amnesty International, the BC Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, La Ligue des droits et libertés, and the National Council for Canadian Muslims strongly support this statement, which highlights the importance of robust review and oversight for the three critically important and inter-connected reasons of protecting human rights, strengthening national security, and building public trust and governmental accountability.

This statement, endorsed by eminent Canadians who have served in public positions of authority and expertise relating to national security, law, and government accountability, makes clear that strong accountability mechanisms lead to better security for all Canadians: “Canada’s national security policies and practices must be effective in order to protect public safety. Independent oversight and effective review mechanisms help ensure that resources devoted to national security activities are being utilized effectively and efficiently.”

Read the full statement, including the names of the 22 endorsing individuals, here. 

For our reactions to the statement, contact:

Amnesty International Canada (English Branch): John Tackaberry, 613.744.7667, extension 236

Amnistie internationale Canada francophone: Anne Sainte-Marie, 514.766.9766, extension 230

BC Civil Liberties Association: Carmen Cheung, Senior Counsel, 604.630.9758

Canadian Civil Liberties Association: Sukanya Pillay, Executive Director & General Counsel, 647.831.5188

International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group: Roch Tassé, National Coordinator, 613.241.5298

La Ligue des droits et libertés: Lysiane Roch, Responsable des communications, 514.715.7727

National Council for Canadian Muslims: Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director, 613.254.9704