It is our submission that in enacting Bill C-42, Canada will be complicit in a no-fly regime that does not comport with the rule of law. We say that the US Secure Flight Program violates international law and subjecting Canadians to the Secure Flight regime through the mechanism of Bill C-42 violates the Canadian Charter.
What is proposed under Bill C-42, is that Canada supply passenger information to the US, in order that passengers may be granted or denied permissions to transit US airspace on the basis of unknowable and unchallenge-able criteria. Every country in the world is sovereign over its airspace, and yet this innovation by the US is, to our understanding, without precedent and essentially stands to completely subvert the current practice of global traffic and trade which, as Mr. Caron from the OPC alluded to, enshrines by international conventions the freedom to fly over a sovereign country. It is possible for a sovereign state to make rules regarding this transit, and US Secure Flight’s “rule” is to deny travel permissions to persons on their watchlists. However, the analysis does not stop there.
Travel watchlists are an increasingly important discussion in the international community. The BCCLA recently published a paper on the United Nation Security Council’s 1267 Regime, which is a watchlist for individuals and entities subject to international travel bans and asset freezes. We say that this watchlist violates international law and the Canadian constitution for failure to provide due process rights, also known as natural justice.
Author: Michael Vonn