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A rejection of the *Soft on terror* charge

This editorial in the Star is about 2 weeks after the fact, but it rejects the Prime Minister’s assertion that the Liberals (and by inference, the courts and other opposition parties) are telling Al Queada to come on in to Canada and kill us all:

Canadians aren’t throwing in the towel to terror. We are simply coming to our collective senses after the panic of 9/11. Our justices and lawmakers are restoring a healthier balance between the rights we cherish and national security…Canadians are rightly concerned about terrorism. But we expect Parliament and the courts to fiercely guard our rights. That balance is being finely observed, by an active Parliament and vigilant justices, after a season of folly. And the Prime Minister is wrong to suggest otherwise.

The Conservatives think their fear-mongering on this issue gives them a 2×4 to bash Dion and the Liberals (and for that matter the other opposition parties) with, but when the courts are essentially saying the same thing as the opposition parties are (i.e. the Supreme Court ruling on Security certificates and the Federal Court this week objecting to holding terror suspects indefinitely without charge), I think that 2X4 plank has a lot more rot and weakness in it then the Conservatives realize – that and Canadians I believe aren’t as prone to falling for fear tactics as the US electorate was, and also have a strong affinity for Charter rights and making sure they are maintained.

As the Star says, the security certificates in their present form and holding people indefinitely without just cause or charge are the tools of a police state, not a democracy, and our court system and Parliament were right to get rid of or drastically modify them.

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15 comments to A rejection of the *Soft on terror* charge

  • Scott,

    Of course the Supreme Court is saying the same thing as the opposition parties.. Security laws must be balanced with civil liberties. The Star recognizes that.. as will a majority of Canadians.

    You’re losing it buddy. Everyone agrees that there has to be balance, the question is what the balance is – you suggesting that the Supreme Court “agrees” with the opposition parties, is crap, and you provide no evidence other than saying that the Court agrees that you can’t run roughshod over civil liberties, which no one is suggesting anyways.

    If you want to make the argument that Canada’s foremost Human Rights scholar, Irwin Cotler, wants a law that doesn’t balance civil liberties with national security, go ahead.

    If you want to make the argument that a majority Supreme Court ruling, which found investigative hearings constitutional, was in fact poorly reasoned because it clearly doesn’t balance civil liberties and national security to your liking, go nuts. Keep in mind that the ruling was written in part by former SC Justice, and current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour. Not a slouch as far as human rights go, but if you want to take her on, I’m all ears.

    Or if you want to find Supreme Court case law that suggests that the preventative arrest provision (which is nearly identical to another law which has been on the books for years) would be found by the Supreme Court as an unconstitutional infringement on our civil liberties, go ahead, make an argument.

    Please, just make an argument. Otherwise, you’re the shill, toeing the party line, with nothing to back up your position other than a Toronto Star editorial, not written by constitutional lawyers or human rights experts, last time I checked.

    Mark,

    Of course, one of the provisions, I believe, wasn’t constitutional? Point made, then, right?

    Wrong, the supreme court hasn’t ruled on the preventative arrests. However, we have “peace bonds” elsewhere in the criminal code which are essentially the same thing, have been on the books well before 2001, and have never been found unconstitutional.

    :em36:

  • Gayle

    First Erik – this is an EDITORIAL, which, surprisingly, represents the OPINIONS of the editors.

    Second – there were plenty of facts in there, which you have chosen to ignore, possibly because they do not support your point of view. Or are you suggesting Harper did not make the comments attributed to him?

    Third – I find your complaints about the lack of facts rich, coming from a man who accepted as fact Johnathon Kay’s article, which contained nothing but vague allegations attributed to a “well-informed” individual and from that drew all kinds of stupid conclusions – conclusions you demanded Dion respond to even though, as I said, they were based on nothing but vague, completely unsubstantiated allegations. And by rich, I mean hypocritical.

    Fourth – my point in the last post, again completely ignored by you, was that the fact the SCC found these provisions Charter compliant was never the issue.

    Where you go wrong is your assumption the sunset clauses have something to do with Charter compliance. The clauses were not put into place in case the clauses were unconstitutional. If the clauses were unconstitutional, they would have been struck down by the SCC. The sunset clauses would be redundant and therefore pointless if their only purpose was to allow the provisions to die if they were unconstitutional. In fact, it makes more sense to conclude the sunset clauses were included in case the provisions were found to be Charter compliant – because that would be the best way to kill them if the SCC upheld them.

  • Wow. Just because some sections of controversial law are constitutional (within limits) doesn’t make them acceptable to many. So the Star opinion make sense.

    Of course, one of the provisions, I believe, wasn’t constitutional? Point made, then, right?

    The laws were always an over-reaction. Ditto down in the US with the Patriot Act, which, I was just reading the other day, sections of have been found to be illegally used en mass by the FBI…

    I don’t see it being contradictory for the Libs to oppose them now when they supported them years bback. The passage of time brings perspective, and saner heads prevail.

    At least, with most of us…

  • Let’s recap:
    1. Scott quotes a Star editorial that is 100% opinion, and then adds his own comments and opinion.
    2. I add my comment which is, not surprisingly, not the same as the Star’s or Scott’s.
    3. Mike says, “(Erik) … why don’t you deal with the arguements rather than expressing an opinion”. Gayle intimates I’m (stupidly) led by the nose by the CPC, which is another parroting opinion.
    4. I reply, pointing out that so far the Star’s and Scott’s words are 100% opion, no facts. Kind of hard to refute sweeping generalizations in an opinion. But I provide a link that actually refutes keyw points in the Star’s opinion or editorial, and Scott’s direct reference to the “Charter”. I end by requesting Mike’s and Gayle’s facts/logic, since I’ve provided it.
    5. Mike never replies. Gayle replies, avoids supplying any facts to support her view, and starts another thread lambasting me for believing the CPC! Really rich. Diversionary, as usual, since she’s been caught out again.
    6. Olaf comes in, says I’m part-tight, and backs it up with logic.
    7. At this point Scott jumps in and accuses Olaf (and me by inference) as a “shill”.

    Rather instructive, I’d say. Do you folks ever consider for a moment that you might be just as parisan as me, or others, and that it’s opionions and sentiment we are ALL expressing. And that no one has the monopoly on “the right view”?

    And that because we disagree with the divine opinion of Liberal Land, we aren’t necessarily “shills”?

  • Daniel

    [quote comment=”2402″]Olaf.. you’re starting to sound distressingly like my usual conservative schills I get here.

    Of course the Supreme Court is saying the same thing as the opposition parties.. Security laws must be balanced with civil liberties. The Star recognizes that.. as will a majority of Canadians.[/quote]

    Olaf disagrees with you, and he’s a “schill”?… :em05:

    I doubt that the government is against civil liberties, and dumbing this debate down to that point is as bad as saying “soft on terror”.

    The truth is, Canada has FAR more draconian provisions than the ATA in existence (War Measures Act, anyone?), and saying that a provision in the ATA – which has NEVER had to be used – somehow threatens all our civil liberties is a tad laughable. Have our civil liberties been trampled on for the entire existence of the War measures Act? No. Would they forever be trampled on if we kept the ATA? No.

  • Aaron:

    And the your site isnt partisan? Please

    I wasn’t aware of security certificates for 12 years…. not at least till they became more prominent after 9/11. Now I oppose them… or at least I opposed what just got struck down.

  • Olaf.. you’re starting to sound distressingly like my usual conservative schills I get here.

    Of course the Supreme Court is saying the same thing as the opposition parties.. Security laws must be balanced with civil liberties. The Star recognizes that.. as will a majority of Canadians.

  • Eric is right (more or less),

    To claim that the Supreme Court is “essentially saying the same thing” as the opposition parties, when the court held up 2 of the 3 controversial ATA provisions as being constitutional, is crap. Furthermore, in the security certificate ruling (on the IRPA, which really has nothing to do with the ATA provisions up for renewal), the court found that indefinite detention is alright as long as it’s closely monitored by a judge. So, essentially, you’re full of it Scott – at least in so far as you claim that the Supreme Court is some how on the “side” of the opposition parties.

    :em36:

  • Gayle

    Erik – no one has ever said the provisions breach the Charter. Not sure I get your point, but I can see you are one of those Canadians who buys what Harper is selling. I am afraid that says more about you than it does about me.

  • “As the Star says, the security certificates in their present form and holding people indefinitely without just cause or charge are the tools of a police state…”

    A police state that the Liberal party presided over for twelve years. Where was Scott’s open opposition to these security measure then?

    Everything is partisanship in these parts.

  • slg

    I hardly think that Harper talking like John Wayne or Superman makes him tougher – it’s all talk.

    It is a fact that the strategy being used by Harper via Frank Kuntz (also a strategist for the Bush people) is to treat you like you are stupid. Pick a few easy priorities and appeal to the moms (hocky moms here, security moms in the U.S.) and bingo.

    Joe Klein, an American journalist and very well respected political pundit, has written a book on this.

    I find it amazing the during the 2004 election in the U.S. a vast majority of Canadians (and other countries) thought the Americans were fools to re-elect Bush. Now, they are falling into the exact same spin trap. So, who are Canadians to judge the Americans’ stupidity when they are falling for it themselves.

    There is absolutely NO proof that Harper is better on terror. You just believe him because he’s treating like you are stupid and because he told you so.

    Grow up Canada!

  • I don’t grasp at straws as you and the Liberal-supportive Star do. If you carefully read the editorial, they do not advance one fact … it’s all opinion. In fact, their whole premise is flawed. For example:

    “Our justices and lawmakers are restoring a healthier balance between the rights we cherish and national security”.

    Which is a complete load of bullplops. Try:
    http://bobtarantino.blogs.com/blog/2007/03/the_sunset_lie.html#comments

    How, Mike and Gayle, does one respond logically to slanted opinion of the Star? Like I did above.

    Now, let’s see YOU refute the reality of Bob Tarantino’s research because YOU are big on fact too, eh?

  • Gayle

    Why is it that conservative supporters do not recognize that Harper treats them like they are stupid? The liberals should just call them on that. As if anyone in Canada is truly “soft” on terror – because endorsing the murder of innocent civilians plays so well during an election…

  • Erik,

    Why don’t you deal with the arguments presented instead of attacking the messenger? Are you so incapable of dealing with the editorial’s premises and information that you must resort to logical fallacies such as the ad hominem attack?

    Spoken like a true Conservative. The answer to everything in the last year has been like this. That merely tells me you do not have a good, fact based counter argument.

    So you lose.

  • The Red Star has spoken, therefore it is fact, and everything is OK for Canadians. I’m sure Canadians feel better now that a Liberal-supporting Toronto newspaper has spoken.

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