How necessary?


In that interview with the CBC, Stephen Harper confirms that the government will, again, seek to reinstate two provisions that were part of the Anti-terrorism Act.

Mr. Harper says those provisions are “necessary” and “useful” and that they been applied “rarely,” but when these measures were debated and defeated in Parliament in 2007 it was said that they had never been employed. Indeed, that was a key part of the argument against them made by Michael Ignatieff, then the Liberal deputy leader.

The government has alleged that it is the opposition that is playing politics and is endangering national security by voting to sunset these clauses. However, it well knows that these clauses have not been used once in the entire time they have been on the statute books. The case that we are endangering public safety by our actions is fanciful…

Abridgments of civil liberties can be justified but only if public safety absolutely requires it and then only under strict conditions. If this is the test, the clauses should sunset because they have not proven absolutely necessary to the public safety. The government, in essence, has not proven its case, and, on these questions where our liberties are at stake, the government must prove the case of public necessity beyond a shadow of a doubt.


How necessary?

  1. In this case I think Ignatieff was right on the money.

    “…Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety…”Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759US author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, politician, & printer (1706 – 1790)

  2. It’s all ‘image’ as usual…trying to look tough while not accomplishing anything.

  3. Sir Humphrey ~ Politicians must be allowed to panic. They need activity. It is their substitute for achievement.

  4. Hey Wherry, you mind giving me the summary on what the two “provisions” actually are? You don’t seem to link directly to them.

    Oh.. there they are, buried in the first link. For those wondering:

    One allowed police to arrest suspects without a warrant and detain them for three days without charges if police believed a terrorist act may have been committed.
    The other allowed a judge to compel a witness to testify in secret about past associations or perhaps pending acts under penalty of going to jail if the witness didn’t comply.

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