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.

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