Monday, October 22, 2007

Canadian Government Introduces Modified Security Certificate Legislation

Today, the federal government introduced legislation to modify the security certificate system used to deport non-citizens suspected of being national security threats. Under the system, the individuals affected as well as their legal counsel cannot see the full evidence used by the Crown.

In February 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the certificate scheme was unconstitutional. The Court suspended the effect of its ruling for one year to give Parliament a chance to overhaul the law to comply with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Under the proposed legislation (RSS feed available for bill tracking), special advocates would be named to protect the interests of the individuals affected by the certificates. The special advocates could challenge the government's claims of secrecy over evidence, as well as the relevance and weight of the facts. The advocates, however, would enter the picture only during in camera hearings and it is not clear if they would be allowed to discuss secret information with others, including the target of the certificate and his or her lawyers.

Earlier Library Boy postings on the issue include:
  • Supreme Court Ruling on Security Certificates (February 24, 2007): "As most readers of legal news know by now, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled yesterday that the security certificate process under which the federal government can detain and deport foreign-born terrorist suspects is unconstitutional (...) In its ruling, the Supreme Court justices did indeed propose that the government look into something like the "special advocate" system used abroad, in particular in the UK."
  • More Commentary on Supreme Court Security Certificate Ruling (February 27, 2007): "The Osgoode Hall Law School blog The Court has compiled a list of commentary on last week's Supreme Court of Canada ruling that the security certificate process under which the federal government can detain and deport foreign-born terrorist suspects is unconstitutional ..."
  • Canadian Government Response to Parliamentary Report on Security Certificates (August 25, 2007): "Earlier this week, the Canadian government published its official Response to the Twelfth Report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. The House of Commons report (presented to Parliament on April 16, 2007) dealt with the security certificate system."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:44 pm

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