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2005 11 12
The Suspect Laws, Live 1
The panelists of today's second discussion about "The Suspect Laws" are Ronald G. Atkey, Jenny Burman, Simon A. Cole, Paul Copeland, Stephen McCammon, John Knechtel (Chair).

This is a more sober panel not only because many of the speakers are lawyers but because of the subject which is how laws deal with suspects.

Ronald Atkey from Osler, Hoskin, & Harcourt, was the first chairman of the Security Intelligence Review Committee.

He starts by defining accountability in a legal sense - what test is used to allow the collection of information from a suspect. For example, what are the permissions required for CSIS from the government to investigate suspects. He says that CSIS is doing good work while he'll leave it to Justice O'Conner to discuss the RCMP's failings.

Jenny Burman of McGill University, discusses revokable citizenships. We've seen this earlier in the 20th Century when the government imprisoned classes of people like Japanese-Canadians, because they were "suspected" of having allegiances to foreign powers. The key to her argument is that this suspicion is arbitrary.

Simon Cole, author of "Suspect Identities," brings up the case of Brandon Mayfield, a US lawyer suspected in the Spanish train bombing case because of a fingerprint that was later attributed to Ouhnane Daoud. He talks about using information technologies and "statistical" subjects found through data-mining techniques - which have civil liberty implications.

Paul Copeland of Copeland & Duncan is discussing the failings of the US Patriot act and the latest news from the US where Congress is attempting to restrict the use of torture. He thinks that Canada has had a "very implicit involvement in torture." His client who was tortured in Syria and Egypt has never been charged in Canada.

Stephen McCammon, of Information and Privacy Commission of Ontario, talks about surveillance as a prerequisite for "sudden and rough justice." As democratic interlopers we "can't wait to have all the information before we act." He says that "Wars on terrorism, on pornography, on sexual predators, etc. create legal powers that accrue and then must be challenged by us when they become too invasive."
[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 11/12 at 08:21 PM

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