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August 8, 2009 Features

Torture, a Canadian Value?

Ottawa's complicity in torture merits a national discussion

October 12, 2008 Weblog:

The Anti-Terrorist Battle Inside Canada's Borders

The anti-terrorist battle inside Canada's borders
by David Parker
July 17th, 2008.

HALIFAX - In Canada since 9/11, the domestic climate of rising national security fears, fanned by a sensationalist media trumpeting the “War on Terror”, has led the government to justify practices which undermine long-standing principles of human rights.

In December 2001, Canada passed the Anti-Terrorist Act (ATA) to deal with threats to national security. The ATA makes changes to the criminal code that “aim to disable and dismantle the activities of terrorist groups and those who support them”. It destroys civil liberties and gives police vast new powers, eroding due process and privacy. [1]

According to Gary Kinsman, professor at Laurentian University, the concept of ‘national security’ is doubly problematic. Nation refers here to groups who fit the image of the Canadian state - white heterosexual males, construed as ‘safe’, while racialized communities are excluded as ‘outsiders’ and enemies of the state. [2] Despite purported concern with security, state initiatives have only endangered non-citizens and criminalized legitimate social protest.

The arrest of 21 South Asian Muslim men for allegedly plotting to blow up a nuclear reactor in 2003 (known as Project Thread) garnered wide media attention. All were eventually deported on minor immigration charges, not one was charged with a terrorist offence [3]. They were detained up to 5 months, interrogated about their faith and threatened with deportation to Guantanamo Bay, infamous torture camp of the United States, where Omar Khadr, youngest detainee and Canadian citizen, remains after 6 years, subjected to torture methods detailed in leaked FBI files [4].

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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