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(Nov 02, 2007) In the case of Charkaoui v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that aspects of Canada's law allowing for the detention of suspected foreign terrorists under "security certificates" were unconstitutional (2007 S.C.R. 350). However, the Supreme Court gave the government one year from February 2007 to rewrite the law to provide additional protections for suspects before it would void any outstanding security certificates. At the present time, five men are subject to security certificates; one is being held in custody, the others have been given conditional releases. (Howard Kline, Canada Government Introduces New Security Certificates Bill After High Court Debacle, JURIST, Oct. 22, 2007, available at http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2007/10/canada-government-introduces-new.php.)

In the new session of Parliament, which opened on October 16, 2007, the government has proposed amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, 2001 S.C. c. 27 that are intended to address the Supreme Court's objections to the extant law. The major change is that the new law would, following the example of the United Kingdom, provide for the appointment of special advocates to hear and review evidence against a person when the government claims that the evidence should not be shown to him or her. These special advocates would be required to keep confidential the information they are shown. The bill before the House of Commons also proposes to amend the Act to provide for reviews of detentions by a judge of the Federal Court within 48 hours and for six-month reviews thereafter. A decision of a Federal Court judge could be appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal on questions of general importance. However, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness can apply for non-disclosure of confidential information. Finally, the bill would allow peace officers to arrest and detain persons who they suspect may be about to contravene conditions of release. (An Act to Amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Bill C-3, 39th Parl. 2d Sess. (last visited Oct. 25, 2007).) Bill C-3 is part of the Conservative government's plan to recreate several important provisions of the post-2001 anti-terrorism legislation that were either struck down by the courts or allowed to lapse during the past year.

Author: Stephen Clarke More by this author
Topic: Terrorism More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Canada More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 11/02/2007