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Bill C-44 - Did Harper mean to legalize assassination and kidnapping?
Yesterday the Harper Government introduced Bill C-44 - Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act
I generally agree with the importance of the ability of the government to conduct surveillance. There are bad folks out there, and frankly, they need to be stopped. That doesn't mean I want a surveillance state, and it certainly doesn't mean I want my country to have an intelligence agency staffed with folks who think they just got an upgrade to being James Bond / Jack Bauer.
Bill C-44 includes this little nugget:
(3.1) Without regard to any other law, including that of any foreign state, a judge may, in a warrant issued under subsection (3), authorize activities outside Canada to enable the Service to investigate a threat to the security of Canada.
This clause is terrifying. Subsection 3 of the CSIS Act enumerates the nature of warrants that can be issued by a Judge in relation to CSIS operation within Canada. With this modification, this allows a Judge to issue a warrant legally authorizing CSIS to perform any activity outside of Canada (since the first 6 words remove the constraints of all other laws).
This clause is basically a get out of jail free card for CSIS provided they get a warrant.
This allows the torture, kidnapping, assassination, or other things that would be crimes since the warrant exempts CSIS from legal liability. Oh, and this means that CSIS can do those things to Canadian citizens, the moment they leave Canada's borders. Like Maher Arar.
There is no reasonable purpose for this clause to exist; the clause should be re-written such that CSIS agents acting are still subject to Canadian law, and are immunized from liability under foreign laws (to prevent extradition, etc).