An Act to amend the Criminal Code of Canada, the Official Secrets Act, the Canada Evidence Act, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act and a number of other Acts, and enacts the Charities Registration (Security Information) Act, in order to combat terrorism.

First Session, Thirty-seventh Parliament, 2001 : House of Commons of Canada

Part 1 amends the Criminal Code of Canada to:
  • implement international conventions related to terrorism,
  • to create offences related to terrorism, including the financing of terrorism and the Participation, facilitation and carrying out of terrorist activities, !
  • and to provide a means by which property belonging to terrorist groups, or property linked to terrorist activities, can be seized, restrained and forfeited.
  • It also provides for the deletion of hate propaganda from public web sites and creates an offence relating to damage to property associated with religious worship.
Part 2 amends the Official Secrets Act, which becomes the Security of Information Act. It addresses:
  • national security concerns, including threats of espionage by foreign powers and terrorist groups,
  • economic espionage and
  • coercive activities against communities in Canada.
  • It also creates new offences to counter intelligence-gathering activities by foreign powers and terrorist groups, as well as other offences, including
  • the unauthorized communication of special operational information. *
Part 3 amends the Canada Evidence Act to address the judicial balancing of interests when the disclosure of information in legal proceedings would encroach on a specified public interest or be injurious to international relations or national defence or security (i.e. publication ban, an old Canadian favourite). The amendments impose obligations on Parties to notify the Attorney General of Canada if they anticipate the disclosure of sensitive information or information the disclosure of which could be injurious to international relations or national defence or security, and they give the Attorney General the powers to assume carriage of a prosecution and to prohibit the disclosure of said information (does this category international relations/national defence/security not seem a bit broad?)

Part 4 amends the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act, which becomes the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. The amendments will :
  • assist law enforcement and investigative agencies in the detection and deterrence of the financing of terrorist activities,
  • facilitate the investigation and prosecution of terrorist activity financing offences, and
  • improve Canada's ability to cooperate internationally in the fight against terrorism.
Part 5 amends the Access to Information Act#, Canadian Human Rights Act, Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, Corrections and Conditional Release Act, Federal Court Act, Firearms Act, National Defence Act, Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, Privacy Act, Seized Property Management Act and United Nations Act. The amendments to the National Defence Act clarify the powers of the Communications Security Establishment to combat terrorism.

Part 6 enacts the Charities Registration (Security Information) Act, and amends the Income Tax Act, in order to prevent those who support terrorist or related activities from enjoying the tax privileges granted to registered charities.
! In a story from the Globe and Mail today, Justice Minister McLellan announce two of the most controversial police powers in the bill – investigative hearings ( in which police can force someone to testify on terrorist activities) and preventive arrests (under which people suspected of planning a terrorist act can be detained for up to 72 hours without warrants) will be subject to a five year sunset clause. She had previously opposed this safeguard, but finally announced that the two provisions would lapse unless specifically renewed by Parliament every five years – i.e. until 2007 there is no right to remain silent and you can be held imprisoned and guilty by suspicion.

* This section a provision enabling the Minister of Justice or Attorney General, to issue a certificate that would prohibit the release of personal citizens’ information under the Privacy Act, for reasons of security, international relations, or defence considerations. The first part, section 104, the amendment which would be 70.(1), says:
The Attorney General of Canada may at any time personally issue a certificate that prohibits the disclosure of information for the purpose of protecting international relations or national defence or security.
        In effect , if the minister issues a certificate, not only can the information not be released but there is no longer an oversight or appeal process. The Privacy Commissioner can no longer review the information in question (now cleared to the highest level, Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) files). The way the law is written, the minister could issue a certificate that says, disclosure of ANY information by CSIS, the Canadian Security Establishment, RCMP or a department of government, or indeed all departments of government, could be taken off the table. All the other provisions of the Privacy Act would not apply with no limitations on how the information could be used, combined, shared or disclosed. Justice Minister McLellan now claims these certificates will expire after 15 years and that the Federal Court of Appeal will be able to overturn them. This from testimony given by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, George Radwanski, on October 23, 2001.

# One Globe political correspondent said the heavy limitations and curtailing of the public’s right to know ‘looks suspiciously like the gnomes in the Privy Council and the Justice Department are taking advantage of the general climate of apprehension to settle some old scores with the Information Commissioner as well.’ Would it be safe to say the tragedy is indeed, here and there, being callously leveraged by just about every interest group within and without the government – activists, businessmen, publishers, Oprah, McDonnell-Douglas, spooks, crypto-geeks, law and order types, anti-Israelis, anti-Palestinians, libertarians, survivalists, etc., etc., ad nauseum. That ‘general climate of apprehension’ being taken advantage of? That’s the ‘dust of the atomized dead’, in the words of William Gibson writing just after the attacks. Would that our politicians and lobby groups might have the decency to remember that for more than a fortnight - 'know'st thou not any whom corrupting gold / would tempt unto a close exploit of death?' See Hugh Windsor, Globe and Mail - Monday, November 5, 2001, A7

According to the National Post (‘Bill unlikely to have much effect’, November 21, 2001) most legal experts believe the knee-jerk legislation will simply lead authorities to use Bill C-36's broad investigative powers to gather evidence against suspects to have them deported rather than imprisoned, which while more expedient and cost-efficient, hardly neutralizes the threat. One source states "If anyone armed with a computer and a modem can wreak havoc on international financial markets, if anthrax can be mailed from anywhere, how much security can expulsion buy?" While most support the ban on terrorist fund-raising and assistance, the bill is needlessly complicated and may only restrict the Charter of Rights and Freedoms rather than putting terrorists behind bars.
To summarize two potent anti-terrorism strategists – namely Walter Laquer’s 1987 The Age of Terrorism (Boston: Little, Brown & Co.) and George Weigel’s “After the Twin Towers Attack: Terrorism & America” from his 1994 Idealism Without Illusions (Washington: Eerdmans) – there are eleven mistakes to be avoided and four time-proven methods in dealing with terrorist activity. The major mistaken assumptions are:

1. Terrorism , as a strategy, is new and has no historical precedent,
2. Terrorism spreads like a disease or cancer,
3. Repression breeds terrorism,
4. Only redressing root causes will stop terrorism,
5. One man’s terrorist in another man’s freedom fighter,
6. All terrorists are fanatics, therefore fanaticism is the real threat,
7. Terrorists are poor and angry,
8. Terrorism is born of the Arab-Israeli conflict,
9. State sponsored terrorism is the real culprit,
10. Terrorism can happen anywhere at anytime,
11. Economic plight determines terrorists’ timing.

        The proven methods (sadly) are annihilation of the extremists (Syrian destruction of fundamentalists in Hama in 1982, or Iraqi assassination of Shiite leaders, or the Ayatollah Khomeini’s execution of nearly 3000 political insurgents in his first year of power), co-option of extremist groups (as Jordan and Algeria have attempted to push fundamentalist parties into elections – which they often turn around & win – requiring military intervention), buy off the terrorist to buy time (the Saudis have been funding Islamic Jihad, Hamas and the Taliban for years) and finally, try to play one group of another (okay, this one doesn’t always work so well – it got Al-Sadat in Egypt assassinated).

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