Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act
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|An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Official Secrets Act, the Canada Evidence Act, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act and other Acts, and to enact measures respecting the registration of charities, in order to combat terrorism|
|Enacted by||Parliament of Canada|
|Date assented to||December 18, 2001|
The Canadian Anti-terrorism Act was passed by the Liberal government of Canada in response to the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. It received Royal Assent on December 18, 2001, as Bill C-36. The "omnibus" bill extended the powers of government and institutions within the Canadian security establishment to respond to the threat of terrorism. The expanded powers were highly controversial due to widely perceived incompatibility with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in particular for the Act's provisions allowing for 'secret' trials, preemptive detention and expansive security and surveillance powers.
This bill provides similar measures to that of the USA PATRIOT Act passed by the United States in the same timeframe.
It was opposed by Marjory LeBreton, David Paciocco, Andrew Telegdi and others. Ziyad Mia, of the Muslim Lawyers Association of Toronto, "questioned whether the definition of terrorist activity would apply to a group that resisted, by acts of violence, the regimes of Saddam Hussein or Robert Mugabe," and pointed out that it criminalized the French Resistance and Nelson Mandela.
Anti-abortion violence as single issue terrorism
Anti-abortion violence was labelled as "single issue terrorism" by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), Canada's national pro-life group expressed concern that the new act would "cover anti-abortion violence such as shooting and stabbing doctors, and bombing and burning clinics." Peaceful anti-abortion protests would be exempt. In 1992, a year after the Bill C-43, the legislation to recriminalize abortion, was defeated by the Senate, a firebomb destroyed the Toronto Morgentaler Clinic. Abortion providers, Dr. Garson Romalis in 1994 in BC, Dr. Hugh Short, Ontario in 1995, Dr. Jack Fainman, Manitoba in 1997 were shot by snipers allegedly similar in style to the 1998 murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian in Buffalo, New York. Dr. Garson Romalis was attacked and stabbed in 2000 in Vancouver. In 2001 James Kopp was arrested in France charged with the murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian and the shooting of Dr. Short. Kopp was also connected with the shootings of Dr. Romalis, Dr. Fainman another US abortion provider. National Abortion Federation: History of Abortion in Canada
In January 2010, Zakaria Amara, from Mississauga, a suspect in the 2006 Toronto terrorism case, was sentenced to imprisonment for life. This sentence was the stiffest given so far under the Anti-terrorism Act. Saad Gaya from Oakville, a fellow suspect in the same case, was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Bill S-7, the Combating Terrorism Act, 2012
Some of the bill's provisions expired on March 1, 2007. The Conservative government urged that these be renewed, while all three opposition parties were opposed. Specifically, the provisions had to do with preventative arrest and investigative hearings.
On February 29, 2007, the House of Commons voted 159-124 against renewing the provisions, which later led to their expiry.
In 2012 the Government introduced Bill S-7, the Combating Terrorism Act in the Senate which renewed the expired provisions for a new 5-year term, and introduced new crimes for leaving Canada to join or train with a terror group. The bill also increased the maximum prison sentences for some offenses related to harboring suspected terrorists. On April 19, just after the Boston Marathon Bombings the government rearranged the Parliamentary agenda to fast track Bill S-7 to a vote on April 22 or 23, 2013. The bill received royal assent on April 25, 2013.
- Bill S-7, the Combating Terrorism Act, 2012
- See e.g. Colleen Bell, "Subject to Exception: Security Certificates, National Security and Canada's Role in the 'War on Terror'" 21(1) Canadian Journal of Law and Society 63-83 at 73; Sherene Razack, Casting Out: The Eviction of Muslims from Western Law and Politics (Toronto, Buffalo, & London: University of Toronto Press, 2008) at 161; and Kent Roach, "Defining Terrorism: The Need for a Restrained Definition" in The Human Rights of Anti-Terrorism, Nicole LaViolette & Craig Forcese, eds. (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2008) 97-127 at 97-98 and 127.
- So-called anti-terrorism act
- Diab, Robert. "Guantanamo North", 2008
- Arthur, Joyce (Winter 2001–2002). "Anti-choicers fear new Terrorism Law". Pro-Choice Press.
- "Life term for terror ringleader - Man planned to detonate three bombs at 9 a.m., when Toronto's downtown core would be bustling"
- Boston Marathon bombings#cite note-153
- Radia, Andy (19 Apr 2013). "Harper government to fast track anti-terrorism bill". Canada Politics (Yahoo! Canada). Retrieved 22 April 2013.