News Agencies – September 7, 2011
Stephen Harper is using the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks for political gain, the opposition says. To the NDP (New Democratic Party), the Prime Minister is sowing division on the eve of the 10th anniversary. And to the Liberals, Mr. Harper is trying to look tough by musing about changing the anti-terrorism laws.
The Prime Minister also vowed to bring back two controversial clauses in the Antiterrorism Act, parts of which expired in 2007. One clause allowed police to arrest suspects without a warrant and hold them for three days without charges if they believed a terrorist act had been committed; the other clause allowed a judge to compel a witness to testify in secret under penalty of jail if the witness refused. The act was passed in 2001 in reaction to the terrorist strikes on New York and Washington, but the controversial clauses expired in 2007.
A majority in the House of Commons says the Canadian government must apologize for the torture ordeals of three Muslim-Canadian men detained in Middle East jails and immediately overhaul the country’s national security review regime. The New Democratic Party brought a motion to have the full Commons endorse a June parliamentary committee report that urged the government to implement recommendations from two earlier judicial inquiries.
The committee had examined the government responses to inquires by Justice Dennis O’Connor into the Maher Arar scandal, and Justice Frank Iacobucci into the detentions abroad of three other men who were tortured in Syrian or Egyptian jails.
The Conservative government has already apologized to Maher Arar, and awarded him $10.5 million in compensation after O’Connor found he was deported to torture in Syria largely because of faulty Canadian intelligence. While there were similar findings of inflammatory labelling by Iacobucci in the cases of Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El-Maati and Muayyed Nureddin, the government has denied liability in civil lawsuits filed by the men.
Tarek Fatah claims that New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton’s Eid greetings are reflective of “politicians tripping over one other to prove their credentials as lovers of Islam and all things Muslim.” Fatah adds, “As if to ensure his credibility and authenticity as the true pro-Islam politician in Canada, Layton invokes the names of some Muslim Canadians and his solidarity with them. No, he does not mention the CEO of Rogers or the Secretary-Treasurer of the CLC nor does he mention any of the Muslim Senators or MPs; trade unionists or physicians; janitors or economists. He assumes we Muslims do nothing other than pray and preach. That all of us are all linked up in varying degrees to religiosity and Islamic organizations ranging from the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to the local chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood.”