Volume 95, Issue 53

Wednesday, December 5, 2001
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Secrecy, subersion and oppression

All too convenient Sept. 11 plugs

Secrecy, subersion and oppression

To the Editor:

Bill C-36 is an ill-conceived and dangerous example of reactionary political demagogy designed to appease the paranoid and oppress the fundamental rights of us all.

It is an affront to the Constitution and, if we set aside the hysterical rhetoric and examine our present laws, it is clear it is unnecessary.

There are many sections of the Criminal Code that already deal adequately with the spectre of terrorism, apart from the obvious prohibitions against murder, arson, conspiracy, hijacking and otherwise alarming Her Majesty.

They are section 464(1)(a), which makes it an offence to counsel or incite a crime and section 467.1 (1), which makes it a crime to participate in a "criminal organization." This latter section has been used to prosecute both terrorists and biker gangs.

In fact, there are many men convicted of conspiracy to commit terrorist acts who are presently cooling their heels in federal prisons, such as the Joyceville Institution, most of whom received lengthy sentences.

This hastily drafted bill is unconstitutional, vaguely-worded, overly broad in scope and consequently, an embarrassment to our free nation. It also threatens legitimate protests against the state such as labour strikes and civil disobedience.

We already have laws that redress harmful acts and we should apply them unsparingly to those cowardly and violent enemies of civil society who aim to undermine the foundations of our liberal democracy.

But, we should never allow the creation of a redundant Star Chamber whose function is secrecy, subversion and oppression.

Philip Casey

M.A. '95 & L.L.B. '00

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Copyright The Gazette 2001