Elmer's English 304 Magazine
Bill C-36, Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act
Letter to Stephen Owen, MP
May 21, 2005
Elmer G. Wiens
204-5555 Balsam Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6M 4B5
Stephen Owen, M.P.
Suite 111, Justice Building
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Dear Mr. Owen
Thank you for your letter of May 9, 2005 concerning the Anti-terrorism Act with your enclosed opinion piece of January 3, 2002.
You state that Bill C-36 was "intended to protect the safety, security and fundamental rights of Canadians," and refer to the mantra of "risk management." You cite the example of identifying and prosecuting the perpetrators of the Air India bombing, and argue "criminal and other security laws must shift from post-crime investigation and prosecution to preventative intelligence and action."
In the past CSIS, the RCMP, and other security organizations have been very busy with "preventative intelligence and action." I recall that despite the intensive effort to investigate "such threats" as the Raging Grannies and Peace Organizations before the November, 1997 Vancouver APEC leaders' summit, the RCMP was compromised in providing a secure venue. Moreover, CSIS and the RCMP demonstrated their incompetence in preventing the Air India bombing, despite considerable knowledge of the intentions of extremists.
The problem is not the lack of power by Canada's Security Agencies. The problem is the ability of Canada's Security Agencies to execute their responsibilities within existing laws and safeguards.
Anne McLellan dithers by appointing Bob Rae to determine if a public inquiry over the Air India investigation and prosecution should be called.
A public inquiry into "Air India" with the broader mandate to investigate the competence of members of Canada's Security Agencies could provide the data for a more accurate "risk assessment" of the unintended consequences of Bill C-36 .
Elmer G. Wiens