arbitrary state power

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Starting second paper, about 3 days behind, but just had to post this: I’m writing about Canadian security certificates and was reading a report by the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) about Canadian security officials (read: CSIS) targeting Arab Muslims for “interrogation”.

Talk about questionable tactics: blocking doorways, threats, visits at work (one guy got fired shortly afterwards), giving false identification as to who they were, interrogating a minor. One person was asked to become an informant, and when he refused, the official abruptly ended the interview and proceeded to recite the names of the person’s children and several other pieces of personal information.

The security certificate provisions in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act are undergoing a constitutional challenge which will finally be heard by the Supreme Court in June. This is the first time I really care about the Supreme Court doing it right, and I’m actually worried about the outcome: these provisions are so blatantly against several fundamental rights in the Charter, and yet have passed through the federal courts as constitutional. Reading the judgments in the Charkaoui case are so so so disturbing, they are unlike any other constitutional cases (they don’t even mention so much as a section 7 analysis for #$%$-sake), the reasoning just doesn’t make sense.

I really hope it’s simply an unhappy coincidence that federal court judgments are incomprehensible, and not indicative of an endemic belief that someone can be put into detention without charge and without knowledge of the evidence against him, on the grounds of “national security”. We cannot simply trust that the government is always right since no one is infallible (especially CSIS), and when evidence is not open there is not even the opportunity to check this arbitrary power.

More later. For now, the report can be found here.