After the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks,
Parliament approved sweeping new powers for the RCMP,
allowing officers to search homes without warrants, arrest suspects without charges
and gain access to a wider range of personal information.
CANADA POLICE WATCHDOG WARNS
"The new law's broad definition of terrorism is troubling.
It's so broad that it can be interpreted in many, many, many ways.
... This is unprecedented."
RCMP powers unchecked and "open to abuse" watchdog warns
by Bill Curry, Naional Post, Print Edition, Jul 4, 2003
Ottawa: The RCMP's civilian watchdog says she has no way of knowing whether the force is misusing its new anti-terrorism powers and she wants Parliament to remedy that. Shirley Heafey, chairwoman of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, said several Arab and Muslim Canadians have complained the Mounties are abusing anti-terrorism laws, but she does not have the power to find out what is really going on.
"We can't [investigate] unless there's a complaint, and even if there is a complaint... we can't see the information," she said. "So for all practical purposes, there's no civilian oversight." She as filed an affidavit with the Federal Court of Canada claiming the RCMP is hampering her investigation by refusing to hand over information she requests.
Ms Heafey, who in 1984 became the first director of complaints for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said the country's spy agency is actually far more open than its national police force. Ms Heafey said CSIS gave her access to everything she requested, but the RCMP forces her to go to court to get basic documents. "I got to see what happens when an organization has powers that [the RCMP] have and how, little by little, if there' nobody to check you along the way to say 'No, you can't go there, you can't do that,' it creeps up in very small ways. You push a little harder than you should in directions that you shouldn't and so it's really open to potential abuse when they have those kinds of powers. That background really makes me be very concerned about our lack of abilities here," she said.
After the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Parliament approved sweeping new powers for the RCMP, allowing officers to search homes without warrants, arrest suspects without charges and gain access to a wider range of personal information. Ms Heafey said then-solicitor-general Lawrence MacAulay and then-justice minister Anne McLellan won over MPs by insisting her office would be able to supervise the use of the new measures, but almost two years later, it is impossible for the public to know for sure if there is abuse. The law was enacted so quickly that Parliament didn't have a chance, I don't think, to really consider it and look at all the details and that's what's coming up right now. Suddenly, there's a whole class of material that I can't see but yet Parliament said "Oh, yeah, I reassure you. They're going to be overseeing it.'"
Since the attacks, her office has received five formal complaints about the RCMP's anti-terrorism activities, she said, and many others Canadians have told her they have been harassed but fear the attention of public complaint. Ms Heafey made a presentation at a London, Ontario mosque last year, where many of the 1,000 people in attendance complained of a wide range of RCMP harassment but were not willing to make a formal complaint. "A lot of people are not comfortable complaining about police. A lot of new Canadians, immigrants, are not comfortable with complaining. They come from countries where perhaps if you complain about the police, you're in big trouble," she said. Of those who have made formal complaints, all involved individuals of Middle Eastern descent. One man says he was attacked by an RCMP dog when officers entered his home to question him. Another man alleged an RCMP officer made a threatening phone call informing him his name was on a "list" of terrorist suspects, and suggested he must be guilty of something if he wanted a lawyer present during questioning. Ms Heafey's office is also investigating a complaint from a woman who said the RCMP entered her home in the middle of the night without justification, used excessive force and improperly questioned her eight-year-old son without permission and in the absence of his parents.
Ms Heafey said the new law's broad definition of terrorism is troubling.
"All the good will in the world is not going to change the fact that it's so broad that it can be interpreted in many, many, many ways. I mean, police can now look at what your religious beliefs are, what your ideological beliefs are. Parliament has given them that duty to look at that under the anti-terrorism legislation. This is unprecedented."
Inquiry into teen's death by guards (pushed shackled-chained-handcuffed boy against elevator door which opened). Macleans, Jan 11, 2004. Go to COPS WHO KILL BLAME VICTIMS
COURT GUARDS KILL TEEN (120-lb boy, handcuffed & shackled, kept calling out he was hungry, guards enter cell, grab by neck, bang back & forth on elevator door hard enough to shake witness's cell, then man shouts 'Oh my God'). Edmonton Journal, Jan 24, 2004. Go to 34.Miniluv & ANIMAL FARM DOGS & 'Weekend jails' ready to open (51 weekends for a single offence not bad enough for jail). BBC, Jan 24, 2004. Go to 21.Crimestop
Go to TERROR BILL IS TERROR
CANADA POLICE UNLEASHED and POLICE STATE OF THE UNION and ANIMAL FARM DOGS
21.Crimestop and 20.Thought Police
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