Canadian Experiences in Preventing and Combating Terrorism
UNDERSTANDING TERRORISM IN AFRICA: BUILDING BRIDGES AND OVERCOMING THE GAPS, W. Okumu, A. Botha, eds., pp. 117-134, Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies, 2008
18 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2010
Date Written: 2008
Compared with many states, Canada has taken a restrained approach to anti-terrorism since the events of 11 September 2001. This paper briefly recounts Canada’s experience with terrorism to demonstrate that Canada, like many other states, is familiar with terrorism and faces real risks of terrorism in the future. It argues that Canada’s experience with domestic terrorism is of particular interest because it provides an example of how separatist violence can be peacefully channelled into a democratic and legal struggle for self-determination, including secession. The remainder of the paper examines the evolution of Canada’s national security policy since 9/11. First, the article examines the criminal law phase of Canada’s response to 9/11 and the enactment of the Anti-Terrorism Act at the end of 2001. Second, it examines the immigration law phase of Canada’s response to 9/11, in which Canada relies on immigration legislation as anti-terrorism law. It suggests that threats to freedom are distributed unevenly in post-9/11 Canada, with disproportionate impacts on non-citizens and especially on Muslim and Arab non-citizens, both directly because of immigration law and indirectly, because of enforcement practices and public opinion. Third, the article examines the public safety phase in Canada’s national security policy, which has given greater attention to a broader range of threats to security including diseases and disasters. Finally, it argues in favour of a developing, but still incomplete, fourth phase in Canada’s national security policy that emphasizes review and oversight by both parliament and independent bodies. It holds that independent review is necessary both for ensuring that the state’s national security activities are effective as a response to terrorism, and for ensuring that such measures are not overbroad and do not unjustly catch and grievously harm the innocent.
Keywords: terrorism prevention, separatist violence, self-determination, national security, criminal law, immigration law
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