When justice and security collide

posted on October 02, 2009 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by James Morton, opinion piece Source: The Toronto Star URL: [link] Date: October 2, 2009 Courts have maintained proper balance between rights of the accused and national security

James Morton past president of the Ontario Bar Association Just a few weeks after Prime Minister Stephen Harper raised fears of left-wing ideologues on the bench, Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan said he fears for the government's ability to fight terrorism. Van Loan complained of "an increasingly complex legal environment" in which judges are no longer deferring to the government in its efforts to deport foreign suspects. "It raises questions about whether we can protect national security," he said. Certainly it has been a difficult few months for the government's anti-terrorism policy. Judges have not been notably supportive of government positions. The Federal Court of Appeal recently upheld a ruling requiring the government to ask the Americans to bring Omar Khadr to Canada. That case is going to the Supreme Court but most observers do not see a government victory as likely. Three security certificate cases, in which non-Canadians are subject to deportation on ministerial certificates, also look close to collapse. But in each of these cases – the very cases Van Loan was commenting on – collapse has not been the result of judicial activism but because of weaknesses in the cases themselves.

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