Bill S-7, the Combating Terrorism Act

Slaw readers might like to take a look at Senate bill S-7, the Combating Terrorism Act, now before the House for third reading, a bill that proposes to abridge our civil liberties to a degree. As is often the case with bills the main purpose of which is to amend existing legislation, the text of the bill itself is nearly incomprehensible on its own unless you’re familiar with the relevant area of law.

The Globe and Mail has an article in this morning’s paper that will give you a brief sense of the bill’s main incursions into your Charter rights. Rather more full is the legislative summary by Jennifer Bird and Dominique Valiquet of the Library of Parliament’s Legal and Legislative Affairs Division.

Yesterday’s debate in Parliament is best followed on


  1. David Collier-Brown

    Regrettable, actually, as we’ve been arresting terrorists under the existing laws, through plain ordinary good police work…

  2. Who let the dogs out ? From the Library of Parliament’s legislative summary and analysis: “In addition, section 83.28 states that any person ordered to attend an investigative hearing is entitled to retain and instruct counsel. The person will be required to answer questions, and may only refuse to do so on the basis of laws relating to disclosure or privilege. The presiding judge will rule on any such refusal. No one called to such a hearing can refuse to answer a question or to produce something in his or her possession on the grounds of self-incrimination.”

    The other issue is the definition of a “terrorist” organization.

    And finally, D’Arcy Jenish writes about the October Crisis of 1970 in Legion Magazine (September, 2010) that “Tommy Douglas, leader of the federal New Democratic Party, accused Trudeau of using “a sledgehammer to crack a peanut,” and as well “A quarter of a century later, in a memoir published in 1996, longtime Conservative aide and adviser Hugh Segal wrote that “Civil liberties, including the right to free assembly, the right to free speech and other fundamental rights (were) suspended across the land.”” Hugh Segal led the Bill S-7 through the Senate.