As many as 2,000 people have secretly been declared security threats by government officials, including CSIS and the RCMP, and will be denied airplane boarding passes as a result of the Canadian no-fly list that went into effect yesterday.

Critics say the list must be scrapped because it jeopardizes fundamental human rights to privacy, liberty and the freedom of movement.

But Transportation Minister Lawrence Cannon says the new program, called Passenger Protect – which passed its first full day yesterday without any problems – has been thoroughly assessed to ensure it does not violate rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

“We’ve met with the civil-liberty groups. We’ve met with people who are interested in this file, whether they be air carriers or stakeholders or legal authorities. The Ministry of Justice has gone over this,” Mr. Cannon said yesterday. “So, I’m quite satisfied that the regulations that were published are the right regulations.”

There are “roughly between 500 and maybe 2,000” on the Canadian list, Mr. Cannon said. Compared with the U.S. list, which was compiled after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, “ours is much more limited in terms of the criteria.”

But Faisal Kulty, who wrote a report for the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations that damns the list, said his group has identified at least nine different reasons why it should not be used. “They are actually putting people on a list, not telling them why, not having a hearing before they do it, and their Charter rights are being violated.”

There is a presumption of innocence that is being removed here, he said. “You are guilty without being given an opportunity for any kind of process.”


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