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CAIR-CAN Calls for Safeguards on Security Powers

CAIR-CAN Calls for Safeguards on Security Powers

The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) is calling on the federal government to restore court-ordered warrants as a mandatory requirement before police can eavesdrop on the private conversations of Canadians.

“It is time for Prime Minister Paul Martin to uphold his promises to Canadian voters by restoring the privacy rights of all Canadians and reinstating the legal requirements that once protected Canadians against the abuse of police powers,” says Riad Saloojee, CAIR-CAN’s executive director.

Under the Anti-Terrorism Act, security officials are no longer required to obtain court-ordered warrants before eavesdropping on private conversations that either originate or terminate outside of Canada.

The Canadian Security Establishment, an intelligence agency that tracks communications, now only requires the approval of the Minister of Defence before intercepting international calls.

It was revealed in today’s New York Times that an American surveillance program captured purely domestic communications, despite a White House requirement that one end of the conversation take place outside the United States.


In that story, telecommunications experts admitted the difficulty of ascertaining whether an individual was physically inside the U.S. when making a phone call or sending an e-mail.

“It is clear that the Canadian program of eavesdropping on international calls must be re-evaluated given the potential for abuse, lack of accountability, and now, lack of technical reliability,” added Saloojee.

Saloojee called on the Prime Minister and all party leaders to make their positions on security issues affecting the rights of Canadians known before Election Day.

For more information, please contact Halima Mautbur at 613-254-9704 or 613-795-2012.


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