Canada’s Foiled Terror Attempt Coincides with Debate of Intrusive Anti-Terrorism Bill

Kimberly Paxton
April 25th, 2013

Via Rail train

In a well-timed coincidence, Canadian officials arrested 2 men that were allegedly plotting a terror attack on a Via-Rail train near Toronto, while the Parliament was debating Bill S-7, the Combating Terrorism Act.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper had cleared the legislative schedule after the Boston Bombings in order to conduct readings and speed up the bill that has been proceeding rather slowly up until this point.

At issue is S-7, the Combating Terrorism Act, which would authorize police to pre-emptively detain Canadians and hold them for up to three days without charging them.

The bill would also allow authorities to imprison a Canadian for up to 12 months if the person refuses to testify in front of a judge at an investigative hearing.

The legislation would also make it a federal crime to leave or try to leave Canada for the purpose of committing terrorism or attending a terrorist training camp. (source)

Candice Bergen, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, said, “We must ensure – it’s so important – that Canada has the necessary laws and tools to prevent such a heinous attack. We have to ensure that the evildoers are met with the justice that they deserve otherwise we as parliamentarians have failed our most basic duty: that is to protect Canadians.”

Bill S-7 specifically targets Canadian citizens. The men arrested, Chiheb Esseghaier, from Montreal, and Raed Jaser, from Toronto, were charged with conspiring to carry out an attack and commit murder at the direction of or in association with a terrorist group. They were not Canadian, and officials have refused to comment about where they are from originally or why they were living in the country.

Opposers of the bill point out that the attempt was foiled without the need for additional intrusions on civil liberties. NDP (New Democratic Party) foreign affairs critic, Paul Dewar said, ““The key question that needs to be asked is this: is S-7 necessary or are our current laws sufficient? Today’s arrests show that our police force can fight terrorism with existing tools.”

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