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harperThe House of Commons passed the new anti-terrorism bill on April 24th 2013 and received royal assent on the 25th. The bill revived provisions from the Anti-terrorism Act passed just after the Sept. 11 attacks and adds some new ones that can very easily violate civil rights.

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It is no secret that since 9/11 the increase in security and the sheer removal of civil rights and freedoms has been extensive in North America especially, but also other areas of the world. This of course comes under the guise of protection and safety, but here in North America we haven’t really seen any major terror attacks that have not been either 1. caused by the FBI 2. have had government and other agency groups heavily involved or 3. have had a large number of factors suggesting the event was a staged attack. In fact, it was recently disclosed that of the 22 terror related attacks since 9/11, 14 of them have been created and caused by the FBI themselves. [1]

Some new provisions such as investigative hearings and preventive detentions have been added to the new act and are creating quite a controversial stir as many begin to question the real intention behind the passing of these bills. These came after a suspected terror plot was foiled where two men were allegedly plotting to derail a train in Toronto. Another shady accusation.

1. Investigative hearings are reinstated

This basically states that any individual can be forced to appear at a secret hearing without having any charges against them. All it takes is for authorities to believe he or she has knowledge of terrorist activity. Either the individual appears and answer questions or risks being jailed for up to 12 months.

2. Preventive detentions are reinstated

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Much like what we saw during the G20 any individual can be held for up to three days on suspicion of being involved with terrorism. When released, he or she can be expected to uphold probation-like conditions. This can include not contact with certain people for up to 12 months. The do not have to be charged with any offence to have these conditions forced.

3. Both provisions are ‘sunsetted’ again

One potential good piece of news, both investigative hearings and preventive detention are “sunsetted” to expire in five years. With the new law, annually the government is responsible for explaining  why it’s necessary to extend these measures.

4. New offences target foreign travel

An individual can be charged with leaving or attempting to leave the country with the intent of committing an act of terrorism. This provision could apply if someone travelled from Canada to attend a terrorist training camp overseas.

5. Acts committed outside Canada can be prosecuted

If an individual hijacks an aircraft or endangers safety on a plane or at an airport, that person can be prosecuted if found in Canada.

6. Facilitating terrorism in another country is illegal

Example: anyone who knowingly facilitates the communication of false information — such as by knowingly lending someone his or her cellphone, outside Canada, to make an emergency call about a false bomb threat against an aircraft — could, if found in Canada, face up to 14 years imprisonment.

7. Wiretapping provisions stay in place

In cases of terrorism, authorities don’t have to prove that electronic surveillance is a last resort. Wiretaps can stay in place for up to a year. Citizens do not have the right to be informed that they have been wiretapped for up to three years after the surveillance took place.

8. Some penalties are toughened

If any person harbours or conceals a person who authorities say committed a terrorist act can face a maximum of 10 years to 14 years in prison.

As you can tell, the media and government continues to use fear as a means to remove more and more rights from citizens. We sometimes believe this is for our own safety, but very seldom does any real and legitimate event take place. I think as a people, it’s important to not allow the fear to take over and be such a factor in not being able to properly view the events taking place. Fear is one very effective way the media has been able to use our emotions to coverup our intuition and logic when it comes to critically thinking about what is taking place. See past the fear, find the calm and neutrality that is within you. This is a great tool in navigating through the interesting times we are in.




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