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CAUT Bulletin Archives

May 2006

Warren Allmand Is Fearmongering

Warren Allmand’s commentary, We Need Answers on Domestic Spying” (CAUT Bulletin, April 2006), betrays fearmongering at its worst and is a deliberate effort to cause Canadians to distrust their national security institutions.

Surely, as a former Solicitor-General of Canada, Mr. Allmand must be aware intelligence services have to operate on the basis of “reasonable grounds to suspect” that terrorist activity is taking place, and not the “probable cause” standard applied to policing. For, if the intelligence services wait for “probable cause” to be discerned, they will be cleaning up the blood and debris after a terror attack, rather than acting on “reasonable grounds” to prevent attacks from happening.

Curiously, in his plea for oversight of Canada’s signals intelligence agency, the Communications Security Establishment, Mr. Allmand seems blithely ignorant of the existence of the CSE commissioner, whose office exercises the responsibility for ensuring CSE operations comply with the law and policy. The CSE commissioner is the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Right Honourable Antonio Lamer. The commissioner’s annual reports are in the public domain.

Mr. Allmand professes to be concerned about civil liberties in the context of our national security efforts. It would behoove him to also acknowledge that Canada’s national security and intelligence community is indeed accountable under law and serves to protect all of our civil liberties against the avowed adversaries.

Martin Rudner
The Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University