An interim report on security threats facing Canada released earlier this year by the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence proposes a series of controversial anti-terrorism measures that could have serious implications for academic staff.
The report entitled Countering the Terrorist Threat in Canada recommends “the government work to establish a program which provides information about clear and specific indicators of radicalization to frontline workers including teachers, police officers, prison workers, nurses and doctors.” And the government “should do more to encourage Canadians to anonymously report information regarding terrorism, criminal extremism or suspicious activities which could pose a threat to safety and security by calling the national security tip line.”
Another recommendation urges the government take direct action to prevent “extremism and radicalization” within schools, colleges, universities and prisons.
“If adopted, such recommendations would introduce an unprecedented culture of community spying and governmental intervention on campuses,” said CAUT president Robin Vose.
“They would undermine the spirit of the 1963 accord signed between Prime Minister Lester Pearson and then CAUT president Bora Laskin, which was intended to limit the activities of security agents on Canadian campuses.”
Vose noted that CAUT condemned the passage of Bill C-51, the federal government’s Anti-Terrorism Act, because of the way the legislation affects civil liberties, academic freedom and campus free speech.