Monday, June 18, 2007

Canada gets own no fly list today

As of today, Canadian authorities are ordering airlines to bar prospective passengers included on a new Canadian no fly list. This amounts to a list of persons considered "too dangerous to fly and too innocent to arrest" according to David Lyon, a Queen's University expert on surveillance and privacy issues. Not surprisingly, people who fear they might be mistakenly included on such a list are worried.
Civil-rights activist Itrath Syed : "I think the issue here is if people are being suspected of something, then they should be charged. ...If there is not enough evidence to charge someone, what is the evidence then to deny someone the right to mobility? If you're going to be on the list, you should be told and told why, so you would have a chance to do something about it."

Vancouver lawyer Zool Suleman expressed concern that certain individuals could be included in the list based on either their ethnic or religious affiliations. "When you are now starting to compile a no-fly list, there is a serious possibility of a mistake getting compounded over and over again. ...Somebody gets profiled for the wrong reasons, of which race is one of the criteria. Then this no-fly list could be shared with other countries. All of a sudden, someone could be in trouble for no other reason other than they are from the wrong community group or perhaps they had coffee with the wrong person or they know somebody who might be involved in security-sensitive matters."

The Straight, June 7, 2007
Vancouver, B.C.

Yes, these Canadians have been watching the no fly charade south of their border -- they know the pitfalls. But they haven't been able to resist pressure to ape the security theater we're unhappily accustomed to in the States.

They have created a Kafkaesque procedure should persons wish to try to get their name removed.

A committee of Transport Canada, RCMP and CSIS officials will re-assess the list every 30 days. Individuals can also appeal their inclusion on the list to an "Office of Reconsideration," which is now recruiting staff.

Independent experts such as former judges will review the individual's presence on the list. But the Transport minister will ultimately decide if a person stays on the list, and the recommendation of the independent experts will not be shared with the individual.

Critics question whether such a system gives individuals a fair chance to challenge the government. "You don't know what to answer, you don't know what to explain," said Bloc Quebecois MP Serge Menard.

Ottawa Citizen, March 2, 2007



And get this --

Anyone considered a threat will be prevented from boarding any domestic or foreign airline flying to, from or within Canada. Despite having its own no-fly list, Canada will still rely on the U.S. list, which is known for sometimes naming the wrong person.

Toronto Star, June 6, 2007

So Canada is not so much initiating a new program as engaging in independence-of-Washington theater coupled with security theater.

Photo of Itrath Syed from The Straight. Al Yassini from CTV News.

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