Saturday, February 24, 2007

Oh, Canada!

You thought Canada was just all beer, hockey, donuts, universal health care, peace and prosperity, good manners, environmental integrity, racial and religious harmony, sensible drug laws, progressive social policy and clean cities? It is so much more than that.

The Canadian Supreme Court yesterday unanimously struck down a "security" law passed after September 11, 2001 that permitted the government to detain suspected foreign-born terrorist suspects indefinitely while their cases were being reviewed. The law also permitted the government to introduce secret evidence into their proceedings.

Contrast the Canadian court's decision with a decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals last week that upheld the Military Commissions Act of 2006 against a constitutional challenge brought by several detainees in Guantanamo Bay. The law was a congressional response to a Supreme Court decision of last spring, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006), when a 5-3 majority ruled that President Bush had no constitutional authority to establish military commissions without congressional approval. So Congress, it what might be an all-time low even for that too-often pathetic institution, gave the president the authority he wanted. Remember how Congress was just "outraged" -- "outraged" -- over the conditions in Gitmo and other detention facilities in who-know's-where and was going to do something about it? Oh, well . . . .

By the way, the United States has detained over 5,000 persons on charges related to terrorism since September 11, 2001. Not one has been convicted of a terrorism-related crime.

No comments: