Editor's Notes

Friday, June 12, 2009
True North Perspective
Vol. 4, No. 29 (180)

CSIS holds the letter and spirit of Canadian democracy in contempt

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service is a rogue institution that is a menace to the peace and security of our country. Next week I’ll tell you why and how it happened. Meanwhile, following is a guest editorial from The Toronto Star.

Take it easy but take it.

Looking forward.

Carl Dow
Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective

Did CSIS deceive court?

The Toronto Star

Did Canada's spy agency lie in Federal Court about Mohamed Harkat, the Algeria-born man Ottawa is trying to deport because he is suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda? Did the agency withhold information that might have helped clear Harkat's name?

Mr. Justice Simon Noël, one of Canada's most experienced judges in terror cases, raised that chilling prospect this week in a ruling that should have MPs shouting for answers.

Noël found that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) might not have disclosed information it should have in the case. He cited "possible prevarication by CSIS witnesses" who testified about the reliability of a key informant against Harkat. And he questioned whether CSIS acted in "utmost good faith" in the case.

His concern about CSIS credibility was triggered by a "top secret" letter from lawyers acting for Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. It alerted Noël to the "serious matter" of information on the informant dating back to 2002 and 2008 that should have been put before the court but wasn't until now.

This is alarming, and CSIS Director Jim Judd needs to do more than issue a bland statement that CSIS has "utmost respect" for the courts. CSIS itself noticed the problem and drew it to the court's attention, MPs were told yesterday. Now CSIS is investigating and will report back to the court. That done, Judd should tell the public what happened and what is being done to ensure it won't happen again.

Given the secrecy that shrouds terror cases, Canadians must rely on the vigilance of judges and the honesty of the police and security services to ensure that justice is done to suspects. Evidence is routinely given behind closed doors from sources whose identities are kept secret for national security reasons. That evidence must be credible.

If CSIS witnesses knowingly deceived the court, heads should roll.

29 May 2009 — Return to cover.