Sure, we’ve had no Guantanamo Bay or torture in Canadian prisons and partially because of that, we seem to look down on the Americans for their excessive and seemingly exaggerated security methods. It’s been argued that 9/11 made Canada more Canadian because we put more emphasis on our values... particularly human rights. And unlike the U.S., we had been spared a terrorist attack.
However, Canada hasn’t been without its post 9/11 issues:
- Maher Arar
- Similar Canadian complicity in the torture in Syria of three other Canadian Arabs (who are negotiating a settlement with Ottawa and, unlike Arar, getting nowhere).
- The 2003 arrest of 23 men in Toronto on false accusations of being an Al Qaeda sleeper cell bent on blowing up the CN Tower.
- Benamar Benatta, an Algerian refugee claimant "rendered" the day after 9/11 to the U.S., where he was held five years before being cleared of any wrongdoing (and who's now suing Ottawa).
- Stephen Harper's stalling tactics in the probe of possible Canadian complicity in torture in Afghanistan, and his obstinacy – for reasons of ideology or partisan politics – in refusing to take Omar Khadr back from Guantanamo.
- The five Arabs held under security certificates, without charge and without being told why, cases that are collapsing in the courts, with two already tossed out.
But apparently, we are asking the wrong question.
The problem is not that, but rather the ineffectiveness of the “security services that hold the wrong people for the wrong reasons (or have them tortured abroad or held in the U.S.) and then invoke secrecy in the name of security to hide their mistakes.” (Siddiqui)
That has been the issue all along, as noted by Justice Dennis O'Connor (during the Arar inquiry) and as of the new year, should something not be done about it? Hopefully, realizing that these are false accusations will help Canada from making these mistakes again in the years to come.