PM errs when saying ". . .preclearance bill offers greater protection"
For Immediate Release - February 27, 2017
Niagara Falls - PC Party Interim Leader Joe Hueglin, a former Progressive Conservative MP, questions the accuracy of Prime Minister Trudeau's remarks regarding Charter protections available to Canadians following proposed passage of Bill C23, An Act respecting the preclearance of persons and goods in Canada and the United States. The Prime Minister has stated his belief that "When you're doing preclearance in Canada, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canadian laws are in place, so there is extra protection."
Rather than "extra protection" the freedom of a Canadian citizen to choose to leave a preclearance area is limited by the Act, Mr. Hueglin fears. “Instead of being able to withdraw of their own choice, according to the National Co-ordinator of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group Tim McSorley, Canadian citizens and permanent residents may be detained and compelled to answer questions by American customs officials in preclearance areas on Canadian soil or denied direct entry to their own country by Canadian officials on their return, while still in the US, under new regulation and practices to be introduced by Bill C-23,” Mr. Hueglin said. McSorley’s concerns are argued in a News Blog published online by The Huffington Post Canada, "Proposed New Preclearance Act Will Bring Border Trouble".
The legislation originating with the Harper government and now being introduced by the Liberals led by Prime Minster Trudeau may limit the rights of Canadians rather than provide "extra protection," in the view of Progressive Canadian interim party leader.
The McSorley News Blog argues that,
"Under Bill C-23...travellers who wish to withdraw [from a preclearance area] would be compelled to continue answering questions, including the reason for requesting to withdraw from the process. A traveller who has not yet presented photo ID before requesting to withdraw would be forced to either provide photo ID, or agree to have their photo taken. The bill says that such questioning should not unreasonably delay the traveller (to avoid them missing their flight, for example), but "reasonable" is not defined in the law and such discretionary power could lead to abuse.
The new legislation also removes a provision stating that a decision to withdraw is not grounds for suspicion of wrongdoing. Instead, an act of withdrawal would now be almost by default viewed as suspicious and justification for further questioning.
At any point, should the preclearance officer suspect an offense (say, simply because you asked to withdraw), they would be able to frisk or strip-search an individual, and visually inspect (although not enter) the vehicle they are traveling in. If officers then believe there has been an infraction, they can detain the individual -- even if they no longer wish to enter the United States - and transfer them to Canadian authorities."
Mr. Hueglin, speaking for the Progressive Canadian Party, stated his concern for Canadian sovereignty and the rule of law under the Charter to protect Canadian citizens. "The PM must make his statement true by having the Bill redrafted to explicitly permit a Canadian citizen to withdraw from entry to the USA, and any remaining pre-clearance procedures, without repercussions of any kind from the American customs officers."
-30-For more information contact:
Leader, Progressive Canadian Party
PM says expanded border preclearance bill offers greater protection
"When you're doing preclearance in Canada, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canadian laws are in place, so there is extra protection."http://www.nationalobserver.com/2017/02/22/news/pm-says-expanded-border-preclearance-bill-offers-greater-protection
Preclearance bill raises concernshttp://www.canadianlawyermag.com/6140/Preclearance-bill-raises-concerns.htm
“This is round 2,” adds Greenberg. “At this stage, the goal is to do a close examination of some parts of this legislation to help ensure the preservation of our constitution and laws [and] ensure a balance with security concerns carry through. The difficulties will be in the nuances [and] the application of eventual regulations, which we haven’t seen yet.”