National Security Law

We are all concerned with threats to the security of Canada. However, the government's program to protect our national security should not endanger our fundamental freedoms. We have to ensure that government national security agencies, such as the RCMP, CBSA and CSIS, do their job in a way that accords with the rule of law. Our national security must be protected in a balanced way to ensure due process for all Canadians.

Our experience and services in this area include:

  • advising organizations and individuals on their constitutional and Charter rights when the government seeks to curtail those rights on national security grounds;
  • bringing litigation to challenge legislation and government action when it impermissibly infringes Charter and/or constitutional rights;
  • instituting complaints to the Security Intelligence Review Committee;
  • representing witnesses in public inquiries; and
  • serving as counsel to commissions and other public bodies in national-security-related inquiries.

Notable representations include:

  • Special advocate in Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) v. Harkat, in which the government sought to deny Mr. Harkat admission to Canada on national security grounds and argued that Mr. Harkat could not see all of the evidence against him because public disclosure would threaten national security.
  • Special advocate in the matter of Mahmoud Es-Sayyid Jaballah, in which the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness issued a security certificate to prevent Mr. Jaballah from entering Canada on national security grounds.
  • Counsel to the commissions in the Arar Inquiry, which considered the circumstances under which Mr. Arar, a Canadian citizen, was extradited from the United States and subjected to torture in Syria. National security concerns required strict confidentiality protocols and special procedures to ensure due process in that context.
  • Counsel to Lieutenant Governor James Bartleman before the Air India Inquiry.
  • Counsel to a nuclear engineer in a complaint against CSIS before the Security Intelligence Review Committee for denying a security clearance.
  • Counsel to the Military Police Complaints Commission in the Afghanistan Public Interest Investigation and Hearings arising out of complaints lodged by Amnesty International Canada and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association. The complaints challenged the transfer of detainees by Military Police in Afghanistan.
  • Pro bono counsel to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression in a Charter challenge to Bill C-51, Anti-Terrorism Act.

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