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Canada brings back special anti-terror provisions
Politics Watch News Services
October 23, 2007, updated 5:20 p.m.

Two special provisions in Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act are back on the legislative agenda in Ottawa.

OTTAWA  (PoliticsWatch.com) —  Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announced Tuesday the federal government has introduced legislation to reinstate two extraordinary investigative powers given to police after 9/11.  

Parliament allowed the two special powers, known as investigative hearings and preventive arrest, to lapse earlier this year. 
"We are committed to giving law enforcement agencies the tools they need to fight terrorism in this country," Nicholson said in question period. 

The government introduced the legislation in the Senate. 

In February, the minority Conservative government's motion to renew the two special provisions for three years was defeated by the three opposition parties. 

Nicholson said the two provisions introduced by the federal government on Tuesday are only slightly different than what Parliament rejected eight months ago.

"Fundamentally we are reintroducing the two provisions that were sunsetted," Nicholson told reporters after question period. 

The debate over the two provisions  had created a rift with in the Liberal caucus earlier this year when it came time for the vote. 

One of the Liberal MPs, Tom Wappel, voted with the government, former Liberal justice minister Irwin Cotler abstained and at least three Liberal MPs who supported the provisions were absent for the vote. 

Liberal leader Stephane Dion reserved judgement Tuesday on whether his party would support the bill. 

"I would just say for today because we just have received that, I didn't have the opportunity to discuss with the caucus," he told reporters after question period. 

NDP Leader Jack Layton said his party would not be supporting the changes to the Anti-Terrorism Act. 

"I think that, the NDP believes that in a number of respects, our government has overstepped the bounds of what's appropriate in terms of ensuring that human rights are protected as we move on this so-called war on terror," Layton said after question period. 

The two controversial provisions were never used in the five years they were law. 

Nicholson stressed Tuesday that police are only supposed to use the provisions only as a measure of last resort. 

:  Related Links

> Canada votes down anti-terror measures

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