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Seventeen alleged terrorists on the verge of terrorizing Ottawa and Toronto were recently arrested. Front page news, panic (”you now have a reason to be frighten”), intolerance. Something bothers in this story. Sure, the people who were arrested could be terrorists, that’s not the problem. The problem is all this hype.
Following the 9/11 attacks, Canada suspended the Habeas corpus. The oldest common law), it is the rule according to which an accused has the right to a fair trial and to confront and challenge the evidence against him. There are currently five people stuck in prison without trials, under “security certificates” (by which the writ of Habeas corpus is dismissed).
According to the anti-terrorist rationale of the governemnt, if the danger posed by the Toronto group was clear and present, shouldn’t they have simply been thrown in jail? Or did the government need a publicity stunt to sprinkle a bit of fear in the population, so certain actions be more favourably looked upon? Bush used that a lot: he raised the threat level every time his popularity droped — until one of his own advisered publicly resigned in protest.