Torture now an accepted way of doing business in Canada?

The media has reported that the Conservative government has secretly ordered the Canadian military to share information with allies, even in cases where there is a serious risk that sharing this information could lead to individuals being tortured.

“The use of torture can never be justified in a modern society that maintains that it supports the many statements agreed at the United Nations with respect to human rights and the rule of law,” argued Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada.

“Like most Canadians, the Green Party places a high value on the rights and dignity of the individual. Torture is not acceptable; information should never be provided to a foreign country where there is a credible risk that it will cause or contribute to the use of torture.”

The well-known Canadian figure Maher Arar is an example of how the sharing of false information can lead to false arrest and torture. He was detained in New York in September 2002 and deported soon after by U.S. authorities, and ended up in a Syrian prison where he was tortured and forced to give false confessions. Justice Dennis O’Connor concluded that faulty information the RCMP passed on to the Americans very likely led to the Ottawa telecommunications engineer’s traumatic detention.

How pervasive this new policy is can be demonstrated by the fact that no less than 5 government agencies are now involved in sharing information, regardless of the risk.

”Can any Canadians feel secure if respect for national and international laws are dismissed by the government?” queried Joe Foster, Green Party of Canada Human Rights Critic.