Report on COP 26 by Ahti Tolvanen

Faith Tested: Deep Throat and Zombie Credits in Glasgow. by Ahti Tolvanen, CUSJ Delegate to COP26 It began on Halloween. I was pleased to be the sole representative, of Canadian Unitarians and CUSJ on site- as well as at meetings on the COP Interfaith Liason Committee.  I was also honored to accept an invitation to … Read more

Help workers not oil companies

LA VERSION FRANÇAISE SUIT Canadian Unitarians For Social Justice joined with many other NGO’s, unions, and faith organizations to call our Federal Government to direct subsidies toward helping workers through transition rather than bailing out oil companies once again. March 23, 2020 To the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau,  Cc: Federal Cabinet Ministers  COVID-19 is presenting … Read more

Climate Action Network Sets PM’s Clock

CUSJ is a member of the Climate Action Network and signed on to this long but informative letter detailing what is needed in a government oriented to acting on the climate emergency. Dear Prime Minister Trudeau, Congratulations on your re-election to lead Canada’s government at this pivotal time in history. The next few years are … Read more

What is 5G?

How could 5G affect our health and environment? By Marg Friesen M.Sc., Safer Wireless Radiation Manitoba Originally published in the Manitoba Eco-Journal; reprinted with permission from the author. WE ARE HEARING A LOT OF BUZZ about faster “5G” for a new interconnected world, but do we really know all we should know on how it may … Read more

Segal Report Misses Point

For immediate Release

The Murray Segal Report Misses the Point

The Board of the Canadian Unitarians For Social Justice (CUSJ) call on Prime Minister Trudeau to immediately to establish a full independent public inquiry on the case of Dr. Hassan Diab.  Its purpose would be to examine the Canadian system of extradition and to recommend how the law should be changed to better protect the democratic and human rights of Canadian citizens.

CUSJ is a national faith-based organization of members that works for social justice, democracy, human rights, a healthy environment, and peace.  We have been following the case of Dr. Diab and supporting him and his family since he was arrested in November, 2008. 

The Segal report claims that the Government of Canada is completely exonerated because they followed the law in every detail.  Bill Woolverton, President of CUSJ challenges the conclusion. “This is a whitewash report to protect the government,” he said.  “The unjust and unconscionable treatment of Hassan Diab over the past 11 years cannot be acceptable to Canada as a standard of practice. If this can happen, then there are serious flaws in Canada’s extradition laws. If Canadians are to be protected from unfair arrest and extradition on flimsy evidence, the law must be improved.”

The litany of injustices:

  • Dr. Diab was incarcerated without charge for 160 days in maximum security in Canada. 
  • On bail for over 6 years, he had to pay $2000 a month for his own security anklet. 
  • He was not allowed to see the evidence against him.  Some of that evidence had no known source and could have been obtained by torture.
  • The federal team tried to help the French improve the handwriting evidence, to make the case credible.  Our government was working for the French, not for our Canadian citizen. 
  • Canada extradited Dr. Diab to France in 2014, even though the judge said the evidence was too flimsy to meet Canadian legal standards.  The Supreme Court decision (Ferras: 2006) that directed judges to refuse extradition if the evidence is flimsy was ignored.
  • In France Dr. Diab was held in maximum security with two hours a day to read or exercise.  He was held without charge or trial for 4 years.  There was never enough evidence for charges or a trial.
  • Judicial investigators from France proved that Hassan Diab was not in Paris at the time of the incident.  They recommended at a minimum a release on bail but the French prosecutor refused to release him.
  • A case could be made that both Canada and France took advantage of the societal fear of terrorism to scapegoat Dr. Diab because he was Arab and Muslim. 

Dr. Hassan Diab has conducted himself peacefully and with dignity through all these trials.  He has only ever asked for justice.  He has demonstrated over and over who he is as a human being.  What was done to him, in both Canada and in France, is both unjust and unconscionable.

It is time that we demonstrate who we are as a democratic country that respects human rights.  Canada must take a strong independent look at our extradition law with a view to improving it to better protect Canadians.

For further information contact

Bill Woolverton, president

Devastated by his ordeal, Hassan still fights for justice and change so No Canadian will ever have to face what he has faced.

Ask Parliament to fix Bill C-59

The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG), together with 20 other groups, is campaigning to fix the flaws in Bill C-59, Canada’s national security act. As you may recall, in the past, CUSJ had submitted a brief with recommendations for improving Bill C-59. Here is the helpful infographic that ICMLG is using in its campaign. To view … Read more

CUSJ Bill C-59 recommendations: Amend vague wording and improve transparency

CUSJ was one of several of social justice organizations that submitted a brief in response to Bill C-59, “An Act Respecting National Security Matters.” The bill sets out the scope of powers of the Intelligence Commissioner, makes amendments to the criminal code, and much more. To weigh in on every provision of the act would … Read more

National Security Legislation: Bureaucrats 2; Citizens 0

By Jack Dodds The House of Commons and the Senate have adjourned for the summer, after making decisions on two bills related to our national security agencies: the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act (C-22) and the Preclearance Act, 2016 (C-23). The first was passed by the Senate, received royal assent and is … Read more

Good news, bad news on security agency consultations

First, the good news: CUSJ’s substantial brief to the Consultation was posted late last week on the government website. There was no size limit on this submission, which is unusual, so it is the most comprehensive brief that we have submitted on this subject. The government received  59,000 responses to the Consultation. (Wow!) Now, the bad news: It is a Herculean task … Read more

Highlights of Tim McSorley’s speech at the CUSJ 2017 AGM

On Friday, May 12th, the CUSJ topped off its AGM with a speech from Tim McSorley of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG). The topic of the speech was Our Rights! Our Freedoms!… Our National Security? McSorley began by introducing himself and describing how the ICLMG came into being in 2001, in the wake of the … Read more

Senators: Please reinstate amended version of security bill

If you have been following the progress of Bill C-22, you will know that this bill, intended to improve oversight of security agencies, has thus far endured a rather tumultuous existence: On June 16, 2016: First Reading. On December 8, it was amended by SECU*. On April 4, 2017, the government overturned the amended version on … Read more

Bill C-22 Update: Liberals toss out the SECU recommendations

By Jack Dodds Bill C-22 is the Liberal government’s bid to fulfill their election promise of parliamentary oversight of Canada’s security agencies. As first introduced in the Commons, C-22 was criticized for creating an oversight committee that had too little power and independence to allow it to restore public confidence in the security agencies. After second reading in … Read more

Bill C-23 would give US officials expanded authority over travellers

CUSJ has submitted comments to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (SECU) regarding Bill C-23. This bill could compromise the Canadian government’s ability to ensure the privacy and rights of its own citizens when they travel, by expanding the powers of US officials. At present, the US Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) operates preclearance … Read more

Bill C-22: Security agency activities may be legal, but are they democratic?

This is one of the questions posed by CUSJ today, in a letter to Senator Jaffer, Deputy Chair of the Senate committee on National Security and Defense (SECD) that is studying Bill C-22. As you may recall, CUSJ has already submited a brief on Bill C-22. This letter is a follow-up, that draws Senator Jaffer’s attention to three relatively … Read more

CUSJ Brief on Public Safety, National Security, & Human Rights

We are grateful to Jack Dodds, CUSJ member from Toronto, for stepping up and presenting our brief during the government public hearing process.  The link to the final brief submitted to the public safety committee is here. CUSJ is concerned that the government is going too far and that pervasive surveillance of innocent people without … Read more

Juggling democracy, fairness, and security

Presentation to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (SECU)  by CUSJ member Jack Dodds*, and CUSJ President Margaret Rao. On October 19th, 2016 in downtown Toronto, these two CUSJ representatives spoke to the SECU about their concerns that the democratic rights of Canadians are being threatened by over-zealous attention to national security. They pointed out … Read more

CUSJ Board Motion in Support of Hassan Diab

Editor’s Note: The board passed a resolution at the May 12, 2017 AGM to amend this resolution to request on no uncertain terms that Hassan Diab be released, and that change is reflected herein. CUSJ’s mission is to defend and promote Unitarian principles, such as the inherent worth and dignity of every person, justice and equity in human … Read more

Bill C-51 uses terrorism as a pretext for a new secret police

EROSION OF CIVIL LIBERTIES  CUSJ members to join demonstrations coast to coast against “anti-terrorism” bill TORONTO – On Saturday, March 14 2015, Unitarians will join with other concerned Canadians coast to coast for a National Day of Action to oppose the federal government’s latest security legislation, Bill C-51. Peaceful #StopC51 demonstrations that day are to be held in over … Read more