Palestine – Israel

Position Statement
Palestine – Israel
April, 2003

The intensification of the conflict in Occupied Palestine and Israel today is one of grave concern to the Canadian Arab Federation. CAF believes just peace and security depend on giving Palestinians and Israelis peace, security and self-determination based on International Law and UN Resolutions.

CAF condemns the killing of Israeli and Palestinian civilians; the grave human rights abuses by Israeli Army including torture, assassination, killing of Palestinians civilians; destruction of cultural and religious sites, demolition of Palestinian houses, land confiscation, destruction of farmland, closures, the building and expansion of illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

These official Israeli policies have been part of a system of occupation that has, over the past 36 years, humiliated and oppressed Palestinians. It has brought their society to the verge of mental, physical, economic and social collapse. Unemployment from Israeli closures, economic strangulation and curfews is as high as 75 per cent in many areas. USAID reported that poverty among Palestinians is now astonishingly at par with severely impoverished areas such as Chad and Niger. The United Nations has had to step up its food distribution from less than 15,000 to more than 750,000 people in the Occupied Territories. Women are giving birth at dusty Israeli checkpoints because passage to hospitals is denied. CAF believes that bringing an end to Israel’s occupation and this conflict is vital if a sustainable peace is to be achieved.

We believe a just and lasting peace for all Palestinians and Israelis must be prefaced with the an end to Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Syrian Golan Heights, and the Lebanese Sheba’a Farms, with an Israeli withdrawal to its June 4th 1967 borders in compliance with United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338. This peace can only be sustained if the Palestinian people are given a fully sovereign state, alongside Israel, including the entire territory of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, with land exchanges only by mutual consent of the Palestinian and Israeli people and of equal worth and value.

If a just and secure peace between Palestinians and Israelis is to be established, it is imperative that Palestinian refugees be given the opportunity to exercise their individual rights, as refugees, to return to their homes and/or receive appropriate compensation, by their own choice, known as The Right of Return. No belligerent state or negotiation partners have the right to unilaterally supercede or negate the individual legal rights of Palestinian refugees as enshrined in a number of legal bodies, among them the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, Article 13 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN General Assembly Resolution 194 ratified on 11 December 1948 and affirmed over 40 times. Resolution 194 states:

The refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practical date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for the loss of or damage to property which, under the principle of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.

Failure of “Peace” Agreements, why are we here?

Since Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, the Syrian Golan Heights, and the Lebanese Sheba’a Farms in 1967, all attempts at peace have successively failed. Similarly, the most significant Madrid-Oslo “peace process” also floundered because, like other agreements, it failed to address the underlying issues of the conflict including;

  • Palestinian Refugees’ Right to Return: Over four million Palestinian refugees in the Occupied Territories and surrounding countries have the right to return to their homes under United Nation Resolution 194;
  • Occupied East Jerusalem (illegally annexed by Israel in 1980): Since 1967 Palestinian property has been confiscated, homes demolished and public services denied, in many cases to make way for “Jewish only” illegal settlements;
  • Illegal Jewish Settlements: No agreement has ever called on Israel’s continued occupation to end in full, or for Israel’s attempts to entrench its military occupation through illegal Jewish settlements and confiscation of Palestinian property to discontinue. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conversion (for which Canada is a high contracting party) states that:

“The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

  • Ending Israel’s illegal occupation: None of the US brokered agreements have called for Israel to return to its internationally recognized borders and withdraw completely from territory it occupied by force in 1967 including East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, the Syrian Golan Heights and the Lebanese Sheba’a Farms.
  • The establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state: (In the entire West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, with control of all natural resources within its territory.) All previous “peace agreements” have never allowed Palestinian control of an international border, control of trade, water, natural resources, airspace, immigration and/or continuous territory in either the Gaza Strip or West Bank).

CAF believes these are crucial issues that must be addressed in any new agreement put forward. The American dominated “peace process” has preferred to focus on Israel’s “security” while postponing discussions of these five key issues indefinitely to “final status talks.” CAF feels that Canada has an opportunity to bring these issues to the fore of any discussions that take place, either in the UN or in diplomatic circles.

The Proposed “Road Map”

While its details are yet to be known and published, the US proposed “Road Map” has become the latest basis of discussion to “end the conflict.” CAF is encouraged by this important step forward, but remains cautious about endorsing the “Road Map” for, what little of it has been made public, it has yet to address the underlying issues mentioned above. In addition, the “Road Map” fails to set clear objectives, criteria, requirements and timelines for the outcomes of the process. It bases the progression into successive phases of the plan on the condition of Palestinian “performance”. As demonstrated in the past, Israel will continue to hamper Palestinian “performance” through its military aggression to create insurmountable obstacles that provoke extreme responses and reactions. A clear example of this is Israel’s policy of assassinations that create further instability, violence, a sense of victimization, and a cycle of lawlessness and revenge.

What can Canada do to support a just and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis? Israel has already asked for over 100 amendments to the “Road Map”, including the removal of any mention of an Independent Palestinian state in favor of wording such as “an entity with aspects of sovereignty.” In order to not follow the folly of previous flawed agreements, CAF believes Canada can take the following actions:

  • Canada must condemn all acts of killing of civilians whether Palestinian or Israeli.
  • Canada must insist that Israel live up to its obligations under the 4th Geneva Convention and the over 60 UN resolutions related to the conflict, including 242, 194, 338.
  • Canada must demand an end of Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories and its return to the June 4th, 1967 borders.
  • Canada must ensure that peace be founded on the implementation of UN resolutions and international principles of justice applied to all people universally.
  • As a signatory to the Fourth Geneva Convention, Canada must demand that Israel stops building and expanding illegal Jewish settlements in the Golan Heights, West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Canada must call for an removal of all Jewish settlers in occupied Palestine
  • Canada must reaffirm its position that further land confiscations, building or expansion of Jewish settlements undermine both the opportunities for peace and are in direct violation of the Geneva Convention.
  • Canada must prohibit Canadians from donating funds to support illegal Jewish settlement construction and organizations that fund them. Canada should ban fundraising activities in Canada that fund illegal Israeli settlers.
  • Canadian companies should be prohibited from obtaining commercial contracts and trading with illegal Jewish settlements

Multiculturalism and Civil Rights

Position Statement
Multiculturalism and civil rights
April, 2003

September the 11th and its aftermath have left Arab and Muslim Canadians reeling with sentiments of anxiety, fear, alienation, marginalization, betrayal, and disillusionment. There have been many causes for this: Key among them is what would, by Canadian standards, easily qualify as an excessive, overzealous security agenda.

“The backlash” to September the 11th started with acts of hate and racism directed at Arab and Muslim Canadians on the streets of our cities, in schoolyards and workplaces, from neighbours and strangers alike, from vandals who attacked places of worship. Next in the chronology came mass detentions of Arabs and Muslims: hundreds here, thousands across the border, incarcerated under a cloak of secrecy: secret detentions, secret hearings, secret evidence, secret names, and secret numbers of those arrested.

Bill C-36 followed and quickly became law, allowing, among other things, preventative detentions and forced testimony – anathemas in a free society. While some argue rightly that the Anti-Terrorism Act does not single out Arabs and Muslims and is directed at all Canadians, in the climate following September the 11th these communities cannot help but feel targeted.

Also following the tragic events of that day there were reported abuses by law enforcement, and CSIS in particular, that seemed to cast a wide net. While on this fishing expedition, CSIS conducted intrusive interrogation of innocent people, and, most damaging, pressured ordinary Arab Canadians to act as spies and inform on their friends and colleagues.

Many in the media have had a field day demonizing Arabs and Muslims and painting them all with the bin Laden brush. The stereotypes and racist overtones put forward by some in the mainstream media confirmed the permissibility of singling out Arabs and Muslims for suspicious treatment: they are guilty by association, suspect by nature of their ethnicity and religion, therefore, an acceptable subject of hate.

The failure of our society in this regard was in not sending a clear signal to the contrary; society did not come to the aid of this maligned minority. This, despite the best efforts of church groups, other well-meaning citizens and some in the law enforcement community, who built bridges and spoke out against discrimination. But by-and-large, Arab and Muslim Canadians were left standing on their own, having to explain themselves and prove their loyalty; defend their religion and demonstrate its goodness; and at times hide their ethnicity and deny their heritage in a bid to escape scrutiny. The effect on Arab communities is that, like their Japanese Canadian counterparts during World War II, they too have become victims of psychological internment.

In the meantime, mainstream institutions, including governments, simply looked the other way. Perhaps officials felt they could not be introducing legislation and measures that target Arabs and Muslims while at the same time telling other Canadians not to single them out for discrimination.

Predictably, Canadians concurred. In an EKOS poll released in September 2002, fully half of respondents agreed that Canadians of Arab origin should be targeted for extra security attention. 37% of respondents confessed to having developed negative views towards Arabs and Muslims. A study conducted by the Canadian Arab Federation post September 11th, showed that 41% of Arab Canadians believe that Canadians don’t like Muslims, and 84% of respondents thought Canadians view Arabs as violent. The same study showed that 13% of Arab children have faced discrimination in schools, 27% of respondents faced discrimination in the workplace, and one out of four families have experienced racism first hand. Not a pretty multicultural picture.

Another revealing finding of the CAF study showed that only 14% of Arab Canadians feel the Canadian government is concerned with their issues. Canadian society and institutions have simply not done enough to alleviate the impact of the security agenda on affected communities specifically, and multiculturalism in general.

One can argue, perhaps convincingly, that, as a country, Canada had no choice, given its alliance with, and reliance on trade with the US, but to enact tough security legislation and ratify firm measures following September the 11th. But why did Canadian society have to turn its back on the Arabs and Muslims within it in the process?

This was evident in a number of instances, among them:

  • The Justice Department, after showing initial interest in Arab and Muslim Canadian concerns, then walked away.
  • The Solicitor General, after expressing empathy with the communities’ plight, then refused to help monitor abuses of the Anti-Terrorism Act by law enforcement or security agencies.
  • The Minister of Foreign Affairs lifted the travel advisory to the US when Arab and Muslim Canadians traveling there continued to face humiliation and treatment normally reserved for charged criminals.
  • The Ontario Public Safety Minister condoned the racial profiling taking place at the US border – against his own citizens.
  • The Ontario government hired a security consultant (Ret. General Louis MacKenzie) who openly condoned racial profiling
  • The mayor of Canada’s largest city, whose logo is “Diversity is Our Strength”, never spoke out against the victimization of Arabs and Muslims post September the 11th.

Canadians ought to have learned from past internment, ghettoization and marginalization of groups. This society knows that institutionalized discrimination leads to hate, that targeting every Arab or Muslim as a suspect is not only degrading and unjust but dangerous for society too.

Elements of Bills C-17 and C-18 today stand as prime examples of the intrusions on privacy and violations of rights this society does not need, and would normally have abhorred. By adopting the security agenda our country has been going against its own values of tolerance, diversity and equity.

Fear and political pressure have compelled this country to go against its own self; destroying parts of what it had meticulously built over decades upon painstaking decades of democratic evolution. Arab Canadians are today convinced there is a bigger threat to the Canadian way of life from the security agenda than there is from terrorism itself. CAF believes it is time we started calculating the costs to our society of eroding civil liberties and watering down democracy.

Given that multiculturalism is premised on the equal treatment and respect of all citizens, Canada needs to consider how the security agenda and multiculturalism can co-exist. To date, the former has come at the expense of the latter. Serious dialogue has to take place on how to reverse that. We need to determine, as a society, how to combine our desire to respect human rights and multiculturalism with our need to protect our security and trade interests.

Iraq

Position Statement
Iraq
April, 2003

The Canadian Arab Federation has stood in opposition to the war on Iraq, along with thousands of organizations and millions of people around world, to speak out against the devastation and destruction that will be the result of this aggression. The humanitarian disaster we had warned against has come to pass, and the dangerous regional consequences are slowly unfolding.

Canada’s brave and honourable stand in opposing this illegal and illegitimate war has saved the Arab and Muslim Canadian communities from the terrible backlash that would have threatened our multicultural coexistence. But despite our government’s vocal opposition to this war, it did not succeed in preventing it or in asserting the role of the United Nations and the international community in resolving conflicts. However, and particularly at this time, there remains a great deal that Canada needs to do in opposing the American occupation of Iraq and its political and military hegemony over the Middle East.

Iraq has been decimated

For over a decade now, Iraq has been disarmed both literally and figuratively. Its people have endured, under sanctions, astronomical rises in infant mortality, malnutrition and disease. Having instilled terror and untold civilian casualties with this latest, largely unopposed, military campaign, aptly named “Shock and Awe”, the occupation forces also unleashed criminal elements onto Iraqi society to lay waste the very fabric of that society, its institutions, culture and the enormous repost of humanity’s heritage present in Iraq.

Invading troops have assisted, by commission or omission, in the destruction of all that is indispensable for a stable civic life. Population, land, employment, business, the banking system, schools, hospitals, public utilities, public sector institutions, industrial plants, food and medicine warehouses, shops and even homes have been looted and destroyed. Under the pretext of security operations, the forces of occupation secured the Oil Ministry in Baghdad and other oil facilities in the country while claiming lack of capacity to protect civil facilities and civilian property.

In only twelve years, Iraq has gone from a country that boasted one of the highest literacy rates in its region, with a vibrant, productive and educated middle class, an advanced health care system and a booming economy, to a wasteland of death, destruction and despair.

Through its support of these sanctions Canada has been complicit in adding to the misery of the Iraqi people. The time has come for Canada to play an active and visible role in addressing the ongoing and growing humanitarian tragedy in Iraq, and to stand in opposition to the United States’ exclusive monopolizing of Iraq’s natural and monetary resources.

The War Remains Unjustified

While the Canadian Arab Federation and its constituency have always deplored the human rights abuses in Iraq, and have in no way supported the brutal and inhuman oppression of the Iraqi people by their regime, and while a process of democratization and good governance needs to be put in place, not only in Iraq, but in the entire region, we remain unshaken in our conviction that this war was illegal, illegitimate and unjustified. It is clear to even the most casual observer of the international scene, that the only reason for waging this war of destruction was for the US to achieve full control over the region and its resources.

In the build up to the war, the US stated several reasons to justify its planned attack on Iraq. These have ranged from Iraq’s stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, its ability to develop nuclear weapons, its readiness to use them, it’s connection to terrorist organizations, and its complicity in the 9/11 attacks on the US.

To date no weapons of mass destruction or nuclear weapons have been found, no capabilities to produce said weapons has been revealed, no connection between the Iraqi regime and al Qa’eda has been established, and Iraq’s military capabilities to threaten the United States and Britain have been proven baseless by the virtually unopposed occupation of Iraq by the invading forces. Moreover, the only illegal weapons deployed were unleashed by US and British forces, pounding a defenceless civilian population and a largely demoralized and ill-equipped Iraqi army with 1500 cluster bombs, and adding an as yet undetermined number of depleted Uranium rounds to the 940,000 dropped in 1991.

Concern for Post-war Iraq and the region

Long before the war, however, it had become clear to the entire world that these reasons were only pretexts. At which point Operation Iraqi Freedom was born. But the liberation of Iraq soon turned into the sacking of Baghdad in which not even hospitals, museums or libraries were spared the looting and destruction.

Weeks after the bombs have stopped falling, Iraqis are still suffering the effects of the destruction of their infrastructure, including water treatment plants, power generation, and communication facilities. Hospitals are unable to treat the thousands of civilians injured and maimed by the bombing, and food and medical supplies are scarce.

Moreover, there has been little information about what the US intends to do in Iraq. The US’s claims that the war is not yet over and that it is not an occupying force, absolves it’s military from having to take any form of responsibility for civilian life and well being in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.

However, the appointment of Rt. General Jay Garner as Viceroy belies these claims and consolidates an occupation by military might. The claim that the US will use its presence in Iraq to build a democratic government and institutions has no merit judging by its track record in Afghanistan and its history of allying itself with dictatorships, including the regime of Saddam Hussein during it most brutal and oppressive incarnations.

From its position of control in Iraq, the US has started to threaten other countries in the region, namely Syria and Iran, and to intimidate the Palestinians into accepting whatever the US Administration’s road map dictates. The assertion that the US will redraw the map of the region to serve its interests is no longer an idle claim, but a deliberate policy of domination and hegemony over the region, its people and its resources. Fears of more military adventurism by the US in the region are growing.

A Role for Canada

The Canadian Arab Federation urges the Canadian Government to look objectively at all facets of the emerging and rapidly changing geo-political realities in the region.

CAF urges the government to take a strong and assertive stand that guarantees the people of the region their dignity and right to self-determination. Canada’s proven track record in helping countries build democratic systems and institutions from a rights-based perspective should be put to full use in a new Iraq now emerging.

As one of the countries with the greatest outreach in social and human development in Third World countries, Canada is well placed to provide Iraqis with the expertise needed and the aid required to rebuild their country on democratic principles.

CAF believes that Canada, with its respect for international law and its understanding of the vital role of the United Nations in the world, needs to stand firm against the United States’ continued marginalization of same. Canada should use its position in the world to strengthen and regain the role of the United Nations and the Security Council in resolving world conflicts.

By virtue of its opposition to the war, Canada is placed to strengthen its ties with the Arab world by providing an alternative path to democratization and institution building in the region that does not emerge out of the barrel of a gun.

Canada’s long-standing involvement in the Middle East as a fair and honest broker, with primary concern for human and humanitarian issues, places it in a position to play a pivotal in bringing about a just and peaceful resolution that would preserve the dignity and integrity of the Palestinian people and ensure respect for their human and political rights.

Arab Canadians stand ready to support their government in any actions it takes that will result in peace, justice and prosperity for the people of the Middle East.

CAF acknowledges the substantive contribution of Ms. Thuraya Khalil to this paper.

Immigration and Citizenship

Position Statement
Immigration and Citizenship
April, 2003

The events of September 11 and the “War on Terror” have led to significant changes to legislation and policy in Canada. While the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) recognizes that security and the prevention of terrorist acts are matters that warrant serious concern by lawmakers and law enforcers, it finds worrisome the trend that allows sweeping measures to be put in place that gravely diminish civil rights and disparately affect minorities and newcomers to Canada.

The last two years have seen large-scale changes to the Immigration Act of Canada (currently the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act) and the Citizenship of Canada Act (C-18), the inception of the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States, as well as the proposal of a National Identity Card, and of a social contract that would restrict settlement locations for new immigrants.

On these issues, CAF emphasizes that Canada’s legal system is based on principles of freedom, equality and diversity. The processes embodied in the newest changes, many of which bypass the requirements of due process, threaten these principles and allow for the targeting of individuals on the basis of their ethnicity, religion and citizenship status. As with all preventative measures, it is essential that the anti-terrorist legislation and policies be fully and properly assessed, against the costs they will incur, in this case to the rights and freedoms of Canadians and other individuals residing within Canada’s borders.

It is in this spirit of discussion and evaluation that the Canadian Arab Federation explains below the various areas of concern with respect to the recent amendments to legislation, and proposed policy changes. CAF has made presentations on these topics in other fora and looks forward to continuing the discourse on these important matters.

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

The area of most concern in this revised legislation is that addressing security “certificates.” This practice continues from the earlier Immigration Act of Canada. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration can issue a certificate against an individual on the basis of secret evidence which she is not required to reveal at any point. Although the certificate is subject to review by a Federal Court judge, the process is lacking in the basic legal and evidentiary protections. Evidence which would not normally be entered into court is allowed to be entered into the Federal Court in these cases.

The person against whom the certificate is issued may not know the case against her, nor may her counsel, as “secret” evidence may not be showed to them. The judge herself may also be barred from knowing the evidence, as the evidence is merely summarized in a security intelligence report.

As a result, the individual against whom the certificate is issued cannot make full answer and defense, cannot cross-examine the sources and cannot present a case. Furthermore, there is no appeal of the Federal Court’s decision. If a security certificate is upheld, the individual is deported, with no recourse to the courts or to the Constitution.

The process of security “certificates” lacks all the basic protections found in other legal processes. It is CAF’s position that the government of Canada could address potential security threats, while still allowing for fair and open hearings, and providing individuals with basic legal protections provided other individuals in the justice system.

The outcome of a security certificate can be extremely serious. The individual can be detained for the duration of the process, and at its end could be deported to a country where she will be subjected to persecution. The gravity of these measures warrants protections so that justice will not be miscarried, and the wrong people will not be targeted.

CAF notes that members of the Arab and Muslim communities are disproportionately subjected to CSIS interviews and interrogation. They are thereby more likely to be named in security certificates. It is on behalf of the members of these communities and in the interest of justice that CAF calls on the government of Canada to review and overhaul its security certificate system, which leave excess room for error.

Citizenship of Canada Act (C-18)

Most troubling about Bill C-18 is the proposed process that would allow for the annulment and revocation of individuals’ Canadian citizenship. One of the main concerns with these provisions is the lack of transparency in the process. Bill C-18 allows the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to apply to the Federal Court for a declaration that a citizen has obtained citizenship through false representation, fraud, or knowingly concealing material circumstances. The Minister can also request that the citizen be declared inadmissible on the grounds of security, violation of human or international rights, or organized criminality. No hearing is required on the matter, and if the Federal Court issues a declaration, a citizen can have her citizenship revoked and be deported without having her case heard.

The seriousness of revocation and deportation require that sufficient checks and balances be put in place to ensure that there is no miscarriage of justice. This means, that should the government choose to proceed with these proposals, they must be coupled with the protections of due process.

Individuals must be protected from arbitrary allegations by the Minister; they must be provided with the right to know the case against them, the right to know all the evidence against them, the right to make full answer and defense, the right to cross-examination, the right to a fair and open trial, the right to a hearing by an impartial and independent adjudicator and the right to appeal and/or judicial review.

These concerns mirror those of security certificates under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, as the legislation allows for detention and deportation, which are serious deprivations of freedom, but lacks any substantive protections found in other areas of the law. As stated above, it is members of the Muslim and Arab communities in Canada who are most likely to be targeted by this legislation, as they are disproportionately subjected to security and intelligence scrutiny.

CAF rejects the position that citizenship is a right that can be revoked at the whim of a government official. Furthermore, CAF notes that these proposals apply only to naturalized citizens, and thereby create a hierarchy of citizenship.

Finally, C-18’s process for the revocation of citizenship is unconstitutional in that it deprives individuals of the right to a fair trial and to due process. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to all citizens, and the substantive rights as provided therein can only be restricted if such limitations are reasonable and demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. It is CAF’s position that the revocation of citizenship, and deportation without an open hearing and with no right of appeal does not meet the test of “reasonableness” nor can it be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States

The “Safe Third Country Agreement” deprives asylum seekers of the fundamental right to seek protection from the country from which they are most likely to receive it.

The Agreement does not take into account the fact that many asylum seekers travel to Canada through the United States as it is more affordable and accessible. In 2001, it was estimated that 35% of refugee claims in Canada were made at the Canada-US border. The Safe Third Country Agreement requires that all these individuals be directed to the United States to process their claims.

However, the laws on refugee protection in the United States fall short of international standards, and lack the procedural safeguards found in Canadian law. Refugee claimants who do not have proper identification are automatically detained by US authorities, often in the same facilities as convicted criminals. They are not provided with interpreters, nor do they have access to state funded legal representation. This Safe Third Country Agreement does not reflect the spirit of refugee protection.

The 1951 Refugee Convention, on which all domestic refugee legislation is based, does not require that individuals seek asylum in the first country in which they arrive. CAF is concerned that individuals who had intended to come to Canada to claim refugee status will end up languishing in difficult conditions in prisons in the United States. Furthermore sweeping American anti-terror legislation, which incorporates racial profiling, means that Arab and Muslim refugee claimants are more likely to be subjected to detention and mistreatment if they are sent back from the Canadian border.

National Identity Card

CAF’s main concern with respect to the proposed National Identity Card is the invasion of privacy this identification system would impose. The National Identity Card could be used in the future as a means to monitor citizens in a manner that is unacceptable in a free society. Furthermore, as members of the Arab and Muslim communities have been excessively affected by anti-terrorism legislation, there is a justifiable fear that such a comprehensive and traceable identification system will become another tool by which individuals in those communities will be harassed.

Social Contract to Settle Immigrants in Under-Populated Areas

This proposal, to direct immigrants to settle in particular parts of Canada, would clearly violate mobility rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Furthermore, it threatens to create different and hierarchical classes of immigrants and citizens. Citizenship must be based on a notion of equality among citizens. Anything less allows for the creation of an underclass. It is CAF’s position that an incentive program to encourage immigrants to move to less population parts of the country would be more effective, and more equitable, than a system of coercion.

CAF acknowledges the substantive contribution of Ms. Ameena Sultan to this paper