The Views of Canadian Scholars on the Impact of the Anti-Terrorism Act


The scholars participating in this project were invited to comment on the first draft of this report and to indicate whether statements attributed to them were accurate and placed properly in context. In general, the comments were quite positive. One participant did ask that one assertion be reworded in order to more accurately reflect what he had intended to say. A second asked that specific text from his submission be added to the report.

Two participants provided more general comments about the project. Stuart cautions that this project should not be viewed as a substitute for debate or the review of the Anti-Terrorism Act:

The report reads well. However one of the problems of asking us each to respond by e-mail to very general questions and then quantifying the results in a summary is, of course, that we have had no chance to consider the views of others so that they may be critically assessed or supported. I trust that the Minister of Justice does not see this type of opinion gathering without debate as a substitute for open discussion or the review required by Bill C-36.

Charters reminds us that terrorism is highly fluid and that much has transpired since the participants submitted their views just a few months ago:

A major problem with a report on this topic at this time is that terrorism is, of course, a moving target. In four respects, the report already has been overtaken by events: the Madrid bombing and the fallout therefrom; the arrest of an Ottawa man-the first under the ATA; the attack on the Jewish school in Montreal; and…[the] National Security Policy…the Madrid bombings have made me much more pessimistic…the success of the bombing in the political arena in Spain makes similar attacks elsewhere much more likely…The arrest in Ottawa may indicate that the security forces are on top of the problem, but…the arrest may be an indication of the "tip of the iceberg"…The firebombing of the Jewish school in Montreal has to be considered a terrorist attack, and may be an indication of worse to come.