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Promised anti-terrorism bill a concern for civil liberties' association

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Does a new anti-terrorism bill the Conservative government promises to table this month go too far?

The BC Civil Liberties’ Association lawyer Carmen Cheung says she has some concerns about granting even greater powers to police and intelligence agencies.

“We have an incredibly robust national security regime when it comes to legislation,” says Cheung. “Our national security and anti-terrorism laws are already quite broad and they already give law enforcement and national security agencies quite a bit of power.”

So she’s questioning the need to give them even greater powers of surveillance and arrest, when these laws won’t necessarily bring greater security.

“If additional laws aren’t keeping us safe, then we risk giving away a lot of fundamental freedoms and compromising basic civil liberty guarantees for the sake of laws that may not work,” Cheung says.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has promised his government will move quickly on this when Parliament resumes on January 26th.

Since the October shooting on Parliament Hill, the government has stated it is looking into allowing what it calls “preventative arrests.”