Nossal: Was Jason Kenney’s public outing of 30 wanted war criminals legitimate and/or effective?

By: /
August 8, 2011

Lawyers would call this a leading question: it is worded in such a way as to lead to a particular conclusion. But ask different questions:

  • If the government has legitimate orders for the removal of individuals from Canada, should we call publicizing those individuals’ identity and asking the public to report their whereabouts an “outing,” a word that implies inappropriateness?

  • Should the individuals named on the Canada Border Services Agency website be called “wanted war crimes suspects”?  The CBSA does not call them that.  Rather, they are individuals who have been deemed inadmissible as immigrants, and thus should be removed from Canada.  As such, should they not face removal?

  • Was it legitimate for the CBSA to claim on its website that these individuals “had violated human or international rights under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act or under international law”?  While it is true that these individuals have not been charged with a crime, the administrative process that necessarily precedes a removal order requires the presentation of evidence, and is marked by several layers of appeal. Can the results of such a process not be appropriately called a “determination”?

The minister has clearly relished politicizing this initiative, opening himself to criticism that he is just trying to score cheap points.  But it is hard to see how the initiative itself is illegitimate.