NCCM calls on government to defend Canadian rights at the U.S. border
-For Immediate Release-
Says federal government should reconsider Bill C-23
(Ottawa – February 13, 2017) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent civil liberties & advocacy organization, is calling on the federal government to stand up for the rights of Canadian citizens to travel freely and without discrimination to the United States.
In recent days, there have been five reported cases of Canadians being turned away from the border after extensive questioning and intrusive treatment.
« We recognize that the United States as a sovereign nation determines who is able to enter its jurisdiction, » says NCCM executive director Ihsaan Gardee.
« However, the discriminatory and intrusive treatment being reported by Canadians is problematic. We are looking for assurances that the government will go to bat for its citizens. »
The NCCM further calls on Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to reconsider proposed legislation that would grant further powers to American border officials in questioning and detaining Canadian travellers.
« This proposed pre-clearance law will erode the rights of travellers, including that of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, » says Khalid Elgazzar, NCCM vice-chair and a lawyer with extensive experience in national security cases. « The agreement, which was negotiated during the previous American administration, takes on a whole new meaning in the Trump era.
« Canadian Muslims in particular are deeply concerned and anxious about travelling to the United States. This is troubling as many Canadian residents have family and work commitments there; this climate threatens to unfairly infringe on their freedom of movement, » says Elgazzar.
The NCCM encourages all Canadian citizens and permanent residents to report any travel issues to the organization which is monitoring the situation in order to raise further concerns with government officials.
See: Report an incident
The NCCM is an independent, non-partisan and non-profit organization that is a leading voice for civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.