Islamic Group Wants No-Fly List Grounded

June 18, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The Globe and Mail

Ottawa should scrap the “no-fly” list, which came into effect Monday, until it fixes fundamental flaws in the program, said the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“For a list that so severely impacts the civil liberties and mobility rights of the people — that should be debated in Parliament,” said group spokesman Sameer Zuberi.

“That's why we're asking the government to scrap the list.”

The Specified Persons list, which is provided to all airlines that fly within or in and out of Canada, includes the name, date of birth and gender of anyone the federal government considers an immediate threat to aviation security.

Airlines are required to screen each person's name against the list before issuing a boarding pass and to ensure every passenger who looks to be 18 years of age or older carries one piece of valid government-issued photo ID or two pieces without photo.

After Sept. 18, anyone appearing to be older than 12 years of age must carry one or more pieces of identification, including a health card, a birth certificate, a driver's licence or a social insurance card.

Transport Canada officials say the list, which is compiled with the help of the RCMP and CSIS, is meant to safeguard the security of airline passengers. However, passengers won't know until they check in at the airport whether or not they will be allowed to fly.

“It's a security measure, so the list is not publicized in advance,” said Transport Canada spokeswoman Julia Ukrintz. “That would reduce the security value of the program.”

The council, which has long criticized the list, fears it could blacklist innocent people and lead to racial and religious profiling.