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False Security

The Radicalization of Canadian Anti-Terrorism

by (author) Craig Forcese & Kent Roach

Irwin Law Inc.
Initial publish date
Sep 2015
General, Terrorism, Security (National & International), General, Canadian, Privacy, Human Rights
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    Sep 2015
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    Sep 2015
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Winner of the 2016 Canadian Law and Society Association Book Prize

On 20 October 2014, a terrorist drove his car into two members of the Canadian Armed Forces, killing Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. Two days later, another terrorist murdered Corporal Nathan Cirillo before storming Parliament. In the aftermath of these attacks, Parliament enacted Bill C-51 — the most radical national security law in generations. This new law ignored hard lessons on how Canada both over- and underreacted to terrorism in the past. It also ignored evidence and urgent recommendations about how to avoid these dangers in the future.

For much of 2015, Craig Forcese and Kent Roach have provided, as Maclean’s put it, the “intellectual core of what’s emerged as surprisingly vigorous push-back” to Bill C-51. In this book, they show that our terror laws now make a false promise of security even as they present a radical challenge to rights and liberties. They trace how our laws repeat past mistakes of institutionalized illegality while failing to address problems that weaken the accountability of security agencies and impair Canada’s ability to defend against terrorism.

About the authors

Craig Forcese is an Associate Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa. There, he teaches administrative law, public International Law, and National Security Law and runs the annual foreign policy practicum. Much of his present research and writing relates to democratic accountability, national security, and international law. Prior to joining the law school faculty, he practiced law with the Washington D.C. office of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, specializing in international trade law. Craig has law degrees from the University of Ottawa and Yale University, a B.A. from McGill, and an M.A. in international affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University. He is a member of the bars of Ontario, New York and the District of Columbia.

He is author of National Security Law (Irwin Law, 2008)and co-author of The Laws of Government (Irwin Law 2005) and International Law: Doctrine, Practice and Theory (Irwin Law, 2007).

Craig Forcese's profile page

Kent Roach is a professor of law and the Prichard-Wilson Chair of Law and Public Policy at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and of Yale University, and a former law clerk to Justice Bertha Wilson of the Supreme Court of Canada. Professor Roach has been editor-in-chief of the Criminal Law Quarterly since 1998. In 2002, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and in 2013 he was one of four academics awarded a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellowship. He is the author of twelve books, including Constitutional Remedies in Canada (winner of the Walter Owen Prize); Due Process and Victims’ Rights (shortlisted for the Donner Prize); The Supreme Court on Trial (shortlisted for the Donner Prize); Brian Dickson: A Judge’s Journey (winner of the Dafoe Prize; co-authored with Robert J. Sharpe); and The 9/11 Effect: Comparative Counter-Terrorism (winner of the David Mundell Medal). He is the co-editor of several collections of essays and published casebooks, including most recently Comparative Counter-Terrorism Law, which arose from his role as General Reporter on Counter-Terrorism Law for the XIX International Congress on Comparative Law held in 2014. With Justice Robert Sharpe, he is the co-author of The Charter of Rights and Freedoms volume in Irwin Law’s Essentials of Canadian Law series. False Security: The Radicalization of Canada’s Terror Law, co-authored with Craig Forcese, was published by Irwin Law in 2015. He has also written over 200 articles and chapters published in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as in Canada. Professor Roach has served as research director for the Inquiry into Pediatric Forensic Pathology in Ontario (the Goudge Inquiry) and for the Commission of Inquiry into the Investigation of the Bombing of Air India Flight 182. In both capacities, he edited multiple volumes of research studies. He served on the research advisory committee for the inquiry into the rendition of Maher Arar and the Ipperwash Inquiry into the killing of Dudley George. He was a special advisor to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Residential Schools. Professor Roach has represented Aboriginal and civil liberties groups in many interventions before the courts, including Gladue, Wells, Ipeelee, and Anderson on sentencing Aboriginal offenders; Latimer on mandatory minimum sentences; Stillman, Dunedin Construction, Downtown East Side Sex Workers, and Ward on Charter remedies; Golden on strip searches; Khawaja on the definition of terrorism; and Corbiere and Sauvé on voting rights. He is the faculty lead for the Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights.

Kent Roach's profile page


  • Winner, Canadian Law and Society Association Book Prize

Editorial Reviews

“This book is key to understanding Bill C-51. The authors rightly criticize provisions of the Act as endangering free speech, authorizing unnecessary disruption, and lacking oversight. Their quarrel is with the radical means to be employed by government agencies — almost guaranteeing court challenges — and with the absence of any effective anti-terrorism strategy. This is a valuable resource for anyone trying to get behind the political rhetoric to understand an important and complex issue.”

Ron Atkey, P.C., Q.C., first Chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee

“A vital threshold and fair-minded analysis of the excesses, inadequacies, assumptions, and judgments impacting the new national security laws in Canada; coherent, inclusive, and trenchant — not to be missed or set aside. Invaluable to all those who care about the right balance between freedom and security.”

Hugh Segal, former Chair of the Special Senate Committee on Anti-terrorism

“Professors Roach and Forcese take the reader on a comprehensive journey through Canada’s anti-terror efforts, providing invaluable depth, insight, analysis, and most importantly, their informed conclusions for the most effective ways forward.  This work is excellent.”

Sukanya Pillay, General Counsel, Canadian Civil Liberties Association

"False Security offers a comprehensive and robust critique of Bill C-51, describes the current state of national security law and policy in Canada and suggests alternative approaches for responding to terrorism. This book is recommended for policy bureaucrats and students and scholars of national security law and policy.”

Goldwynn Lewis, Law Librarian, Public Prosecution Service of Canada, Canadian Law Library Review 41:4 (2016)

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