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Repeal the Passenger Protect Program publicly known as the No Fly List

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   The Passenger Protect Program (PPP), publicly known as the Canadian no-fly list, is one of the most controversial topics in Canadian politics so allow me to give you a brief snapshot of how it works. The Passenger Protect Program is composed of two main components; the first being a set of Identity Screening Regulations and the second component is the Specified Persons List (SPL). In the SPL, the minister of Public Safety creates a list of names of the people that he has "reasonable grounds" to suspect will engage in terrorism or will pose a threat to aviation security. The list is then shared with aircraft carriers in order to screen passengers on flights to, from and within Canada. When a positive name match is identified, the airline must confirm the person's identity and inform the Specified Persons Advisory Group (SPAG). The SPAG is composed of CSIS officers, RCMP officers and representatives from Transport Canada and Public Safety Canada. The SPAG makes a last minute decision whether to allow the match on the airplane or not.

This archaic system is overridden with flaws and errors.

The Passenger Protect Program is unconstitutional since it violates many tenets of the Canadian Constitution and breaches many rights granted under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Passenger Protect Program conflicts with many legal rights granted to all Canadians including the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty by an impartial tribunal. The listed persons on the no-fly list are presumed to be guilty and are placed on the no-fly list without their knowledge nor without a trial. The listed persons are not even allowed to know the evidence or the "reasonable grounds" that made them end up on the list and they have minimal recourse when it comes to challenging that evidence or attempting to get their name off the list in case they are false positives. By presuming someone to be guilty and placing his name on the no-fly list without informing him or her of the justifying evidence, the PPP strips individuals of the guaranteed legal rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The no-fly list breaches the mobility rights of the false positives, who are people that share a similar name with someone on the no-fly list or have been falsely placed on the list. Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadian citizens are granted mobility rights allowing them to enter, remain in and leave Canada; therefore, the no-fly list restricts and occasionally breaches the mobility rights of safe and peaceful Canadian false positives. For example, Syed Adam Ahmed, who is a 6-year-old boy living a peaceful life with his family in Toronto, shares the same name as someone on the no-fly list which has caused many inconveniences, hassles and much embarrassment at airports that restrict the mobility rights of the safe and peaceful Canadian 6-year-old who obviously does not pose a security threat to aviation safety.

The no-fly list creates a false sense of security and the illusion of public and aviation safety.

Under the Passenger Protect Program, there is a moderate chance that the people listed on the SPL could still board an airplane according to an investigation conducted by Global News. That means that legitimate security threats could and have indeed boarded an airplane before despite being places on the SPL. The last minute call given by the airline to SPAG leaves a lot of room for error which could lead to a terrorist or a security threat being on the same airplane as you.

The laughable part is that legitimate security threats and terrorists are able to board an airplane under the Passenger Protect Program, while peaceful Canadian-born children, toddlers and infants have been inconvenienced and, in some cases, denied boarding because they share a similar name with someone on the list.

The whole system is just self-contradictory.

The people on the SPL are the people that the minister of Public Safety has "reasonable grounds" to claim they are terrorists or pose a security threat and are deemed too dangerous to fly; yet, they are allowed to live freely among the Canadian public. So how come those possible terrorists or security threats are not able to get on the airplane but are able to roam the same streets as Canadian children? 

The biggest inconvenience of all time that the no-fly list poses is that you have no idea whether you are on the list or not until you are at the airport ready to board the airplane. Although this does not sound like a matter of concern, the consequences have been very harsh for false positives; jobs have been lost, families have been separated at the airport, sometimes between two different continents.

The current redress system is futile and basically guarantees two things, that "once a name is on the no fly list, it can not get off" and that "once a false positive, always a false positive". This is devastating especially to the Canadian children and toddler false positives who will be haunted their entire life by this. If the redress system can not help harmless children, it would be of no use to false positive adults. Consider Hani Ahmed Al Telbani's case. The office of reconsideration had concluded that CSIS relied on "inaccurate and vague " information; therefore, Telbani's name should be removed from the list. In the end, the SPAG ignored the recommendation and kept him on the list

The Passenger Protect Program is a system that does not work and needs to be replaced or needs major renovations and even former CSIS members and the minister of Public Safety concur with me. It is complex, will take a lot of time and funds to fix according to the minister of Public Safety, so why not repeal it?

I demand that the minister of Public Safety repeals the Passenger Protect Program or at least make the following amendments:

  • Add a second component to the no-fly list such as the date of birth or SIN number in addition to the name in order to limit the number of false positives.
  • Inform airlines that there are no additional screening checks required for minor individuals (less than 18 years old) under current regulations in order to avoid situations like Syed Adam Ahmed, where children, toddlers and infants have been denied boarding.
  • Provide stronger and more reasonable evidence to place names on the no-fly list to limit the scope of false positives on the list like Hani Ahmed Al Telbani.
  • Create a better redress system that will rationally consider false positives' cases

I would appreciate if you could sign my petition and support my cause.

Thank you in advance.

 



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