by Richard Matthews
Prime Minister Stephen Harper continues to align Canadian foreign policy with that of the U.S. If the newly minted President Obama continues with unlawful policies like extraordinary rendition, preventive imprisonment, and torture at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the rendition archipelago, then Harper will follow him down the seemingly inexorable slide toward Canada's further undermining of international human rights law.
Both domestic and international law are being degraded – at least if the recent report by the International Commission of Jurists, "Assessing Damage, Urging Action [.pdf]," is anything to go by. It carefully documents the extent to which the attempt to fight a misguided "war on terror" has resulted in the deliberate and systematic destruction of international humanitarian and human rights law with terrible consequences for domestic law as well. For so-called democratic countries, this is the road to tyranny.
Such political and legal corruption is our responsibility and cannot be blamed on any of the usual suspects. It originates in the strategies, tactics, and choices of American, Canadian, British, Australian, and European governments. The quantity and variety of attempts to avoid or transform long-established and effective criminal justice laws and principles, as well as to hide human rights violations, constitutes a systematic assault on the very idea of human rights.