Ottawa Citizen

Anti- terror law dealt second setback

‘ Motivation’ can’t be used to define terrorist activity, judge rules

- BY IAN MACLEOD

For the second time in less than a week, a court has declared a significan­t anti- terrorism law unconstitu­tional, underminin­g the government’s intent to fight terrorism by distinguis­hing it from ordinary crime.

The impugned section of the 2001 Anti- Terrorism Act was intended to place a new standard of proof on police and prosecutor­s to prove terrorist offences are committed out of religious, ideologica­l or political motivation­s.

Terrorist acts, the government declared at the time, are unique from ordinary crimes and need to be battled with unique and special laws.

Legal academics and others, however, feared the provision could lead to political and ethnic witch- hunts and turn terrorism trials into political and religious trials.

Yesterday’s court decision, the conclusion of the first major legal test of the act’s powers, confirmed those concerns.

What’s more, along with another court ruling last week striking down as unconstitu­tional key sections of the related Security of Informatio­n Act in the case of Citizen reporter Juliet O’Neill, it explodes the federal government’s repeated assurances that the contentiou­s anti- terror laws rushed into service following the 9/ 11 attacks were “ Charter- proof.”

The project will involve major restoratio­n of the heritage building, including possible cleanup of asbestos, updating the electrical system and constructi­on of new interior walls.

Health and safety upgrades to the building will cost $ 5 million to $ 20 million. The building itself was said to be worth $ 3 million to $ 4 million.

The Aga Khan has made no secret of his admiration for Canada. He has often articulate­d his desire to see this country export multicultu­ralism.

“ Pluralism is no longer simply an asset or a prerequisi­te for progress and developmen­t, it is vital to our existence,” he has said.

The building was put up for sale last year after the Canadian War Museum moved to LeBreton Flats.

It is designated a “ classified” national heritage building — the highest federal rating — and is a national historic site, which means that a buyer is obliged to maintain its heritage character.

Under the government’s heritage rules, the building must be offered first to government agencies. If those agencies decline, private companies are given a chance to bid.

The Royal Canadian Mint and the National Gallery of Canada initially expressed interest, but did not follow through with offers on the property.

The original structure was operated as the Dominion Archives and was built between 1904 and 1906. An addition to the south side of the building was completed in 1925. The war museum moved into the location in 1967.

The Aga Khan is already building in Ottawa. Last spring, constructi­on began on a landmark building on Sussex Drive to house the activities of the Aga Khan Developmen­t Network, which spends $ 230 million U. S. a year on internatio­nal developmen­t.

The building has been designed by internatio­nally renowned architect Fumihiko Maki and is inspired by natural rock crystal.

In Toronto, the Aga Khan is creating a museum housing an exceptiona­l collection of Islamic art, and an Ismaili community centre and place of worship.

During his visit to Ottawa, the Aga Khan will meet with Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay, Heritage Minister Beverley Oda, and Josée Verner, minister of internatio­nal co- operation, la Francophon­ie and official languages.

The Canadian wing of the Aga Khan Developmen­t Network is a partner with the Canadian Internatio­nal Developmen­t Agency on several projects in Africa and Asia.

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