Over here, there's a discussion of what it would take for Canada to implement its own "no-fly" list which claims to single out two "key" questions:
- Who will assemble the list? A government agency, a judge, the police, an independent third party?
- What criteria will be used to place people's names on the list? That is, how will "terrorism" and "suspicion" be defined?
Um ... no. With all due respect (and, coming from me, I'm sure you know exactly what that's worth), I submit that there are several other questions that are at least as critical and since each of them is a discussion in its own right, I'm going to address them one post at a time, possibly without the use of tedious run-on sentences like this one. And so, without further ado, the first question that will need answering:
Will Canadian citizens have the right to ask whether they're on the list?
As those of you who have followed the "no-fly" list debacle in the U.S. will have noticed, the shit doesn't typically hit the fan until some poor bastard is at the airport, luggage checked, standing in line at the gate, and is then told by the gate agent that, whoops, there's a problem, sorry, sir, but you can't board this flight, your name is on the "list," no, I'm sorry, I have no idea how it got there but we're just following instructions, please loosen your belt and bend over.
Now this sort of thing would be not only thoroughly annoying but potentially costly as said suspect might have recently paid hundreds of dollars for a non-refundable ticket, rearranged his schedule and booked his vacation time off of work, only to now be told that he's been thoroughly fucked just minutes before getting on his plane.
One would think that, to avoid madness like this, Canadian citizens should have the right, at any time, to ask some official government agency if they're on the list or, at the very least, when they're booking their travel, to have the airline representative tell them at that time that there's a problem. (That this should be possible is not even open for debate -- if they can do it when you get to the airport, they can certainly do it while they're taking your reservation over the phone.)
It would be hard to argue that giving out that information constitutes a security breach of any kind since, if you're on the list, you'll obviously have to be told when you try to board a plane. So that's question number one -- will Canadian citizens be entitled to know if they're on the list?
Coming up in part 2: When is "Mr. Smith" not really "Mr. Smith"?