An initiative of C-CAT to deter terrorism by allowing terror victims to
sue local and state sponsors of terror in Canadian courts
TORONTO, Dec. 14 /CNW/ - Days after Air India Inquiry Commissioner John
Major released his first report, Senator David Tkachuk is re-introducing a
bill that Canadian terror victims and their loved ones, including those from
the Air India and 9/11 tragedies, have been pleading for since 2003. The bill
is entitled "An Act to amend the State Immunity Act and the Criminal Code
(deterring terrorism by providing a civil right of action against perpetrators
and sponsors of terrorism)."
C-CAT has been working closely with Canadian Parliamentarians on enacting
this federal legislation, which would enable Canadian terror victims and their
families to launch civil suits against local and state sponsors of terrorism.
On September 11, 2007, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day reiterated his
support for this legislation, which he originally introduced in 2005. The bill
is supported by MPs from all four national parties.
Money is the lifeblood of terrorism. Defeating terrorism therefore
requires pursuing the patrons of terrorism, and disrupting the logistical,
financial and material support they provide to terrorist bodies. But while
FINTRAC has identified hundreds of millions of terror-related dollars flowing
through Canada, no one has been convicted of terror financing in Canada to
date. Accordingly, C-CAT maintains that the campaign against terror financing
requires new and innovative strategies, such as civil suits against terror
Experts maintain that this type of legislation will be an invaluable
contribution to counterterrorism efforts worldwide. Civil suits can allow for
the pursuit of terrorist sponsors that often evade the criminal justice system
due to the high standards of evidence required for conviction. In civil
proceedings, evidence that establishes a defendant's status as a supporter of
terror, which may not be sufficient for conviction in a criminal proceeding,
can be enough to establish liability and obtain a damages award.
The proposed legislation will (i) deter future acts of violence (by
bankrupting or financially impairing the terrorist infrastructure); (ii) hold
the wrongdoers responsible (even where the criminal system has failed); (iii)
compensate victims; and (iv) enable terrorist assets to be located and seized.
Maureen Basnicki, whose husband Ken was killed on 9/11, explains that
"the proposed law is one piece of a process in redefining both state
responsibility for terror and individual responsibility for fighting it. It is
a citizens' weapon in a war on citizens." "It is absurd," she continues, "that
under current Canadian law, you can sue a foreign state for selling you rotten
produce but not for sponsoring terrorist attacks that murder your loved ones."
Susheel Gupta, whose mother was killed in the Air India bombing, adds "We
hope that this Bill will assist Canada in further combating terrorism and that
no other Canadian has to suffer a similar tragedy as the fate of our loved
C-CAT looks forward to seeing this bill enacted quickly.
C-CAT is a non-partisan advocacy body comprised of Canadian terror
victims, counterterrorism professionals, lawyers and other individuals
committed to enhancing Canada's counterterrorism policies. C-CAT
representatives have testified before various Parliamentary committees and the
Air India Inquiry.
For further information:
For further information: please contact C-CAT at (416) 788-4777 or