Group objects to Canada sharing wiretap info with U.S.

Published in 24 Hours Vancouver | April 21, 2014 | Circulation: 280,000+

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Canada violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms when it shared wiretaps about an alleged ecstasy trafficker with the U.S. government, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association is claiming.

Andrew Wakeling is heading to the Supreme Court of Canada Tuesday, the next stage in his years-long fight to avoid extradition to the U.S.

He was arrested in Lillooet in April 2007 on six charges of trafficking, conspiracy to traffic and exporting drugs to the U.S., all of which were dropped nearly seven months later following a U.S. extradition request, which relied partly on Canadian police wiretaps, according to Ontario Superior Court filings. That court ruled against Wakeling.

The BCCLA is intervening in the current case, arguing it risks setting a dangerous precedent and brings to mind the 2002 torture of Maher Arar, after Canadian authorities shared intelligence with Syria. The Canadian citizen received $10.5 million and a formal apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper for the ordeal in 2007.

“We know from experience with Maher Arar that the not-so-careful disclosure of information to foreign authorities can lead to very dire consequences for Canadians,” said lawyer Michael Feder, representing BCCLA. “Canadians have a right not to have the covert interception of their private communications — including wiretaps — disclosed to foreign governments where the disclosure has nothing to do with the interests of Canada.”

A spokeswoman for the federal Ministry of Justice declined to comment as the “matter is pending before the Supreme Court of Canada.”

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