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Future top Mountie Paulson declared security certificate process ‘off the rails’

Documents reveal the future head if the RCMP, Bob Paulson, was worried the national security certificate process for detaining suspected terrorists had gone completely off the rails. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Graveland

OTTAWA – Newly released documents show the future head of the RCMP was worried the national security certificate process for detaining suspected terrorists had gone completely off the rails.

In an interview with an auditor examining the controversial program, Bob Paulson expressed concerns about excessive state secrecy in certificate proceedings.

The discussion was part of a 2009-10 federal evaluation of the security certificate initiative, which had been revamped in 2008 after elements were found to be unconstitutional.

Despite the changes, civil libertarians have persistently criticized the national security certificate – a seldom-used tool for removing non-citizens suspected of terrorism or espionage – because the person named sees only a bare-bones summary of the case against him or her.

Opponents say federal authorities should criminally charge someone who is believed to be involved in terrorism, not try to deport them based on evidence put forward behind closed doors.

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The records were obtained under the federal access law by Mike Larsen, a criminology instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in British Columbia, who provided a copy to The Canadian Press.

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