Measuring Security Measures:

Short films on immigration, media, law and policy in a "secure" Canada

Tuesday, October 18, 7:30 pm
  Innis Town Hall
  Innis College, 2 Sussex Ave.
  (north of Harbord, south of Bloor and St. George)
University of Toronto

Featuring a post-screening discussion with

Heather Mallick, Columnist, Globe and Mail
Sharryn Aiken, Professor of Law, Queen's University, former president of Canadian Council for Refugees
Ahmad Jaballah, oldest son of secret trial detainee Mahmoud Jaballah, held without charge on a secret trial security certificate since August, 2001 in Toronto


Security Consciousness: Detained in Guelph produced and directed by Reel Alternative Productions, 2004, Canada, 35min

(Excerpt will be shown)

With no film-making experience six University of Guelph undergraduate students and a Sheridan College student created a project using the medium of film to engage a wide audience in dialogue about the role that post-9/11 security consciousness has had on the detention and deportation of immigrants and refugees in Canada. The film's starting point is the recently negotiated use of the Guelph correctional facility for detaining immigrants. The film aims to inspire collective opposition to current practices of detention.


Threadbare, a work in progress, produced and directed by Arshad Khan. 50 min., 2005, Canada

(Excerpt will be shown)

August 14th 2003: After having their apartment doors kicked in and belongings trashed, nineteen men were arrested in pre-dawn raids in the Greater Toronto Area on suspicion that they might be a threat to National Security. They were asked, "Are you Pakistani? Are you Muslim?" The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) carried out these and several other raids with the help of The Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). Threadbare is a film about racism against Pakistanis and South Asian Muslims in the Canadian Immigration and Legal justice system. The documentary film revolves around the struggles of the 25 Project Thread detainees, many now deportees, that were a target of the RCMP Al-Qaeda investigation in August 2003. All allegations of terrorism against the detainees were dropped within two weeks of the arrests, yet the detainees spent two to five months in a maximum security prison outside Toronto. Threadbare also documents the activist campaign - Project Threadbare in its struggle to exonerate, compensate, apologize, naturalize the detainees.


Whose Rights Anyway? Justice for Mohamed directed by Anice Wong, produced by Hugh Gibson, 2005, 30 min.

The film revolves around the security certificate case of Mohamed Harkat as told by his Canadian wife, his lawyer, and an activist. The documentary speaks of the initial arrest and how his fundamental human rights have since been violated. It also deals with the racism felt by the Arab and Muslim community since the events of September 11, 2001, and how it is against this backdrop that the Canadian government is allowing itself to limit certain rights in the name of "national security." Harkat has been detained in a provincial jail in Ottawa since December 10, 2002. He was arrested under a security certificate, a provision of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which allows for his detention not on solid evidence, but solely on assumptions suggesting that he may be linked to terrorism. No charges have been laid. Furthermore, the government of Canada has withheld all evidence it has from him and his lawyer, making it next to impossible for them to defend themselves in court.

This is an updated version of the film that was shown in 2004.


Take Back the Days: Step by Step to Ottawa, produced and directed by Eylem Kaftan, 12 min., Canada 2005

June 2005- Solidarity Across Borders, a Montreal-area coalition initiated by several groups active in defending the rights of migrants, immigrants and refugees organized a march in solidarity with all non-status persons in Canada, and in support of the main demands of the Solidarity Across Borders network: the regularization of all non-status persons in Canada; an end to the deportation and detention of migrants; and the abolition of security certificates. The film documents the journey giving voice to those who walked with purpose to Ottawa. We see the solidarity, hope and commitment shared amongst the marchers and witness the profound effect the trip had on them.


Sophie, directed and produced by Alexandre Roy, 2004, 3 min.

A hard hitting short animation that tells the story of Sophie, a young Québecoise who wins a BBQ but refuses to take the prize when she realizes that racism has tainted the contest.





Measuring Security Measures

immigration, media, law and policy in a "secure" Canada

The National Film Board of Canada's CitizenShift and überculture have teamed up to put on an exciting project for the fall of 2005. Measuring Security Measures is a cross-Canada series of events that raise two key questions:

• Are recent security laws and policies in Canada undermining civil liberties?

• Has the mainstream media in Canada adequately presented, analyzed and framed this issue?

From St. John's to Vancouver, CitizenShift, überculture and many other groups have organized three exciting weeks of film screenings and panel discussions in over ten Canadian cities. These symposiums will be held from October 10 - 30, 2005, and will provide an open and accessible forum for debate on the issues of immigration, media, law and national security in Canada.

The three overlapping components of Measuring Security Measures &endash; immigration, media, law & policy - provide a loose framework for discussion with audience and panelists, as well as guiding the composition of the panels. Some of the Canadian public may be aware of laws and policies that have been passed in Canada in the name of protecting our national security and countering terrorist activity. These measures are often approved by the federal government while under intense pressure from the American government, and often result in terrible consequences to civilians. The repercussions on civil liberties and fundamental human rights should be headline news in Canada, but unfortunately, the mainstream media has consistently left the issue unexamined.

At the special events of Measuring Security Measures, the nature and consequences of these laws and policies will be examined, analyzed and discussed through four recent Canadian short films and panel discussions, as well as the media's role in framing and covering such debate.

Following one hour of film screenings, the audience will hear from the panelists and then will be invited to join in the discussion. These events promise that Measuring Security Measures will provide an exciting and serious exploration of policies that may not be directly observed by all, but that seriously affect every individual in Canada.

Measuring Security Measures will take place in ten cities across Canada in the last two weeks of October, 2005. So far the following list is where events will take place and who's organizing them.

The events are free and open to all. For more information on Measuring Security Measures please contact us.

local: montreal

contact 1: Ezra Winton, ezra (at) uberculture (dot) org, 514.313.3478

contact 2: Patricia Kearns, p.kearns (at) onf (dot) ca, 514.283.9478

other sites: CitizenShift