False Security

The Radicalization of Canadian Anti-terrorism


Winner of the 2016 Canadian Law and Society Association Book Prize

On 20 October 2014, a terrorist drove his car into two members of the Canadian Armed Forces, killing Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. Two days later, another terrorist murdered Corporal Nathan Cirillo before storming Parliament. In the aftermath of these attacks, Parliament enacted Bill C-51 — the most radical national security law in generations. This new law ignored hard lessons on how Canada both over- and underreacted to terrorism in the past. It also ignored evidence and urgent recommendations about how to avoid these dangers in the future.

For much of 2015, Craig Forcese and Kent Roach have provided, as Maclean’s put it, the “intellectual core of what’s emerged as surprisingly vigorous push-back” to Bill C-51. In this book, they show that our terror laws now make a false promise of security even as they present a radical challenge to rights and liberties. They trace how our laws repeat past mistakes of institutionalized illegality while failing to address problems that weaken the accountability of security agencies and impair Canada’s ability to defend against terrorism.

Preview chapters from False Security
False Security - Preface
False Security - Chapter One


“This book is key to understanding Bill C-51. The authors rightly criticize provisions of the Act as endangering free speech, authorizing unnecessary disruption, and lacking oversight. Their quarrel is with the radical means to be employed by government agencies — almost guaranteeing court challenges — and with the absence of any effective anti-terrorism strategy. This is a valuable resource for anyone trying to get behind the political rhetoric to understand an important and complex issue.”
- Ron Atkey, P.C., Q.C., first Chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee

“Professors Roach and Forcese take the reader on a comprehensive journey through Canada’s anti-terror efforts, providing invaluable depth, insight, analysis, and most importantly, their informed conclusions for the most effective ways forward. This work is excellent.”
- Sukanya Pillay, General Counsel, Canadian Civil Liberties Association

“A vital threshold and fair-minded analysis of the excesses, inadequacies, assumptions, and judgments impacting the new national security laws in Canada; coherent, inclusive, and trenchant — not to be missed or set aside. Invaluable to all those who care about the right balance between freedom and security.”
- Hugh Segal, former Chair of the Special Senate Committee on Anti-terrorism

"False Security offers a comprehensive and robust critique of Bill C-51, describes the current state of national security law and policy in Canada and suggests alternative approaches for responding to terrorism. This book is recommended for policy bureaucrats and students and scholars of national security law and policy.”
- Goldwynn Lewis, Law Librarian, Public Prosecution Service of Canada, Canadian Law Library Review 41:4 (2016)

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: History: A Short History of Canada’s Over- and Underreaction to Terrorism

Chapter 3: Threat: An Evolving Terrorist Threat

Chapter 4: Watch: Surveillance of Threats

Chapter 5: Share: Information Sharing about Threats

Chapter 6: Interdict: Restricting the Movement of Threats

Chapter 7: Restrain: Limiting Threats

Chapter 8: Interrupt: Disruption When All Else Fails

Chapter 9: Prosecute: The Challenges of Terrorism Prosecutions

Chapter 10: Delete: Criminalizing and Censoring Extremist Speech

Chapter 11: Oversight: Who Is in Charge of Canadian Anti-terrorism?

Chapter 12: Review: Accountability Gaps

Chapter 13: Dissuade: An Ounce of Prevention and the Sociology of Anti-terrorism

Chapter 14: Conclusion: The Need for a Re-think


Of interest...