Secret Investigations of Secret Suspects with Secret Witnesses

I was reading a news report today,  from the Canadian Press.  You can find it here:

It was a story about the federal goverment having a plan to expand the powers CSIS presently has, so as to guard against terrorist threats here in Canada.

What particularly bothered me was the following:

“The federal plan to bolster security powers follows a recent statement from the RCMP that the national police force has about 63 active investigations on 90 suspected extremists who intend to join fights abroad or who have returned to Canada.

Extending protection for informants could mean defence counsel and even judges would never have the right to question human sources who provide information on behalf of CSIS in court proceedings — such as when the government attempts to deport a suspected terrorist using a national security certificate.”

Does this read a little like Mcarthy’ism?   What’s it take to get on this list of persons to be investigated?   What sort of real test is applied?   This does not sound like the stuff of a free and democratic society to me.  It sounds instead like skulking about by boys with a bit of authority, and a real vested interest in finding targets.    Canada and the US have each had a long history of Mcarthyism like conduct.   I am saddened to see that we continue to repeat it.

For a primmer on Mcarthyism, here’s a nice wikipedia article:

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