Dec. 6, 2003. 01:00 AM
Arar lawyer urges new rules with U.S.
Case stresses need for change

Public inquiry sought to clear air


OTTAWA—The Maher Arar case has made it essential for Canada to reach a new consensus on how Canadians should be treated abroad, Toronto lawyer Lorne Waldman said yesterday.

Waldman, who is acting on behalf of Arar, told a conference on managing the Canada-U.S. relationship that the case has highlighted the need for a new discussion with the United States.

"We need a public inquiry in order to come to a new consensus so that we can say to the Americans, `These are our rules. This is our expectations of how Canadians should be treated. Can you accept that?'" Waldman told the conference.

"We need to establish clarity in Canada as to what our values are."

He told reporters later that the consequences might be a refusal to share intelligence information with the United States, or travel advisories warning Canadian citizens that they would be at risk if they travelled to the United States.

Arar, 33, is the Syrian-born Canadian who was deported by the United States to Jordan and Syria in September, 2002, and imprisoned and tortured for a year.

On Thursday, when questioned about the Arar case, U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci told the conference that the United States reserves the right to act unilaterally when it feels its security is at stake.

Waldman, the author of "Immigration Law and Practice," said that the security concerns since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have raised the pressure for harmonizing Canadian and U.S. immigration and refugee regulations and practices.

Additional articles by Graham Fraser

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