About this Project

This blog comments on Canadian (and occasionally comparative) national security law to update my National Security Law textbook and now also my 2015 book, False Security: The Radicalization of Anti-terrorism, co-authored with Kent Roach.

Please also see www.antiterrorlaw.ca for Bill C-51-related analyses by Craig Forcese and Kent Roach.

For narrated lectures on various topics in national security law, please visit my 2017 "national security nutshell" series, available through iTunes.


For a continuing conversation on Canadian national security law and policy, please join Stephanie Carvin and me at A Podcast Called INTREPID.


Please also visit my archive of "secret law" in the security area.

By Craig Forcese

Full Professor
Faculty of Law

Email: cforcese[at]uottawa.ca

Twitter: @cforcese


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Most Recent Blog Postings

Latest Book: Available from Irwin Law in April 2018.


10 Minute (ok, 15) Primer: Canadian Secrecy Law and National Security

This primer is a brief overview of key laws pertaining to secrecy and national security in Canada.


Primer: Canadian Secrecy Law and National Security from Craig Forcese on Vimeo.


Canada's Security & Intelligence Community after 9/11: Key Challenges and Conundrums

I have posted my latest paper here. It (briefly) canvasses a range of outstanding issues that have arisen in the organization of Canadian security and intelligence since 9/11. The abstract reads as follows:

The Canadian security & intelligence community’s historical development and scope reflect the country’s relatively favourable geopolitical circumstances. Since 9/11, anti-terrorism has been the country’s clear security priority, possibly to the point of ignoring other critical issues. Because responses to terrorism involve both criminal law and intelligence-led preemptive activities, Canada’s chief police and intelligence agencies now overlap in their investigations to a considerable degree, creating conundrums for both operations and accountability. This article traces the impact of these developments on the Canadian management of national security, and the institutional design of Canada’s S&I community and accountability mechanisms. It concludes with a series of questions Canadian policy makers must ponder in deciding how best to address Canada’s operational and accountability national security challenges.


Yesterday's Law: Terrorist Group Listing in Canada

Kent Roach and I have posted our latest paper here. This paper reviews Canada's terrorism group listing laws. The abstract reads as follows:

Canada’s approach to proscription differs from that of other Westminster democracies. With a different constitutional tradition, Canada does not ban organizations; instead it penalizes certain forms of conduct, above mere membership, with terrorist groups. “Terrorist groups” include entities listed proactively by the executive, but also entities that meet a functional definition in Canadian criminal law. In practice, the latter, functionally-defined terrorist groups have figured in most terrorism prosecutions – few cases have involved listed groups. With the new focus on Daesh (a listed group), that may begin to change. However, executive listing raises unresolved constitutional doubts in Canada, prompting concerns that reliance on proscription may be more trouble than it is worth. In many respects, therefore, terrorist group listing is yesterday’s law, sparked by the events on 9/11, but of marginal utility thereafter. There may be reasons of administrative expediency to preserve listing, but the tool is most doubtful when used as a precursor to criminal prosecutions.