Minority Views on the Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act
All participants were recruited randomly by Créatec according to the following criteria:
- Age range -- 18-54
- Each group was of mixed gender, with a range of educational levels and occupations. No one was either a legal expert or a criminologist. However, 2 young female Group 2 participants did have some legal knowledge – one was a legal secretary in Vancouver and the other was a law student in Halifax who had written a paper on Bill C-36.
- Birthplace criteria -- at least half of each of Group 1 and 2 participants were foreign-born and half were Canadian-born – although in some locations the majority were foreign-born. Group 3 members were mainly foreign-born.
- No one had been in a focus group over the past 2 years, and no one had ever participated in a qualitative session on a topic related to governmental issues.
- Some standard employment categories were excluded – no one or members of their family worked for any public relations or advertising agency, any level of government or political organization, any market research or marketing firm, radio, TV or other media. However, one Halifax man was a retired accountant who used to work for the Department of National Defence (DND) and a few women (from Calgary and Vancouver) worked or had worked with new immigrants.
As is standard qualitative research practice, each respondent received an incentive payment of $50 at the end of their session for their participation.
Participants in all 16 groups were queried along the lines of the client-approved discussion guide in English and French (see Appendix 1).
After the introduction and initial discussion about awareness of terrorist acts and anti-terrorism legislation, the following procedure was adopted in all 5 locations:
- The moderator introduced a particular legislative aspect, distributed a printed client-approved handout to each participant summarizing that particular legislative aspect, and then queried the group accordingly. This procedure was repeated for 5 handouts: (1) a brief summary of the ATA, (2) the definition of a terrorist activity, (3) the listing of terrorist entities, (4) the financing of terrorism, and (5) the new investigative and preventive powers.
- Note that the 5 handouts (as appended to and explained in the discussion guide) minimized legal language to allow for maximum respondent understanding, but still reflected the essence and ideas in the ATA.
After discussing the last handout on investigative and preventive powers, the moderator explained and participants were queried about 2 mechanisms associated with these powers – the sunset clause and the annual reporting obligation to Parliament by the Attorney General and Solicitor General. Sessions ended with discussions about the impact the legislation might have had on participants personally, or on their communities.
Note that any mention of real or perceived backlash or the legislation's impact on the Charter rights of Canadians was to be probed whenever it initially emerged during the discussions.
This project used a team approach with 4 moderators conducting groups in the 5 different locales, due to the large number of groups to be conducted within a short time frame. The fact that all 4 moderators in this study reported similar findings and observations across all 3-target groups and across all 5 locations increases the validity of the findings.
- Mr. Grégoire Gollin acted as the project manager, responsible for client relations, the design of the work methodology, observation of some groups, supervision of the final report as well as overall coordination.
- Mr. Sylvain Laroche assisted with project management and client relations, moderated the 3 francophone groups in Montreal and prepared the detailed analysis for these groups.
- Ms. Natalie Gold conducted the 6 Anglophone groups in Toronto and Vancouver, prepared the detailed analysis incorporating results from all 16 groups, presented a verbal debrief to the client (on March 27, 2003) and wrote the final report.
- Ms. Sharon Archibald moderated the 3 Anglophone groups in Halifax and the English-speaking Montreal group, and prepared the detailed analysis for these groups.
- Mr. Richard Alaszkiewicz led the 3 Anglophone groups in Calgary, and prepared the detailed analysis for these groups.
- Date modified: