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Canada allowed security to use 'torture material'

Canadian government says information extracted through torture is okay to use.

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A border patrol agent walks on the Canadian/United States border. Thirty fugitives wanted for war crimes or crimes against humanity are believed to be hiding in Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government has said, and Canada's Border Services Agency is appealing for the public's help to find them. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Canadian government encouraged its spy agency to use information extracted through torture, The Canadian Press reported

Under the Access to Information Act, The Canadian Press obtained documents revealing that Public Safety Minister Vic Toews told the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to "make the protection of life and property its overriding priority." 

In a question period, Toews also said: "Information obtained by torture is always discounted. But the problem is, can one safely ignore it when Canadian lives and property are at stake?"

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Toews' statements contradict the stance the Canadian government took on torture in 2009, when it said information gathered through torture should never be used. 

Postmedia News reported that the directive only allowed use of torture-induced information in "exceptional circumstances."

And the Canadian government said that it still does not urge its own security forces to actually commit torture, BBC News reported.

However, human rights groups and Canadian politicians have been critical of the directive, saying that it encourages other countries to continue torturing their citizens. 

"Clearly from a human rights perspective, what we want to see is ever-stronger efforts to ensure that information that may have been obtained under torture plays no role and is not relied upon, in any way, as part of Canada's policing and security practices," Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada, told Postmedia News

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/canada/120208/canada-allows-security-use-torture-material