Ottawa - The federal government plans to dramatically soften or abandon a controversial proposal giving the defence minister power to declare any area of Canada a temporary military zone.
The Public Security Act, an omnibus bill crafted in the emotional weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was originally intended to be fast-tracked into law. But the legislation is now on a back burner.
"There is some sober second thought going on," confirmed Liberal backbencher Irwin Cotler, a respected counter-terrorism law expert who has the ear of senior cabinet ministers and Prime Minister Jean Chretien. Cotler says that, based on his conversations with Chretien and deputy prime minister John Manley, the proposal for temporary military zones will be killed or watered down.
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