Since September 11th, 2001, North American governments have learned to shout “anti-terrorism” any time they want the masses to back a war, bill, or rampage. Hence June’s passing of Bill C-51 in Canada.
Bill C-51 gives police the power to detain terror SUSPECTS without trial, and ban the “promotion of terrorism.” Why is that a problem? Because vaguely worded statements like “terror suspects” and “promotion of terrorism” are loose uses of language that could include university kids protesting about a bill like this. Which democracy ought to allow. Let’s not forget that protests are what gave women the right to vote, and freed African Americans from slavery.
Environmental and Aboriginal groups alike are already, and validly expressing concerns about how quickly their demonstrations will be considered terrorist activity. Their lawyers agree. Bill C-51 could easily evolve into just what every right-wing politician has been dreaming of: a way to call left-wing protests an act of terrorism. It could make an article like this one, that calls Harper the most internationally despised prime minister in Canadian history, illegal for being “promotion of terrorism” and jeopardizing national security.
Several former prime ministers released a joint statement against this bill, for how contrary it is to Canadian ideals. And when Justin Trudeau surprisingly backed it, many Liberal supporters cut their membership cards in half in disgust at their party leader. In June, Nova Scotia Liberal candidate David MacLeod quit his run over Bill C-51. “I served in the Canadian military for twenty-seven years to protect the rights and freedoms of Canadians,” he told media, “When they came up with C-51, I couldn’t live with it.” He was particularly displeased with language suggesting that anything which adversely affects economic stability should be illegal now. “I mean, the weather affects economic stability — what are you going to do, charge the weather?”
Bill C-51 will also increase the powers of Canada’s spy agency CSIS. CSIS is supposed to OBSERVE, ie, collect intelligence by spying, and relay that information to politicians who then make informed, group decisions on the intelligence. Thanks to Bill C-51, instead of observing us, CSIS can now act on their own intelligence as if officers of the law – there are even circumstances and loopholes in which they don’t need a warrant now to kick your door in and seize you. They are the “Big Brother” Orwell spoke of in his novel, 1984. A book anyone who backs this bill ought to read, for a glimpse at the slippery slope we’re on.
Bill C-51 is also a violation of our privacy. It will allow government to share information about us among approximately 20 federal institutions. Daniel Therrien, the Canadian privacy commissioner, has expressed his concerns on the matter, calling this loss of privacy “clearly excessive.”Amnesty International has also expressed themselves about this horrible Bill. “It is not clear why [Bill C-51] is necessary when threatening, counseling, or conspiring to commit terrorist activities are already offences.” They went on to say that human rights such as liberty, privacy, and freedom of expression are jeopardized by the powers granted to CSIS.
Stephen Harper conceived the bill, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau backed it, but NDP leader Thomas Mulcair is so outraged he has vowed to repeal the bill if elected prime minister in the fall. So, a vote for NDP in the next election is a vote to abolish the bill. A bill that is a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.