The Parliamentary Committee on Bill C-51 won’t re-convene until next week. When you consider the Harper Government’s vow to have this legislation rushed through so it can be passed by the end of the month, this is a dramatic demonstration of how little scrutiny the Harper Government is willing to accord Bill C-51.
The same can’t be said for the rest of us, because Bill C-51 is actually getting a great deal of scrutiny outside the Parliament Buildings.
There are a lot of terrible things in this draft legislation, but as a writer I am especially concerned about its assault on Free Speech. Ordinarily I only blog about Canadian Politics sporadically, but this week I hope to post daily. I began yesterday with David Weber warns Bill C-51 will lead to a Police State #RejectTerror #StopBillC51
But today I want to say a few words about our Day of Action.
The Kitchener-Waterloo Day of Action Against Bill C-51 wasn’t just a rally, it wasn’t just a protest, and it wasn’t just a group of disturbed citizens demonstrating our opposition to Bill C-51 to the Harper Government. What it was was a community meeting. The event at Kitchener City Hall proved to be both interactive and a valuable learning experience.
Only 2 speakers were officially scheduled to make short speeches, and from there on out it was opened up to anyone who wanted to speak via an open mic. It is winter in Canada, and the event organizers understood that Canadians (especially with small children) wouldn’t want to be outside for long, so the whole thing was optimistically intended to go for an hour.
But it went for two.
There was certainly a good bit of audience churn… not everyone arrived at the start and not all those who did stuck it out for the duration.
And I learned some things. One thing I learned was about this independent feature length Documentary called “The Secret Trial 5.” I had never even heard of the project, and the only reason I have now is because a brave young woman got up on stage in front of hundreds of people at Kitchener City Hall and told us about it. The thing is, this young woman (the one in the picture, whose name I don’t even know) isn’t even one of the filmmakers. The reason she knows about the movie is because her friend did research for it. She didn’t claim to be an expert, but she was clearly moved by the project, and she thinks, as I do, that Canadians need to see this film.
While most of us have heard these words, “Security Certificates,” if you’re like me, you never really understood what these are, exactly. Although I haven’t yet seen the film, I have watched the trailer. This was powerful enough to ensure I will be one of the people at the Screening at the Original Princess in Waterloo on Thursday night.
Bill C-51 is starting to wake Canadians up to the fact the Canadian Charter of Right and Freedoms is in jeopardy. The Charter is part of the Canadian Constitution, and it forms the legal basis for Canadian civil rights in Canadian Law. The Charter is also the foundation of the democratic freedom that ensures Canada is a free county.
To me the single most important message of this film is that the rights in our Charter are standing on quicksand, and may have already been breached. Bill C-51 will just finish them off.
There will be a screening in Waterloo on Thursday night. As part of the program I understand the film makers will there to host a Q & A and discuss the serious issues their film broaches with the audience. You can get a jump on things by reading the interview Documentary director Amar Wala on ‘The Secret Trial 5’, Bill C51, and the stigma of terror suspicion.
I realize this is short notice, so you might be busy that night, or maybe you can’t get to Waterloo, or they might be sold out, or the venue itself might not be doable since its an old building that isn’t accessible. But all is not lost. I expect there will be other screenings in other places, but the film is also conveniently available for screening or download online.
Thursday at 6:30pm
Princess Cinemas, Original Theatre, 6 Princess Street West, Waterloo, ON
To make sure you get a seat, order your tickets in advance http://secrettrial5-waterloo.eventbrite.com/?aff=efbevent
My Photos from the National Day of Action to Stop Bill C-51 ~ March 14th, 2015 can be found in my Flickr Album
NOTE: My Original Mini Poster for the Screening had the date wrong; it has now been corrected.