Guest post by David Weber
David very much wanted to attend the Kitchener-Waterloo Day of Action Against Bill C-51 because he had something to say about how Bill C-51 will impact on our society. Unfortunately he had to work at his day job in law enforcement. So those of us who were able to attend were fortunate an Alliance Against Poverty (AAP) member was able to come in David’s stead and read the words he’d written to share his insight. I asked David if I could share them here so you can read what he has to say for yourself.
The erosion of our rights began in the wake of 9/11
This is what I’ve been thinking about with this Bill C-51 “Anti-terror’ legislation and why you need to join in this day of protest.
Having done policing for three decades, I have seen an enormous amount of procedural change in the job. One recent change, is officers not having to do an official “Return to the Justice of the Peace” to report when we have seized cell phone information without a warrant. This is meant to make it less cumbersome to do the job for what we would do anyways. But if we are doing it rarely, a return of information reporting to a justice is simple and not a big deal. When requiring no returns, there is no way for an agency outside of policing to track how often seizures are made. This can also increase the use of such investigative activity when there is no accountability. This is one example that might make the average police officer happy, but it worries me about the quality of our society.
The new anti-terror legislation being brought out in Bill C-51 is claimed to be about protecting us.
I think it is more about making it easier to lock people up before they can cause much dissent. Silencing the difference of opinion before others become swayed to speak up themselves.
Consider the contrast between our old laws standing on their own in regards to lawful picketing, causing a disturbance and trespassing, and what these offences become when the anti-terror legislation is finalized. Trespassing to picket an oil pipeline is a $65 fine.
Without a municipal permit, a peaceful protest can be considered a terrorist action under Bill C-51
The tough on terror legislation says it doesn’t apply to lawful protesters, but once you commit that illegal act of trespassing during a protest, you now become a terrorist by the legislation definition. You are also a terrorist if you are engaged in a non-violent protest that has a large assembly of people without a permit to march or what have you that a local municipality says you require to congregate, so that you are no longer part of a “lawful” protest.
The Criminal Code of Canada has long had offences for spying, treason, making bombs and detonating them in terrorist acts, sedition, etc. We have ability to gather intelligence on known radical operators. The increased spying bill will watch every citizen under a microscope without any serious oversight, at a much-increased cost and with no safety gain. It will not stop the lone wolf operators that strike without communications being shared beforehand. It will suppress free communication of citizens to talk about how oil pipelines are a bad thing, because when the government is supporting them and claiming they are a part of our healthy economy, your opposition makes you against our secure economy and therefore a terrorist.
As a suspected terrorist, you can be held without a right to a lawyer or notification to your family or friends that you are in custody.
This is the rise of a police state. This is the end of many of your rights for freedom.
We are allowing our government to eliminate the freedoms our fathers and grandfathers went to war to protect.
The citizens of Germany gave away their rights similarly pre-world war 2.
Turkey is currently passing the same legislation as Canada’s Bill C-51, but in Turkey there are chairs and punches being thrown in the argument between those pro-free and those pro-surveillance with forfeiture of rights. We might not want to resort to punches, but we should not accept this legislation.
Our freedom is worth too much to allow it to be taken away.
What you can do to help:
If you are able, please join in a rally near you to protest this bill. If you are not able, please write your MP a letter telling him you are against this assault on our freedom.