David Weber warns Bill C-51 will lead to a Police State #RejectTerror #StopBillC51

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.

David Weber,  Guest Blogger
David Weber

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.



Long time Fair Vote Canada member David Weber is the federal Green Party Candidate for the new Kitchener-South-Hespeler Electoral District in 2015.

My photos are released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License and you’ll find more in my National Day of Action to Stop Bill C51 Flickr album

Canadian Politics

protester holding a sign in the 13 Heros protestGenerally speaking, I don’t like political parties.

What I don’t like is the idea of political parties in this land that is supposed to be a representative democracy.  The way a representative democracy is supposed to work, is that we vote for and elect the candidate we think will best represent us. We elect the candidate we believe will vote for or against proposed laws as we would.  So that our best interests will be represented within the halls of our democratic government.

The problem is, once elected, “our” elected representative is more likely to do the bidding of their party than they are to do what we want.  Which rather makes a mockery of our “representatation.”

The inequity of our “winner take all” political system means any party holding a majority of seats in parliament has absolute power to enact any legislation it wants.  For the entire term.

looking up at protesters and signs

Our political system is older than Canada.  Perhaps our flavour of representative democracy was good enough back in 1867, when communication and transportation were far from instantaneous, and governing a land mass the size of Canada was geographically challenging.  But with today’s connectivity and access to information, our political system is sorely outdated and hugely inequitable.  Worse, our “democracy” has few if any checks and balances to prevent abuse.  When we are cursed with a majority government, what we effectively have is a time limited dictatorship.

(The Senate is supposed to provide “sober second thought,” but partisan Senate padding has resulted in the upper chamber being transformed into a rubber stamp for the party that stacks it the most.)

Because our electoral system is so terribly broken,  when any such a majority government seeks to pass laws  we don’t approve — the only recourse open to Canadians is to apply the pressure of public opinion.  Citizens have to protest in any way we can.  All we can do is hope that our government will take heed of our concerns and correct or drop legislation that is not in the public good.

KW Voted 4 U

Last summer a great many Canadians were upset by the Conservative “Black Mark Budget”  Omnibus bill.   Under our woefully antiquated “democracy,” any majority government has the power to pass any law, no matter how unpopular.  And when many pieces of unrelated legislation are bundled together and called an “omnibus,” it means these laws are very nearly being passed in secret, because they receive only the most cursory public scrutiny and debate.  In a democratic state, at minimum legislation deserves examination and dissent must be heard, even if the system allows for bad law to be passed anyway in the end.  We deserve to know when bad law is made.

Because of the current Federal Conservative Majority, the only way to stop the Bill C-38 ominbudget from passing would have been for 13 Conservative MPs to vote against it.  An awful lot of ordinary Canadians took to the streets in protest.  People who had never lifted before lifted a picket sign in their lives waved them with gusto.   Grandparemts, parents, children.   A great deal of public pressure was in fact brought to bear.  In Waterloo Region, Peter Braid pretended not to have seen the protest outside his office, while Stephen Woodworth magnanimously offered his protesters coffee.  Still, in spite of the many protests made at Conservative MP constituency offices across Canada, not a single Conservative MP voted against Party dictates.

Not long afterward, I heard Stephen Woodworth defending his decision to vote against his constituents at the Kitchener Multicultural Festival.   In the few minutes I was there,  the Member of Parliament explained to two different constituents that he had been unable to vote against Bill C-38 as they wanted,  because it would have meant opposing the directives of his political party.  The orders issued by his party prevented him from representing the voters who elected him.

Omnibudget Protest 2012

Money Makes the World Go Around

twenty dollar bills
Things are pretty bad when a supposedly democratic government ignores the voters.  Our system wasn’t entirely fair back in 1867, but it has been gamed and fiddled with by succeeding governments in attempts to give the ruling party an unfair advantage ever since.  Is it any wonder that almost half of our eligible voters don’t even bother anymore? Canadians know all too well that all votes don’t count, nor are all votes equal.  The system is so badly broken that strategic voting is considered a legitimate option.  Something’s got to give.

The Canada that my child will inherit is much worse than the Canada I inherited. We no longer have the option of leaving politics to the politicians.  Canadians need to start talking and thinking about politics. We have to stand up for change now or things will keep getting worse.

Today’s political parties seem to spend more time fund raising than campaigning. Why do they need so much cash? Seems they all need oodles of money to pay the costs of television advertising, which gets more expensive all the time. Of course, print advertising and robocalls don’t come cheap either…

With the phasing out of the per vote subsidy, money becomes a much bigger issue, particularly for the smaller political parties.

It is always easier for the rich to bankroll their political party (and get the laws that benefit them passed) but the rest of us need some political representation too.  If you feel any political party has stood up for you, or the issues you feel are important maybe you ought to send them a donation.

Perhaps the Pirate Party stood up for privacy and Internet Freedom… or the Green Party fought for the environment… or the Liberal Party is changing the way a political party works… or the NDP is standing up for First Nations… or the Conservative Party put the abortion debate back to sleep.

If you happen to have any cash left on hand after the holidays and want to encourage the party of your choice to keep up the good work, now is the time to make a donation.  A $10.00 donation actually only costs you $2.50 after you get $7.50 back in tax credit.

This is how it works:

Canadian Political Donation Facts

Maximum political contribution limit: $1,200
Donations between 0 and $400 ~ a 75% tax credit
Donations between $400 and $750 ~ $300 tax credit plus 50% of any amount over $400;
Donations over $750 ~ $475 + 33.3% of amount over $750 (max $650 per year tax credit)
Any contributions must be made by Monday, December 31st to be eligible for 2012 tax credits.

Another thing to do is get involved. Find out when and where the local political parties meet, and go sit in. Look for your local Fair Vote chapter or Co-Operate for Canada. Read the news. Follow #CDNpoli on Twitter. Listen. Learn.

Canadians need to start talking about politics, and get involved to effect change in one way or another. We can’t afford not to anymore.

If we’re stuck with a party system, maybe it’s time to join the party.
Get involved.a horizontal border of red graphic maple leaves

Canadian Constitutional Law


Mape Leaf that says "Oh! Canada"My first exposure to legislative “regulations” was when I tried reading the Provincial Government’s proposed Bill 160 back in 1997.   Although I’m reasonably well educated and usually able to grasp the big picture, when reading through this proposed education legislation more than once I still couldn’t figure it out. At first I worried that my critical thinking had been impaired by motherhood. As it turned out, that was not the problem. The problem was that Bill 160 wasn’t complete, it was a framework.

Regulations are the details that get filled in later after the law has been passed. Regulations are decided behind closed doors by the cabinet. Bill 160 even specified that many of its regulations could be retroactive. As a citizen, this makes me nervous.

The point of our lawmaking procedure is to allow for laws to be made democratically in the light of day by elected representatives.
I can understand how it started… a government wanted to put through a law quickly, but they were missing a detail or two so they left a regulatory blank to be filled in later. But legislation made up of “regulations to be named later” bypasses the system of parliamentary legislation which is how our laws are supposed to be made. This is like signing a contract that hasn’t been filled in.


Prime Minister Stephen Harper
One result of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s misuse of prorogation means that more than half of the legislation in the works has been killed.

From my perspective, it is rather a good thing that some of the laws were derailed. As it turns out, it is a very good thing that Bill C-6 Canada Consumer Product Safety Act was not actually passed.

Marketed under the Healthy Canadians Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan umbrella, this law has not yet passed. This law is being sold as “protecting you and your family'”.

Constitutional lawyer Shawn Buckley explains about legislative regulations at the federal level:

Regulations don’t have to go through parliament. There doesn’t have to be a vote. If you want to pass a regulation and you’re the government, you just publish it in the Canada Gazette Twice, and it becomes the law.
–Shawn Buckley YouTube Video: Part 1 Restricting Our Freedoms

Through a discussion board on the Facebook Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament CAPP site I first learned about Bill C-6. I was directed to National Health Products Protection Organization (NHPPA)‘s Constitutional lawyer Shawn Buckley, who speaks on the two YouTube videos I’ve included in this page.

Although his focus is National Health Products Protection he very clearly lays out a few very frightening things that are happening in this legislation. Mr. Buckley’s concern with the regulations within this proposed law because he believes once the law is passed the regulatory elements will be employed detrimentally.

PART 1 Restricting Our Freedoms – Shawn Buckley about Bill C-6

Bill C-6 abolishes the Law of Trespass

Our right to privacy, which Canadians enjoyed on our own land, or in our own homes, is abolished under this law. Established in British Common Law, Canada’s Law of Trespass is older than confederation. The legal protection it afforded citizens was that any invasion of our privacy by citizens or the state had remedies in law. This law is why it is necessary for law enforcement to have a search warrant before invading citizen’s homes. Currently all levels of Canadian law enforcement employ the standards laid out in the Canadian Criminal Code: there needs to be a substantial likelihood of evidence of a crime.

Shawn Buckley says that Bill C-6 will allow a Justice to grant a search warrant to a Health Canada Inspector to any place that is “likely to find something regulated by the act”. Being skeptical, I went and looked it up on the government’s own website:

Authority to enter place

20. (1) Subject to subsection 21(1), an inspector may, for the purpose of verifying compliance or preventing non-compliance with this Act or the regulations, at any reasonable time enter a place, including a conveyance, in which they have reasonable grounds to believe that a consumer product is manufactured, imported, packaged, stored, advertised, sold, labelled, tested or transported, or a document relating to the administration of this Act or the regulations is located.
Bill C-6 – As Passed by the House of Commons Version

Exerpting the scary bit: “reasonable grounds to believe that a consumer product is … stored.”

My house has stored consumer products in it.   Every house does.   He’s right.

This law means that no one’s home is safe.

Of course, law enforcement isn’t going to be breaking down doors willy nilly… would they?

The Rule of Law

Canadian Flag
The Rule of Law is one of my favorites. Currently, the state needs to go through the court before it can deprive us of our liberty or our property. The court only grants the state the right to deprive us of these things if there is the provision of a crime or a legal judgement.

Bill C-6 allows a Health Canada Inspector to seize your property without going to court for a warrant.

Under current law, anything that is seized under a warrant must be (a) reported to the court immediately, and (b) the enforcement agent must apply to the court to keep it. The court may decide the seizure was improper and order it’s return.

Bill C-6 allows property seizure without having to bother with the court.

Worse, it allows the person whose property was seized can be billed for storage of their seized property. Or the Inspector can decide to destroy the property.

Keeping it cozy, the ministry that charges you keeps the goods they have seized.

So, in the name of “safety”, a warrant may be obtained without evidence, goods may be seized without a warrant, and then kept, disposed of or destroyed without a court order.

PART 2 Restricting Our Freedoms – Shawn Buckley about Bill C-6

I know that I am not Shawn Buckley’s intended audience because my only connection with the National Health Products Protection Organization would be as a consumer.   I’m just a citizen.   There are some really good laws in place currently protecting consumers.

If the inspectors are having trouble doing their job within Canada’s existing laws, perhaps the real problem is that there are not enough inspectors to be able to do the job properly. Rectifying that problem would be beneficial to consumers.

As a reader and writer I can see all too clearly the realms of abuse that laws like this will open up. And once a law like this passes, it will be that much easier to pass others as bad or worse.

There are really good reasons to afford citizens protection from the state. That’s why our legal system evolved the way it has… to ensure that the powerful state does not wantonly abuse its citizens. Citizens must be considered innocent until proven guilty. That’s important.

This law will strip centuries old legal protections from me and my family. That’s not good for us… that’s bad.

Prorogation killed this law. We’re safe from it now.

Well, no.

Bill C-6 was originally Bill C-52. It didn’t get passed and it has come back. A hair’s breath from being a law. So when parliament reconvenes it will no doubt be back. And this time, it will most likely be pushed through on a fast track.

We can get some good out of this prorogation if we can work to stop further erosion of our civil rights. Lets make democracy work for us.

Canadian House of Commons