Bill C-51 Needs to be Scrapped, Not Amended

Privacy Is Not A Crime - Protest Sign Remix No Canadian Police Force asked for the expanded powers in Bill C-51.

Not local police.  Not Provincial Police.

Not RCMP.

Not even CSIS.

In fact, Canadian Law enforcement “already has many powers to target terrorism and terrorist activities in Canada.”

So why did the federal government put forth Bill C-51?

Oversight vs Auditing

In 2012 Eva Plunkett, the Inspector General of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service retired.  The role of the Inspector General was the CSIS Watchdog, and provided the only independent oversight for the CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service).

Rather than replacing her with a new Inspector General, the Harper Government took the unusual step of dismantling the position of Inspector General of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.  This was quietly accomplished with the controversial Omnibus Budget Bill C-38.

Division 15 of Part 4 amends the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act to
(a) remove the office of the Inspector General;
(b) require the Security Intelligence Review Committee to submit to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness a certificate on the Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s annual report; and
(c) increase the information on the Service’s activities to be provided by that Committee to that Minister.”

— Omnibus Budget Bill C-38.

Black Mark Budget Demonstration, Waterloo, Ontario

The Harper Government has taken the position that SIRC (the Security Intelligence Review Committee) provides oversight, but in fact, SIRC does not ensure CSIS does not stray over the line into illegal behaviour (such as actions which would infringe on the civil rights Canadians are guaranteed by The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms).

While SIRC does perform an important function, the reality is that it is a committee of part timers with limited resources that only finds out what CSIS has done after it has done it.  If then.  While CSIS itself has become a massive bureaucracy, apparently the most lavishly funded of all government agencies; SIRC only has the resources to investigate a small fraction of CSIS actions.   Rather than providing sufficient oversight, SIRC doesn’t provide oversight at all, it simply audits and recommends CSIS improvements after the fact.

SIRC is a public forum for people to complain. It’s also a forum to make the public aware of problems,” Plunkett said. “The [Inspector General’s] office was, get in there and identify the problems and point them out to the minister and say, ‘You have to fix this before it becomes an issue for the public.’

“There’s no minister that’s going to be able to know everything about everything. And I can guarantee you that no director (of CSIS) will point out the flaws.”

— Eva Plunkett, retired Inspector General, CBC: CSIS watchdog to be cut in budget

Legality

 Yes, we know that this government is extremely thin-skinned. But the inspector-general for CSIS isn’t an office that criticizes government. It critiques CSIS behaviour on behalf of the government. Its role is to ensure that the government doesn’t get blindsided by shady behaviour on the part of its intelligence agents.

Or, in the words of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, spoken in 2010, “The inspector-general performs an important review function that supports me in my role as minister and ensures that CSIS is operating within the law and complying with current policies.”

— Colin Kenny, Globe and Mail: “Dismantling the CSIS inspector-general’s office is dumb”

So why would the government eliminate the Office of the Inspector General?So why did the federal government put forth Bill C-51?

Even before the Office of Inspector General was eliminated, despite limited resources for both the IG’s oversight and SIRC’s review, the IG raised serious questions about CSIS activity.

The inspector general’s key function was to produce an annual certificate stating whether CSIS had strayed outside the law, contravened ministerial direction or exercised its powers unreasonably. In her final certificate, Plunkett found CSIS continued to flout policy and made a serious number of reporting errors. She warned that CSIS’s reputation and effectiveness would suffer if the problems weren’t addressed.”

— CBC: CSIS watchdog to be cut in budget

Following the abolition of the Office of Inspector General, it’s website was taken down, so only IG certificates up to 2010 are posted online by way of the Centre for International Policy Studies archive of CSIS Inspector General Certificate Reports.  Plunkett’s final certificate does not appear to be online.

Colin Kenny, the former Chair of the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence argued that instead of eliminating the IG, Canada would be much better served by significantly expanding its scope:

If Mr. Toews had wanted to do something useful, he would have expanded the concept of inspector-general of CSIS to other federal intelligence-gatherers, of which there are roughly a dozen, including the RCMP. Most of these intelligence operations are inadequately scrutinized. Setting up an inspector-general-type of agency to oversee all of them would have been a great move. It would have reassured the public that while this government is serious about law and order, it is also serious about maintaining the legality and integrity of the federal institutions involved in law and order. Instead, it is neutering its only oversight structure that works well.”

— Colin Kenny, Globe and Mail: “Dismantling the CSIS inspector-general’s office is dumb”

The word "Court" intertwined in the fascia above the side entrance to Toronto's Old City Hall from the day

Since then, there have been serious questions raised about the appalling lack of oversight over Canadian intelligence services.

Eroding the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The breaches of civil rights around the Toronto G20 were my wake up call.  An unreasonable quantity of Canadian tax dollars were employed in a widespread supression of Canadian civil rights, resulting in mass arrests, none of which justified such repression.  The case of Byron Sonne, a young man whose Charter Rights were breached from the beginning demonstrates the ease with which law can and will be abused.

Even though Mr. Sonne was acquitted, an intelligence agency witness said Mr. Sonne will always be a “person of interest.”

Not because there was probable cause.  Not because there was evidence.

The reason Mr. Sonne will spend the remainder of his life under surveillance is solely because, after almost two years of trying, they were unable to break the encryption on one of Mr. Sonne’s impounded computers.  Canada’s intelligence apparatus exhibits a frightening sense of entitlement exhibited after having been allowed to act as if mass surveillance on all Canadians all the time is within its mandate.

In contravention of the Charter.

Legal Candour

In 2013 Judge Richard Mosley Canadian found that CSIS deliberately breached its “duty of candour” to the courts by withholding information to get warrants with “a deliberate decision to keep the court in the dark about the scope and extent of the foreign collection efforts that would flow from the court’s issuance of a warrant.” [Toronto Star: Spy Agency Withheld Information from Court to Get Warrants, Judge Says]

In spite of this, the Harper Government fast tracked Bill C-51s sister bill, Bill C-44: An Act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and other Acts .

It is imperative that the Canadian public trust that CSIS is not acting in a lawless manner. And while improving how SIRC functions, or adding Parliamentary review, could regain or maintain that trust, a more cost-sensitive approach could involve statutory reporting. Regardless, something must be done to ensure that CSIS’ actions remain fully accountable to the public, especially given the new powers the Service may soon enjoy. Doing anything less would irresponsibly expand the state’s surveillance capabilities and threaten to dilute the public’s trust in its intelligence and security service.”

— Christopher Parsons, CSIS’s New Powers Demand New Accountability Mechanisms

WiFi Surveillance

"WIFI Internet Access Here" sign at The Working CentreThe Edward Snowden revelations have shown our intelligence agencies have exhibited serious legal deficiencies.  The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was shown to have been breached through mass surveillance of WiFi:

The thought that everything you’re doing is being monitored when there’s no need for it, when there’s no reason to believe you’ve done anything wrong, it completely goes against everything we’ve built our criminal justice system on,” said Borg in a telephone interview with Metro in March. “If you think that we’re just spying on everyone, well maybe it takes away that platform of being able to discuss social issues because you’re scared of what the repercussions might be and I think that’s very worrisome.”

— Charmaine Borg, Opposition Digital Issues Critic Metro: Canadians ‘should be outraged’ by WiFi spy allegations: Borg

Who is Watching The Watchers?

Christopher Parsons discusses the ramifications of these intelligence agency actions in depth in Accountability and Government Surveillance.  Before any new laws expanding the powers of the Canadian intelligence apparatus at the expense of Canadian civil rights, Mr. Parsons poses some questions that need to be addressed:

In turning to CSIS, we see that the Service has a highly specific understanding of what laws compel it to disclose information about its practices and collection of Canadians’ personal information. The Service failed to provide a rationale to MP Borg as to why, specifically, questions placed on the Parliamentary Order Paper are insufficient to compel a meaningful response: to whom, specifically, would CSIS provide this information? And under what laws? If the Service is unaccountable to Parliamentarians then who, specifically, does it hold itself genuinely accountable to?”

— Christopher Parsons, Accountability and Government Surveillance.

Michael Geist, the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law wrote,

The deliberate attempt to mislead the key oversight body by omitting relevant information should anger more than just Mosley, who clearly felt that he was duped by CSIS. In response, the government should commission an independent review thttps://www.christopher-parsons.com/accountability-and-government-surveillance/o examine current oversight mechanisms, identify shortcomings on both oversight and the law, and recommend potential reforms to salvage a system that is under increasing public scrutiny and criticism.”

— CSIS should be subject of independent investigation: Geist

CBC reported New Snowden docs show U.S. spied during G20 in Toronto, the Globe and Mail reported, Ottawa allowed U.S. to spy on G20 summit in Toronto, Snowden leak reveals.

The Intercept reported on the tactics and tools developed within the Five Eyes Framework that can be (are ?) used by our intelligence services in “disruption”:

The aspywarepparent involvement of CSE in using the deception tactics suggests it is operating in the same area as a secretive British unit known as JTRIG, a division of the country’s eavesdropping agency, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. Last year, The Intercept published documents from Snowden showing that the JTRIG unit uses a range of effects operations to manipulate information online, such as by rigging the outcome of online polls, sending out fake messages on Facebook across entire countries, and posting negative information about targets online to damage their reputations.”

— The Intercept: Documents Reveal Canada’s Secret Hacking Tactics

Do Canadians want government agencies to employ such powers against citizens?  Particularly without meaningful oversight?

Absent proper oversight or scrutiny, Canadians would ordinarily have been unaware of much our intelligence agencies can do and have done.  Which is why we owe a great debt to Edward Snowden.

The worrisome bit is that the intelligence breaches that have become public are very probably only the tip of the iceberg.

There is more than enough credible information floating around the internet to indicate the Charter has been breached over and over again by CSIS/CSEC/RCMP/FiveEyes.   Even before they pass Bill C-51 I am apalled at what the Harper Government has allowed to happen on its watch.

When we talk about this in the context of Canada and why it’s relevant to your particular conversations today, we’ve got the C-51 bill being bandied about. I’m not going to weigh in on whether this is a good bill or a bad bill, because that’s a conversation for Canadians to have. But something that we can see when we look at all of the conversations happening around the world today is that Canadian intelligence has one of the weakest oversight frameworks out of any western intelligence agency in the world. And when they’re trying to expand their powers, it’s pretty amazing that we have the Canadian government trying to block the testimony of former prime ministers who’ve had access to classified information, who understand the value of these programs, and who are warning the public broadly and saying this is something we really need to talk about, this is something we really need to debate, this is something we really need to be careful about.”

— Edward Snowden, The Tyee: Edward Snowden’s Warning to Canada

Ed Snowden and Laurel RusswurmWhile Mr. Snowden doesn’t presume to decide whether the proposed Bill C-51 is good or bad law for Canada, as a Canadian I feel qualified to say that Bill C-51 is indeed a bad law.  As one of the Canadians obliged to live in a regime of legally approved mass surveillance even more extensive than what George Orwell envisioned in Nineteen Eight-Four, I do presume to say Bill C-51 is wrong.

I am not a legal scholar, I’m just an ordinary Canadian.

We are fortunate to live in the Internet age and have access to so much important information.  Information that can be found in all the links I have shared here.  Information like the analysis offered by legal scholars Craig Forcese and Kent Roach.

As a writer, the threats to free speech that comes with mass surveillance chills me to the bone.

As a citizen, the suppression of dissent Bill C-51 allows will emulate secret police activities practised by repressive regimes throughout history.

As a parent, the idea of leaving future generations a Canada so much worse than the one in which I was born is simply unacceptable.

What is a DISRUPTION WARRANT ? In a secret hearing a judge will grant CSIS blanket permission to violate the Charter Rights of targetted Canadians.   The “Disruption” can mean (but is not limited to) • undercover infiltration of a group • psychological manipulation of group members • planting evidence • destroying evidence • falsification of information online to • deliberately destroy the reputations of targeted Canadian citizens.   The Government will need no evidence of criminal activity, merely the argument a Canadian Citizen MAY pose a danger. The judge won’t even know what form the “disruption” will take. Canadians will not know they have been targeted so they will have no defense or appeal. .   Bill C-51 will allow CSIS agents to engage in these activities with less oversight than than any other “Five Eyes” nation.   Can you trust a government that does such things?   Bill C-51 will make a mockery of our “free country.”

What Canada really needs is law that implements reasonable oversight of CSIS, CSEC, and the RCMP.  A law that ensures Canadians continue to enjoy the protection of the Canadian Charter.  Oversight to protect Canadians from the kind of Charter breaches and prosecutorial overreach Mr. Sonne was subjected to.  The fundamental flaws in C-51 need more than the cosmetic amendments the Harper Government says it will be putting forward.

Bill C-51 needs to be scrapped.

The preservation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is imperative.

Rick Mercer elaborated on Pulitzer Prize winning Journalist Glenn Greenwald’s suggestion that Canadians are in more danger of being harmed by bathroom accidents than by terrorists.    Leadnow advised Canadians to #RejectFear and tell the Harper Government to stop Bill C-51 because in Canada, we’re way more likely to be killed by a moose than by a terror plot.

Privacy is essential to civil rights.  That’s why it is protected bt the Charter.  And the reason personal privacy is such an important human right is because privacy is necessary for our protection.  The greatest danger posed to citizens is posed by government, because government has access to the resources of the entire country.  And without civil rights, we have no defence against government.

So why did the federal government put forth Bill C-51?

From the information that has come out, I suspect many of the worst excesses in Bill C-51 that we qare warned against are already the norm in our intelligence agencies.  Such practices are inevitable because there really isn’t anyone watching the watchers.  Bill C-51 seeks to make these excesses legal, which will strip us all of any legal recourse or self defence.  And that just isn’t right.

Not in a democracy.

Not in a free country.

Not in Canada.

a horizontal border of red graphic maple leaves

Image Credit
Photos by Laurel L. Russwurm

“Privacy is Not A Crime” is a remix of a protest sign seen at the Kitchener-Waterloo Day of Action Against bill C-51

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Stop Bill C-51 the Musical

In spite of the fact the Harper Government fast tracked Bill C-51, the Parliamentary Committee 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 it’s assault on Free Speech.   Ordinarily I only blog about Canadian Politics sporadically, but this week I hope to post daily.   Previous posts include: David Weber warns Bill C-51 will lead to a Police State #RejectTerror #StopBillC51 the film I’ll be seeing tonight, The Secret Trial 5 ~ Screening Tour, and yesterday’s Learned at the KW Stop C-51 Day of Action


Okay, well, I have to admit  there isn’t really a musical… not yet, anyway.   Maybe that will be James Gordon’s next project?

But in the mean time, concerned Canadians across this land have begun to engage in the making of Stop Bill C-51 protest songs.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

The Raging Grannies

SolidariGLEE


This one is not a musical.

I hope to put together a series of small films made from the video snippets I recorded at the KW Stop Bill C51 Day of Action.  Here is the first:

Security Certificates: KW Stop Bill C51 Day of Action

Please share!

Learned at the KW Stop C-51 Day of Action

In spite of the fact the Harper Government fast tracked Bill C-51, the Parliamentary Committee 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 it’s assault on Free Speech.   Ordinarily I only blog about Canadian Politics sporadically, but this week I hope to post daily.   I began Monday with David Weber warns Bill C-51 will lead to a Police State #RejectTerror #StopBillC51 and yesterday I posted about the film I’ll be seeing tomorrow night, The Secret Trial 5 ~ Screening Tour.  Today I want to talk a little about how the news media has let us all down.


Telling the KW Stop Bill C-51 Rally about COMERS vs Bank of Canada
Speaker at the Kitchener-Waterloo Day of Action Against Bill C-51

The Watchdog Press Is Dead

For a long time I’ve known the mainstream “news media” we trust to keep us abreast of the things have dropped the ball. Even though we are most definitely in the information age, newspapers, radio and tv news are not telling us what we we need to know if we are to be thee informed citizenry of a free country.  Because the mainstream news media is not a public service, but the property of corporate entities. Lou Grant was fictional, and in today’s world, Woodward and Bernstein wouldn’t have brought down a presidency, they would have landed in Guantanamo Bay.

In Canada the largest commercial advertiser, the single biggest consumer of advertising in the country is the Canadian Government.

So it is understandable that newspapers and tv networks don’t want to alienate their biggest client. Then too, these media outlets are at the mercy of corporate advertisers — who have their own agenda.  With a big enough bankroll of advertising dollars might make it possible to influence news programming and/or editorial styles.  In addition to the substantial influences exerted both by business and government, the main stream media also happen to be owned by corporate entities with their own agendas. So it isn’t surprising that the “news” what we see on mainstream television, hear on mainstream radio and read in mainstream newspapers comes wrapped in bias. And since these mainstream outlets compete for advertising dollars, the “news” must entertain to try to attract the largest audience.

Our silver bullet to ward off government control of our news media was supposed to be Canada’s independent arms-length national broadcaster, the CBC. Unfortunately CBC has not proven itself immune from government intervention. On the Harper Government’s watch I understand the CBC Board of Directors is dominated by Conservatives. Making things even worse, the Canadian government’s failure to fully fund what should be a public service has made the CBC vulnerable to advertisers in the same way the “commercial” news media is. So although there are occasional blips of CBC independence, it isn’t  really surprising CBC has failed to defend itself or stand up to the powerful forces arrayed against it.

All of which means that even the biggest Canadian news junkies are not actually very informed by the mainstream media.

The Internet is providing alternatives to the mainstream, but even though we are seeing the rise of citizen journalism with both reportage and opinions via blogs and podcasts and social media, even though alternative news outlets like websites like Rabble, the Tyee, Media Co-Op, Canadaland, Huffington Post Canada, Yahoo News etc. are growing their audiences, they are still overshadowed by the powerful mainstream media dinosaurs who still walk the land.

StopBillC51 at Kitchener City Hall

Comer vs Bank of Canada

All of this explains why most Canadians, like me, have never heard of Comer. The first I heard of this very important issue was when a young man got up on the stage at Kitchener City Hall and said a few words to the crowd about how Canadians Sued The Bank Of Canada & Won. Mainstream Media & Government Blacks Out Story

As someone who feels mathematically challenged I am still trying to get my mind around what this means, but at minimum it is something that Canadians should be hearing about. You can find out more at the COMER website.

Even though the mainstream media has apparently chosen (or been told) to ignore this issue, there has been new media coverage.   I am certainly no economist, but there does seem to be information out there.  So far I have just scratched the surface, so I have not read much of the information available; nor have I watched all the videos in the playlist.  It will take time to get a handle on this.

Still Report #356: Good News From Canada

New World Next Week: Canadian Sue the Bank of Canada

The Secret Trial 5 ~ Screening Tour

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.

The Secret Trial 5

The Secret Trial 5 looks at the “Security Certificates” the Canadian Government started using in the wake of 9/11.

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.

The Secret Trial 5 Screening Tour – KITCHENER / WATERLOO – Filmmakers in Attendance

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

https://www.facebook.com/events/948195911892117/


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.

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 Nadine 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.


Nadine Quehl reads Green Party Candidate David Webers words on the March 14 2015  <b>Kitchener-Waterloo Day of Action against Bill C51</b> at Kitchener City Hall
Nadine reads Green Party Candidate David Weber’s words
at the March 14th, 2015 Kitchener-Waterloo Day of Action against Bill C51 at Kitchener City Hall

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.

Regards,

David

Guest Blog - Nadine Quehl reads David Weber's words at the Rally
Nadine reads David Weber’s words at the #StopBillC51 Rally at Kitchener City Hall

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