Progressive Librarians Guild Toronto Area Chapter

Posted on by Anna


On 30 January 2015, the federal government introduced Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, into the House of Commons. The bill would give unprecedented authority to Canada’s federal security agencies: the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) and other federal ministries to violate the rights of Canadians under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The concerns of many members of the PLG-GTA are mirrored in the statement by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) posted 5 February 2015[1] and the work conducted by two professors of law, Craig Forcese (University of Ottawa) and Kent Roach (University of Toronto).[2] To echo and reiterate the concerns of many esteemed and knowledgeable colleagues:

  • The proposed bill is excessive, unnecessary, and ignores existing legislation and protocols in place to deal with issues of domestic and international threats to Canadians that do not violate The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • The proposed bill unfairly targets dissenting voices in Canadian society who have a right to protest, assemble and critique Canadian governmental policy, industry practices, and social issues. To label anyone who “interferes with… the economic or financial stability of Canada” or causes “interference with critical infrastructure” as a “threat to national security” creates a chill on local, national and international social justice, environmental, indigenous rights and other protest movements who have a right to engage in established modes of protest and opposition to the status quo. In short, the bill places legitimate dissenting activities in the same category as terrorism.
  • There is no evidence that large-scale, unchecked government surveillance of large swaths of society prevents acts of terror.
  • The proposed bill lacks provisions for transparency and oversight of those ministries granted new powers to collect, aggregate and share personal information of Canadian citizens and residents.

As the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Daniel Therrian, states in his press release issue the day the bill was introduced:

Canadians want to be safe but they also care profoundly about their privacy rights. They also want government to be more transparent on the activities they undertake in the name of national security and they want to know why these are necessary. [3]

Members of the PLG-GTA encourages concerned members of the public to participate in National Day of Action To Stand Against Secret Police Bill C-51, this Saturday, 14 March 2015 to begin at Nathan Phillips Square at 12:00 noon. For details, see: https://www.facebook.com/events/413139418861169.

We also encourage concerned members of the public to write to their local M.P. to express their opposition to Bill C-51[4], as well as those Members of Parliament who voted in favour of the Bill.[5]

 

[1] https://bccla.org/2015/02/bill-c-51-is-unnecessary/

[2] http://antiterrorlaw.ca/

[3]https://www.priv.gc.ca/media/nr-c/2015/s-d_150130_e.asp

[4] To find the mailing address or email of your local Member of Parliament, search here: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Compilations/HouseofCommons/MemberByPostalCode.aspx?Menu=HOC.

[5] A listing of the votes during the second reading of the bill can be found at: http://www.parl.gc.ca/HouseChamberBusiness/ChamberVoteDetail.aspx?FltrParl=41&FltrSes=2&Vote=338&Language=E&Mode=1

Posted on by Anna | Posted in Statements | Tagged , , , ,


About Anna

[resigned from PLG-GTA in 2016]