Tuesday, 5 May 2015


C-51. The Anti-Terrorism Act.

In PDF format it is 74 pages. According to Janyce McGregor and Kady O'Malley at the CBC, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated that terrorists target Canadians "for no other reason than that we are Canadians. They want to harm us because they hate our society and the values it represents."

The bill gives the Canadian Security Intelligence Services additional powers. They can apply for a court order to "remove terrorist propaganda from the Internet." It means they can "counter-message" or "disrupt radical websites and Twitter accounts." They can also suspect Canadians of joining extremist groups and cancel their flights or travelling plans, "block any financial transactions linked to suspected terrorist activity," seize shipments which one could employ in an attack or even "switch, or make suspect equipment being shipped unusable as part of an on-going investigation." Meanwhile I recommend you to also read http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2015/03/11/C-51-Six-Things-To-Know/ or http://thewalrus.ca/bill-c-51-the-good-the-bad-and-the-truly-ugly/ at the Walrus for some more information.

Let me quote a paragraph from one of the sources I just reccomended. According to Craig Forcese and Kent Roach at the Walrus, "CSIS was designed with a broad mandate but limited powers. Until now, it has been an intelligence service—which is to say that it collects and analyses information, and supplies threat assessments to the government. When it was created in 1984, parliament approved CSIS’s mandate as one that excluded 'kinetic' powers—including the power to arrest or otherwise do things to people in the physical world (except when necessary, for example, to install a wiretap or listening device)." The bill was made to

The problem with Bill C-51 is its restraints to the freedom of speech. The bill targets "'activity that undermines the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of Canada” that includes 'terrorism,' 'interference with critical infrastructure' and 'interference with the capability of the Government in relation to ... the economic or financial stability of Canada.'" In this broad scope can come those whom Harper has not supported, including Aborignals, environmental advocates and Muslims. What if it also included those against the Conservative Government yet not against the right to life? Two prestigious lawyers fear it will target journalists and academics. Businesses including Mozilla and public unions including the Canadian Union of Postal Workers oppose the bill. In fact, According to experts in British Columbia, 56% of Canadians oppose the bill.

Several things concern me. The first is that it does not fit our charter. Clause one states, "Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: (a) freedom of conscience and religion; (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and (d) freedom of association." Clause fifteen states that "Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability." I disagree that C-51 can work with the charter. Second, it concerns me that despite many large demonstrations which filled public spaces, a large plea by citizens, businesses and unions end it and an alost 60% disapproval, the government passed it. Is this democracy, a system where the government is the employee to its people? I disagree.

Spreading fear over knowledge and disabling the freedom of speech, culture and religion do not belong in Canada. If we are to combat the threat to peace, we must rise above and not wobble near similar levels of injustice. Rise above those that threaten the freedom of speech, those who make us reflect upon the hours we could spend in school without bomb threats, those that design fear and propaganda to gain followers. Choose truth and open discussion over fear-inciting. Use the power of education to build a society of informed, active individuals and let us hold the power of the freedom of speech.

- FA

Comment below, follow @FAAwetsome, or subscribe

No comments:

Post a Comment