F.Y.I. BILL C-51
Second Session, Forty-first Parliament,
62-63 Elizabeth II, 2013-2014-2015
HOUSE OF COMMONS OF CANADA
An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts.
IMO What I am concerned about BILL C-51(Sir Richard):
IMO What I am concerned about BILL C-51(Sir Richard):
1. Bill C-51 is Reckless: It turns CSIS into a ‘secret police’ force with little oversight or accountability.
2. Bill C-51 is Dangerous: It opens the door for violations of our Charter Rights including censorship of free expression online.
3. Bill C-51 is Ineffective: It will lead to dragnet surveillance and information sharing on innocent Canadians that even Stephen Harper has admitted is ineffective.
If the Bill C-51 passes, no less than 17 government agencies and even foreign governments will also have access to your sensitive private information.
We're talking about sensitive information that can reveal everything from your financial status, to your medical history, your sexual orientation, and even your religious and political beliefs.
Why I Am Fighting Bill C-51
The reaction to Bill C-51 has been widespread and the opposition is growing. While its short title is the "Anti-Terrorism Act," it is both more and less than that.
It is less than "anti-terrorism" because it is likely to make us less safe. The act gives new powers to CSIS to act in Canada and overseas to "reduce threats," with virtually no limits. CSIS is specifically not allowed to cause death or bodily harm or "violate the sexual integrity" of anyone. The range of potential activities -- from break and enter, search and seizure, infiltration, monkey-wrenching, include powers to offer witnesses immunity from prosecution or from ever having to testify.
There is no requirement that CSIS tell the RCMP what it is up to, and it is the RCMP that has been successfully countering plots and arresting suspects. Just imagine when the RCMP finds key witnesses have a "get out of jail free" card from CSIS. That and other sections run a high degree of probability of gumming up the works. Security experts, especially those with experience in the Air India inquiry, remind us that it is critical that security agencies not develop silos. C-51 takes a system that is currently working quite well and threatens to turn it into a three ring circus, without benefit of a ring-master.
It is also less than Canadians would expect, as there is nothing in C-51 to work against radicalization. No outreach efforts, nothing for the prison system or the schools as the U.K. government established in its new law passed in December 2014.
It is more than anti-terrorism, as the range of activities covered by a new and sweeping definition of "threats to the security of Canada" in the information sharing section of the bill covers far more than terrorism. It could plausibly cover just about anything, and certainly would cover those opposing pipelines and tankers.
It is actually five bills rolled into one. Each part contains provisions I can only describe as dangerous. For example, part 5, amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Act, appear to allow the use of evidence obtained by torture. Part 3, ostensibly about getting terrorist propaganda off the Internet, uses a set of new concepts that would criminalize private conversations -- and not just about terrorism. The propaganda section does not require knowing you are spreading propaganda, and "terrorist propaganda" itself has a definition so broad as to include a visual representation (a Che Guevera poster?) promoting a new concept called "terrorism in general." Experts are now referring to this as "thought chill."
As the first MP to oppose C-51, I now have a lot of company: four former prime ministers, six former Supreme Court justices, over 100 legal experts, Conrad Black, Rex Murphy, Tom Mulcair and the NDP, the editorial positions of the Globe and Mail, National Post and Toronto Star. The Assembly of First Nations has called for it to be withdrawn. I hope you agree as well.
Here are 5 things you need to also know about Bill C-51, that I am currently in agreement with (Sir Richard):
1. The Power To Disrupt:
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service will get new powers to actively disrupt terrorism plots, instead of just collecting information about them. CSIS would need "reasonable grounds to believe'' there was a security threat before taking measures to disrupt it and would need a court warrant whenever proposed disruption measures violate the Charter of Rights or otherwise breach Canadian law.
2. Targeting Terrorist Propaganda:
The spy agency will also be allowed to wage cyberwar, by disrupting radical websites and Twitter accounts aimed at impressionable young Canadians. The RCMP would be allowed seek a judge's order to remove terrorist propaganda from the Internet.
3. From 'Will Commit' To 'May Commit':
The new law will make it easier for the RCMP to obtain a peace bond, a legal tool that could order suspects to surrender passports or report to police regularly. In the past, the Mounties had to hold a reasonable belief that someone "will commit" a terrorism offence before they could get such a bond. Now, the threshold will be a fear that someone "may commit'' an offence.
4. Stay Grounded:
The legislation would expand the no-fly regime to cover those who seek to travel by air to take part in terrorist activities, allowing authorities to keep would-be extremists off planes. Under current law, that can only be done to counter an immediate risk to the aircraft.
5. Though, We All Should Be Careful For What We Wish:
The legislation would make it a criminal offence to encourage someone to carry out a terrorist attack. It also would allow police to arrest someone without a warrant and hold them for up to seven days before a hearing. That's up from the three-day maximum under current law.
Originally published in Saanich News.
AND ALSO ON THE HUFFPOST.
This F.Y.I. is posted by Sir Richard…