Liberal leader Justin Trudeau shocked many today announcing his party would put its full support behind the new anti-terror bill C-51 which was introduced last week. Since last week there have been many experts that have come out extremely worried on how this bill would impact the charter rights of Canadians.
The bill includes provisions that will allow law enforcement to jail “suspects” up to a year in prison without trial or evidence. The bill also allows for widespread mass surveillance of Canadians. Evidence collected under this act would not be visible to any lawyer defending a suspect. Furthermore the bill expands the no fly list to Canada. Some may remember a Canadian women was denied entry to the US in recent years because she had a bout of depression some years back. Her private medical information was shared with US officials even though she wasn’t considered a terrorist threat.
There has been widespread condemnation by many constitutional experts on this bill in media since its introduction. Some going as far to say the entire bill will be thrown out on constructional grounds the moment it’s used.
The BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) has chimed in stating:
Bill C-51 would create “an unprecedented expansion of powers that will harm innocent Canadians and not increase public safety.”
In a release, it said it is alarmed by proposals that would expand the amount of time a terror suspect can be jailed without charge and that would allow judges to impose stringent conditions — including house arrest — on people who have not been convicted of any crime.
The Privacy Commissioner of Canada (a former spy himself) is very concerned on the information sharing contained in this bill and stated:
This Act would seemingly allow departments and agencies to share the personal information of all individuals, including ordinary Canadians who may not be suspected of terrorist activities, for the purpose of detecting and identifying new security threats.
Mass surveillance hasn’t been proven to be effective in identifying new security threats in the past 14 years it’s been used in the US. In fact the frequency of terror attacks in recent months around the globe point to mass surveillance as being a failed policy in preventing attacks. In a large portion of these recent cases dating back to the Boston bombings, the suspects who carried out these attacks were dropped from surveillance, not because of existing law, because they were not deemed a threat to national security, and dismissed by law enforcement officials.
In an article the Canadian Press has released, Trudeau expresses his support in increased information sharing (which the privacy commissioner has come out strongly against), and support for the provisions in this bill that would see suspects detained with no evidence or trail:
Trudeau said Liberals welcome measures to build on the powers of preventative arrest, expand the no-fly regime and enhance co-ordinated information sharing among government departments and agencies.
Moreover the decision to support the new anti-terror legislation also comes with the fear of Conservative attack ads painting the Liberal leader as soft on terror. The Trudeau Liberals are seemingly ready to throw the rights of Canadians under the bus because they “might” get bullied for sticking up for those rights by the Conservatives. That actually says a lot about a leader who on one hand champions the charter, while at the same time won’t stand up to bullies who are pushing it around. Standing up for Canadians rights is not soft on terror. It’s ensuring that the terrorists don’t win, and change our lifestyle to one of fear and oppression. I wonder how many times Trudeau Sr. was bulled when drafting the Charter of Rights and Freedoms politically. That didn’t stop him.
With the Liberal party running for the exits on the rights of Canadians, the NDP still in limbo on this bill, and the Conservatives running virtually unopposed in dismantling our Charter rights in legislation, Canadians concerned about their democratic rights look to have very few political options in the coming election.
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