This is an excerpt from an upcoming pamphlet on C-51 and C-24 by Alan and I to be distributed around Durham Region, home of MP Chris Alexander.
The Harper government’s “tough-on-crime” attitude has devolved into mere scare tactics, with a demonstrable intention to silence the critics of its policies and crush the House opposition legislatively by wielding the strength of an undeserved majority. Harper’s hyper-partisan, hyper-politicized actions in response to the advent of ISIS and other terrorist organizations has become less of an attempt to attain actual “safety” for Canadians, but to garner votes with the Islamophobic, xenophobic, fear-mongered communities scattered across the country. Bill C-51 has been a culmination of these attitudes and actions, and certainly a testament to Harper’s views of Canadians: unsuspecting, apathetic and uneducated. And as such, the threats posed by C-51 go over the heads of those uneducated and apathetic, as Harper makes no discernable effort to educate or even adequately justify the bill’s implementation.
Some of the most vocal opponents of the bill include the reputable Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, multiple ex-Prime Ministers, a significant percentage of the legislature (all New Democrats and the Greens resoundingly voted no), as well as hundreds of thousands of Canadians. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) even went as far to say that the bill violates the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Here are some testimonies outlining the criticisms and shortcomings of the legislation:
“McCarthyesque.” – The National Council of Canadian Muslims
“…a serious threat to free expression in Canada.” – Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
“Canada already has robust and even exceptional and broad anti-terror powers in place. Bill C-51 is omnibus legislation that imperils principles of accountability critical to a liberal democracy, undermines fundamental rights and freedoms, and threatens to criminalize legitimate acts.” – Canadian Civil Liberties Association
[It may bring] “the entire Charter into jeopardy, undermines the rule of law, and goes against the fundamental role of judges as the protectors of Canada’s constitutional rights.” – Canadian Bar Association
As the impending federal election looms closer, we can see the silence Harper so flagrantly fought for in the House carried over into the pre-election debates—largely in denying any debate opportunities that don’t meet his explicit standards, including the absence of Elizabeth May (a vocal, eloquent opponent of C-51), PMO-approved questions, and the like. As the house gets closer by the day to adjournment for the summer, Harper’s demonstrable disinterest in fundamental democratic principles have never been clearer: silenced debate, C-51’s attack on dissent (namely, the likely criminalization of aboriginal and environmental activists), the robocall scandal, and the studious ignorance to the New Democrats’ calls for a more representative voting system. These examples offer some insight into the ideologies fueling the Harper vehicle and certainly illustrate how high Harper ranks “healthy democracy” on his list of priorities.
C-51 impedes our ability to exercise fundamental democratic ideals that go back centuries. Chris Alexander, a vocal proponent of C-51 and the pioneer of Bill C-24, is the Member of Parliament for Ajax-Pickering, whose office is right across from the Ajax GO Station. If you are interested in protesting this bill, e-mail him, send him a letter or unite with others in demonstrations outside his building.
Contact MP Alexander at:
100 Westney Road South (Main Office)
https://stopc51.ca/ - contact me personally about local initiatives at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.” – Edward Snowden
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