So, anyone who thinks that the resistance to Bill C-51 is overreacting…
Right now, in Montreal, students are being gassed and shot at for protesting government measures.
Because the protests are not being held with the permission of the government whose policies are being protested, they are deemed unlawful…
Because they are deemed unlawful, and because they could disrupt business, affect the value of the dollar, and yes, because some of the protesters might engage in activities destructive to public or private property, these protests could very easily fall under the catch-all policies of C-51.
Anyone encouraging or supporting these protests could conceivably be held to be promoting terrorism, etc., and their computers, records, or print and other media equipment could be seized until a judge determines whether or not this counts as promoting terrorism. And if your gear gets damaged during the seizure? Oops. Not the cops’ problem.
Because the bill gives cops the ability to use their discretion when obtaining a warrant by filing an information is not deemed practicable, this means that police departments could immediately seize media equipment and gear during these protests, leaving important civilian evidence and legitimate news footage in the hands of the cops and at the discretion of appointed judges.
What’s more, all government agents acting “in good faith” under C-51 would be immune from civil litigation- so if they seize your things, disrupt your business, destroy your property, drive you out of business, injure you, etc, and still find no evidence of wrongdoing on your part, they cannot be held liable as long as they claim they had reasonable cause to suspect you and were acting in good faith under the new laws.
So, you could have all of that happen to you just because somebody named you offhand during an interrogation.
Example: Because the Montreal protests are deemed unlawful, even peaceful protestors who are wearing masks to either protect their employment, or to protect themselves from harassment by police in their civilian lives, can be charged and sentenced to as much as ten years in prison just for wearing the mask. Since it is an easy crime to prove (was the gathering deemed unlawful? Yes? Were you wearing a mask?), it gives the state massive leverage on a person (“do what we say/tell us what we want to hear, or you could go to jail for a decade”).
With people informing on eachother in large numbers, that will form “reasonable grounds” for *anyone* implicated to be investigated under C-51, up to and including having their computers and other media assets seized until a judge can determine whether or not they were doing something untoward.
Furthermore, anyone who is named in those people’s accounts or address books will likewise be implicated, and subject to investigation. And, because all agencies can now freely share whatever they find that might be relevant to other agencies, that means that everything on your computer could be up for investigation…,
Every scrap of downloaded music, every potential mention of doing drugs, every under the table transaction for a few bucks that you did for a friend but didn’t claim on your taxes, every off-colour comment that they can say is promoting terrorism… All of it will be theirs to see, play with, and do as they please with… With that many charges to throw around on most people, it will be very easy to scare folks into informing, and into implicating others, to get off the hook for whatever minor infractions, etc., they are being threatened with.
It can be used to divide and conquer. It can be used to create distrust and destabilise resistance movements, both militant and peaceful. It can be used to turn people into moles. It can be used to destroy enemies of the state that have not committed any real offences.
We already have laws against treason. We have laws against destruction of property. We have laws against murder and assault. Hell, we specifically have laws against wearing masks during the commission of such offences. So why do we need more laws? Because the language on these new laws is vague. The definitions are broad, the powers far-reaching. They allow government to be more intrusive, and more aggressive in the pursuit of dissenters, than they have ever been before.
In a country where the government has already had their list of “enemies” leaked, and where everyone from First Nations groups, to environmentalists, to labour unions, are all considered potential threats, and in which the government is openly beholden to foreign and corporate interests that directly contravene the well-being and sovereignty of its people, a law like this is necessary from the perspective of the state, not because it protects the people, but because it gives the state a hammer with which to crush dissent.
Laws like this do not protect us from terrorists. They protect government from us.