Opposition mounts against Bill C-51

Writer argues that federal terrorism bill contains little in the way of accountability

Contrary to what our federal government would have us believe, Bill C-51 does little, if anything to protect us from terrorism.

Effective laws that protect us from terrorism are already in place, as evidenced by the low number of successful attacks in Canada (a person is literally more likely to be struck — and killed — by lightning), and unlike Bill C-51, our existing laws do not strip us of our Charter rights, our freedoms and our privacy.

The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service was formed in the 1970s to separate the police (RCMP) from the intelligence agency. Bill C-51 would not only permit CSIS to engage in police activities, but to do so without additional oversight or accountability to go along with the new powers.

This Anti-Terrorism Act is so broad that even the Conservatives don’t know what it means. When Justice Minister Peter MacKay was asked the definition of terrorism, he told reporters, “Look it up.”

Nowhere in Bill C-51 is terrorism defined. Will it simply be defined by the government of the day, depending on their interests and policies? Will anyone disagreeing with their views be deemed a terrorist?

Some argue that if you have done nothing wrong, what does it matter if everything about you is made public? The problem is the collected information is not being used to prevent terrorism, but to prevent dissent. We need to stop Bill C-51 from turning spies into secret police, politicians into judges and democracy into terrorism.

Alison Phosy