Guest column: Why Elizabeth May is fighting Bill C-51

Provisions of Bill C-51, Anti-Terrorism Act, are 'dangerous,' says Saanich-Gulf Islands MP

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 the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (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 ringmaster.

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 UK 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 cover 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, appears 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.

For more information, visit my non-partisan website

Elizabeth May is the Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands and leader of the Green Party of Canada.

Just Posted

Saanich Braves Pink In The Rink raises more than $22,000 for end-of-life care

Braves have raised $91, 318 for the Victoria Hospice since 2015

Langford bike shop sells first bamboo bike on Vancouver Island

The bamboo frame has been tested in Germany, Taiwan, and Australia

Mainly sunny skies ahead for Wednesday

Plus a look ahead at the weekend’s forecast

Garden suites coming soon to Saanich

Work is underway to legalize purpose-built detached garden suite rentals

Scheer says Canada more divided than ever, as NDP and Bloc hold cards close

While Liberals were shut out of two key prairie provinces, they took two-thirds of the seats in Ontario

POLL: Are you satisfied with the result of the federal election?

The ballots have now been counted and the dust has settled on… Continue reading

Horvat’s hat trick lifts Canucks to 5-2 win over Red Wings

First career three-goal game for Vancouver captain

Runners brave wet, windy weather for Ucluelet’s 20th Edge to Edge

“The spirit of the runners I have nothing but compliments.”

Feds finally decriminalizing drugs possible – but it’s up to Jagmeet Singh, expert says

National pharmacare was one of Singh’s most highly-touted platform policies

Estheticians can’t be forced to wax male genitals, B.C. tribunal rules

Langley transgender woman Jessica Yaniv was ordered to pay three salon owners $2,000 each

Two youth arrested in UBC carjacking at gunpoint, after being spotted in stolen Kia

‘A great deal of credit is due the alert person who called us,’ said North Vancouver Sgt. Peter DeVries

Open house for Royal Beach tonight

The third open house to gather public input on Royal Beach takes… Continue reading

People’s Party of Canada’s anti-immigration views ‘didn’t resonate’ with voters: prof

Party was formed on anti-immigration, climate denying views in 2018

Most Read