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London chapter protests against C-51 at Liberal MP’s constituency office

London chapter protests Bill C-51

The Council of Canadians London chapter protested against C-51 today.

The so-called ‘Anti-Terrorism Act’ was passed in the House of Commons in a 183-96 vote in May 2015. The then-Conservative majority introduced the legislation and received the support of the then-third-party Liberals. During the last federal election, the Liberals promised to “repeal the problematic elements of Bill C-51, and introduce new legislation that better balances our collective security with our rights and freedoms.”

This evening, CTV reports, “A National Day of Action against the act was was held Saturday across the country and included a local protest [in London]. About 40 protesters were at the constituency office of Liberal MP Peter Fagiskatos Saturday afternoon. They felt the act is over-reaching in its scope and infringes upon civil liberties. While the Liberals have said they would review and modify it protestors want it repealed.”

The news report quotes London chapter activist David Heap who says: “The former government never made a case for actually needing increased secret police powers. They never made a case for needing a no-fly list without a real appeal process. They never made a case for why they need to snoop on people’s and, you know, your Facebook and social media postings. They never made a case for why – just talking about a point of view can make you guilty of somehow propagating terrorism.”

London chapter protests Bill C-51

Council of Canadians chapters have also previously taken to the streets to protest C-51 on the March 14, April 18 and May 31, 2015 days of action.

On Nov. 20, 2015, the Council of Canadians signed an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that stated, “Your government has made a commitment to address some problematic elements of Bill C-51, and we are encouraged by that pledge. However, we are concerned by indications that you will seek to introduce a Bill C-51 reform package before engaging in public consultations. The case for Bill C-51 has never been made to the public, and Canadians have not yet been provided with an opportunity to provide meaningful input regarding its faults. Such consultation must precede any further legislative initiatives.”

On Jan. 16, the Regina chapter wrote their Member of Parliament Ralph Goodale, who is also the federal minister of public safety. The chapter stated, “As the review and amendment to Bill C-51 is principally in your mandate, it is very important for you to hear the concerns of many Canadians on this bill. We also see the need for an exhaustive public consultation process on this matter. …We urge you to set the proper tone for a truly participatory democracy by committing to an open public debate on Bill C-51 as a precondition to the tabling of any legislative changes.”

On Jan. 20, the South Shore chapter called on its supporters to contact South Shore-St. Margaret’s Liberal MP Bernadette Jordan to ask when and how the Liberal government will repeal C-51.

Further reading
What’s in Harper’s proposed Bill C-51 ‘Security of Canada’ legislation? (Feb. 1, 2015)

Photos: The London chapter and allies protested outside the constituency office of London North Centre Liberal MP Peter Fragiskatos today. Photos by Kevin Jones.