Skip to content

NEWS: Harper majority government backs down on C-30 legislation

The Canadian Press reports, “The Conservative government has abandoned its controversial and much-maligned Internet surveillance bill, legislation it once claimed was crucial to stopping child pornographers. …Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who introduced the legislation, did not attend Monday’s news conference where Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said Bill C-30 is dead. …The legislation would have forced Internet service providers to maintain systems that allowed police to intercept and track online communications.”

“The proposed legislation infuriated a wide cross-section of opponents, including privacy and civil liberties advocates and many conservative libertarians who opposed what they called Big Brother oversight in the legislation. ‘I don’t think we should underestimate the significance of a majority government backing down on a piece of its legislation,’ Michael Geist, the chair of Internet and E-commerce law at the University of Ottawa, said in an interview. ‘This is truly unprecedented within the context of this government certainly.'”

Last year, Council of Canadians trade campaigner Stuart Trew wrote, “Bill C-30, Harper’s controversial online spying legislation, requires consideration (in relation to) Canada’s commitments in the Beyond the Border Action plan around information sharing.”

“Canadian police agencies can already get the online user data they need in a crunch when they suspect criminal activity. What they’re looking for is the ability to snoop around prior having the evidence they would normally need to get a warrant. The government says this would bring Canadian law enforcement in line with U.S. and European norms, as if that’s any consolation. There’s some evidence from the new Harper-Obama border pact that peer pressure from the U.S. in particular is a driving force behind Bill C-30, along the lines of ‘if you’re not snooping, your not safe’. …But bringing Canada’s policies in line with U.S. policing norms without putting in place checks and balances on when and how much information is shared with other countries goes against a fundamental recommendation of the Arar Commission.”

The Canadian Press article is at Trew’s February 2012 blog ‘Bill C-30 and Beyond the Border: Is information gathered information shared with the U.S.?’ is at Trew also posted the video ‘The cost of online spying (C-30) – Your privacy and your wallet’ at