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St. John’s chapter criticizes Trudeau’s backing of C-51

Ken KavanaghThe Council of Canadians St. John’s chapter has criticized Liberal leader Justin Trudeau for voting with the Harper government on C-51, the so-called Anti-Terrorism Act.

On May 6, the Globe and Mail reported, “The Conservative government’s anti-terrorism legislation has passed its final vote in the House of Commons, clearing the way for the bill to become law before Parliament rises for the summer. The third-reading vote passed 183 to 96 with the support of Conservative and Liberal Members of Parliament, and was opposed by New Democrats and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.”

In early March, Trudeau stated, “I do not want this government making political hay out of an issue … or trying to, out of an issue as important as security for Canadians. …This conversation might be different if we weren’t months from an election campaign, but we are. …We will be offering Canadians, in an election campaign, improvements to this bill, and if we get elected we will implement them.”

Today, the Independent reports, “Ken Kavanagh of the Council of Canadians’ Newfoundland chapter said the passage of Bill C-51 through three readings in the House of Commons was a classic example of the Conservative Government’s fear mongering tactics, and that he’s disappointed Trudeau and the Liberals bought into it.”

Kavanagh says, “The Liberals supported Bill C-51 right from the start because they’re afraid to look like they’re against security — they’re afraid of political backlash. I don’t know what’s wrong with our politicians to call a spade a spade when something is not good … and not to look at their stance in terms of whether it’s going to be politically beneficial to them or not. In this case, they’re afraid to take on Harper. To say that they would attempt to change this [bill] when they get into power, and not take a stand against it now, to me is the most cowardly thing I’ve heard of. That doesn’t make any sense. Your job in opposition is to challenge legislation and policy of the governing party, and if there are some serious issues with it, to stand up against it.”

This afternoon, the Ottawa Citizen reports, “Most of the 29 Senate Liberals will vote against the government’s politically charged security bill, C-51, even though Liberals in the House of Commons supported the legislation, the opposition leader in the Senate said Tuesday.” Senator James Cowan says, “It’s a bad piece of legislation.”

The Senate vote is expected within weeks.

The Globe and Mail adds, “The bill is expected to pass the Conservative-dominated Senate and receive royal assent before legislators break for the summer in June.”

Further reading
Conservatives and Liberals pass C-51 in the House of Commons (May 2015 blog)
27 chapters take part in national day of action against C-51 (March 2015 blog)

Photo: Ken Kavanagh.