Courtenay: Bill C-51 panel and discussion

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - 19:00

The Comox Valley Peace Group is hosting a panel and discussion on the federal government’s proposed “Anti-terrorism Act, 2015”, Bill C-51, 7pm Wednesday April 1 at Upper Native Sons Hall in Courtenay.

The legislation is currently at the stage of “public hearings” before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

Bill C-51 is an omnibus bill that creates new law and amends existing legislation. It is divided into five parts, the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, the Secure Air Travel Act, amendments to the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Act, and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act as well as making related and consequential amendments to other acts.

It follows Bill C-44, the Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act, which was at the report state in the House of Commons when bill C-51 was introduced on January 15. Bill C-44 expands the powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to obtain information on Canadians from the spy agencies of the US, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, protect its sources, conduct preventative arrests and revoke Canadian citizenship. It also authorizes the violation of the sovereignty and laws of other nations.

Bill C-51 would expand on the extraordinary powers of C-44 and is opposed by the New Democratic and Green Parties, supported by the Conservative and Liberal Parties.

Legal experts, former Prime Ministers, judges, civil liberties organisations, trade unions, First Nations organisations and thousands of Canadians from coast to coast, have taken a stand against the legislation which many believe would create a virtual police state with CSIS allowed to act with impunity.  The wording of the legislation and the amendments it would make to existing law would create a society where police and other agencies of the state could invade our homes without a warrant on mere suspicion of anti-government thought, discussion or plans for peaceful demonstrations against pipelines, tankers, fracking, war, and torture, and criminalize First Nations defending land rights and job actions of workers.

Jennifer Pass and Jack Welsh will review the provisions of the Bill itself, and Barb Biley will review the history of “anti-terror” legislation in Canada and the consequences for First Nations, environmental activists, trade unions, and national minorities.  There will be ample time for discussion following the panel.

There is no admission charge but we will “pass the hat” for donations to cover costs.

Bill C-51 is a serious threat to the rights and freedoms of all Canadians. Please come and learn and share your views. 

For more information, call 250-338-4067, Comox Valley Peace Group