CCLA is very concerned about the impact Bill C-51 will have on ordinary, law abiding Canadians. We have been working relentlessly to get the message out, about the serious concerns we have about Bill C-51, and about our concerns over this Bill being rushed into law.
[Photo credit: Leadnow Canada/flickr/cc]
Here is a selective sample of our work on Bill C-51.
Since the government tabled Bill C-51, CCLA has been speaking out about our concerns about the Bill. CCLA has sent a written brief to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, summarizing some of our primary concerns about the Bill. Read those submissions here.
We were also fortunate to have the opportunity to appear before the Committee on March 23, 2015. CCLA Executive Director and General Counsel, Sukanya Pillay, appeared on CCLA’s behalf. You can read her speaking notes here. The webcast of the Committee hearing can be viewed here.
Our Executive Director and General Counsel was invited to appear before the Senate Committee studying Bill C-51 as well, and our submission prepared for that purpose is available here.
In July 2015, we presented concerns about Bill C-51 to the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva.
In December 2016, we responded to the government’s online national security consultation and Green Paper.
CCLA Speaks Out
CCLA has spoken out loudly and often at all stages of the Bill’s passage through Parliament.
We have stated clearly and often that the Anti-Terror Legislation is unnecessary, as there is no evidence our current laws are inadequate. Our initial response upon introduction of the Bill may be read here.
We also protested the limited number of witnesses allowed to speak before the Committee, and the condensed time frame in which these hearings occurred.
Our Executive Director described the Anti-Terror Bill as “Gift-Wrapped in Rhetoric” in a Huffington Post op-ed that lays out a number of objections to the expansive new powers the Bill provides without creating commensurate oversight or accountability.
We listened carefully and spoke out again after Bob Paulson, Commissioner of the RCMP appeared before the House of Commons Committee to discuss the actions of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the Parliament Hill shooter. The Commissioner’s testimony did not suggest our current laws are inadequate to the task of fighting terror.
We also joined with other Human Rights organisations to call for the Bill to be withdrawn.
We joined Canadian NGOs in issuing an open letter to Public Safety Minister Goodale.
Charter Challenge / #C51onTrial Campaign
The final version of the bill passed by Parliament contained slight amendments, agreed to by the government, but that regrettably were insufficient. We believe the now Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015 remains fundamentally flawed. This is why CCLA has launched a Charter challenge against key aspects of the Act, supported by concerned citizens who donated to our #C51onTrial crowdfunding campaign.
National Security Consultation
In September 2016, the Trudeau government began a National Security Consultation to explore ways of amending the provisions enacted by Bill C-51 and to improve Canada’s national security regime. As a part of this national conversation, CCLA is releasing a series of posts responding to the government’s Green Paper on Canada’s current national security framework. While the government’s Green Paper generally favours the current national security framework, CCLA will seek to add additional context, and to show why there is no incompatibility between a strong commitment to national security and a strong commitment to our Charter rights and freedoms.