If there is one thing we’ve all heard by now is the media hype surrounding the Conservative’s controversial Bill C-51.
C-51 is “An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (short title: Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act)”.
Part one of the bill, Security of Canada Information Sharing Act deals with streamlining interactions and information between the various government agencies directly involved with the Security of Canada; agencies such as Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canada Border Services Agency.
From Part one: “Whereas Parliament recognizes that information needs to be shared — and disparate information needs to be collated — in order to enable the Government to protect Canada and its people against activities that undermine the security of Canada;
Whereas information in respect of activities that undermine the security of Canada is to be shared in a manner that is consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the protection of privacy;”
Section 3 of Part 1 states, “The purpose of this Act is to encourage and facilitate the sharing of information among Government of Canada institutions in order to protect Canada against activities that undermine the security of Canada.”
Roughly translated, the goal of this provision is information sharing. CSIS has its own resources and intelligence; so do the RCMP. It is prudent that these two agencies be able to share intelligence and resources to avoid duplication. In other words, say CSIS is the government’s left hand and RCMP is the right hand. Currently, there is a substantial risk of the government’s left hand not knowing what the right was doing. This act attempts to streamline the sharing of information, intelligence and resources in a manner consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the protection of privacy. The keyword is ‘consistent’. After this bill becomes law, citizens will still be protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The purpose of this bill is not to take away your rights. The purpose of this bill is to streamline and find efficiencies between various Security Agencies.
It should be noted that this bill’s short title is the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 and does not refer to the entirety of C-51, but rather specifically Part One of C-51 otherwise known as Security of Canada Information Sharing Act.
Part two of C-51, Secure Air Travel Act deals with changes to flight safety and security. This bill’s short title is simply, Secure Air Travel Act.
The Secure Air Travel Act is “an Act to enhance security relating to transportation and to prevent air travel for the purpose of engaging in acts of terrorism.”
Craig Forcese and Kent Roach, legal scholars, note, “We should welcome the government’s efforts to put certain important programs—such as Canada’s so-called “no-fly” list—on firmer legal footing. That list has existed for some time, but was cobbled together on the basis of a slender statutory basis with inadequate checks and balances.”
Basically, Part two modernizes air security in conjunction with current laws. Sections 9 through 14 outline how this streamlining process shall occur.
Part three of C-51 deal with updating terminology to amend the Criminal Code of Canada, modernizing it and bringing it into the 21st Century. Parts four and five of C-51 likewise do the same.
Bill C-51, Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act, modernizes and streamlines the whole process of keeping Canadians safe and secure; while still being protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
It should be noted that this bill was introduced by the Federal Conservatives and that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has agreed that his party will support it.
Bill C-51 is freely available for viewing in its entirety on the parl.gc.ca website.
Why all the controversy?
Several environmental and aboriginal groups are protesting this bill for fear that their very act of protesting will constitute a direct threat to Canadian security and that they will be arrested and prosecuted.
But unless they are planning on committing an egregious act of terrorism, there is nothing in this bill that would take away from their ability to peacefully protest the government.
Unless a group plans to violate Canadian Law, the legal right to peacefully protest is still protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
But lack of understanding and fear mongering by radical environmental activists or by radical Aboriginal groups has quickly spread to media pundits, politicians in Opposition to the government and public figures.
There is no justification for breaking the law; either before or after Bill C-51. Peaceful protests outside the Parliament Buildings or other government offices are legal; protesting outside business is legal. Trespassing on private property or vandalizing either public or private property is illegal. And blowing up a piece of Canada is most certainly illegal.
Those same environmental groups and aboriginal groups that engage in criminal behaviour would be considered a threat to Canadian security.
Aboriginal protesters that blockade a rail line, effectively shutting down a major rail route are illegal practices. It was illegal before Bill C-51 and will continue to be illegal after Bill C-51.
Environmental protesters, most notably Greenpeace activists who break into buildings and vandalize contents or the building itself are breaking the law. That practice was also illegal before Bill C-51 and will continue to be illegal after the introduction of C-51.
But this important distinction has fallen on deaf ears. The more the media picks up on this peculiar lack of understanding, the more lies and disinformation regarding C-51 spread.
Speaking of a lack of understanding, TheRebel.media’s Marissa Semkiw took to the streets of Toronto during a C-51 protest. Not to speak to the ‘elites’ but to talk to regular folks protesting the bill.
Cringe worthy! What was this, 1-800-RENT-A-MOB? Semkiw has far more patience than I do!
If one plans to protest, it is important to know what it is one is protesting against and more importantly, why.
It should be noted that this form of peaceful protest is legal and will continue to be legal after C-51 becomes law.
But with so many lies and disinformation flowing out of the mouths of media pundits and other public figures, it leaves little surprise these individuals were ‘out-to-lunch’.
And when a so-called ‘prominent constitutional lawyer’ from Toronto, a Mr. Rocco Galati addresses a crowd of peaceful protesters outside Queen’s Park; his flare for the dramatic continues to spread fear into the very hearts and minds of Canadians.
Again, it should be noted that this form of protest is legal; and would remain legal after C-51.
John Rebelo asks some interesting questions regarding Galati, “Mr. Galati certainly has a flair for high drama. To compare Bill C-51 to anything enacted by the Gestapo is laughable, highly offensive and alarmist.
We don’t have a history or tradition of Gestapo like tactics in our judicial system!! More over, we have enough safeguards in our Constitution and Charter to prevent any Gestapo like activity.
Can anyone name or factually present a list of Canadian Citizens that are or have been jailed for any type of political activity? Can anyone present evidence of any Canadians ever being tortured or brainwashed by any Government Agency? Can anyone tell me of any Canadians that have disappeared while in Police or Judicial custody?
I don’t have a problem with Bill C-51 and, if Bill C-51 will prevent even one act of terrorism that would otherwise cause death and destruction in our Society then it is worth keeping.
By the way… I’ve travelled to 6 or 7 communities and logged 2743 km this past week. I wasn’t stopped once by the Police, I didn’t notice any suspect vehicles following me, didn’t come across any road blocks and didn’t see any armed soldiers goose stepping anywhere. Did anybody notice any of that going on…? If you did, please share the information.”
Galati is using fear through gross exaggeration of the contents of this bill. Canada is most certainly not equivalent to Germany in the 1930’s. And Canada won’t be after C-51 becomes law.
Bill C-51 provides strict oversight with how and when personal data is shared between the few security groups in accordance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
This bill isn’t an infringement of our civil liberties. This bill in no way, shape or form threatens our right to freedom of expression, association or religion. This bill is a means to bring Canadian Security Agencies into the 21st Century.
And that is Kevin’s Common Sense