This week is Stop C-51 Week, marked by events throughout Canada and elsewhere in opposition to Bill C-51, currently under consideration by the Parliament of Canada, “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.”
We’ve joined a who’s who of civil liberties and human rights organizations, activists, and experts from Canada and around the world who have co-signed a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper opposing Bill C-51.
It’s only a slight oversimplification to say that Bill C-51 is Canada’s version of the USA Patriot Act, 13 years later but on steroids. It appears to violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canadian obligations pursuant to several human rights treaties including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). But if enacted, and if not voided on constitutional grounds by Canadian courts, it would purport to authorize a wide range of government spying, “pre-crime” policing (profiling), and preemptive interference with the exercise of fundamental rights.