There are already dozens of rallies that are scheduled for tomorrow, March 14th, to take place all across Canada. Thousands of people plan to get out onto the streets and to voice their concerns for the controversial bill c51 that threatens their basic liberties. As we have pointed out in our previous coverage on this issue, there are already mechanisms and institutions in place within Canada that offer the resources and tools to fight the threat of terrorism; which is essentially only various crime violations. The new bill c51 is not only unjust, but it is unnecessary, and this is a point that has been reiterated by many legal professionals and security experts in the nation.
This week we have been hearing from various professionals involved in part one of the two-part committee hearing that was established to discuss the controversies of the Anti-Terrorism Act 2015 (C-51). Unsurprisingly, there have been strong downplays by the Harper administration and others on the dangers that this bill poses to our rights, which should be afforded protection under the Canadian Charter. Thus far during the committee hearing, five of six witnesses have thankfully offered opposing stances on the bill, for the potential impacts that it poses on civil liberties, namely the right to protest.
Interestingly, Canada's privacy commissioner, Daniel Therrien, was not asked to be a part of the committee. However, he has released an open letter in response to the pending legislation. Regarding just the portion of information sharing alone, Therrien had this to say:
“.....In sum, the 17 federal departments in question would be in a position to receive information about any or all Canadians’ interactions with government. This information could then be analyzed along with information they had previously collected or obtained through other sources, including foreign governments. We are moving very quickly into the world of Big Data, which relies on massive amounts of personal information being analyzed algorithmically to spot trends, predict behaviors and make connections before any specific investigation is initiated or any particular individual is suspected of anything.
In a country governed by the rule of law, it should not be left for national security agencies to determine the limits of their powers. Generally, the law should prescribe clear and reasonable standards for the sharing, collection, use and retention of personal information, and compliance with these standards should be subject to independent and effective review mechanisms, including the courts.”
He went on to propose amendments to the bill, in an effort to further solidify the methods of data collection and sharing, to make it more clear on how the operation will be overlooked, in order to grasp at some reassurance of respecting Charter rights during the blind phishing expedition that the government deems must take place. Therrien goes on to point out that “the privacy regime provides no judicial recourse for improper collection, use or disclosure of their personal information,” and so there is great concern that an increase in powers might be abused. He isn't alone in his fears, four former Canadian Prime Ministers have also come out against this bill.
If you are looking for an event in your area, you can click the link here to find one. Don't miss this opportunity to stand-up for your rights and for justice. Although Bill C-51 is specific to Canadian laws this is indeed a global issue, there are bills in other countries under different names (like the Patriot Act) but they are all designed to do the same thing and that is to restrict our freedoms online and clamp down on the liberty of freedom fighters world wide.
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