When the controversial anti-terrorism legislation Bill C-51 was passed not long ago, Canadians from all across the country took to the streets to declare their discontent. Dozens of protests took place with tens of thousands of Canadians taking part; everyone from security professionals and law professors to human rights advocates and average citizens. It was glaringly obvious to anyone who was paying attention, that the majority of Canadians were seemingly not in support of C-51.
Many people were shocked when the Liberals helped the Conservatives to push C-51 to safe passage and the Liberals insisted many times that they were dedicated to revisiting C-51 because of the widespread disagreement. Those promised changes to C-51 are still months away and the Liberals say that they apparently still need to consult with Canadians in order to see what needs to be changed. And while they take their time in addressing the concern of many, CSIS has already been putting the new powers to use.
Bill C-51 has been found to violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, according to a legal analysis which was done by the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE). Constitutional scholars, like Rocco Galati, have also insinuated that C-51 is a tyrannical piece of legislation and he has vowed to fight it, along with other Canadians. It didn't take long for a lawsuit to be launched against C-51 and that legal battle is currently underway. The lawsuit was launched by the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), they brought a Charter challenge against Bill C-51 asserting that it violated numerous sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Over surging outcry from the public, the Liberals made promises to address C-51 but we haven't seen them fulfill yet. They seem to be in no hurry as they continue to take their time when it comes to addressing a lot of the promises that they made during their election campaign. Canadians have already voiced their concerns and made it clear that they don't agree with this legislation and overwhelming many say that they want to see it scrapped entirely. What more do the Liberals need to hear on the matter?
In letters and materials that were released under the Access to Information Act, it was also discovered that CSIS is already using the “threat reduction” powers granted to them under C-51. CSIS officials allegedly view “threat reduction” as a large part of their jobs now and they've indicated that they don't think any profound changes need to be made to the way that they do things. But there are many civil liberties advocates, along with legal and security experts, who would disagree and insist that more oversight for CSIS is needed. Despite C-51 now being law, many Canadians continue to voice their concerns for the dangers posed over the possible Charter violations; an issue that's still waiting to be worked out in court between the CJFE, CCLA, and others.
Our Coverage on C-51:
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