Despite various polls and articles coming out to suggest that Canadians are growing in their support for c51, it looks like the situation is quite the opposite. Following the national day of action against bill c-51 on March 14th where thousands of people took to the streets in protest, many Canadians have continued to speak-out and voice their concerns over this unjust and unnecessary piece of legislation. Thankfully, results of a new survey suggest that the Canadian people are not buying into the fear rhetoric like the Harper administration would like them to.
The Forum Research poll demonstrated that support for the bill stands now at roughly 45%, whereas earlier polls suggested that approval was around 82%, and the approval is expected to drop even further. Of course, not everyone who has heard of the bill is completely aware of what exactly the piece of legislation entails. Of those asked, roughly 70% said that they were familiar with the proposals in the bill and support from them dropped even further for c-51. Only 31% of the 70% who were familiar with the proposals in the bill, said that they still support it. Unfortunately, there is still a decent amount of people who don't know what the bill is or what it entails. Thus far, British Columbia, the prairies, and Atlantic Canada have proven to be the most opposed to this anti-terror piece of legislation.
There are several major issues for those who are opposed to the bill, among them are the concern for further oversight, and the worry of protesters being targeted by the state. There are many experts in the field of criminal justice who have come out and strongly opposed this bill for the dangers that it posses to our civil liberties. Many have reiterated the fact that there are already systems in place that are there to deal with the threat of terrorism in an investigatory way. This new bill is fruitless in that it doesn't offer any new effective method for the state to investigate terrorism, it simply gives out more powers ( to those like CSIS) without telling us how doing such is going to help anything.
Back in February of this year, Angus-Reid conducted and released poll results that showed 82% of respondents supporting this piece of legislation. If it were true that such an overwhelming amount of support was still in place for c-51, it's refreshing to see that support is now plummeting. The Angus-Reid firm had conducted its poll via an online voluntary panel, as opposed to the new Forum Research poll which is conducted by phone.
From law professors and former Canadian Prime Ministers, to security experts and human rights advocates, many good people are reasonably concerned about this bill and about the sanctity of due process in this country; a value which this bill aims to erode. Unfortunately, one big obstacle in getting people to appreciate the fruitlessness that is bill c-51, is the fear that resides in many people's lives. Even though many people don't feel confident about c-51, the same recent Forum Research poll showed that two-thirds of people still believe that giving more powers to the police to investigate terrorism is necessary. They believe this despite there being any evidence to suggest or demonstrate how any further such given power would enable the agents to do any more of an efficient job than they are authorized to do today.
One of the clear reasons that people feel like giving police more power is because of their ISIS-induced fear; with the media perpetually showing them gruesome murders and bullying them to live always afraid of some illusive future terror attack. In Canada, the people aren't afforded the natural right to protect themselves, their families, or their property, and the only option of protection or defense that the Canadian authorities want to allow for citizens is a phone call; the cry for more power is predictable. It is understandable then why the people would want that phone call, that only line of defense, to have more power in their lives. Unfortunately, when you sacrifice your civil liberties for a weak promise at future security, you end up with less of both. Also, the threat of terrorism cannot be statistically supported to the point of supporting such overreaching legislation that violates core values of Canadian citizens. When we (statistically) should be more afraid of bee-stings, bathtubs, cars, lightning, swimming pools, knives, and pharmaceutical medications, than we should ever fear being a victim of any terrorist attack, then it seems wildly unjust and baffling to propose such overreaching legislation as c-51.
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