Let's stop Bill C-51, and scrap CSIS
This petition had 451 supporters
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s latest Anti-Terrorism Act has shocked all those who support civil liberties and democratic freedoms.
Bill C-51 allows Canadians to be arrested on mere suspicion of future criminal activity. It allows the Minister of Public Safety to add Canadians to a “no-fly list” with illusory rights of judicial review.
Activities that interfere with the economic or financial stability of Canada are considered terrorism, which should be of serious concern to the labour movement and all progressive organizations.
Perhaps equally alarmingly, C-51 creates a new speech-related criminal offence of “promoting” or “advocating” “terrorism offences in general.”
What is advocating terrorism?
- Last year we reported on Canada releasing a stamp honoring anti-apartheid fighter and South African President, Nelson Mandela. Before he was released from jail, Mandela and the ANC were considered terrorists by the Canadian government. Supporters of the ANC could have been arrested under Bill C-51.
- Like other progressive media, our paper stands in full support of the people of Palestine. However, some organizations of the Palestine Liberation Organization are slanderously listed by the Canadian government as terrorist groups. So is the entire democratically elected Hamas government in the Gaza strip.
- This January, People's Voice ran a full-page feature on Mewa Singh, a Canadian hero, who dedicated his life to opposing racism and colonialism. He was hanged in 1915, not long after the Komagata Maru incident, for shooting a despotic immigration officer who had ordered the assassination of a prominent Indo-Canadian community activist.
Could CSIS and the federal government use such content to falsely accuse our publication of "advocating terrorism"?
Our reading of the legal analysis of Bill C-51 by experts (source) suggests that this might be very possible.
Expand democratic rights
Too many serious violations of civil rights have taken place under CSIS's watch. We're reported on Mahar Arar, CSIS's role in Omar Khadr's imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay, infiltration at the G8 and G20, and much more.
Every time there has been an attack on free speech and civil liberties in Canada, there have been attacks on alternative media. C-51 is particularly chilling for progressive journalists as well as multi-cultural media. We need to move in a different direction, and defend civil liberties.
That’s why People’s Voice has initiated this petition.
We see the Bill as opening the door for a type of "collective punishment" of Indigenous land defenders, racialized communities, critics of corporate resource extraction, solidarity groups, trade unions, and radical political movements
More and more voices are speaking out against Bill C-51, and calling for Canada to instead expand democratic rights and freedoms.
We the undersigned call for C-51 to be rejected by Parliament, and instead CSIS should be put under genuine public control and taken apart, not expanded!
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