Riccardo Filippone | CUPE Communications

Loupe - Bill-C51Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have introduced Bill C-51, a law that would significantly infringe on Canadians’ rights and freedoms.

After a careful analysis of Bill C-51, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair announced that New Democrats would oppose it.

The Liberals agree that there are problems with the legislation, but they have decided to support it. Justin Trudeau recently spoke with students at the University of British Columbia and said that if elected the Liberals will go back and change the legislation. During the Q & A one student said: “Sir, I must say that supporting the bill that you know is dangerous while promising to reform it when you’ve been elected to government is tantamount to putting our rights hostage, and our vote is our ransom.”

Exactly.

The NDP has identified several serious problems in C-51. These include broad new powers for CSIS without enhancing oversight, provisions that could impact legitimate dissent, and no plan to counter radicalization in Canadian communities.

A growing list of eminent Canadians is adding their voices to the chorus of those saying the Conservatives’ so-called anti-terror legislation goes too far. Four former prime ministers are concerned with the bill’s broad measures; the Privacy Commissioner – an Officer of Parliament – lacks the power and resources to provide oversight of C-51; and Canada’s reputation is being tarnished as international media report the Conservative bill could open the door to human rights abuses. CUPE’s national executive board passed a resolution calling on the CUPE members to mobilize against the conservative spy bill saying it is a threat to civil liberties and democratic freedom C-51.

More than a hundred of Canada’s brightest legal experts from institutions across the country sent an open letter to all members of Parliament expressing their “deep concern” about C-51. They call the Conservative bill a “dangerous piece of legislation in terms of its potential impacts on the rule of law, on constitutionally and internationally protected rights, and on the health of Canada’s democracy.”

As committee hearings wrapped-up in March, all substantial amendments from the opposition were rejected by the Conservatives. This legislation is sweeping, dangerously vague, and likely ineffective.