Monday January 30th marked the 100th weekly action of the Working Group to Stop Bill C-51. Perhaps unprecedented in Canada - over the last two years, the group has never missed a week of holding picket and petition drives, forums, conferences and banner drops across Vancouver and the surrounding areas. As it becomes increasingly clear that the Liberal government has no intention of addressing the massive human rights violations of this “anti-terrorism” legislation – speaking out and building an independent movement to repeal Bill C-51 has become even more important. In recognition of the organizing which has already taken place, and that which is yet to come, the Working Group to Stop Bill C-51 called for both a picket and petition campaign and a public forum to mark its 100th consecutive week of actions.
The 100th action returned to the busiest transit point in Vancouver, Broadway and Commercial. It began with a moment of silence for the six Muslim men who were murdered while praying at a mosque in Quebec City the evening before. Given that Bill C-51 has been justified by the Canadian government using Islamophobic rhetoric, recognizing the connection was extremely important.
Indigenous elders Kelly White and Gordon August welcomed the action with their drums and songs while picketers chanted, held banners and signs, collected petition signatures as well as speaking to the news outlets who came to cover the action.
From the speaker system and in individual conversations while gather petition signatures to Repeal Bill C-51, it was emphasized the the Liberal government has continued to break its promises on Bill C-51. More than a year after election promises to make “significant changes” a “priority”, Bill C-51 remains in its entirety.
A parliamentary national security oversight committee has been proposed, but its members as well as its access and ability to share information are all controlled by the Prime Minister's Office. A so-called “public consultation” instead turned into an opportunity for the Liberals to promote new legislation which could allow them massive access to all of our online and phone application history.
The picket's materials table continued to be busy the entire action, and some people walking by stopped to hold protest signs and join the action. This kind of dynamic public outreach has sustained the campaign throughout the last two year, and it shows no sign of slowing down.
The evening forum at the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library featured Working Group organizers Thomas Davies and Brian Sproule discussing the history of Bill C-51, and how to continue building the movement to defeat it. The Working Group has continued to see significant public interest in the demand to Repeal Bill C-51 and anger has grown with the Canadian government as it maintains the status quo.
In response the speakers urged that we cannot accept “business as usual” when we are seeing the terrible consequences both of these human rights violating “anti-terrorism” laws, and of the racism and Islamophobia used to justify their existence. The movement to Repeal Bill C-51 must continue to spread out, connect with the many diverse communities negatively impacted, and continue to educate, organize and mobilize to defeat this dangerous, unjust and unnecessary legislation.
The Working Group to Stop Bill C-51 is committed to do everything within its power to Repeal Bill C-51. Everyone is incited to join us during our weekly actions to continue the fight! We will not stop until the law is gone.
Follow Thomas on Twitter:@thomasdavies59
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