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    Vancouverites Educate, Organise & Mobilize Against Bill C-51...

    By Alison Bodine

    Since it was first introduced, public outcry against Bill C-51 has been growing steadily in Canada, as more and more people learn of its real consequences. In Vancouver, people from many different backgrounds have come out onto the streets to protest and discuss this bill, which, if passed, would see the government of Canada grant itself unprecedented powers to spy on, disrupt and detain anyone falling under the purposefully vague and undefined accusation of "supporting terrorism".

    Many of the activities that have taken place, including the weekly picket actions, have been organized in the Vancouver area by the newly formed Working Group to Stop Bill C-51.

    To get involved in the working group e-mail stoppolicestatebillc51@gmail.com.

    You can also show you support by joining with the Working Group though the Facebook page, at “Stop Bill C-51” and twitter @StopBillC51.

    Below is a summary of the overall activities that have been organized by various groups in Vancouver as part of building a united and strong opposition to Bill C-51.

    5 Pickets in 5 Weeks

    For three consecutive weeks the Working Group to Stop Bill C-51 organized picket actions at the busy Broadway and Commercial Sky train station. These actions were held on the first three Mondays of March, March 2, March 9 and March 16. Each picket action included a march with banners, signs and powerful chanting that moved around the intersection, as well as a program with speakers, and the handing out of information about Bill C-51to hundreds of people passing by.

    On Monday, March 23 the Working Group to Stop Bill C-51 picket moved to Lougheed Skytrain Station in Burnaby. Coming to this station proved to be a great opportunity to continue outreach about the consequences of Bill C-51 and to let more people know how to get involved in the campaign to stop it.

    The following Monday, March 30, the picket moved once again, this time to the Downtown Vancouver Stadium Skytrain station. Here also there was increasingly positive reception from everyone passing by.

    Discussion Continues

    After weeks of growing public opposition to Bill C-51, the SFU Institute for the Humanities hosted a panel discussion with the title “C-51 The Anti-terror Bill.” Over 250 people filled the room at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue in Downtown Vancouver for a 5-person panel that included Micheal Vonn, the Policy Director for the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA), as well as three law professors and an immigration lawyer Zul Soleiman. The panel and the ensuing discussing demonstrated the breadth of the opposition to Bill C-51, with people from all walks of life in attendance.

    Actions go Canada-wide

    The first Canada–wide day of action was marked with a rally at the Vancouver Public Art Gallery in downtown Vancouver. On Saturday, March 14 a diverse and passionate crowd of over 2000 people protested at a rally against Bill C-51, which was followed by a march throughout many downtown locations while distributing information and gathering petition signatures against Bill C-51. This day of action saw 70 coordinated actions take place from coast to coast to protest the proposed bill.

    What’s next?

    The next Canada-wide day of action is taking place on Saturday, April 18th at the Vancouver Art Gallery (750 Hornby Street), in Downtown Vancouver. Come out to this action to add your voice to the growing opposition to defeat this terrifying legislation.

    Weekly picket actions organized by the Working Group to Stop Bill C-51 are also continuing. The next one is Tuesday April 7 at the New Westminster Skytrain station, starting at 4pm.

    We must unite together in order to stop this law dead in its tracks!

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