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      Repeal Bill C51! Scrap Bill C-59!
      Fighting Back Against Undemocratic Laws

      Fighting for Democratic and Human Rights of All
      Bill C-51 and Bill C-59, a Bridge Towards the Big Brother Society

      By Thomas Davies

      The Liberal Party seems in no hurry to move past the status quo of Stephen Harper's “Anti-Terrorism” Bill C-51 and all of its privacy invasions and human rights violations. Their update, Bill C-59, has been sitting in the Senate for almost six months now. In the meantime, new revelations about government agencies violating our privacy emerge all the time, with the well rehearsed answer always being, “Sorry we didn't tell you about that, but we promise we have your best interests in mind.” Time and time again this has shown to be completely the opposite, and the Working Group to Stop Bill C-51 continues to campaign for a full Repeal of Bill C-51 and the Scrapping of Bill C-59.

      Case in point: the head of Statistics Canada was recently compelled to release a public statement assuring people their personal financial data was “safe” after it was revealed they were collecting the financial transaction data of 500,000 people without their consent or knowledge. Even worse, it's part of plan to build a massive new personal information bank with the real-time financial transaction data of hundreds of thousands of people. Global News has also reported the agency had gotten 15 years’ worth of credit rating information from a major international credit bureau which could include millions of Canadians.

      Their justification? "Traditional statistics-gathering methods are no longer sufficient to accurately measure Canada's economy and societal changes."

      Meanwhile, Federal government lawyers continue to insist on closed door hearings and absolute secrecy in a case regarding allegations of Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) spying on environmental activists. This began four years ago when the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association made an official complaint that CSIS and other government agencies considered opposition to the petroleum industry as a “threat to national security” – and were holding secret meetings with oil company representatives at their headquarters. The complaint cited records, released through the Access to Information Act, that suggested certain organizations were viewed as potential security risks simply because they pushed for environmental protections.

      This issue is all the more serious given the broad powers Bill C-51 and C-59 give to CSIS and police forces to use against potential “national security risks”. Why is the government so hell bent on secrecy in these cases? Could it be that their meetings with oil executives are not in our best interests? Are they trying to criminalize legitimate opposition to the massive resource extraction projects they are trying to push through?

      Given all of this, its been important for the Working Group to Stop Bill C-51 to continue its public education campaign with weekly actions. As the days get shorter, October saw the last of the banner drops for the year as the Working Group moves back to straight weekly pickets for the winter months. With colleges and universities in full session, locations have focused on transit stations next to campuses in Vancouver as well as the suburbs of Coquitlam, Burnaby and Surrey. With five actions in the month – the campaign is not slowing down. The trend shown by the Canadian government is towards increased privacy invasions and human rights violations –so it's more important than ever to stand up to defend our democratic and human rights.

      Repeal Bill C-51!
      Scrap Bill C-59!
      Our Security Lies in Defending the Rights of All!

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