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      Repeal Bill C-51! Scrap Bill C-59!
      Fighting Back Against Undemocratic Laws

      By Thomas Davies & Max Tennant

      June was a month of security scandals in Canada. First off, a judge forced Canada’s spy agency, CSIS, to destroy a massive amount of illegal information it was storing for decades. Meanwhile, Freedom of Information requests also brought to light an unknown US-Canada border watch list that Prime Minister Trudeau has been secretly trying to enlarge with the Trump administration.

      The “National Security” Bill, which was promised by the Liberals as a fix to the massively controversial Bill C-51, has turned out to be nothing of the sort. While it would remove some of Bill C-51’s most drastic and vague “antiterrorist” language, the Liberals are advancing the most broad and alarming data collection regime in the history of Canada.

      Cannot Be Trusted

      At the same time as Trudeau is trying to give CSIS more power for “Big Data” collection of our personal information without justification, the spy service is being forced by a judge to destroy undisclosed volumes of records relating to the communications of thousands across Canada. Starting in 2006, intelligence analysts had saved data into their systems about people who were initially seen to be in proximity to terrorism targets, but who ended up not themselves being considered threats. This information was kept regardless that CSIS knew full well it had nothing to do with suspects of terrorism.

      Meanwhile, the Liberal government is working behind closed doors with the Trump administration on a new version of the program known as Tuscan, short for Tipoff U.S./Canada. The Guardian newspaper reported that Canada uses Tuscan, a vast repository of at least 680,000 names - 40% of which have “no recognized terrorist group affiliation” - to screen all travellers coming into Canada from anywhere in the world.

      The program began in 1997, and this information is only coming to light now because of the Guardian’s Freedom of Information Requests. Tuscan’s list is kept by U.S. authorities, and offers no clear process to remove your name if you think you have been added in error.

      ' The Guardian interviewed Josh Patterson, Executive Director of the BC Civil Liberties Association, who pointed out that Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale embarked on a public consultation on national security, promising transparency and a review of the official no-fly list ± even while staying silent about Tuscan, which has been functioning all along as a second, unofficial no-fly list.

      Defending Our Rights

      As long as Bill C-59 has not been passed into law, there is an opportunity to stop it. Given that, the Working Group to Stop Bill C-51 has continued to organize full out during the summer months and continued its campaign of weekly actions. Now up to 173 consecutive weeks, the Working Group alternated between banner drops and petition drives to hit four different cities in June: Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam and Richmond.

      The work of defending human rights and privacy must continue. The government and its so called “security’ institutions have shown themselves to be completely untrustworthy, and when left to their own devices, completely destructive. We must continue to educate, organize and mobilize to Repeal Bill C-51 and Scrap Bill C-59. Our rights are too important to be left unprotected.

      Repeal Bill C-51! Scrap Bill C-59!

      Follow Thomas Davies on Twitter: @thomasdavies59
      Follow Max Tennant on Twitter: @maxtennant

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