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      Get Up, Stand Up for your Democratic and Human Rights!
      The Struggle Against Bill C-51 and C-59 Continues!

      By Janine Solanki

      In the lead up to the 2015 federal election, the controversial “anti-terrorism” Bill C-51 was an election issue. Clearly opposed through protests across the country, it was still passed by the then Conservative Harper government and supported by the Liberals. Justin Trudeau’s election promises to amend the bill if elected were already weak promises, as no amount of amending can fix a bill that is a fundamental attack on human and democratic rights.

      After almost four years, the long-awaited amendments from the Liberal government came in the form of Bill C-59. It was recently passed into law and it was no surprise that Bill C-59 doesn’t “fix” Bill C-51. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS( continues to have the chilling and undefined powers of “disruption” and is still able to violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Government agencies can also still share your personal information, “no-fly lists” still violate our freedoms, and overall the lack of transparency and accountability continues for the general public.

      In fact, Bill C-59 creates an even worse cyber surveillance regime. Furthermore, just one week after Bill C-59 was passed, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) published thousands of pages of heavily-redacted documents disclosed by CSIS that suggest the agency spied on the peaceful protest and organizing activities of Indigenous groups and environmentalists who were opposed to pipeline expansion – and actively shared and received classified information with oil and gas corporation representatives.

      As campaigning and debates take place ahead of the 2019 federal election, two things that are not an election issue or campaign promise are Bill C-51 or C-59. Across the board, the major political parties have no interest in addressing these bills and upholding our human and democratic rights. It is clear now more than ever that those whose rights are being violated are the ones that need to stand up and defend them.

      Since Bill C-51 was originally introduced, the Working Committee to Stop Bill C-51 has been consistently organizing and protesting across Metro Vancouver, demanding that Bill C-51 and now Bill C-59 be repealed. In the month of September the group held three actions. (1) On September 3rd activists came together at Surrey Central Skytrain Station for the 221st bi-weekly action. With picket signs and a big banner reading “Repeal Bill C-51 and C-59!” people transiting through the station stopped to talk to organizers, pick up a newsletter and sign petitions against the bills. (2) The September 16th action at Langara 49th Avenue Skytrain Station drew the attention of college students passing through the station, and (3) on September 30 the 223rd action at 22nd Street Skytrain Station was busy with people on their way home from work who stopped to find out more about the campaign.

      The Working Group to Stop Bill C-51 is committed to continue protesting and organizing in defence of our rights and against these anti-democratic laws. To find out about the next action check out www.repealbillc51.org and follow on Facebook and Twitter @stopbillc51

      Follow Janine on Twitter: @janinesolanki

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