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      Repeal Bill C-59 and Bill C-51!

      By Janine Solanki

      “We are challenging a terrorist state bent on forcing their projects through our lands with lies and deceit. They will try and break many of their own laws, ignore the Constitution and Charter, as well as mislabel oil pipelines as LNG pipelines to get their way."

      Freda Huson, spokesperson of the Unist’ot’en People.

      While the struggle against the Coastal Gas Link pipeline crossing Wet’suwet’en Indigenous territory is at a critical point today, the quote above is not recent – it is from a February 19, 2015 press release from the Unis’tot’en clan, who have been leading the fight against pipelines crossing the unceded Wet’suwet’en territory for over 10 years. The press release is specifically to oppose Bill 51 which at the time was in the final stages of being passed into law in 2015, under the conservative Harper administration.

      Although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was elected in 2015 on promises to “fix” the widely opposed Bill C51, finally in the summer of 2019 Bill C59 was enacted. However, this bill just proved that Bill C51 is not something that can be fixed, it violates our human and democratic rights from its foundation and must be totally scrapped. Bill C-59 not only doesn’t address many of the fundamental human rights concerns in Bill C-51, it also creates an even worse cyber surveillance regime. This includes that your personal information can still be shared with up to 17 government agencies without your consent or knowledge, Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) continue to have the chilling and undefined powers of “disruption”, and CSIS is still able to violate a person’s rights as defined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

      In 2015, the Working Group to Stop Bill C51 was formed in Vancouver to fight back in defence of our rights. Now in 2020, the group continues to organize, with bi-weekly actions across Metro Vancouver transit stations. On January 6, 2020 the Working Group to Stop Bill C51 setup at Broadway City Hall Skytrian Station, for their 229th action, and on January 20, for the 230th action at 22nd street Skytrain Station. Holding signs and banners demanding “Repeal Bill C-51 and C-59!” the group drew attention from passersby who stopped to take more information and sign on to the petition against these bills. With these bills actively criminalizing Indigenous activists in the midst of a fight for land, Indigenous rights and the environment, opposing these bills is more critical than ever!

      To find out about the next action, visit www.repealbillc51.org and follow on Facebook and Twitter @stopbillc51 campaign.

      Follow Janine on Twitter: @janinesolanki

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