Bill C-51

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: 500 Days of Trudeau’s Broken Promises

Justin Trudeau Broken Promises Town Hall Electoral Reform

Reconcile with Indigenous peoples. Make elections fairer. Invest many more billions in public transit and green infrastructure. Take climate change seriously.

Those are just a few of the things that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party committed to in the lead-up to the 2015 election, offering up a fairly stark contrast to the decade of reign by Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. And on Oct. 19, 2015, almost seven million Canadians voted for that Liberal platform. In his victory speech, Trudeau spoke of “real change” and “sunny ways” and “positive politics.”

Fast forward almost 500 days.

Many major promises have been broken, and sentiments seemingly abandoned. Frankly, it’s getting rather difficult to keep up with the amount of backtracking and shapeshifting happening in Ottawa.

Margaret Atwood, Stephen Lewis Join Coalition Calling on Canada’s Next Government to Protect Dissent and Democracy

Attacks on civil liberties, the right to protest, freedom of information and democracy must be put to an end by Canada’s next government, according to a group of organizations called the Voices-Voix Coalition.

Famed Canadian author Margaret Atwood, former Canadian ambassador Stephen Lewis and former federal justice minister Irwin Colter are backing the demand, saying Canadians have faced an unacceptable erosion of their democratic rights in recent years.

We have been witness to a fundamental shift in the tone and tactics of the federal government, moving to shut down debate and dissent,” Atwood said.

We need to ensure that these actions — from defunding of women's organizations, to limits on free expression found in laws like Bill C-51 — do not become the new normal.”

How Stephen Harper Used God and Neoliberalism to Construct the Radical Environmentalist Frame

Stephen Harper’s efforts to frame environmentalists as radicals who deserve to be investigated by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service took three years to come to fruition.

It’s often claimed that Harper’s vendetta against environmental groups springs from his unconditional support for the oil industry. While that is more or less evident, it’s also necessary to consider the dominant influences — from his evangelical Christianity and his neoliberal ideology — on his tactics.

It was in early January 2012 that the Harper government first attacked opponents of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver released an open letter accusing “radical” environmentalists and “jet-setting celebrities” of blocking efforts to open access to Asian markets for Canadian oil.

These groups threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda,” Oliver, a former investment banker who raised money for oil companies, wrote. “They seek to exploit any loophole they can find, stacking public hearings with bodies to ensure that delays kill good projects.”

VIDEO: Canada Has a Troubling Definition of 'Threat'

CSIS, C-51

The government defines a threat completely differently than a citizen does.

We think of threats as violence, things that could physically hurt us. But to a government that also includes anything that could reduce its power.

So currently the definition of threats in the CSIS Act includes ‘foreign influenced activities detrimental to the interests of Canada.’

That doesn’t sound violent. That could describe a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band in Hamilton.

Watch me break it down in this video:

What's More Worrying? Bill C-51 or the Fact That So Many People Don't Know What's In It?

Far more disturbing than what’s in Bill C-51 is the fact that most Canadians don’t seem to care about it. I don’t know if they’re scared, or uninformed, or think Earth will soon be knocked off its axis by a rogue planet sending us all hurtling into the sun so nothing matters anyway. In any case, here are a few reminders.

Free speech is important. Once you allow speech you don’t like to be criminalized, you’re allowing the government to create a list of illegal ideas. That list will expand no matter which party is in power. Once a state outlaws a few kinds of speech, it gets all jacked up and has to keep that buzz going and before you know it they’ve snorted up a whole pile of them and have you cornered at a party talking your ear off about politics.

DeSmogCAST 12: Canada's Anti-Terrorism Bill, Who it Targets and How it Helps Kinder Morgan

Bill C-51, anti-terrorism, RCMP, Kinder Morgan

This weekend thousands of Canadians marched against the Conservative government's proposed anti-terrorism bill C-51. In this episode of DeSmogCAST we take a close look at the proposed legislation and discuss how it relates to the recently-leaked RCMP intelligence report that names pipeline opponents and First Nations “violent anti-petroleum extremists.” Keith Stewart, climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace Canada, discusses the significance of the internal intelligence report and Greenpeace's role in its release.

We also take a look at Kinder Morgan's secretive behaviour in the Trans Mountain pipeline review and how anti-terrorism laws meant to protect 'critical infrastructure' like pipelines may benefit oil, gas and pipeline companies unwilling to disclose information to the public.

DeSmogBlog contributor Farron Cousins hosts this episode and is joined by Greenpeace's Keith Stewart, DeSmog Canada's Emma Gilchrist, and yours truly.

Let’s Not Sacrifice Freedom Out Of Fear

burnaby mountain, zack embree, C-51, RCMP, David Suzuki

This is a guest post by David Suzuki

A scientist, or any knowledgeable person, will tell you climate change is a serious threat for Canada and the world. But the RCMP has a different take. A secret report by the national police force, obtained by Greenpeace, both minimizes the threat of global warming and conjures a spectre of threats posed by people who rightly call for sanity in dealing with problems caused by burning fossil fuels.

CSIS “Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny” Spying on Me (Or You For That Matter)

When I asked the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) whether it has files on me or DeSmog Canada, I got a response that's been used as a non-answer by government spokespeople and celebrity publicists for 40-plus years: We can “neither confirm nor deny” the records exist.

The intelligence body doesn't have to disclose such information because it's exempt from Canada’s Access to Information legislation since it relates to “the detecting, preventing or suppressing subversive or hostile activities.”

Hmph. Some part of me was expecting them to simply say “no.” While non-denial denial responses like this are pretty par for the course when dealing with intelligence services — the phrase was first conjured up during a clandestine CIA submarine operation in the 1970s — it's disconcerting in light of the federal government’s proposed anti-terrorism bill C-51, which would increase the powers of CSIS and its role in government-sponsored spying.

As others have pointed out, bill C-51 will allow dangerously strong measures to be taken against even perceived terror threats or individuals that pose a threat to Canada’s critical infrastructure, such as pipelines, or the nation’s financial security.

More than 100 Legal Experts Urge Parliament to Amend or Kill Anti-Terrorism Bill C-51

harper, anti-terrorism, C-51

Legal experts from across Canada are urging all parliamentarians to “ensure that C-51 not be enacted in anything resembling its present form.” They argue, in an open letter published on the National Post, that the federal government’s anti-terrorism bill is a “dangerous piece of legislation” that has not been given due debate. The Harper government decided to cut off a second reading debate of the bill on February 23, after less than three days of discussion.

The authors of the letter note the lack of debate is a “troubling undermining of our parliamentary democracy’s ability to hold majority governments accountable.”

It is sadly ironic that democratic debate is being curtailed on a bill that vastly expands the scope of covert state activity when that activity will be subject to poor or non-existent democratic oversight or review.”

The full text of the open letter is reproduced below:

Leaked RCMP Report Fuels Fears Harper’s Anti-Terrorism Bill will Target Enviros, First Nations

Burnaby Mountain Protesters Face RCMP, Mark Klotz

The federal government’s anti-terrorism bill C-51 was the subject of heated parliamentary debate recently after revelations that the RCMP characterized pipeline opponents and First Nations as “violent anti-petroleum extremists” in a leaked internal intelligence report.

NDP environment critic Megan Leslie argued the leaked RCMP document, which labeled Canada’s environment movement as “a growing and violent threat to Canada’s security,” displays precisely how bill C-51 could be used to deploy anti-terrorism legislation against environmental activism deemed to be “unlawful.”

Because protests carried out without proper municipal permits can be deemed “unlawful” the proposed bill has serious implications for environmental and aboriginal groups, Leslie said.

A lot hinges on that word ‘unlawful,’ ” she said during a recent question period in parliament.

This is dangerous legislation, because if there is a wildcat strike or an occupy movement – an occupation of town property, such as the camps that we saw set up – that activity, under the eyes of CSIS or the current government, could potentially undermine the security of Canada without the right municipal permit, and it could all of a sudden be scooped up into this anti-terrorism legislation.”

Every single word here matters,” Leslie said.

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