I have not seen anyone yet make the connection between C-51 and labour rights or Aboriginal rights (although some about environmentalists).
Bill C-51 redefines anyone who represents a threat to the economy, the political, and the diplomatic agenda of the government as a terrorist unless they are participating entirely within the law. The test of violence or threat of violence is completely missing from the Bill. In some cases even the issue of intent is missing.
Those who break the law in the most minor of ways, while posing a threat to the government agenda, face very dire consequences. "Law abiding" Canadians are told that they are safe as there is a provision that says legal protest is exempt. But there is no proportion to this.
Consider how minor illegality can be inflated to charges of Terrorism.
Consider these potential cases where C-51 could be used:
1) Aboriginal protest to oppose a pipeline. Accusation of disturbing the Peace makes the assembly illegal. The threat is to the energy policy and economy of government. The protest is not legal for any number of minor reasons. All participants can now come under the provisions of C-51 and are terrorists.
2) A rail union calls a strike. The government orders them back to work but the union realizes the issues are so serious and stays out anyway. They threaten the economic agenda of the government. Since the strike is illegal and the threat is there, all striking members are terrorists.
3) An Aboriginal or union protest has many people show up in support. The people don’t fit on the sidewalk and many stand on the property. They get charged with trespassing. But their strike also threatens some economic movement of goods or development. They are now Terrorists.
4) A worker gets injured on the job. A wildcat strike is called. They walk off the job but it costs big business money. The threat to the economy from an illegal strike can make them all terrorists under Bill C-51.
5) A professor complains about some action Israel takes. She protests a scholar visiting from Israel coming to speak at his campus. That professor is interfering with the diplomatic agenda of the government of Canada. She uses her work computer to send a message. That is illegal use of the computer so the protest is not legal. She is now a terrorist. The Minister says she cannot fly. She goes to the airport and checks her bag in. She is not allowed to fly but an airport employee puts the bag on by mistake not showing "diligence." The worker is now a terrorist as well just by making that mistake. (Read the Bill you can see how this is specifically laid out.)
Now consider what these examples mean to Union and First Nations advocacy. Those charges under Bill C-51 may or may not survive a constitutional challenge. But the Minister without any court can decide -- on his own -- that those people don't get to fly again. This will silence their ability to participate in many opportunities for advocacy. The court action will break their finances even if in the end the government loses. The threat of this Bill will provide a chill on participation. Not a single case has to win under the Bill for it to have accomplished significant damage. To have made enemies of the government “accidental terrorists.”
I brought this here because there are activists here who on reading this may be able to use some of the examples I imagined.
I am opening a thread because I think there should be a discussion specifically about the implications on FN and labour rights and this conversation has not yet happened. As well I did not want to antagonize the people here who are so opposed to longer posts. Hopefully they will forgive this and simply give this thread a pass.