Connection between C-51 and Aboriginal and labour rights

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Sean in Ottawa
Connection between C-51 and Aboriginal and labour rights

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.

Sean in Ottawa

I tried to find this on public web sites  and couldn't good there is some discussion -- any about the labour examples? I heard both JT and Mulcair speak quite a few times and no mention from either about either concern. Nothing in any media and I found nothing in searches. I was getting alarmed that this was missed completely. People should read this thing.


Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I have not seen anyone yet make the connection between C-51 and labour rights or Aboriginal rights


MegB has been trying to raise that point in several threads.


KenS wrote:

I cant make out the cartoonists name. If someone can figure that out, no doubt you could find the original and post it... without all the Facebook clutter you get from my link.

His name is Tim Dolighan.





There is quite a bit of discussion of this in aboriginal-oriented Facebook groups (and presumably websites and blogs as well).... and you see that specific threat to Aboriginal rights referenced on environmental activist pages, with the expected links to aboriginal discussions. So this is out there.

I'll try to remember where I saw a nifty cartoon. [Unionist posted it below.]


Sean, I want to thank you for these detailed well thought out scenarios.......

which of course begs some analytical discussion of appropriate strategy in resistance...

the formation of a antifascist anti imperialist movement is called for.....and if need be, for legal cover/protection, in the form of a legal political organization...building international alliance to challenge the Canadian Government from outside, likewise seems essential!

Hit the Canadian Government and its corporate sponsors, where it hurts!


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Bill c-51 could be a blank cheque to the government to stifle indigenous dissent


Indigenous Canadians and their allies may be forgiven for not being willing to merely trust the government for many historical reasons.  But recent events will have given them further cause for worry. The Harper government has labelled opponents of the Northern Gateway Pipeline as “extremists” and tried to use “anti-terrorist” laws to go after them before.  Finance Minister Joe Oliver has suggested that pipeline opponents have a “radical ideological agenda” and are out to “hijack” Canada’s economy.  The government has used CSIS to spy on people involved in the indigenous rights movement, including vast spying on the Idle No More movement, on Pam Palmeter, Clifton Nicholas, and Cindy Blackstock. Government spies have tried to infiltrate meetings of indigenous activists. The government has spied on people trying to voice their concerns about fossil fuel developments before the ostensibly neutral National Energy Board.  The government has deemed anti-fracking protesters in Elsipogtog to be security threats and sent RCMP snipers to control the opposition there. To head the watchdog agency overseeing CSIS spying, the government formerly appointed Arthur Porter, currently in prison in Panama and facing bribery allegations (unrelated to SIRC) in Canada, then appointed Chuck Strahl who resigned after it was revealed that he was acting as a lobbyist for the Northern Gateway pipeline.


Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I tried to find this on public web sites  and couldn't good there is some discussion -- any about the labour examples? I heard both JT and Mulcair speak quite a few times and no mention from either about either concern. Nothing in any media and I found nothing in searches. I was getting alarmed that this was missed completely. People should read this thing.

The Alberta Federation of Labour Facebook page linked to a news story a few days ago and asked whether readers thought it could be used to suppress the right to strike. There may be other discussions like that under way.

Personally, I'm not afraid. If you're a law-abiding citizen who goes to church and minds your own business, why should you be afraid - right? Worst case scenario, you can use your firearms to protect yourself. I think the whole thing is being overblown. By Muslims and Bolsheviks and Eco-terrorists and Union Bosses and the NDP and Greens.

ETA: Oh yeah, and Jim Stanford tweeted [url=]this[/url] today:

Bill C-51 could declare a strike a terrorist act becuz of "economic disruption." What are odds govt would say same about a CN Rail LOCKOUT?


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Why are the RCMP so afraid of enviro activists?

The real threat to oil and gas industry is not the so-called “anti-petroleum movement,” but growing public support for Indigenous land defence across the country

A leaked RCMP report linking "violent environmental extremists" to a perceived terrorist threat to the country's oil and gas industry is alarming, but far from surprising. 

The RCMP have been providing unnamed oil and gas industry sources with weekly intelligence reports on their surveillance of activists, particularly in Indigenous communities, since at least 2007.  

Since that time, public support for communities most affected by oil and gas exploration, has spread across the country. This is the real "threat" to industry – not a "violent" or "extremist" environmental movement, as the report suggests, but a growing understanding of First Nations’ rights to protect their land and health, from Unist'ot'en territory in Northern B.C., to Aamjiwnaang First Nation near Sarnia.

Sixty-three petrochemical refineries surround Aamjiwnaang First Nation reservation near Sarnia. The southwestern Ontario city and First Nation community is considered the most polluted place in North America by the World Health Organization.

The Aamjiwnaang is the first human population documented to experience endocrine disruption from pollution, resulting in a ratio of two females born for every male on the reserve. Forty per cent of band members require an inhaler to breath, while 39 per cent of the women in Aamjiwnaang have suffered through at least one stillbirth or miscarriage.

Back in 2013, a 13-day blockade halted activity on a rail line servicing the refineries, significantly impacting these companies’ operations....

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Jim Stanford from UNIFOR raised the issue of C-51 being used against labour in a crackbook post.

By all means the spies will be using C-51 to do all manner of things and will argue that C-51 gives them the power to do so, whether it does or not.