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Canadians to Senators: Do the right thing and remove online spying from Bill C-13

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Online Spying Bill C-13 is now at a crucial stage in the Canadian Senate, where it faces its last hurdle before becoming the law of the land.

Key senators on the Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee are now considering the bill in detail -- and Canadians certainly haven’t been shy about speaking out against the spying provisions, using our new letter-to-the-editor tool.

Hard-hitting letters are now appearing in newspapers from coast to coast, as Canadians express their outrage at the government’s attempt to ram Bill C-13 through despite overwhelming opposition from 73 per cent of Canadians, including a huge majority of Conservative supporters.

For those of you just tuning in, Bill C-13 is a reckless spying bill proposed by Justice Minister Peter MacKay. Experts say it would hugely undermine the privacy of Canadians, by exposing innocent citizens to being spied on by a wide range of government authorities.

It even goes so far as to grant immunity to telecom providers who hand your personal information to the government without a warrant. Even the Supreme Court has weighed in with a historic ruling that renders important parts of C-13 unconstitutional. As Janet Hudgins wrote in the Vancouver Sun:

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that large parts of C-13 are unconstitutional. If passed, the Bill will face legal challenges and waste millions of taxpayer dollars.

Sadly Peter MacKay is refusing to listen to Canadians -- not surprising from a government that has got it all wrong when it comes to privacy. Instead of tackling our privacy deficit, they’re pushing forward extreme new measures like Bill C-13, hoping to place us all under their microscope.

It’s time for the government to take pause and start respecting Canadians. That’s the message coming across again and again in newspaper letter pages right across Canada. As Lakeshore’s Jean-Francois Gauthier wrote in the Windsor Star:

Bill C-13 will water down Canadians’ rights and infringe on their privacy without oversight and without a warrant. Our unelected Senate should uphold its historic role of “sober second thought” and oppose this bill.

And that’s not all - here are just a sample of the letters we’ve spotted so far from Canadians using our letter-to-the-editor tool:

Alberni Valley News

Aurora Banner

Bracebridge Examiner

Campbell River Mirror

Guelph Mercury

Halifax Chronicle-Herald

Kawartha Lakes This Week

Regina Leader-Post

Nelson Star

Niagara This Week

Northern Life

Parry Sound North Star

Peterborough This Week

Vancouver Sun

Victoria News

Windsor Star (Jean-Francois Gauthier)

Windsor Star (Blake Moorcroft)

Winnipeg Free Press

St Catherine's This Week

Thanks for speaking out, Canada!

When Canadians stand up like this, it really does make a difference -- by working together, we successfully defeated the government’s last attempt at an online spying bill. We can only hope Senators use their common sense, listen to Canadians, and remove these hugely unpopular online spying provisions from Bill C-13.

A huge thank you is also owed to our monthly allies and donors. We could never have built this letter tool without support from individual Canadians just like you. It’s been a real team effort and it’s great to see such a loud call being sounded from coast to coast about C-13.

If you haven’t done so already, please take the time to send a letter to your local paper using our easy-to-use tool at: https://OpenMedia.org/Spybill. This really is one of the most powerful ways to make your voice heard.

Pro-tip: for best results, please take the time to write the letter in your own words. We’ve provided helpful talking points to get you started but you’ll hugely increase your chance of getting published if you write about these in your own style, rather than cutting and pasting. Mentioning your local Senator or MP by name is also a great way to keep the pressure on decision-makers.

It’s never been more important to speak up. Please, take a few moments today to make sure your voice is heard in your community.

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