rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

OpenMedia meeting with Public Safety emphasized the importance of a genuine consultation on C-51

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Yesterday, we met with top officials at Public Safety Canada to discuss ongoing privacy concerns shared by Canadians across the country.

Right now, the ministry is running a public consultation about Bill C-51, privacy, and national security, asking for feedback from Canadians on some of the most pressing civil liberties issues of our time.

Meanwhile, we've been hearing from you for well over a year that Canadians expect a full repeal of the "Canadian Patriot Act" -- Bill C-51. Brought into force by Stephen Harper's Conservative government in 2015, Bill C-51 puts our freedom of expression rights on the chopping block, throws the door open to widespread information sharing among a huge range of government agencies, gives CSIS spies powers that would normally be reserved for police, and puts our privacy at risk in a number of different ways. (See here for all the gory details).

You already know all this -- and that's why you've been calling on the government to take immediate action and completely repeal this legislation and start from scratch. And yesterday, we made sure that Minister Ralph Goodale's top advisers were reminded of that fact, and that they promised Canadians they would address our privacy deficit in the last election.

But holding our elected officials to account is often a moving target, and that's why we also called on the government to commit to proactive disclosure of the results of their ongoing national security consultations.

We've also been hearing from many Canadians who are skeptical that their feedback will be seriously considered in this review -- which is no surprise given the skewed framing of the consultation questions, which have been called out for being biased in favour of greater police powers, and have in fact ignored many of the privacy concerns that have raised huge red flags with citizens.

In our meeting yesterday, we made sure to drive this point home: you have to earn the trust of Canadians that this is a genuine consultation.

We know from experience that it's all too easy for governments to exalt consultation on the one hand, but on the other be less than forthcoming with the results of that consultation. With such critical issues at stake, it's important that Canadians are not only consulted but that they also have the opportunity to see for themselves the results of that consultation process, and ensure that any ensuing legislation is matched to the wishes of the consulted.

The Trudeau government should have no problem fulfilling this request, which fits nicely within their open government endeavours. Not only will it increase trust in the process, but it will demonstrate to Canadians that they are truly committed to not only consulting but also to listening to the advice and direction given to them by those whom they were elected to represent.

And that's exactly what we told them.

If you haven't taken the time yet, use our tool at SaveOurSecurity.ca to respond to the National Security consultation -- the more people who speak up, the more pressure we can bring to bear for real change when it comes to C-51. In the meantime, we'll keep working to make sure you're heard.

Like this article? rabble is reader-supported journalism. Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Image: OpenMedia.org

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.