I have heard a great deal of fear about the upcoming Bill C-51 legislation. And let’s be honest, with Liberal and Conservative support, the bill passed the House of Commons and therefore is pretty much a done deal.
And with the Conservative stacked Senate, it’s going to pass there, too, and become the law of the land.
In fact, the Senate has already passed Bill C-51 with no amendments. The third and finally vote will come on Wednesday June 8, 2015.
Despite being passed through a democratic process, Bill C-51 threatens our very democracy.
Bill C-51 — also called the Anti-Terrorism Act — makes it seem like this law is about fighting terrorism, a clever nomenclature and ruse de guerre that many in government under Justin Trudeau fell for.
So demonstrating against the tar sands pipeline across your traditional territory could be construed under Bill C-51 as, interfering with, “economic and financial stability of Canada,” as “terrorism” and as “interference with critical infrastructure.”
And if you live in B.C., don’t even think about shutting down the port again to protest the potential harm oil tankers could have on the ecosystem as that too could theoretically being construed as, interfering with “economic and financial stability of Canada,” through “terrorism” and as “interference with critical infrastructure.”
Nevermind if anyone tries to disrupt construction work along Enbridge Line 9. It’s the same story. *You* are not to interfere with, “economic and financial stability of Canada,” through “terrorism” and as “interference with critical infrastructure.”
In a way, this new Bill C-51 seems to play fast and loose with our Charter of Rights and Freedoms — Section 2 — “The fundamental freedoms are freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of belief, freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of association.”
Now yes, Section 1 of the Charter does give the government the right to curtail some of the Section 2 freedoms, but I believe nowhere to the extend whished by the Conservatives.
Oh of course Bill C-51 is named the “Anti-Terrorism Bill” by no mistake, it is meant to instill a fear in ordinary Canadians of some barbarian other when in fact the people Canadians are told to most likely “fear” are Indigenous rights or environmental activists; proudly home grown resistance at that.
With the passing of this bill, some of our best community leaders risk criminalization for standing up for what they believe in, speaking their truth, putting themselves on the line to defend their communities or be in solidarity with others.
This is what the campaign against Bill C-51 has been called #RejectFear.
In a democracy, we should not have to bow down to terror, especially when that terror emanates from our own government.
Right here, the government under Stephen Harper has defined security not for people, but for government projects and infrastructure; what they term as “interference” but they will soon consider as an act of terrorism.
And while it is already illegal to councel anyone to committ a terrorist act, Bill C-51 seriously curtails free speech by adding another category called “advocating and promoting terrorism.”
Does that mean drafting an anti tarsands leaflet on your computer at home or bringing a video camera to a Stop Enbridge Line 9 with the intent of producing a documentary terrorism?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the potential changes, especially to democracy and activism.
Because Bill C-51 has nothing to do with democracy. It’s a twist on the bill’s title reveals itself — it’s the Terrorism Bill.
It’s meant to terrorize us: organizers, concerned citizens, community leaders, neighbourhood defenders, progressive pinkos and caring citizens — YOU.
This is why we must #RejectFear.