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article imageCanadians protest Bill C-51 in National Day of Action Special

By Rob Campbell     Mar 14, 2015 in Politics
Toronto - At noon on Saturday March 14th, 2015 thousands of Toronto residents gathered together in Nathan Phillips Square to become peaceful protesters and to rally against the federal government's new anti-terrorism bill C-51.
A National Day of Action united over a thousand Toronto residents at Nathan Phillip Square, and thousands more Canadians in fifty five separate actions across the nation.
One after another, over two dozen different esteemed speakers took the podium outside Toronto City Hall to expound the dangers of this new legislation, which expands police powers with no civilian oversight.
The conservative government introduced Bill C-51 in Parliament earlier this year as a response to what they claim is long overdue legislation needed to provide law-enforcement authorities with the vital tools necessary to stamp out terror plots in the early planning stages. Indeed, the news here in Canada has been filled with such terror plots lately, and mainstream media snaps up every ISIS video mention and maleficent whisper from overseas to bring the fear home.
Thousands protest ant terror bil c-51 in Toronto.l
Thousands protest ant terror bil c-51 in Toronto.l
Right on cue, Defence Minister Jason Kenney released a statement on Saturday saying that the "international jihadist movement has declared war” on Canada.
But many of the speakers voicing their criticism today said that Bill C-51 is just the latest example of the Conservative government's misdirected tough-on-crime strategy. Their anti-terror legislation would give CSIS the ability to more actively interfere with Canadians, especially minorities, and collect citizen's personal data in unnecessary, unwarranted surveillance. The passing of this legislation will allow federal authorities to expand their no-fly list powers, and will allow police to have greater control in limiting the movement of a suspect. The bill would also allow for increased intelligence-sharing between law-enforcement authorities.
One after another, speakers pointed out how the bill lacks appropriate oversight, and will almost certainly compromise thousands of innocent Canadians’ civil liberties.
thousands gather to protest bill c-51
thousands gather to protest bill c-51
Intelligence gathering through mass data collection is a fantasy in which politicians believe computers can magically pinpoint perpetrators before they've committed their crimes. Speaking with David Sykes, D-30 President in the OTSFF, which was meeting in the Sheridan Hotel across the street, he said "his membership is very concerned about the chilling effects the new laws will have on trade unions and organized labour in this country." He also also expressed concern that the bill could see RCMP or CSIS spying on political activists and environmental movements. As it stands, only a whistle-blower could report that activityto the public, as there is no organization setup to watch the police to ensure they are not targeting such groups.
Members of the Idle No More movement were present, protesting for Aboriginal rights. Their speaker started by saying that this "National Day of Action" is a chance for all Canadians to protect their rights, and Bill C-51 particularly infringes on Native rights. Not holding anything back, she went on to say that ISIS was formed in the context of Western intervention in the Middle East.
Older ladies sing against Bill C-51
Older ladies sing against Bill C-51
When Human rights lawyer Paul Copeland took the podium he called Bill C51 "the most dangerous piece of legislation" since the War Measures Act was used during the October Crisis in the fall of 1970, and labelled it an "election ploy" by Harper, who Copeland accuses of rushing the bill through committee.
Activist Judy Rebick encouraged demonstrators to stomp their feet when chanting "we are here to reject fear."
"We've been seeing our democracy (slip) away," Rebick says, calling Harper's government a "police state."
stephen harper terror bill
stephen harper terror bill
Just before 2 p.m. the speeches ended and the protest became a parade of discontent marching through the streets, blocking traffic and adding the chorus of car horns to their musical assembly
The protest moved from Nathan Phillip Square to Queen and University, and up to the street to congregate outside the US consulate and eventually proceeded right to the front door of CSEC the Communications Security Establishment Canada office in Toronto.
More about national day of action, Canadian Politics, Stephen Harper, Bill C51, protest in Toronto
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