Federal Election: Ottawa’s anti-terrorism bill misses the mark

Canadians should be deeply concerned about Bill C-51, the federal government’s new anti-terrorism bill


Green Party of Canada

Canadians should be deeply concerned about Bill C-51, the federal government’s new anti-terrorism bill, says Kootenay-Columbia Green Party candidate Bill Green.

The hastily-drafted legislation proposed by the Conservative government, which is also supported by the federal Liberal Party, completely misses the mark about the major threats to the security of Canadians.

“The risk of death or injury by a terrorist bomb or bullet is much smaller than the risks on our roads and highways, from disease from environmental pollution, and the long-term security risk posed by climate change,” says Green.

Provisions in Bill C-51 could lead the country back to the uneasy days of the FLQ crisis in the 1970’s when more than 450 Canadians were wrongfully imprisoned and later had to be compensated by the government. The bill could lead to innocent Canadians being jailed for doing nothing more than joining a protest march, Green says.

“Imprisonment for up to one week without charges being laid or appearing before a judge is absolutely unacceptable.”

Green says Parliamentary oversight of security investigations conducted by CSIS and the RCMP is essential.

“The government says we can rely on the requirement that judges approve specific security activities of CSIS, but judges will only hear the one-sided evidence provided by CSIS itself.”

Polls show Canadians strongly support the need for effective parliamentary oversight of security activities. Former Prime Ministers and experts across the political spectrum agree.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says Prime Minister Stephen Harper is trying to concentrate the power of the state in his own hands while converting the Canadian spy agency (CSIS) into a secret police force with almost unlimited powers.

“May has clearly stated the position of the party with respect to the bill, which is quite simply that it must be rejected,” says Green.

“We don’t always agree in Kootenay-Columbia, but we all value our rights, responsibilities and freedoms, which this bill seriously undermines.”

Green, a fisheries biologist, was nominated Green Party candidate in early December 2014.