15 Mar 2015

Canadian citizens across the country are gathering today to oppose the proposed anti-terrorist legislation (Bill C-51) in a country wide "Day of Action"

Protests were held across Canada against the government's proposed anti-terrorism legislation, which would give police much broader powers and allow them to detain terror suspects, and give new powers to Canada's spy agency.
NDP leader Tom Mulcair joined hundreds in Montreal in a march through the city. One protester held up a poster saying "C-51 is an act of terror," while others carried red "Stop Harper" signs.
The protest planned to end in front of the riding office of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. Trudeau has said his caucus will vote in favour of the bill. 
NDP MPs Craig Scott and Linda Duncan were part of the crowd gathered outside Canada Place in downtown Edmonton. Some placards called the bill "criminalization of dissent" and warned "big brother is watching you."
Protesters said they are worried the bill will be used to harass or silence critics of the government's environmental and aboriginal policies.  
Protester Holley Kofluk said the bill was too vague and "lacked specificity."
"That’s what missing. It’s just so much ambiguity. It leaves people open [and] vulnerable."
Dubbed "Defend our Freedom," organizers say Bil C-51 is dangerous, reckless and unacceptable.
In a statement to CBC News on Saturday afternoon, a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said the government "rejects the argument that every time we talk about security, our freedoms are threatened."

"Canadians understand that their freedom and security go hand in hand [and] expect us to protect both, and there are safeguards in this legislation to do exactly that," said Jeremy Laurin. 
In Toronto, hundreds gathered at city hall to speak out against the proposed legislation, with many holding signs, chanting and drumming in protest of the bill.
"I'm really worried about democracy. This country is going in a really bad direction. [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper's taking it in a really bad direction," said protester Stuart Basden. 
"Freedom to speak out against the government is probably at jeopardy ... Even if you're just posting stuff online you could be targeted. So it's a really terrifying bill."
According to StopC51.ca, more than 55 "non-partisan" events were slated to take place over the weekend, with protests outside the riding offices of 13 Conservative MPs, including Industry Minister James Moore and Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Patrick Brown.
Critics of the bill will also gather outside the downtown Ottawa office block that houses the Prime Minister's Office.
A media advisory issued on Friday stated that more than 30 "leading digital rights, pro-democracy and civil liberties organizations" are backing the movement, including OpenMedia, LeadNow, Amnesty International Canada, the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, the Council for Canadians, Tunnelbear and Women Against Stephen Harper.

CSIS power boost, privacy concerns fuel protests

According to the website, the key concerns driving Saturday's protests are the additional powers to be given to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the potential violations of charter rights and provisions to increase the sharing of information among federal departments and agencies, as well as law enforcement.
"This bill disproportionately targets indigenous communities, environmental activists, dissidents, and Muslims, many of whom are already subjected to questionable and overreaching powers by security officials, [and] will make it easier and ostensibly lawful for government to continue infringing upon the rights of peaceful people," the website states.

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