The club is all their law – stand up now, stand up now!
The club is all their law! Stand up now!
– The Diggers’ Song, 17th-century English protest ballad
As was widely expected, Bill C-51 passed its third reading in the House of Commons last night. All that remains are the largely pro forma rituals of Senate approval and royal assent, and this hideous bill will become the law of the land.
For those who have been backpacking in bush country since the winter, Bill C-51 will radically expand the legal definition of terrorism to include any activity that “undermines the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of Canada or the lives or the security of the people of Canada,” including: “Interference with the capability of the Government of Canada in relation to intelligence, defence, border operations, public safety, the administration of justice, diplomatic or consular relations, or the economic or financial stability of Canada.”
It also gives CSIS and the RCMP expanded police powers; this CBC article summarizes them in detail, but the new powers include lowering the threshold for arresting suspected “terrorists”, criminalizing the “promotion of terrorism”, allowing CSIS to “disrupt” suspected “terrorist” activity (without oversight), authorizing courts to remove “terrorist material” from the internet, allowing for secret court proceedings, and expanding the “no-fly” list.
Given the impossibly open-ended definition of terrorism promulgated in this bill, it’s easy to see the potential for abuse. Continue Reading