Highly controversial Anti-Terrorism Act passes

Image via http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/
Image via http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/

Critics still concerned with the implications of its amendments

By Lauren Kelly, News Editor

Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, was passed on June 9 with a vote of 44–28 in favour of the bill’s amendments. The bill is supported by the Conservatives and Liberals, but opposed by the NDP and Green Party. There has been wide criticism of the bill, including large protests and petitions, due to the nature of its amendments.

Among these amendments are the allowing of sharing information between at least 17 federal institutions, banning the promotion of terrorism, giving the public safety minister the right to add Canadians to a no-fly list, and police the right to detain terror suspects.

In an interview with Heather Hiscox for CBC, bill critic Paul Champ said that the bill will have “privacy implications for all Canadians.”

“The information sharing act is basically turning all government agencies and officials into spies for the state. It creates a mandate for all government officials, whether it’s in the income tax department, human resources skill development, E.I., C.P.P, […] that they should all be looking out for suspicious activity, but not simply terrorist activity. They are asked to look out for people who might be undermining the financial or economic stability of Canada. Environmental groups, for example, who are opposing pipelines—is that going to capture them? That’s one of the big concerns.  It’s going to create a centralized data-bank of security files on Canadians who, for one reason or another, have raised suspicions that they’re opposed to government policies.

“We’ve had a Canadian no-fly list since 2007. This bill is going to enhance those provisions and make them stronger and more secretive. Canadians get placed on this list and they don’t know why, and they aren’t allowed to see the reasons why. Although they have a right to appeal it, they don’t have a right to see the evidence.”

The bill is in response to multiple terrorist attacks in October 2014. Martin Couture-Rouleau, an ISIS-inspired 25-year old, rammed his car into two Canadian soldiers in a parking lot after waiting for two hours. Another incident was the shooting death of a Canadian soldier on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill by 32-year old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a habitual offender with an extensive criminal record.

The many protestors and critics of the bill do not believe that these threats are worth losing our civil liberties for.