harper-terror-thumb_0-1.png
harper-terror-thumb_0-1.png This article is more than 7 years old

6 ways you may have already broken Harper’s new anti-terror law

Don’t worry. The Harper government won’t get “bogged down” down in legal definitions of terrorism — Justice Minister Peter MacKay even told reporters to “look it up.” Neither Tory comment is likely to reassure critics who say the new anti-terror legislation could be used against lawful dissenters and legitimate protesters — including environmental and aboriginal activists. It’s not just civil liberties groups, legal experts and political […]

1.jpg

Don’t worry. The Harper government won’t get “bogged down” down in legal definitions of terrorism — Justice Minister Peter MacKay even told reporters to “look it up.”

Neither Tory comment is likely to reassure critics who say the new anti-terror legislation could be used against lawful dissenters and legitimate protesters — including environmental and aboriginal activists.

It’s not just civil liberties groups, legal experts and political opponents voicing concerns that the bill could allow CSIS to “go well beyond the collecting of intelligence,” or lead to potential “undercover operations against opponents.”

Four former prime ministers (not to mention a boatload of justice and public safety ministers, supreme court justices, solicitor generals and former Security Intelligence Review Committee members) published a joint commentary in the Globe and Mail Thursday, calling for the creation of a “robust, integrated” review system for Canada’s national security agencies to hold them “accountable.”

The Conservatives have taken heat for the vague wording of the legislation, and its lack of definition as to what constitutes terrorism and “promoting” terrorist acts. The bill also empowers CSIS  to “disrupt” threats that undermine the security of Canada by “unlawful means” — including threats to “economic stability” or infrastructure. (Through two-days of questioning in Parliament, the Tories have repeatedly declined to provide specific examples of such threats.)  

Law professors Craig Forcese and Kent Roach main concern is with the bill’s use of the word “unlawful”:  

“Unlawful conduct does, of course, include blockades. It also reaches workplace strikes inconsistent with labour law and street protests lacking the proper regulatory permits. Put another way, unlawful does not mean criminal. It just means without lawful authority.”

And law professor Errol Mendes cautions in the Toronto Star:

“The law would effectively turn CSIS into a police force that can engage in acts that would otherwise be a violation of the Charter and the Canadian Constitution. All CSIS need do to use these new powers is secure a “disrupt threat” warrant from a judge, which would allow the agency to take a broad variety of actions to reduce any real or perceived threat to the security of Canada.”

Taking into account critics’ various concerns with the bill, it’s worth considering whether any of these actions would have put Canadians on the wrong side of the anti-terror law (Bill C-51):

  • How about a fracking protest? (Does that count as a disruption of “economic stability”?)

2.png

3.png

  • Or oilsands protests — whose organizers have already been targeted and profiled by government security agencies? As critics have pointed out, a Kinder Morgan pipeline blockade, while peaceful and non-violent, is technically “unlawful” — so could measures in the bill be used against organizers? 

4.png

5.png

6.png

 

7.jpg

 

The parliamentary debate on the bill continues through Monday. You can’t get more Canadian or Conservative — at least a real Conservative — than that: 

8.jpg

 

Photo: Occupy.comFacebook, FacebookWarrior PublicationsToronto Public LibraryWehwalt, CBC News, Facebook  

Our journalism is powered by readers like you.

We’re an award-winning non-profit news organization that covers topics like social and economic inequality, big business and labour, and right-wing extremism.

Help us build so we can bring to light stories that don’t get the attention they deserve from Canada’s big corporate media outlets.

 

Donate
PressProgress
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

Amazon DSP News

Pierre Poilievre Claims He’s a Friend of the ‘Working Class’. He’s Spent Years Attacking Canadian Workers.

Related Stories

News

Amazon’s Use of “Massive Loophole” in Labour Law Hinders Courier Union Drive

View the post
News

Christian Nationalists Are Organizing Against LGBTQ Education Resources in Schools

View the post
News

5,000 Winnipeg City Workers Poised to Strike for the First Time in a Century

View the post

Explainers

Human rights & inclusion

Amira Elghawaby

Here’s The Problem With Hoping Corporations Will Be Socially and Environmentally Responsible On Their Own

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

The battle of the PACs in Calgary’s municipal election

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

27 Different Candidates are Vying to be Calgary’s Mayor. Here Are the Biggest Issues at Stake.

View the post
Newspapers always have a business section – why not a labour section? We’ve launched a free newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.
Get Canadian Labour News You Won't Find in Corporate Newspapers.
We’ve launched a free newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.
Get Canadian Labour News You Won't Find in Corporate Newspapers