harper-terror-thumb_0-1.png
harper-terror-thumb_0-1.png This article is more than 6 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  

Help us protect Canadians by holding the powerful accountable.

Journalism is an important public service. That’s why PressProgress is prioritizing stories aimed at keeping Canadians safe and holding the powerful accountable during the coronavirus pandemic.

Please consider supporting our award-winning non-profit news organization so we can keep making a positive impact for Canadians.

 

Support Our Journalism
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

thumb-2021-05-07 News

Police Departments Across Ontario Are Issuing Statements Rejecting Use of Doug Ford’s Controversial New Police Powers

Related Stories

News

Instagram Apologizes For Deleting Posts About Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People

View the post
News

Disability Groups Say Ontario Government Did Not Consult Them on Life and Death COVID-19 ‘Triage’ Decisions

View the post
Explainer

How Federal Leadership Can Help Establish Important Social Programs and Health Reforms

View the post

Explainers

Politics & strategy

Tom Parkin

How Federal Leadership Can Help Establish Important Social Programs and Health Reforms

View the post
Power and democracy

Andrea Reimer

Why Powerful People Do Stupid Things

View the post
Work & rights

Liz Walker and Shanice Regis-Wilkins

What Anti-Worker Businesses Don’t Want You To Know About the Value of Unions

View the post