A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
Contact us at democracyunderfire@gmail.com

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Samara’s Democracy 360 Report

Samara, the Canadian Democracy Measurement folks have just released their latest report on the state of our democracy and its not good! This is no surprise to those of us who have been taking notice but with generally 40% or less giving any time to even discuss political issues with anybody (online or in person) it would seem that the majority don’t even care.

The following are a few extracts from their report “Samara’s Democracy 360, a report card on the state of Canada’s democracy” (260K PDF)

“Only 31% of Canadians believe politics affects them every day.
Only 37% give any time or resources to formal political activities between elections.
A surprising number (39%) say they haven’t had a single political conversation—online or offline—in a year-long period. With a federal voter turnout of 61%, Canada ranks in the bottom fifth among democracies, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development”

“Canadians gave MPs failing grades in all but one area: representing their parties’ views (57%). This percentage is notably higher than the grades they received for representing constituents (45%) or holding government to account (42%).they reserve their lowest marks for parties’ performance in reaching out to Canadians to hear their views (42%).
Only 40% of Canadians report that they trust MPs to do what is right and only 42% of Canadians place some trust in political parties.
Canadians give MPs and political parties failing grades on nearly all their responsibilities, ranging from reaching out to citizens to their work in Parliament. Overall, Canadians feel MPs do a better job representing the views of the party than
they do representing their constituents....... only 40% of Canadians report that they
trust their MPs to do what is right. Political parties fare no better: only 42% of Canadians report trusting them.”

“Even for a very accessible form of participation—talking about politics both online or in person—a large number of Canadians (39%) report never having had a single political conversation in a year-long period.
Particularly troublesome is that this declining turnout is driven almost entirely by young Canadians (aged 18 to 24), who vote at almost half the rate (39%) as Canadians aged 65 to 74 (75%)”

“MPs have the tools to speak to Canadians and they use them, but whether they do so successfully is more difficult to ascertain; Canadians’ low trust levels suggest there is room for improvement. For example, when social media is used more often to broadcast a message, rather than gather input or exchange views, it misses a chance to engage.”
In earlier interviews Samara says that “MPs also report being stymied by their own parties, which prevents them from doing the job they initially sought. It’s clear that in order to restore the trust of those who elect them, party leaders and MPs should work
towards more balanced relationships—relationships that enable MPs to better fulfill their jobs as representatives.”

And therein lays the biggest problem in my opinion, until such time as our 'representatives' can actually represent US not their party then democracy will continue its downward slide. In their report Samara puts it this way:-

Canada’s democracy is now like a slow leak when it rains. It’s easy to
ignore a pesky leak, but if left until the damage becomes severe or a
storm rages, the problem will become more difficult and expensive to
Perhaps more than difficult but all but impossible once the roof falls in, and particularly troubling with the Harper Regime constantly picking at the hole and increasing the leak!

If there is one thing we can take away from this report it is that getting the younger citizen to "get involoved", if only to the point of voting, is essential for the survival of our democracy. Unfortunatly it is these young folk who will reap the results of their disinterest in what remains of our country's democratic system.

If you have not done so already I urge you to read Samara's various reports going back several years, its scary stuff but their objective research and resulting conclusions paint a clear picture of where our democracy is headed. You may wish to view some of my earlier posts featuring their work here.

Also see The Democracy 360 Numbers, a companion to the report, describing all 23 indicators of a healthy representative democracy, offering a rich resource of data for media and any interested citizens.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Study in Tyranny (Part 1)

"Message Control and Vetting"

A guest post by Pamela Mac NeilCanadians for the first time in our history must confront the menacing truth, that our Prime Minister is a dictator and the Conservative Government for the most part are enabling him in turning Canada into a dictatorship, incremental or otherwise. There are some who are aware of Harpers authoritarian agenda and some who have even written and written well about it. What many Canadians tend to do though when talking about his desire for power and the extreme control that he executes over his government, the media and policy making , to name a few areas, is to judge his tight fisted control as , more of a personal governing style, a way in which he gets things done. We don't seem to see that his pursuit of power is all pervasive, implicit in everything that he does, the fundamental modus operandi that drives him. Power is his core value, central to his identity and the exercise of that power is what he lives for day in and day out.
Sometimes in our families, sometimes in our work or even in our everyday dealings in society most of us have had experience with dictatorial people. If someone grows up in a home with an authoritarian culture created by dictatorial parents they will be obedient rather than independent , fearful instead of confident, develop insecurity in the place of self-esteem and use their minds to survive the authoritarianism instead of for thinking and learning. They will learn how to survive, instead of learning how to live and if they go to a school with a dictatorial culture their growth is doubly threatened. Watching these people up close, seeing when and how they control others, we can also see how much damage they cause. So too with a democratic country. What happens in a country like Canada when citizens find they have voted a man, who becomes their Prime Minister and has now shown himself to be a dictator? What do we do? I think we must first understand how we got to this point by understanding how Harper has acquired his power.

In Lawrence Martins book "Harperland" one of the controls instituted across the board for everyone in Harpers government is message control and vetting. Martin goes on to explain " The new regime called for all public pronouncements by civil servants, diplomats, the military, cabinet members and Conservative MPs to be approved by PMO or the PCO." If a government official or a caucus member wanted to say something publicly, he or she would have to fill out a Message Event Proposal (MEP) and submit it to central command. This form has sections with such titles as Desired Headline, Strategic Objective, Desired Sound Bite and the like. It also has areas for supplying details on the speakers backdrop, the ideal event photograph and even the speakers wardrobe." Once submitted the MEP is studied by the PMO/PCO for approval or not and this is not done in a timely fashion. Under Harper, departments exercising such freedom as creating their own news releases and scheduling events for ministers is not allowed. No matter how minor the occurence or event, ALL government communications are to be approved by one of Harpers censors. This is how, as one example, the government scientists were muzzled. Controlling the message was implemented incrementally starting with the Prime Ministers events and then gradually expanded throughout the government.
By doing things incrementally, a Harper strategy, neither the media nor the public will notice and by the time when and if they do notice, the new policy of message control and vetting will have been in place and operational. This policy also applies to the media and to the controlling of the access-to-information requests a crucial tool made available to citizens in a democracy like Canada. Also, implicit in controlling the message is Harpers silencing of dissent. This is not just a management tool, put in place to make government communications more efficient. This control and vetting system gives the Prime Minister, PMO, PCO and government the power to decide what information, after it has been vetted, will be told to the Canadian public. This is the beginning of the breaching of one of our most important democratic freedoms, the right to know. Not to know a rewritten, censored, talking point, sanitized truth, but to know the truth period. Harper and Company have not set up this all inclusive government communication system so that at the end of the day they can tell Canadians the truth. They have set it up so that at the end of the day they can control the truth and than decide what they will tell us. Controlling the truth usually means hiding the truth and putting a partial or complete lie in its place. Studying how this communication policy is created, than implemented, more importantly, reveals a concrete example of how Harper and his cons go about acquiring and taking power.

Everyone knows of Harpers ignoring and sidelining of the main stream media the reason is said to be because he believes the media to be biased toward the liberals, but that's not the real reason he avoids talking to the press. Everything with Harper is calculated and choreographed, right down to the most minute detail. Press conferences are spontaneous, the questions can't be controlled. Answering questions spontaneously shows Canadians whether their Prime Minister can think on his feet or not. It's also much harder for Harper to lie when he has a group of journalist monitoring his answers, therefore press conferences are out and also sit down interviews except for the select few where all is choreographed beforehand including what questions can be asked. Harper is terrified of having to discuss the policies, trade deals or legislation that are created behind closed doors, in secrecy. All unplanned communications are strictly banned. So the cons have come up with another way to bypass the MSM and have Canadians focus on Harper, by creating an entire TV network called 24 Seven, devoted to Harpers life and paid for by Canadians. I held my nose and went to review the 24 Seven website so I would know what I was talking about. This is what I found. It opens by playing a few bars of "The Maple Leaf Forever", while showing Harper, door open , ready to climb into the backseat of an SUV. The site is comprised of videos about Harper's daily and/or weekly time spent in showing the various events that a PM attends and various announcements about legislation or policy, like a bill of victims rights, legislation about "life means life" where the accused once sentenced to life, will never get out of jail. There are various videos covering various topics that Harper and government are working on like free trade, law and order, taxation etc. In these videos Harper announces his new policies, programs, and legislation, but he keeps the announcement of them very limited no discussions allowed.
Then there are the videos that say? "Rhona Ambrose Minister of Health 24 questions," where the same woman who narrates all the videos asks the questions. Questions like: "What's your favorite gadget"? " What's the last movie you watched"?, "What's your favorite meal"? The same type of questions are repeated in other videos with other various cabinet ministers . I kid you not! Something I also noticed is that the word Exclusive is used on all video descriptions, including the intro, stating 24 Seven Exclusive as if other TV networks are competing for this information about Harper and 24 Seven was the only network that got the exclusive. This format though is exactly what Harper wants. Canadians have to go to him and he and his staff are controlling only what they want Canadians to see . The words and images are completely controlled by Harper and his staff. This is not communication this is manipulation! Manipulation is Harper and his regimes favorite form of communication. It is used almost every time they have something to tell the Canadian people. Harper and the PMO through information control and vetting, controls every facet of government including the press, it is the most important tool in Harpers arsenal of tools used for acquiring power. And what is Harper and his cons ultimate goal in their pursuit of power? Why taking away Canadians personal freedoms and turning Canada into a Fascist Dictatorship of course. And if he gets 4 more years, this time, he won't be taking incremental steps. He'll go straight for the prize running by leaps and bounds.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Careful what you vote for....

As with all of the Conservative Regimes legislation one must CAREFULLY read each word......

.......this House continues to support the Government?s decision to contribute Canadian military assets to the fight against lSlL, and terrorists aligned with lSlL, including air strike capability with authorisation to conduct airstrikes in lraq and Syria;
supports the Government's decision to extend the mission to a date not beyond March
30, 2016;
notes that the Government continues not to deploy troops in a ground combat role;
and offers its resolute and wholehearted support to the brave men and women of the
Canadian Armed Forces who stand on guard for all of us.

NOTE: Does NOT say they will not deploy ground troops in the future, just 'notes' that they are not right now!

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Harper History, Part 4 - Con Minority, Prorogued x2

Oct 2008 – Dec 2009,

With conservatives reelected with an increased minority we begin to see their true colours with increased self promotion on taxpayers money using 10%ers, the start of those iniquitous Economic Action Plan TV ads and clear disdain for parliamentary procedure. It becomes increasing difficult to obtain information from them be it by the press whose questions are carefully screened or by parliamentarians be it in the House or in committee. Any semblance of listening to alternative ideas and considering amendments to legislation is rapidly falling by the wayside.

The Conservatives were reelected Oct 14 2008 with an increased minority having spent the inherited surplus of 13.8 Billion and well on the way to the 2008 5.8 Billion deficit.

Oct. 10, 2008: In a prediction that would soon come back to haunt him, Harper says: "This country will not go into recession next year and will lead the G7 countries." The country promptly plunged into recession.
Nov 2008, With the Conservatives fiscal update being strongly criticized over various contentions issues including ending the per vote subsidy and other election rule changes and with 5 years of surplus forecast despite strong signs of a recession already visible the opposition parties all threatened to vote against the measures.

Early in December the Liberals and NDP signed an agreement with the support of the Bloc on proposed coalition government to replace the governing Conservatives under Prime Minister Harper. A non confidence vote was scheduled and Harper promptly prorogued (suspended) Parliament until the end of January thus killing both the vote and the proposed controversial legislation. It would be later be reintroduced but with some of the more odious proposals removed.

In January 2009, the Government of Canada launched its much flaunted but poorly implemented Economic Action Plan , those receiving funds for projects were required to erect huge signs recognizing the 'governments' contribution to the project. The Harper regime also spent millions upon a series of advertisements touting their 'plan', a series which continued for many years past the scheduled end of the program in 2011.

In February 2009 John Baird surprised the CBC's Don Newman in the lobby of parliament by telling him that "we intend to go over the heads of the House of Commons and the Governor-General." When challenged, Mr Baird elaborated: The Conservative government gains its mandate directly from the people of Canada. Only elections count. This attitude that parliament is irrelevant continued throughout the Harper Regimes rule and is strongly evident in all their actions in The House.
With regard to the the Throne speech, he said "We're going to ask Parliament for a mandate. Once we have that mandate, we're going to consider that basically gives us the right to consider those matters confidence going forward and to get results and get things done."
Harper had signalled for some time that he has little interest in the usual process by which minorities run. Parliamentary committee work met with obstruction by conservative members. A number of key pieces of legislation that were shaped and moderated by committees died on the order paper when Harper prorogued Parliament.
The amount of public money spent on telling Canadians that 'we have a plan, we have a plan' continued to rise with $34 million budgeted for just the first quarter of 2009 slated for advertising associated with the “Economic Action Plan”, over half of their already inflated self serving Ad expenditure.
Also in February with the above in mind Democracy Under Fire was started with the first few months dedicated to fully understanding how parliament was MEANT to work. By the fall it was evident that the Harper Regime had no regard for Parliamentary Conventions and along with many other progressive bloggers I began detailing the specific wrongdoing by Harper and his inner circle.
In May Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government again received the Canadian Association of Journalists’ Code of Silence Award for “muzzling civil servants and cabinet ministers, blackballing reporters who pose tough questions and building a huge spin machine designed to staunch the flow of information.” and for “excluding [the press] from events they used to cover.”

In June Information Commissioner Robert Marleau abruptly resigned for "entirely personal and private" reasons, raising doubts about the pace and direction of reforms to Canada's access to information laws that he was spearheading. In his resignation letter he said “The President of the Treasury Board, as the designated minister under the Act, must provide the political leadership to change a transparency adverse culture.

Throughout 2008 – 2009 the Conservatives increasingly abused the parliamentary mailing / printing privileges by exceeding the volume of 'free' mail outs permuted to individual MPs and by including partisan material in said mail outs. The 'printing' costs by Con MPs was more that double that of the other MPs.

In August it was reported that a Conservative cabinet minister says most of the folks in his party "can't wait" to put a choker on the parliamentary budget office and its dogged bloodhound, Kevin Page. The only thing yet to be decided, the minister says, is whether to eliminate the office, or put Page on a short enough regulatory leash to render him harmless. "The guy has become just a complete pain in the ass," the minister said. "We can't put up with that anymore."
In other words, Page has been doing his job far too well.

In Oct 2009 The new Parliamentary Budget Officer says in trying to see if the “action Plan” is working “Many missing data correspond to implementation and outcome indicators that the GC collects as part of its standard due diligence process and should be readily available. Failing to include these data could hinder Parliament’s ability to provide meaningful oversight of the economic stimulus package.”
It was to become standard practice for information necessary for the PBO to produce accurate estimates to be withheld or delayed thus denying MPs accurate information upon which to base their decisions regarding the country’s finances upon. Whilst the government maintained that 90% of the funds had been “allocated” it appeared that only slightly more than 10% had actually flowed throughout the summer.

In November allegations of the abuse of Afghan detainees surfaced and the opposition began to ask for documents regarding this but were stonewalled by the government as being too sensitive for parliamentarians to see them.

On 8 December 2009, General Walter Natynczyk testified before a parliamentary committee regarding the abuse of Afghan detainees contrary to the governments claims. Two days later the House of Commons passed a motion requiring the release of unredacted documents concerning the Afghan detainees to the special committee hearing the issue. However, the government refused to abide by the motion.

On 30 December 2009, Parliament was put on hold, or 'prorogued' at the request of Prime Minister Harper. According to his spokesman, he sought this prorogation to consult with Canadians about the economy however it was generally agreed that the suspension was to avoid further questions on the Afghan affair..

Next up 880 page Omnibus Budget, withholding information.

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Cons V The Courts!

Andrew Coyne wonders if the Harper Regiem is deliberately challenging the Courts with their various 'unconstitutional' pieces of legislation in order to get them to overstep their bounds and make a federal “not withstanding” exception to our charter more acceptable.

Not only is the government making no apparent effort to “Charter-proof” legislation, that is by seeking the advice of Justice department lawyers on its constitutionality in advance of its introduction, as it is required by law to do, it seems if anything to be taking advice on how to offend it.
It is impossible to read the several dubious provisions of Bill C-51, the Conservatives’ anti-terrorism legislation — allowing the police to detain people on suspicion an act of terrorism “may” be about to occur; permitting intelligence officers to break the law, bizarrely, with the permission of a judge; banning the promotion of terrorism “in general” — in anything but this light.
Certainly the manner in which they proceed in parliament seems to indicate that they have no tolerance for anyone who questions their judgement and a clear disdain for any process or restriction upon their proposed new laws.

It is no secret that many Conservatives have long chafed at the notion that acts of Parliament should be subject to constitutional override. It wasn’t the Court’s judgment they questioned — it was the whole concept of judicial review. For these Conservatives, the remedy, short of abolishing the Charter, has always been the notwithstanding clause: Section 33, allowing governments to pass legislation in defiance of the Charter, provided they declare openly they are doing so, and with the stipulation that the legislation must be renewed every five years to remain in effect.

As Andrew says, once the precedence has been set then they will have no compunction with using such means to get their own way again, as has been shown time and time again over the last few years. It is this slow nibbling away at our democratic processes that has let them gradually destroy the check and balances upon power to the point where we teeter on the edge of a dictatorship.

The stated ambition of many judicial conservatives, then, such as the panel of legal scholars that appeared at last week’s Manning Conference, has been to revive it: not merely to invoke the clause in this or that case, but as often as possible, and thus to re-establish the primacy of Parliament, as they see it, over the Charter, and the Court.
I do not think it is too far-fetched to suppose that that is the Harper government’s objective. They will pick their opportunity carefully. They will not do so, I do not think, over the assisted suicide decision, where they are on the wrong side of public opinion. But on something unassailably popular, like a crime bill, or an “Anti-Terrorism Act”? And once they’ve broken the taboo, it is not hard to see them doing it again, and again, until the point has been made.
Given the past behaviour of this regime it is not much of a stretch to believe that they would consider such a move to circumnavigate our existing laws, the courts and our constitution.

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Debate about the Debate has started!

With the Conservatives quietly considering a proposal to hold up to five regional televised debates in the upcoming federal election to contrast Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s experience with rookie Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau the debate about the debates has started. Hoping to exploit Trudeau’s shoot-from-the-lip style, some Conservative insiders believe Harper could benefit from additional debates.

In my opinion that very much depends upon how much said leaders (particularly Harper) are held to account for untruths and inaccurate assertions & allegations. One way to see that such things do not go unchallenged is to ensure that the “Hardest Working MP” in the House of Commons is there to rebut the three traditional debaters. The fact that the 2012 Parliamentarian of the year also happens to be one of the Best Orator's according to her colleagues in the House may well be why none of those three will commit to insisting that the Green Party Leader participate.

It seems that the Conservatives think they can gain advantage from extra debates by “exploiting Trudeau’s shoot-from-the-lip style”, If a politician actually straying from the scripted talking points is a liability then we have indeed reach a point where truth, openness and accountability is a victim of political spin. Without becoming too partisan I can only say this is one reason why Ms May must be included for she has yet to fall victim to this insidious disease, not only that but she regularity dispenses an antidote to it. Its called support for parliamentary democracy and involves fighting tooth and nail against any who would remove power from our elected MPs and place it in the hands of one individual and his unelected office boys. She also recognizes a cheater when she sees one, something the 'moguls' don’t seem to understand. “Stephen Harper’s staff took care to print out background notes (something specifically not allowed during the 2008 debate) on index cards, but they picked the wrong-sized cards. And no one writes in printer font. Looking over from my seat, I remember the shock of realizing he was cheating,”

It seems the Conservatives and the NDP want many debates, but sources in both parties say they also want to limit the number of participants to the “main parties,” believing that the contrast between Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair would be sharper without the three other party leaders on stage. I dont know about that but I am not sure how much I could take of Mulclair and Harper attacking each other and Trudeau who I hope will not fall into that trap and instead stick to a positive message. I do know that if a sitting Leader of a party with candidates in every province across this country and support of millions of Canadians is deliberately excluded for a televised national debate then her fight for democracy has already taken a mortal blow.

The 'Leaders' would have us believe that such decisions are entirely up to the 'consortium' of TV moguls however that is not entirely true as earlier attempts from Ms May to be included in the debate reveal.
In 2008 Editor-In-Chief of CBC TV News, Tony Burman, characterized the debate process as a sham, stating that, "Some networks worried that adding a fifth leader would make the debate 'unwatchable' but we all knew that the elephant in the room was actually living at 24 Sussex Drive. And he – the Prime Minister – would effectively have veto power. Within days of the [Media Consortium] meeting, we were privately told by the Conservative Party representative that Prime Minister Harper would not participate in the debates if the Green Party leader was there.
In this instance Ms May was eventualy included and “Many commentators proclaimed May’s debut in the leaders debates to be a major breakthrough for the party, and were surprised that she proved to be a strong debater on a wide range of issues.” However in 2011 Harper and the other leaders got their way and the Green Party leader was excluded with the excuse that “her party did not have representation in the House of Commons.” That excuse no longer is available so what excuse do they all have now?

If ANY of those 'leaders or media moguls care one whit for democracy they will not only 'allow' Elizabeth May to join the debate but insist right from the start that she do so. Instead we see this:=
Recently, Mulcair refused to say who should be part of the debate.
“That is something that is completely left up to the consortium, and I will follow whatever they decide,”
Trudeau said. “I look forward to having discussions about that with the consortium of broadcasters as it comes closer to it. Right now, it’s too early to say who should be in,
Troy Reeb, the vice-president of news for Shaw Media, said Global News’ position is that the more debates that can be organized, the better it is for Canadian democracy.
“If, however, the parties determine, as they have in the past, that they are unwilling to have their leaders attend multiple debates,” Reeb said in an email, “then we stand prepared to work again with other broadcasters to ensure any single English-language debate reaches the widest audience possible.
“Questions of format and who would be invited would obviously be up for discussion at that time.”
who would be invited would obviously be up for discussion at that time.”
So its NOT just up the the Media but is the subject of 'discussion', come on Trudeau and Mulclair step up and speak out for democracy and insist upon the debates include all sitting party leaders (with national support?) participate, we know Harper will not!

EDIT It is interesting to note in the context of the above that the CBC (and other TV conglomerates) has refused to air an advertisement from The Friends of Canadian Broadcasting that is critical of Stephen Harper and his cuts to everything.

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Legal Experts urge killing Police State Bill

Last week more than 100 Legal Experts wrote a letter Urging Parliament to Amend or Kill Anti-Terrorism Bill C-51
The legal experts from across Canada are urging all parliamentarians to “ensure that C-51 not be enacted in anything resembling its present form.” They argue, in an open letter published on the National Post, that the federal government’s anti-terrorism bill is a “dangerous piece of legislation” that has not been given due debate.
The text of the preamble of the open letter is reproduced below:

Dear Members of Parliament,
Please accept this collective open letter as an expression of the signatories’ deep concern that Bill C-51 (which the government is calling the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015) is a dangerous piece of legislation in terms of its potential impacts on the rule of law, on constitutionally and internationally protected rights, and on the health of Canada’s democracy.
Beyond that, we note with concern that knowledgeable analysts have made cogent arguments not only that Bill C-51 may turn out to be ineffective in countering terrorism by virtue of what is omitted from the bill, but also that Bill C-51 could actually be counter-productive in that it could easily get in the way of effective policing, intelligence-gathering and prosecutorial activity. In this respect, we wish it to be clear that we are neither “extremists” (as the Prime Minister has recently labelled the Official Opposition for its resistance to Bill C-51) nor dismissive of the real threats to Canadians’ security that government and Parliament have a duty to protect. Rather, we believe that terrorism must be countered in ways that are fully consistent with core values (that include liberty, non-discrimination, and the rule of law), that are evidence-based, and that are likely to be effective.
The scope and implications of Bill C-51 are so extensive that it cannot be, and is not, the purpose of this letter to itemize every problem with the bill. Rather, the discussion below is an effort to reflect a basic consensus over some (and only some) of the leading concerns, all the while noting that any given signatory’s degree of concern may vary item by item. Also, the absence of a given matter from this letter is not meant to suggest it is not also a concern.
We are grateful for the service to informed public debate and public education provided, since Bill C-51 was tabled, by two highly respected law professors — Craig Forcese of the University of Ottawa and Kent Roach of the University of Toronto — who, combined, have great expertise in national security law at the intersection of constitutional law, criminal law, international law and other sub-disciplines. What follows — and we limit ourselves to five points — owes much to the background papers they have penned, as well as to insights from editorials in the media and speeches in the House of Commons.

There follows a long and reasoned dissection of exactly what is wrong about the proposed legislation which may also be seen at http://www.desmog.ca/2015/02/27/more-100-legal-experts-urge-parliament-amend-or-kill-anti-terrorism-bill-c-51

Remember that, in addition to the above, several former Prime Ministers and Judges have already voiced their deep concern with this bill . Given that, it is my contention that the Harper Regime knows that this legislation crosses the line and creates the potential for abuse of Canadians rights and freedoms and the formation of a police state and is proceeding with exactly that in mind.


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