Bill C-51 Wants to Protect You From Terrorism- But at What Cost?
We can all agree on the importance of protecting our country, and our citizens, from the violence and unrest of terrorism. Two events last fall involving slain Canadian soldiers on home soil- one at Parliament Hill and another in a parking lot in Quebec- spurred heated discussions and proposed policy amendments to better prevent terrorist plots before they start.
Bill C-51, unveiled January 30th, is the most recent legislation being added to the Conservative government’s “tough on crime” agenda. The bill seeks to expand the power of spy and police agencies to purportedly allow them intervene earlier on terrorist actions. In short, Bill C-51 will:
- Make it easier for authorities to deny travelers boarding a plane
- Criminalize the “promotion” of terrorism and make it easier for police to make preventative arrests
- Provide CSIS with unprecedented power to “disrupt threats”, including communication with a suspect’s family and friends
- Make it easier to protect classified information in immigration hearings, including removing non-Canadians who pose a security risk
It’s been noted that the bill does not limit how long agencies will be allowed to store our personal information. And that information will be more easy to collect, given that one implication of the bill is that border guards will have increased power to comb through travelers’ computers and Smartphones.
Given my experience practicing Criminal Defence Law in Toronto, I have concerns about Bill C-51 leading to the sharing of sensitive personal information and infringing upon some of my clients’ most basic rights. It’s not a far leap to predict an increase in arbitrary arrests with the unprecedented power being given to spy and police agencies to take “preventative” action.
If you have been subject to arbitrary arrest or other “interferences” upon your daily activities from the police or some other government agency, it is critical that you secure legal representation quickly to assist you in your case. As a Criminal Defence Lawyer in Toronto, I have extensive experience dealing with cases involving wrongful detainment, and pride myself on being able to craft effective defence strategies to expedite the release of my clients. Contact my office today for a free, confidential consultation.
What are your concerns about Bill C-51? Do you feel it will protect your rights and freedoms, or diminish them?