Government admits they need to make changes to Bill C-51
The government admits they need to make modest changes to Bill C-51 - but they should listen to citizens and experts calling for a restart to the bill not tinkering
March 27, 2015: News that the government will admit up to ten amendments to Bill C-51 has been given a cautious welcome by community-based organization OpenMedia, which is campaigning to scrap the bill. However the amendments will not go anywhere near far enough to address serious concerns about the impact the vaguely written bill will have on Canadians’ privacy and democratic rights.
Responding to the news, OpenMedia’s executive director Steve Anderson said: “I am happy to see the government finally admit that Bill C-51 is flawed, and that they are willing to make amendments. Canadians and experts have been clear that the language in this bill is so vague and poorly written that the government needs to restart the process not tinker around the edges. I’m hopeful that the government will now start to have a meaningful dialogue with Canadians on this reckless, dangerous, and ineffective piece of legislation.”
Anderson continued: “Let me be clear about one thing: this would never have happened without over 100,000 people speaking out in one of the largest campaigns in Canadian history. It’s time for the government to go back to the drawing board, and properly consult Canadians, including their own privacy commissioner, about the implications of this bill.”
Full details about the proposed amendments have not been disclosed but according to the CBC, the amendments will:
1. Limit the number of protests that would be subject to the security and surveillance measures set out in the bill.
2. Clarify language to make clear that CSIS agents will not have the power of arrest.
While the full list of amendments have yet to be reported, it looks like the Conservatives have not committed to addressing the following important issues:
1. Parliamentary oversight that is consistent with what our global counterparts have
2. Meaningful judicial safeguards regarding information disclosure on law-abiding Canadians.
3. Several other amendments proposed by experts here.
Considering the huge number of amendments suggested by experts it is unlikely the Conservatives will satisfy those calling for change in Bill C-51.
Until the government commits to a full restart of the legislation Canadians will continue to speak up at: http://StopC51.ca