60 Canadian business leaders sign letter against new terror bill
Joining in with many other groups and individuals, 60 Canadian business leaders signed a letter opposing the new anti-terror bill C-51 of Stephen Harper's Conservative government.
There have been protests ever since the bill was introduced, and during hearings, there were countrywide protests during a day of action back on March 14, but protests are still going on with a number of protests in different cities throughout Canada today. Many critics have suggested that the bill as a whole should be rejected because we already have laws that can deal adequately with terrorism. Other critics demand radical changes.
There has been such a strong reaction to the bill, even the Conservatives are suggesting now that they will make some amendments. They have turned some of the hearings into a farce asking critical witnesses irrelevant hostile questions. Significant critics such as their own privacy commissioner were not even invited to testify.
The bill is filled with vague language and would give police more powers to target any threats to Canadian security which include influencing the government through unlawful means, or interfering with Canada's financial stability. Environmentalists and aboriginal activists fear the powers of the bill will be used to disrupt their activities. The former chair of the Security Information Review Committee, warned that parts of the bill were unconstitutional and would face challenges in the court. This will not bother the government which can use taxpayer money to fight issues right up to the Supreme Court making it costly for those who want to raise a constitutional challenge.
The Canadian Bar Association has already written a letter opposing the bill as well, claiming it would deprive Canadians of liberties while failing to increase their safety. The business leaders claimed that the bill would give the Canadian Security and Intelligence Services power to take unjustified actions against businesses including taking down websites.
The letter said:“As it stands, C-51 criminalizes language in excessively broad terms that may place the authors of innocent tweets and the operators of online platforms such as Facebook, and Twitter, along with Canada’s Hootsuite and Slack, at risk of criminal sanction for activities carried out on their sites.”
A satirical site, the Lapine, claims that Stephen Harper is warning normal Canadians to stay away from the protests against his bill noting the protesters had very bad personal hygiene: "“Look. These people don’t brush their teeth regularly. They wear the same underwear day after day. They smell really, really bad,” Harper said over his shoulder to reporters as he arrived earlier today at a fundraising brunch."
The Liberal leader Justin Trudeau long ago said that his party would support the legislation although they want changes made. Even without the changes he said his party would vote for the bill. The main opposition, the New Democratic Party opposes the legislation at least as it is now.
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Ken is a retired philosophy professor living in the boondocks of Manitoba, Canada, with his Filipina wife. He enjoys reading the news and writing articles. Politically Ken is on the far left of the political spectrum on many issues.