The Story Article in the Independent Newspaper on August 29, 2013

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Bill C-51 – Anti-Terror Law – March 2015
Link to: letter on C-51

 On On February 23, 2015, Bill C-51, the government’s proposed anti-terror law passed second reading in the House of Commons. As of this date, it is the subject of a time-limited schedule of committee hearings. While all bills must go through a number of specific stages of the legislative process in the House of Commons and in the Senate before it becomes law, Bill C-51 is on a fast track to become law. 

A widely reported poll is said to show that 82% of Canadians support this bill despite not having seen or read much about what the bill entails.  The bill covers everything from what people in Canada are permitted to write and say, to who can board a plane, to when tax information is shared and how a person can be detained without charge. The bill does not have a clear definition of what constitutes terrorism, or any definition of “promoting” or “advocating.” When Justice Minister Peter MacKay was asked for the definition of terrorism, his flippant   reply was “Look it up.”  One concern is that the bill gives government arbitrary authority to pick and choose which individuals and groups to target for further scrutiny based on vague criteria.

We are called to be the church, to stand in solidarity with the poor and the oppressed, to witness the integration of faith and justice in the world. This is why we issue this statement because as a church we are called to constant vigilance against systems that oppress and in which we are all caught up in varying degrees.

The bill, though being fast-tracked, will still need to go through report stage, be read a third time and sent to the Senate for passage before receiving Royal Assent. A bill can become law only once both Houses of Parliament have approved the same text and received Royal Assent. We call on all people, and all people of faith to take a stand to oppose Bill C-51.

Click on this link for a letter on C-51 that you may use as a template in writing to Minister MacKay. Please personalize this letter. When MPs receive multiple letters on the same issue, they will pay more attention to it. Please share with your     network. No postage is required when you send a letter to an MP.

Tina Conlon and Alexa Gilmour

Co-Chairs, Social Justice and World Affairs Committee