Stephen Harper’s Bill C-51 is nothing but a wedge to control your private lives

Julian Wolfe
May 25th, 2015

Stephen Harper’s Conservatives recently passed Bill C-51. You’ve probably heard about it but if not, here’s the summary. It grants Canada’s spy agencies new enforcement powers to act upon data they’ve collected by monitoring your phone calls, text messages and your interactions on social media. The reason for this is they want to protect you from a terrorist attack – or arrest you if they suspect you are a terrorist. It would dismantle much of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms which was ratified by former Prime Minister Pierre-Elliot Trudeau and grants Canadians the privacy and freedom of speech they have today.

The Conservatives have been trying to pass this legislation for a while.

  1. First, it was an act to stop child pornographers, to which Vic Toews asserted “you’re either with us or you’re with the child pornographers.”
  2. Next, it was an act to combat cyber-bullying as a response to the tragic and unfortunate suicide of Amanda Todd.
  3. Now, it’s an act to combat terrorism – does have a ring to it doesn’t it?

We all know Stephen Harper’s motive with the legislation: control. In case you missed it, Stephen Harper is the most controlling Prime Minister in Canadian history. Every piece of communication must be approved through his office. His MPs are scripted with answers to questions asked by the media and opponents in the House of Commons. The man will go to great lengths to bend public opinion in his favor. He muzzled the scientists, he ran scared from the upcoming election debates, but created his own where he feels comfortable and then tried to call the others cowards.

Furthermore, in subsequent legislation, Stephen Harper would not only take away your privacy, his government would control what is legal to say online. The legislation would consider any negative opinions of Israel as hate speech and incur criminal sentences. Our charter currently considers advocacy groups which promote a boycott against Israel as exercising their freedom of speech through political expression. Regardless whether you agree with such advocacy groups, we can rest assured the same treatment would not be placed on advocacy groups chanting boycott Palestine. Freedom of speech is about letting everyone speak their minds – even those you disagree with. The question is: should Canada be a country where the only opinions that are freely expressed be the ones accepted by the government?

Combating terrorism is important, except when the definition becomes a political tool to engage in manipulative control tactics. One of the first targets would be environmental groups who oppose the various pipeline projects the Harper government has been aggressively pushing. With this new anti-terrorism law, environmental protesters can be labeled as eco-terrorists and be tossed conveniently into one of the new prison cells that were constructed near the beginning of the Harper government’s mandate. We wondered at the time why the government would build prisons when crime rates were at record lows and falling…

Now consider this: what is one thing all of the terrorist groups we’ve come across so far have in common? A reign of control that strips those beneath them of freedom and persecutes those that defy or oppose them.

In Stephen Harper’s Canada, the only opinions that matter are those of Stephen Harper and that’s perfectly fine until it becomes a means of legislation.

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On Monday, the longest campaign in modern history will come to a close and if current polls are any indication, Canada may be seeing a change in government after 9 years of Conservative rule under the leadership of Stephen Harper. Accountability was his calling card in 2006 and today, accountability may very well be one of the defining reasons for his departure.

In its length, in its cost and in its debate schedule, this election is unusual. The first and possibly only real debate of the campaign ended and here are the highlights of what happened.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper left Rideau Hall this morning with Governor General David Johnston’s approval to drop the writ and Canadians are now officially headed to the polls on October 19. For the first time since fixed election date legislation was brought in by the Conservative government, a fixed election date has been followed.

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