Repeal C-51, the Anti-terrorist Act
Call on the Federal Government to Repeal C-51, the Anti-terrorist Act, 2015
by Kathy Shimizu and Judy Hanazawa
The Anti-terrorist Act is like the War Measures Act for Muslims.
— Hasan Alam, Legal Counsel, Canadian Union of Public Employees
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) is calling on supporters and fellow Canadians to participate in the federal government’s online consultations on national security.
The Government of Canada Consultation on National Security held a Vancouver forum on October 17, 2016 inviting members of the public to provide feedback regarding “key elements of Canada’s national security laws and policies to ensure they reflect the rights, values and freedoms of Canadians.”
Kathy Shimizu and Judy Hanazawa of the GVJCCA Human Rights Committee attended and spoke at this public forum adding our voices to all others present, who urged a repeal of Bill C-51, now the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015. Attending the Consultation was also a follow up to our October 15th Legacy of Redress Community Forum on learning about Muslim Canadians and the issues they are facing today.
There were no Consultation speakers who supported C-51, but there were varied reasons for urging its repeal. They ranged from:
- concerns about Charter challenges;
- breach of privacy rights;
- digital, internet, and surveillance issues;
- the loss of freedom of speech, association, or assembly;
- threats to engagement in civil disobedience;
- CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) authorization to gather intelligence with no operational oversight, or recourse by an accused;
- interrogate, investigate and detain suspect individuals, groups, or organizations;
- the injustice of racial profiling and fuelling today’s post 9/11 environment which subjects the Muslim community to racist Islamophobia at personal and systemic levels.
Both Kathy and Judy spoke about the Japanese Canadian community’s history of unjust detention and incarceration between 1942 to 1949, the racial profiling of us then as enemy aliens, similar to what Muslims are experiencing today, and the violation of our human rights in the name of public safety – similar to the injustices and violations authorized today through Anti-Terrorism legislation. We expressed concern that C-51 further legitimized today’s climate of fear and hate resulting in Islamophobia. Examples of this reality include physical assaults against Muslim women, racist targeting of mosques, school-based racist bullying, which Muslim youth have experienced, resulting feelings of alienation and rejection which place youth at risk, and being on a “slow fly” list, i.e. Muslim Canadians being subjected to additional checking, questioning, and security investigation before approval to use air transportation.
During our October 15 forum, we learned also that the federal government is inviting online feedback. The email address for participating in the consultation is email@example.com. We are urging Japanese Canadians and others to express your thoughts and concerns about Canada’s national security system, the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 (C-51).
We hope many Japanese Canadians will stand in solidarity with the Muslim Canadian community. The fight for Redress included the fight to repeal the War Measures Act to try to ensure that the Canadian government keep its commitment to never again take away the rights of its own citizens. And yet, here we are having to remind them and fellow Canadians not to go down this racist, fear-mongering path. We know where it leads and we will not stand for these injustices again. Please submit your concerns to the Federal government by December 1, 2016.
You can take send your thoughts to the Government of Canada by December 1, 2016 by:
- emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- using the OpenMedia online tool here: https://saveoursecurity.ca. This guides you through the questions, gives suggestions for responses, and allows you to submit your opinions in a much easier format.
- using the government online form: https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/cnslttns/ntnl-scrt/index-en.aspx – Please note, the form is not user friendly. The 10 key topics areas which this Consultation is seeking feedback about are:
- Threat Reduction
- Domestic National Security Information Sharing
- Passenger Protect Program
- Criminal Code Terrorism Measures
- Terrorist Entity Listing Procedures
- Terrorist Financing
- Investigative Capabilities in a Digital World
- Intelligence and Evidence
Please read the information provided by the BC Civil Liberties Association that explains why C-51 should be repealed.
Updated: Our National Security Consultation series – A Different Shade of Green Paper: What the Government Forgot to Mention by Micheal Vonn, BCCLA Policy Director, October 21, 2016.
OpenMedia’s Everything you always wanted to know about Bill C-51.
(Note: this was created before the bill became law.) “As the primer explains, the Bill, which has been opposed by a majority of Canadians, signals a step backwards for privacy in Canada.”
Additional Government of Canada Links
Our Security, Our Rights: National Security Green Paper, 2016
National Security Consultation Info