Tag Archives: Bill C-51

RCMP Planning Mass Arrest Of Indigenous Activists Under Bill C-51, Supporters Warn

ThinkPol is reporting the RCMP are preparing to carry out Bill C51 arrests at Unist’ot’en camp:

The RCMP are preparing to carry out a mass arrest operation against the indigenous Unist’ot’en Clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation in northwestern BC under Harper government’s Bill C-51 labelling as terrorists First Nations activists exercising their Aboriginal Title and Rights to protect their lands from oil and gas development, according to a joint statement by the groups supporters.

The Conservatives’ controversial anti-terror act criminalizes protests that may be seen as interfering with ‘the economic or financial stability of Canada’ and opponents of the bill had long feared that it would be used to stifle opposition to oil pipelines aggressively promoted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The RCMP have made a number of visits to the Unist’ot’en as well as other First Nations leadership regarding the Unist’ot’en camp, located on the shores of the Wedzin Kwah and mouth of the Gosnell Creek, tributaries to the Skeena, Bulkley, and Babine Rivers.

The activists have been protesting against the proposed Enbridge Pipeline and Pacific Trails Pipeline (Chevron), which are planned to cross the river at the exact points of our Pithouse, and Permaculture Garden that was built on the Unist´ot´en Territory of Talbits Kwah.

Today over fifty individuals and organizations have issued a letter to the provincial government, federal government and RCMP to express support for the Unist’ot’en Camp.

“The courageous stand taken by the Unist’ot’en and their supporters must not be criminalized by the RCMP nor targeted by government,” states Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “Through the draconian Bill C51, the federal government is attempting to brand people defending the land and water as ‘security threats.’ The Unist’ot’en are heroes, while the real threat is this government destroying the planet and economy.”

Signatories to this letter include the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, First Nations Summit, BC Assembly of First Nations, Greenpeace Canada, Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 718, Idle No More, Council of Canadians, Earthkeepers: Christians for Climate Justice, Defenders of the Land, David Suzuki, Unifor’s Western Director Joie Warnock, Elizabeth May, Naomi Klein.

“Why is the Senior Command of the RCMP so hell bent on deliberately provoking a conflict between themselves and the Indigenous Peoples of British Columbia?” Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs asked. “Are they taking these instructions from Premier Christy Clark or Prime Minister Harper?”

Since 2009, the Unist’ot’en have maintained a camp by Wedzin Kwah (Morice River) that is blocking seven pipelines that do not have Unist’ot’en consent to use their land.

On August 15th, 2015, in accordance with Wet’suwet’en laws, the Unist’ot’en Declaration was unanimously signed by five Unist’ot’en chiefs and affirms the continuous governance of the Unist’ot’en.

The letter notes, “We denounce any attempt by the federal government, provincial government or RCMP to interfere in the rights of the Unist’ot’en to occupy, manage or maintain their lands…We expect any and all actions taken by the federal and provincial government, industry and policing agencies to be consistent with the Unist’ot’en Declaration and the jurisdiction of the Unist’ot’en Clan.


Bill C-51 Has Potential To Scoop Up Aboriginal Rights Activists

A woman kneels in front of a line of police officers while protesting fracking in Elsipogtog, N.B., in October 2013. 'First Nations are on a collision course with federal and provincial governments, as well as pipeline and resource companies as they encroach on traditional lands,' writes Doug Cuthand. (Photo by Ossie Michelin)

A woman kneels in front of a line of police officers while protesting fracking in Elsipogtog, N.B., in October 2013. ‘First Nations are on a collision course with federal and provincial governments, as well as pipeline and resource companies as they encroach on traditional lands,’ writes Doug Cuthand. (Photo by Ossie Michelin)

By Doug Cuthand for CBC News

This week the Harper government rammed the anti-terrorism bill through Parliament with its third and final reading. All that remains is a short stop in the Senate and on to royal ascent.

Bill C-51 is a legislative drift net that has a reach far beyond its immediate target of radical Islamic terrorism.

It has the potential to scoop up environmentalists, aboriginal rights activists, union members and anyone who is seen to stand in the way of national security.

Is that assessment over the top? I don’t think so.

First Nations are on a collision course with federal and provincial governments, as well as with pipeline and resource companies as they encroach on traditional lands, particularly in British Columbia.

The act’s interpretation states that it applies to any activity that “undermines the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of Canada or the lives or the security of the people of Canada.”

This includes the following: “Interference with the capability of the Government of Canada in relation to intelligence, defence, border operations, public safety, the administration of justice, diplomatic or consular relations, or the economic or financial stability of Canada.”

'Under this legislation, Mohawk protesters who blocked the 401 would be branded as terrorists,' says Doug Cuthand. (Frédéric Pepin, CBC/Radio-Canada)

‘Under this legislation, Mohawk protesters who blocked the 401 would be branded as terrorists,’ says Doug Cuthand. (Frédéric Pepin, CBC/Radio-Canada)

This is casting a pretty wide net. Assembly of First Nations National Chief PerryBellegarde has expressed his organization’s opposition to the bill.

Under this legislation, Mohawk protesters who blocked the 401 would be branded as terrorists.

The First Nations elders and family members who set up a barricade of lawn chairs on the CPR main line in British Columbia could be considered terrorists. Oka, of course, would be a terrorist act.

The confrontation between the RCMP and Mi’kmaq protesters in 2013 at Elsipogtog, N.B., led to more than 40 arrests and the destruction of police vehicles. Under Bill C-51, this could be considered a terrorist act.

In British Columbia, a group of First Nations activists in the Tsilhqot’interritory have established the Unist’ot’en Camp, which is built in the proposed right of way for the Gateway Pipeline. If that pipeline ever gets approval, will these people be branded as terrorists and subject to the arrest and overreach of Bill C-51?

Repressive legislation serves as pressure cooker

As each year rolls by, there is growing awareness and increased activism in Indian country. Repressive legislation will only serve to act as a pressure cooker and both create and define more activists.

Kinder Morgan protesters

Kinder Morgan protesters in a standoff with Burnaby RCMP as police try to move the protesters further away from their encampment in November 2014. (Sea Shepherd Conservation U-Stream)

Under this legislation, police forces will have the power to detain people they suspect of planning to break the law. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service will have new powers of arrest as well, effectively making it the equivalent of a secret police force.

In the past, CSIS was an intelligence-gathering agency that shared information with the RCMP, which carried out the arrest of individuals and seizure of evidence.

The government maintains that the legislation is aimed at Islamic jihadists, which Harper portrays as hiding behind every tree in Canada. To combat this perceived threat, the government created Bill C-51, which opens CSIS up to a whole new ball game.

Language of bill questioned

Nobody is going to argue that we don’t need to defend ourselves against terrorists, but the language of this bill is so broad the definition of “terrorist” is watered down to individuals that practise their legal right to dissent.

There are numerous simmering disputes all across Indian country, and if demonstrations occur in the future, how will they be treated under this legislation?

One thing starts to emerge as we look at this ominous bill. The government is preparing an arsenal of legislation to counteract future action by First Nations people to protect our land, resource and environmental rights.

‘The government needs to slow things down and dial back the panic.’– Doug Cuthand

This legislation has been opposed by academics, lawyers, human rights advocates and a large segment of the public, and yet they insist on forging ahead with few revisions and a minimum of debate.

The government needs to slow things down and dial back the panic. We have legislation to deal with those who break the law and commit acts of terrorism.

This legislation is far too broad and needs to undergo a serious rewrite with the input of all the public and opposition parties.

But I guess that is just so much wishful thinking. Bill C-51 is part of Harper’s campaign of fear to get re-elected.

Sadly, that fear has the potential to be spread to First Nations, environmentalists and any other group that can be used to create wedge issues and bring votes their way.


Harper’s Anti-Terror Bill C-51 One Step Closer To Becoming Law

The Conservatives have tabled an anti-terror bill that will give Canada's spy agency more power to thwart suspected terrorists.

The Conservatives have tabled an anti-terror bill that will give Canada’s spy agency more power to thwart suspected terrorists.


With the support of federal Liberals, the Conservative government’s controversial anti-terror legislation passed the House of Commons Wednesday by a vote of 183 to 96.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair attended the vote, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is in Europe, was absent.

After months of debate, Bill C-51 now heads to the Senate for final passage. The governor general is expected to give royal assent within weeks.

Several MPs took to Twitter to voice their opposition and blast Liberals for supporting the legislation.

The bill will lower the threshold of evidence needed to label someone a threat to national security. It will also grant Canadian security and intelligence agencies more leniency when it comes to accessing and sharing information between departments.

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney defended the legislation during a third-reading of the bill on Tuesday.

“Members have heard me many times saying that there is no liberty without security. I would add that there is no prosperity without security,” he said. On multiple occasions, the minister accused the NDP of failing to “call a spade a spade” in reference to the attack a gunman launched on Parliament Hill last year.

NDP public safety critic Randall Garrison responded by saying he was “disappointed” Blaney chose to use the forum as a platform to attack the opposition. He claimed the government was utilizing fear to push the legislation through.

“It was clear that the government intended to marshal the politics of fear to stampede Bill C-51 through the House,” said Garrison during the debate.

The NDP MP also criticized Liberals for supporting broad information-sharing “even though it presents a great threat to our civil liberties.”

Liberals announced earlier in the year they would support the proposed changes to the country’s anti-terror laws, but amend the legislation if they win the next election to, among other things, provide more oversight of national security agencies.

The omnibus legislation was presented the the House following the deaths of two Canadian soldiers, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Cirillo in October.

The bill has attracted significant national and international attention from newspapers and civil liberties advocates.

The Globe and Mail’s editorial board published a column on Tuesday calling the bill is “as murky as ever” on the eve of its final vote.

“The government has never justified its need to weaken Canada’s constitutional protections. It has simply stated that it wants more powers to fight terrorism and then churlishly impugned the motives of anyone who has spoken out against Bill C-51,” it stated.

Earlier this year, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden weighed in on the sweeping measures proposed in the bill, warning Canadians to be “extraordinarily cautious.”

Federal privacy watchdog Daniel Therrien has also shared his concerns over inefficient measures within the bill’s current framework to wholly protect an individual’s’ personal information.

“All Canadians – not only terrorism suspects – will be caught in this web,” Therrien wrote in a March briefing note. “The implications for privacy are serious – especially when we are talking about the highly sensitive information that Canadians entrust to their government.”

He called the potential loss of privacy “clearly excessive.”


House Of Commons To Hold Final Vote On Anti-Terror Bill Tuesday

Canada's spy agency is getting new powers. Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Canada’s spy agency is getting new powers. Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS

By Ian MacLeod | Ottawa Citizen

The federal government’s controversial anti-terror legislation is set to pass in the House of Commons Tuesday on a whirlwind journey into the law books by the time Parliament recesses in June.

Since Bill C-51 was tabled Jan. 30, it has been fought over like few other government bills.

The Opposition NDP, supported by the Green Party, have attacked it at every opportunity, proposing dozen of unsuccessful amendments. The Liberals have vowed to vote for the bill, despite largely failing to win any significant amendments as hoped.

The Commons’ debate and voting on four mostly minor amendments to the bill were to conclude Monday. A final vote is to be held Tuesday.

The proposed set of laws would dramatically change the mandate and powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) from its current intelligence-collection-only role to one of actively reducing and disrupting threats to national security whether in Canada or globally.

The legislation criminalizes the promotion of terrorism, makes it easier for police to arrest and detain individuals without charge as suspected as national security threats, and much more. It also would allow more than 100 federal departments, agencies and other entities to share information about Canadians with 17 departments and agencies that have national security responsibilities. The information would only have to be “relevant” to a suspected national security threat. The 17 agencies also could share and collate information among themselves.

The government clearly wants to project an image of being capable and serious about protecting national security against the evolving scourge of terrorism and ever-sophisticated cyber attacks.

The Tories are rushing to enact it before Parliament’s scheduled June 23 summer recess. A Senate committee is now fast-tracking the legislation through the upper house.

Police, security agencies, prosecutors, Conservative MPs and several terrorism and security experts have strongly endorsed its sweeping reform of Canada’s national security laws, the biggest such overhaul since its progenitor, the Anti-terrorism Act of 2001, was rushed into law after the 2001 terror attacks in the United States.

The bill’s supporters, however, have been outnumbered by its critics. They include former prime ministers, former Supreme Court justices, business leaders and the Canadian Bar Association, civil liberty and privacy advocates, national security law scholars, aboriginals, environmentalists and many others. Their criticism has been backed by a series of cross-Canada demonstrations.

Critics accuse the government of launching an unprecedented attack Canadians’ personal freedoms and the nation’s legal traditions.




Canadians Rally During A Second ‘National Day Of Action’ To Kill Bill C-51

Participants covered their mouths with tape to symbolize what they called the muzzling impact of the bill. David Kawai / Ottawa Citizen

Participants covered their mouths with tape to symbolize what they called the muzzling impact of the bill. David Kawai / Ottawa Citizen

By Black Powder | Red Power Media

Canadians rallied across the country on Saturday to oppose Bill C-51, just days before the legislation is scheduled to undergo a final vote in the House of Commons.

A second National Day of Action, took place in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, and more than two dozen other cities and towns.

About 300 protesters picketed the Prime Minister’s Office in Ottawa, their numbers bolstered as they marched to the U.S. embassy, chanting anti-Harper slogans and decrying the proposed bill.

“Kill the bill” chants echoed through Edmonton’s downtown as protesters spoke out against Bill C-51, also known as the federal anti-terrorism bill, that they say threatens the rights of Canadians.

The controversial anti-terror legislation was introduced by the Conservative government in January.

Many opponents of the bill argue that it could also be used to shut down environmental activists and lumps peaceful demonstrations in with terrorist activities.

Despite the outcry, the Conservative government insists that the anti-terror legislation arms law enforcement with the necessary tools to disrupt terror plots before they take place.

Bill C-51 would give CSIS the ability to expand no-fly list powers, allow police to have greater control in limiting the movement of a suspect and increase the amount of time they can be kept in preventative detention. It would also allow for increased intelligence sharing between law enforcement agencies.

Earlier this month, the Conservative Party said it will propose a handful of amendments to the bill.

The likely amendments include provisions to narrow what is considered terrorism-related activity, as well as a section to clarify that CSIS will not have power of arrest.

Changes are also expected to limit information-sharing.

Despite the proposed changes, many at Saturday’s rallies called for the entire bill to be scrapped.

The NDP and the Green Party oppose the anti-terror legislation, while Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has said that his party will support it despite some reservations.

At demonstrations in Montreal last Month, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said the party will be unwavering in their opposition to the bill, which he said “compromises” the rights and freedoms of Canadians.

He added that the bill’s scope is “too wide” and that existing legislation is already adequate.

The government majority guarantees the bill will pass and become law.