Bill C-51

OTTAWA: Bill C51 Opponents March Through Byward Market

posted on April 21, 2015 | in Category Bill C-51 | PermaLink

by Jesse Winter Source: The Ottawa Citizen URL: [link] Date: April 19, 2015

Opponents of the federal government’s proposed anti-terrorism legislation brought a second round of protests to Ottawa and other Canadian cities Saturday, and an organizer said an online petition calling for the bill to be scrapped is nearing 200,000 signatures. “We haven’t really seen anything like this in years. It’s remarkable,” said David Christopher, a spokesman with, one of the groups behind the petition. Several dozen protesters gathered outside the prime minister’s offices on Wellington Street and marched through the ByWard Market to the U.S. Embassy. Similar rallies were planned in as many as 30 cities, organizers said. In March, more than 300 people protested the anti-terrorism bill in Ottawa. “The U.S. is symbolic of this kind of anti-terror legislation. When I go talk to people about the bill, the comment I always get back is ‘oh, we’re becoming just like the U.S.’ ” said Sam Heaton, a leader of Saturday’s demonstration. The government says the legislation will give important new powers to the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service to protect Canadians from security threats. But critics contend that it goes too far, giving CSIS too many tools to invade Canadians’ privacy without putting enough oversight in place to keep watch on the spy agency. As of Friday afternoon, the petition ( had more than 194,000 names on it. That’s the most since a similar online petition against then-Justice Minister Vic Toews’ online surveillance Bill C-30 topped out at around 150,000 names in 2012, David Christopher said. After a cabinet shuffle, Toews’ replacement, Rob Nicholson withdrew the bill in 2013 because of the public opposition. This time, and its partners are targeting Bill C-51, and Christopher said his organization is seeing an increase in the number of people going beyond simply clicking on an online petition. “We had 12,000 people in one day write to their MPs about it. These numbers are blowing our old statistics out of the water,” Christopher said. Paul Dewar, the NDP MP for Ottawa-Centre, said the success of the petition shows the growing frustration with a government that won’t listen to Canadians. “It’s showing how unpopular the bill is and how stubborn the government is being. It shows that it’s not just something inside the Ottawa bubble. It’s something across the country,” he said. Liberal MP Wayne Easter said his party has some reservations about the bill but will support it anyway because it thinks the security measures are needed. “We are hoping that the government will see the light and implement parallel legislation in terms of national oversight and see the need to institute some sunset clauses and a mandatory review,” Easter said. “They could still do that.” The petition isn’t the only list naming Canadians who oppose the bill. Green Party leader Elizabeth May has tabled at least seven petitions against the bill in the House of Commons. Her list has reached around 4,400 pen-and-ink signatures. The bill is up for debate in the House of Commons late next week, with a vote expected in the following week. © 2015 Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved.