Tonight: Canada’s Politicians Vote on Anti-Terrorism Act (Bill C-51)

Tonight, Canadian Parliament votes on PM Stephen Harper’s Orwellian legislation that will criminalize dissent, and take away the freedoms for which our grandparents and great-grandparent sacrificed their lives… -LW


The federal government is rejecting calls for more independent oversight of Canada’s national security agencies even as it speeds passage of legislation that would give sweeping new powers to spies and police in the name of fighting terrorism.

Parliament will vote Monday night on the Anti-Terrorism Act after the Conservatives limited second-reading debate for the legislation to three days. The bill will be sent to a Parliamentary committee for scrutiny. The Tories want the controversial legislation to become law before the summer begins.

On Sunday, Defence Minister Jason Kenney, who has functioned as the government’s lead spokesman for the legislation in recent days, rebuffed an appeal for more independent supervision of national-security agencies – one that came in the form of letter published in The Globe and Mail and signed by former prime ministers, ex–Supreme Court justices and others.

Mr. Kenney noted the letter’s key signatories, Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin, Joe Clark and John Turner, did not change the oversight of Canada’s spy agency, which is currently supervised by the Security Intelligence Review Committee, while they were in power.

“We have the same system that has worked well in Canada for over 25 years,” the Defence Minister told CTV. “I would point out those four former prime ministers all had exactly the same system of an independent oversight committee for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.”

One of the overseers the Conservatives previously relied on was Arthur Porter. The former chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee is currently imprisoned in Panama and is expected to be extradited back to Canada to face fraud-related charges in connection with an alleged bribery scandal tied to a Montreal hospital project.

The Tories’ efforts to expedite the bill comes as a video purported to be from Somali terrorist group al-Shabab urged Muslims to attack shopping malls in Western countries, including Canada’s West Edmonton Mall in Alberta. Sixty-seven people died in September of 2013 after al-Shabab, linked to al-Qaeda, attacked the Westgate Mall in Nairobi.

The RCMP said, however, it has no evidence of a “specific or imminent threat to Canadians” related to the al-Shabab video.

Mr. Kenney, who drew headlines last week when he warned Canada faces a high probability of another attack from homegrown jihadis, countered calls for more civilian oversight by saying much of the new powers will be subject to judicial supervision.

He argues that it is wrong to describe C-51 as a bill that gives new powers to police and intelligence agencies, saying in his opinion it awards new authority to judges because it would be courts that approve use of the extra discretion afforded in the legislation.

“None of those new powers that we are proposing to combat terrorism in Canada are vested in those [security] agencies,” Mr. Kenney told CTV. “They are vested in the courts and the judges … the most independent body possible that will be making decisions about whether to detain prospective terrorists or allow CSIS, for example, to interrupt potential terrorist attacks.”

The legislation is a response to the deadly Ottawa attacks on Canadian soldiers last fall that included a gunman storming Parliament. It would give CSIS new interventionist powers to disrupt potential threats to national security and make it easier for authorities to detain or restrict the movements of suspects.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has changed his mind on oversight. His 2006 election platform promised to establish a “National Security Review Committee” to “ensure effective oversight and a greater degree of accountability and transparency regarding Canada’s national security efforts.”

NDP public safety critic Randall Garrison pointed out the Conservatives disbanded one of CSIS’s oversight bodies in 2012 when they scrapped the Office of the Inspector General of CSIS and that the SIRC review committee itself has reported on the trouble it had getting full infomation in a timely manner from Canada’s spy agency.

“This is a part-time group of non-specialists … I don’t think there’s anyway you can make a case that oversight is working well,” Mr. Garrison said of SIRC.

He said judges won’t provide oversight because CSIS will only have to approach the courts when the agency decides what it’s doing would otherwise be illegal.

Justin Trudeau’s Liberals support the legislation but want the bill amended to provide for automatic review of the law, to create a Parliamentary oversight body that would monitor the spy agency’s activities and to require some measures to expire after a period of time unless renewed.

Liberal public safety critic Wayne Easter says the Conservatives must ensure the legislation is thoroughly examined in commitee, noting the former Chretien government held 19 days of hearings with 80 witnesses for the major anti-terrorism legislation it passed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

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Postal Banking in Canada: PM Harper Killed the Report

This Op-Ed piece offers more information in the case to re-instate the Bank of Canada. It mentions a report about “Postal Banking” in Canada that PM Harper apparently killed the day before it was to be released. According to the report, Canada Post would offer more locations than the existing banks–small wonder, since so many Shoppers Drug Mart stores now include post offices. Could banking reform be just around the corner? -LW


Jacob Kearey-Moreland, Special to the Packet
Friday, January 30, 2015 7:27:35 EST PM

Veronica Campbell’s sketch shows Rocco Galati during the hearing at the Federal Court of Appeal Monday.

“I’m the bad guy,” I overheard the government lawyer say jokingly, introducing himself to former minister of defence Paul Hellyer in the Federal Court of Appeal this week.

Why do Canadians allow private banks to profit off our public debt when the Bank of Canada is legislated to provide low- or no-interest loans for human capital and infrastructure spending? The Bank of Canada has not issued such loans since 1974, after it funded Canada out of the Great Depression, the Second World War, the infrastructure boom, universal health care, universities and colleges, CBC and more. Monday, three judges upheld the previous ruling of justiciability. The next step is to determine the statutes of the Bank of Canada Act and if they have been subverted by conspiracy.

The monopoly of private banks’ exclusive privilege of lending money to governments will, for the second time in our history, soon be put on trial. The first time it was debated in the House of Commons, it led to the creation of the Bank of Canada. It’s time to restore the Bank of Canada and jail the banksters.

We are in a perpetual-debt crisis because we’ve allowed foreign private interests to control the creation of money and, by extension, federal economic and social policy for their private interests. Banks are guaranteed billions in profits every year as families slide deeper into debt. Forget income splitting; imagine the tax relief once we escape debt bondage and compound-interest payments.

Arguing for the plaintiffs — Ann Emmett, centenarian William Krehm and the Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform (comer.org) — is perhaps Canada’s most prominent constitutional lawyer, Rocco Galati. Galati, who consistently undermines and reverses government decisions and actions, is not shy in declaring Canada “a quiet dictatorship.” The erosion of democracy is not complete without the erosion of justice and the independence of the judiciary, for which this government has received international condemnation. Galati has reason to believe there is a government-issued media blackout on this case. Sorry, Harper; I didn’t get the memo.

Saturday prior to the hearing, there was a five-hour seminar in Toronto City Hall chambers on the subject of money, tax, poverty and public banking, with the keynote speech delivered by Toronto Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam on the creation of the Toronto Public Bank. We heard from a renowned investigative accountant, Al Rosen, who described the existence of “hundreds of Nortels” that go un-investigated because of a lack of resources to address white-collar crime, tax evasion and more, as the Canada Revenue Agency has been co-opted for partisan purposes to attack charities and birdwatchers critical of the Harper government.

The report Banking: A Proven Diversification Strategy, commissioned by Canada Post, was killed by the Harper government a day before it eviscerated the public institution. After access-to-information requests, the report was released, with more than 701 of 811 pages redacted. The report detailed the win-win nature of postal banking, given Canada Post is the largest distribution network in the country, with branches in more than 6,300 communities, more than all banks combined, said Mike Palecek, the representative from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. Even grocery stores have their own banks, from which they make hundreds of millions a year. With a few simple software upgrades and ATMs, Canadians from coast to coast to coast could have low-cost, accessible banking services, among 700 pages of other benefits the Harper government doesn’t want you to know about.

Chew on that, Grandma, when you’re trudging through snow to get your mail.

Jacob Kearey-Moreland is a local resident and gardener. He can be contacted at jacobkeareymoreland@gmail.com.

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Not In Our Name by Chris Hill — Kickstarter

Chris Hill has a Kickstarter project to create an anti-Harper documentary, to aid in the effort to ensure that PM Harper doesn’t win this election. -LW


 

A film telling how a nation went to war against its own veterans and scientists, and kept its head in the tar sands on climate change.

About this project

How many wrong decisions can one nation endure? Every week there’s a new story that shows a shocking lack in judgement or ethics on the part of the government. It’s open season on the environment, on science, on the rights of veterans, and it shames us all.

 

Learn More / Donate.

If you were Prime Minister, Would you: A) Hand $12B to the wealthiest 14% or B) Improve Health Care?

 

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6 ways you may have already broken Harper’s new anti-terror law

If Bill C-51 is passed into law, dissent will be criminalized. -LW


Don’t worry. The Harper government won’t get “bogged down” down in legal definitions of terrorism — Justice Minister Peter MacKay even told reporters to “look it up.”

Neither Tory comment is likely to reassure critics who say the new anti-terror legislation could be used against lawful dissenters and legitimate protesters — including environmental and aboriginal activists.

It’s not just civil liberties groups, legal experts and political opponents voicing concerns that the bill could allow CSIS to “go well beyond the collecting of intelligence,” or lead to potential “undercover operations against opponents.”

Four former prime ministers (not to mention a boatload of justice and public safety ministers, supreme court justices, solicitor generals and former Security Intelligence Review Committee members) published a joint commentary in the Globe and Mail Thursday, calling for the creation of a “robust, integrated” review system for Canada’s national security agencies to hold them “accountable.”

The Conservatives have taken heat for the vague wording of the legislation, and its lack of definition as to what constitutes terrorism and “promoting” terrorist acts. The bill also empowers CSIS  to “disrupt” threats that undermine the security of Canada by “unlawful means” — including threats to “economic stability” or infrastructure. (Through two-days of questioning in Parliament, the Tories have repeatedly declined to provide specific examples of such threats.)

Law professors Craig Forcese and Kent Roach main concern is with the bill’s use of the word “unlawful”:

“Unlawful conduct does, of course, include blockades. It also reaches workplace strikes inconsistent with labour law and street protests lacking the proper regulatory permits. Put another way, unlawful does not mean criminal. It just means without lawful authority.”

And law professor Errol Mendes cautions in the Toronto Star:

“The law would effectively turn CSIS into a police force that can engage in acts that would otherwise be a violation of the Charter and the Canadian Constitution. All CSIS need do to use these new powers is secure a “disrupt threat” warrant from a judge, which would allow the agency to take a broad variety of actions to reduce any real or perceived threat to the security of Canada.”

Taking into account critics’ various concerns with the bill, it’s worth considering whether any of these actions would have put Canadians on the wrong side of the anti-terror law (Bill C-51):

  • How about a fracking protest? (Does that count as a disruption of “economic stability”?)

  • Or oilsands protests — whose organizers have already been targeted and profiled by government security agencies? As critics have pointed out, a Kinder Morgan pipeline blockade, while peaceful and non-violent, is technically “unlawful” — so could measures in the bill be used against organizers?

The parliamentary debate on the bill continues through Monday. You can’t get more Canadian or Conservative — at least a real Conservative — than that:

Photo: Occupy.comFacebook, FacebookWarrior PublicationsToronto Public LibraryWehwalt, CBC News, Facebook  

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Coming in April 2015: Disclosure Canada

Thanks, BP!

Check this out! Half a dozen speakers, including the Honourable Paul Hellyer, in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver.


The tour will focus on the past, present and future of the truth embargo on the extraterrestrial presence issue. Presenters will address the history of the ET truth embargo including the participation in this embargo by Canada and other Commonwealth nations.

 

 

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