Questions about Bill C51: Candidate Answers and Responses

The following are answers to RMCLA questions concenring Bill C51 from various candidates in Alberta’s federal ridings for the upcoming election on Oct. 19th, 2015. The responses have been received as of Oct 18, 2015. The entire set of questions can be viewed at: http://rmcla.ca/blog/?p=359.

____________________________________________________________________

A Liberal government will repeal the most offensive parts of C-51. Liberals have advocated a balanced approach that will keep Canadians safe, and protect their rights and liberties. We believe that our security and intelligence agencies require enhanced powers to help keep Canadians safe. We also believe in robust accountability and oversight of these agencies to protect Canadians and prevent them from being fearful of how these measures are being used.

• Canadians expect their government to do two things at the same time – protect their security, and defend their rights and freedoms.
• The Liberal Party of Canada supports C-51 because it contains significant measures that will keep Canadians safe.
• There are, however, understandable concerns with Bill C-51, and we share them. Liberals are committed to immediately fixing the problematic measures in C-51 to ensure adequate parliamentary oversight, mandatory legislative review, and that definitions with overly broad scope are narrowed to prevent misuse.
• As Liberals, we will not play the politics of fear. Conservatives stoke fears of terrorist attacks and propose legislation without consultation. The NDP plays up fear for various communities, environmentalists, and First Nations – with no plan to protect the security of Canadians.

Additional messaging:

• Liberals introduced a number of amendments to address concerns with Bill C-51, but the Conservatives refused to address the main problems with the legislation.
• Any government asking its citizens to give up even a small portion of their liberty must legislate safeguards so that these powers are not abused.
Further, a Liberal government will ensure that Canada has a robust plan for preventing radicalization before it takes root, in order to effectively protect Canadians’ public safety and prevent potential attacks.

The Liberal Party of Canada has a strong track record on legislation addressing terrorism. We brought in the first anti-terrorism legislation after the 9/11 attacks and support reasonable provisions for our security services.

To date, much commentary and analysis of the legislation in the public sphere has focused on measures related to cross-government information sharing, Criminal Code amendments including lowering the thresholds for terrorism-related peace bonds and a new offence of knowingly advocating or promoting terrorism, and expanding the mandate of CSIS—so-called “threat disruption activities”.

Concerns about these three measures focus mostly on the fact that the legislation is absent on oversight and accountability. The legislation fails to create any new mandatory statutory reviews or aParliamentary oversight committee as exists in our “Five Eyes” partners). There is no enhanced civilian oversight, or any real expansion of the review processes for SIRC or the RCMP. The bill is entirely silent on the intelligence gathering activities of CSE – the Communications Security Establishment.

There are also gaps in in terms of funding, and the RCMP Commissioner has stated that moving resources to address terrorism means that other important criminal investigations, such as organized crime and narcotics, do not have sufficient resources. The supplementary funding contained in Budget 2015 for security agencies is back-loaded and pales in comparison to what the Conservatives are spending on vanity advertising. The legislation is also silent on any additional training that may be required for the enhanced operational mandate provided to CSIS by Part 4 of the Act.

Cam Stewart, Liberal Candidate – Calgary Forest Lawn

____________________________________________________________________

As the federal NDP candidate in Lethbridge, I can assure you that the NDP will repeal bill C-51. You can be confident in this statement because the NDP is the only party that voted against this bill and has held firm that it violates civil liberties.

Kind regards, Cheryl Meheden, NDP Lethbridge

____________________________________________________________________

Please find the Liberal amendments here (https://www.liberal.ca/files/2015/03/C-51.pdf) for your ease of reference.

Brendan Miles, Liberal Part of Canada, Calgary Heritage

____________________________________________________________________

Due to the nature of campaigning I am not be able to give your questions the full time that they deserve.  Though I will leave you with this:

http://www.ndp.ca/repeal-c-51 and this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLVYG88AEKE

I believe we can have both liberty and security together.

Guy Desforges, Sturgeon River – Parkland Canidate
Le NPD du Canada | Canada’s New Democrats
____________________________________________________________________

The balance that must be struck between security concerns and personal liberties is a question of vital importance to all Canadians and an issue to which all candidates must beheld to account.

Bill C-51, while making Canadians safer in some ways, has some problematic elements that must and will be addressed by a new Liberal government. It is a far-from-perfect bill. We will repeal the problematic elements of Bill C-51, and introduce new legislation that better balances our collective security with our rights and freedoms.

We will introduce new legislation that will, among other measures:

  • Guarantee that all Canadian Security Intelligence Service warrants respect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
  • Ensure that Canadians are not limited from lawful protests and advocacy;
  • Require that government review all appeals by Canadians on the no-fly list;
  • Narrow overly broad definitions, such as defining “terrorist propaganda” more clearly;
  • Limit Communications Security Establishment’s powers by requiring a warrant to engage in the surveillance of Canadians;
  • Require a statutory review of the full Anti-Terrorism Act after three years; and
  • Prioritize community outreach and counter-radicalization, by creating the Office of the Community Outreach and Counter-radicalization Coordinator.

Additionally, currently Parliament does not have oversight of our national security agencies, making Canada the sole nation among our Five Eyes allies whose elected officials cannot scrutinize security operations. This leaves the public uninformed and unrepresented on critical issues. We will create an all-party committee to monitor and oversee the operations of every government department and agency with national security responsibilities.

Canadians know that in Canada, we can both improve our security while protecting our rights and freedoms. Kent Hehr, Justin Trudeau, and the Liberal Party are committed to doing just that.

Ben Charland, Communications Lead, Kent Hehr for Calgary Centre

____________________________________________________________________

I support Thomas Mulcair. I do not support Bill C-51, another bill passed through the house in haste by Mr. Harper without reaching out to experts to properly examine it.

Cam Alexis, NDP Candidate Peace River – Westlock

____________________________________________________________________

Thank you for the opportunity to respond – and although my answers may not encapsulate your specific inquiry – it will speak to the values and priorities of the Liberal Party of Canada regarding Bill C-51 in general.

We will repeal the problematic elements of Bill C-51, and introduce new legislation that better balances our collective security with our rights and freedoms.

Canadians know that in Canada, we can both improve our security while protecting our rights and freedoms.

We will introduce new legislation that will, among other measures:

•guarantee that all Canadian Security Intelligence Service warrants respect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
•establish an all-party national security oversight committee;
•ensure that Canadians are not limited from lawful protests and advocacy;
•require that government review all appeals by Canadians on the no-fly list;
•narrow overly broad definitions, such as defining “terrorist propaganda” more clearly;
•limit Communications Security Establishment’s powers by requiring a warrant to engage in the surveillance of Canadians;
•require a statutory review of the full Anti-Terrorism Act after three years; and
•prioritize community outreach and counter-radicalization, by creating the Office of the Community Outreach and Counter-radicalization Coordinator.

As this legislation is tabled in Parliament, we will launch broad public consultations, to engage and seek the input of Canadians and subject-matter experts.

Regards, Jacqueline Biollo, Liberal Party of Canada, Edmonton–Wetaskiwin

____________________________________________________________________

The NDP were the only party with the conviction to stand up to Bill C-51 in the House of Commons, unsuccessfully voting against it, while the Conservatives rammed it through Parliament with the support of the Liberals, despite opposition from the majority of Canadians. Tom Mulcair and the NDP took a very strong and principled stand against Bill C-51, a position which was supported by four previous Canadian Prime Ministers. The NDP identified that the legislation had much more to do with the politics of fear and division than with keeping Canadians safe.

While this bill was being debated in the parliament, the NDP rejected some of the most controversial provisions, including the new disruption powers to be extended to CSIS, the lowered threshold for preventive detention and vague new definitions that could lump dissent in with violent extremism. The party also put forward substantive amendments, including:

  • Restoring the position of CSIS inspector general, which was abolished in 2012.
  • Regular reports to the House by the Security Intelligence Review Committee.
  • Stricter limits on information-sharing provisions to cover only terrorism.
  • Stronger privacy protections throughout the bill
  • Sunset clauses and mandatory review requirements.

Our party has made it clear during this campaign that we would repeal Bill C-51 because it weakens the fundamental freedoms of every Canadian and this is a view that I wholeheartedly support. I believe that there are ways to keep Canadians safe and protect our great country without jeopardizing our freedoms and core elements of our democracy, which C-51 does.

Alison Thompson,  NDP, Foothills

____________________________________________________________________

The NDP voted against Bill C-51. We do not believe in warrantless access, unless in limited emergency situations, mass surveillance, or expanding powers of CSIS, especially without strong oversight and accountability mechanisms, which do not currently exist.

I think we can all agree that terrorism is a very real threat.  But we need to be very careful with how we move forward.  Stephen Harper keeps giving us a false choice—one that tells us that we need to give up our rights to be safe. Bill C-51 was condemned by legal experts, civil liberties advocates, privacy commissioners, First Nations leadership and business leaders, for the threats it poses to our rights and freedoms, and our economy.

New Democrats know that free societies are safe societies, and we will keep fighting for your rights and freedoms.  I do not support C-51 and an NDP lead government will repeal the bill.

Sincerely, Kyall for Re-elect Linda Duncan campaign

____________________________________________________________________

The Politics of fear, has driven this agenda and Bill C-51 is an exaggerated response to an exaggerated fear.
We would repeal it. If we need additional legislation to add security it will be written, but not at the expense of personal rights and freedoms.

Thomas Mulcair is the only leader who has said he would not require women wearing a Niqab to remove it during a citizenship ceremony. If Canadians truly enjoy personal rights and freedoms (including speech, assembly, expression, and religion) then new people coming to our country should enjoy the same freedoms.

Doug Hart, Red Deer Lacombe NDP

____________________________________________________________________

The NDP voted against Bill C-51. We do not believe in warrantless access, unless in limited emergency situations, mass surveillance, or expanding powers of CSIS, especially without strong oversight and accountability mechanisms, which do not currently exist.

I think we can all agree that terrorism is a very real threat.  But we need to be very careful with how we move forward.  Stephen Harper keeps giving us a false choice—one that tells us that we need to give up our rights to be safe. Bill C-51 was condemned by legal experts, civil liberties advocates, privacy commissioners, First Nations leadership and business leaders, for the threats it poses to our rights and freedoms, and our economy.

New Democrats know that free societies are safe societies, and we will keep fighting for your rights and freedoms.  I do not support C-51 and an NDP lead government will repeal the bill.

Thank you, Katherine Swampy, NDP

____________________________________________________________________

Firstly, thanks for writing on the important issue of C-51. I have committed to answering every single email I receive during the campaign, especially from constituents and am finding myself a little backed up. Because of this it may take me another day or two to get back to you, especially on such a complex issue with such in depth questions, but know I am going to respond to you soon, but in the mean time you can check out my blog post on C-51 found at http://jeffreyrock.liberal.ca/bill-c-51-stephen-harpers-anti-terrorism-legislation/

Rev. Jeff Rock, Liberal Party of Canada, Candidate for Red Deer-Lacombe

____________________________________________________________________

The answer is to repeal Bill C-51.

Abdou Souraya for Calgary Forest Lawn Riding | Canada’s New Democrats

This entry was posted in Access to Information, Freedom of Expression, Right to Privacy, Rule of Law. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.