TREW: C-51 hearings begin in Ottawa. We'll be watching.

TREW: C-51 hearings begin in Ottawa. We'll be watching.

Postby Oscar » Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:48 am

TREW: C-51 hearings begin in Ottawa. We'll be watching.

[ http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/behind- ... e-watching ]

By Stuart Trew | March 11, 2015

Public attention in Canada is appropriately focused on proposed omnibus security legislation (Bill C-51) [ http://www.parl.gc.ca/legisinfo/BillDet ... e=E&Mode=1 ] that, from most expert accounts, [ http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/02/27 ... r-kill-it/ ] appears to unnecessarily weaken privacy protections [ https://openmedia.ca/blog/canadas-priva ... ainst-c-51 ] and threaten civil liberties [ http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/amne ... activists/ ] to give Canada's spy agencies, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP in particular, new powers of preventative arrest and the ability to disrupt potential terrorist activities (through illegal means if a court warrant will allow it).

The government had wanted to rush C-51 through Parliament, but public and parliamentary opposition [ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/pol ... e23212818/ ] forced the Conservatives to hold nine committee hearings (rather than the three they originally proposed). Those hearings began today, [ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/pol ... e23212818/ ] with Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, Attorney General Peter MacKay, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, and CSIS Director Michel Coulombe fielding most questions from the all-party (minus the Greens) standing committee on public safety and national security.

Though the CCPA does not have a full-time security expert on staff, we wanted to contribute to the important debate on C-51, and decided that a compendium of these hearings -- the testimony presented and the response of government and opposition MPs -- could be useful to the public. Rather than explaining each issue and argument outright, we'll hyperlink to those who can do it better. That will include links to presentations to the committee (where they're available), news articles, videos and anything else that seems relevant. Before getting to yesterday's hearing, a bit about why C-51 is so controversial.

The legislation is criticized for broadly expanding the definition of what constitutes a threat to Canada's national security (for the purposes of information sharing between government departments and with foreign states [ https://www.hilltimes.com/news/news/201 ... nada/41264 ] in a way that could put innocent people's security and privacy at risk), creating a new offence related to encouraging acts of terrorism that could put a chill on free speech, [ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-de ... e22799859/ ] lowering the threshold for when someone can be detained, on a hunch they "may" (versus "will") commit a terrorist act, and for when they can be placed on Canada's "no-fly" list (without making it any easier to have your name removed), [ http://www.amnesty.ca/news/news-release ... fall-short ] and mandating CSIS to take measures at home or abroad to disrupt potential terrorist acts, http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/02/17 ... ederated=1 ] [ a power Canadian spies have not had since the 1970s. [ https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publi ... xis-affair ]

For an excellent summary of the legislation, and its many problems, see this recent post by the Voices-Voix coalition [ http://voices-voix.ca/en/facts/profile/ ... m-act-2015 ] and a primer by lawyers Clayton Ruby and Nader Hasan [ https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publi ... gal-primer ] in the March issue of the CCPA Monitor. [ https://www.policyalternatives.ca/monitor/index.php ] Legal experts Kent Roach and Craig Forcese are contributing regular critical commentary on Bill C-51 (and have just released a useful list of proposed amendments) [ http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm? ... id=2576202 ] on their joint website [ http://www.antiterrorlaw.ca ].

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Re: TREW: C-51 hearings begin in Ottawa. We'll be watching.

Postby Oscar » Sat Mar 14, 2015 8:20 am

Civil liberties, First Nation rights compromised by C-51, committee hears

[ http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/behind- ... -committee ]

By Stuart Trew | March 13, 2015

Part one of yesterday's two-part committee hearing into the Anti-Terrorism Act 2015 (C-51) [ http://www.parl.gc.ca/legisinfo/BillDet ... e=E&Mode=1 ] wrapped up with five of six witnesses opposing many aspects of the legislation for their potential impacts on civil liberties, the right to protest (without fear of surveillance, or being labelled a terrorist), and possible legal violations of First Nations rights, in both the democratic process (lack of consultation) and substance of C-51.

But the day started off with a CBC article [ http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/bill-c- ... 65?cmp=rss ] wondering why Canada's privacy commissioner, Daniel Therrien, has still not been invited to present. There was some back and forth about it at committee on Tuesday, [ http://behindthenumbers.ca/2015/03/10/c ... Numbers%29 ] with Public Safety Minister Blaney telling MPs his office had consulted Therrien and intends to meet with him, and that there are "embedded mechanisms in Bill-C51 … such as the privacy impact assessment, that will apply to the measures planned in this bill."

But look at Therrien's written submission to committee [ https://www.priv.gc.ca/parl/2015/parl_sub_150305_e.asp ] and you quickly realize the legislation is dripping with language that undermines the privacy of just about anyone in Canada, not just people who pose an alleged threat of committing a terrorist act. Michael Geist of the University of Ottawa says the bill should be renamed the "Anti-Privacy Bill" for its "evisceration of privacy protection." The privacy commissioner makes five recommendations for safeguards for the types of information that can be shared between the 17 government agencies listed (and with foreign governments), for example that it meet the necessity standard rather than the relevance standard proposed, and that the information be destroyed quickly if it is not useful.

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