By James Ferguson
March 4, 2015
A Charlottetown community/peace activist says a security bill now working its way through Parliament would unleash the Canadian Security and Intelligence Services on a lot more than terrorists.
Leo Broderick said Bill C-51 creates new powers for CSIS to stop any activity that undermines the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of Canada.
Unfortunately, he said, many of these include people who wouldn’t exactly be called terrorists to most.
“Environmental activists denounced as radicals by a cabinet minister could be considered on par with how terrorism works, according to how the bill works.”
Political science professor Don Desserud said Bill C-51 would allow CSIS to take measures within or outside of Canada to reduce threats to the security, but it doesn’t spell out exactly what those measures could be.
“When first read, it seems CSIS can do anything except for bodily harm, assassination or sexual abuse but it does not rule out physical threats or psychological intimidation.”
Desserud said this bill could really hurt Canada’s reputation as a free country.
“If Harper believes this can help Canada, no one should just take his word on it and move on. People need to read up on what can happen and ask around.”
The new bill would give CSIS the power to interfere with travel plans and financial transactions. They would also change direction the delivery of materials thought to be dangerous. CSIS is only allowed currently to collect intelligence and pass it on to the RCMP.
The new bill would also expand the no-fly list. This means the government could add anyone to the no-fly list if they believe the person might be travelling to engage in terrorism.
People could also be sentenced for up to five years in prison if they promote terrorism.