TORONTO – Thousands of demonstrators have united across Canada to take action against proposed anti-terrorism legislation known as Bill C-51, which would expand the powers of police and the nation’s spy agency, especially when it comes to detaining terror suspects, media sources reported.
In Toronto, an estimated 2,000 people came out to Nathan Phillips Square to join the countrywide protests billed as the ‘National Day of Action’ to stop Bill C-51.
Protesters then marched to Canadian Security Intelligence Service office in downtown Toronto. “This bill is reckless, dangerous and ineffective”, said protestor Maya Bhullar, a civil liberty activist.
“People from the Muslim community, environmentalists, concerned citizens, people who care about our civil liberties, we’re very nervous about expanding police powers with very little oversight, she added.”
The proposed bill would give the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, CSIS, the ability to actively disrupt terror plots, expand no-fly list powers and allow police to have greater control in limiting the movement of a suspect.
Critics of Bill C-51 say it would greatly expand the powers of CSIS, to the point where it will create a “secret police force” and that it lacks appropriate oversight.
The government introduced Bill C-51 in January and it is currently before House public safety committee. According to StopC51.ca, “Canadians have spoken out in over 70 communities across the country.”
From his side, human rights lawyer Paul Copeland called C-51 the “most dangerous act” since the War Measures Act of 1970. — SM/IINA