The Canadian Library Association yesterday released a statement on Bill C-51, the Canadian government's proposed new anti-terrorism bill
"We are especially concerned that this bill is proceeding through the
parliamentary process much too quickly for it to be fully analyzed and
debated in terms of its implications for these important Canadian
"The CLA therefore urges the government, with respect to Bill C-51, to:
- Incorporate considerably greater restrictions and independent oversight into the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act provisions.
- Limit and clarify the kinds of expression that would be criminalized or restricted as 'terrorist propaganda.'
- Allow Parliament to fully examine and properly debate the bill’s
provisions, giving as much time as needed for all appropriate
"Bill C-51 was introduced in Parliament only on January 30, 2015, and passed at Second Reading already on February 23. While terrorism is a current concern for Canadians and frequently appears in newspaper headlines, there is no clear emergency requiring such rapid passage of this legislation.
Furthermore, when very strong cautions about this bill are delivered in an open letter by more than a hundred law professors from across the country, and in another by four former Prime Ministers and a range of former Supreme Court justices, cabinet ministers and officers of Parliament, and when the current federal Privacy Commissioner expresses grave concerns, Canadians rightly expect the government to allow Parliament to fully examine and properly debate this bill that has so many implications for the privacy of Canadians and their freedom of expression – whether or not it can be passed before Parliament’s summer recess."
"The CLA urges Parliament to insist on extensive consultations and hearings on Bill C-51 to ensure that all relevant knowledge, opinions, and perspectives can be heard and considered. As well, we urge the government, based on such testimony, to amend Bill C-51 if the evidence suggests that the bill in its present form is not in the best interest of both public safety and the democratic freedoms cherished by Canadians."
It is possible to follow the progress of the bill through Parliament
by going to the LEGISinfo website. The page for Bill C-51 also contains links to speeches in Parliament, and material from parliamentary committee hearings. Backgrounders with the substantive reasoning explaining why the government believes the legislation is needed to protect Canadians
is also available on LEGISinfo.
Labels: government of Canada, legislation, libraries, library associations, terrorism