LETTERS: C-51 an election issue

We must remove Harper and rebuild the Canada he is dismantling.” I know who I’m going to vote for. Do you?

After attending the public forum to oppose Bill C-51 in Kelowna, Bob Nicholson of Penticton said the intent of the bill was “to reassure fearful Canadians.”

I guess it’s some kind of accident that through its content, the bill “makes disagreeing with the government a crime.”

In Nicholson’s view, Justin Trudeau voted for C-51 because he approved the intent.  As for the content, he promised to amend it if he forms a government after October.

Because Thomas Mulcair also promised to amend the bill, Nicholson, ex-journalist and self-described Liberal political activist, wants us to think Trudeau is no different from Mulcair.  He wants us to believe “Trudeau is not the enemy.”

There are numerous problems with this story.  First, C-51 does more than criminalize dissent.  James Cowan, leader of the Liberal Senate opposition, wrote to me about the many witnesses who appeared before the Senate National Security and Defence Committee –  “[They] identified major problems with the bill, including unprecedented provisions that threaten fundamental rights of Canadians – privacy rights, and even fundamental rights and freedoms under the Charter.  At the same time, witnesses questioned whether in fact the bill would actually make Canadians safer.

“Moreover, the bill would create these new controversial powers without providing for the critical oversight of those powers – oversight that is accepted and indeed valued, including by the police and intelligence services, in other Western democracies around the world.”

Second, Trudeau himself told us why he voted for this exceptionally dangerous bill.  He said Harper would attack any opponent as being ‘soft on terrorism’.  He didn’t want that accusation in an election year.

Whereas Trudeau accepted an undemocratic police state to obtain some political comfort, the Senate Liberals are signalling rebellion.  Cowan wrote –  “If the government refuses to strike a more reasonable balance between security and liberty, and to provide appropriate parliamentary oversight, I will vote against the bill . . . . [M]any, if not most of my Senate Liberal Caucus colleagues will do the same.”

Third, what makes Mulcair different from Trudeau is that he voted against C-51.  He’s since declared he’ll repeal it completely if he forms a government.

Nicholson and I agree on one point: “In October, Canadians will face the most important choice in a generation. We must remove Harper and rebuild the Canada he is dismantling.” I know who I’m going to vote for.  Do you?

Dianne Varga

Kelowna