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Secret Bans, Secret Trials: The Canadian ‘No-Fly’ Lists

Secret Bans, Secret Trials: The Canadian ‘No-Fly’ Lists

First in a series to help you participate in the federal consultation on national security.

[Editor’s note: The federal government’s consultation on national security provides a rare opportunity for Canadians to weigh in on critical issues like Bill C-51.

The government has released a Green Paper backgrounder to shape the consultations. But the B.C. Civil Liberties Association notes that “in the main, it reads like it was drafted by a public relations firm tasked with selling the current state of extraordinary, unaccountable powers and if anything, laying the groundwork for extending those even further.”

In response, the association has prepared its own series of Green Papers to help you consider an online submission to the national security consultation before the Dec.1 deadline. The Tyee is pleased to re-publish the series with permission from the BCCLA.]

The Conservatives’ Anti-Terrorism Act (Bill C-51) passed last year brought in the Secure Air Travel Act, which modifies the Canadian “no-fly” scheme (the Passenger Protect Program) to be more like the U.S. model.

People on one of the lists are not permitted to board airplanes (“no-fly”). People on another list are subjected to additional security scrutiny when they try to board airplanes (“slow fly”).

The minister of public safety establishes the lists. An individual can be put on the no-fly list if the minister has reasonable grounds to believe she will:

(a) Engage or attempt to engage in an act that would threaten transportation security; or

Travel by air for the purposes of committing certain terrorism offences as outlined in the Criminal Code.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Privacy Advocates Fear Bill C-51 Consultations Will Be Skewed

Privacy Advocates Fear Bill C-51 Consultations Will Be Skewed

Backgrounder on national security written to address policy concerns, not the public’s, says OpenMedia.

A Liberal government plan to hold public consultations on national security including changes to Bill C-51 is presented in a way that is biased in favour of police and other authorities, warns a privacy watchdog.

The controversial bill, also known as the Anti-Terrorism Act, has civil liberties groups concerned over how vaguely some aspects of the bill are worded and how easily it allows law enforcement to breach the privacy of citizens.

Brought in by the former Conservative government in 2015, critics also saidthe bill criminalizes non-violent free speech and creates a chill on freedom of expression.

Concern about oversight of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service under the bill was also raised.

On Thursday, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould announced wide-ranging consultations on national security, which will take place until Dec.1.

Ottawa said the consultations will “inform” any changes to national security policy while safeguarding Charter rights. The Liberals promised to repeal “problematic” parts of C-51 during the election campaign.

But David Christopher of the Internet rights group OpenMedia said the wording of the consultation’s backgrounder is biased in favour of law enforcement, for example often detailing how current legislation impedes law enforcement.

“Much of the explanatory information that is presented is really one-sided,” Christopher said. “We have all this background information written in a way that seems to address police concerns rather than what the public [is] most worried about.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Post Paris, Are Canada’s Internet Privacy Laws at Risk?

Post Paris, Are Canada’s Internet Privacy Laws at Risk?

Attacks may renew calls to go beyond Bill C-51 and restrict encryption technologies.

Vigil for Paris terrorist attacks

The Paris attacks have also escalated calls to reconsider plans to reform Canadian privacy and surveillance law, a key election promise from the Trudeau government. Photo by Garry Knight, Creative Commons licensed.

As the world grapples with the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, the policy implications for issues such as the acceptance of refugees and continued military participation in the fight against ISIL have come to the fore. The attacks have also escalated calls to reconsider plans to reform Canadian privacy and surveillance law, a key election promise from the Trudeau government.

Despite the temptation to slow the re-examination of Canadian privacy and surveillance policy, the government should stay the course. The Liberals voted for Bill C-51, the controversial anti-terror law, during the last Parliament, but promised changes to it if elected. Even in the face of a renewed terror threat, those changes remain essential and should not have an adverse impact on operational efforts to combat terror threats that might surface in Canada.

The Liberals promised to establish an all-party review mechanism similar to those found in many other countries that will bring members of Parliament into the oversight process. The Conservatives’ opposition to increased oversight was always puzzling since oversight alone does not create new limitations on surveillance activities. Rather, it helps ensure that Canada’s surveillance and police agencies operate within the law and restores public confidence in those entrusted with Canadian security.

The other Liberal commitments would similarly address oversight without curtailing surveillance powers. For example, the party promised to increase the powers of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and to add a mandatory three-year review provision to the law.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Canada Steps Out of Peacekeeper Role and into the Unknown

Canada Steps Out of Peacekeeper Role and into the Unknown

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), intelligence, and border surveillance agencies have drawn hundreds of millions of dollars to “combat terrorism” in a federal budget that made special reference to the murder of two Canadian soldiers in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa last October. While there is the impression that the current Canadian government has devoted a greater portion of its budgets to defense spending to expand the role of the Canadian military, in reality, the Conservatives have devoted far more relative attention and dollars to internal security. What is clearer is that Canada’s military has become a tool for the government’s self-promotion and for electoral grandstanding, as demonstrated by the way its recent deployments to the Middle East, in concert with Bill C-51, have been exploited.

An additional C$292.6 million over five years has been allocated to the RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), and the Canada Border Agency services to fight terrorism and intercept the financing of terrorist groups. This new funding is a response to criticism from the opposition, which argued that the Canadian law enforcement team was being ignored. As expected, the Conservatives have used the budget to give Canadians the impression of caring for their safety, while Finance Minister Joe Oliver reinforced the need for additional security measures, warning citizens that jihadists had “declared war on Canada and Canadians.”

The budget also includes C$12.5 million over five years to oversee intelligence services in order to address concerns from the NDP and the Liberals about the lack supervision measures in Bill C-51 – so called anti-terrorism legislation that was recently passed in the House. An additional C$94.4 million over the next five years was allotted to protect Canada’s infrastructure from cyber-attacks. Despite the grandstanding, some analysts suggest that the additional funds account for a mere five percent increase in Canada’s public security budget. Nonetheless, the Conservative government has framed the budget to appeal to people’s anxieties emanating from lingering international crises.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Want to Roll Back Bill C-51?

Want to Roll Back Bill C-51?

So does OpenMedia. Internet freedom group launches plan to ‘turn this debate on its head.’ First in a series.

It’s clear Canadians are deeply unhappy with the way the federal government views the privacy rights of its citizens. Last week, Bill C-51 passed in the House of Commons. It’s now before the Senate and is expected to become law within weeks.

This is a piece of legislation so extreme that experts say it will lead to widespread violations of our charter rights.

Today, OpenMedia, which advocates for more Internet freedom, is launching a privacy plan aimed at rolling back Bill C-51, ending government-supported surveillance and restoring the privacy rights of Canadians.

The report, entitled Canada’s Privacy Plan, was the result of a crowd-sourced survey that gathered input from more that 100,000 Canadians. More than 10,000 of you used thiscrowdsourcing tool to provide detailed input on how you want to tackle our privacy deficit.

Bill C-51 has been widely criticized by Canadian civil liberties advocates. Among other things, it permits federal departments to exchange the private information of Canadians, and makes it easier for police to restrict the movement of suspects.

But Bill C-51 is just one aspect of the alarming privacy deficit the government has created. In the last 12 months, we’ve seen stunning revelations about how the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSE) — the agency that collects foreign security intelligence from the Internet — is spying on Canadians’ private online activities and on private emails that Canadians send to members of Parliament.

And we’ve seen Justice Minister Peter MacKay’s online spying Bill C-13 become law, despite opposition from 3 in 4 Canadians.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Tech Leaders Worried about C-51? How Unpatriotic! At least, that’s how things appear to work in Tory MP Laurie Hawn’s world.

Tech Leaders Worried about C-51? How Unpatriotic!

At least, that’s how things appear to work in Tory MP Laurie Hawn’s world.

According to Conservative MP Laurie Hawn, if your company makes something that can be used to spread terrorist messages, then you are not a patriotic Canadian. If terrorists use the paper that your company makes to print flyers, or your phone company to connect to the web, your car company to deliver a note, or your oil company to fuel up that car, then Hawn appears to believe that you are a business that is, and Iquote:

“…profiting from the dispersal of this type of horrific material… [and] should seriously reconsider their business model and lack of commitment to the values that bind us as Canadians.”

By this reasoning, if terrorists use your ATM to pay for their printing or if they buy their stamps at your grocery store, then you are not loyal to your country. Do you hear that Canadian Tire, RIM, Bell, Rogers, GM Canada, Husky Oil, Loblaws, Royal Bank, TD, BMO, Telus, and every other business in Canada? You’re all on notice.

This is the message that the Conservative party is delivering to the executives, employees and shareholders of Canadian commercial enterprises. Hawn’s comments to business were made in response to an open letter penned by over 60 technology leaders, who wrote a thoughtful and critical assessment of the economic impact of the government’s controversial Spy Bill, C-51. These business leaders are standing with over 225,000 Canadians who are speaking out at StopC51.ca to call on the government to withdraw the bill.

It’s not clear why Hawn, who has never run a tech business, sees fit to advise some of Canada’s most successful Internet entrepreneurs on how technology operates in the contemporary economy and how that translates into patriotism.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Sorry Liberals, ‘Oversight’ Won’t Fix Menace of a Terror Bill

Sorry Liberals, ‘Oversight’ Won’t Fix Menace of a Terror Bill

Party’s position on C-51 is downright surreal, and solution to fix it equally flawed.

The House of Commons sent Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act, to the Senate on Wednesday, where it is expected to quickly pass and become law. One-hundred-and-eighty-three Conservatives and Liberals voted in favour, while 96 NDP, Greens and BQ members opposed.

Lurching to its inevitable outcome, the debate over C-51 began to resemble a bad play in which the actors find themselves trapped, fated to continually repeat the same lines. Conservative speakers were like the Walking Dead: insensible but still menacing. NDP and Green contributions were earnest but increasingly bewildered: did Conservative talking points on the bill ever intersect with reality?

The worst piece of demagoguery actually came not from the robotic ranks of the Harperites, but from Liberal Joyce Murray, who asked an NDP MP “whether he would want it on his conscience should there be an attack that leads to deaths of Canadians because of the loopholes that the bill is attempting to fix?”

The Liberal position on C-51 is downright surreal. Liberals voted for a bill they argue is so flawed that it will be necessary to elect a Liberal government to rectify its problems. Like John Kerry on Iraq, they were for it before they were against it, but in their case they were already against it when they were for it, and vice versa. No wonder Pat Martin of the NDP referred to the Liberals twisting themselves into pretzels.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Bill C-51 passes in House of Commons

Bill C-51 passes in House of Commons

Passed third reading by a margin of 183 to 96

The federal government’s controversial new anti-terrorism bill has won the approval of the House of Commons.

The Anti-Terrorism Act, also known as Bill C-51, easily passed third reading by a margin of 183 to 96, thanks to the Conservative government’s majority and the promised support of the third-party Liberals.

The legislation gives the Canadian Security Intelligence Service more power to thwart suspected terrorist plots — not just gather information about them.

It also increases the exchange of federal security information, broadens no-fly list powers and creates a new criminal offence of encouraging someone to carry out a terrorist attack.

In addition, the bill makes it easier for the RCMP to obtain a peace bond to restrict the movements of suspects and extend the amount of time they can be kept in preventative detention.

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney has said the legislation is required to keep Canadians safe from jihadi-inspired attacks like those that claimed the lives of two soldiers in attacks just days apart last October.

Opponents of the bill have denounced the idea of allowing CSIS to go beyond gathering information to actively derailing suspected schemes.

A range of interests — civil libertarians, environmental groups and the federal privacy commissioner — have expressed grave concerns about the information-sharing provisions, saying they could open the door to abuses.

Prior to the vote, the Opposition New Democrats voted noisily — and in vain — in favour of proposed amendments that they say would have added a level of oversight and stronger privacy protections, among other things.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

Bill C-51 opposition tweeted by Margaret Atwood, Sarah Harmer

Bill C-51 opposition tweeted by Margaret Atwood, Sarah Harmer

Liberals say they’ll vote in favour of Bill C-51, despite hoping for changes

Canadian author Margaret Atwood and singer-songwriter Sarah Harmer are voicing complaints about the Conservatives’ proposed anti-terrorism bill, asking Liberal MPs from their communities to vote against it.

In particular, Harmer and Atwood have got their backs up over the Liberals’ pledge to support the bill, despite saying they would change it if they win power in next fall’s election.

“[Prime Minister Stephen Harper] is attacking our rights & freedoms,” Atwood tweeted at Toronto MP Adam Vaughan, a Liberal.

“Please do the right thing and #voteagainstC51.”

Harmer retweeted Atwood’s message, tagging Kingston, Ont., Liberal MP Ted Hsu.

 

The NDP and the Green Party oppose C-51, which has gone through the committee stage in the House of Commons and is set to return to the floor of the House next week.

The legislation is a late-bloomer in this session, having been tabled less than a year before the 2015 election.

The NDP is using procedural tactics to delay the bill and has tabled 66 deletion motions which could, depending on how the votes are grouped, slow the House agenda. The party is also asking its supporters to go directly to Liberal MPs to tell them to vote against the bill.

Sweeping powers

Opponents argue the pendulum has swung too far toward security and away from civil liberties.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

 

What You’ll Have to Do to Stay Under the Radar if Bill C-51 Becomes Law

What You’ll Have to Do to Stay Under the Radar if Bill C-51 Becomes Law

Bill C-51 is an omnibus anti-terrorism bill that grants CSIS new information sharing powers and converts CSIS from a covertintelligence gathering organization to acovert enforcement agency.

No wonder Canadians don’t know what the heck is going on!

Ms. Soapbox is here to offer four simple suggestions to keep you out of trouble when Stephen Harper’s majority government finally passes this monstrous piece of legislation.

Get off the grid: Communicate by pencil and paper. Buy a manual typewriter. Stop posting snarky things about Harper on Facebook and Twitter. You don’t want to be identified as a troublemaker and your life will become a nightmare if you’re caught in a CSIS “disruption” operation (see below).

No more rallies, demonstrations, protests or sit-ins: Avoid any form of protest or civil disobedience, especially those organized by environmental or Aboriginal groups.

Why? Because unless you know for certain that the demo organizers got the municipal permits they need to congregate, wave signs or chain themselves to inanimate objects, the protest is not “lawful advocacy, protest or artistic expression” and as such is not immune from CSIS scrutiny (subject to Craig Forcese’s comments below).

If you’re hellbent on camping out with Occupy, waving a placard in the freezing cold outside the Legislature, staging a sit-in at your MP’s constituency office, or going on a wildcat strike, be warned that that your information may be shared with up to 17 government agencies and “any person, for any purpose” (Putin?) if CSIS thinks such activity “undermines the security of Canada” because unlawful protests are not exempt from the information sharing provision.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Bill C-51 ‘Day of Action’ protests denounce new policing powers

Bill C-51 ‘Day of Action’ protests denounce new policing powers

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May join protests in Montreal, Toronto

Protests are underway across Canada against the government’s proposed anti-terrorism legislation, which would give police much broader powers and allow them to detain terror suspects and give new powers to Canada’s spy agency.

NDP leader Tom Mulcair joined hundreds In Montreal in a march through the city. One protester held up a poster saying “C-51 is an act of terror,” while others carried red “Stop Harper” signs.

The protest was expected to end in front of the riding office ofLiberal Leader Justin Trudeau. Trudeau has said his caucus will vote in favour of the bill.

NDP MPs Craig Scott and Linda Duncan were part of the crowd gathered outside Canada Place in downtown Edmonton. Some placards called the bill “criminalization of dissent” and warned “big brother is watching you.”

Protesters said they are worried the bill will be used to harass or silence critics of government’s environmental and aboriginal policies.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

When Growth Trumps Freedom: the Chill in Canada Comes from our Government, not the Weather

When Growth Trumps Freedom: the Chill in Canada Comes from our Government, not the Weather

With the introduction of Canada’s so-called “secret police” bill, there is increasing concern the rights of the oil patch will trump the rights of ordinary citizens in a new and chilling way–through the kinds of fear tactics you’d sooner expect in Soviet Russia than a western liberal democracy.

Sound like exaggeration? Please prove me wrong.

Bill C-51 would give Canadian national security and intelligence forces the right to monitor ordinary citizens, and even detain them for up to seven days at a time if they are perceived to “interfere with the economic or financial stability of Canada or with the country’s critical infrastructure.” This includes what the government has branded the “anti-petroleum” movement, whose participants have been labelled ‘extremists’ by the Prime Minister and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The legislation would subject environmental activists to increased surveillance and intimidation under the guise of preventing terrorism. I wonder how, exactly, a government with strong ties to the oil patch will define ‘economic or financial stability.’

The truly chilling development as a result of Bill C-51 is that a citizen doesn’t have to actually organize a demonstration to trigger the use of new powers. Under this legislation, the agency simply has to suspectthat you might do something that interferes with ‘critical infrastructure’ in order to monitor you or pay you a visit.

By stifling free speech and democratic engagement, this effort demonstrates just how far some will go in order to cling to an aging growth-at-all-costs narrative–absurdly pitting human beings against one another and against the planet itself. At worst, this is carbon-fuelled neoliberal fanaticism disguised as pragmatic politics, given that the oil sands contribute about 2% to Canada’s GDP.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Edward Snowden Calls Canadian Intelligence Oversight Among ‘Weakest’ In Western World

Edward Snowden Calls Canadian Intelligence Oversight Among ‘Weakest’ In Western World

U.S. National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden criticized the inadequate oversight of Canada’s intelligence operations on Wednesday, calling its framework “one of the weakest” in the Western world.

In a live chat moderated by CBC Radio host Anna Maria Tremonti, Snowden touched on the topic of mass surveillance and its potential impacts on Canadians’ civil liberties.

“Canadian intelligence has one of the weakest oversight frameworks out of any Western intelligence agency in the world,” Snowden said in a video link from Russia.

 

“It’s pretty amazing that we have the Canadian government trying to block the testimony of former prime ministers, you know, who’ve had access to classified information, who understand the value of these programs.”

Four of the country’s former prime ministers — Paul Martin, Jean Chrétien, Joe Clark, and John Turner — added their voices to the debate last month, calling for increased oversight over Canadian intelligence to balance proposed sweeping changes in Bill C-51.

They pointed out the “lack of a robust and integrated accountability regime” impedes their overall effectiveness, making it difficult to meaningfully assess the efficacy and legality of Canada’s national security agencies.”

“This poses serious problems for public safety and for human rights,” they said in a statement.

 

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Let’s Not Sacrifice Freedom Out Of Fear

Let’s Not Sacrifice Freedom Out Of Fear

A scientist, or any knowledgeable person, will tell you climate change is a serious threat for Canada and the world. But theRCMP has a different take. A secret report by the national police force, obtained by Greenpeace, both minimizes the threat of global warming and conjures a spectre of threats posed by people who rightly call for sanity in dealing with problems caused by burning fossil fuels.

The RCMP report has come to light as federal politicians debate the “anti-terrorism” Bill C-51. Although the act wouldn’t apply to “lawful advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression,” its language echoes the tone of the RCMPreport. It would give massive new powers to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to prevent any person or group from “undermining the security of Canada,” including “interference with critical infrastructure” and the “economic or financial stability of Canada.” And it would seriously infringe on freedom of speech and expression. The new CSIS powers would lack necessary public oversight.

The RCMP report specifically names Greenpeace, Tides Canada and the Sierra Club as part of “a growing, highly organized and well-financed anti-Canada petroleum movement that consists of peaceful activists, militants and violent extremists who are opposed to society’s reliance on fossil fuels.” The report downplays climate change, calling it a “perceived environmental threat” and saying members of the “international anti-Canadian petroleum movement … claim that climate change is now the most serious global environmental threat and that climate change is a direct consequence of elevated anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions which, reportedly, are directly linked to the continued use of fossil fuels.” It also makes numerous references to anti-petroleum and indigenous “extremists”.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Bill C-51 aims to ‘remove terrorist propaganda’ from internet

Bill C-51 aims to ‘remove terrorist propaganda’ from internet

Free speech, privacy concerns raised about anti-terrorism bill’s internet clauses

The anti-terrorism bill unveiled Friday by Prime Minister Stephen Harper includes a section that gives his government the power “to order the removal of terrorist propaganda” from the internet.

That would still require a judicial order, as well as the attorney general’s support to push for the removal of such web content.

If the proposed legislation becomes law, a judge could order an internet service provider, or the “custodian” of “the computer system,” to remove web content the judge considers terrorist propaganda.

Government backgrounders on Bill C-51 point out that the Criminal Code already permits the removal or seizure of hate propaganda or child pornography.

The Department of Justice says the draft legislation is similar to laws that already exist in the United Kingdom and Australia.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

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