Dozens of people gathered by Nelson’s court house this afternoon to protest Bill C-51, which critics are calling the federal government’s new “secret police” law.
Nelson’s Nigel Methuen, 20, organized the local protest when he learned of the bill, which is known as the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015.
“The bill is quite disturbing and has the potential to be used against activists,” said Methuen. “I believe this will be used against indigenous people protecting their land from pipelines, which they have the right to do.”
Bill C-51 is proposed legislation to amend over a dozen Canadian laws, including the Criminal Code, to permit Canadian government agencies to share information about individuals with ease, and broadens the mandate of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. It is the first comprehensive reform of this kind since 2001 and was introduced by the Conservative party.
The protest in Nelson is part of a national day of action, with more than 55 cities across Canada hosting events.
While concerns with Bill C-51 are diverse, supporting organizations believe that the bill is reckless, dangerous and ineffective.
“We’re seeing a growing upswell of everyday Canadians who are standing up to defend the freedoms necessary for a democratic society,” said Jamie Biggar, campaigns director at Leadnow.ca, Canada’s largest pro-democracy advocacy organization.
The coalition is being coordinated and supported by Leadnow.ca, the BCGEU and OpenMedia.ca, with local leaders from across the country. Amnesty International has recently voiced its concern as well.
For more information: action.stopc51.ca.