The ICLMG simply cannot support Bill C-22 in its current form. Not only will it not create a Committee of Parliamentarians capable of real and strong oversight over our national security apparatus, its mere creation will give Canadians the impression that proper parliamentary oversight exists - which will not be the case.
In 2011, the government introduced a ministerial directive that allows, under exceptional circumstances, for information garnered under torture by a foreign country to be transmitted to and used by Canadian security agencies. These kinds of directives play a clear role in perpetuating human rights abuses.
Canadians have spoken out loudly against Bill C-51. Last year, hundreds of gatherings took place across Canada, and Canadians clearly showed and expressed their concerns about its contents and the extensive, unjustified powers it grants to security agencies. So, why is the Liberal government conducting consultations?
On the anniversary of filing a Charter challenge to Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression is calling on Canadians to send a message to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government that it's past time to restore our constitutional freedoms and repeal the unconstitutional aspects of this dangerous and ineffective legislation.
Today, the political landscape has changed. We have a government that promised to conduct public hearings on several issues and to listen attentively to the demands of the population. Nevertheless, when it comes to solid gestures and courageous actions, there seems no political appetite to tackle Bill C-51.
With additional extraordinary powers granted to CSIS since the passing of Bill C51, one only can wonder whether these visits are becoming the norm rather than the exceptions. The disruption powers included in Bill C-51 allow CSIS to seize documents or computers, enter people's properties, spy on them without a judicial warrant.
Immediately, after the Brussels attacks, an engineering student from the University of Waterloo was arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Even if the Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale went out publicly and declared that Canada isn't under any additional or specific terrorist threats, the RCMP decided to choose to arrest the suspect during a time of fear.
Ill-conceived measures, like the no-fly list must be made smarter so they do not target the innocent. Otherwise, they have the ironic potential to actually erode our national security by alienating those they single out and stigmatize. But the way the no-fly list works, with a total lack of transparency and overwhelmingly targeting just one group -- Muslims -- feelings of alienation and powerlessness are exactly what the no-fly list is causing.
The government's appeal to national security should not exempt it from rigorous accountability and oversight. As many critics have argued, the system envisaged by the Passenger Protect Program and as amended by SATA has proven neither necessary nor effective. It is unconstitutional.
Bill C-51 is simply unCanadian: it's vague legislation that violates the human rights and freedoms which define us as a country. The Liberal government has committed to rewrite what they describe as "problematic elements" of Bill C-51 and introduce new legislation that strengthens accountability in regards to national security, balancing this with rights and freedoms.