Chantier Politique

July 31, 2017

English Edition, No. 21

Our Security Lies in the Fight for the Rights of All

Opposition to Trudeau Government
Police State Bill C-59 Continues
  

Opposition to the Trudeau Government Police State Bill C-59 Continues
Pickets in Montreal Boroughs Arouse Concern Over Bill C-59
Arbitrary Definition of "Activity that Undermines the Security of Canada" Further Criminalizes the Struggles of the People in Defence of their Rights


Opposition to the Trudeau Government Police State Bill C-59 Continues

Pickets in Montreal Boroughs
Arouse Concern Over Bill C-59

The PMLQ has taken steps to inform the population of the content of the Trudeau government's Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters, and of the need to take a stand against measures to impose a police state (see Chantier politque No. 19, July 7 ). Within that context, pickets were organized in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and Saint-Laurent neighbourhoods to demand that the bill be withdrawn.

On July 13, during a picket held on Ontario Street, in the heart of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, a large number of residents told activists that they were not aware of the bill, which shows just how quiet the media have remained about the matter. Once they were informed that the bill is a continuation of the Harper government's efforts to reinforce secret police powers against the people, they expressed no surprise. They are well aware of the history of the Canadian state's dirty tricks carried out under the Liberals. They also know that Quebec is often targeted, in particular through state terrorism, carried out under the guise of combating terrorism. Everyone immediately wanted to know more about the bill.

A large number of national minority workers live in Saint-Laurent. Many of them expressed serious concern as to the ramifications of a bill which they have only vaguely heard of. They wonder if the present government, which claims to be different from the Harper government, is preparing to step up its secret police activities against the communities. They support the work to develop public opposition to defend people against such attacks.

During the pickets, many people subscribed to Chantier politique, and many also left contact information for future meetings. In Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, one person raised the importance of meeting with representatives of political parties so that they are made aware of precisely how the bill is a serious attack against the people, and look into how to develop opposition to it. In Saint-Laurent, a resident of African origin explained that under the Harper government, he had required an entire support committee and campaign to be able to re-enter Canada after being placed on a United-Nations no-fly list, despite that fact he was a Canadian citizen and had never committed a crime. His name has since been removed from the list, however he continues to be harassed when crossing the border.

The times and locations of future actions will continue to be announced in Chantier politique.

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Arbitrary Definition of "Activity that Undermines the Security of Canada" Further Criminalizes the Struggles of the People in Defence of their Rights

Bill C-59 maintains the arbitrary definition of "activity that undermines the security of Canada" contained in the Harper government's Bill C-51, that criminalize the struggles of the people.

The Justin Trudeau government claims that Bill C-59 renders the Harper government's Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015, more balanced and in line with the rule of law.

One of the aspects of C-51 that Quebeckers, Canadians and First Nations were most vigorous in denouncing is what the Harper law deems as "activity that undermines the security of Canada." From the get-go the inclusion of "activity that undermines the security of Canada" in so-called anti-terrorism legislation was extremely problematic, however the definitions themselves clearly revealed the target of attack: the struggles of the people in defence of their rights and opposition to the ruling elite's offensive of nation-wrecking and war preparations.

C-51 defines "activity that undermines the security of Canada" as "any activity, including any of the following activities, if it undermines the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of Canada or the lives or the security of the people of Canada:

"(a) interference with the capability of the Government of Canada in relation to intelligence, defence, border operations, public safety, the administration of justice, diplomatic or consular relations, or the economic or financial stability of Canada;

"(b) changing or unduly influencing a government in Canada by force or unlawful means;

"(c) espionage, sabotage or covert foreign-influenced activities;

"(d) terrorism;

"(e) proliferation of nuclear, chemical, radiological or biological weapons;

"(f) interference with critical infrastructure;

"(g) interference with the global information infrastructure, as defined in section 273.61 of the National Defence Act;

"(h) an activity that causes serious harm to a person or their property because of that person's association with Canada; and

"(i) an activity that takes place in Canada and undermines the security of another state.

For greater certainty, it does not include lawful advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression."

In myriad actions, people from all walks of life have let it be known that such definitions are arbitrary and unacceptable. And that furthermore, to include them in anti-terrorist legislation paves the way for the criminalization of the struggles of the people by the state and its police powers. Through C-51, secret police powers with regard to repression and espionage were strengthened and even included the perpetration of illegal activities with full impunity. People have remarked that in the case of a decision by Quebeckers to establish the sovereign state of Quebec, this could be considered at any time as an activity undermining " the territorial integrity of Canada." Similarly "interference with critical infrastructure" directly brings to mind the struggles against gas and oil monopoly pipeline projects, particularly those of the First Nations against pipelines passing through their territories.

FRather than respecting the concerns and demands of Canadians to remove such a definition, the Trudeau government, through Bill C-59, maintains it.  It introduces a few amendments that in no way changes its arbitrary nature or the fact that secret police powers to act unlawfully against the people have been reinforced.

For example, Bill C-59 amends definition (f) of C-51, which refers to "interference with critical infrastructure" by replacing it with "significant or widespread interference with critical infrastructure."

It amends definition (g) contained in Bill C-51 with regard to "interference with the global information infrastructure, as defined in section 273.61 of the National Defence Act," replacing it with "significant or widespread interference with the global information infrastructure, as defined in section 273.61 of the National Defence Act."

It also makes changes to the section's last paragraph of C-51 regarding the definition of "activity that undermines the security of Canada" which reads "For greater certainty, it does not include advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression," by adding the following:  "For the purposes of this Act, advocacy, protest, dissent or artistic expression is not an activity that undermines the security of Canada unless carried on in conjunction with an activity that undermines the security of Canada."

It is an insult to the hundreds of thousands of Quebeckers, Canadians and First Nations members who firmly opposed the establishment of a police state in Canada and defended their security by taking a stand in defence of the rights of all.

Furthermore, it was long before the introduction of Bill C-59 that the Trudeau government let it be known whom precisely it was targeting when speaking of threats to the security of Canada and the measures it would take against such so-called threats. In December 2016 federal Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr declared that the Canadian government would use its "defence forces" and "police forces" against people opposing the Kinder Morgan pipeline project if the government determined that the protests were not peaceful.

The demand for the withdrawal of Bill C-59 also includes the demand for the repeal of C-51, and, notably, its definition of "activity that undermines the security of Canada."

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