On 25 February 2017, citizens of Canada will gather in central locations across the country and participate in peaceful public vigils to express their concern over Bill C-51, a deeply flawed piece of 2015 anti-terrorism legislation that is currently up for revision. The day will also give them the opportunity to express their wider concerns about national security policy, surveillance and freedom of the press in Canada.
“Bill C-51 ... is a dangerous piece of legislation in terms of its potential impacts on the rule of law, on constitutionally and internationally protected rights, and on the health of Canada’s democracy.”
- Open letter from over 100 Canadian law professors criticizing Bill C-51.
Bill C-51 grants Canadian spy agencies license to hack citizen computers and websites, and law enforcement wide-ranging powers to criminalize social media posts, private emails, and humanitarian aid to wartorn regions. Since its release in 2015 a broad coalition of voices have been critical of C-51, including over 100 civil society groups and experts, over 100 law professors, 12 privacy commissioners, and 22 eminent former government officials, including former prime ministers, supreme court justices, and ministers of justice.
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression is inviting supporters in Canada and elsewhere to join them in expressing your solidarity, online and in person. By doing so you will let Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau know the world is watching his actions, and expect him to make good on his promises to reform the bill and narrow the scope of its powers.
“The powers of CSIS have always depended on how a “threat to the security of Canada” is defined... an extremely broad definition. This has been interpreted to include environmental activists, indigenous groups, and other social or political activists. Concerns are heightened with the proposal to grant CSIS a ’disruptive’ kinetic role.”
- Canadian Bar Association
How you can support:
a) Join CJFE's Thunderclap campaign, which will share the campaign on your social media on Feb 25th;
b) Print CJFE's placard and take a picture of yourself with it, sharing under the hashtag #ProtectPressFreedom and tweeting it at @JustinTrudeau and @CanadaCJFE;
c) Sign CJFE's ongoing petition in support of Vice journalist Ben Makuch, who is resisting an order by a Canadian court to hand over his Kik messenger chat logs with a confidential source, an alleged ISIS fighter.
To learn more about the day of action, get lobbying materials and to find gathering locations in Canada, please visit CJFE's hub at www.protectpressfreedom.ca.