Elizabeth May aims to protect individual rights and freedoms with amendments to anti-terrorism bill

April 25, 2018

(OTTAWA) – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands), submitted 46 amendments to Bill C-59, An Act Respecting National Security Matters. Bill C-59 is the Liberal response to Stephen Harper’s anti-democratic Bill C-51.

“Harper’s so-called anti-terrorism bill gave Canadian security agencies radical new powers while simultaneously taking away individual and democratic rights. These changes were overly broad, almost certainly unconstitutional and ultimately unworkable as a result. While C-59 introduces new tweaks, constraints and review mechanisms to reign in the more egregious and dysfunctional aspects of the framework, there are clear areas where the bill does not go far enough to restore the necessary balance between national security and the protection of individual rights and freedoms,” Ms. May said.

The amendments Ms. May submitted include measures to:

·         Repeal the controversial active threat reduction powers given to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), returning this responsibility to the RCMP;

·         Eliminate loopholes that threaten to allow the acquisition and/or sharing of private information about Canadians, including metadata, by or between Canadian security agencies;

·         Ensure security-cleared special advocates are present to protect the public interest during secret no-fly list or security certificate hearings, in line with previous Supreme Court rulings;

·         Expand the staffing resources available to review bodies, allowing for greater capacity and diversity of expertise in ensuring the lawfulness, reasonableness, effectiveness and necessity of actions taken by Canadian security agencies;

·         Affirm, legislatively, rules against using evidence obtained through torture.

Though Ms. May’s amendments have not been backed by the Liberal-majority committee, some identical and similar Liberal amendments have been accepted. She hopes to have more success when committee work resumes today (April 25).