Here’s what we just told key MPs about Bill C-51
Our Executive Director Laura Tribe testified before a key House of Commons committee studying Bill C-51’s information sharing provisions
This week marked the second anniversary of Bill C-51, the extreme spying legislation forced through Parliament in the final year of Stephen Harper’s federal government.
Since it was first announced, your OpenMedia team has pulled out all the stops to get Bill C-51 completely overturned — whether that’s speaking out in the media, standing with our allies, helping organize a 300,000-strong petition, developing positive alternatives, testifying at public hearings, and, most recently, creating a sophisticated new tool to help you put your voices directly onto the public record as part of the (recently closed) government consultation.
We’re keeping up this fight for as long as it takes to get rid of this odious spying legislation, which is why yesterday Laura Tribe, our Executive Director, testified before an important parliamentary committee about the information sharing components of Bill C-51 — which were passed into law as the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, or ‘SCISA’ for short.
The cross-party House of Commons Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics is currently reviewing SCISA, and will be making recommendations to the government about changes. (It’s worth noting that this committee has a fairly positive track record on privacy, in December submitting a series of recommendations to government that, if accepted, will significantly strengthen the Privacy Act.)
Laura had 10 minutes to make her case before MPs, and then took questions. Also testifying yesterday were top privacy and tech lawyer David Fraser and a representative from the Canadian Bar Association — so Laura was in great company.
She argued that the information sharing provisions of Bill C-51 need to be completely repealed, because they contribute to an alarming privacy deficit that makes all Canadians less secure.
Laura also highlighted how the sweeping new data collection powers granted to government security agencies can easily be repurposed into a dangerous surveillance dragnet. And, against a backdrop of worrying news from south of the border, she pointed out that wrongful sharing of Canadians’ information with foreign governments can have devastating real-life consequences for people’s personal lives.
You can check out Laura’s full remarks embedded below — or listen to the audio recording of the entire hearing on ParlVu. We’re proud of what she had to say and we think you will be too, so let’s hope MPs take this feedback on board.