May 5, 2017
Over 88% of the first round of National Security Consultation submissions that mention Bill C-51 support its repeal
The vast majority of submissions to the government’s consultation on National Security that mention Bill C-51, call for the repeal of the controversial surveillance legislation passed by the Harper government. That’s according to a crowdsourced analysis of the first tranche of submissions published on the government’s website.
The analysis also showed strong support for the protection of Canadians’ privacy, and deep concern about the sharing of personal information with Canadian agencies or foreign governments. Organizers at OpenMedia, which built an online tool to enable the public to assess the consultation submissions, say that although these are early results, they are a strong indication of the public’s appetite to repeal the legislation.
“It’s clear from these results that Canadians want to wipe the slate clean and completely repeal this unpopular spying bill,” said Victoria Henry, privacy campaigner with OpenMedia. “These findings should give Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale pause for thought — merely tinkering around the edges of Bill C-51 with modest amendments will not satisfy Canadians. Minister Goodale needs to listen to the tens of thousands of Canadians who have taken part in his government’s consultation and commit to repealing Bill C-51 entirely.”
Initially the government refused to make the consultation submissions public, but finally agreed to do so after an open letter was published in the National Observer from over 30 civil society organizations and experts. A second tranche of consultation submissions was published recently, with a further round still to come. The government has also promised to publish their own summary of the findings, and to bring forward proposals to amend Bill C-51 before Parliament rises for its summer break in June.
The influential House of Commons Public Safety Committee this week recommended significant changes to Bill C-51, including stronger measures to hold security agencies accountable, and a dedicated agency to review national security activities across government. A number of MPs on the committee also urged the government to go further and completely repeal the controversial legislation. The House of Commons Ethics Committee also recently released an official report strongly criticizing C-51’s information sharing provisions, and calling for significant amendments.
Canadians can take part in analysing the over 59,000 public comments submitted as part of the National Security consultation at CrowdsourceC51.ca
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