Friday, March 27, 2015

Bill C-51: The Cons Surrender and Will Make Changes

For weeks Stephen Harper and his Cons have been insisting that their dangerous anti-terrorism bill C-51 is perfect and doesn't need any changes.

And ridiculing anyone who suggested otherwise.

But now it seems they are feeling the heat, and are prepared to make some changes.

The government will propose a handful of amendments to the proposed anti-terror bill when it goes to clause-by-clause review on Tuesday, CBC News has learned, including a proposal that would protect protests from being captured by the new measures.

Other government-backed changes in the works include limits to information-sharing and adjusting a provision that would have given the public safety minister the power to direct air carriers to do "anything" that, in the minister's view, is "reasonably necessary" to prevent a terrorist act.

And the interesting thing is while these protests no doubt helped them understand that they had stirred up a hornet's nest...

It seems that what made them back down is pressure from their own supporters. 

Bill C-51 was supposed to unite conservatives in the latest round of the War on Terror™. Instead, it’s dividing them — both on and off Parliament Hill.

Because when you have right-wingers like Connie Fournier, from the wingnut site Free Dominion, saying this:

“I feel like we’re in some kind of alternate universe,” she recently told the Tyee. “You spend your life working for the Conservative party, and the Conservative party finally gets in, and (now) you’re saying, ‘I hope the NDP really steps up and protects us from our Conservative government.'”

You know they're in trouble.

Conservatives, beware: The closer your supporters look at C-51, the less they seem to like it. If the Tories are planning on campaigning on this bill at election time, they’d better make some changes — or risk the wrath of their own people.

And desperate, because they couldn't even wait for the Con dominated public security committee to make any changes. You know, the one Cons like Roxanne James have been turning into a star chamber...

Only to have the PMO move in and make it clear that they don't care what she has to say about the bill either.

But unfortunately the changes they now seem to be proposing don't go far enough.

Thus far there is no indication the government will heed the calls for increased oversight. The Tories could, however, introduce separate legislation to expand the mandate and boost the powers of the Security Intelligence Review Committee that oversees CSIS.

Not when that committee can only review what CSIS has done after they have done it. And not when the members of that committee are appointed by Stephen Harper.

And he clearly wants to keep that power, or even boost it, to serve his own purposes...

And the whole bill needs to be scrapped, and totally rewritten.

So the struggle will continue.

But the good news is that the Cons are clearly on the defensive. Just a week ago they were trumpeting this on all their deathly sites...

Now they are being forced to make changes to a bill they said didn't need any. And they clearly underestimated how many Canadians hated it.

So we can still use the bill to rally the opposition.

And help drive the Cons from power...

This our first victory in a long time. 

But the biggest one is still to come...

Please click here to recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers.


  1. Anonymous11:50 PM

    Yet Harper and his regime keep saying that the majority of Canadians support C-51. They lie through their

    teeth and will soon be history. Yea!!!

    1. hi anon...the way the Cons have reversed themselves so abruptly tells me that every warning light in the PMO must be glowing red. They didn't really need the bill, the war was giving them all the votes they needed. But Harper couldn't help himself, and only appears to have shot himself in the foot...

  2. Mulcair's leadership deserves alot of credit for this, it would not have happened without him.

    1. hi Gyor...yes Mulcair does deserve a lot of credit, because his performance has been very impressive lately. But so do all those who took to the streets, and used social media to put pressure on the Cons. As I said in my post, I think progressives have good cause to celebrate and give themselves some credit...

  3. Similarly, the so-called Fair Elections Act was perfect, until there was criticism from experts around the world for months.

    1. hi Hugh...yes the so called fair Elections Act was also a farce, but unfortunately due to our democratic complacency it wasn't possible to get as many people to protest. But we are the people who apparently spend more time on the internet than any others, so the Cons should have realized that it would cause an uproar all over the political spectrum. Too bad for them, and how great for us....

  4. Anonymous3:46 AM


    A lot of people deserve credit for this, not least all the lawyers in the Bar association, four former PMs who came out early against it (three Lib one PCPC BTW) the fact that most of their own (Conservative) witnesses told them this bill had major issues (and if I were to give any one person/group the most credit for causing this shift it would be this group, not Mulcair), and many grassroot organizations across the political spectrum coming out against this, and yes Mulcair as well, but without all the rest it is highly doubtful he would have gotten anything but air time out of it, as has been true on so many other bills by this majority government that he's opposed.

    So I'll give Mulcair his properly due credit, not this overblown level you want to give him, because of course you are just a disinterested person with no partisan agenda in doing so, right? (last said in slightly sarcastic tone). It happened as much despite him as because of him, he was clearly not acting in a vacuum or standing proudly in isolation, hells even the Libs with their position was also making many of the same points, yet I'm sure you wouldn't give any Libs any credit for any of this (which they do also deserve along with all those others I mentioned, Mulcair was far from alone in all of this, even if the manner of disagreement was not identical between the two opposition parties).

    No, this was not brought about simply by Mulcair, mostly because of Mulcair, could not have happened without Mulcair. The Harper CPC has not shown much history of caring about what Mulcair or the wider public outside their own base thinks about anything, and I would suspect that it was the troubles within their base that is the largest reason this happened, and Mulcair had NOTHING to do with that, which is why I find the level of credit you want to give him for this happening overblown.


    1. hi Scotian...try to be a little more generous, or I might confuse you with a strong partisan ;) Mulcair does deserve credit for his strong performance in the Commons. But so do a lot of others. And I think we can give ourselves a collective pat on the back for the way we finally stood up to him. Now let's do it again...

    2. Anonymous12:44 PM


      I prefer being realistic to generous when it comes to giving/claiming credit for anyone on anything, it may be old fashioned of me but there you go. I'll give Mulcair full props for his stance and being out in front of this, but the idea that these amendments would not have happened without him...sorry, not with this government. As I said to Gyor, if I were to give any one person/group credit for why this government is doing even this pittance of a change to their bill it is because of how something like 90% of the CPC's own witnesses were telling them to. This is a government that has a record in both minority and majority of being indifferent to the LOO and to wider public sentiment as a rule, so that was what I based my point on, not partisanship.

      I have this funny thing about casting blame and credit only where I believe it fairly deserves to be, and not just in politics but in all aspects of my life. I have no problems with saying Mulcair deserves plenty of credit for being an effective opposition leader on this bill of horrors, but to claim these changes are only because he was there...nope, just can't get there for the reasons I laid out. That strikes me as being beyond what can be reasonably seen as consistent with the reality of the way the Harper government has acted throughout its nine year history. The rare times it listens to anyone it is almost always from within its own base when they feel they are going to need them soon, like for an election, and THAT is where I would place the credit for even this little amount of improvement. Mulcair being there or not would not change that balance point, which was the point I was making, not that he deserved no credit for his actions, but that in terms of credit for why this government is doing this his role is likely nil, that whether he was there or not would not have a significant impact on the actions of this government. As we have both noted before this government does not act in a responsible fashion like any prior government when it comes to opposition concerns, criticisms, ans so forth. THAT was why I wrote what I did. I get tired of partisans like Gyor always basically selling Mulcair as the next best thing to Jesus while condemning Trudeau to the depths of political hell to like Satan's/Harper feet as the toady he supposedly is, and when it is so obviously an overreach as it was here, well I'm going to call it for what it is.

      I hope that clarifies it a bit for you Simon. I'll give Mulcair all due credit for opposition this bill as he should have and did (and it was very good opposition, I'm not selling him short on that, just because I support what Trudeau did for the long game does not make me blind to what Mulcair was doing right on this horror bill after all, and btw taking that long view left him politically able to continue to oppose Harper on the Iraq-Syria war policy which I see as the greater of the two issues, we can always strike down legislation we pass with a different government or see it die because of unConstitutionality, but the quagmire this war is looking to be and the blowback I expect to see it create, that is something later governments can have no impact on unfortunately so it is the thing to really try to stop or at least be on record opposing IMHO), but I will not give him credit for impacting this government on it with it given the track record of this government to such in the past from him, to their dismissal so often before of public disapproval/anger, and to the fact that this time one can point to a major conflict within their own base as heard from their own witnesses as a much more plausible explanation for why this government did what it almost never does with its legislation.


  5. Anonymous6:27 AM

    Harper and his con clown gang are terrorists in the Middle East. They bomb Hospitals Schools Water Works for drinking water Government facilities Dams Police Stations Innocent Civilians Children Babies anything that moves it makes them feel macho. They disgust me and make me ashamed of being "Canadian" fuck Simon fuck. Only we all united can end this nightmare Harper and his con clowns have dragged us into. I will fight to the death if that is what it takes to win back peace-keeping and fair Canada back.

    Strong words I know but when you love the Canada you grew up in from the 1950's onward and see the changes in a few short years the Harper con clowns have made it makes you afraid for your grand childern and great grand childern...


    1. hi Mogs ...just give thanks that we are now just a few months away from an election, and will finally get a chance to drive the Cons from power. In my life I have also seen great changes here, and I want my Canada back...

    2. Anonymous5:01 AM

      Hi Simon we all want our Canada back except for the con clowns...

      Mogs Moglio

  6. Anonymous7:13 AM

    If they don't allow independent oversight then all of these amendments mean nothing. There has to be independent oversight, period.

    1. hi anon...absolutely, we do need independent oversight. And that's why Bill C 51 will continue to be a blunt weapon we can use against the Cons. Because now we can clearly portray it as an attempt by Stephen Harper to concentrate power in his own hands. And of course also remind Canadians of the quality of his appointments like his good buddy Arthur Porter. Bill C 51 will turn out to be, politically speaking, the gift that keeps on giving...

  7. Anonymous8:37 AM

    Did you read the news item on CBC web site last night. The main army fighting ISIL is Iranian Shia and they have said they will quit fighting if the coalition is there bombing. One fighter even said he would shoot coalition planes down if he could. How they must all want the western nations out of their space AND their oil. In case this news item has been taken off I did not imagine it.

    1. hi anon...yes I saw that and I will use it at some point, since it only makes even clearer how insane this war is, and how our intervention is actually playing into the hands of ISIS. It's absolute madness....

  8. I disagree with your premence. Harper puts forward a ridiculous stupid facist document that the base will love. He says he will not bend. Then after the sensible people have torn their hair out he removes two or three words, and its victory for both sides? Oh the humanity.

    1. hi steve....yes I have considered that possibility. And maybe that's what he is doing. But he did claim the bill didn't need to be changed, he ridiculed those who suggested it should be, so I think it's just the negative reaction that has made him change his mind...

  9. Anonymous10:17 AM

    I was wrong. They didn't take it off. They buried it under World. And it's very strange it was released on a Friday night when parliament has been prorogued. All Canadians should read it and then our military should be brought home. Spread the news far and wide.