Over 30 organizations rally support for tomorrow’s Day of Action to stop Bill C-51

Friday, March 13, 2015
Over 30 leading Digital Rights, Pro-Democracy and Civil Liberties organizations rally support for tomorrow’s Day of Action across Canada to stop Bill C-51 Over 60 non-partisan events in every province across Canada confirmed for Saturday March 14, as numbers speaking out online top 83,000 A diverse group of organizations are supporting Saturday’s Day of Action to Stop Bill C-51. Over 84,000 people have spoken out in recent weeks calling on Prime Minister Harper to rein in the unaccountable powers and violations of our civil liberties contained in Bill C-51. Non-partisan events will take place in over 60 locations across every province in Canada. Further information and resources can be found at the website: StopC51.ca. While concerns with C-51 are diverse and vary, supporting organizations agree that the bill is:
  1. Reckless: It turns CSIS into a ‘secret police’ force with little oversight or accountability.
  2. Dangerous: It opens the door for violations of our Charter Rights including censorship of free expression online.
  3. Ineffective: It will lead to dragnet surveillance and information sharing on innocent Canadians that even Stephen Harper has admitted is ineffective.
  4. "Bill C-51 poses a grave threat to free expression and human rights in Canada. The unchecked powers it introduces threaten the freedoms at the core of our Canadian democracy.” said Tom Henheffer, Executive Director at Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE). “As Canada’s leading digital rights organization and coordinator of the nationwide Protect Our Privacy coalition we are happy to support these events based on our privacy and accountability concerns,” said Steve Anderson, OpenMedia’s Executive Director. “This bill encourages reckless sharing of our sensitive private information, dangerous new powers for CSIS, and offers zero accountability or oversight. Everyone knows the Conservative government is bad on privacy issues, but C-51 takes it to a whole new level.” “Debate, dissent and demonstrations are an essential part of our democracy. This reckless and dangerous bill treats legitimate, peaceful protests as potential terrorist threats,” said Dylan Penner, Democracy Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “That’s why our local chapters and supporters are joining the protests this weekend – to protect the right to protest.” “Existing measures have already led to serious violations of the rights of innocent people and the government now wants to introduce new measures notwithstanding the fact that it has not yet implemented the necessary oversight and review mechanisms to protect Canadians”, says Roch Tassé, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group National Coordinator. “The measures introduced in Bill C-51 greatly increase the potential for further national security abuses. That is why we support this day of actions against C-51 and ask that it be withdrawn or significantly amended". Speakers at tomorrow’s rallies include the BC Civil Liberties Association’s Josh Paterson (Vancouver), bestselling journalist and author Chris Hedges (Toronto), Young Aamjiwnaang First Nation activist Vanessa Gray (Toronto), OpenMedia’s Alexa Pitoulis (Port Moody), and the Ontario Federation of Labour’s Sid Ryan (Toronto). Political leaders including Elizabeth May (Toronto) and Thomas Mulcair (Montreal) will also be showing their support for the non-partisan day of action. Groups supporting tomorrow’s day of action include digital rights, civil liberties, pro-democracy, and labour organizations, in addition to tech companies and businesses. Affinity Bridge, Agentic, Amnesty International Canada, BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, BCGEU, Canadian Association of University Teachers, Canadian Access and Privacy Association (CAPA), Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), Canadian Institute of Access and Privacy Professionals, Canadian Peace Alliance, Council of Canadians, CWA Canada, Canadian Unirarians for Social Justice, Democracy Watch, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Free Dominion, GenWhy Media, Groupe de recherche sur l’information et la surveillance au quotidien (GRISQ) / Université du Québec à Montréal, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, Leadnow, NewMode, Ontario Federation of Labour, North American Association of Independent Journalists, OpenMedia, Privacy & Access Council of Canada, ProtestCanada, Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), TunnelBear, The Okanagan Directory, Women Against Stephen Harper, and Youth Vote Canada. Canadians can learn more about the Day of Action at StopC51.ca and can sign up to join or host a local event at we.leadnow.ca/stopc51. Contact David Christopher Communications Manager, OpenMedia 1-778-232-1858 david@openmedia.ca Laura Tribe National and Digital Programs Lead, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression ltribe@cjfe.org About CJFE CJFE monitors, defends and reports on free expression and access to information in Canada and abroad. Rooted in the field of journalism, we promote a free media as essential to a fair and open society. CJFE boldly champions the free expression rights of all people, and encourages and supports individuals and groups in the protection of their own and others' free expression rights. cjfe.org About OpenMedia OpenMedia is an award-winning community-based organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy by engaging hundreds of thousands of people in protecting our online rights Through campaigns such as StopTheMeter.ca and StopSpying.ca, OpenMedia.ca has engaged over half-a-million Canadians, and has influenced public policy and federal law.

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