On February 25th a coalition of civil liberties, media, and labour groups joined together for a national day of action to call for the repeal of repressive anti-terrorism laws, an end to warrantless mass surveillance, and the passage of a new law to protect journalists and whistleblowers. Hundreds came out to rally in five cities across Canada, and thousands joined in on social media using the hashtag #ProtectPressFreedom.
Canadians sent a message to Prime Minister Trudeau that we are watching closely to ensure he takes action on the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 (AKA Bill C-51) and on the press freedom crisis in Canada.
Our friends at the Committee to Protect Journalists put together a great video introduction to the day of action.
We rallied in 2015 to stop Bill C-51 from being passed, and now CJFE is suing the government to have it overturned. It can take a long time and a lot of work just to roll back legislation that never should have passed in the first place.
“A freedom given up is not so easily regained.” (Rivera Sun) #ProtectPressFreedom— Tammy Richard (@Tammy_Richard) February 25, 2017
We kicked things off in Toronto, where supporters braved the bitter cold in Trinity Bellwoods Park.
We were fortunate to have the inimitable Raging Grannies on hand to serenade and inspire.
What a great shot! Our drone experienced technical difficulties, so we had to rely on the pluck of our brave volunteer Matt Currie to catch the money shot.*
At the same time, supporters gathered on the other side of the country in Vancouver.
The good people of Occupy London Ontario organized a local action in Southwestern Ontario.
A group led by 99%Média broadcast live outside of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Montreal constituency office.
Meanwhile, members of the University of Ottawa Law and Technology Society took the lead on proceedings in out nation's capital.
Global support for press freedom in Canada
We were humbled as allies from around the world joined in online to show solidarity with the campaign.
Couldn't make it out and want to get involved? Why not lobby your MP!
These actions are not happening in isolation. They are a part of a global pushback against a wave of authoritarianism and repressive laws that is sweeping the western world, notably seen in American President Donald Trump's attacks on the press in the United States.
Trump's media war threatens journalists globally, protection group warns https://t.co/BwIWhYe1DH— The Guardian (@guardian) February 25, 2017
Though this might be too low a bar to set, we think this is a reasonable demand of our country's leaders:
What was this all about? Simple:
Our sincere thank you to everyone for taking part. If we like the work that we do, please consider supporting us by becoming an ally of CJFE.
* Said volunteer accepted all legal responsibilities and granted CJFE total immunity from liability as well as full power of attorney.