Quebec says it should have been consulted on federal anti-terrorism bill

Quebec says it should have been consulted on federal anti-terrorism bill

QUEBEC — The Quebec government says it has serious concerns with the Conservatives’ anti−terror bill and chided Ottawa for not consulting with the provinces before drafting the legislation.

Three Quebec ministers sent a highly critical letter Tuesday to three federal ministers and tabled it in the national assembly on Wednesday.

The letter states the Quebec government has "many concerns" with the controversial legislation — known as C−51 — notably with the "vast powers" the bill gives the country’s spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

"It is worrisome that the bill gives CSIS such vast powers, including the possibility to take certain actions that violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canadian law," the letter reads.

Additionally, the ministers say more oversight is required to ensure the new CSIS powers are used only for their legally intended purpose.

The Quebec ministers also criticized Ottawa for not consulting with Quebec on the bill.

"It is unfortunate that the federal government chose to proceed unilaterally and deprive itself of the expertise of its provincial partners," the letter states.

One of the letters signatories, Quebec Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee, said Wednesday in the national assembly the letter was not meant to start a fight with Ottawa but was a call for more co−operation between governments.

A spokesperson for federal Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney responded to the letter by saying the minister was "pleased to receive support from the Quebec government on the new measures aimed at ensuring public safety from violent extremism."

The spokesperson added Blaney will "continue to maintain a dialogue" with his provincial counterparts.

 

More in National

Canadian whistleblowers lead the world in reporting financial crime

Every year, dozens of honest, enterprising Canadians blow the whistle on alleged financial crimes, hoping to clean up the industry-- and strike it rich. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, the...

B.C. families of missing, murdered women urge national inquiry to get it right

There’s no room for mistakes in the newly announced national inquiry into murdered and missing women, says a coalition of British Columbia families and support groups. Mary Teegee, with the...
Seaspan Shipyard in North Vancouver

Canadian government adds $65 million to former Tory shipbuilding contracts

VANCOUVER — The federal government has topped up West Coast shipbuilding contracts by more than $65 million for a coast guard science vessel and navy support ships. Public Services Minister Judy...
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.