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Bill C-51 could be the biggest bait and switch Canada has ever seen: opinion

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What is perhaps saddest of all to this Canadian is that we can't even have the meaningful discourse required to adequately debate this bill in Parliament. Steven Harper was not even present at either opportunity. For years it has felt like we have been talking to a brick wall; now the man who announces sweeping anti-terrorist measures at a party fundraiser is not even there in Parliament to debate it.

To clarify the concerns raised by Green Party leader Elizabeth May and NDP leader Thomas Mulcair: they say the vagueness of this bill opens it to interpretation that will result in politically-motivated actions towards environmentalists and others.

The highly political use of CRA to crack down on environmental charities in my opinion has completely validated the concerns about how this government will direct CSIS to operate under these new laws, especially with vagueness around such things as defining “Interference with critical infrastructure” or concerns about "economic stability."

Does a pipeline that exports oil out of the domestic supply for a multinational corporation constitute “critical infrastructure”? Does action against a pipeline that isn’t built yet constitute a threat to critical infrastructure?

Would Canada's dollar becoming a petro-currency that soars and crashes constitute a threat to economic stability? Because this has done more damage to industries and sectors than any rail blockade or climate march we've ever seen in Canada.

Further to the suspect marching orders given to CRA we have now learned that there has already been unprecedented and wholly inappropriate spying on Canadian environmental organizations and Canadian citizens in a coordinated effort between oil companies, the National Energy Board, the RCMP and CSIS.

Here are the original screen shots of a recently leaked RCMP files that rely on absurd sources to validate eco-terrorist anti-petroleum paranoia. As a grad student I have marked undergraduate papers with superior sources and fact-checking. Once again, what is happening to this country? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

A former CSIS officer has noted that Harper is using the same tactics that fascist dictators have employed in the past. Let that sink in for a moment. Is that not truly disconcerting? So with expanded powers and no oversight or accountability to the public, whose CSIS will this really be? Canada’s or the Harper Government’s? Canada’s or the oil companies? 

Or are Canadian environmentalists and the public who support them just being paranoid?

If the previous spying and coordination between the oil industry and Harper Government is any indicator, Canadians who care about the environment, free speech and their privacy are right to be extremely suspect of the motives behind Bill C-51. It may be presented under the guise of protecting Canadians from a purported global jihad against us, but as time will tell this bill may conveniently aid in another struggle. To silence dissent and quell environmentalism in Canada.

Canadians don’t deserve a Bill C-51 but I do feel we deserve a Government of Canada. When do we get that back? I think a lot of us have missed it and look forward to having a meaningful conversation with it again someday about our security, our economy and our environment.


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