New poll results show support dropping for Bill C-51

The more Canadians learn about the Conservative government's anti-terror bill, the more they disapprove.

National Day of Action protest against Bill C51 in Vancouver.

Support for the "secret police bill" Bill C-51 has plummeted sharply among Canadians, according to a new public opinion poll released this week.

Among citizens aware of the controversial anti-terrorism bill, 50 per cent now disapprove of it, while just 38 per cent approve. It's a big drop from 82 per cent of respondents who supported the anti-terrorism bill in a February poll.

The controversial Bill C-51 was introduced by Steven Harper's Conservatives in January, in the wake of the Ottawa shootings of October, 2014. 

Sixty-one per cent of respondents were opposed to provisions in Bill C-51 that would allow security services to infiltrate and track environmentalist groups, First Nations and pipeline protesters. Over half said they were opposed to the lack of parliamentary oversight included in the bill. 

The new poll comes on the heels of a nationwide protest against Bill C-51 on Saturday, in which 70 demonstrations were organized in cities including in Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Jamie Biggar, campaign director of Leadnow.ca, one of the organizing groups for the Vancouver protest, said it's a sign many people have realized the potential cost the bill would have on civil liberties.

"The collapse in support for the Conservative's anti-terror legislation shows that more and more Canadians are recognizing it for what it is: a reckless bill that gives spy agencies dangerous new powers without proper oversight or accountability," he said.

"They've heard that from security experts, former prime ministers, constitutional experts and, most importantly, they've heard that from their friends and neighbours. We've never seen a campaign light up social media like this one, and that peer-to-peer sharing is reaching millions." 

In B.C., the disapproval rating for Bill C-51 was 61 per cent.

The poll results also revealed that while Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau supports C-51 with "added parliamentary oversight," a majority of Liberal voters nationally (66 per cent) disapprove of the bill.  

“This poll should also prompt Justin Trudeau to reconsider his stance," said OpenMedia spokesperson David Christopher. OpenMedia is one of the organizations invited to speak before a committee hearing in Ottawa about C-51. 

"With over two-thirds of his party’s supporters opposing this legislation, isn’t it time Justin Trudeau showed he can listen to Canadians, instead of backing government attempts to ram this extreme legislation through Parliament at breakneck pace?”

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