Online Spying

Parliament set to debate C-51 today (Friday), as over 200,000 Canadians call for the Bill to be scrapped

Parliament is set to debate Bill C-51 this morning (Friday), a day after a joint petition calling for the bill to be scrapped hit the 200,000 mark, making it one of the largest political campaigns in Canadian history. A large majority of Canadians now oppose the bill.

The report stage debate is scheduled to take place at 10am ET. 

Commenting on the upcoming debate, OpenMedia’s communications manager David Christopher said: “Business leaders, 200,000 Canadians, and the government’s own top security and privacy experts are all warning that Bill C-51 is fundamentally flawed. It’s completely irresponsible of the government to ignore the experts and ram this reckless legislation through Parliament without a proper debate.”

Christopher continued: “They should listen to Canadians, go back to the drawing board, and this time consult properly about how to keep this country safe while respecting basic rights and freedoms.”

Topics: Online Spying

The Globe and Mail: Spy Watchdogs are speaking out about huge flaws in the current system

The watchdogs for Canada’s spy agencies say they are being left in the dark about intelligence activities.

Article by Colin Freeze for The Globe and Mail

The watchdogs for Canada’s spy agencies have got together to tell Parliament how much they resent being kept apart.

Telling a Parliamentary hearing they need new laws to allow them to compare notes about Canada’s counter-terrorism operations, the review bodies say they see only a partial picture of what federal police and intelligence agencies are doing.

Read more »

Topics: Online Spying

BCCLA: The amendments to Bill-C51 don't change our core concerns about this reckless bill

None of the amendments to Bill C-51 begin to address the fundamental threat on basic rights and freedoms, experts say.

Article by Carmen Cheung for BCCLA

This week, the Senate’s Standing Committee on National Security and Defence continues its pre-study of Bill C-51, while an amended version of the Bill proceeds to third reading in the House of Commons.

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (“SECU”) made just four amendments to the omnibus bill, despite hearing witness after witness express serious concerns about the Bill and its impact on basic rights and freedoms. We don’t think these amendments even begin to address the fundamental flaws in the Bill, and discuss why in our submissions to the Senate. These submissions also include our take on some of the comments made by government lawyers at the clause-by-clause review of the Bill at SECU – comments which deal with the scope of the new CSIS powers; accountability in cases where information sharing by government results in harm to individuals (as we saw with Maher Arar); and whether the Federal Court of Canada is being asked to authorize unconstitutional activities by CSIS agents under the proposed warrant regime.

Topics: Online Spying

Wow! Over 200,000 speaking up about Bill C-51 - thanks, Canada!

This is amazing: our joint petition against spying Bill C-51 has reached an incredible 200,000 signatures.

Thanks to everyone for speaking up and sending the government a clear message that this Bill is reckless, dangerous, and ineffective. We would never have reached this point were it now for thousands of Canadians taking action to spread the word in local communities right across this country.

This makes our #StopC51 campaign one of the largest ever in Canadian history!

Huge thanks to all our partners in this effort - especially our co-hosts and Avaaz. With polls now showing 56% of Canadians against the Bill, with just 33% in favour, it's clear that public opinion has swung dramatically to our side.

It caps off a remarkable week, that has seen grassroots-driven protests take place across Canada, and 60 leading business people, investors, and entrepreneurs pen a joint op-ed in the National Post calling for Bill C-51 to be scrapped.

Read more »

Topics: Online Spying

Business Leaders pen an open letter warning the government that Bill C-51 will cause serious damage to Canadian businesses

60 leading businesses, entrepreneurs, and investors warn that “unbalanced” legislation will undermine operations and international trust in Canadian businesses

APRIL 21, 2015: 60 leading Canadian business people, entrepreneurs, and investors have sent Prime Minister Stephen Harper an open letter warning that Bill C-51 will stifle business, undermine international trust, and do lasting damage to Canada’s economy. The letter was circulated by digital rights organization OpenMedia. In the letter the business leaders also join with 198,000 Canadians who have added their name to a joint petition at

The leaders affiliated with companies worth billions of dollars including Hootsuite, OpenText, Slack, Shopify and Tucows, are asking Stephen Harper to scrap the legislation and go back to the drawing board. Their appeal comes just days before the House of Commons is due to debate the bill on Friday, with a final vote expected very soon.

Read more »

Topics: Online Spying


CSIS is keeping everyone, including ministers of the Crown, out of the loop. And Harper seems to be OK with it. 

Article by Andrew Mitrovica for iPolitics 

When it comes to strengthening what passes for oversight of Canada’s spy service, Stephen Harper doesn’t listen to his critics. Maybe he’ll start listening to his friends.

Earlier this week, I spoke at length with a former senior government official who not only spent decades deep inside the Canadian spy biz, he also worked closely with, and remains a political ally of, the prime minister.

This former official — who agreed to be quoted only on condition of anonymity — is an experienced hand in the netherworld of intelligence. Academics, journalists and politicians of all political stripes — including, no doubt, Harper himself — would all attest to his ability to navigate the tricky bureaucratic terrain where politics and espionage meet.

Read more »

Topics: Online Spying

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