Friday, April 17, 2015

Craig Forcese and Kent Roach: The Real Agenda Behind Bill C-51
"As criticism mounts over the federal government’s controversial new security legislation, Bill C-51, the Conservatives have fallen back on a series of point-form justifications—one of which is that the new law would 'Allow CSIS agents to speak with the parents of radicalized youth in order to disrupt terrorist travel plans.'

Certainly, no reasonable person could object to such a policy. But government agents already perform such family interventions under existing legal rules. So why mention this example in official talking points, unless the object is to distract attention from the many areas in which CSIS powers will be expanded in unsettling ways?

...Government counter-subversion campaigns—which involve the infiltration and surveillance of anarchists and other radical groups that seek to overthrow the existing social, economic, and political order—were abandoned by CSIS years ago. However, the powers were never deleted from the statute, as recommended by CSIS’s review body, the Security Intelligence Review Committee. So CSIS’s power to engage in counter-subversion technically remains on the books, only a change in government policy away from being reactivated.

This fact raises legitimate concerns that, under Bill C-51, CSIS will be able to play 'dirty tricks' on protesters it believes are attempting to undermine Canada’s constitutional system of government. That would be darkly ironic, given that one of the reasons CSIS was created as a pure intelligence agency in the first place was public anger over the litany of rogue, illegal activities perpetrated by the RCMP in the 1970s."

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