The Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression have launched a Charter challenge against the Harper government’s controversial anti-terror bill.
CJFE Executive Director Tom Henheffer says C-51 is extremely dangerous and Canadians are opposed to it.
“When the Bill first came out the majority of Canadian supported it. Something like 86%. Now that the media has been reporting on it and we have issued our resources on it online explaining what the bill does, the vast majority of Canadian in polls do oppose this bill. To have that slip is incredible. That almost never happens.”
Henheffer says C51 will create a massive chill on free speech.
“This Bill will literally enable government agents to censor things on the internet. They will simply be able to, again without any oversight from the courts without any oversight from parliament, go ont he internet and delete things at their discretion. No one likes to invite the comparison, I know it sounds hyperbolic, but it is literally creating a secret police force. It is an extremely dangerous bill.”
Henheffer says under Bill C-51 Canadian’s rights are at risk.
“If you are a national security reporter who might quote the Ottawa shooter or another terrorist or one of these groups, if you publish that, if you share that video link, if you type out that quote and post it, even if you are saying these guys are nuts, I am worried about this, this is bad it doesn’t matter you could be sentenced to five years in jail under this legislation. It sounds crazy but that is actually what is in this legislation.”
Henheffer is confident in the court challenge.
“This bill is so over-broad. It is such a clear violation of the Charter that we are extremely confident that we will win this case.”
He says they have launched a Go-Fund-me campaign to raise money for what could be a long legal battle.