calgary defence blog
A Defence lawyer's perspective on issues in criminal law
Why Calgary Citizens Should Beware the Anti-Terrorism Act
August 6, 2015
The controversial "Anti-Terrorism Act," also known as Bill C-51 before it was passed into law last month, is one more step in the erosion of Canadians' basic civil rights under our increasingly conservative government. When the law goes into full effect (and if it survives several challenges that may be raised in the nation's courts), it could potentially allow for the arrest of any citizen simply for being "disruptive" to the normal course of business—and that's only one of the objectionable provisions in this law.
It isn't just this Calgary defence lawyer who has a problem with the broad powers this law gives to law enforcement officers when it comes to encroaching on citizens' privacy, limiting speech and protests that they don't like, and generally transforming our free society into one where everyone must watch what they do and say lest they find themselves accused of a crime. Now, calls have come from the United Nations raising similar concerns regarding the state of human rights in Canada once this law takes effect. In particular, the UN Human Rights Committee is concerned that decreased legal protections for immigrants and visitors to Canada might lead to illegal deportations.
And scarier still, this is just the most recent and extreme change in Canadian law that's heading in the direction of making Canada a police state.
The Increasing Conservatism of Calgary Law
There is a growing attitude amongst some legislators and many law enforcement agencies that Canada's citizens, from Calgary to Toronto and around the nation, are in need of protection—protection from outside terrorists, and protection from themselves. Despite the fact that Canada is one of the safest countries in the world (and Calgary is one of its safest cities), the police and even the federal government are demanding more intrusion into our day to day lives and more control over what we can do and say, all in the name of "public safety" and "national security."
Calgarians should be asking themselves if laws that put us at the mercy of law enforcement officers actually make us safer. Are we better off when the government is able to spy on its own citizens without any real, tangible evidence that any crime has been committed? Are we better off with laws like Alberta's impaired driving law that punishes people before they are actually convicted? Do we want to be a nation that fears foreigners—and its own citizens—so much that we're willing to give up our right to protest government actions, or to have a fair say in matters affecting the environment?
Current changes to the legislative and civil justice atmosphere would make it seem that a majority of Canadians are on board with these changes. I, for one, doubt that very much, and hope we can see the pendulum swing the other way sooner rather than later.
A Calgary Defence Lawyer Who Cares About Citizen's Rights
Don't become a victim of our increasingly paranoid criminal justice system. If you've been accused of a crime in the Calgary area and want a passionate, experienced lawyer to fight for your rights, please contact my office today.
This entry was posted on August 6, 2015
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