Friday, 20 March 2015

500 Protest Bill C-51 in Ottawa

Over 500 people protested against Bill C-51 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Saturday afternoon, March 14, 2015.(1)

In freezing drizzle, hundreds gathered at noon in front of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s offices, chanted and staged speakers, then walked to the "Peace Tower" on Parliament Hill where they peacefully, but loudly proclaimed their defence of freedom, to reject fear and stop Harper’s Secret Police Bill.

Events included 10 speeches, chants, "Bill C-51 Song" by the Ottawa Raging Grannies,(9) and '"Three Traitors": a play for today' performed by The Quaker Theatre Team.(10,11,12) The rally ended at 2 pm.

This Ottawa Day of Action Against Bill C-51, organized by #StopC51, was one of 73 held across Canada.

Many who took photos and videos posted them online. Local news covered the event. See me with camera behind the lady in yellow holding the sign in The Ottawa Citizen; and see my 101 photo album and a shorter slide show in Google+ Story.(7) Also see 94 photos by Mike Gifford.(8) Dr. Qais Ghanem made a 50-minute video of the speakers and singers(9) and a 5-minute video of the Quaker Theatre Team.(11); but Jane Keeler posted her 5-minute video of the Quaker Theatre play(12) and a 2-minute video of the singing Ottawa Raging Grannies the same day.(10)

The proposed legislation is in the form of an Omnibus Bill which the Conservative government is rushing to push through without any amendments, so as to bolster its own support of this year’s federal election.

If passed, the Bill would give full access (without our knowledge or consent) to 17 federal departments and agencies about personal data of its citizens, publicly designed to identify and suppress security threats. These agencies include the RCMP and Canada’s two spy agencies, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and Communications Security Establishment (CSE). But also it includes the Canada Revenue Agency, the departments of Citizenship and Immigration, Health and Transport.

Privacy Commissioner of Canada Daniel Therrien has broader concerns about information sharing in the proposed legislation.

… Another bill, C-44, which is aimed at empowering CSIS, raises “fundamental questions for privacy,” he said, as well as U.S. whistle-blower Edward Snowden’s recent revelations about massive electronic surveillance operations.

“Is that the kind of society we want to live in, where ordinary Canadians, law-abiding individuals, are the subject of intrusive monitoring and profiling by national security agencies?” he asked. (2)

This dangerous piece of legislation opens the door to undermining the rule of law, human rights and democracy itself. It would be the first step in CSIS being turned into full secret police. The Bill threatens to stifle discussion on such issues as:
  • Questioning the right of government to go to war. (Recall the Preamble to the UN Charter: 'to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war….').
  • The right of government to expand its military efforts in the Middle East.
  • The right of government to meddle in the Ukraine.
  • Questioning army training for high school credits in Canada. (Army training for high school credit has first students, CBC News, Feb. 2, 2015.).
  • Challenging the gun lobby. (Remember that kids brought up without fear of guns and vigilantism leads to healthy citizens.).
  • Using the label of ‘terrorism’ as an excuse to arrest citizens without due process of law. This relates to the surveillance of environmentalists, indigenous peoples, and peace activists.
  • Those grassroots activists who oppose the Alberta tar sands, the TransCanada pipeline and tanker projects as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Trade Promotion Authority.
  • Creating a Department of Peace in Canada.
Using the club of fear, the government claims that the state needs extra powers to counter radicalization and ISIS. However, the existing laws, many professionalists believe, are sufficient to deal with this threat in Canada. The real solution lies in prevention. In our foreign policy, we need to work for peace. We need to prevent soldiers from going abroad, being killed, injured and being affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

In other words, the Prime Minister and the state ought to stop militarizing Canada and bring its troops home. Using those billions of dollars saved, Canadians can then deal with climate change and clean environment, income inequality, full free universal public health care and education, culture and sports programs accessible to all, good governance, and serious attention to upgrading public infrastructure across the country.

  1. Campanella, Emanuela. 'Hundreds gather in front of PM's offices to protest anti-terror bill. The Ottawa Citizen, March 15, 2015.
  2. Berthiaume, Lee. 'All Canadians would be trapped in anti-terror legislation's 'web', warns privacy commissioner.' The Ottawa Citizen, March 6, 2015.
  3. Nick Rose. ‘Some Kind of Monster: A Brief History of Harper’s Big Fat Omnibus Bills.’ Vice Media, March 12, 2015.
  4. Alyssa Stryker and Carmen Cheung. ‘Six Things Protesters Need to Know about Bill C-51.’ The Tyee, March 14, 2015.
  5. Russwurm, Laurel L. 'Canada is about to lose Free Speech and Civil Rights. interweb freedom, March 12, 2015.
  6. Michael Geist. 'Why Anti-Terrorism Bill is Really an Anti-Privacy Bill: Bill C-51's Evisceration of Privacy Protection.' Michael Geist's Blog, March 12, 2015.
  7. 101 images online by Koozma J. Tarasoff; and a shorter slide show in Google+ Story.
  8. Stop C-51 - Ottawa, 94 photos by Mike Gifford, flickr.
  9. 1000 Ottawa Canadians Against Harper's Draconian Bill C51, 50-minute documentary video by Dr. Qais Ghanem, Dialog with Diversity, March 16, 2015. Shows speakers Paul Champ, Yavar Hameed, Clayton Thomas-Muller, Monia Mazigh, Larry Rousseau, Jessica Squires, and Ottawa Raging Grannies singing their "Bill C-51 Song" at minute 28:55.
  10. "The C-51 Picnic" by the Raging Grannies of Ottawa, 2-minute video by Jane Keeler, March 14, 2015. Lyrics for "Bill C-51 Song" by the Ottawa Raging Grannies.
  11. Quaker Theatre Group Against Bill C51. 5 min. video by Dr. Qais Ghanem, Dialog with Diversity, March 20, 2015. Script below.
  12. Three Traitors— a play by Carl Stieren, performed by the Quaker Theatre Team. 5-min video by Jane Keeler, March 14, 2015. Script below.
  13. Script: 'Three Traitors' by Carl Stieren,, performed by the Quaker Theatre Team in Ottawa, March 14, 2015. Vidoes above. Thanks to Carl for submitting the script and links to videos.
  14. Anti-terrorism bill C-51 'dangerous' legislation, 100 academics say, CBC News, Feb 27, 2015.


  1. Ingrid Style, Quebec22 March 2015 at 17:42

    Koozma there are petitions on Lead Now and about this

    1. Thanks Ingrid. The public is invited to support a petition to stop this Bill at

  2. Thank you Koozma for the comprehensive coverage of this regressive bill. Most worrisome. Time to rise up against the king!

  3. 500 человек устроили шоу на несколько часов. Побесновались и разошлись с миром..... А кто платил за весь этот цирк? И вообще эта проблема интересует только этих людей, а остальным 30 миллионов человек это проблема не интересна?

    1. Koozma J. Tarasoff23 March 2015 at 12:58

      Translation of comment by Valery Kalmykov of Russia.

      500 people staged a show for a few hours. After having fun they parted. Now who pays for all of this circus? Although only these people showed interest, what about the interest of the other 30 million Canadians? [Where are they?]

  4. Ivaylo Grouev, Ottawa, ON23 March 2015 at 08:46

    Congratulations! It was a great post, solid content, well written with also superb photos and videos...granny songs so nice.
    Well done. Too bad that the NDP is the only political party opposing it. I hope Harper is going to pay a heavy price at the next election.
    You may add to your blog the following document (see at the very end 100 law professors, open in a different window)
    Cheers, Ivaylo

  5. Paul Maillet, Ottawa, ONT25 March 2015 at 08:32

    Dear friends

    A post I recently made on the subject.

    Why do we find it so difficult to debate the use of military intervention as Canada’s contribution to international peace and stability? Now the mission creep begins. Did we not learn anything from the mess we left in Libya? Is killing our only response?

    The expansion of attacks into Syria begs a few questions. Are we willing to accept casualties? We are now flying in another country with possible sophisticated Russian surface to air missile capabilities and a Russian equipped air force. We cannot be certain what missiles or air defence capacities ISIS has captured and operates in this regard. We may or may not have air superiority as in Iraq. We will need allied help to suppress enemy air defences, and fighter cover support. I assume we will operate as part of allied strike packages. However, we may run into, or clash with, hostile Syrian air force fighters or air defence systems.

    All this begs the question of what 6 CF18s are doing in a theatre of some 20,000 ISIS fighters facing surrounding national armies with over 2 million men under arms and massive modern air forces that makes 6 CF18s absolutely insignificant to any possible outcome. All we can do is kill a few people. We are better than this.

    Maybe the real contribution of Canada is to look to the two Nobel peace prizes we have shared for peacekeeping, and look to a role of impartiality, diplomacy, peace operations and humanitarian activities. Eventually the readiness and willingness to sit down and talk, and need for political negotiation will arise, and we can be prepared for that day, and maybe such readiness may be in time to save lives. The number of lives we could save with the money we are spending is surely the best of who we think we are. Why are we not a nation of peace vice a nation of war? When did we lose our way?

    in peace



    Paul Maillet
    Colonel (retired)
    Accredited Peace Professional
    Civilian Peace Services Canada
    Tel: 613.841.9216 Cell: 613.866.2503