Mike Sullivan, like most of the NDP, voted in vain against Bill C-51, a bill that will reduce Canadians’ rights. C-51 will, among other things, criminalize (noxious) expressions of support for terrorism and allow spy agencies to ‘disrupt’ threats—two manifestly bad ideas.
I’ve read books that countenance terrorism. I didn’t order them through Al Qaeda’s bookstore; I read The Wretched of the Earth, by Frantz Fanon, in graduate school. Would it have run afoul of CSIS? Quite possibly. Would Sartre? Mao? Marx? The Anarchist Cookbook?
C-51 criminalizes the promotion of terrorism in general, and terrorism is defined quite loosely (if at all). Sullivan’s boss, Thomas Mulcair, said “Experts warn that broad measures in this bill could lump legal dissent together with terrorism”. Greenpeace is worried. The Assembly of First Nations is too. We all should be.
C-51 also gives the government spy agency the power to ‘disrupt’ terrorist plans, using illegal and unconstitutional methods. This is a terrible idea. The FBI disrupts terrorist plots by manufacturing those terrorist plots and entrapping dimwits and space cadets. Smart critics say that “The [FBI] does not disrupt planned domestic terror attacks but rather creates them, then publicly praises itself for stopping its own plots.”
Mike Sullivan, and the NDP, deserve praise for taking a principled and courageous stand against populist legislation. They must know that they’ll be called lily-livered pantywaists (or worse!) come election time—as if being principled and unafraid were somehow not macho.