What Canadians say about C-51

against Bill C-51

What Canadians Say About C-51

"Bill C-51′s information sharing provisions likely represent the most significant reduction in public sector privacy protection in Canadian history."

Professor Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law. (source)

"Canada needs independent oversight and effective review mechanisms more than ever, as national security agencies continue to become increasingly integrated, international information sharing remains commonplace and as the powers of law enforcement and intelligence agencies continue to expand with new legislation."

Former prime ministers Chrétien, Martin, Clarke and Turner, as well as five former Supreme Court justices, seven former Liberal solicitors general and ministers of justice, three past members of SIRC, two former Privacy Commissioners, and a retired RCMP watchdog

Bill C-51 brings “the entire Charter into jeopardy, undermines the rule of law, and goes against the fundamental role of judges as the protectors of Canada’s constitutional rights.”

Canadian Bar Association

"We should be very careful in Canada, in a country where so many people have sacrificed their lives to preserve our freedoms, to make sure that we aren’t — in the effort to protect ourselves against unknown threats – really diminishing our personal freedoms," [...]"We will regret that forever. When you give up personal freedoms, it’s very hard to get them back."

B.C. Premier Christy Clark

"The system we have in place was put in place in another time, when conditions were different and when maybe we hadn't had these problems that brought the Arar inquiry and the other inquiries," [...]"When we're revising these powers, why not at the same time look at the sufficiency of the measures for supervision?" he said. "I wonder why it's so difficult for the government to accept to just have a look at it?"

Former Supreme Court Justice Michel Bastarache

"This piece of legislation is a violation of our civil liberties and is unacceptable. It must be stopped. Canadians should not have to choose between security and their rights."

Paul Finch, Treasurer, B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU)

"C-51 grants the Government of Canada extraordinary, vague and unnecessary powers that pose a risk to the civil rights and privacy rights of Canadians,” which are “contrary to the recommendations of the Arar Inquiry, as echoed by the Privacy Commissioner’s 2014 report, especially with respect to information sharing, independent review and accountability."

Canadian Muslim Lawyers' Association

"This bill disproportionately targets indigenous communities, environmental activists, dissidents, and Muslims, many of whom are already subjected to questionable and overreaching powers by security officials. This bill will make it easier and ostensibly lawful for government to continue infringing upon the rights of peaceful people."

The Toronto Coalition to Stop Bill C-51

"The vagueness of this Bill and the accompanied heightened discretion granted to authorities have not been accompanied by an increase in oversight. The lack of accountability and transparency, or as the government has called it, "needless red tape", is yet another example of the lessons not learned. It flies in the face of the 8-year-old report of the Ipperwash Inquiry, an inquiry precipitated by the killing of unarmed Aboriginal activist Dudley George in a police standoff."

Olthuis Kleer, Townshend LLP

"Bill C-51’s binaristic approach to 'mainstream' versus 'extremist' values reflects a fixation with, among other things, policing Muslims’ diverse and often divergent religious, cultural, and political practices."

The Canadian Association of Muslim Women in Law

"If the federal government is concerned about things that can kill Canadians, they would be prioritizing a Poverty Action Plan and an inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women, amongst other things. We need to stand up against Bill C-51 and a government trying to scare us into giving up our civil liberties."

Vancouver Deputy Mayor and City Councillor Andrea Reimer

"The Libertarian Party of Canada opposes this legislation whole heartedly. Although everyone wants to stop terrorism, this bill is a huge step backwards. It is yet another example where Canadians are being forced to sacrifice privacy for what is being called security."

Tim Moen of the Libertarian Party of Canada

"Knowledgeable analysts have made cogent arguments not only that Bill C-51 may turn out to be ineffective in countering terrorism by virtue of what is omitted from the bill, but also that Bill C-51 could actually be counter-productive in that it could easily get in the way of effective policing, intelligence-gathering and prosecutorial activity."

More than 100 academics, in an open letter to Members of Parliament

"Bill C-51 poses a grave threat to free expression and human rights in Canada. The unchecked powers it introduces threaten the freedoms at the core of our Canadian democracy."

Tom Henheffer, Executive Director at Canadian Journalists for Free Expression

"The proposed amendments threaten the most fundamental civil liberties that are identified under the Charter, freedom of expression, security of the person, freedom from unlawful search and freedom from arbitrary arrest."


"To say ‘freedom fighters in the Ukraine should resist the Russian occupation with violence, even if it means bringing the conflict to Russian cities’ does not directly threaten violence. It merely advances an argument in favour of that violence, leaving it to the listener to be persuaded or not of its merits. This is exactly the substance of free speech: the idea need not be palatable, but it remains an idea."

Professors Kent Roach and Craig Forcese

"Some of these tactics are taken right out of the fascist playbook."

Former CSIS officer Francois Lavigne

"When I first heard about this, I was like, wow, on one hand we are the victims of ISIS, and on the other hand we are the victims of the politicians in the West."

Mustafa Mustaan, former advisor to the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan

"It’s about creating a secret police. It’s the death of freedom."

Green Party leader Elizabeth May

"The problem with this bill is very simple. It lumps legitimate dissent together with terrorism. Indigenous peoples have a right to seek environmental and social justice through protest, communications and activism. This bill would call that work criminal. It would call that work terrorism."

Niki Ashton, NDP Aboriginal Affairs Critic

"While the potential to know virtually everything about everyone may well identify some new threats, the loss of privacy is clearly excessive… All Canadians would be caught in this web."

Canadian Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien

"CSIS may come to judges asking them to bless in advance constitutional breaches. The proceeding will be secret. Only the government will be represented. There is no appeal mechanism. The person affected will not know about it. They may never know who caused the problems that they then would encounter… We just have never seen anything like this in Canada before."

University of Ottawa Law Professor Craig Forcese

Take Action