Bill C-51

I haven’t had much time to focus on it, but I wrote a short letter to my Member of Parliament regarding Bill C-51 the government’s “anti-terrorism” legislation.

Dear Mr. Sweet,

I would like to register my concerns regarding Bill C-51 which is unconscionably broad and very poorly drafted.

I’ll echo the Canadian Bar Association’s concerns: in a statute where absolute clarity and maximum caution are fundamentally┬árequired, instead we have vague and overbroad language that captures much that your government has itself stated is not intended to be captured by the legislation.

This badly needs fixing.

Warrantless searches need fixing. Boosting CSIS powers without boosted review and oversight needs fixing. Application of anti-terrorism provisions to mere unlawful protest needs fixing.

Minister Blaney is dismissing these concerns on the basis that they are unintended consequences. We both know, sir, that that is not how you draft legislation. Legislation is carefully drafted for precise ends, and where it is imprecise, it is deliberate. Broad powers are made broad because they are intended to be used broadly. Let’s have none of this nonsense.

Fix the bill, and provide a sunset.

Craig Burley

Written by Craig Burley

Craig is a tax lawyer in private practice in Hamilton, Ontario. Call Craig at (905) 296-3378 to discuss issues that you think may need independent tax advice. In addition to tax, Craig writes and works publicly on a number of other issues related to law, justice, and public affairs.