back to article Canada passes controversial spook-powers law

The Canadian government has passed a controversial anti-terrorism Bill, designed to extend the powers of the country's spy agencies. The Bill was passed 183 votes to 93 yesterday and was introduced following the first terror attack on Canadian soil last October, in which a gunman attacked the country's parliament, shot a …

  1. drone2903 in Kanuckistant

    nicely define bounds...

    It says the Canadian Security Intelligence Service will be able to take within and outside Canada "measures to reduce threats to the security of Canada, including measures that are authorised by the Federal Court".

    so ... anything, anywhere, weather is has been authorised or not.

    Welcome to Kanukistan.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: nicely define bounds...

      >so ... anything, anywhere, weather is has been authorised or not.

      To be fair, the weather is a big threat to Canada - and if Bill C51 can do anything to ensure we only get federal authorized weather I will be happier.

  2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Makes you wonder eh?

    First the US, then France, Germany, and now Canada...

    1. Little Mouse

      Re: Makes you wonder eh?

      I had naively hoped that the author used the word "controversial" to mean "the opposite of what we all expected".

      Sadly, it turned out that she meant the opposite of "the opposite of what we all expected".

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Makes you wonder eh?

      You missed Australia.....

  3. Irony Deficient Silver badge

    royal ascent

    Kat, are you sure about your word choice there?

    1. Dan Paul

      Re: royal ascent

      Yeah, you might need to check that.

      I seem to remember that Canada was a sovereign nation and not a colony anymore.

      1. buddypepper

        Re: royal ascent

        Nope - not a sovereign country, technically. Royal ascent is a real thing...that said, it's nothing more than a rubber stamp, in reality.

        1. chebucto

          Re: royal ascent

          I think OP means the spelling is wrong. TFA should say "royal assent".

          Also Canada is indeed a sovereign country. Our head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada. She just happens to be the Queen of some other sovereign countries as well.

          Regarding the bill, our current PM has a poor batting record with our supreme court. The hope now is that most of the egregious parts of this bill will be struck down in due time.

    2. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: royal ascent

      No problem with the word choice. I myself am currently gathering a small team to attempt an ascent of Prince Charles later in the year.

      We're hoping to reach the knees before he notices he's being climbed.

  4. 2+2=5 Silver badge

    Americans can breathe a sigh of relief...

    > The legislation will give Canada's spooks the ability to operate overseas and make preventative arrests.

    Fortunately for the US they have a land border.

  5. NoneSuch Silver badge

    One person decides to shoot a gun and all of us lose a little more freedom.

    There is no evidence I have seen that this bill, if in effect at the time, would have stopped Oct 22 from happening. A few more armed guards in Parliament would have worked a lot better.

    Surveillance didn't stop the Boston Marathon double bombing, it didn't stop Mumbai and won't stop any future attacks. Once government gets access to your info it is almost impossible to get them out again.

    Stop this freaking madness.

    1. Preston Munchensonton
      Black Helicopters

      In summary...

      "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

      -- Benjamin Franklin

    2. Anonymous Coward

      There is actually a very good "Frontline" episode that aired a couple weeks back called "American Terrorist" about David Coleman Bradley, a Pakistani-American who helped plan the 2008 Mumbai attack. It details how the NSA, FBI and DEA fell down at various points in keeping tabs on what this guy was up to. Very instructive on all the things our security services should be fixing before they start shrieking for more surveillance powers. if you want to view it, but that url may very well not work outside the U.S.

    3. Tom 35

      Not a terrorist

      Just a nut with a gun. But Harper was waiting for an excuse to push a law like this. Now they can call anyone protesting an oil pipeline a terrorist.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The public do not want this bill, they've been campaigning against it for months, but Parliament hasn't listened. We've sat here and watched other countries descend into authoritarian holes after passing similar laws, not least the country to which we are directly attached. Just crossing the border has become an endurance event. We see this stuff happening everywhere, we're spied on daily by other governments, our data is being given nearly wholesale to our southern "neighbours" - we don't want it in what is supposed to be "the sensible country". Fucking Harper.

    1. GrumpyOldBloke

      You can't really be surprised about Harper! He has been progressing down his little totalitarian path for a long time. You would think one of the world's top financial families calling Harper a slave would have given the game way, but no. An aging and enfeebled population who cannot distinguish between reality and government propaganda is the real threat to a nation. The old, the prejudiced and the dementia ridden are the fuel which burns for fascism and with the demographics in most Western nations, it is a fuel that burns bright. Make sure the young people take their anti-depressants and we can be awash with violent events and the subsequent demands for a government response. If there aren't any real terrorists then we can just make some up and pretend there was explosives in their shoes or their underpants or something equally as ridiculous. Harper knows that he doesn't have to care about a campaigning public as long as he can keep the old folks awake at night.

      1. Ole Juul

        @ GrumpyOldBloke

        The old, the prejudiced and the dementia ridden are the fuel which burns for fascism and with the demographics in most Western nations

        You forgot one. Harper is a creationist and has a strong following in that camp.

  7. Brock Knudsen

    Not mentioned is what defines a "threat"

    One of the massive problems with the bill is that in an attempt to crackdown on the "terror teaching" jihadist recruitment organizations, it makes illegal any thing that incites protest that can threaten availability of public or private infrastructure. So organizing a protest of a pipeline is a terrorist act and can be hit with the full power of the law. It may say it tackles terrorism, but this government has made a point of lumping environmental groups into that category from minute one that they were elected.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Not mentioned is what defines a "threat"

      Since Alberta turned terrorist last week I think a crackdown is in order.

  8. The Dude

    The ruling regime is toast

    The ruling Conservative Party in the federal government will be facing election this year. I predict they will suffer the same fate as the previously-ruling Conservative Party in the province of Alberta, where people were so disgusted with the arrogant out-of-touch power-drunk ruling regime that this week they decisively turfed them from office.

    I'm not suggesting the replacement politicians are any better, and they may even be worse, but in Canada we do not vote for anyone, we only ever vote against, and the mood regarding the ruling regime is becoming ugly. This spying bill is obscene, and it seems to have persuaded even die-hard conservatives that this party has got to go.

    We live in interesting times.

    1. Ole Juul

      Re: The ruling regime is toast

      "We live in interesting times."


  9. drone2903 in Kanuckistant

    Additionnal info

    The "attack on Parlement" :

    The attacker, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, was a 32-year-old Canadian habitual offender and drug addict from Montreal. Considered by several acquaintances to have mental issues, he had been observed by acquaintances and mosque staff exhibiting erratic behaviour. Zehaf-Bibeau, who had a Libyan-Canadian father, had converted to Islam in 2004 and visited Libya. At the time of the shooting, Zehaf-Bibeau planned to leave Canada for the Middle East, living in a homeless shelter in Ottawa while waiting for the processing of his Canadian passport application. According to RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson the "passport issue was central to what was driving" Zehaf-Bibeau.[10] Zehaf-Bibeau made a video prior to the attack in which he expressed his motives as being related "to Canada's foreign policy and in respect of his religious beliefs."[11] To acquaintances and co-workers, he had previously expressed support for jihadists and others in the Middle East resisting the West's intervention, but was not known to the police to be a terrorism risk. In his mother's opinion, the attack was the "last desperate act" of someone with a mental disorder who felt trapped.[12]

    So tell me: How those "new mesures" would have detected this guy, if everything he planned was already on the open, including the security processing for his passport by the Mounties ?

    ( and sorry, I is whether, not weather )

    I am from the Kebeckistan region of Kanuckistan, we speek a different tongue !

  10. Mr.Mischief

    This is so badly worded and the definitions so broad that pretty much anything can fall under this umbrella..

    Last year, during the pipeline protests, the government remarked that the "environmentalist" were threatening the economy of Canada. Officially, they are now "terrorists". The new Alberta government threatens to tax the oil companies who are threatening to take their business elsewhere. The government could now be considered a "terrorist".

    First nations, who's treaties with the government designate their land as "sovereign" meaning that the government can't run a pipeline through their lands threaten to stop the pipeline. They are terrorists now. If the Bloc Quebecois still want separation, they are "terrorists" now.

    There is no oversight whatsoever and they don't have to report to anyone.

    People are still fighting against this, and Harper is pretty much out of Ottawa come next year.

    1. drone2903 in Kanuckistant

      ... They are terrorists now. If the Bloc Quebecois still want separation, they are "terrorists" now.



    2. Blank Reg Silver badge

      Did you really expect anything less from Harper and his band of idiots?

      All they do is lie about everything that they haven't managed to hide from the public. Now this gives them even more power to try and bury anything that threatens to expose the extent of their incompetence.

  11. Mark 85 Silver badge

    This is sad...

    I'm sorry that our neighbors to the north are getting sucked into the surveillance maelstrom. The West has become no different than the East. The Cold War meant nothing as everyone is ending up in the same place.

    While surveillance might be needed, it's the application and unbridled power that's been given along with interpretation of "terrorist" that is scariest part. I suspect at some point, those of us who protest anything... even Daylight Saving Time, will be classified as terrorists and need some time in the re-education centers.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Almost nobody here in Canada wants this new law. The attack on Parliament wasn't even a terror attack in the political sense of the word that most people understand it.

    A pox on all of the politicians that agreed to this travesty of a law. It *will* be an issue at the next election.

  13. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

    following the first terror attack on Canadian soil last October

    I recall terror activity in the 60/70s in support of an independent Quebec. Check out FLQ.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: following the first terror attack on Canadian soil last October

      Christians can't be terrorists - see Northern Ireland

  14. Anonymous Coward

    The one thing you can always count on from those in power...

    Is that they want even more power!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reality check

    It usually takes the murder of innocent people for the politicians and populace to get a grip on reality that the world has evolved and that the bad guys have the upper hand. The only ones who need to fear anti-terrorism legislation are the terrorists.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Reality check

      The world has evolved to be vastly safer than it was in the past.

      Unless what UKIP says about europe is true, they aren't currently dropping bombs on London.

      The IRA/QLF/RAF/BM/SLA/MMB aren't currently blowing up shopping centers

      But now we need to take various German acronymed security services as a role model to protect us from "threats"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reality check

      The only ones who need to fear anti-terrorism legislation are the terrorists.

      That depends - are the Canadian government mostly paedoterrorists too, or is that just here?

  16. Archie1954

    This bill is an outrage and does nothing to protect Canadians. The episode on Parliament Hill was a deranged individual and could not have been stopped by this bill if it had been earlier enacted. All we have now is the beginning of a police state. I knew the Conservatives were fascist leaning but now the Liberals have shown their true colours also. I won't be voting for either of those two parties come the next election.

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