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Blog Entry

Take Action: National Security Bill Puts Land and Environment Protectors in Jeopardy

Jen Moore

Latin America Program Coordinator / Coordinadora del programa para América Latina, 2010-2018.

Join MiningWatch and the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) to sign and share this online action to alert Members of Parliament to problems with the Liberal government’s National Security Act 2017, Bill C-59. Far beyond a threat to the privacy of Canadians, it puts land and environment protectors in danger of continuing to be targeted as security threats.

Bill C-59 is the government’s response to the much-maligned Bill C-51 that the Conservative government released to nationwide protest in 2015. While we would still be in favour of a full repeal of Bill C-51, Bill C-59 does not go far enough to address the dangerous ways that it empowers Canadian spies and intelligence sharing. Now that it has been sent back to committee, there is an opportunity to raise our concerns once again.

ICLMG has put together a video to provide an introduction to this complex bill.

Indigenous-led social movements and environmental organizations peacefully fighting unwanted and harmful mega-projects, such as pipelines and hydroelectric dams, have already found themselves targets of surveillance. Access to information requests have revealed how such intelligence has been shared between government and private sector actors through classified briefings. 

As members of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association have laid out, Bill C-59 maintains the idea “that peaceful resistance – such as opposition to pipeline projects or other private development – constitutes a meaningful threat to “critical infrastructure” [encouraging] the profiling of Indigenous groups by Canada’s national security bodies.”

They explain that is much more than a privacy problem:

Pervasive surveillance creates a climate of insecurity, with the potential to discourage legitimate democratic participation, curtail peaceful assembly, and chill freedom of speech, of religious expression and of the press. When these consequences are disproportionately aimed at those engaged with the democratic process through their activism and political work, democracy, and the public interest as a whole, suffer.

Join us and take action on Bill C-59 now.