Harper's C51 Mission: Destruction of Charter

I debated whether to post this article by Michael Harris here. I decided there is a disturbing similarity to what we have been through and the horrific implications of C51.
In C51 will remake Canada in Stephen Harper’s Image, Michael Harris writes:

After ten years of governing by stealth and lies, Stephen Harper has finally laid his vision for Canada on the line. It’s Bill C-51.
This is Harper’s “War is Peace” moment. If anything can bring his decade of division, deception and deconstruction to a merciful end, it will be this piece of democracy-killing legislation.

Harris also says:

How can there be unfettered sharing of information between departments of government without massive and illegal privacy violations? With foreign governments involved, how in the world do we avoid another Maher Arar? If Harper is returned to government armed with C-51, his security, police and intelligence apparatus will be virtually above the law.

Harper already thinks he is above the law. He just changes it when it does not suit him–sacrificing the constitution, Charter, rights and democracy
Harris calls C51 “a manifesto for a police state”
Here’s what Harris says about C51 and the Charter:

Lurking behind this monstrous bill is Stephen Harper’s broader mission: the destruction by other means of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The question needs to be asked. How did a piece of legislation that has raised the ire of four prime ministers, five former Supreme Court justices, First Nations Chiefs, the 36,000 lawyers of the Canadian Bar Association, 51,000 members of the Postal Union and even former CSIS agents ever make it out of the Department of Justice, let alone through the House of Commons?
The answer is simple. It emerged for the same reason that half a dozen other bills that were struck down by the Supreme Court did: federal lawyers in Justice didn’t care whether the bills were consistent with the charter.

This my friends is what Stephen Harper meant in 2006 when he said “You won’t recognize Canada when I’m through with it.”
He kept that promise. Which is why we have FATCA and C51.

15 thoughts on “Harper's C51 Mission: Destruction of Charter

  1. We haven’t heard too much about the actual Department of Justice lawyers who have given the ok to proposed legislation, whether they agree to it or not..The bar for legislation meeting the Charter has been set ridiculously low, as low as 5%. Perhaps their excuse is that they are just following orders.
    Quite frankly, I’d be embarassed to be one of those lawyers. One can only hope that putting down their experiece at Justise on their CV will be career negative for them.

  2. @Hazy: In an exchange between Nathan Cullen and Brian and Ernewein at Finance Committee, Ernewein ducked a very direct question from Nathan Cullen about % probability:

    Mr. Nathan Cullen:
    It’s good news then, in following up on Mr. Allen’s question. If what this amendment does is reaffirm or confirm what it is that we do in our tax treaties, then I think we might have unanimous support, because it’s confirming what we already do and what is already law, and that’s not for you Mr. Ernewein.
    I have a follow-up question to one by the chair. In terms of that constitutional check that we do through justice, there are different ways to have a constitutional test. One of them is with a very high bar. These are all done by probabilities. You and I discussed this earlier. Government used to seek an 85% constitutional probability test.
    Do we know what test percentage or probability was applied to the question put to the Justice department, what likelihood of a charter challenge this act would receive?
    Mr. Brian Ernewein:
    I know you said specifically that your earlier comment wasn’t applicable to me, but may I just say that what we do in our tax treaties is what’s been done in the proposed legislation, not the motion that’s been proposed.
    In answer to your question, I don’t know that. I can only refer to what the Minister of Justice responsibilities are and it’s my understanding that they’ve been discharged.

    Thanks to Calgary411 for tracking this down for me a few weeks ago when I was looking for it in the records and could not find it.

  3. That’s a really good article by Michael Harris although he could have also mentioned the opposition coming from the Canadian general public. George The-Junior Bush once referred to the US Constitution as being a G-D piece of paper so it’s not surprising that Stephen Bush-Lite Harper feels the same about our Charter.

    Throughout this whole process, over 275,000 Canadians have signed the petition against the bill and tens of thousands more have inundated MPs and Senators with letters, phone calls, emails and tweets to express their opposition. We are witnessing one of the largest campaigns in Canadian history.

  4. I agree. Bill C-51 is just as bad, if not worse than, the FATCA/IGA legislation hidden in Bill C-31. Stephen Harper has no regard for our Charter Rights. Luckily the Supreme Court of Canada has overturned a few of his incursions on our rights and freedoms lately.
    It will be interesting for me to attend the summary trial in August and witness first hand what happens with our lawsuit. I hope there is a large spike in donations and more can attend the Vancouver court session.

  5. I just wished to add that regardless of the outcome in Federal Court, we are resisting and letting our presence be known. This is not a situation where burying one’s head in the sand will solve anything. Anyone who can is invited to donate and/or attend to support the anti FATCA lawsuit.

  6. I have contacted MichAel Harris, the author of this article, about FATCA, but I have not had a reply.
    If anyone else would like to try to interest him in doing something on FATCA, his e-mail address is at the end of the article.

  7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D76N9-FhBZM
    Have a look at the image at the beginning of this document: http://voices-voix.ca/sites/voices-voix.ca/files/dismantlingdemocracy_voicesvoix.pdf, then read the document.
    Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada spoke about C-51 and ‘the Insecurity of Human Rights’ last night in Calgary.
    What a great presentation – wish there had been more time, including more time for discussions. I was able to get Mr. Neve’s business card and briefly mention FATCA and gave him the following in one-page hand-out I put together (better formatted than I can here). Mr. Neve knew not of FATCA.
    Bills C-31 (2014), C-51 (2015) and C-24 (2015) — their connecting relationship and new Two-Tiered Canadian Citizenship
    It’s been an interesting progression for three of the Conservative laws rammed through the Canadian Parliament without full due consideration of what legal and other experts had to say. (Neither the Information Commissioner nor the Privacy Commissioner testified to committees considering Bill C-24.)
    · Bill C-31* (2014), the first Canadian legislation to make approximately one million Canadians who are deemed US Citizens (plus their Canadian spouses, plus their Canadian-born children, plus their Canadian business partners who will be US taxable because they have a US business partner taint — all deemed *US Persons*), SECOND-CLASS Canadian citizens. They have been defined by the Conservative government *US citizens who happen to reside in Canada* (whether also Canadian citizens, even those born in Canada who have never lived or received any benefit from the US)…
    *The Government of Canada has signed a ‘FATCA IGA’ (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act Intergovernmental Agreement) with the United States to help that foreign country acquire assets of those Canadians it alone deems to be ‘U.S. persons’. FATCA is the enforcement tool for the imposition of that peculiar and punitive U.S. style ‘place of birth’ taxation on the world. …the Canadian legislation that implements the FATCA IGA said to violate the Canadian Constitution, Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the principles of Canadian sovereignty and democracy and the fundamental rights of all Canadians. Nathan Cullen (NDP), Official Opposition Critic for Finance, was not heeded when he said about Bill C-31 / implementation of the US FATCA IGA …
    Why the government wouldn’t vote to clarify that the Charter of Rights, the Bill of Rights, the Human Rights Act, the Privacy Act, the Official Languages Act, and the Access to Information Act will supersede anything we sign in this tax treaty is beyond me. If it’s redundant, then so be it. Let’s have a redundant aspect of a legislative bill. I’m stunned that something so obvious can’t be accepted into law.
    · to Bill C-51 (2015) which could deem any of us who dare speak out or gather in protest in this country a threat to Canada. One example — if a Canadian citizen, who is also deemed a US citizen (see above) with the secondary US citizenship one the US deems superior to their Canadian, should now oppose Canada protecting its banks before protection of its own citizens and residents, could that person be perceived a threat to Canada and the Canadian economy by speaking out and opposing the actions of Canadian financial institutions (deemed by the US *foreign financial institutions*)? A threat to local Canadian financial institutions who will be sanctioned by the US if they do not comply in collecting and turning over Canadian private financial information on specific *US Persons* to Canada Revenue Agency who will in turn send on to the US IRS? A bonus, with this Bill, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has been given permission to share our income tax filings with 13 additional government agencies – and, because of FATCA, CRA will have far more information about *U.S. Persons* than they will about other Canadians.
    · and now Bill C-24, adding the remainder of those from many countries around the world who chose to become Canadian citizens by naturalization, as well as their children who were born in Canada – to those *US Persons* whose Canadian citizenship is now CONDITIONAL and SECOND-CLASS. It paves a road where under some circumstances (like invoking some of Bill C-51, Canadians with another nationality (and those who are eligible to obtain another nationality) *could have* their Canadian citizenship revoked . Their Canadian citizenships are not the same as any others’ Canadian citizenships. They are now not afforded the same due-process and rights provided by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to any other Canadian citizen. This new law *could have the effect and power* of silencing some voices of *dual citizens* or persons who could claim a second nationality. Now a segment of this country’s citizens may exist in the shadow of other Canadians. Is this what we want for Canada – a second-class of Canadian citizenship?
    Constitutional lawyer, Rocco Galati, has reported he is preparing a court challenge for Bill C-24 and is interested in heading a court challenge for Bill C-51 ( http://pressfortruth.ca/top-stories/rocco-galati-preparing-court-challenge-against-bill-c-24/ ).
    On August 4th, a summary trial will be heard at Federal Court in Vancouver for the FATCA IGA lawsuit filed on behalf of two *Accidental American / non-meaningful American* Canadian plaintiffs (born on US soil to Canadian parents but who returned with their parents as young children to live in Canada). They come forward for all those deemed *US Persons in Canada*. Litigator, Joseph Arvay, another Canadian constitutional lawyer, leads this expensive effort against legislation passed with omnibus Bill C-31(2014) ( http://www.adcs-adsc.ca/ ).
    Remember, Stephen Harper said “You won’t recognize Canada when I’m through.

    1. What a wonderful example of networking, calgary411. It’s disappointing that Mr. Neve hadn’t heard of FATCA … but he does now, thanks to you. With all the liberty-sucking C bills Harper is throwing at Canadians it’s hard to know which ones to try to bat down first. They all need our attention. They all need to be vigorously challenged. It seems to me that there must be a grand plan behind this escalation.

  8. Great work Calgary. It would be great if Amnesty would take on FATCA.
    There is a grand scheme EnBee. Destruction of the Charter and Canadian rights and laws. “You won’t recognize Canada when (Stephen Harper) is through with it.”
    That is one promise he kept. Even if the Cons are defeated, I have no idea how long it will take Canada to recover. I suspect FATCA will be way down on the priority list of a possible NDP or Liberal government. There are so many other things that need attention.
    Perhaps the scariest thing of all is that the Libs voted for C51. If I had any question about which party I would vote for in October, that cemented it for me–even though I know my Liberal candidate and worked with her when I freelanced for our local television station. I like and respect her, but the Libs are really drifting far from their traditional espoused values.

    1. I know only too well there is a grand scheme but one has to tiptoe around the what, the how and most definitely the who. I’ll never understand the why (I don’t think like the who) and the when could be ever so soon. ‘Nuf said. Let’s hope Arvay’s lawsuit is successful and he’ll be amongst the few who have landed a kick against the grand scheme.
      Meanwhile the Alberta NDP seem to be off to a good start:

      The flagship first bill of Alberta’s new NDP government that bans corporate and union donations to political parties has passed in the legislature.


  9. Not to diss anyone, but I found a ‘Bill-C51 for dummies’ that helped me.
    One of my takeaways from reading it is:
    ‘Canada’s privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien has warned, in particular, about the information-sharing aspect of C-51. Therrien won’t be appearing in front of the House of Commons committee that is currently studying the bill, although both the NDP and Liberals requested that he do so.
    Therrien noted on March 5 in a submission to the House public safety committee that certain measures could allow federal institutions access to any and all information a federal department has on any Canadian.
    “While the potential to know virtually everything about everyone may well identify some new threats, the loss of privacy is clearly excessive,” he wrote.
    “For instance, all the tax information held by the Canada Revenue Agency, which historically has been highly protected information, would be broadly available if deemed relevant to the detection of new security threats.”

  10. Thanks Outraged. Also from the article:

    The bill, though, is not just about terrorism. It’s about granting greater powers to police authorities to target activities that could “undermine the security of Canada” as well as activities that are detrimental to Canada’s interests.

    Would we be considered to be “detrimental to Canada’s interests?” Well probably the Cons think we are. Especially those of us whose real identity is out there.
    I, on the other hand, think the Cons and the Libs who voted for C51 are “detrimental to Canada’s interests.”
    I think we can safely assume this blog, Brock and others are already being followed by governments on both sides of the border.
    So to any government officials looking for me, you know where to find me. I will not hide. But I also will not allow you to invade my privacy with the IGA or C51.

  11. I know Lynne strongly disagrees with me on this but it is time for some bloodletting at the high echelons of the civil service. I could excuse Ernewein over FATCA after Lynne strongly convincing me to do so. I have had enough though with Bill C-51 and all these obnoxious government ads. It is time for some senior managers at the Deputy Minister level to be fired after the Conservative for going along and not resigning over these travesties.
    **When I refer to senior I mean senior as people in direct contact with Harper and his cabinet not lower level worker bees like Kevin Shoom. The guy on the left, deputy Minister of Revenue Canada should be first to walk the plank.
    The picture of him above is him standing over the Minister of Revenue’s shoulder signing up to “GATCA” which the US notably has not done.
    I personally(over Lynne’s strong disagreement) would also take away Mr. Treusch’s civil service retirement benefits too.
    ***It is a strong tradition for incoming governments NOT to fire civil servants however, I have heard many a story of incoming governments absolutely chewing out the civil service for going along with failed policies of their predecessors. Roy Romanow as incoming SK premier used to absolutely rip into and treat like dirt the senior Saskatchewan civil service for going along with some of the disastrous policies of PC premier Grant Devine and his cabinet(most of whom ended up in jail)

    1. @ Tim
      I’m essentially in agreement with you. As I posted earlier on this thread, the lawyers at Justice have some explaining to do. The same goes for senior members of the public service who have been complicit with the Harper crowd in backing the damaging policies of the present government. I guess good benefits and pensions overcome any sense of integrity.
      I’m glad you mentioned Romanow because SK was very close to bankruptcy when he took over and his government was able to dramatically turn things around.
      I hope the next government of Canada will quickly undo all the Charter viiolating legislation passed in the last few years, including the FATCA IGA.
      Happy Canada Day, everyone. Lets get this country back to the place we were attracted to many years ago!

  12. Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) are mounting a Charter Challenge to C51.

    They call the Anti-Terrorism Act “the most dangerous legislation we’ve had in recent Canadian history.”
    On FATCA, CCLA remains silent since their statement in December of 2012. (Their site shows a 2011 date but as the link to their letter to Flaherty shows, it was actually in 2012.)
    They are fundraising to pay for their Challenge.
    It is important that we get the money raised soon for our lawsuit. Please Donate to ADCS

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