The demonstration against Bill C51 today was fun – genuinely enjoyable. Being out on a sunny day with very friendly peple is hard to beat. The speeches weren’t too long, the police escorts on the march around downtown was friendly. (The chants on the march were terrible) Congratulations to the Coucil of Canadians, Angelle Provencher, Blungey McGrues, and others for pulling it together.
I was asked to speak. The written version of the speech is below. It turns out speeches are like battle plans – they don’t survive the first contact with the enemy. There was no enemy, but when a friendly crowd cheers and chants, your carefull little talk takes on a life of its own. That never happens when I am teaching! Anyway, here is the speech:
We worry about how it might be misused. We worry about how it might be abused.
Conservatives who back the bill say, “WE would NEVER use this bill to suppress free speech.” That is what Mr Harper says, too. “We will ONLY use this bill to control the scary bad guys all around you.” We will only use this bill to keep track of your neighbours. And new Canadians. And dangerous protesters. And people scheming against our Canadian way. They tell you that you are in danger!! That they are the good guys. That they will always use this bill to protect YOU!
ARE YOU REASSURED?
Do you have confidence in these people? Do you believe Mr Harper when he says HE would never use this law to suppress free speech?
I happen to think the Supreme Court has already told us this government doesn’t know when it is crossing the line.This government doesnt know wht hte Canadian way is. Legislation from this government has been turned back by the Supreme court 10 time now.
Let’s ask another question. Do you have confidence in whoever comes next? Bill C51 isn’t the kind of tool you want to put into the hands of a paranoid power seeker. Maybe the guy who comes next will use it to stop demonstrations. Maybe a new police commissioner will use it. Maybe a new provincial law will open the door to more misuse.
Every generation faces its own challenges. Past generations of Canadians went to war for the country and they have gone on peacekeeping missions. They have struggled over slavery and fascism, and the oppression of women.
Our struggle today is preserving the Canadian freedoms and Canadian civility they won. Our enemies are the people who spread fear. Who ask for laws against protesters.
Bill C51 is just a small step toward a less free Canada. A more fearful Canada. It is a mistake. Mr Harper wants Parliament to put the whole vague, badly written, unnecessary pile of paper into Law. We want Parliament to put it in the trash bin.