By Greg Holden
Protesters are expected this morning outside the office of Dave Van Kesteren, M.P. for Chatham-Kent Essex, to voice their opposition to the controversial Bill C-51 that the Harper government proposed in January. Known as the Anti Terrorism Act, the Bill proposes broad increases to the power of CSIS and police. The Bill proposes seven day detentions without a hearing for an accused and making it easier for the RCMP to get a peace bond that requires surrendering a passport.
Local organizer Joanne Martin told the CKReview the proposed law is vague and allows the government to silence opposition. Martin said, “Harper has silenced his criticism and come down against charities, aboriginals and environmentalists. If this Bill passes he will have free rein to silence his critics and people don’t seem to understand the impact.”
The Bill is supported by the Liberals. The NDP have filibustered but did not come out against the Bill, avoiding being portrayed as soft on terrorism. Green Party leader Elizabeth May has opposed the Bill.
The protest in Chatham is part of a national effort to raise awareness about Bill C-51. The protest takes place starting at 11 a.m. and is at Van Kesteren’s office, 48 Centre Street.