MP Wayne Easter defends Liberal support for Bill C-51

Teresa Wright
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Wayne Easter

Malpeque MP Wayne Easter is defending the federal Liberal party’s decision to support the Harper government’s proposed anti-terrorism legislation as a growing chorus of advocates call for the bill to be scrapped.

Easter has been the lead spokesman for the Liberals in Ottawa on Bill C-51, which proposes sweeping changes to security and privacy laws in an attempt to combat terrorist threats in Canada.

But Easter has been forced into a defensive role.

The Liberals plan to support the controversial bill in order to “err of the side of national security for a limited period of time,” Easter said.

“We do see the need for some of the elements in this bill on national security, and therefore we’re going to support the bill on the national security side,” Easter said.

The Liberals are promising to amend parts of the bill, including adding sunset clauses to some of the most aggressive measures, if they form the next government.

Meanwhile, a growing number concerns have been raised over many of the measures in this legislation.

Four former prime ministers submitted an op-ed to the Globe and Mail that included signatures of a number of retired Supreme Court judges and other security and intelligence experts.

Canada’s Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien has also expressed concern over the bill in an opinion piece published the Globe, citing new powers that would provide 17 federal government agencies with “almost limitless powers to monitor and profile ordinary Canadians, with a view to identifying security threats among them,” Therrien said.

On Friday, the Island Peace Committee and the P.E.I. chapter of the Council of Canadians staged a protest against Bill C-51 in front of Egmont MP Gail Shea’s ministerial office in Charlottetown.

Leo Broderick of the Council of Canadians in P.E.I. says he believes the bill should be scrapped entirely.

“The bill, according to the critics, expands very significantly the definition of security and many, many people might be targeted,” Broderick said.

He rejected Easter’s defense of certain aspects of the bill, calling the Liberal position on this proposed legislation “ridiculous.”

“Wayne Easter said we need a balance and there are some aspects of the bill that are good, but those aspects we have laws now that look after those… we call on both (Liberals and Conservatives) to get onside with the Canadian people and support more democracy rather than reducing it,” Broderick said.

Organizations: Globe and Mail, Supreme Court, Island Peace Committee Conservatives

Geographic location: Canada, Ottawa, P.E.I. Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • A Jeff
    March 19, 2015 - 00:08

    Meet you all in the new Gitmo Canada jail in the barren Arctic, built by The Honourable Stephen Harper to generate the Canadian economy Imprisoned for life with no right of Habas Corpus or imprisonment Appeal Canada Freedom corrosive erosion lost forever with Bill C51

  • mike
    March 17, 2015 - 21:29

    For you o do not know. This bill allows the government to classify almost anyone as a terrorist or threat. Any protest can be closed down and everyone arrested and classified as a terrorist. Also the government has been refusing to hear from many people on this bill making sure that the people who can prove this bill is dangerous and goes against Canadas charter or rights. This Bill should be tossed out. I am sorry but I trust nothing from Harper. Not to mention the other bill about life in prison. Yup I see to many things that seems like we are quickly turning in to the USA

    • bruce Irwin
      March 21, 2015 - 10:48

      The Bill is by definition a FASCIST PROCLAIMATION it is just an Canadian rewrite of Hitler's Reichstag fire decree. How anyone in any country can allow fascism to be allowed or support it is beyond me and If they come to get me for blatantly using free speech they better bring allot of amo.

  • Charlottetonian
    March 17, 2015 - 20:23

    Bring on Bill C-51. For all you fear mongers who think this moves us one step closer to the end of privacy as we know it, maybe you’re right! But the care-free days of doing whatever the hell you wanted in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and right through to 2001......are over. This is the price we’re going to pay to resume living a secure life in Canada. I live a very honest life; obey the laws of the land to the nth degree. And if all you law-breaking, fear mongers lived your lives on the straight & narrow, too, you’d have nothing to hide, and embrace this Bill.

    • intobed
      March 18, 2015 - 13:58

      So what happens if your "honest way of life" becomes illegal? Do you know all the laws right now, and if you don't how do you know you are not breaking any?

    • Bill Kays
      Bill Kays
      March 20, 2015 - 18:15

      You can find all the security you want and need in a jail cell. Very secure. There are too many laws of the land, Charlottetonian, my buddy. Get the government out of our lives. I'll take my chances with any terrorists you want. Statistically speaking, you have nothing to fear, so Bill C-51 is a CSIS bill, a bill to grant them extended powers not only in Canada, but abroad. Bill C-44 was the anti terrorist bill you so want to embraced as a safety blanket. Show me the big bad boogeymen. I'm more scared of bumble bees and for good reason. Look it up.

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    March 17, 2015 - 18:59

    He is left with only Liberal supporters for it. No one else in the country wants it, only CSIS. I bet if the Liberal supporters of the bill would have some one reads and explain it to them, so that they could understand the big words, they wouldn't like it either. Who does that you? Oh yea, the Americans.

  • Interesting analogy
    March 17, 2015 - 17:28

    I agree with Bill C51, however we need to go further. We must not send troupes over to fight the middle east civil wars. We do not need to trade with these countries or buy their oil or send journalists or ambassadors. Leave them completely alone. Let them work out their own problems and then we can support all refuges who need help on our terms as immigrants into Canada. Or in financial aid to neighbouring Countries who take in refuges. Makes perfect sense.

  • Rod
    March 17, 2015 - 13:07

    Once again we see the truth of the adage, "Politicians can only make political decisions," as the liberals vie for the more conservative of liberal voters.

  • reality
    March 17, 2015 - 12:12

    this bill is needed -I WANT THE GOVERNMENT TO KNOW EVERY LAST SECURITY THREAT --- there are a lot of queer people doing a lot of dangerous things in Canada and I think people need to be protected by strong government laws --if you have something that is so terribly private then i hope they catch you too-

    • Pathetic
      March 17, 2015 - 13:38

      Some many scared little sheep. harper loves your type. Scared of your own shadow. He plays you suckers like a fiddle.

    • From the USA
      March 17, 2015 - 14:47

      Pathetic:Obvious you haven't heard of 911 or the Boston Marathon bombing. You should be encouraging and supporting your Government.

    • intobed
      March 17, 2015 - 19:48

      So where do you draw the line? Would it be ok for the government to have free reign to listen in on all phone and text conversations? How about hidden access to the cameras and microphones in your laptops, smart phones, or smart tvs? If the government passed a security bill demanding cameras in al businesses and private homes, you would be ok with that? Perhaps you should lobby the government to pass a bill making monthly lie detector tests on all Canadian citizens to see what crimes they are commiting? My line has been drawn - stop this bill.

  • Observer
    March 17, 2015 - 11:10

    What a lack of creditability Wayne Easter has!! In 2004, he was Solicitor General of Canada; he called in the SWAT team from Halifax to stamp out the protests of Souris area fishermen, who had stand and watch fishing boats from New Brunswick unload their catches at the Souris wharf!

    • NorthLakeFishermen
      March 17, 2015 - 12:31

      Sorry to burst your bubble Observer but it was peter mcquaid and Jamie ballem who got them here....Not Wayne Easter

  • Island Voter
    March 17, 2015 - 11:04

    In his last statement Mr Broderick assumes he has the support of Canadians. I doubt very much does not, nor does his council, but there is a way to find out. If he is so sure of his representation, I would advise him to get behind a party and put his name forward. Let's remove all doubt! If not, then let's be clear! Mr Broderick and council has an opinion, but he does not represent anyone but himself!

    • Ed Gallant
      March 17, 2015 - 11:38

      Instead of showing your shallow dislike for Leo, you should take some time and read a national newspaper and find out how the majority of Canadans feel about Bll C-51.Further, do you even know what is in Bll C-51? I thought not!

    • Island Voter
      March 17, 2015 - 19:40

      It is not a matter of like or dislike for Mr Broderick; I don't know the man! Nor, is it a matter of the bill the liberals and conservatives are pushing forward. The matter, Mr Gallant, is Mr Broderick's insistence that he represents most Canadians in this matter. I don't believe he or the Council of Canadians represents the majority of canadian views, so I wish he would stop insisting that he does! Thank you

    • Seriously?
      March 17, 2015 - 22:00

      If you read the article and your biggest concern is whether Leo Broderick's opinion truly represents the majority of Canadian people (which it actually does) than you have bigger problems.. Why don't you better use your time to educate yourself about this bill and its implications- this will have serious undemocratic impacts and restrictions on Canadian people's freedoms, privacy and rights. Mr.Broderick's calling on the government to ensure our rights are being upheld.. why do you find this so problematic?

  • How it is...
    March 17, 2015 - 10:42

    Nope. Nope, nope, nope. This "security" bill is a thinly veiled front for the government to freely spy and monitor citizens. When the government begins to decide rights and freedoms that the majority of citizens oppose or haven't been fully disclosed of the consequences of its decision, then we're no longer living in a democracy. We're now being ruled.

    • Beth
      March 18, 2015 - 12:20

      You would resent this bill only if you are a terrorist as every other Country has the same security bill.