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Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015 – Should the Core of Canadian Democracy Be Disturbed?

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Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015 - Should the Core of Canadian Democracy Be Disturbed?

To express views freely is definitely the core of modern democracy and no step should be taken which robs citizens of their right to peaceful protest. A democratic government is by the people and for the people, so people and their rights must come first.

I’ve been following stories about this prospective legislation since it became a hot topic of conversation back in the fall 2014. As you are probably aware, during the autumn of 2014, Canada lost two of its precious soldiers in an appalling act of violence by a lone gunman. The RCMP have characterized this attack as an act of terrorism. I was saddened by this terrible brutality on our beautiful Canadian soil.

For this reason, I “partially” support this type of anti-terrorist legislation as known as Bill C-51, as I’m aware that growing threats to Canada make the task of ensuring national security much harder for government authorities. Recent attacks in France and Australia underscore the fact that other nations, such as ours, need to beef up national security.

However, on the other hand, I am equally worried about the prospective bill’s impact on the personal freedom and liberty of Canadians. There were times when countries of the world were run by so-called tyrant rulers (or powerful religious figures), and these sorts of leaders often ruled their people without the people’s consent. Of course, ordinary citizens could only put up with these tyrants for so long, and this is why revolutions began. People fought bravely for freedom and many hundreds of thousands made the ultimate sacrifice, by dying for freedom.

Due to those sacrifices, we must remember and honour the very long path that others travelled in order to give us access to a democratic governmental system, which makes it impossible for leaders to rule with iron fists. Our past generations paid heavy prices in order to obtain personal freedom, which we continue to enjoy today.

As you can see, I am concerned that the personal freedom of innocent Canadians will be placed at risk if Bill C-51 passes into law.

I am disturbed by the present Government’s statement about the Bill C-51 – “The world is a dangerous place and Canada is not immune to the threat of terrorism. Terrorist attacks on our own soil demonstrate that our law enforcement and national security agencies require more tools to keep pace with evolving threats, and to better protect Canadians here at home.”

In my view, the world is not a dangerous place. Rather, the world is a beautiful, interesting, and colourful place which is filled with inspiring people. Only some people are dangerous, not everybody! The vast majority of people in all of the world’s many nations are peaceful and trustworthy human beings. Even dangerous people may have become that way because they are products of their environments. This means that they may have experienced trauma, brain-washing, lack of nurturing, social isolation and mental illness during their lifetimes (and particularly during the all-important formative years).

In my opinion, Canada should invest in mental health research, awareness and treatment, in order to give those who are disturbed and dangerous the care and compassion that they need. I feel that more investment in mental health services on the part of our government would lower crime rates and reduce the risk of terrorist acts. Bill C-51 seems like a bill which may be counter-productive, in that it creates a sense of being subject to suspicions and scrutiny by security organizations. In some cases, this sense of being persecuted or watched by government agencies may lead to more paranoia and more violence!

There are also concerns that this type of legislation may be misused in order to target peaceful protesters. To express views freely is definitely the core of modern democracy and no step should be taken which robs citizens of their right to peaceful protest. A democratic government is by the people and for the people, so people and their rights must come first.

What are your thoughts of Bill C-51? Please leave a comment if you’d like to share your views. Thanks for dropping by today!

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