‘Funkraiser’ to battle Harper’s police-state Bill C-51

Matt Currie —

Toronto-based civil liberties campaigners from the group Stop C-51: Toronto are holding a “Funkraiser” on Saturday, March 12, at a bar in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood. STOPC51TO is running the party to invigorate its campaign, which organizers say has fallen from the public eye. A full year has passed since the controversial Bill C-51 was first tabled by the Conservative party under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Now law, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015 (formerly C-51) remains controversial. The young volunteer advocates with STOPC51TO are eager to remind their community about the need to remain active. To communicate this message and recruit new supporters, the group is holding a funk show at The Central Bar, 603 Markham St. The event is entitled “Funk the Police State.” The event website is: www.stopc51to.org/FtPS

The Toronto group is known for having organized the 5,000-person strong March 14th 2015 “Rally to Stop Bill C-51” in co-ordination with dozens of organizations, unions, and professional associations. We thought it was important to commemorate the anniversary of the big rally. Since the federal election in October, there’s been a real attitude of “Justin’s got this,” but we’re starting to think that he might not.

This is great and all. We’ve submitted a petition to a Liberal MP that will be carried forward in the House. We hope to trigger a conversation about amendment of the law. What we’d actually like to see, but what we don’t think they’ll agree to, is a suspension of the law until such time as parliament can review its compliance with the charter.”

STOPC51TO has been meeting with MPs. Members of the group have received official confirmation that draft policy for amending the security law might be tabled as early as this spring. Public consultations will follow when parliament reconvenes after the summer recess. Preliminary consultations with legal experts and advocates are apparently already underway, though these have not yet been made public.

“Stephen Harper’s Conservatives worked with Trudeau’s Liberals to pass Bill C51 through the house.” Said Karen Walmsley, the group’s treasurer. “The Liberals have insisted that as the ‘party of the Charter’ they always wanted to oppose the bill on principle. They are claiming that they only supported it pragmatically, to avoid ‘making political hay’ of the issue.”

STOPC51TO is inviting their community out at 9 p.m. on March 12 to enjoy a night of music and dancing.  The tagline on their social media posting reads: “From the front lines of the revolution to the bass lines of the funk solution, get ready to dance up a civil disturbance.”

Matt Currie is executive co-ordinator with Stop C-51: Toronto.

MARCH 2016