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Toronto marches against Bill C-51

May 30, 2015

May 30 was another day of action across Canada against the secret police bill C-51. Continuing the waves of protests that have decimated support for the draconian bill, there were rallied from coast to coast including a march on Parliament. The demands are: repeal Bill C-51, affirm the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, honour treaties and the rights of Indigenous people, honour First Nations right to be consulted, and stop racist legislation and fear mongering.

In Toronto, in the midst of torrential downpour, around 200 people rallied at Queen's Park and marched through downtown. "This shows the committment against the bill and against the government trying to take away our rights," said the MC.

The first speaker, Indigenous activist Heather Milton-Lightning, welcomed the rain and connected the fight against C-51 to the historic struggles of Indigenous people and the ongoing climate justice movement to protect the land. "Our ancestors fought for a long time against the state of Canada. It's not new for us to be surveilled and targeted." She connected opposition to C-51 with the march happening today on the east coast against the Energy East tar sands pipeline, and the ongoing history of Canadian colonialism to extract resources--from the fur trade to the tar sands.

NDP MP Andrew Cash recalled the mass arrest of 2010 during the G20, and warned that Bill C-51 tries to justify such attacks on civil liberties. "Some politicians say we have to choose between security and civil rights. That's a false choice and we won't accept that false choice...We can't let Harper and Trudeau take away our rights." He said an NDP government would rip up Bill C-51, and urged people to "keep fighting, speaking truth to power."

Human rights activist Josephine Grey, from Low Income Families Together, said that "Pass or no pass, it's an illegal law and must be defeated through all means." She urged people to keep opposing the bill and to support those who will be disproportionately targeted--Indigenous people and Muslims. The rally ended with lawyer Rocco Galati reminding people that Harper's secret police bill is an extension of Jean Chretien's attacks on civil liberties, and then the rally marched through the streets of Toronto. spoke with rally participants about why they opposed the bill, here's a sample

*"I like our rights."

*"It infringes on our constitutional rights. They shouldn't make it a law. The majority are opposed; even if they are not protesting a lot of people are worried."

*"I don't believe the government has a rihgt to spy on us and randomly chose if what we're doing is legal or illegal."

*"Bill C-24 will lose citizenship, and Bill C-51 lowers the bar and criminalizes public protest. It will allow people to be falsely accused and deported."

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