Manitoba

Bill C-51 dangerous legislation, says Manitoba First Nations leader

Grand Chief Terrance Nelson says there is no need for anti-terror legislation in Canada, and he is calling Bill C-51 dangerous.

Community organizer says legislation is meant to target environmental activists, not extremist groups

"We are a country who hasn't been attacked," says Grand Chief Terrance Nelson, who leads the Southern Chiefs Organization. He says Bill C-51 is dangerous.

Grand Chief Terrance Nelson says there is no need for anti-terror legislation in Canada.

He calls Bill C-51 dangerous.

"We are a country who hasn't been attacked," says Nelson, who leads the Southern Chiefs Organization.

"We haven't lived in the Syrias and the Libyas and the Iraqs. Other people strive for the kind of peace we have." 

The Bill would give law enforcement the power to disrupt potential terrorist plots and detain suspects who "may" carry out rather than "will carry" out terrorist activity.

It was tabled at the end of January following a deadly attack on Parliament Hill in the fall.

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo  was shot and killed by so-called "lone wolf" Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who was also gunned down on Parliament Hill.

"These polices, what I term the 'hide in a broom closet Prime Minister,' living in fear of real or imagined jihadists," says Nelson.

Nelson fears aboriginal people, exercising their right to protest, will get arrested under this legislation.

"Treaty rights, land rights, natural resource development, any protest like that, they could be considered eco terrorists," he said.

Those concerns are being echoed at the grassroots level.

Community organizer Michael Kannon is also opposed to Bill C-51.

Kannon has been active with Idle No More and has organized public events such as round dances at Portage and Main.

He believes this legislation is meant to target environmental activists, not extremist groups.

"It seems that the RCMP have left it up to the oil lobbiest to determine what is a threat," says Kannon. 

He says he would hate to see this legislation become a reason for peaceful protesters to clash with law enforcement.

"Climate change is a real threat, not grandmothers holding up an eagle feather," he says.

The NDP also expressed concerns with the bill and put forth a number of amendments.

 It will be put to a vote on Monday evening, just before the House votes on the main bill. 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.