Target: Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper
Goal: Demand that the Harper administration stop expanding government spying powers and abandon the Anti-terrorism Act 2015
After the bombing of New York City’s World Trade Center in 2001, Americans were asked to stomach a wave of oppressive legislation supposedly aimed at keeping them safe from future threats. Officials spoke of the world as a dangerous place where terrorists lurked around every corner, targeting western nations because of their “freedoms” and “democracy.” In the years since the world has watched freedoms of privacy, speech and assembly be trampled in the name of the security state; and now Canada is looking to follow in these misguided footsteps.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper used the same tired rhetoric to defend the Anti-terrorism Act 2015. “Canadians are targeted by these terrorists for no other reason than that we are Canadians,” he said in a recent speech. “They want to harm us because they hate our society and our values. They hate pluralism, they hate tolerance and the freedom we enjoy.”
To guard against this “great evil…descending over our world,” Harper asks Canadians to accept increased intrusion into their private lives by agencies with minimal oversight. Privacy Commissioner of Canada Daniel Therrien said in a statement that “This Act would seemingly allow departments and agencies to share the personal information of all individuals, including ordinary Canadians who may not be suspected of terrorist activities, for the purpose of detecting and identifying new security threats.”
The bill would expand government spying powers with no guarantee that such intrusion would help keep people safe from terrorism. The dangers of such overreach are already well documented. Call on the Harper administration to abandon the Anti-terrorism Act 2015, ensure real accountability of all agencies, and cease its expansion of the security state.
Dear Prime Minister Harper,
Your administration is pushing to expand its ability to share citizens’ private information among agencies, all in the name of combating terrorism. This invasion of privacy would target both known criminals and innocent Canadians alike. The world has already seen the dangerous consequences of sweeping spying authority with minimal oversight, exposed by whistle blowers working inside the security industry. Why would Canadians want to follow in the footsteps of the United States and erode constitutional protections in this way?
I must insist that your administration reject the flawed Anti-terrorism Act 2015, and work to hold security agencies accountable to the public rather than expand their reach into citizen’s private lives.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Remy Steinegger via Wikimedia Commons