VANCOUVER, March 14, 2015 /CNW/ - There was a groundswell of support for today's National Day of Action Against Bill C-51. Seventy actions took place across the country, from Victoria to Halifax. In Vancouver, more than 2,500 concerned citizens gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery to stand up for democracy.
Paul Finch, B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) Treasurer and National Day of Action co-organizer, emceed the event, telling the crowd, "This bill does nothing to protect security but rather strips Canadians of our civil liberties."
"It is an important issue for our union to stand behind: BCGEU has a long and proud history of fighting for social justice and protection of democracy," said Finch. "If passed, Bill C-51 would allow intelligence agencies to violate our charter rights and blur the line between freedom and security. The repercussions for Canadians would be profound."
Chief Bob Chamberlin, elected Chief Councilor of the Kwicksutaineuk Ah-kwa-mish First Nation welcomed the crowd with a ceremonial greeting, and then spoke to the dangers of Bill C-51. With sardonic pride, he stated, "As I look around here today, I can't imagine a better group of people to be branded a terrorist with."
Josh Paterson, Executive Director, BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA), also spoke at the event. "Privacy is a measure of human dignity," said Paterson. "The burden is on the government to justify why this bill is necessary and they have failed to do this." Legal representatives from BCCLA spoke against this bill in parliament this week.
The Day of Action Against Bill C-51 is a grassroots movement generated from the coalition efforts of BCGEU, one of western Canada's largest labour unions, and Jamie Biggar from Leadnow.ca, Canada's largest pro-democracy advocacy organization. For more information: http://action.stopc51.ca.
Find photos of the Vancouver event here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bcgeu/sets/72157651287020176
Find photos from actions nationwide here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/leadnow/16194634843/in/set-72157650825507937
SOURCE B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union
For further information: Media contact: Holly Reid, Communications Officer, BCGEU, cell: 604-785-0124, [email protected]