Effectively, Bill C-51 not only creates a PMO-controlled police state, but it also effectively criminalizes any form of political dissent by leaving the decision of what constitutes a "threat" in the hands of policymakers without any kind of legislative oversight.
Others have commented at length why this bill is bad news. Frankly, none of those commentaries are surprising in either their content or the fears that they rightly express. When I took the veil down from this blog in 2013, the first post I made discussed in detail why I believe that Harper is a fascist, and the lengthy trail of evidence that goes with it.
Canada has never experienced the likes of Harper in the past. Unlike Europe whose dalliances with fascism gave rise to WWII, we have been relatively insulated from those kinds of predations from our political leadership. We haven't lived through the darkness of totalitarian rule before, but here we are today.
Consider the sequence of policies and actions taken by the Harper regime. Under Harper, the long form census was scrapped - an act which has hobbled the ability of Statistics Canada to provide the kind of clear, highly reliable information that is necessary for informed decision making. Science has been corporatized to such a degree that even basic research is compromised if not marginalized. In particular, environmental sciences have been systematically defunded, making it all but impossible to objectively assess the consequences of major environmental impacts such as the Tar Sands operations in Alberta are having. Education, especially past high school, has become focused on "useful" degrees, leaving domains such as the liberal arts to languish, impairing the ability of schools to teach critical thought and creative expression. There has been a steady pounding of the military drum, with over $50 million spent on commemorating the 1812 war, and a paltry few hundred thousand on the flag's anniversary or the anniversary of the constitution.
Hitler used the Jews as a target to focus public ire on, Harper is using the "Jihadi Threat" to focus public ire on this nation's Arab citizens. Okay, so Harper hasn't called for their extermination yet, but is the current whipping up of fervor and fear over "radicalization" (allegedly happening in the mosques) substantively different to Hitler's propaganda campaigns against the Jews in the 1930s? I argue not so much.
The current CRA "audit campaign" against charitable organizations who have made statements which the government doesn't like is so blatantly politicized it isn't even funny. This is yet another part of Harper's overall attempt to squelch any form of dissent or disagreement. If he can't come after you directly through the force of law, he will come up with other tools of oppression.
The list is nearly endless.
Totalitarianism can arise from the far end of either right or left leaning governments, but let us make no mistake, Harper is a totalitarian and he just happens to have chosen the symbols of state to entrench himself with. He is a fascist. He will always be a fascist, our language has no other words for this kind of government and its patterns.
In tabling C-51, Harper has begun his campaign of undermining Canada's Constitution and in particular the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in earnest. This law, like many others this government has passed grossly violates fundamental principles of liberty and justice. It uses broad, ambiguous wording which can be interpreted arbitrarily to go after anyone whom the PMO decides is a "threat". While I firmly believe that much of C-51 will collapse when challenged before the Supreme Court of this country, the fact is that any Supreme Court challenge is likely to be decades in the making before a ruling happens.
In the meantime, as long as Harper and his band of authoritarians remain in power, Canadians live under the shadow of a government which is willing to create a class of political dissidents the likes of which we have only read about in the past.
If this sounds "alarmist" to you, I encourage you to spend some time studying the political tactics of previous totalitarian regimes in other nations, their rise, the political strategies used and so on, and then spend some time paying close attention to Stephen Harper's actions since the mid-1990s to present. The parallels are there, and I argue that we should be very worried about the effects that this man is going to have on this nation.
To our countries opposition parties, every last one of you should be decrying this bill for what it is: an unwarranted, unjustified attack on liberty and freedoms guaranteed in this nation's Constitution.