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Anishinabek concerned with Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act

UOI OFFICES (Nipissing First Nation) February 25, 2015 – Anishinabek Nation communities have concerns with Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015. This bill was prompted by the Oct. 22, 2014 attack on Parliament Hill, Ottawa which would expand the mandate of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

“This bill is just another step to erode our rights and criminalize resistance by anybody in Canada. This is a knee jerk reaction to one incident. It is Harper’s way or no way,” said Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee.

Bill C-51 fails to adequately define the term “terrorism”, allowing for CSIS to determine the discretion of enforcement, while lacking civilian oversight. Under the bill, CSIS will no longer be an agency that simply collects, analyzes and reports data regarding international threats to security, but will also have “police-like” powers.

The bill begins the transformation of CSIS agents into secret police, who may obtain a warrant in order to forcibly enter a residence to confiscate, or “install, maintain or remove any thing” in that residence.

Although agents may not arrest or detain suspects, they will no longer require proof, but may act solely on suspicion and perceived threat in order to investigate, or revoke and deny passports.

Prime Minister Harper has begun the process of merging intelligence gathering with policing, a combination that history has already proven to produce undesirable results.

In the past, the government has outlawed First Nation cultural practices and denied them the right to defend themselves in a court of law. This act will allow law enforcement to persecute First Nation protesters, branding them as “eco-terrorists”, rather than defenders of the land. 

“We are concerned that government is pushing the terrorism bill and trying to limit debate. They will use their majority and Liberal support to ram this bill through very quickly,” said Madahbee.

The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 39 member communities across Ontario, representing approximately 55,000 people. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.


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