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News June 6, 2024

CFE joins 13 other organizations in deploring government plans to rush the Countering Foreign Interference Act through Parliament without allowing meaningful study

In an open letter today to the members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, the Centre for Free Expression and 13 other civil society organizations expressed their deep concerns with the speed with which Bill C-70, the Countering Foreign Interference Act, is currently being rushed through the legislative process. 

This, the letter pointed out “will undermine the ability to hold a full and meaningful study of the bill, risking the adoption of laws that will violate the Charter-protected rights and freedoms of people in Canada.”

While recognizing the importance dealing with foreign interference, the letter notes the changes proposed by Bill C-70 does much more.  “If adopted”, the letter says, “this bill will bring extensive changes to Canada’s national security, intelligence and criminal justice systems, in addition to creating a foreign influence registry of considerable, albeit uncertain, scope.”

Bill C-70 “will have significant impacts on the lives and fundamental rights of people in Canada, including risks of increased surveillance, diminished privacy, limits on freedom of expression and freedom of association, undermining due process in courts through the use of secret evidence, and racial, religious and political profiling.”

The signatories to the letter are Amnesty International Canadian Section (English speaking), BC Civil Liberties Association, British Columbia Gurdwaras Council, Canadian Association of University Teachers, Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Canadian Federation of Students, Canadian Muslim Lawyers’ Association, Canadian Muslim Public Affairs Council, Centre for Free Expression, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, Ligue des droits et libertés, National Council of Canadian Muslims, OpenMedia, Ontario Gurdwaras Committee.