Rallies in opposition to the Conservatives’ Bill C-51 were held across Canada on Mar. 14. The bill would allow massive information sharing about individuals among government agencies, criminalize speech seen to support terrorism even when there’s no terrorist intent, and give CSIS additional powers as a secret police force.
NDP leader Thomas Mulcair addressed the rally in Montreal, expressing his party’s opposition to C-51. At the end of his remarks, the crowd chanted in French, "Harper terroriste, Trudeau complice" (Harper is a terrorist, Trudeau is an accomplice). A crowd of several hundred then marched through rain and hail to the constituency office of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.
What follows is an English translation of Mulcair’s remarks. Scroll down for the full video.
Today eight of us are here, MPs from the New Democratic Party, the Official Opposition in Ottawa. When we oppose something, we vote against it.
Bill C-51 is a threat to our rights and liberties, and the NDP opposes it. At every stage, we have voted against it.
In the ’50s, there was Duplessis and his padlock law. He tried to gag everyone, to say we did not have rights and liberties. In 1970, it was Pierre Trudeau who put 465 Québécois in prison without charges, and without due process, under his War Measures Act. In 2015 it is Stephen Harper and C-51, and the NDP will do today what it did in 1970, because at the time there was only one party in Ottawa opposing Trudeau and the War Measures Act, and that was the NDP, a party of conviction.
If you have principles, if you have convictions, you must also have the courage of those same convictions. It is not enough to say you are against but then vote for the bill, as the Liberals are doing. We will vote no, because we are opposed to this bill.
This is just the beginning. Those who say they are afraid of Harper must stand up to Stephen Harper. At every opportunity we have said loudly and clearly that our liberties are inalienable, and we will continue to defend them at every step.
Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your presence today. This is only the beginning of a battle to maintain our rights and liberties, the rights of environmental groups, the rights of First Nations, to oppose this government and its policies. Thank you. Together, we will be victorious.