People- and Planet-Friendly
Home | Calendar | GoodWork | Post an Event/Job | Links | Forum | Search | About | Contact | Donate

Civil Rights in Canada
Use Them or Lose Them
(a People- & Planet-Friendly Portal & Guide)

(A) Civil Rights – Use Them or Lose Them
(B) Related Events, Broadcasts & Links (revised Tues. Nov. 20, 2001)
(C) Educate Yourself – Resources & Links
(D) What You Can Do
(E) Quotes

(A) Civil Rights – Use Them or Lose Them

This special edition focuses on upcoming events and broadcasts related to the war, terrorism, and civil rights, right here in Canada.

The Government of Canada is tabling a controversial new bill, the "Anti-Terrorism Bill". It may well be watered down before it is passed, but the fact that it was even proposed says a lot about the state of democracy in Canada today.

Even before this bill, many have been suggesting that our fundamental civil rights, and therefore democracy itself, is at risk. The cases of Jaggi Singh and Dudley George are just two of the more famous ones.

Freedom of expression, public assembly, peaceful protest, political action – these are our rights. They play a crucial role in assuring that democracy stays democratic. Whatever your interests may be – health, environment, the economy, peace, food security – civil rights are the bottom line. Use them, or lose them.

– Peter Blanchard

People- & Planet-Friendly Events & Resources

(B) Related Events, Broadcasts & Links

Climate Change & Terrorism, Wed Nov 21 and other dates, 6:30-9pm, Toronto. Climate change: Why is it happening? What can we do about it? ... Looked at positively, it will be an exciting transformation. It will also end the need for the Middle East's oil, and the complex politics of terror that this has created. ( $5. Northern District Library, 40 Orchard View Blvd. (Yonge & Eglinton). Info: Minaz Asani- Kanji 416-781-7663 or 905-762-9659 [Other Dates: Toronto City Hall, Fri Nov 22, 7pm 416- 532-3939; Alton Nov 23; Kingston Nov 26; Waterloo Nov 27]

Does Anti-Terrorism Legislation Go Too Far? Tue Nov 20, 8pm, 11pm & 2am, national TV broadcast. How far should we go to protect our freedom? Parliament will soon pass a bill which gives Ottawa the ability to outlaw "terrorist" organizations. But Bill C-36 has been criticized not only by opposition parties, but by some Liberals for being too broad. They fear it could be used against people engaged in lawful activities. Tonight on counterSpin, we'll discuss how Justice Minister Anne McLellan plans to water down or clarify her government's anti- terrorism bill. Is there a trade off between civil liberties and protection from terror? Where do we strike the balance? With Irwin Cotler (Liberal MP); Anne Bayefsky (Columbia University); Clayton Ruby (Civil Rights lawyer); Amina Sherazee (Counsel, Canadian Arab Federation). Town-hall style debate with live audience. Broadcast across Canada on CBC Newsworld. (counterSpin airs Mon-Wed at 8pm, with repeat broadcasts at 11pm & 2am Eastern Time)

"Under this law, Nelson Mandela would have been classified as a terrorist" – Naomi Klein, at the Civil Rights public forum at Toronto City Hall, Nov. 20, 2001.

The "American" Criminal Court, Wed Nov 21, 8pm, 11pm & 2am, national TV broadcast. Last week, the Bush administration passed an executive order allowing anyone accused of terrorist activity, anywhere in the world, to be tried secretly by a United States military tribunal. An Administration official says the executive order is primarily intended for trials outside the United States. Wednesday on counterSpin, we will discuss whether it should it be up to the US to decide who gets tried and where? Is a military tribunal, without the same constitutional protections anywhere in the world, provided in civilian courts, the right place for the trial? Is this what the United States wants in place of the International Criminal Court? Broadcast across Canada on CBC Newsworld. CounterSpin airs Mon-Wed 8-9pm with repeat broadcasts at 11pm & 2am Eastern Time. To be in the live audience (and participate in the debate if you wish), call Leslie at 416-646-5211 (broadcast from the CBC Broadcast Centre at John & King).

Protection From Terrorism? Or The Creation of A Police State? Wed Nov 21, 7pm, Hamilton. Forum on proposed Bill C36 (Anti-Terrorism Legislation). Please come join the discussion, with With Dr. Roach (Professor of Law, UofT); Dr. Greenspan (Civil Liberties Assoc., Hamilton); John Hucker (Deputy Secretary General, Canadian Human Rights Commission); Dr. Kubursi (Professor of Economics, McMaster; President, National Council Canadian-Arab Relations; Rolf Gerstenberger (Local 1005 USWA); Jaggi Singh (Social Justice Activist & Organizer); high school & university representatives. McMaster Univ., Health Sciences Room 1A6. Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Civil Liberties (Hamilton). Info:

"Freedom is participation in power" – Cicero

Oil, War & Racism: From Colombia to The Middle East, Fri Nov 23, 7pm, Toronto. With Winnie Ng (Canadian Labour Congress); Manuel Rozental (co-founder, Canada Columbia Solidarity Campaign); Amir Hassanpour (Asst. Prof., Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations, U of T); Iliam Burbano & Sheila Wilmot (community anti-racist & international solidarity activists on organizing & resistance). OISE, 252 Bloor W. rm 2-214 (St. George subway). Info: 416-929-1834

Aftermath: The Remnants of War, Mon Nov 26, 9pm, TV broadcast. Based on Donovan Webster's award-winning book; a sober look at the lasting effects of war around the world. Canadian television premiere. On History Television, 9pm ET. Info: 416-922-4459

Immigrants, Refugees & Racism After Sept 11, Mon Dec 3, 6:30-9:30pm, Toronto. A community organizing meeting with Jehad Aliweiwi (Canadian Arab Federation, on ethnic, national and racial profiling); Erica Lawson (African Canadian Legal Clinic on "Anti-Illegal Squads"); Hassan Yussuff (Canadian Labour Congress on Labour Responses - to be confirmed); Avvy Go (Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, moderator). Plus: Bill C-36 and a speaker from the Afghan community in Toronto. Wheelchair accessible. All welcome.Free. Palmerston Library, 560 Palmerston (Bathurst subway, Palmerston exit). Info: (a coalition working to regularize the immigration status of non-status immigrants)

Challenging The War Agenda, Wed Dec 5, 4:30-7:15pm, Toronto. Resistance is fertile! Educators for Peace & Justice present an update on events following the attack on Afghanistan; the racist backlash; the refugee crisis & Bill C-31; challenging Bill C-36; defending our civil liberties; propaganda and the role of the media; building the peace movement; sharing ideas for the classroom. With Janet Conway (Ryerson); Doctors Without Borders (t.b.a.); Tara Atluri (CIUT Radio Host, OISE); Jaggi Singh (Quebec Peace Activist). 4:30-5pm: refreshments & literature table. 5-6:15pm: Panel discussion. 6:15-7:15pm: questions & discussion & sharing ideas for the classroom. Central Technical High School Auditorium, NE corner of Bathurst & Harbord, just south of Bathurst subway. Info/join our mailing list/RSVP if possible: John Morton 416-393-9912 or Lynda Lemberg 416-393-1798

Women Opposing Wars Everywhere, Sun Dec 9, noon, Toronto. Women & Children's Peace March. Demand an end to war on Afghani people; all violence against women & children; discriminatory/racist laws. Speakers & street theatre. Sign language interpreted. Meet at Liberal Party Headquarters, 10 St. Mary St. (at Yonge, 2 bl. S. of Bloor). Info: 416-415-2900 x3643

Afghanistan To Canada: The War & Terrorism, Sun Dec 9, 1-4pm, Toronto. Sicence for Peace forum & teach-in. What's going on? How should we respond? What can you do? Canada's responsibility and what we should be doing; civil liberties, anti-terrorism bill (C-36) and racism; Middle-East dynamics & solutions; international responsibility and the legality of the conflict; refugee & human rights and the humanitarian response. Tentative location: OISE, 252 Bloor W. (St. George subway). Info: 416-555-6605 978-8741 [ ]

For more up-to-date events, subscribe to our free weekly e-newsletter (see bottom of page)

People- & Planet-Friendly Events & Resources

(C) Educate Yourself – Links & Resources

Links & resources about the Anti-Terrorism Bill – and about civil & human rights in Canada and around the world.

Secret Hearings? Frozen Bank Accounts? Snitch lines? Wiretaps? Secret lists? Trial by hearsay? Jailed 72 hours without access to legal advice? Racial profiling? Is That The Canada We Want? (from a poster for the Nov. 19 Civil Liberties Forum, with NDP leader Howard Hampton and many others).

Ten Frequently Asked Questions about Bill C-36 – and ten things you can do in response.

Canadian Journalists For Free Expression

Amnesty International On Bill C-36

New Powers Aren't Really Necessary
(Canadian Civil Liberties Association)

Anti-Terrorism Bill Will Clear-Cut Democracy
(Clayton Ruby & Peter Tabuns)

Can A Picket Line Be "Terrorist Activity"?

Burn This Bill (Michael Valpy)

Bill C-36 & Civil Liberties – Resources & Links

Human Rights & Civil Liberties (Ontario NDP)

The New War Against Terror (Noam Chomsky)

The Security of Freedom: A Conference on Canada's Anti-Terrorism Bill University of Toronto Faculty of Law - Video Archive & Resource Guide

Bar Association Calls For Tighter Definition of Terrorism, True Sunset Clause in Bill C-36 The Canadian Bar Association fears that the rights of innocent Canadians may be at risk unless the definition of terrorist activity in Bill C-36

Government of Canada Press Release on C-36

The Security of Freedom (book) Essays on Canada's Anti-Terrorism Bill. Brand new; I understand this book was rushed to press in four days. Available at Chapters, Indigo and other bookstores. Edited by Ron J Daniels, Patrick Macklem, Kent Roach. UofT Press. [see also ]

Canadian Human Rights Primer / Canadian Human Rights Reporter

Human Rights Web


The Case of Jaggi Singh

The Case of Dudley George

Democratic / Electoral Reform Twenty Steps Toward a Modern, Working Democracy

Democracy Watch:

Freedom of Information:

Proportional Respresentation:

Citizens for Local Democracy (Toronto):

People- & Planet-Friendly Events & Resources

(D) What You Can Do

(1) First, educate yourself. Follow some of the links below; attend a public forum or rally.

(2) Write or call your MP, it does make a difference! To find out who your MP is and his/her contact info, call 1-800-677-3355. All you need is your postal code. They will provide the constituency address, telephone, and fax. Or go to:

(3) Write to the Prime Minister, the Senate of Canada, and the editor of your local newspaper.

(4) Join or support a group or association that addresses the issues such as the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (, the Law Union of Ontario ( or the Centre for Social Justice (

For more suggestions on what you can do, see:

People- & Planet-Friendly Events & Resources

(E) Related Quotes & Links

(1) On Anti-Terrorism Bills

"Under this law, Nelson Mandela would have been classified as a terrorist" – Naomi Klein, at the Civil Rights public forum at Toronto City Hall last night.

"CJFE believes Bill C-36's proposed restrictions on freedom of expression, far from enhancing security, are likely to breed insecurity, forcing dissent underground and eroding confidence in Canada's security forces." – Canadian Journalists for Free Expression

"If Bill C-36 becomes law, it will grant the government and law enforcement officials extraordinary powers that could be used for purposes unrelated to counter-terrorism. 'Law enforcement and security agencies already have extensive powers to investigate crime, conduct surveillance and restrict access to information,' the CJFE brief says. 'We have watched, over our 20 years of existence, as governments employ extraordinary powers to restrict free expression in the name of fighting security threats. Almost invariably, they cause at least as many problems as they solve. And they lead to abuses that bring enormous discredit to the responsible authorities.' "
– Canadian Journalists for Free Expression

"Ottawa's proposed anti-terrorism legislation will label and punish ordinary citizens as terrorists for simple things like participating inpublic protests, holding a charity dinner, dressing a particular way or even wearing a long beard, says a prominent constitutional rights lawyer."
– Carlyn Zwarenstein, Eye magazine

"In England, since 1974, 6,246 people have been imprisoned without trial under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, for such "crimes" as suspicion of supporting an illegal organization or providing a forum for banned ideas. That hasn't stopped IRA bombings. But it has made the people of England much less free."
– Serendipity

(2) On The War

"Top 5 Lies About the War" – "How many people do you know who claim to be sceptical, who pride themselves on their distrust for authority, who like to pretend that they're wise to the ways of the world -- and then, every time there's a war, they swallow the lies of the government with all the gullibility of a three-year-old child in the lap of a department store Santa Claus? Don't fall into that trap yourself! Learn to identify and refute official misinformation when you see it. Let's count down some of the common misconceptions about this war:" or

"Just as the Reichstag Fire had 'provided the social opportunity for the Nazi take-over of Germany' the attacks of Sept. 11 could provide a rationale for trading liberties for safety." – David Sims, quoting John Perry Barlow, former Grateful Dead lyricist and a vocal cyber-libertarian

"The September 11 attacks on New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington presents as grave a threat to the concept of Open Society as those posed by Nazi Germany and Soviet Communism."

"Killing civilians in the name of war is abhorrent. But massacring civilians who have no responsibility for the actions of their government is an evil with few rivals in history. Regrettably, many of those historical rivals would be other failed U.S. policies"

‘Just like in the Gulf War, "protecting democracy" in Kuwait gave a great cover to protecting U.S. economic interests. "No blood for oil" resonated as a slogan and endangered the war effort. When the U.S. explanation for the war changed to "protecting democracy" (even though Kuwait was a monarchy) the pro-war movement was much stronger domestically and internationally. Terrorism is to 2001 what Democracy was to 1990: a fictional cover for the violent expansion of U.S. domination.’

"How many Third World and American lives are you willing to sacrifice to implement Bush's vision of a healthy stock market?"

(3) On Civil Rights, Activism, Power

"Where once the student was taught that the unexamined life was not worth living, he is now taught that the profitably lived life is not worth examining." – Benjamin Barber

"The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking." – J. K. Galbraith

"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of crisis, maintain their neutrality." – Dante

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." – George Orwell

"If civilization is in danger today... it [is] with the enthusiastic assistance of credulous people. They seem to me more dangerous than the most brazen leaders, because everything is done with their cooperation." – A. Anatoli Kuuznetsov

"Powerlessness and silence go together. We...should use our privileged positions not as a shelter from the world's reality, but as a platform from which to speak. A voice is a gift. It shoud be cherished and used." – Margaret Atwood


"In Germany, the Nazis first came for the communists, and I did not speak up, because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak up, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak up, because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I did not speak up, because I was not a Catholic. Then they came for me... and by that time, there was no one to speak up for anyone." – Martin Niemoeller, Pastor, German Evangelical (Lutheran) Church (Human Rights Web)

"Freedom is participation in power" – Cicero

People- & Planet-Friendly Events & Resources

( homepage | subscribe questions | powered by )

People- & Planet-Friendly Events & Resources

People- & Planet-Friendly | GoodWork Canada |
an inspiring diversity of ideas, opportunities and things to do