MONCTON – About a hundred people gathered in front of Moncton City Hall Saturday afternoon to voice their concerns against Bill C-51.
The proposed bill would give police broader powers and allow them to detain terror suspects. It would also give new powers to Canada’s spy agency, CSIS.
The government says Bill C-51 would help protect Canadians but opponents are worried it goes too far and could hurt civil liberties and privacy rights.
Danny Legere speaks for the New Brunswick chapter of the Canadian Union of Public Employees and thinks the bill could hurt the right to peaceful protest.
“We’re concerned that if we speak out against government policy there could be impacts under Bill C-51,” he said.
The Moncton protest was part of a Day of Action and included many other gatherings across the country.
Outside Moncton City Hall, Glenn Goguen said people are worried about getting arrested if Bill C-51 is passed.
“Whether they make something like this illegal, I’ll get arrested,” he said. “I’ll come out and get arrested anyway and it’s not going to stop me.”
Izzy Ward said she was concerned about how the bill could impact the anti-shale gas movement if it becomes law.
“I think if people are scared of going to jail they’re going to be silenced,” she said.
Fellow protester Virgil Hammock shared her concerns.
“We have to worry about whether or not the anti-fracking movement in this province is going to be hounded by people looking at them as terrorists,” he said.
Pamela Ross was also at the protest and has attended may gatherings against shale gas development in the province.
She says if the bill passes, it could keep people from opposing the controversial industry.
“I think it’s going to make some people afraid to come out and stand up for their rights their land their water,” she said, “People have to contact their MPs and do things like this and go out into the street and show that they’re not going to be led by fear.”