June 2, 2015 5:00 am
Updated: June 2, 2015 7:48 am

Conservative groups’ last minute plea to Harper: stop C-51

Demonstrators attend a protest on a national day of action against Bill C-51, the Harper government's proposed anti-terrorism legislation, outside the Vancouver Art Gallery in downtown Vancouver, Saturday, March 14, 2015.

Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press
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OTTAWA – A number of traditional Conservative Party supporters have written a joint letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking him to kill Bill C-51, the government’s controversial anti-terror legislation.

“Bill C-51 creates a domestic spy agency designed to target all Canadians,” they write. “Do you really want to live in a C-51 Canada that you don’t govern? We thought not. We don’t either. Kill Bill C-51.”

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READ MORE: Terrorism, Radicalization main threats to Canadian security: spy agency

The letter is signed by traditionally conservative organizations like the National Firearm Association and Free Dominion, as well more than fifty individuals. It was facilitated by OpenMedia, the group behind the public campaign against the anti-terror legislation.

The groups warn Harper’s Bill C-51 will cost the Conservative Party at the polls.

“They could drain off enough votes to deny the CPC a victory and lead to the return of the Liberals, or insert the New Democrats or a coalition into government,” they write.

Bill C-51 is headed to third reading and final approval, but it has generated controversy since its introduction in January.

If passed into law, the legislation would expand Canada’s spy agency’s powers, and allow for easier information sharing between government agencies.

WATCH: NDP asks Tories to stop pushing C-51

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney insists the new tools are needed to combat the growing threat of terrorism.

“Our first duty is to take responsible action to protect the rights and freedoms of Canadians,” Blaney said in March.But critics say there’s no extra of oversight to match the expanding powers.

READ MORE: Election campaigns: where good (and questionable and touted) bills go to die

Environmental groups, democracy watchdogs and the Canadian Bar Association all testified against the bill during hearings earlier this year.

The National Firearms Association was also scheduled to testify against the legislation in March but pulled out at the last minute.

At the time, the organization didn’t offer an explanation but in the letter to Harper, they say they originally believed the government would amend the bill.

“You rejected some hundred or so amendments from the other parties and pushed through with the bill essentially unchanged,” they write.

“Just because you have the numbers to do so does not mean that you should ignore the voices of Canadian citizens and other Members of Parliament on such an important matter.”

Read the full letter here:

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