Amendments to C-51 could face opposition in the Senate

Conservative Sen. Don Plett says he does not support amendments to bill C-51. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Conservative Sen. Don Plett doesn’t think it’s up to the new government to change controversial anti-terror bill C-51.

“I believe that that legislation was brought in by a democratically elected government. I support that legislation, so I have a problem with that,” Plett said on his way into a caucus meeting where Senators were gathering ahead of Parliament’s next session.

A number of Tories continue to say they will resist any changes to the anti-terror legislation passed by the Harper government.

“For (the Liberals) to say ‘we are going to change or repeal legislation that was brought in democratically,’ I have a real issue with that,” said Plett, a former president of the Conservative Party.

Plett said he believes the current version of C-51 reflects the will of the population because the Conservatives held a healthy majority, just like the Liberals enjoy now.

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He did not address questions about why this situation is any different from the Conservatives repealing the long-gun registry, which was brought in by the Liberals in 1995.

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Conservatives still hold the majority of seats in the Senate, and they can use that power to slow the passage of any legislation the new prime minister passes in the House of Commons.  Last week, Conservative Senator Bob Runciman told the National Post that “there may be some things that Mr. Trudeau and some of his colleagues are very supportive of, but they may be matters that an overwhelming majority of Canadians are not comfortable with.”

Fellow Tory Sen. Dan Lang maintains changes to bill C-51 will be treated like any others, saying “some amendments (the Liberals) bring forward will have to be dealt with accordingly,” adding senators still have a role to play.

“Our job is to make sure the Senate works, and works effectively.”

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