NDP Leader Tom Mulcair speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday

NDP declares opposition to anti-terror bill

Mulcair says NDP opposed to 'dangerous, over-reaching' anti-terrorism bill

  • Feb. 18, 2015 1:00 p.m.

By Jim Bronskill and Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – Tom Mulcair cast his New Democratic Party as more courageous and principled than the Liberals as he came out four-square Wednesday against the Harper government’s proposed anti-terrorism bill.

The NDP leader’s announcement underscored the degree to which the controversial bill has become a political football in an election year.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has played on popular support for cracking down on extremists following the murder of two Canadian soldiers last fall, portraying opponents of the bill as soft on terrorism.

Hoping to inoculate himself from that charge, Justin Trudeau has said Liberal MPs will support the bill even if they fail to win amendments to ensure parliamentary oversight and review of the new powers proposed for security services.

A Liberal government would fix those flaws should it win the election scheduled for October, Trudeau says.

And now NDP strategists are hoping Mulcair’s unequivocal opposition will help lure back progressive voters who’ve drifted away from the NDP since the last election and towards the resurgent Liberals. Wooing back those “red-orange” switch voters is the top priority for the NDP over the next eight months.

Mulcair labelled Trudeau’s stance on the bill “pathetic” and urged the Liberals to reconsider.

“This bill merits real debate,” Mulcair said.

“Mr. Harper and the Conservatives have intimidated the Liberals into supporting this deeply flawed legislation. We in the NDP are going to fight it.”

He likened his party’s stand to former leader Tommy Douglas’ courageous opposition to the War Measures Act, invoked by Trudeau’s father Pierre, the Liberal prime minister during the October 1970 FLQ crisis.

Trudeau countered by chiding Mulcair for making “personal attacks” on an issue that should be debated “in a respectful and non-partisan fashion.”

But he then took his own shot at the NDP.

“The fact is the NDP has not once in its history supported strengthening anti-terror measures in this country,” Trudeau said.

Harper echoed that charge in the House of Commons as he dismissed Mulcair’s contention that the bill would allow security services to treat those involved in legitimate protest and dissent as would-be terrorists.

“As the NDP’s positions on this issue become more and more irrelevant, more and more unconnected to Canadians’ real concerns, their statements on this issue become more and more extreme,” Harper scoffed.

While he acknowledged that terrorism is a real threat, Mulcair said the government has come up with a “sweeping, dangerous, vague and ineffective” response to it.

The bill, tabled late last month, would give the Canadian Security Intelligence Service more power to thwart suspected terrorist plots.

It would also make it easier for the RCMP to obtain a peace bond to restrict a suspect’s movements and extend the amount of time they can be kept in preventative detention.

And it creates a new criminal offence of encouraging someone to carry out a terrorism attack.

“Experts warn that broad measures in this bill could lump legal dissent together with terrorism,” Mulcair said. “And the bill would give significant new powers to CSIS without addressing serious deficiencies in oversight.”

Mulcair advocates a parliamentary committee with the power to review secret documents like the ones that oversee spies in Britain and the United States.

Follow @JimBronskill and @jmbryden on Twitter

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

Most Read