With the support of the federal Liberals, the Canadian Conservative government’s controversial anti-terror legislation, Bill C-51, passed the House of Commons on Wednesday by a vote of 183 to 96.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau (who had asked Liberal MPs to vote for the bill) and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair (who opposed the bill) both attended the vote, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who was in Europe this week, was absent. Unsurprising for this callous leader who knew passage of the bill was such a sure thing that he was not even present for the vote!
After months of debate, Bill C-51 now heads to the Senate for final passage. The governor general is expected to give royal assent within weeks.
Several MPs took to Twitter to voice their opposition and blast Liberals for supporting the legislation.
“It’s done! Conservative and Liberal MPs joined forces to pass Bill C-51, the so called anti-Terrorism Act,” Mulcair declared in an email to NDP supporters. “New Democrats worked hard to amend C-51, and strongly condemned it passage. However, with no regrets about keeping the worst aspects of the bill, the Harper government and Trudeau Liberals came together to vote for C-51.”
“While we tried everything to make the government backtrack, and to convince the Liberals to do the right thing, in the end Mr. Trudeau and his MPs chose fear over defending our way of life. Canadians deserve better,” wrote Mr Mulcair, adding:
“I am proud to lead a party that fights for its principles and stands up for Canadians. We listened to the concerns of thousands of Canadians and the many experts who believe Bill C-51 will erode our rights and freedoms, and ultimately make our democracy weaker. I want to assure you that an NDP-led government will undo the damage caused by C-51 and other wrong-headed legislation imposed by the Harper government.”
– Thomas Mulcair
Earlier this week, Green Party leader Elizabeth May had delivered a final appeal asking her colleague MPs to vote no to Bill C-51. She might as well have been preaching in the desert.
■Henri Thibodeau, with content from an article by the Huffington Post – Harper’s Anti-Terror Bill C-51 One Step Closer To Becoming Law.