Final House of Commons C-51 vote pushed to Wednesday
The government has pushed the final vote on its controversial anti-terrorism bill, C-51, to Wednesday night after hours of debate on Tuesday that was expected to run into the evening.
The vote was initially expected to take place Tuesday night, according to a spokesman with the Department of Public Safety, but will now take place at 6PM Wednesday.
“The vote was deferred to Wednesday as an efficient way of scheduling several votes together,” said Darlene Stone, spokeswoman for Peter Van Loan, the government House Leader.
There will not be additional debate time scheduled for Wednesday, she said.
The final debate kicked off Tuesday morning at 10 AM and saw MPs trade blows from across the aisle, focusing on perceived flaws and benefits of the legislation.
“This bill is so seriously flawed it cannot be fixed,” said NDP public safety critic Randall Garrison.
Even when the bill was being examined by committee, Garrison said the government attacked witnesses who raised concerns and that the targeting of Amnesty and Greenpeace critics was “reminiscent of the McCarthy tapes.”
In his remarks, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney stuck to the script on why the government says the legislation is needed and highlighted the threat posed to Canadians by “jihadi terrorists,” particularly those who return from fighting abroad.
Blaney stressed there is adequate oversight in the bill and that CSIS is the only spy agency in the world that will be be required to get a warrant before violating Canadians’ civil liberties and that the danger posed by terrorists makes such measures necessary.
However, the Liberal speakers said fear-mongering on C-51 has gone too far, pointing the finger at both the government and the NDP for torquing rhetoric on the issue.
“Fear will divide Canadians against each other,” said Liberal public safety critic Wayne Easter, accusing the NDP of stirring up fears about secret police and the government of kicking up hysteria about jihadis. “To use the fear factor is not the way to go.”
None of the party leaders were present in the House for the debate.