With additional extraordinary powers granted to CSIS since the passing of Bill C51, one only can wonder whether these visits are becoming the norm rather than the exceptions. The disruption powers included in Bill C-51 allow CSIS to seize documents or computers, enter people's properties, spy on them without a judicial warrant.
It's been one year. Saturday marked exactly 365 days since the former Conservative government introduced Bill C-51, with its controversial spy powers that experts warn are shredding our basic constitutional rights. So, where do things stand now? After intense debate, C-51 was pushed through Parliament and is now law, but its many opponents are making progress. Over the past few weeks, we have seen positive signs from the new federal government, as it has finally promised to meet calls for public consultation from Canadians, civil society and experts.
Forget the election debate over budget deficits and tolerance of the veil. We have another deficit in Canada and it is neither looming nor veiled. We're in the midst of an incrementally created democratic deficit that after nine years of accumulated budget cuts, abuse of power, and muzzling diverse voices has now arguably put at risk our democracy's health and vigour.
Many Canadians are asking whether anything can be done to rein in the almost unimaginable surveillance powers revealed by Edward Snowden. From our research and consultation with privacy experts, there are a number of practical steps that can be taken to put a stop to surveillance abuses and better protect the privacy of Canadians.