02/27/2015 11:00 EST | Updated 04/29/2015 05:59 EDT

Anti-terrorism bill C-51 'dangerous' legislation, 100 academics say

More than 100 academics are urging the government to drastically alter C-51, the Conservatives' proposed anti-terrorism legislation, arguing it is far too broad and doesn't come with safeguards to protect Canadians' privacy rights.

The group, made up mainly of law professors from across Canada, have signed an open letter arguing the proposed bill has major problems that threaten Canadians' privacy and freedom of speech.

The legal experts also take aim at the government for cutting off debate on the legislation.

"In light of the sweeping scope and great importance of this bill, we believe that circumventing the ability of MPs to dissect the bill, and their responsibility to convey their concerns to Canadians at large ... is a troubling undermining of our parliamentary democracy's capacity to hold majority governments accountable.

"It is sadly ironic that democratic debate is being curtailed on a bill that vastly expands the scope of covert state activity when that activity will be subject to poor or even non-existent democratic oversight or review."