Seriously Free Speech
- Other Campaigns
Newer Honourary MembersCindy and Craig Corrie, Directors, Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice ...
Naomi Klein, writer
Avi Lewis, film maker
Chandler Davis, American-Canadian mathematician, writer and educator...
Chris Ferguson, Global Mission Personnel, United Church of Canada*...
Joey Hartman, President, Vancouver and District Labour Council*...
Donald Grayston, former Director, Institute for the Humanities, Simon Fraser University*...
- SFSC Event Nov 8: “Occupation of the [North] American Mind” Film screening
- SFSC Event Oct 26: Roger Waters talks Palestine live on-stage at Vancouver forum
- SFSC Event April 5: Why is Canadian professor Hassan Diab still held in French jail? What can we do?
- straight.com: Free speech advocate and long-time Vancouver library employee Brian Campbell dies
- IJV: Remembering Brian Campbell
- SFSC – Brian Campbell lived to make the world a better place
- Corporate SLAPP vs Free Speech
- BCCLA: On the BDS movement and the narrowing of acceptable speech
- EI: Thought crimes in Trudeau’s Canada
- Globe & Mail: Canadian politicians love the Charter of Rights and Freedoms — except when it involves Israel
- rabble.ca: Liberals’ shameful BDS stand gives carte blanche to Israel
- ipolitics.ca: Boycott Israel – or don’t. Either way, it’s none of Ottawa’s business.
- Globe and Mail: Parliament votes to reject Israel boycott campaign
- SFSC Letter: To the Moderator of the United Church of Canada
- SFSC Letter: Greatest Threat to Free Speech in the West
- United Church Moderator expresses “strong concern” to Trudeau re BDS motion
- CBC: Liberals denounce and agree with Tory motion condemning Israel boycotters
- The intercept: Criminalizing Activism Against Israeli Occupation
- SFSC: Valentino’s Ghost and Wanted 18 – Vancouver Film Premieres Feb 13
- SFSC Event: Stolen Land – First Nations, Palestinians at the Frontline of Resistance
- Environmental Defence: Victory! Ontario citizens freed from the risk of being SLAPPed when speaking out to protect their communities
- SFSC Event Sept 24: Big Brother is Watching – A discussion of Bills C51 & C24
- SFSC Article: Bill C51 – Zero Tolerance for Criticism of Israel
- Vancouver Sun: Award-winning library director calls terrorism bill this generation’s ‘most repressive’ legislation
- SFSC Video: Singing the Praises of the ‘Anti-Terrorist’ Bill C-51
Category Archives: SFSC
Watch video of the event:
Thursday September 24, 5:30pm-7pm
Rm 7000 SFU Downtown, 515 West Hastings St, Vancouver
Many Canadians are aware of the Harper government’s big fear agenda in this federal election. Bill C-51’s threats to the fundamental rights and liberties of Canadian citizens have been highlighted by judges, present and former MPs, lawyers, academics, unions, environmental groups, First Nations, civil libertarians, business leaders, and mainstream media.
Less well-known, but equally frightening, are the Conservative’s actions to be “Israel’s best friend” no matter what it does. That includes suppressing Canadians who criticize Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine and those who support non-violent efforts – such as boycotts – to end the occupation. Continue reading
Vancouver Sun: Award-winning library director calls terrorism bill this generation’s ‘most repressive’ legislation
By Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun
Brian Campbell, former director of the Vancouver Public Library, has been named recipient of 2015 Award for the Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada from the Canadian Library Association.
The retired 71-year-old former systems and planning director has defended free speech and promoted free and equal access to information both inside and outside of libraries throughout his career.
During Campbell’s 25-year B.C. library career, he played a leading role in library association campaigns against federal government plans to reduce statistics gathering programs, raise fees for government information, and eliminate the government depository program. He also chaired library committees that campaigned for passage of provincial freedom of information and protection of privacy laws.
In his acceptance speech on May 21, Campbell, who helped found and run Vancouver FreeNet (now Vancouver Community Network), described the Harper government’s anti-terrorism bill (C-51) as the “most repressive piece of legislation introduced in this generation.” He warned that libraries could be put at risk by the bill’s broad definition of terrorist. Continue reading
SFSC had table at the Just Film Festival at Langara College last weekend (both Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22nd) and sponsored two films: “The Koch Brothers” on Saturday at noon, and “Vessel” (about abortion rights) Sunday at 1:30.
Films on Palestine/Israel at the festival included: The People and The Olive, Al Helm: MLK in Palestine and The Lab
Lots of people dropped by the table to see our leaflets and books.
SFSC Article: Bill C-51 (Anti-Terrorism Act 2015) is the culmination of repressive government legislation
Brian Campbell, Canadian Library Association (CLA) Advancement of Intellectual Freedom Award Acceptance Speech, 2015
I would like to begin by thanking the CLA Intellectual Freedom Advisory Committee, and Alvin Schrader, Chair and former recipient, for choosing me for the prestigious CLA Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada Award. It is an honour to follow in the footsteps of June Callwood, Les Fowlie, the Toronto Public Library Board, and other exemplars of intellectual freedom in Canada.
This award does not represent the work of one person but the work of many. Thank you to all those involved in the work of the BCLA Intellectual Freedom Committee, and the BCLA and CLA Information Policy Committees. I would especially like to thank everyone who wrote such generous letters of recommendation about my work.
The early years of the BCLA Intellectual Freedom Committee focussed, like many, on defending individual authors and books from censorship. We participated in Freedom to Read Week and developed educational materials, but our work was primarily defensive. However, a climate was developing, following the example of the Reagan Administration, to reduce government collection of data and access to it. The suppression of information access through self-censorship and government regulation was growing.
The BCLA Intellectual Freedom Committee began to take on projects broader than cases of individual defence. In conjunction with and under the leadership of Les Fowlie we participated in the 1988 fight against Bill C-54 (proposed amendments to the Criminal Code and the Customs Tariff regarding pornogaphy). As BC libraries distributed postcards, Toronto Public Library, in an heroic act of defiance, shut down most of its branches for a half day study session. Continue reading
The Harper Conservative government, supported by the Liberals, is about to pass Bill C-51, the 2015 Anti-Terrorism Act, that substantially expands the already-considerable powers of CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service), the RCMP, border services and other agencies.
Among other things, it lowers the bar for “preventive detention” if an agency thinks someone “may” (changed from “will”) commit a crime. It lowers standards for putting someone on a no-fly list, and broadens the definition of “terrorism”.
Under Bill C-51, you would break the law “by speaking, writing, recording, gesturing or other visible representation, knowingly advocate or promote the commission of terrorism offenses in general”.
Terrorism includes “undermining the security of Canada”, “interference with critical infrastructure” or “the economic or financial stability of Canada”. Continue reading
By Michael Keefer, SFSC Member
The Harper government’s Bill C-51, or Anti-Terrorism Act, has been in the public domain for over a month. Long enough for us to know that it subverts basic principles of constitutional law, assaults rights of free speech and free assembly, and is viciously anti-democratic.
An unprecedented torrent of criticism has been directed against this bill as the government rushes it through Parliament. This has included stern or at least sceptical editorials in all the major newspapers; an open letter, signed by four former Prime Ministers and five former Supreme Court judges, denouncing the bill for exposing Canadians to major violations of their rights; and another letter, signed by a hundred Canadian law professors, explaining the dangers it poses to justice and legality.
As its critics have shown, the bill isn’t really about terrorism: it’s about smearing other activities by association―and then suppressing them in ways that would formerly have been flagrantly illegal. The bill targets, among others, people who defend the treaty rights of First Nations, people who oppose tar sands, fracking, and bitumen-carrying pipelines as threats to health and the environment, and people who urge that international law be peacefully applied to ending Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories. (Members of this latter group include significant numbers of Canadian Jews.)
But the Anti-Terrorism Act is more mortally dangerous to Canadian democracy than even these indications would suggest. A central section of the act empowers CSIS agents to obtain judicial warrants―on mere suspicion, with no requirement for supporting evidence―that will allow them to supplement other disruptive actions against purported enemies of Harperland with acts that directly violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and other Canadian laws.
The only constraints placed on this legalized law-breaking are that CSIS agents shall not “(a) cause, intentionally or by criminal negligence, death or bodily harm to an individual; (b) wilfully attempt in any manner to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice; or (c) violate the sexual integrity of an individual.”
The second of these prohibitions―occurring in the midst of a bill that seeks systematically to obstruct citizens in the exercise of their rights, pervert justice, and defeat democracy―might tempt one to believe that there is a satirist at work within the Department of Justice. (Note, however, that CSIS agents can obstruct, pervert and defeat to their hearts’ content, so long as they do so haphazardly, rather than “wilfully.”)
But the first and third clauses amount to an authorization of torture. Continue reading