In the aftermath of September 11, Canada’s Anti-terrorism Act (ATA), Bill C-36, received Royal Assent on December 18, 2001. This bill “amended the Criminal Code, the Official Secrets Act, the Canada Evidence Act, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act and a number of other Acts. It also enacted the Charities Registration (Security Information) Act. It was not a stand-alone Act, but rather an amending statute. The ATA formed a key component of the Government's Anti-terrorism Plan, which had four objectives:
to prevent terrorists from getting into Canada and protect Canadians from terrorist acts;
to activate tools to identify, prosecute, convict and punish terrorists;
to keep the Canada-U.S. border secure and a contributor to economic security; and
to work with the international community to bring terrorists to justice and address the root causes of violence.”1
Subsequent anti-terror and security bills have followed C-36, including Bill C-51, Bill C-24, and Bill S-7, expanding powers and curtailing freedoms. At the same time, new digital technologies that could not have been foreseen in 2001 have since made it easier than ever to track and document the movement and behaviours of citizens across the country.
Bill C-36, bills that followed and the broader public discourse around anti-terror measures have for two decades consistently sown seeds of hatred and suspicion against entire communities in Canada. This hatred has most notably culminated in the 2017 Québec City mosque shooting2 and the targeted hate crime against a Muslim family in London, Ontario this past summer.3
Bill C-36 also (further) criminalized protest in Canada. While the early signs of this were seen at the first major protest event held in Canada post-9/11, the 2002 G8 Summit in Kananaskis,4 the level of security surveillance and police violence reached a new heights at the Toronto G20 protests in 2010,5 at homeless encampments in Ontario6 and at the Fairy Creek and Wet'suwet'en blockades this past year.7
The January/February issue of the Monitor explores life 20 years after the introduction of Bill C-36. Our contributors explore how do Canada can begin to repair the damage two decades of Islamophobia has done to Muslim communities; what new facial recognition mean for privacy rights writ large; exploring what CSIS was collecting in the Protest Papers and more.
Choices of rhetoric and choices of action
"You only write your own feelings like that. I feel like that's my job—to translate what I’ve experienced of life into something that's communicable to everybody and can be shared by everybody. I'm always going to be writing from my perspective. And I think that in the case of the instances of injustice that I've mentioned in songs, those feelings would have been shared by any thinking person or feeling person in those circumstances." In his conversation with the Monitor, Bruce Cockburn reflects on a lifetime of art and activism.
Canada’s smart tech future: Open cities or opaque surveillance?
New research shows that police forces across Canada are building extensive digital surveillance hubs without any public engagement. Smart city projects use very similar technologies with the same dangers, yet here residents and municipalities are increasingly implementing Open Smart City principles to avoid potential harms and strengthen public oversight, write Merlin Chatwin and Thomas Linder.
Peace, friendship and trust: Policing as treaty breaking
The resistance of Indigenous people, their memory of history, treaty, law, and land stewardship, writes Courtney Skye, are being met with police violence.
Read the latest issue of the Monitor online at MonitorMag.ca/Current. Want to support our work? Click here to help fund our research and writing and you can receive the next issue of the Monitor delivered straight to your door!
1 Government of Canada, Department of Justice. 2021, July 7. About the Anti-terrorism Act
2 Zine, Jasmin. 2021, January 28. Remembering the Québec City mosque attack: Islamophobia and Canada’s national amnesia. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/re...
3 Gilmour, Rachel. 2021, June 10. What is the government doing about Islamophobia in Canada? Here’s what we know. Global News.
4 Bergman, B. 2002, June 17. Ready for the G8. https://archive.macleans.ca/ar...
5 2020, Aug 18. Toronto police pay $16.5m to protesters wrongfully held at 2010 G20 summit. The Guardian.
6 Gray, Jeff. 2021, Sept 21. Toronto spent $2-million clearing three homeless encampments in parks this summer. The Globe and Mail. https://www.theglobeandmail.co...
7 Cox, Sarah. 2021, Aug 25. Fairy Creek is set to become the largest act of civil disobedience in Canada’s history. The Narwhal. https://thenarwhal.ca/fairy-cr...
Cover artwork for the January/February issue was done by Doan Truong.