If the Conservative Party’s latest email to supporters were to be taken literally, Canadians should be shaking in their salt-stained Sorel winter boots: Canada is, according to the CPC, a war zone.
In an email sent out on March 2, Tim Uppal, MP for Edmonton-Sherwood Park, suggested Canada is being targeted by terrorists and that the government’s anti-terror bill, the controversial Bill C-51 that has received plenty of criticism from security experts, will keep Canadians safe.
“Jihadi terrorists have declared war on Canada,” Uppal wrote.
“They hate us for our values. They hate us because we love freedom and tolerance.”
Near the end of February, media outlets reported that the Somalia-based terror group Al-Shabaab, the same group that attacked a mall in Nairobi, Kenya in 2013, had posted a video online encouraging supporters to attack public shopping spaces, including the West Edmonton Mall.
This, according to Uppal, is a reason why Canadians should get behind C-51.
"This hit home for me last week,” Uppal continued. "A terrorist organization identified the West Edmonton Mall – near my riding of Edmonton-Sherwood Park – as a target for a terrorist attack."
The conversation around security and protection from terrorist threats intensified after Oct. 22, when a lone gunman killed a soldier standing guard at Ottawa’s War Memorial and attacked Parliament Hill. Attacks in Paris in January – at the Charlie Hebdo office and a kosher supermarket – only added fuel to the fire.
The government’s proposed anti-terror bill would, among many things, give Canada’s spy agencies broad powers, criminalize the promotion of terrorism and allow authorities to detain individuals for longer periods of time without without laying charges.
Critics of the bill outside of Parliament have been very vocal about their concerns. More than 100 academics have asked the government to amend the bill, calling it “a dangerous piece of legislation” and stating that its provisions are a threat to personal privacy. Others have raised issue with the bill’s potential impact on freedom of speech.
The email from Uppal also notes that NDP leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau are trying to either delay or scrap the anti-terrorist legislation.
Both parties have expressed issues with the bill being fast-tracked through Parliament, not allowing for enough scrutiny to get the legislation right. The Liberals are set to support the bill when it comes to a vote in the House and the NDP have said they will not without significant amendments.
“We are talking about the most significant changes to security legislation in our country since 2001, a bill where critical flaws are being revealed by security experts across the country every day,” Mulcair said in question period on Feb. 25.
“It is simply reckless and irresponsible to try to ram it through without a full and proper study.”
A link within the CPC email sent on Mar. 2 takes readers to a bright, Conservative blue webpage lauding the anti-terrorism bill and asking for a name, email address and postal code.
“Sign your name if you support our efforts to keep Canada glorious and free,” the page reads.