Today in Parliament, the leader of the Green party, Elizabeth May, criticized Bill C-51 as being so "overbroad" that it "could apply to anything".
The legislation, which was tabled on January 30, would expand the mandate of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to permit it to disrupt radical websites and apply for court orders to remove terrorist propaganda from the Internet.
May told MPs that she agrees with a critical Globe and Mail editorial today, which was entitled "Stephen Harper's secret policeman bill".
"This parliament must not allow the Conservatives to turn CSIS into a secret police force," May declared.
Then she asked Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney if the Conservatives' new antiterrorism bill "will apply to nonviolent civil disobedience, such as that against pipelines?"
Blaney didn't directly answer her question.
"Mr. Speaker, we live in a society of rights," Blaney replied. "Any violence is going against the Criminal Code. Terrorism, Mr. Speaker, is a criminal act and those who goes [sic] against the Criminal Code will meet the full force of the law."
Meanwhile on CBC Radio's The House on January 31, host Evan Solomon asked Blaney if the legislation would apply to people who protest against pipelines or to First Nations demonstrators.
Blaney went off on a tangent to say that the Supreme Court of Canada has recognized freedom of speech in Canada, but noted that there are provisions in the Criminal Code outlawing advocating genocide and hate propaganda.
"So if there's anyone who's encouraging individuals to commit a terrorist attack—to kill or to harm a Canadian here or abroad—they will face the full force of the law," Blaney stated on The House.
Solomon followed up by citing section 16 of the law—the advocating and promoting terror aspect of the bill—which prohibits terrorist propaganda.
"Would you criminalize a newspaper for doing an interview with a member of ISIS?" Solomon asked. "Could that be used to criminalize a media organization as 'promoting terrorist propaganda'?"
Blaney didn't respond directly. Instead, he said an example of "knowingly advocating or promoting terrorism" would be to put a terrorist video on YouTube that concludes with the words "attack Canada".
"You would face the full force of the law," he stated again.
Solomon persisted, mentioning that former Globe and Mail reporter Graeme Smith interviewed a Taliban representative. Solomon asked Blaney that if this were to happen under the new legislation, would the newspaper be liable to prosecution or be ordered to remove the material from its website.
"I would certainly argue for freedom of the press in that case, Evan," Blaney said.