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Nash and Buckley, Bill C-6 is NOT putting Canada on the brink of Facism!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

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This evening I was forwarded an email originating from one David Nash of Guelph, decrying Bill C-6, which is apparently to be passed within the next few weeks, as an attempt at fascism. You may or may not have had a similar email, and may have seen support groups for Shawn Buckley, a lawyer in B.C. who also wants to quash the Bill. The email encourages readers to write to their local government representative to protest the Bill. I will try not to argue one way or another in this article as to whether or not Bill C-6 should be passed, but I will try to expose the misleading and flawed premises behind Mr. Nash and Mr. Buckley's arguments for quashing the bill.

First, let's start with the actual email I received, or rather some parts of it:

"the Canadian Government is trying to strip you and I of our Constitutional Rights, the rights found in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and they are attempting to do so in the guise of protecting the Canadian Citizen"

"Is Canada on the brink of Fascism? If one looks closely at the implications and intentions of Bill C-6, you can come to no other conclusion."

Nash goes on to assert that under C-6 the government will be able to "search private property without a warrant; seize private property without Court supervision; destroy private property without Court supervision; take control of businesses without Court supervision; and in some circumstances to keep seized private property without a Court order", and compares these to what we have listed as fundamental rights and freedoms, to demonstrate that the Bill is a flagrant attack on our rights.

If the Bill actually did that, I too would write my local MP to protest it. But it seemed strange to me that a Bill that proposed to interfere with our Charter Rights was listed as a 'Consumer Safety' bill under Health Canada. I decided to do some investigation. In reading the Bill and the FAQ on the Government of Canada website, I can only conclude that either Nash and Buckley did not read the Bill, or they are intentionally taking it out of context. C-6 is not an attack on our constitutional rights, as clearly defined in the Bill's "Purpose" and "Application" sections. "The purpose of this Act is to protect the public by addressing or preventing dangers to human health or safety that are posed by consumer products in Canada, including those that circulate within Canada and those that are imported". The bill applies ONLY to consumer products and tobacco products.

The Bill does NOT apply to Natural Health Products (NHPs). This is really only worth mentioning because Shawn Buckley, who vehemently criticizes Bill C-6, is a member of the Natural Health Products Protection Association, and C-6 has been incorrectly compared to Bill C-51, which aimed to regulate NHPs. While he doesn't directly say it, I have a sneaking suspicion that Buckley opposes C-6 under the assumption that it will affect NHPs as did the proposed C-51, when the two are actually totally separate bills.

What Bill C-6 DOES propose to do is better regulate the manufacture, import, and distribution of products that may be harmful to consumers. C-6 has been raised largely in response to recent issues surrounding BPAs in plastics and lead in imports from China. As per the official summary, it "modernizes the regulatory regime for consumer products in Canada. It creates prohibitions with respect to the manufacturing, importing, selling, advertising, packaging and labelling of consumer products, including those that are a danger to human health or safety. In addition, it establishes certain measures that will make it easier to identify whether a consumer product is a danger to human health or safety and, if so, to more effectively prevent or address the danger. It also creates application and enforcement mechanisms. This enactment also makes consequential amendments to the Hazardous Products Act". I.e. if you're planning on repackaging mercury-laden baby food for sale, Bill C-6 will make it more difficult to do so; it does NOT attack your Charter Rights.

David Nash ends his email by requesting that citizens band together and to attend a protest on November 25 to support Shawn Buckley in his call to quash the Bill. He provides a list of local government representatives you can contact to voice your opinions regarding the Bill. In this article I am attempting to maintain an unbiased point of view - I encourage you to voice your opinions, whatever they may be, about the Bill, but I implore you to build your opinions based on solid evidence. If you have the inclination to write to your government representative about the Bill, please make a point of actually reading it first!

Whether or not Nash and Buckley support the Bill is irrelevant, but the evidence they use to support their argument is faulty. The Bill does not, and CANNOT circumvent our rights as citizens, and their attempt to portray C-6 as a pathway to fascism is misleading. Mr. Nash, Mr. Buckley, if I had the time I would attend your November 25 protest if only to help you both better understand the Bill you so fervidly oppose. Canada is NOT on the brink of fascism as you suggest in your email, and perhaps if you'd read C-6 for yourselves you too might come to a similar conclusion.

Bill C-6, in full, is available at the government website. Mr. Buckley's hysterical and ill-founded opposition to the Bill can be found on numerous blogs and Youtube.

The opinions posted on thecannon.ca reflect those of their author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Central Student Association and the Guelph Campus Co-op. We encourage all students to submit opinion pieces, including ones that run contrary to the opinion piece in question

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  1. Posted by: qoutesfrombillc6 on Dec 4, 2009 @ 2:07pm

    Qoutes from Bill C-6:

    In the section "Inspection"

    Entering private property

    20 (4) An inspector who is carrying out their functions or any person accompanying them may enter on or pass through or over private property, and they are not liable for doing so.

    Warrant or consent required to enter dwelling-house

    21. (1) If the place mentioned in subsection 20(1) is a dwelling-house, an inspector may not enter it without the consent of the occupant except under the authority of a warrant issued under subsection (2).

    Authority to issue warrant

    (2) A justice of the peace may, on ex parte application, issue a warrant authorizing, subject to the conditions specified in the warrant, the person who is named in it to enter a dwelling-house if the justice of the peace is satisfied by information on oath that

    (a) the dwelling-house is a place described in subsection 20(1);

    (b) entry to the dwelling-house is necessary for the purposes referred to in subsection 20(1); and

    (c) entry to the dwelling-house was refused or there are reasonable grounds to believe that it will be refused or to believe that consent to entry cannot be obtained from the occupant.

    Use of force

    (3) In executing a warrant issued under subsection (2), the inspector may not use force unless they are accompanied by a peace officer and the use of force is authorized in the warrant.

    Telewarrant

    21 (4) If an inspector believes that it would not be practical to appear personally to make an application for a warrant under subsection (2), a warrant may be issued by telephone or other means of telecommunication on application submitted by telephone or other means of telecommunication and section 487.1 of the Criminal Code applies for that purpose with any necessary modifications.

    Storage of things seized

    23. An inspector who seizes a thing under this Act may

    (a) on notice to and at the expense of its owner or the person having possession, care or control of it at the time of its seizure, store it or move it to another place; or

    (b) order its owner or the person having possession, care or control of it at the time of its seizure to store it or move it to another place at their expense.

    Disposal

    25 (3) A seized thing that is forfeited may be disposed of at the expense of its owner or the person who was entitled to possess it at the time of its seizure.

    Disposal

    26 (2) A seized thing that is forfeited may be disposed of at the expense of its owner or the person who was entitled to possess it at the time of its seizure.

    Forfeiture — on consent

    27. If the owner of a seized thing consents to its forfeiture, the seized thing is forfeited to Her Majesty in right of Canada and may be disposed of at the expense of the owner.

  2. Posted by: qoutesfrombillc6 on Dec 4, 2009 @ 2:12pm

    I have to tell you when you look at Bill C-6, it certainly looks as though it removes the Law of Tresspass.

  3. Posted by: charter of r and f on Dec 9, 2009 @ 6:44am

    How does Bill C-6 do away with the law of trespass? I just read Bill C-6, and it is concerned with updating consumer protection laws and protecting consumers from hazardous products and predatory business practices. Since Shawn Buckley is the President of the NHPPA, a special interest group, and has won court cases in favour of pharmaceutical conglomerates, I can understand why he would be against the strengthening of consumer protection laws. But Bill C-6 merely gives inspectors the right to enter private land in order to carry out his responsibilities. Frankly, I don't know how protecting the public against hazardous products can be carried out any other way. According to Section 20(1) of the bill:

    "[A]n inspector may, for the purpose of verifying compliance or preventing non-compliance with this Act or the regulations, at any reasonable time enter a place, including a conveyance, in which they have reasonable grounds to believe that a consumer product is manufactured, imported, packaged, stored, advertised, sold, labelled, tested or transported, or a document relating to the administration of this Act or the regulations is located."

    In other words, the inspector has to have reasonable grounds to enter the place, which is the same right cops already have to pull us over or search us etc.

    So basically, this bill gives consumer product inspectors the exact same type of power that other govt officials already have. And anybody who thinks we're safe from arbitrary govt interference better read Section 1 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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