Lit signage by Shopify (CC BY 2.0)

Lit signage by Shopify (CC BY 2.0)


House of Commons Passes Bill C-51 as Conservative MP Questions Values of Canadian Tech Companies

Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism bill, passed third reading in the House of Commons last night as Conservative and Liberal MPs voted in favour of the bill, leaving only the NDP and Green opposed. It now heads to the Senate, which has already conducted most of its hearings on the bill. Those hearings – which have included Canadian Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien – have been better than the embarrassing Public Safety and National Security review (hearing by the numbers, witnesses, and clause-by-clause review), yet the outcome is almost sure to be the same. Bill C-51 is on a legislative fast track and Conservative Senators are incredibly unlikely to require amendments that would send the bill back to the House.

As debate on Bill C-51 wound down, Press Progress points out that Conservative MP Laurie Hawn took the time to question the values of leading Canadian technology companies such as Shopify and Hootsuite.  The CEOs of those companies, along many others, dared to sign a public letter calling on the government to go back to the drawing board on the bill. The letter highlights concerns with website takedowns, new CSIS powers, and data security issues.

Hawn responded to the letter (and a related op-ed) in the House of Commons:

Several NDP members have cited an op-ed by some high-tech business owners critical of the bill. I admit that it is nice to see the NDP supporting business in some way, but I digress. I would suggest that if websites providing content, hosting services or other businesses are profiting from the dispersal of this type of horrific material, they should seriously reconsider their business model and lack of commitment to the values that bind us as Canadians.

Suggesting that some of Canada’s most prominent new technology companies lack a commitment to Canadian values is an incredible accusation. Ironically, Shopify is the same company that Industry Minister James Moore recognized when pulling together his Digital Canada 150 as his leading example of a Canadian e-commerce success story. That turns out to be a better call than even Moore might have anticipated, since their speaking out on Bill C-51 demonstrates a willingness to place public policy concerns ahead of the possible consequences arising from government criticism.


  1. robinottawa says:

    Very good point to make. And these cons can’t even make a ludicrous criticism without wrapping it in an extraneous and uncalled-for insult (“I digress”!?). Disgusting people!!

  2. Liam Young says:

    The Cons hate the Internet because it helps people understand the lies behind the propaganda machine of the Harper Conservatives and their media buddies.
    These bills are about silencing opposition any way they can.

  3. The election results in Alberta speak for how the Canadian people feel about the Harper government. His own base hanging him out to dry. It says alot about how the federal election will turn out. God bless Jack Layton, I wish he was here to see what he started. Thanks for reading. Follow the money.

  4. The moral of the story is if you attach “terrorist” to any bill you can get it passed, it doesn’t matter the consequences. The cons wasted no time, absolutely no time in tabling this bullshit using that poor soldier being shot as a bargaining chip. The same thing is happening in France now as we speak, passing of bad legislation due to some horrific event that wouldn’t had been prevented anyway had such legislation pre-existed.

    • Yes, word for word. Thousands of civilians, business sectors, etc. oppose this, but this wasn’t meant to be up for debate in the first place. The worst aspect is that regardless of what is heard on the news or in articles about the bill being “softened,” we still don’t know exactly WHAT power(s) they have. The focus isn’t clear at all.

  5. sadly the terrorists win when we are willing to sacrifice our freedom in order to feel safe

  6. Isn’t it ironic that the conservatives question “commitment to the values that bind us as Canadians” as they sell out to the highest bidder in TPP and CETA.

  7. They have to pass the Bill quickly otherwise people will remember come the elections in the fall just like the bad news budget ended conservative rule in AB. Obviously, only extreme right wing values are Canadian. If you are not with us, you are with the terrorists.

  8. Robyn Smith says:

    I wrote my MP and he voted for the Bill despite my opposition. I found this list of folks that voted for the Bill:

    Is there a place where we can see a complete list of folks that voted for/against the Bill?

    • Vote record is here:

      Apparently not a single conservative or liberal MP voted against it. With the majority of Canadians polled recently being against the bill, it appears there’s something very wrong with how our politicians are representing us.

      DON’T let this be forgotten come this fall’s election. Be vocal, and spread the word about how our elected representatives have once again ignored the public entirely when making policy decisions. We need to vote against any politician who puts their party’s agenda before the desires of the people they were elected to represent.

  9. Personally, I think Canadians need to look at the values of their respected parties. Politics of fear is making Canadians less safe. #rejectfear

    Trudeau’s Liberals Have Nothing To Fear, But Fear Itself:

  10. David Lein says:

    Laurie Hawn also said in 2010 on live TV (on Power and Politics), that the F35 would cost $16M per plane, and every person who said otherwise was uninformed or lying.
    I stopped listening to him as soon as he opened his mouth.

  11. Ole Juul says:

    @Hawn ” if websites providing content, hosting services or other businesses are profiting from the dispersal of this type of horrific material, they should seriously reconsider their business model”

    Their business model is not to profit from “the dispersal . . . of horrific material”. I’m sorry sir, but lying is not one of our, as you say, “values that bind us as Canadians”.

  12. DriveByCommentor says:

    What we need all need to do is this:
    1) look at the list of YES C-51 voters and the find the people that will be running against them in the fall elections.
    2) Give $5 to the people running against the Yes C-51 person.
    3) email the Yes C-51 person and CC his or her opponent and let them know that you are voting against C-51 supporters and you are putting your money where your vote is.

    They may not respect our votes or or voices but you can be sure that they respect where the dollars go.

  13. This is basically the Canadian equal to the US Patriot Act. There’s something remarkably anti-democratic about the way that this bill has been written and I suspect the way that it will be enforced.

    The politics of fear will make Canada a less safe place to be. We should not follow the US as an example, but rather as an example of what not to do.

    Under the circumstances, our best hope would be to vote in an NDP majority (heck, this just happened in Alberta of all places), and have them (hopefully) repeal this bill.

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  15. Lloyd Balser says:

    Well, feeling so negative right now about all the crap we are going through as a country and here is a good chunk of the reason why … along with the facist, corporate … blah blah blah

    Not sure how secret it is but certainly reminds me how tiltable the system has become

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