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Mi’kmaq Chiefs Concerned about New Canadian Legislation

For Immediate Release
March 12, 2015

Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015, currently under review by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, has raised serious concerns of the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs (Assembly).

The Act aims to increase the powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and to criminalize the promotion of terrorism. The Canadian Government says that the Anti-Terrorism Act is about the prevention of terrorism, the protection of Canadians and ensuring that law enforcement has the flexibility and authority to act quickly.

There is genuine concern that although the Act states that terrorist activity “does not include lawful advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression”, its definition is in fact narrow and its interpretation is concerning.

“We are alarmed that this legislation will have the ability to take away freedoms protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” said Chief Paul J. Prosper, Lead Chief of the Justice Portfolio for the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs

The Assembly is especially concerned as Mi’kmaq activists who may be engaged in activities to protect the lands and waters, or are asserting inherent Rights and Title could be unjustly labelled as “terrorists”.

“The Canadian Government continues to bring forth legislation that has the power to prevent First Nations success and mute our ability to speak out against any injustices. Legislation like this needs to stop,” continued Chief Prosper.

The Kwilmu’kw Maw- klusuaqn Negotiation Office/Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative works on behalf of the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs in the negotiations and consultations between the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia, the Province of Nova Scotia and the Government of Canada. KMKNO was developed by the Mi’kmaq, for the Mi’kmaq. The purpose of these negotiations and consultations is to implement our Aboriginal and treaty rights from the treaties signed by our ancestors in the 1700′s. For further information visit our website at www.mikmaqrights.com.

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For more information contact:
Crystal Dorey, Communications Officer
Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative
Phone: (902) 843-3880
Cell: (902) 957-0549
E-mail: crystaldorey@mikmaqrights.com

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