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Dear Voices-Voix supporters,

A year and a half of the Liberal government has brought encouraging signs of progress with respect to some of the issues that brought the Voices-Voix Coalition together,
however, our work of advocating for dissent and democracy is by no means complete. Increased digital surveillance, a weakening of rights when travelling to the US, lack of action on access to information are some of the worrisome trends. As we have noted in our updated Declaration:

"We believe that to protect rights and promote a healthy environment for debate, dissent, diversity and democracy, Canada needs transformative change to our laws, institutions, priorities, and political culture. [...] Canada needs an enabling environment that allows civil society organizations to flourish."

That is the work that lies ahead for Voices-Voix. Now is the time to continue to press for the crucial reforms and changes that are needed to ensure that Canada and Canadians cannot and will not endure another onslaught against advocacy, dissent and free expression; as we witnessed and experienced under the previous government. We are prepared to hold the current government accountable for promises they have made to bring in changes, and also to develop and advance the wider reform agenda that is urgently needed.

We're remaining vigilant at Voices-Voix, posting new case studies and updates on what the government must do in areas like protecting Canadian sovereignty threatened by the Pre-Clearance Bill, C-23 and how to mitigate serious threats to digital privacy which are a cherry on the top to the surveillance measures under C-51 that the liberal government had promised to remedy. We're also updating our older case studies to continue to monitor progress on various issues and to keep a check on whether the government is implementing its promises, going far enough in their solutions, or causing damage (read on for more details below).

It's a big job, and we can use your help. If you're interested in volunteering with Voices, find out how here. And if you have tips on updates to our case studies or information on areas where the government is harming dissent and democracy, let us know by emailing communications@voices-voix.ca.

In solidarity,
The team at Voices-Voix

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Bill C-23 - Pre-Clearance Act

Bill C-23 would give new and expanded powers to U.S. pre-clearance officers. The fear of abuse or misuse of these powers, given the shift in the U.S. political climate, has created considerable discomfort for many in any notion of handing over more significant powers to the Trump administration, especially on Canadian soil. Pre-Clearance Bill a worrying waiver of Canadian sovereignty.
Read more

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Attack on Digital Privacy Rights of Canadians

Rather than reversing newly legislated state intrusions into digital privacy rights, the Liberal government agenda has effectively encouraged the expansion of digital surveillance of Canadians both at home and abroad. The civil liberties organizations and privacy watchdogs have repeatedly criticized the unnecessary and wide ranging digital privacy elements of C-51 and its establishment of the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act.
Read more

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Canadian Museum for Human Rights

The case study examines the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Harper government's efforts to undermine its curatorial independence, based on recent research. The case study is a cautionary tale about interference in public cultural institutions that deal with controversial issues such as human rights, genocide, and Indigenous issues, and the ongoing need for vigilance to protect the CMHR and its important mandate.
Read more


Consult our website for other recent case studies


UPDATE: Court Challenges Program

80+ civil society actors call for a meeting with Minister Melanie Joly and the Minister of Justice to explicitly reaffirm the historic mandate --the internationally recognized community-based accountability framework-- of Court Challenges Program.
The letter to the Minister highlighted the issue: "your government appears to have abandoned a key commitment to protecting and advancing substantive equality and access to justice for disadvantaged groups and official-language minority communities."
Read more


UPDATE: Access to Information

In April 2017, over 65 organizations and individuals sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressing their concern over delays in reforming the Access to Information Act.
While the Liberal government continues to repeat its promise of action, the lack of tangible progress raises the concern about a repeat of the pattern of governments in power becoming increasingly reluctant to provide access to information despite their fervent promises to reform the legislation while in opposition.
Read more

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UPDATE: Abousfian Abdelrazik

An update to the case study on Abousfian Abdelrazik with the new information about the settlement of the lawsuit by the federal government for unlawful leak of inflammatory and false accusations.
Read more


Consult our website for other updates to case studies


Collaboration with civil society organizations

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Good news related to Charities, however, more needs to be done

Early last month, a government appointed consultation panel recommended that charities be allowed more freedom to speak out. The federal government announced immediate suspension of the Canada Revenue Agency’s controversial political activities audit program.
The same day, 21 leading organizations, including Voices-Voix, ask government to enact panel recommendations on freedom of speech for charities and income tax law reform.
Read here


National security consultations report - highlights by ICLMG

Many of you alongside tens of thousands of Canadians participated in the Ministry of Public Safety's consultation on national security to speak up and ensure that the government put civil liberties and human rights first. The results of a third party analysis of the consultation are now in and the reports are clear. Canadians put the protection of our rights first. A vast majority wants to see at least the main components of the Bill C-51 repealed. International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) has put together highlights and reaction to this report. Read here


Civil liberties groups call for urgent changes to pre-clearance rules

A Statement by International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) with the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association (CMLA) call on a parliamentary committee to implement changes to the Preclearance Act (C-23), to ensure Canadians are not at risk of human rights violations and provide recommendations on how government can protect our civil liberties when travelling to the United States.
Read here


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