OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian government will water down controversial new anti-terror legislation after critics said it could be used to target people taking part in peaceful protests, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp said on Friday.
The move would represent a significant concession by the governing right-of-center Conservatives, who until now have refused to countenance changes to a bill they say will combat the threat of “jihadist terrorism”.
The bill currently says “lawful” protests are not deemed to threaten national security. Opponents say this means people participating in nonviolent civil disobedience could be singled out.
CBC cited unnamed sources as saying the government would remove the word “lawful”, broadly boosting the kinds of protests that could take place without being deemed to be a threat.
The bill gives the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) spy agency more power to disrupt terror plots and allows information about possible threats to Canada’s security to be shared among domestic security agencies.
CBC said the government would make clear that CSIS, until now purely an intelligence agency, would not be given the power to arrest people.
No one from the office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper or Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney was immediately available for comment.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Galloway