Bill C-10: A Small Victory

Dec 15, 2011

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”  Martin Luther King Jr

In the face of the Harper majority, it has been easy to consider giving up in despair — we’re stuck with them for another four-five years; get used to it, hang on for the ride and let’s try to minimise the damage.  Then comes some good news on the Tories’ Omnibus Crime Bill, C-10: the Senate vote has been delayed until February.

It is likely that others have said it as well – but this small victory reminds me of the words of Samuel Adams:  It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds. Some of you may have signed the petition or participated in the local neighbourhood conversations across the country organised by LeadNow – clearly a group to notice.

Though a pause for ‘sober second thought’ may seem small, it required the kind of organising and brush fires set by LeadNow and tens of thousands of Canadians.  The pressure from Harper and company to get this through by Christmas was huge – and the Senate decided to resist it.  No small achievement.  Let’s keep up the pressure between now and the resumption of the House – and not just on this issue.  The kerfuffle in the House yesterday on climate change seemed like another indicator of a country reconsidering its carte blanche to this band of thieves and plutocrats.

This from LeadNow:

Together, we’ve helped stop the Senate from rushing the Crime Bill through before Christmas. This buys us precious time to campaign for key changes to the Crime Bill in the new year.

Last week, tens of thousands of you spoke out. We asked our Senators to resist Prime Minister Harper’s pressure to rubber stamp the Crime Bill before Christmas. We asked our Senators to take the time they need to provide Canada with the “sober second thought” we deserve on this cruel and costly bill.

So what does your action look like from a Senator’s perspective?

Here’s what Percy Downe, a Senator representing PEI, shared on twitter a few days after the campaign launched: “Received more emails from PEIslanders about the flawed crime bill C-10 in all my years in the Senate.”

This action builds on months of letter writing, local demonstrations, and phone calls. As more and more Canadians speak out, we are shifting the national conversation against this Bill in ways that nobody saw coming. The momentum keeps building – just yesterday over a dozen leading criminologists endorsed our Senate letter.

Now we can confirm that Marjory Lebreton, the Government Senate Leader, has decided to delay a Senate vote until February at least.

That’s amazing. That’s a complete reversal of the urgent tone we’ve heard from Conservatives this fall as they limited debate to rush this bill into law.

We’re preparing to make the best of that hard-won time – in January we’ll need your help with public demonstrations to strengthen provincial opposition to the bill, and major efforts to build support for change in the Senate.

For today, let’s take a step back and look at the big picture.

Martin Luther King said that “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” In turn, by speaking out, we breathe life into our democracy, and find joy in our solidarity.

When we look back on 2011, we will see the first lights of a democratic awakening. We will see a turning point, a year when more and more people started to step up, speak out and listen to each other.

If you’re reading this note, you’re one of the 75,000 Canadians who have joined our community by taking action with us. Thank you. To change the world, you have to change the conversation. You’ve already shown that you can do that.

We’re just getting started. This fall, the Leadnow community organized a hundred local gatherings and an online vote to create our shared plan to organize for change in Canada. Click here to see the results, and, if you can, please consider making a donation to help power the plan together:


A blessed Christmas, Canada.  To our US friends, listen to your own Sam Adams as you work to defeat the NDAA – a bill of much more significant and frightening consequences.

Photo by Cris DiNoto on Unsplash


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