On 25th February, the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) formed a coalition of labor organization, civil society and media at five different locations to voice their concern for surveillance on journalists and protesting for the freedom of the press.
In Toronto, protestors gathered at Trinity-Bellwoods Park and laid down a banner on the ground that said “Trudeau: We Are Watching You”. In Vancouver protestors gathered at Jack Poole Plaza and held banners saying, “Repeal Bill C-51”. In London, Ontario protestors gathered at Victoria Park and held “Respect Freedom” signs and in Ottawa, protestors gathered at Parliament Hill. The main vigil was set outside Trudeau’s constituency office and was held by CJFE volunteers. It was held at Boulevard Crémazie E for 2pm EST.
Looking back over the ten years, this coalition had waited long enough in the light of 787 fellow journalists, including media personnel who were killed while reporting. In late November, a similar issued had been voiced and a letter had been signed by various journalists, as a show of support and was sent to Justin Trudeau. Though, actions were taken, there was no concrete proof that a change would be made.
Now, once again in the spot light, Trudeau has yet to speak on the matter. It was promised by Trudeau’s government that they would hold a consultation process for reforms for Bill C-51. Journalists expressed their hatred towards the “Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015”, which allows people to share information freely. However, journalists expressed how they were being forced to share confidential information. After learning about the surveillance on journalists on Quebec, the controversy surrounding the act thickened and is what forced them to form the coalition.
The executive director of CJFE Tom Henheffer said, “We are prepared to hold Trudeau to account for promises that were made to reform Canada’s national security system. Dubbed as the “National Day of Action” the press reported it as a peaceful and successful vigil that got the attention of many people. However, nothing has been heard yet from Trudeau or his government.