Justin Trudeau's support for Bill C-51 is one of the reasons his credibility is slipping. That support was not unqualified. He and his party, he said, would:
“narrow and clarify the overly broad scope of the new powers” for CSIS, create a parliamentary committee to oversee the security agencies, and put the bill up for parliamentary review the bill within three years."
That was pretty thin gruel. And he has paid a price for his vague suggestions of reform. Steve Sullivan writes that it's time for Trudeau to lay his cards on the table:
He has to tell us what he’d do — to lay out his own vision, one based on facts. Fighting terrorism requires a combination of security, the Charter of Rights and, yes, sociology. Trudeau has to offer a robust defence of the rights and freedoms undermined by C-51. He has to argue forcefully that these freedoms make us stronger as a society, not weaker — and that no terrorist is going to take them away from us.
But if he really wants to take the initiative here, he has to be honest with people about the real nature of terrorism. There will always be terrorist threats — we live in that kind of world — but Canada is still the kind of place where we face far graver health risks from sugary soft drinks than from any lone-wolf jihadis. Trudeau has to be up-front with us and state what ought to be obvious: no law can ever protect us completely, and the quest for absolute safety risks destroying the things that make us a free people.
The Harper attack machine will be merciless. But that's a given. Without details, Trudeau looks and sounds like he listens to his advisors because he's not his own man. And, without an explanation, we can only assume that he isn't his own man.