On Tuesday, March 24 I had the privilege of presenting testimony to the Standing Committee hearings into the Canadian Government's proposed Anti-Terrorism Act - Bill C-51. In my remarks, which supported the proposed legislation, I was careful to acknowledge the legitimate privacy concerns voiced by many Canadians. As I noted in my presentation, "Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center strongly supports the goals and intentions of Bill C-51 as we bear witness to the reality of terrorism in our country. We see this Bill as an unfortunate necessity to ensure greater safety for all Canadians. That being said, it is of critical importance that sufficient legal and procedural mechanisms are put in place to ensure that our rights to privacy, peaceful protest and freedom of expression are in no way diminished. I am confident that we can find the appropriate balance between our national security requirements and personal freedoms in developing this legislation."

As a Jewish human rights advocacy organization, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) has the perspective of 2,000 years of persecution and antisemitic violence, culminating in the Holocaust, when six million Jewish people and millions more were murdered because of hate.  Sadly, we also have perspective on other horrific genocides brought on by hateful ideology including Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur and Cambodia - to name but a few of the most recent tragic events.  Moreover, we have perspective on the latest terror attacks in Ottawa, Paris, Israel, Iraq, Pakistan and Europe. We also have perspective regarding the hundreds of girls reportedly abducted this week by Boko Haram in Nigeria. It is the perspective of the victims of hate and terror and, especially, of those of us who are adamant that we will no longer submit to those who believe they can trample on our values and laws to terrorize us further.
So, respectfully, FSWC will not compromise on our perspective, our safety and our objective to rid the world of hate and intolerance. We will work to further human rights for everyone and to defend democratic pluralism and co-existence. 
It is interesting to note that after questioning me and understanding FSWC's perspective on striking a balance on free expression, Liberal MP Wayne Easter came to shake my hand very warmly and thank me for my point of view.  He heard my statement carefully and understood that we stand on our own two feet. My comments clearly stated that rights and freedoms are sacrosanct and must be preserved. 
If only such commissions and discussions regarding human rights and freedoms had been held in Rwanda or Germany, perhaps the senseless slaughters could have been averted.

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