Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Definitive Rejection Of Bill C-51

It is only human nature, I suppose, that when crisis strikes, our immediate reaction is that we would do almost anything to protect ourselves and our loved ones. When Pierre Trudeau invoked the War Measure Act in 1970 as a response to the FLQ crisis, the vast majority went along with the measure, I suspect, for that reason.

The world we live in today is vastly different. Thanks to grisly images on the Internet and crass manipulation by 'democratic' governments, many perceive us as being in a perpetual war that threatens all of us. A war without end. A war in which many consider the surrender of certain rights and freedoms as the cost of confronting an 'enemy' that "hates us because of our freedoms." Such jingoistic crap can be pretty compelling when the coin of the realm is fear.

Those able to achieve perspective and resist the demagoguery of their political overlords recognize that these are indeed dangerous times, the greatest peril coming not from external threats, but from those posed within in the guise of protective and proactive measures. Hence Bill C-51.

Two individuals able to see through the fog of hysteria perpetrated by the ruling class are Ed Boadbent, the former leader of the federal NDP, and Roy Romanow, the former premier of Saskatchewan who also served as a member of the Security and Intelligence Review Committee.

A joint essay in The Globe and Mail makes clear their adamant opposition to Stephen Harper's latest legislative initiative to promote conformist thinking and quell dissent within our country. They call for its immediate withdrawal:
Terrorism is designed to provoke governments into making damaging mistakes. It is conducted through brutality and rooted in the belief that killing ordinary citizens will cause nations to abandon their most basic commitments.

Terrorism demands a sustained and effective response. Resources must be allocated to enable police and intelligence agencies to find its perpetrators and to discover potential terrorists. Those who are guilty of offences must then be brought to justice.

Canada already has mechanisms, practices and laws necessary for dealing with terrorism. These include surveillance, immigration controls, preventative detention and incarceration for criminal activity.
The authors cite a lack of resources and funding for our police and security forces as the real problem, but that, of course, is not something that galvanizes people or gives Mr. Harper the political wedge he is always seeking.
The bill attacks the civil rights of all Canadians, and places the protections guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms under the shadow of wider powers to interfere with lawful and legitimate conduct.

The general tenor of the bill is to expand the definition of threats to national security and add to the powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Any interference with financial or economic stability could now be considered to violate national security. Such activities are a daily occurrence and in truth could include just about anything.
Who potentially, could now be considered fair targets under this legislation?
Any interference with financial or economic stability could now be considered to violate national security. Such activities are a daily occurrence and in truth could include just about anything.

Other new national security offences include influencing any government in Canada by unlawful means or “interfering with infrastructure.” Neither of these is a rare practice. Neither is necessarily connected to terrorism.

And now persons can be held in custody as a preventative matter if officers believe that a terrorist activity “may” occur. This makes detention a matter for the purely subjective views of security officials.
One cannot help but remember Joe Oliver's chilling references to "environmentalists and other radical groups".

Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that there really is no informed debate being conducted on this bill. One hopes that the efforts of people like Broadbent and Romanow will change that.


  1. Broadbent and Romanow have written an excellent piece, Lorne. Unfortunately, because Stephen Harper has a majority, Parliament will not do as they suggest.

    1. Hence the yielding of principle to political expedience, Owen. Canada is far poorer for it.

  2. Very well done, Lorne. Terrorists seek to injure psychologically. They rarely have the power to take down their enemy militarily or economically. It's why they stage displays of grotesque brutality. They want governments to over-react. They try to drive a wedge between the governed and the government that strips rights, imposes curfews, surveils its citizens and treats them all as suspects. It's the sort of thing that drove so many South Vietnamese to oppose their government and either tolerate or actively support the North. I've yet to see a security service or any government with embedded authoritarian instincts understand how they're played by terrorists. They're simply being goaded into doing something that seems more or less logical, even natural to them especially when it comes with the added bonus of increasing their power while diminishing all others. When this is done by a manipulative bugger like Harper, it can be diabolical.

    1. Couple that with a complacent and somnolent populace, Mound, and you have the perfect recipe for real disaster.