Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Illusion Of Choice

I know that I am but one of millions who long for the day the Harper regime is electorally deposed. That day cannot come soon enough. Yet, along with countless others, I am also aware that merely electing a Liberal or NDP government may only mean a change in style, not substance, given the many positions they hold in common with Dear Leader.

The anti-terror measures of Bill C-51 is one very worrisome case in point.

In today's Star, Thomas Walkom makes the following observations:
Both New Democratic Party Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal chieftain Justin Trudeau danced warily around the substance of Bill C-51.

They had nothing to say about measures that would criminalize speech the government deemed pro-terrorist.

They had no views on proposals that would give 17 security agencies access to any information in any government department on any Canadian.

They said nothing about a section of the bill that would permit the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to engage in illegal and unconstitutional dirty tricks.

Indeed, the only criticism of Bill C-51 levelled by the Liberals and New Democrats to date is that it doesn’t provide parliamentary oversight of security agencies that have been given these new powers.

Which is another way of saying to Harper: We don’t mind if you erode civil liberties, as long as you let a few of us in on what you’re up to.
Wary of being labelled 'soft on terrorism,' the leaders of the two parties vying to replace Harper are revealing once more that the quest for power takes primacy over what is best for Canadians. No questions about why such measure are needed. No queries about what the inadequacy of existing laws might be. Only silent consent with a soupçon of carping at the periphery.

Contrast that cowardice with the brave and consistent integrity of Green Party leader Elizabeth May:
She said Monday in the Commons that it would turn CSIS into a “secret police force.”

She also asked if the bill’s remarkably broad definition of crimes against the security of Canada included anti-pipeline protests (and got no answer).
And so the charade goes on.

But where are the rest of us on this issue? Despite a very compelling warning by Edward Snowden as well as objections by The Canadian Civil Liberties Union and others, far too many of us seem content to shrug our shoulders and dismiss concerns with a simple, "I'm not a terrorist, so why should I worry?" an attitude fraught with pitfalls.

But I guess there is at least one undeniable inference to be drawn from all of this: Human beings are remarkably consistent in their ability to ignore the lessons of history.


  1. .. dig a bit deeper ..

    The 'data' 'collected' & loaded to CIMS.. or 'NationBuilder'
    and the 'data' collected and loaded by CSIS spies
    is separated by exactly what.. ?
    6 degrees of what? Conservative Valuelessness?

    The Conservative Party interns? Fred DeLorey? Jenni Byrne?
    or.. the RCMP reports it all to Ray Novak who cc's PMO
    via his personal Hotmail account to bypass Freedom of Info
    who gets Jenni Byrne or Stephen Harper or leveraged Laureen...

    Sorry .. but we have ZERO verifiable separation of data
    betwixt a chinchilla and an IN/OUT participant named Blaney
    regarding your dinner purchases this weekend
    previous voting record
    choice of kitty litter
    cel phone useage
    religious denomination
    or your iTunes playlist (Fine Young Evangel Cannibals)

    1. That we are so nonchalant about such intrusions, Salamander, speaks volumes about the complacent attitudes the Harper regime has been so successful in inculcating. Things that in an earlier time would have provoked outrage and demonstrations are now largely met with indifference; far too many have succumbed to the neoliberal mantra that preaches the primacy of the individual over the collective, a mantra that has been consistently uttered and fostered by the current regime.

    2. .. 'Mainstream Media' should be screaming about this Lorne..
      'Accountability' (oh thank tou, John Baird) should inform us just who is collating or sharing or spreading our privacy.. Said better, if some greasy evangel twit with a bulletproof government contract is reviewing my mother's pharmacy bill, or your children's cel phone useage, or your elected MP's choice in movies.. then maybe we as the 'so called electorate' should have that dickhead's home address .. his PIN bank account number.. and a note from his mommy

    3. The funny thing is, Salamander, that if the Harper base really thought about it in the terms you have presented, they would be as outraged as progressives.

  2. A Parliament of One, Lorne. Now, will you finally switch to the Greens? As Monbiot writes so convincingly, now is the time to abandon the politics of fear. The others are all market fundamentalist, neoliberals - Mulcair included. If they can't show some spine in opposition, they'll be worms if we're ever weak enough to elect them.

    1. I am just about to start reading Elizabeth May's Who We Are, Mound. She interests me more and more as the grave shortcomings of the other opposition leaders become increasingly apparent.

  3. The vague language of the 'secret police' bill seems to be very dangerous. The Conservative's contention that 'more security and more freedom go together' (I've heard both Harper and Blaney say this in the past few days) is ridiculous. Ben Franklin would have laughed at that them.

    And how much of the new 'secret police' data about you will end up in corporate, government and political party databases without your knowledge or approval? And will those entities use that data against your interests? Canadians are behaving like somnambulists walking on the edge of a cliff.

    1. I agree completely, Anon. Far too many Canadians are asleep at the switch on this issue. If they ever wake up, it may be far too late.

  4. Some of us are beginning to despair, Lorne.

    1. Completely understandable, Owen, for so many reasons.