Politics and its Discontents

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Reflections, Observations, and Analyses Pertaining to the Canadian Political Scene
Updated: 47 min 2 sec ago

Rick Mercer On That Fear Thing

6 hours 14 min ago
Our National Treasure nails it yet again:

And for additional biting commentary, be sure to check out Alison's latest at Creekside.Recommend this Post

It's Official: Trying To Protect Your Privacy Can Lead To Criminal Charges

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 16:55

Are Canadians really okay with this?
A Quebec man charged with obstructing border officials by refusing to give up his smartphone password says he will fight the charge.

The case has raised a new legal question in Canada, a law professor says.

Alain Philippon, 38, of Ste-Anne-des-Plaines, Que., refused to divulge his cellphone password to Canada Border Services Agency during a customs search Monday night at Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

Philippon had arrived in Halifax on a flight from Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. He's been charged under section 153.1 (b) of the Customs Act for hindering or preventing border officers from performing their role under the act.

According to the CBSA, the minimum fine for the offence is $1,000, with a maximum fine of $25,000 and the possibility of a year in jail.
And the most chilling aspect of this, perhaps, is that it is entirely unrelated to the massive abrogation of privacy and citizen rights that Bill C-51 will make possible.Recommend this Post

UPDATED: A Comforting Illusion Shattered

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 12:34

When it comes to massive intrusions by the state, the kind reflected in legislation like Bill C-51, people frequently rationalize their acceptance and passivity by this comforting fiction: "I don't have anything to hide; I'm not a terrorist, so why should I worry?"

A story of one family's unpleasant experience may prove instructional in challenging that complacence.
Firas Al-Rawi, an emergency room doctor at Toronto General Hospital, said he booked the Family Day holiday trip [to Disney World] in early December so his wife and children could join him at a professional conference in Orlando that week. The family had taken numerous trips to the United States by air and car without incident.

"My kids were so excited, and they were counting down the days for the trip,” said Al-Rawi, 48, an Iraqi who immigrated to Canada with his family in 2006 via Qatar, where he and his wife, Asmaa Ahmed, both worked as physicians. They and their children are all citizens who hold Canadian passports.Alas, the trip was not to be:
The Al-Rawis became part of the 330 or more travellers a day who are refused entry to the United States under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, which gives border officials the right to refuse admission of non-Americans — including Canadian citizens.The apparent grounds for their inadmissibility appears to be that they are Muslims:
According to the National Council of Canadian Muslims, 14 per cent of the 182 human rights complaints it received between 2011 and 2013 involved travel restrictions to the U.S.After being fingerprinted and photographed at the check-in counter, Al-Rawi said, they were asked to go for a secondary inspection.

As his family waited in a public area, Al-Rawi said he was questioned about the purpose of his visit, his employment and his family trips in 2014 to Qatar and Dubai.

“We didn’t really mind if it was a random check, given the typical screening with what’s happening with ISIS (the terrorist Islamic State group). We had nothing to hide,” he said. “But we were not prepared for the rest of it. We were stressed, not knowing what was going on.”

After a 10-minute interview, Al-Rawi said he and his family were fingerprinted and photographed again before uniformed officers came to inspect their suitcases.

During the inspection, the family said, their electronics — one iPhone, two MacBooks and three iPads — were confiscated, and they were ordered to provide passwords so officials could unlock the devices.The reason given to the family for refusal was that U.S. officials did not think they would return to Canada, despite the fact that Al-Rawi spent more than five years working to earn an Ontario medical licence and restart his stalled practice in Canada.

Of course, entry to another country is not an automatic right, but the fact that the refusal amounts to a denial of natural justice is disconcerting:
United States Customs and Border Protection refused to comment on the Al-Rawi incident, but said travellers are responsible for proving their innocence.Think about that - guilty unless proven innocent.

So what does any of this have to do with legislation that curtails one's civil liberties? It is, I suspect, a peek at what may be ahead for anyone who takes his or her citizenship responsibilities seriously and holds to them tenaciously, despite the kind of conformity that Bill C-51 will promote.

Of course, there will be other comforting illusions we can fall back on to discount the experiences of the Al-Rawi family: I'm a citizen (but isn't the entire Al-Rawi family as well?), I'm not a Muslim (Should that be a barrier?) I don't have a foreign-sounding name (Congrats! You won the birth lottery there).

But how long will it be before we have to come up with additional disclaimers, such as I have never joined an environmental protest, I have never stood up for any cause, I have never written a letter of criticism of my government, etc. etc.

Congratulations, Unknown Citizen, for living what will have been a wholly unexamined life.

UPDATE: if you think Canadian Border Services is more respectful of privacy, think again and click here.Recommend this Post

A Little Perspective, Please

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 06:58
Are we losing all perspective on the threats posed by terrorism? While there is no doubt that all perils to public safety need to be taken seriously (yes, even those posed by pipeline ruptures that Enbridge seems to treat as state secrets), one cannot escape the conclusion that the Harper regime sees it in their best electoral interests to convince us that we cannot go about our daily lives without a massive surrending of freedoms, à la Bill C-51.

Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who leaked classified information, suggests we need to get a little perspective.

In an online chat with Ryerson students yesterday, he had this to say about the Harper bill:
The former National Security Agency employee said only Canadians can decide on whether C-51 is a good or bad bill, but “Canadian intelligence has one of the weakest oversight frameworks out of any western intelligence agency.”

In Canada, terrorism kills fewer people than lightning strikes and it is extraordinarily rare, Snowden said.

“No matter what we do, no matter what laws we pass, we cannot throw away all of our rights, all of our liberties, all of our traditional freedoms because we are afraid of rare instances of criminal activity,” he said.Snowden sees Canada going down the same pernicious route as the United States, asserting that C-51 is
just like the U.S. Patriot Act, the law passed following the 9-11 terrorist attacks to bolster the powers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Under Bill C-51, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service would gain police-like powers to “disrupt” threats to Canada — including, but not limited to, terrorist threats.Despite the fact that most people are innocent,
the freedoms and liberties people enjoy are being changed without their consent, Snowden added.I think we can all rest assured that Snowden's warnings will go completely unheeded by the Harper regime.

Recommend this Post

The Salamander Has Some Questions

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 11:13

The Salamander has been doing a lot of thinking, and has some questions. Read his post, and feel free to weigh in:

.. the other day, I was thinking about 'the Base' ..
that unusual group of committed voters for Stephen Harper..
plus truly fervent media.. Lilley, Levant et al
wondering what caused their odd shrill partisan malady

And I was also thing about the Harper apparatus - Party & Government
and the retinue of PMO, lawyers, RoboCall vendors, pollsters etc etc
and beyond belief wealthy corporate partners & think tanks
you know, the folks that truly benefit from their complicity

And then I thought about the rest of Canada.. voters, people, kids, elders etc
and within that group I guess falls Trudeau & Mulcair, May et al
all with some sort of perspective or belief in what exactly Canada stands for
province to province, urban rural, young old, employed or unemployed etc

I can't claim any blinding insight came from that particular thinking session
it was really just musing to myself on how laughable or insane the reality is..

I asked myself some simple questions though.. about what defines Canadians
now.. like right now.. A majority of Canadians.. and to a certain extent..
eligible voter Canadians.. When they vote.. what drives that decision?
Or even if not voting, what drives their perception of Canada
and their perception of the politics or politicians currently serving Canadians..
You know.. as elected public servants.. or paid public servants ?

I plan to write a 'rant' .. like the 'I am Joe' kind of rant..
and I want to write it correctly.. because I'm not Joe.. I'm me
and I want the rant to speak to and speak for current Canadians

And if I can't exactly put my thumb on what describes all Canadians
or what the particular dreams, needs or wishes of each or all Canadians are ..
I certainly want to identify what I'm certain they do not want or believe in..
as well as the issues or action or realities that give them pause, fear & doubts

I get that Canadians may not support Trudeau, Mulcair, Ms May etc
as being a clear improvement over Mr Harper & his record or promises
and that bothers me.. It really truly scares me, as a Canadian..
That we have no obvious and clear alternative to a despicable flailing government

How can this be? That we must even contemplate such a catastrophic failure?

I'll think on this some more.. work on my rant..
and hope Duffy & Harper's key associates' testimonies
at the very least send the toxic government, party and apparatus packingRecommend this Post

Details. Mere Details

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 06:31

H/t We Don't Want This

The most egregious, anti-democratic elements of Harper's terror Bill C-51 are the following:

-jail for 5 years if someone posts anything counter to the government and that could be interpreted as a terrorist posting in general;

-secret trials;

-indefinite detention without charge;

-sharing of information between all departments of government without concern for privacy;

-secret police;

-no civilian oversight;

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I see that the Commons anti-terror committee, a majority of whom are Conservatives, will not be permitting testimony from Joe Clark, John Turner, Jean Chrétien or Paul Martin, all four former prime ministers who have publicly criticized Bill C-51. Some things (actually, many things) are unforgivable in Harperland, I guess.Recommend this Post

And Speaking Of Profound Stupidity

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 11:12
...not to mention rabid partisanship, watch another Harper MP disgrace herself:

I wonder how well any of this sits with Cheryl Gallant's riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke. Don't those constituents, like the ones living in James Lunney's riding, deserve better?Recommend this Post

Could It Be A Virus?

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 06:37

Stupidity, it has been said, is contagious, and one has to wonder whether a particularly virulent virus is running through the Conservative tent these days. First there was Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP Rick Nicholls suggesting that evolution shouldn't be taught in schools, as he doesn't believe in it. Now comes word of similar sentiments on the part of one of his federal cousins, B.C. Conservative MP James Lunney.

Coming to the defense of his fellow fundamentalist, Lunney tweeted:
"[Just] stop calling #evolution fact!" tweeted Lunney, who said he had no problem calling it a "theory."A man clearly comfortable in his own skin and not afraid to parade his profound ignorance, Lunney made this statement to the House in 2009:
"Any scientist who declares that the theory of evolution is a fact has already abandoned the foundations of science. For science establishes fact through the study of things observable and reproducible. Since origins can neither be reproduced nor observed, they remain the realm of hypothesis," he said then.

"The evolutionist may disagree, but neither can produce Darwin as a witness to prove his point. The evolutionist may genuinely see his ancestor in a monkey, but many modern scientists interpret the same evidence in favour of creation and a Creator."
Like many of his benighted ilk, Lunney is also deeply suspicious of claims made about climate change:
Last year he tweeted "Science settled? Think again!" and posted a link to an article by a University of Guelph economist who is one of the signatories of a declaration disputing climate change.But wait! As they say, there's more!

As reported last year in The Huffington Post, Linney signed An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming:
"We believe Earth and its ecosystems—created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence —are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception. Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history."The declaration went on to say,
We deny that carbon dioxide—essential to all plant growth—is a pollutant. Reducing greenhouse gases cannot achieve significant reductions in future global temperatures, and the costs of the policies would far exceed the benefits."Oh, and one more thing. Lunney's disdain for science extends to vaccines with this discredited notion:
In a 2004 speech in the House of Commons, Lunney cited figures he said showed a tenfold increase in the incidence of autism and said Canada should explore a link to vaccines.It is said that people get the government they deserve. Somehow, I can't help but think that the residents of Nanaimo—Alberni deserve much, much better than what this man has to offer.Recommend this Post

Why Would You Be Enslaved To A Vegetable?

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 19:03
Vegetable, get behind me! So intones Pastor Pat Robertson in one of his finest hours. Watch and be saved, brothers and sisters!

Recommend this Post

Too Good Not too Share

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 06:02
Although I'm not sure that the benighted Progressive Conservative MPP Rick Nicholls will completely get it:

H/t The Toronto StarRecommend this Post

On The Politics Of Fear

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 06:30

Regular readers of this blog will have noticed the relative frequency with which I provide links to and samples of Star readers' letters. One of the obvious reasons is that they tend to have the same political sensibilities as all progressive bloggers, i.e., they are acutely aware of the ongoing damage to our country that Mr. Harper and his acolytes are the engineers of. The other reason is the hope that these missives will be disseminated as widely as possible on others' social networks, be they Facebook, Twitter, or whatever. It is only by spreading the word on networks of friends and associates who may not be especially interested in politics that we have a chance of ousting this hateful regime in the upcoming election.

Right now we are living in politically perilous times, of course, owing to the fact that the regime has gotten a boost from people's fear of terrorism, a fear that Harper is exploiting to maximum advantage. Here is what a few readers have to say about this morally reprehensible tactic. You can see the entire set of letters, all excellent, here.)

Re: Leader’s words should strengthen, not scare, the nation, Opinion Feb. 25
Having watched the deplorable performance of Stephen Harper in regard to Bill C-51, culminating in a disgraceful motion to limit debate, I share the following: Wikipedia defines “demagogue” as: a political leader in a democracy who appeals to the emotions, fears, prejudices, and ignorance of the lower classes in order to gain power and promote political motives. Demagogues usually oppose deliberation and advocate immediate, violent action to address a national crisis; they accuse moderate and thoughtful opponents of weakness. Demagogues have appeared in democracies since ancient Athens. They exploit a fundamental weakness in democracy: because ultimate power is held by the people, nothing stops the people from giving that power to someone who appeals to the lowest common denominator of a large segment of the population.

Michael Hayes, Victoria, B.C.

I am stunned that over 80 per cent of Canadians would back Bill C-51. Obviously, these Canadians have not studied what is in this bill. Why would we give up close to 150 years of freedoms over two mentally imbalanced people killing three Canadians?

I notice when Robert Pickton was arrested in 2007 for the murder of close to 50 women no laws were forthcoming to protect the aboriginal women or the prostitutes involved. For that matter, Harper still seems to be refusing to do much regarding the safety of aboriginal women or prostitutes.
CSIS actually seems to be doing a good job of infiltrating these cells of disaffected Canadians, so why should we give up any freedoms? I believe Harper should be doing more to help create good jobs for young people instead of taking our freedoms away.

Looking at history, the last group of people who gave up their freedoms were the German people in the 1930s. We all know how that turned out.

Gary Brigden, Toronto

Do we never learn?

Its saddening that the majority of Canadians aren’t even following the recent attempts by the Harper government to pass Bill C-51 without any public debate. However, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering Prime Minister Harper’s noted stance against freedom of the press. However, this begs the question: considering that a large portion of Canadians came to Canada to avoid oppressive dictatorial regimes elsewhere, why are these same Canadians so eager to go back to such a “nanny state”?

Hussein Mohamedali, Vaughan

The big question I think Canadians deserve answers to is this — why is the Conservative Party afraid to add oversight to its anti-terror bill?

Such oversight will not affect the terms of the bill. It will just give each and every Canadian the assurance that CSIS or the government will not be allowed to break Canadian laws and the terms of our Constitution.

The prime minister and his spokespeople have succeeded in scaring many Canadians; making them fear that the hordes are at the gate and only the CPC and Bill C-51 can save us.
Fear is a great motivator and Stephen Harper trots it out at every opportunity. I don’t care if you are left, right or centre. It is disgraceful conduct on the part of any politician to try to use power through fear.

American president Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” He said this in reference to America being struck at Pearl Harbour on Dec. 7, 1941. He didn’t tell Americans to be afraid as our government is now telling us we should be. Roosevelt said don’t be afraid.

Canadians are good strong people; we are not fearful people and it’s time politicians stopped using fear as a policy.

Joe Spence, KanataRecommend this Post

A Worrisome Trend

Sat, 02/28/2015 - 05:41

Thursday's post lamented the fact that opinion and personal beliefs are increasingly being regarded as legitimate challenges to facts. As was noted, accepting the facts of evolution and climate change are now often presented as a matter of choice. If the signs are any indication, these worrisome affronts to critical thinking are likely only to grow.

Toward the end of the post, I offered several possible contributing factors to this elevation of irrationality. One of them was this: Perhaps people take living in a supposedly democratic age as license to suggest that any view is valid.

Two columns by The Star's Katherine Porter suggest that this wrongheadedness may, in fact, be aided and abetted by the education system, at least here in Ontario. Her first column, entitled My kids' report cards get failing grade, criticized the increasingly cryptic and euphemistic nature of the report card comments that teachers are currently forced to use:
My son “has demonstrated having had some difficulty following a series of specific instructions or steps to establish priorities and manage time to achieve goals.”

I think that means he’s unfocused.

“At times,” my daughter “is reminded to stay on task, particularly for literacy centres, so that other peers also benefit from this work time.”

Does that mean she chats too much during reading time?There is a simple and perhaps obvious explanation for such obscure and at times impenetrable language. They are designed not to offend parents who, over the years, have become increasingly confrontational and reactionary about their dear ones' academic and behaviourial shortcomings:

I was reduced to tears,” said one primary school French teacher, describing the call she had with an irate father. She had phoned to say his daughter was coming home with a D on her latest test. She had wanted to talk about what they could do to help her. I’d call that awesome.He screamed at her. “He accused me of not helping her and said I wasn’t doing my job,” she said.While it has been almost a decade since I left the classroom, I remember the kinds of computer report comments that were coming into play at the high school level, and they were of a similar ilk, causing teachers much consternation for their opacity. And those comments were motivated for the same reasons that Porter identifies thanks to emails from irate teachers:

conflict-averse principals, school board policies and angry mother-hen parents.

Contrast this with 'the old days,' as recalled by Porter:
When I was in middle school, I spent a year warming the bench before I’d proven my volleyball skills were worthy of playing time. Now, every kid gets equal time. Every kid gets a soccer trophy, no matter how much time they spend picking dandelions on the field.'Better a bitter truth than a sweet lie' is the philosophy by which I have conducted my life, but it is not one shared by all.

I won't launch into a tirade here with personal stories about the careerists in education whose sole motivation these days seems to be their personal advancement at the expense of educational principles, but rest assured they were much in evidence in the latter part of my career. Unfortunately, the advancement they seek often involves shielding parents from the truth, while upbraiding teachers for their candour. The effects, however, are and will be pernicious.

Which brings me back to my earlier post and my concluding statement. If people are now being inculcated with the idea that they are special, that the world revolves around them and what they think, how will we ever achieve a society that prizes objective and critical thinking over self-centred indulgences?

I suspect you know what my answer is.

Recommend this Post

Something All Canadians Need To Hear

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 09:44
Many thanks to The Salamander for alerting me to this video, which Richard Hughes posted on his blog, Cowichan Conversations. I am reposting it here, and encourage all progressive bloggers to consider doing the same on their sites.

This eloquent message reminds all of us of the myriad failures of the Harper cabal, and gives voice to all who are striving for regime change.

Recommend this Post

Who's Watching The Spies?

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 05:49
This from the folks at leadnow.ca:

Recommend this Post

Something For The Winter Weary

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 15:00

Others may find find they speak precisely for them:

Recommend this Post

Why Has Accepting Scientific Fact Become A Matter Of Choice?

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 09:23
Science takes things apart to see how they work. Religion puts things together to see what they mean. They speak different languages and use different powers of the brain.

-Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, The Great Partnership

As the quotation above suggests, the schism between scientific fact and religious belief is, in fact, one that shouldn't exist. Yet, given the kinds of absolutist thinking that permeate the world today, demagogues and zealots suggest the two are mutually exclusive, an invalid proposition if one's belief in transcendent truth manages to rise above seeing the narratives of the world's religions as literal truths.

It is always unseemly when people parade and exult in their intellectual limitations, often presenting them as virtues. For example, in Ontario, people like Progressive Conservative MPP Rick Nicholls has suggested that evolution should not be taught in schools, as he doesn't believe in it.

Sadly, such benighted positions, masquerading as informed opinion, do a disservice both to science and religion, not to mention public discourse in general. And it seems to be spreading, despite the fact that we live in an age unprecedented in its access to knowledge. Consider the almost religious fervour with which people disavow climate change, despite these facts: The debate over climate change is over. The U.N.‘s Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report, written by 800 scientists from 80 countries, that summarized the findings of more than 30,000 peer-reviewed scientific papers and concluded: “Human influence on the climate system is clear; the more we disrupt our climate, the more we risk severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts; and we have the means to limit climate change and build a more prosperous, sustainable future.”Like the facts that make evolution irrefutable, the facts of climate change are treated by some as optional, a matter of belief, based on all kinds of specious reasoning, including religious ones such as asserting that God is in control of the planet. Perhaps people take living in a supposedly democratic age as license to suggest that any view is valid. Perhaps the right wing, emboldened by their ability to stir up emotion and hysteria, and enjoying so much influence in North America, feel that they have the politicians cowed. Perhaps the truly rational see little profit in getting down to their level to dispute with them. Perhaps it is because the uninformed and unsophisticated comprise such a large part of our population and show no interest in learning how to think critically, dismissing those who do as elitist leftists and alarmists.

I really have no answers here, but to countenance ignorance in any form, in my view, is to abdicate our responsibilities as both human beings and as citizens, and these are obligations we cannot afford to shirk.

Recommend this Post

On Hatred And Fear

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 05:44

Those of us who follow Canadian federal politics with a critical eye and mind will likely glean nothing new from Carol Goar's article in today's Star, yet it is nonetheless comforting to know that the depredations and demagoguery of Stephen Harper et al. are not being lost on the national press stage.

They hate our values, Goar notes, has become a new tagline in the Harper narrative. He used it on a Richmond Hill audience when talking about terrorists.

He used it when talking in Quebec about employees of Radio Canada.

He had his pull toy, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, use it in Washington.

As Goar points out, the language is all of a piece, to be placed alongside of past gems used against those who dare question Harper policy: imprecations such as 'soft on terrorism,' 'Taliban Jack', 'siding with child pornographers' all attest to the manifest unworthiness of this regime to lead Canada.

The sinister effect of such language is extensive, as Goar points out:
It has already migrated from the realm of terrorism to the practice of journalism. It could easily be applied to pipeline opponents (already branded “environmental terrorists”). It could be used to deport unwanted immigrants or foreign-born citizens (already warned “citizenship is not a right; it’s a privilege”). It could be employed against parliamentarians who challenge the scope and constitutionality of government legislation (already labelled the “black helicopter brigade”).Such demagoguery has other effects as well:
-It yanks out a piece of the national mosaic, subjecting Canada’s 1.1 million Muslims to unwarranted suspicion and drawing a direct link between their religion and terrorism.

-It lowers the standard of political discourse. Canadians don’t normally use words such as hate, despise and abhor in the public arena.

-It precludes rational debate. It is entirely possible that ISIS and its followers are targeting Canada because its warplanes are bombing them in Iraq, not because of its values. But who would dare suggest that in the current us-versus-them atmosphere?

-It legitimizes the kind of discrimination that is surfacing at lower levels of government. In Shawinigan, city councillors blocked an application by local Muslims to build a cultural centre .... Across the country, people who know little about Islam are angrily impugning Muslim women who cover their faces.Being a demagogue is easy. History amply demonstrates this. Real leadership, cultivating the best in people's natures, is long and hard work. The Harper regime is clearly not up to the latter, as it has amply demonstrated time and time again.
Recommend this Post

Harper's Contempt For Thinking Canadians Is Egregious

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 14:02
That is the only conclusion I can draw, based on the unseemly hurry the regime is in to pass its 'anti-terror' bill:
The Conservatives are pushing to devote just three meetings to hearing expert testimony on the government's proposed anti-terrorism bill when it goes to the public safety committee for review, CBC News has learned.

Sources say that one of those days would be taken up by Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and departmental officials, leaving just two meetings to hear from outside experts.For obvious reasons, the Harperites want nothing to do with the witness list the NDP wants to put forward, which includes former prime ministers Jean Chrétien, Joe Clark, Paul Martin and John Turner and six retired Supreme Court justices. As well, they
also want to hear from three former members of the secretive Security Intelligence Review Committee that oversees CSIS operations: Bob Rae, Roy Romanow and Frances Lankin.The depth of Harper contempt for thought, reflection and reason, as opposed to his preferred method of reflexive campaigning and reactionary legislation, is evident in his response to Thomas Mulcair during question period:
Tom Mulcair challenged Prime Minister Stephen Harper to commit to a full review at committee — one in which, he said, "security experts and human rights experts [will be] not only heard, but listened to."

In response, Harper called Mulcair's criticism of the bill "ridiculous."Precisely the reaction I have when anyone suggests our Chief Demagogue has been good for Canada.

Recommend this Post

More Warnings About Bill C-51

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 06:18

H/t The Globe and Mail

Increasingly disenchanted Globe readers weigh in with their thoughts:
Re Kenney Spurns Calls To Increase Security Oversight (Feb. 23):

The Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) only reviews security-agency operations after the fact. Defence Minister Jason Kenney and the Prime Minister maintain that we don’t need oversight of the agencies’ day-to-day operations. That’s like saying we don’t need referees in professional hockey, it’s sufficient for someone to review the tape after the fact and penalize the players if they broke the rules. Does anyone seriously think the players wouldn’t behave differently without referees?

The PM says judges will provide the necessary oversight, but that’s only required if the security agencies plan something illegal. Continuing the analogy, it’s like expecting the players to check in with the referee before the hit.

National security shouldn’t be a self-policing game of shinny. This is serious.

Jason Scott, Ottawa


Once lost, freedom is hard to regain. As Canadians, we must demand that our politicians protect our society – not just from the threats of the few, but most importantly from the threat we impose on ourselves when we give too much power to too few people, with too little oversight and too little accountability.

John Rudan, Kingston


Stephen Harper wanted to run on his economic record, but the economy is heading south. So the new anti-terror legislation will have to do. He just has to convince enough people he can protect them. Then they’ll not only accept giving up their Charter rights, but will vote for his party.

Almost anything can qualify as terrorism under Bill C-51, especially now that the RCMP has set its sights on environmentalists (RCMP Express Alarm Over ‘Anti-Petroleum’ Ideologists – Feb. 17).

I’m scared, but it’s not terrorism in Canada that scares me.

Tia Leschke, Sooke, B.C.Recommend this Post