Michael Harris writes that the Canadian Bar Association does not support Bill S7, the Harper government's recently passed anti terrorism legislation:
The CBA makes the point that the legislation does not give investigators new tools, but merely duplicates, with a few new wrinkles, laws that already exist. So why would any society based on the rule of law want to bring in legislation that doesn’t prevent terrorist acts and doesn’t make people safer?
That question becomes all the more pressing when you consider that S-7 will authorize the arrest, detention and forced testimony of people who have not been charged with any offence, and who don’t know the evidence against them. In fact, S-7 could be used against a citizen who is not even suspected of a crime, but simply suspected of knowing other people who might be cooking up a plot.
It is a bill which seeks to take out anyone who is suspicious about this government's motives. But why the paranoia? The reason, perhaps, is that the Harperites are afraid that Canadians will cotton on to the fact that they are the northern version of the Republican Party, a party -- which according to Michael Tomasky, -- is "an immovable wall of nays." The Republicans, he writes, have become the Seinfeld Party -- "the Party of Nothing." The proof is in the agenda of the Republican controlled House of Representatives:
Yesterday in Salon, political scientist Jonathan Bernstein wrote up the following little discovery, which has to do with the numbering of bills. Historically, the party that controls the House of Representatives reserves for itself the first 10 slots—HR 1, HR 2, and so on. Usually, the majority party has filled at least most of those slots with the pieces of legislation that it wants to announce to the world as its top priorities. When the Democrats ran the House, for example, HR 1 was always John Dingell’s health-care bill, in homage to his father, a congressman who pushed for national health care back in the day.
Today, nine of the 10 slots are empty. Nine of the 10. The one that is occupied, HR 3, is taken up by a bill calling on President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Even this, insiders will tell you in an honest moment, is completely symbolic and empty: the general expectation among Democrats and Republicans is that Obama will approve the pipeline sometime in this term, but that eleventy-jillion lawsuits will immediately be filed, and the thing won’t be built for years if at all, and nothing about this short and general bill can or is designed to change that. One other slot, HR 1, is provisionally reserved for a tax-reform bill, so at least they have settled on a subject matter, but if you click on HR 1, you will learn that “the text of HR 1 has not yet been received.”
The Republicans were defeated twice by Obama, who ran on a platform of "hope and change." One can argue about how much hope and change Obama has achieved. The point, though, is that the Republican response to Obama was to demonize him. Now, Harris writes,
There is more than a whiff of political opportunism in the air. Just when the polls show that Justin Trudeau is getting Canadians to think about hope, the PM returns them to his special metier — fear.
A paranoid party has nothing to offer but fear itself. It is full of sound and fury -- signifying nothing.