Mitchell Anderson writes that Canada has become The Great Weird North, where the government doesn't trust its own citizens. Consider the evidence:
Revelations last week that Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) was spying on Canadians cell phones through airport Wi-Fi networks only came to light due to documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Ontario's privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian said she was "blown away" by the news, adding that CSEC's methods seemed those of a "totalitarian state, not a free and open society."
If the "Harper Government" is suspicious about the general Canadian population, they are downright paranoid about people opposed to pipelines. In 2012, Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver referred to Canadians questioning pipeline expansions as "environmental and other radical groups that would seek to block this opportunity to diversify our trade." A month later Ottawa released a revised anti-terrorism strategy that lumped environmentalists in with white supremacists as a threat to national security.
Not creepy enough for you? Last week the government introduced sweeping changes to Canada's Election Act without bothering to consult with Canada's chief electoral officer, who called the new bill an affront to democracy. News enthusiasts will recall how a federal court judge determined the database controlled by the Conservative Party was implicated in what he called "widespread" electoral fraud in 2011 and that party lawyers employed "trench warfare in an effort to prevent this case from coming to a hearing on the merits."
Anderson then asks the obvious question:
If the government doesn't trust Canadians, why should we trust them?
For better or worse, Canadians and their government have a long-term relationship. Without trust, any relationship goes south fast. It's becoming clear that the "Harper Government" doesn't trust Canadians, and that Canadians shouldn't trust them either.
We deserve better from this relationship. More trust. More money. More respect.
When the man at the top is paranoid, he lives in fear and sows contempt. And contempt is what he reaps.