Stephen Harper has based his political career on the notion of austerity. Deep down, he believes it's good for the soul. But, Thomas Walkom writes, he also stands fourscore for another a-word -- absurdity. The recent arrests of two people in Halifax underscore just how absurd his new anti-terrorism legislation is:
Canada’s anti-terror laws don’t criminalize actions that might cause terror. Well before the current law was enacted in 2002, it was illegal in Canada to murder people or blow up trains.
Rather, they criminalize intent. It may be illegal to kill people in Canada. But it is even more illegal to kill people for a religious, ideological or political purpose.
More important, it is left to the state to decide — in the first instance at least — which murderous conspiracies have a political motive and which do not.
If there is a common thread between Harperian austerity and absurdity, it's the notion that anything means what I say it means:
So that’s the first point about the terror laws: They are unusually arbitrary.
The second is that the government’s interpretation of these laws is infinitely flexible. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, with the backing of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, proposes a new anti-terror law that would give the security services even more power and citizens even fewer rights.
Never mind that the new law isn't needed. What Harper needs is the ability to define everything and everyone. He is a man obsessed with power and his own survival -- a very dangerous man.