Stephen Harper believes that Bill C-51 will help pave the way to his re-election. But polls indicate that support for the bill is slipping -- even among Conservatives: Tasha Kheiriddin writes:
This week, Conservative MP Michael Chong, never one to blindly toe the line, criticized the bill’s lack of oversight in a statement to the House of Commons: “However, while I fully support Bill C-51, I also believe we need greater oversight of Canadian security and intelligence agencies by a parliamentary committee of elected MPs, who are directly and democratically accountable to Canadians. That greater oversight is even more important as we give these agencies new powers to combat terrorism.”
That same day, at committee hearings on the bill, Connie Fournier, founder of the former conservative online forum FreeDominion, criticized the bill’s infringements on privacy and freedom of speech. Fournier is going a step further, reviving her website to fight Bill C-51 — and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
I feel like we’re in some kind of alternate universe,” she recently told the Tyee. “You spend your life working for the Conservative party, and the Conservative party finally gets in, and (now) you’re saying, ‘I hope the NDP really steps up and protects us from our Conservative government.'”
The committee has heard criticism from others on the right as well. Former Conservative senator Hugh Segal supported the bill but called for more independent oversight. Former Security Information Review Committee chair Ron Atkey predicted the bill could not survive a constitutional challenge. So did Brian Hay, chair of the Mackenzie Institute, who said “… permitting a judge to break a law, or to ignore the Charter to uphold the law or to protect a society which is to be based on law, seems, at best, contradictory.”
Still, nothing is going to stop Mr. Harper from ramming the bill through Parliament. Clearly, there is no one left in the Harper organization with the courage -- or smarts -- to reign in his Dark Side. He has the votes. He'll do what he wants.
That's what he really meant when he said Canada needed a "strong, stable, national Conservative government."
Could it be that Canadians have finally cottoned on to who their prime minister is? And could it be that he miscalculated?