Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pierre Would Be Appalled

Sometimes silence isn't golden. June 21st marked the anniversary of the passage of Bill C-51. When Justin Trudeau's party voted to pass the bill, they did so saying they would change it substantially once they were elected. Michael Harris writes:

C-51 handed Canada’s spy service grotesque new powers that are unconstitutional, indefensible and unnecessary. Short of killing or sexually assaulting ‘persons of interest’ in its quest to disrupt activities deemed to be ‘dangerous’ to national security, CSIS was handed carte blanche by the Harper government. Not a good situation when, at the time, Canada — unlike the United States, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand — had no parliamentary oversight of the activities of the country’s spies.

 As far as civilian oversight went, Harper starved the Security and Intelligence Review Committee of funding and never even bothered to fill a vacancy (the committee only has five members to begin with). Harper didn’t want oversight — he wanted a rubber stamp and zombie appointees. And if Arthur Porter hadn’t been accused in a kickback scheme in a Montreal hospital project, Harper’s personal choice to head up SIRC would have continued his oversight of SIRC. (As it happened, he died a fugitive from Canadian justice in a Panamanian jail.)

More importantly, the bill bore the marks of the Harperites' utter contempt for the Charter of Rights and  Freedoms:

Basic civil rights went on the chopping block when the bill received Royal Assent in June 2015. The spy service could infringe on free speech because “promoting” terrorism was now a jailing offence. CSIS could make more arrests without warrants, even in cases where all the authorities had was the suspicion that an individual “may” carry out a terrorist act. The spy agency was no longer restricted to simply gathering intelligence, but now had the power to “disrupt” suspected terror plots. CSIS could even siphon personal information about an individual from 100 government departments, including the Canada Revenue Agency and Health Canada. And if the spooks planned to break the law or violate the Constitution, they could go before a judge in secret to get pre-approval of their illegal acts.

The Liberals said that they would hold public meetings to get input on how the bill should be changed.  So far there have been no meetings.

Pierre Trudeau would be appalled.

Image: huffingtonpost.ca


The Mound of Sound said...

Harper set out to transform Canada. Judging by Trudeau's pattern of emulating Harper instead of embracing the vision of his father, it seems Harper succeeded.

Owen Gray said...

It's deeply unsettling, Mound. As I said, Pierre would be appalled.

Steve said...

I will appeal the GST. All politians seem to like shiny. JT has not lived up to the green promise, the big brother promise and I expect the TPP promise. Stil he is light years ahead of Harper

Owen Gray said...

Trudeau has repealed much of Harper's legacy, Steve. But there is still a lot of toxic waste which needs to be junked.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

What I find deeply disturbing Owen, is that Justin Trudeau does not have any problem with creating and/or supporting policies that violate Canadians rights. Lest he forget it was the constitution and the courts that prevented Harper from exercising full power. This indifference to Canadians rights makes him no less a threat to our democracy then Harper was.

The problem is that many people don't see him for the threat he really is. I really don't get his support of right wing policies. It wasn't the right wing that voted him in. With his neoliberal agenda, he has absurdly become Harper's protoge.

Pierre Trudeau would indeed be appalled!

Owen Gray said...

I suspect there are a large number of Canadians who have ambivalent feelings about Justin, Pam.