C-51 greenlights more black op’s in the great white north
When most people think of Canada they think of vast tracks of beautiful land, populated with majestic creatures, and overly polite people who say sorry when you bump into them while they eat their poutine; and for the most part, they’re not wrong.
Unfortunately there are those in this free and open land, that feel it shouldn’t be that way… unless it comes to them, and they are getting some serious help from more than a few politicians in Ottawa. The folks over at Vice have written a great piece about the CSIS portion of the bill, and I’m sure there will be many other opinions about it coming out shortly.
Bill C-51 has from the outset been controversial, mostly because of the massively overreaching powers that it grants to various agencies, and it has continued to grow in this respect, all in the name of fighting terror, (the latest battle cry of the power hungry). This time around they are citing the instances of the gunman in Ottawa, and the man who ran down an officer in Quebec. When it’s not politically relevant, these acts are called acts of murder, (even when those people have political or ideological reasons), but when there’s a controversial bill that needs passing, it’s called
a golden opportunity sent from above an act of terror in order to silence opposition, lest it be brought up in the next election that you as their rival supported killing Canadians… by not backing this bill.
For those of you who are not familiar with CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service), they are analogous to the CIA, if the CIA technically reported to the FBI, and not to be confused with the CSE (Communications Security Establishment), which is essentially Canada’s equivalent to the NSA.
In the bill it provides new powers to CSIS in the form of “Disruption Warrants”, which grant them the ability to do pretty much whatever they want. Everything from: Cancelling travel arrangements of anyone suspected of wanting to travel to join an Islamic terror group, to “…enter any place or open or obtain access to any thing…,” “…to install, maintain or remove any thing,” and, “to do any other thing that is reasonably necessary to take those measures.”(that’s a lot of non-specific “things”) It also makes provisions for private information to be shared, even proactively, between agencies even where otherwise prohibited by other legislation such as PIPEDA.
What makes this new bill, and these provisions in particular, so frightening is that if they can get a judge to OK the warrant CSIS can do whatever it want’s, in Canada or in a foreign country, and even if these things are illegal. Oh, and did I mention that there’s no provision for additional oversight for these additional powers? These “disruption warrants” are to be granted for up to 120 days, and can be renewed up to two times, meaning that each warrant grants them the go-ahead to break any and all laws for up to a year… If CSIS feels that its necessary. They can enter a home, install malware or any other surveillance devices, in addition to taking anything they see fit, but won’t be able to detain the subject, they’ll still need the RCMP for that.
The bill even allows for the introduction of illegally obtained evidence relating to maintaining a persons status on the “no-fly list” to be used against the suspect, “even if it is inadmissible in a court of law” presumably as long as there was a disruption warrant issued at the time.
Currently any action that CSIS want’s to take as far as intercepting money transfers, physical item shipments within Canada, or even damaging those shipments before sending them on their way to the recipient, they have to obtain assistance from the RCMP, who as law enforcement are held to a higher standard of proof, especially when it comes to detaining a suspect. What is being claimed is that this takes too long and will let the terrorists win, and that will cost Canadian lives. Who can argue with that logic (and still maintain a political career)?
Stephen Harper says that it wasn’t police or legislators that took away Canadian’s freedoms, but instead “it was a jihadi terrorist that took away our freedoms.” This is simply not the case, a “jihadi terrorist” may have committed a heinous act which we have existing laws by which to punish them, but it is legislators that write new laws to take away or at the very least impinge upon the rights and freedoms of citizens. This is like a school saying that grade-school students are to drop their pants when told to, in order to inspect their underwear because some feces was found in the gym. Our government want to root through Canadian’s drawers just in case they can find some sh*t to hold against you. At least those kids in Texas knew when they were being violated, and I’m sure those school officials will be held accountable.
Canada has what is called the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and much of what is being proposed appears to be in direct violation of the Charter. I bet there are some lawyers on the side of C-51’s proponents have been working overtime to massage some weasel language to allow this to proceed.
The goal of terrorism is to destroy a way of life, and within days of the Parliament Hill shootings (which is being cited as a reason for this bill’s scope), life normalized, a bit more mindful of surroundings and the behavior of those around, but it normalized nonetheless. Canadians are a hardy people and no freedoms were taken away from us by the murderers who committed those acts… At least none until these new laws are passed.