Building and Clarifying our New Canada



I heard the news of the exchange between Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and Liberal public safety critic Francis Scarpaleggia about online surveillance and how the opposition favour child pornography over all that is good and right in the world. (What would you expect from someone who is a critic of public safety?)

The Harper government is really building a new Canada, what with sabotaging global climate conferences, deals with China on uranium and bitumen, shooting at intruders the other day and now spying on our on-line activities without need of warrants. I thought, if we’re building a new Canada, I should get my 2 cents in on how it might move forward. So I wrote Minister Toews and my MP.

Public Safety Minister Toews

I am writing in response to news of an exchange between yourself and Liberal public safety critic Francis Scarpaleggia on Monday regarding online surveillance.

If debate and questions regarding bills is tantamount to engaging in child pornography then we certainly don’t want that, even if it is cloaked in speech about democracy, civil rights or privacy. It occurs to me that we could remove supporters of child pornography and save considerable money by eliminating opposition seats from parliament entirely. A win-win in these perilous times.

We could have elections, have the party forming government get down to business, and have the rest go home. That system would have resulted in 166 MPs in the house now rather than 308. A significant savings.

Perhaps you could put forward a bill to get that done, or should I write my MP? He’s a good Conservative. I’ll CC him on this.

Another good idea I would like to offer, if it is not too late to add to bill C-30, is to install cameras in Canadian’s homes. That way we would all be able to demonstrate that we are not child pornographers (at least not at home). And the data captured from these cameras would be handy to police if they suspected wrong-doing of whatever kind.

Oh, and while I’m writing perhaps you could ask Justice Minister Rob Nicholson for me whether shooting at people on my property would extend to annoyances like people selling magazine subscriptions. Or does one have to wait for an intruder to actually commit a crime before firing warning shots. Just want to get the rules straight in this new Canada of ours.

Best Regards,
Ian Stephen

The reader might guess that I wrote to Toews in a mood of frustration. I could have put forward some well reasoned argument instead about how these new online surveillance laws invite abuse and are an unnecessary erosion of civil rights in Canada. However, the Conservatives have made it abundantly clear that they have no interest or regard for ideas other than their own and that ‘reason’ doesn’t have to be part of the equation at all. A well reasoned letter would have taken longer to write and just slammed up against a closed mind. At least with this I got to vent a bit and while Toews might think I’m serious, my own MP Mark Strahl who I CC’ed the email (or his minion who handles these things anyway) might know better and get a chuckle out of it.

I suppose if I’ve made someone laugh, even an evil laugh, my karma should be a bit better for it.

Update! 15 Feb : With Cons ranks showing cracks, King Harper is allowing the online surveillance bill to go to committee before second reading. This may mean an opportunity for substantive change. Apparently my letter and blog post hit a nerve. Well, maybe. In any case I encourage anyone who reads this to learn more and write Harper, the Justice and Public Safety Ministers and your MP.

More Update! 18 Feb : Minister Toews admits he does not know what is in the bill! You’d think I was making this up, but it’s too outrageous. I’d never expect people to believe it.

From CBC News
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews says he is surprised to learn that a section of the government’s online surveillance bill provides for “exceptional circumstances” under which “any police officer” can request customer information from a telecommunications service provider.

A dereliction of duty as offensive as Minister Oda’s ‘Not’ document. Oda should have resigned, or been fired. Toews should too. Won’t happen of course. Perhaps every debate should begin with the question “Has the Minister read the bill?” If not, set it aside for another day.

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