Category Archives: The Coming Police State

I’m afraid to publish this

As was widely expected, the terrifying Bill C-51 passed its third and final reading of the scandal-ridden Senate last night. The vote was down party lines, with the Conservative majority in favour and the Liberal-appointed opposition rebuking Justin Trudeau and voting against. The Bill will become law as soon as it receives royal assent, another preposterously undemocratic anachronistic formality.

The bill’s passage comes despite a firestorm of protest and opposition. I can’t recall ever seeing such widespread knowledge about or opposition to a proposed law in Canada in my lifetime. I can’t recall experts ever being so unanimous in their denunciation of a proposed law. Hell, even the National Post called the government’s behaviour anti-democratic when they shut down discussion of the bill prematurely in the House of Commons.

Despite all of the public outrage and despite the hit they were taking in the polls, the HarperCons pushed the legislation through.

Soon, we will live in a nation where our surveillance agency is empowered to break the law and violate our rights without challenge, where expressing opinions the government dislikes could land you in jail, where meaningful opposition to state policies will be stifled more than ever before.

And I’m scared. Continue Reading

The din and fury over the CBC’s story on BDS

There are many disadvantages to blogging on current events in my spare time. One of the biggest is that news has an unfortunate tendency to break while I’m at busy.

When I read the CBC’s explosive conversation-starter of an article about the HarperCons’ apparent willingness to use hate crime laws against proponents of the Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions (BDS) campaign over a hurried pre-work breakfast this morning, I knew that (a) it was something I really wanted to post about, and (b) by the time my shift was over so many people would have weighed in that I probably wouldn’t have anything new to add.

Now here it is, several hours later, and this story has certainly made the rounds online.

Everybody from Warren Kinsella to Glenn Greenwald has weighed in on the controversy, with the story about the story becoming an increasingly important metanarratival (metanarrativistic?) part of the narrative.

But let’s begin at the beginning.
Continue Reading

#BreakC51 – why mass civil disobedience is logically the next step

The club is all their law – stand up now, stand up now!
The club is all their law! Stand up now!

The Diggers’ Song, 17th-century English protest ballad

As was widely expected, Bill C-51 passed its third reading in the House of Commons last night. All that remains are the largely pro forma rituals of Senate approval and royal assent, and this hideous bill will become the law of the land.

For those who have been backpacking in bush country since the winter, Bill C-51 will radically expand the legal definition of terrorism to include any activity that “undermines the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of Canada or the lives or the security of the people of Canada,” including: “Interference with the capability of the Government of Canada in relation to intelligence, defence, border operations, public safety, the administration of justice, diplomatic or consular relations, or the economic or financial stability of Canada.”

It also gives CSIS and the RCMP expanded police powers; this CBC article summarizes them in detail, but the new powers include lowering the threshold for arresting suspected “terrorists”, criminalizing the “promotion of terrorism”, allowing CSIS to “disrupt” suspected “terrorist” activity (without oversight), authorizing courts to remove “terrorist material” from the internet, allowing for secret court proceedings, and expanding the “no-fly” list.

Given the impossibly open-ended definition of terrorism promulgated in this bill, it’s easy to see the potential for abuse. Continue Reading

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