This week’s topic: Is suspicion alone enough reason to allow Canadian law enforcement and security services the right to spy on Canadians?
Never would I have thought that anyone could argue that bending democracy was essential to preserving it. But here we are, once again debating the issue of surveillance on Canadian citizens as a result of the recent tragic events Brent has referred to.
It was one of the founding fathers of the United States, former president James Madison ,who gets right to the heart of the matter in this line from one of his historical debates in 1787: “The means of defence against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.”
Madison – who was known as the father of the bill of rights – seemed to foreshadow a time when future governments would justify the erosion of rights and freedoms as a necessary means to protect the country from foreign threats. In the aftermath of the shooting in Ottawa and the fatal attack on two soldiers prior to it, the potential for this to occur is great.
Bill C-13 alone has been raising alarm bells because, although widely justified as a toolkit to tackle the issue of cyberbullying, the powers it gives law enforcement to obtain personal information without a warrant are likely to lead to “function creep.” Function creep is the term used to describe how law enforcement have a tendency to use legislation intended for one purpose, to investigate more intrusively in other areas.
Read Brent Stafford’s column here.
In combination with Bill C-44, questions are being asked as to whether or not some of this legislation is appropriate and whether or not it’s even needed. Justice Minister Peter MacKay conceded recently that there are already “robust” laws in place that law enforcement can use in cases like the attacks mentioned above. Human rights lawyer Paul Copeland has even argued the police already had the tools that could have, and should have stopped one of them…
Read the rest of this weeks column and vote, here: http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2014/11/02/spying-laws-are-already-tough-enough