Aggravating Agitprop by the Grief-Stricken Aggrieved

Pushing Bill C-51 through Parliament, the government has chosen to ignore the nation’s lawyers, judges, law professors, former prime ministers, and the newest polls. In the hearing for the bill, our elected representatives will not hear from privacy experts, nor from the Privacy Commissioner who Harper himself appointed recently. Instead, we get an emotional appeal from the sister of a soldier killed not long ago in an act of domestic terrorism. Her sadness, presumably, making her an expert on civil liberties and anti-terror legislation.

What Mrs. Vincent doesn’t seem to understand is that her brother was a soldier in an army of a nation that declared war on an enemy which practices the type of asymmetric warfare that leads to people being killed in Canada. It will probably happen again. A soldiers death, like the death of any human being is unquestionably a tragedy; but it’s insanity to change the laws of the nation in response to their deaths. Soldiers die in war, and if you don’t want your soldiers to die, don’t send them to war, especially wars which are ill-conceived, unwinnable, and aimless.

As a soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces, Patrice Vincent made an oath to the Crown and, by extension, the Constitution. He died in service to that oath. His sister now lives to undermine it. I mean, yeah, we all grieve in our own ways I guess, but sometimes people, in their grief, act out in destructive ways. They develop drinking problems, or start supporting authoritarian political parties. They make public statements in an attempt to leverage their grief to make the country worse.

And someone has to tell them, someone has to have the heart to say, “Stop. Undermining civil liberties and the rule of law, ripping up the Constitution won’t bring your brother back.”

A Primer on the Harper Government’s Bill C-13

Peter Mackay1. Bill C-13 is a bill before Parliament supposedly intended to address cyberbullying.

2. Cyberbullying led to the tragic suicides of two girls recently. It was obviously very sad. There are already laws on the books that could have helped these girls, but nobody seemed to care because neither of them were famous or dead at the time.

3. Instead of enforcing preexisting laws, Bill C-13 has been written to reiterate laws which already exist, though someone will still need to enforce them at some point if they are to have any effect.

4. Additionally, instead of addressing the question of why young women are made to feel ashamed of their sexuality while the sexuality of young women is fetishized by the entertainment and advertising industries, we have a bill before Parliament that will land you in a lot of hot water if you dare steal your cable TV hook up.

5. In fact, most of Bill C-13 doesn’t address cyberbullying at all, most of it further empowers law enforcement to erode our right to be safe from unreasonable search and seizure as stated in section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

6. Bill C-13 is a lot like Bill C-30, the online surveillance bill that failed last year, the one that had a lot of people upset because then Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said that anyone who opposed the bill was siding with child pornographers. Either due to the negative PR that exploded following that statement, or out of the discomfort of arguing with a room full of alleged child pornography enthusiasts, the bill was withdrawn.

7. Bill C-30 was very unpopular, but I suspect it had something to do with the Public Safety Minister saying something stupid. People love it when politicians say something stupid because it makes them feel smart, especially journalists. So far, the Conservatives have not said anything particularly stupid about Bill C-13, so it will probably pass this spring.

8. Despite the public statements of Minister of Justice Peter Mackay to the contrary, Bill C-13 will allow for law enforcement to have warrantless access to information of subscribers to Internet and telephone services. Which means that one does not have to be suspected of cyberbullying, child pornography related crimes, terrorism, or even jaywalking for the police to investigate them.

9. Often, people will suggest that privacy invading laws don’t bother them because they’re not doing anything wrong, and who would take an interest in them anyways? Often, the people who say such things do not belong to the demographics most likely to have their privacy invaded by such laws. They are also woefully ignorant of history.