Connie Fournier wrote an excellent analysis of Bill C-51. I agree with every word she says – and more! Let’s not loose sight of the admission that our security forces are already treating anti-Jihad bloggers exactly the same way as actual Jihadi terrorists…
Xanthippa’s first law of Human Dynamics says: Any and every law passed will be misused in its hyperbolic absurdity…eventually. Please do keep in mind while evaluating the proposed law, Bill C-51!
Right now, we have perfectly good laws we could use to reign in the terrorists: but, we don’t. There is absolutely no reason to believe that since existing laws are not used against terrorists, the proposed Bill C-51 would be, if enacted: rather, it seems more likely that it would be just as abused as existing laws are!
Connie Fournier gave me permission to publish this as a guest-post by her. I agree with every single word she wrote!!!
Much has been said recently about the “anti-terrorism” Bill C-51 that is currently being debated in the House of Commons.
I have been quite vocal about the fact that I oppose this Bill, but I haven’t gone into a lot of detail as to why. I think it is important for my fellow conservatives to understand that this is not a partisan issue. Just because it is mainly the NDP and the Green Party who have spoken out against it doesn’t mean that conservatives shouldn’t have grave concerns as well. My concerns are well-founded, and they are based on personal experience.
Many of the critics of this Bill have referred to cases where environmental and First Nations activists have discovered that they were targeted and spied upon by government agencies, and the point has been made that Bill C-51 would only make it easier for the government to spy on and “disrupt” non-criminal, non-terrorist Canadian citizens.
Now, I’m going to be perfectly forthright here and talk to my fellow conservatives who, perhaps, take these allegations with a grain of salt, or feel that there might be some justification in having the government keep on eye on the “lefties”, anyway. This Bill is so open-ended that it can be used by any future government to spy on and “disrupt” any citizen for virtually any reason.
Even if it were true that our government agencies have only been targeting the people you disagree with (and I will be demonstrating shortly that that is not the case), we have to realize that it will not always be a Conservative government that calls the shots. I think it is extremely important that you read the scholarly reviews done by people like Michael Geist and Professors Craig Forcese and Kent Roach, then take that information and imagine what your opinion on this Bill would be if Justin Trudeau or Thomas Mulcair were Prime Minister and they had this power at their disposal.
One of the most disturbing aspects of the Bill is the section on information sharing. Michael Geist points out at the link above that it lists 17 government departments, including the CRA, CSIS, CSE, RCMP and the Department of National Defence, and it allows them to freely share our personal information. This would include information that is obtained by CSIS and the CSE by hacking our websites and email or tapping our cellphones…and they are allowed to disclose it “in accordance with the law…to any person, for any purpose.” This is in Section 6.
Imagine for a moment if you are an opposition MP and the government has the power to collect and freely distribute all of the private information they can obtain about you. Do you think it would be used against you? Or do you think that if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear?
The part of the Bill that concerns me most is that provides CSIS with the power to “disrupt” groups of Canadian citizens. This word sets off alarm bells for a couple of reasons.
First, it is a word that was used in a “Five Eyes” powerpoint presentation that was released some time ago by Edward Snowden. The “Five Eyes” countries include Canada, the USA, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand. This presentation was given to the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group and it was entitled, “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations”.
This powerpoint presentation talks about how government agents can go about sabotaging online groups that they want to be silenced. These groups need not be criminals or terrorists, they simply describe them as “hacktivists”. These documents call this activity “Online Covert Action”, and say it consists of the “3 D’s” – Deny, Disrupt, Degrade, Deceive. One of the documents outright declares that they are “pushing the boundaries” when they speak of deliberately destroying their targets’ reputations, infiltrating groups and using psychology to “disrupt” them, and in manipulating and controlling the information that is posted online.
Secondly, this is where it becomes personal. Beginning in the Spring of 2006, government operatives began signing up on our discussion forum, Free Dominion. We have since identified operatives from the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), the Department of Defence, at least one Police Department, and many, many posters using proxies who posted divisive or racist comments in our forum. In 2007 we received a Section 13 complaint with regard to a link that was posted on our site. We reacted strongly and publicly to the complaint and it was later dropped.
There were many attempts made to discredit us personally:
– People (many of them anonymous) accused us of being racists/Nazis.
– Someone created a youtube account in my name and added a bunch of Nazi videos to it so it would appear I endorsed those views.
– Someone signed me up for “teen porn”, and when the IP address of the person responsible was investigated by the police, Bell told the police that there was a “gap” in their log files for the time period in question so they could not provide subscriber information.
On one occasion, a woman showed up at my husband Mark’s work pretending to be his aunt, and asking about our assets, and an Access to Information Request showed that the Department of Justice and the CHRC were circulating emails about us and articles about our court cases.
We don’t believe that it is any coincidence that the self-described strategy of the government employee who sued us four times and ultimately caused the forum to be closed, is called “Maximum Disruption”. The fact that that same word shows up in the “Five Eyes” powerpoint, and that it also shows up in Bill C-51 is, to say the least, chilling.
In 2006 we had the most active conservative political forum in Canada. After nine years of various kinds of “disruption”, we have had to close the forum, and thousands of Canadian conservatives have lost their online voice. Even if you believe that the Conservative government had nothing to do with what happened to us and that it is just a coincidence that the Five Eyes documents encourage exactly this kind of activity, I urge you to ask yourself this:
1) Do you trust government operatives to handle their open-ended freedom to “disrupt” us in a responsible way?
2) Do you think that you can trust every future Prime Minister to use these new powers in a way that is not abusive?
3) Are you comfortable with government agencies having the right to share your private information with anyone they please for any reason? And, lastly,
4) are you comfortable with the fact that the power to disrupt us is so broad that the writers of this bill felt is was necessary to stipulate that agents aren’t allowed to rape or kill us?
Many of us fought hard against the intrusiveness of the gun registry, and against the ambiguous wording and undemocratic usage of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. We were right in fighting those things. Now let’s not forget the principles that motivated us in those fights and allow fear or partisan politics to blind us to the even more dangerous provisions in Bill C-51. Just because it is a Conservative government that is proposing this legislation does not mean that we can relenquish our civic duty to examine what they are doing, to hold them accountable, and to protect the freedoms that were fought and earned with the blood of our parents and grandparents.
I am not willing to completely give up my inheritance of liberty and privacy out of fear of potential terrorists. If we give it all up, the terrorists have won.