Guest Post by Connie Fournier: Why Conservatives Should Oppose Bill C-51

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.

Thoughts on the Ruling in Baglow Vs. Freedom of Speech

For the background on this case, please see here.

For the full ruling, see here.

Prior to the closing arguments, I begged John Baglow to, please, stop this lawsuit, even at such a late date.  I promised I’d help him fundraise to cover his costs if he, even at this point, called the whole thing off.

Why?

Because I firmly believed that any ruling on this case would necessarily be a loss for freedom of speech and a disaster for all of us who socialize on the interwebitudes!

And I was right!

Yes, Connie and Mark Fournier, as well as Peter O’Donnel, have won because even though Madam Justice Polowin found the comments to be defamatory, she also found them to be fair comment and dismissed the case.

So, yes, the Fourniers and POD have won.

But it is a bittersweet victory for them and a decided loss for freedom of speech in the internet.

Let me explain why…

First, let’s name the elephant in the room:  the process is the punishment.

Baglow has dragged the defendants through the court system for years and cost them tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars in court costs and lost time/productivity.  Yet, in her wisdom, Madam Justice Polowin did not order Baglow to pay the Fournier’s court costs.

Not having any training in legal matters, I find this mindblowing.

If the words were deemed to be ‘fair comment’, as Madam Justice Polowin had ruled, why should the Fourniers and POD have had to pay tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, travel and accommodations in order to defend themselves against what she has ruled is a baseless accusation?

And why should they have to pay half the costs of a court expert in internet communication:  an ‘expert’ who is so very up on internet communication and customs that he testified that he’s never ever heard of Godwin’s Law?!?!?

Really?

An internet communication expert who’s never heard of Godwin’s Law?

Expert?

Come on, this is a joke!!!

Even my mother-in-law, who needs help logging on to Facebook, has enough internet savvy to know Godwin’s Law, aka reducto ad Hitlerum…

But, that is besides the point:  the bitter lump of coal (actually, coal is not that bitter, but you know what I mean…) here is that while the defendants may have been found innocent, but they still get punished by not having their costs covered and having to pay for an ‘expert’ which would not have been necessary had the judge had even high-school level knowledge of the online world around her.

Second, I most vociferously disagree with some of her rulings on a the various issues raised in the case, because they will, in a very real sense, cause a serious chill in online communications.  It will probably take me multiple readings to fully analyse the significant damage this ruling poses to freedom of speech, but, one of her rulings practically jumps out at me.

This is the ruling that providers of an online discussion space are considered to be the publishers of what other people post to these fora, whether this is moderated or not.

This spells a disaster for every blogger that permits comments and makes the running of un-pre-moderated discussion fora a very serious liability danger:  most will probably be limited to permitting only politically correct speech and no discussion of controversial topics whatsoever.

In reality, Madame Justice Polowin ruling means that, for example, WordPress or Blogger, by providing a platform for publication with the aim for people to come there and exchange ideas, that this makes WordPress or Twitter etc. the publishers of that communication and just as liable for the words published on their platform by third parties as if they themselves had written it.

Just think about the impact this ruling will have…

Sorry, I’ve got to leave this here for now….you see, dear reader, I suddenly have this terrible pounding headache….

From my inbox: Zero jail time for anti-Semitic violence in Calgary

Please, remember that Eric Brazeau got no bail and 20 months in jail for non-violent, non-threatening politically incorrect conversation on public transit.  The prosecution’s witnesses all agreed that there was no hint of violence and that they never, ever felt threatened during the conversation.

Yet, 20 months in jail:  when the prosecution was seeking 6.

And a reminder that ‘language can be a weapon’….and then the judge imposed ‘a weapon ban’ on Brazeau!

Aside:  Can anyone explain to me how one can impose ‘a language ban’ on someone?  Are we talking a lobotomy here?

So, let’s recap:  Brazeeau was not violent, did not call for the death or beating of anyone, and the most offensive thing he said was that he hated someone.  Not that anyone else should, just expressed his own emotional state.

20 months in jail.

Now, let’s look at what had happened in Calgary:

Pro-Palestinian protesters not only shouted ‘Heil Hitler’ at pro-Israel demonstrators, they actually physically attacked them and roughed them up!  Forcing them to flee to avoid more serious injury!

Here, see for yourselves:

What do you think our judicial system will do with someone who not only shouts hateful things at their political opponents, but actually physically attacks and injures them?!?!?

Well, if 20 months is the punishment for a conversation, then threats and actual physical violence would earn one at least a few years behind bars, right?

Wrong!!!

From my inbox today:

Dear Xanthippa,

The first rioter from last year’s pro-Hamas rally in Calgary was sentenced today for his assault against peaceful Calgary civilians. And his sentence is so lenient, he won’t spend even a single day in jail.

He has one year probation, and some community service. That’s it. For beating up Jews, on Calgary streets, that sent a half dozen peaceful pro-Israel protesters to the hospital. You can watch a video of the riot here.

I can’t even tell you this thug’s name — since he was 17 at the time of his violence, it’s against the law for me to identify him. So his name and face are a secret. Not only will he serve no time in jail, but he won’t suffer any social marginalization or shame from his role. No employer will know; no neighbourhood will know.

Today I spoke on the phone with Jake Birrell, one of the victims of the riot. He told me that while his sister Samantha’s victim impact statement was read out in court, the young thug actually smirked and smiled — he appeared completely remorseless.

I wanted you to know about this right away. I will have Jake and Samantha on my TV show tomorrow at 8 & 10 p.m. ET (6 & 8 p.m. Alberta time). I’ll send you an e-mail with a link to the video tomorrow night, in case you miss it on TV.

I’ll have them describe what it was like going to court — expecting justice — and watching this young anti-Semitic rioter just walk right out of the court with a smile.

We have so much more work to do on this — starting with our justice system, that has chosen to treat a violent pro-Hamas thug as if he’s just some random street urchin.

I’ll keep you posted.

Yours truly,

Ezra Levant

P.S. Jake tells me that the other rioters had their court dates rescheduled — when I confirm those details, I’ll let you know. Maybe if the judges see real citizens in the courtroom, they’ll feel moral pressure to hand out real sentences too.

And that is what passes for justice in Canada!!!

Andrew Napolitano – The First Jury Nullification

The Jihad of Words

In the words of the one and only Inigo Montoya:

Or, if you are more into classical music:

“Because, you know, sometimes words have two meanings…”

It is impossible to hold a meaningful conversation with somebody when you both think you know what the words you are using mean, but in reality, you each subscribe to a completely different meaning of that word.

For example, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood government that had come to power in Egypt following the ‘Arab Spring’ was lead by Morsi’s party, which was called the ‘Freedom and Justice Party’.

Muslim Brotherhood = Freedom and Justice?

Why, yes – if you mean what the Islamists understand these words to mean.

‘Freedom’, according to Koranic sources, is defined as ‘freedom from the laws of men’.  In other words, being ruled by the word god, Allah, alone.

In other words, they understand the word ‘freedom’ to mean the implementation of the Sharia and Sharia alone.

And ‘justice’?

‘Justice’ according to laws of God and God alone:  again, Sharia.

In these people’s mind, the way we use the words ‘freedom’ and ‘justice’ is a perversion of their true meaning (Sharia and only Sharia) and we are ‘spreading mischief’ by perverting these words.

And under Sharia, the penalty for ‘spreading mischief’ is death.

A simple way to tell a moderate Muslim from an Islamist is to ask their view on whether Sharia should be implemented in the West.

If they say no, they are here because they are attempting to flee the horrors of life under Sharia and we must do our utmost to protect them, because they will be the first victims of the Islamists.  Many are afraid to speak out, for very real fear that relatives stuck in Islamic countries would be harmed for their words:  Islam is a clan-based culture where you are often held responsible for your relatives actions.

If they say yes, then they are an Islamist who is advocating, in no uncertain terms, the elevation of SHaria above our own laws.  This is treason and our societies must treat it as such.  All advocates of Sharia in the West must be arrested and charged with treason, because that is what trying to replace our laws with Sharia is.

Following is an excellent video.  It is a bit longer than what I usually post, but it is most excellent:

JE SUIS ERIC!

Earlier, I wrote about Eric Brazeau’s upcoming trial and I said he had already served more time in jail than was possible for the ‘crime’ he had committed.

I was wrong!

I did not expect the judge would not only sentence him to double what the prosecution was seeking, but also that the judge would not apply the usual 2.5 to 1 credit for time served pre-trial, as is customary in Canada…

Oh, how naive I feel…

So, let me be the first to say:

JE SUIS

ERIC BRAZEAU!

One of the most distrusted professions in Canada is ‘lawyers’.

The other one is ‘politicians’.

Yet our judges are ‘patronage appointments’ of lawyers by their politician buddies.

Ever wonder what is wrong with our judicial system?

Me too!!!

I just can’t put my finger on it….

DRM discriminates against the visually impaired

DRM – Digital Rights Management, is the digital copyright protection placed on electronic media by the major manufacturers/distributors of content (movies, CDs, etc.).  And while some people argue that some copyright protection is reasonable, the rules regarding DRM are so one-sided and shortsighted that all impartial observers criticize them – for many reasons.

We can now add one more reason for valid and legitimate criticism:  DRM directly discriminates against the visually impaired:

‘Any digital text can be read aloud through text-to-speech, granting people with visual impairments the basic human right to read — unless there’s DRM in the way.

Tricking the technology used by Amazon, Apple, Adobe and Google to stop blind people from adding text-to-speech to their devices isn’t hard — but it is a felony, thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. A UN treaty intended to help people with visual, cognitive and sensory disabilities access copyrighted works has been all but killed by the big publishers.’

If you are new to this debate, I encourage you to get informed because there needs to be a balance of rights:  protecting the rights of the content creators/owners must not rob purchasers of said material from being able to access it in a format that they would like.

At the current time, the rules governing content purchased on electronic media are created by politicians on the advice of industry lobbyists – very powerful and rich industry lobbyists – without any weight being given to the needs, much less the rights, of the consumer.

More balance is needed or electronic vigilantes WILL gain widespread public support.

The Robin Hood myth has survived many centuries for a reason.  Unless the society wishes for hactivists to become the next incarnation of the Robin Hood character, fixing the deeply flawed and corrupt copyright governance is a necessary first step!

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