Friday, December 10, 2010

The HarperCon$ and Rights

The HarperCon$ love to spout off about how they're really about preserving human rights and liberty.

However, actions speak far louder than words, don't they? Consider the agreement they are secretly negotiating with the United States which will no doubt give the American government unprecedented access to your personal data.

The communications strategy for the perimeter security declaration – which the document says will be unveiled in January, 2011 – predicts one of the biggest potential critics will be the federal privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart. That’s because the deal is expected to increase the amount of data exchanged between law enforcement and other government authorities in both countries.

Hmmm...really? This is protecting Canadians from just what threat? Oh right - those evil terrorists that are under every rock and behind every questionable package that goes across the border.

Raiding personal information and violating basic privacy and mobility rights by slapping people on "no fly" lists is not an answer to the issues raised by terrorism. Anybody with even the teensiest bit of awareness has to have figured out that slapping names on lists without evidence or even the slightest ability to appeal does very little except make it difficult for civilians to travel. It does nothing to make Canada more secure - any more than a government sanctioned groping before you get on the plane does.

Then we come to Harper's latest golden boy - recently elected MP Julian Fantino. It seems that Mr. Fantino doesn't like the Charter of Rights and Freedoms very much.

Fantino won southern Ontario's Vaughan riding, ending a 22-year Liberal hold on the seat. He brings tough-on-crime credentials to politics after a 40-year policing career, views he shared in a televised interview on CBC Wednesday night.

"In some cases, the Charter has been exploited and the rulings that have followed have, in fact, benefited some criminals, absolutely," Fantino said.

"The Supreme Court of Canada and other court rulings are trying to change some of the misinterpretations that have been given as to the reason, the purpose, and the mechanisms of the Charter."

Uh huh ... in other words, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms makes it a little more difficult for Fantino to be judge, jury and executioner. How delightful.

When challenged on his statements, Fantino dismissed the criticisms as "hug a thug" thinking. No, Mr. Fantino, it is not "hug a thug" - it's called an equal, just society - and as much as it may frustrate you that you can beat the tar out of whomever you choose, that's too bad. Canada's charter forms the foundation for a lot of our law, and it's pretty damned clear that we all have rights that have to be respected by both other citizens and the government.

Meanwhile, except for 5 Conservative MPs, the entire CPoC caucus has voted against bill C-389 which would recognize the legitimacy of transsexual and transgender people in Canada., this party has people like Fantino in it who complain because the law means that everybody has rights that have to be observed, is busy negotiating a secret agreement with the United States to hand over still more information about Canadians to a foreign power, and when given the opportunity to address a legitimate rights issue, votes against it.

This hardly speaks of a government which has any idea what civil rights and liberties really mean, does it?

So, while Harper sings to his supporters, we might just want to consider

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