Canada introduces new "anti-terrorism" powers
January 31, 2015 10:39 AM   Subscribe

Canada's government on Friday introduced its new anti-terror legislation, a sweeping range of measures that would allow suspects to be detained based on less evidence and let CSIS actively interfere with suspects' travel plans and finances.

The new measures would let law enforcement agencies arrest somebody if they think a terrorist act "may be carried out," instead of the current standard of "will be carried out." It would also increase the period of preventive detention from three days to seven.

Another measure would provide for a terrorism peace bond that would detain someone if the police believe that person "may commit" a terrorism offence. The current provision allows for a peace bond on someone the police think "will commit" a terrorism offence.

Read the full text of Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015
posted by standardasparagus (108 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Craig Forcese and Kent Roach are not happy. The former is one of Canada's experts on national defence and terror laws. The latter is quite possibly our foremost expert on criminal law and was on the Maher Arar inquiry.

The privacy commissioner of Canada is "concerned" about the privacy implications of letting government agencies share data on their own initiative without meaningful oversight.

The BCCLA, the most prominent civil liberties org in the country who were already in the process of suing the government for unconstitutional surveillance, is not happy.
posted by Lemurrhea at 10:47 AM on January 31, 2015 [14 favorites]


I understand this in the U.S., where the state has an entrenched economic interest in keeping the drug war going and needs cover for whittling away personal rights as much as possible in that regard. Why would Canada be doing this, though?
posted by Navelgazer at 11:03 AM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Stephen Harper is the worst thing to happen to Canada since the Halifax Explosion.
posted by anemone of the state at 11:04 AM on January 31, 2015 [80 favorites]


I understand this in the U.S., where the state has an entrenched economic interest in keeping the drug war going and needs cover for whittling away personal rights as much as possible in that regard. Why would Canada be doing this, though?

The drug war, like the War on Terror, is not an end, but a means toward the real end which is a total consolidation of power and the destruction of democracy in all but name. They will work towards this end under whatever pretext is necessary.
posted by anemone of the state at 11:06 AM on January 31, 2015 [19 favorites]


Stephen Harper is the worst thing to happen to Canada since the Halifax Explosion.

And at least the latter was over quickly. The former is going to drag this out for a long time.

If you don't feel like reading the CBC's crappy scan of the bill it's publicly available here.

Here's the summary section if you want a tl;dr.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:09 AM on January 31, 2015


a sweeping range of measures that would allow suspects to be detained based on less evidence

lol passive voice. I'm picturing a very polite Canadian suspect, begging with the Mounties to be detained so that they can make extra-sure that he's not up to no good. "Sorry there, buddy, but the law says that you aren't allowed to be detained on this little evidence."
posted by indubitable at 11:20 AM on January 31, 2015 [6 favorites]


Why would Canada be doing this, though?

The unfortunate effect of a gunman getting into Parliament is that MPs are now a lot more on edge about terrorism than their constituents, and are pretty likely to sign anything with "terrorism" in the title. *cue conspiracy theory*

Personally, I might've installed a guarded fence around the building before infringing on citizens' rights, but I'm weird like that.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:20 AM on January 31, 2015 [17 favorites]


Fuck Harper. Please, PM Trudeau, come soon.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:22 AM on January 31, 2015 [9 favorites]


.
posted by lalochezia at 11:27 AM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh Canada...
posted by oceanjesse at 11:28 AM on January 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


The big test for me is raised in Lemurrhea's links: would this change have offered better protections to an innocent like Maher Arar, whose life was destroyed be false accusations, torture and long imprisonment.

The answer seems to be a resounding no.
posted by bonehead at 11:31 AM on January 31, 2015 [12 favorites]


Stephen Harper is the worst thing to happen to Canada since the Halifax Explosion.

Quoted for MF truth.

Fuck Harper. Please, PM Trudeau, come soon.

Please, anyfuckingbody PM. Damn Harper for wrecking everything about this country that I hold dear.
posted by jokeefe at 11:36 AM on January 31, 2015 [9 favorites]


I understand this in the U.S., where the state has an entrenched economic interest in keeping the drug war going and needs cover for whittling away personal rights as much as possible in that regard. Why would Canada be doing this, though?

Harper's government has been cultivating its own nasty kind of nationalism since day one. Fawning over the monarchy, hogging the North Pole, transparently excited about a new Cold War, obsessed with hockey*, and of course trigger-happy with the military. It has worked splendidly.

I don't think it's economic for Harper. I think it's about his political vision. A frightened, proud Canada is a Canada that votes for Tories.

* almost enough to make this Leafs fan want to walk away forever, and if you've been following this season, you know that's saying something
posted by saturday_morning at 11:36 AM on January 31, 2015 [9 favorites]


Gee I wish I'd saved all the links I've been reading in the past couple of days. And bonehead, I would say "precisely the opposite: it makes legal what was done to Arar."

"Fun" things about the bill, thanks MeFi for making me read it fully!:

1. In the info-sharing part, the definition of "activity that undermines the security of Canada" is crazy broad. Such as "interference with the global information infrastructure". Therefore any hacking is a national defence issue rather than a criminal matter, and all the powers of CSIS can be brought to bear. Technically anything not exempt that undermines the security of people in Canada could be captured, I think. (s.2 of that act)

2. There's no lawsuits allowed against (good-faith) disclosures. Presumably to cut off future Maher Arars after they end up tortured or detained due to info-sharing. (s.9)

3. Providing support to terrorist orgs (which are defined by the government, and can include things like donating medical equipment to elected governments) means that you can be barred from air travel. And your name can be disclosed to a foreign government with a written agreement. (secure air travel act, s. 12)

4. Regarding #3; there is, at least, a review and appeal process. HOWEVER, the government can provide secret evidence to the judge (the accused not their lawyer don't get to see it) and the judge can rely on evidence that wouldn't be admissible in court (hearsay, evidence obtained under torture, etc etc) (s.16(6))

5. Advocating or promoting terrorism in general and being reckless about whether it'll be carried out has a 5-year sentence. I'm pretty sure "blow up the goddamn pipeline" would be reckless, because it's being said without thought about what could happen (since it's venting anger and not a real exhortation). (Part 3 / Criminal Code, s. 16). This will likely be found an unconstitutional violation of freedom of speech (since advocating specific actions is already illegal, that's likely the balance), but that's a lot of time and effort.

6. Related to #5, a warrant can be issued to seize, and identify the authour of, any "terrorist propaganda" (advocating generalized terrorism as above) online hosted in Canada. They can either let it go or appear in court to defend it, thereby admitting they are the creator.

6. The bar for preventative detention has gone down, as sort of noted in the FPP. It used to be 'reasonable grounds that a person will commit a terrorist act', now it's 'reasonable grounds they may'. Honestly it was never that strong, so meh? I dunno. (s. 17.1, p 29 of the bill) But also that the arrest/peace bond is "likely" to prevent the terrorism, rather than "necessary". That's stronger.

7. On the peace bond hearings, the judge can make the arrested person give over their passport and/or remain in a certain geographic area. All that requires is the judge thinks it's "desirable", which is very low. Technically that'd be true for anyone, because it necessarily makes it harder for a person to do terrorism. Blah.

8. CSIS can apply for a warrant to go anywhere (your apartment, workplace, safety deposit box), search / copy anything, install anything (keylogger, mics, etc), inside or outside of Canada. (part 4, page 50) This is not that different than their power beforehand, but now it's to "disrupt" threats rather than investigate them. Gag orders for people forced to help them are allowed

9. Useful new oversight provisions: " "
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:37 AM on January 31, 2015 [43 favorites]


Fuck Harper. Please, PM Trudeau, come soon.

The Liberals supported this bill before having a chance to read it.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:38 AM on January 31, 2015 [10 favorites]


In the info-sharing part, the definition of "activity that undermines the security of Canada" is crazy broad.

On the plus side, this does cover what Harper and his ilk are doing. Petard self-hoisting of which one can dream.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:42 AM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Trudeau give me the heeby jeebys. Mostly I just want to see a minority anybody government.
posted by calmsea at 11:45 AM on January 31, 2015


I am not really that fond of Trudeau or Mulcair but I imagine they cannot be any worse than Harper. Of course, whether they can change back everything -- there's already lots of data that is just gone.
posted by jeather at 11:46 AM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Liberals supported this bill before having a chance to read it.

Oh, fuck.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:50 AM on January 31, 2015 [9 favorites]


" Mostly I just want to see a minority anybody government"

Be careful what you wish for. We've had minority Harper before and the Liberals barely slowed his agenda.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:54 AM on January 31, 2015


Personally, I might've installed a guarded fence around the building before infringing on citizens' rights, but I'm weird like that.

And it's telling that there were a series of recommendations around Parliament Hill security made by the Auditor General back in 2012.

But Harper's need for security theatre trumps real, practical steps that could have been taken ages ago, as the AG recommended.

I mean, the ONLY reason Michael Zehauf-Bibeau made it into the Centre Block of Parliament was that the, uh, front door was unlocked. Oops, eh?

Harper's government has been cultivating its own nasty kind of nationalism since day one. Fawning over the monarchy, hogging the North Pole, transparently excited about a new Cold War, obsessed with hockey*, and of course trigger-happy with the military. It has worked splendidly.

Absolutely goddamned right.

The attack on Parliament Hill was a propaganda victory for Harper in ways that are absolutely chilling. The thing is, that attack was minor compared to some previous incidents in Canadian legislatures.

After the much bloodier attack on the Quebec National Assembly in 1984, the federal government's response wasn't to go after civil liberties, now was it?

What got me thinking about this was the way the Harper government has used Kevin Vickers as one prop among many in this drama.

In contrast to the chest-thumping rhetoric of Harper and his ilk, I give you the figure of Rene Jalbert. Video of what he did here (in French) to talk Denis Lortie down, with an English dubbed version here (both clips open with loud gunfire).

But history and context, when they don't fit into your narrative of shadowy threats and militarism, don't help with frightening and cowing the population, now do they?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:07 PM on January 31, 2015 [12 favorites]


Good news, Citizens! We know you're not paying attention on Friday afternoons (or any other day of the week), but your Conservative government has made you a special weekend surprise anyway. You know those confusing civil rights you're always complaining about? "What are my rights, is this legal, yada yada yada." Well, they've been streamlined! It's all nice and simple now.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:15 PM on January 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


As I get older, I see less and less advantage or need to be Canadian. There is much better weather to be had, and all the niceties that made up for our shitty winters are quickly being destroyed. I might as well live in Corfu, Mexico, or Perth.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:21 PM on January 31, 2015 [4 favorites]


"You won't recognize Canada when I'm through with it."

- Stephen Harper, sometime in 2006.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:24 PM on January 31, 2015 [10 favorites]


And another government retreats into fear, but hey, what a great misdirection: a bad economy, people losing jobs, businesses closing, a sinking dollar, and a broke-down system, but let's ignore that reality and get the populace to tremble in their boots over the monsters hiding under our beds...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 12:27 PM on January 31, 2015


I really love being Canadian. I really hate Stephen Harper.
posted by Fizz at 12:28 PM on January 31, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well yes, because otherwise we might go "Hey, what assclowns caused these here problems?" and they wouldn't like the results of that.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:29 PM on January 31, 2015


Only time will really tell whether these are "anti-terrorism powers" or "pro-fascism powers" but in the meantime where is the often proselytized, less-often practiced journalism ethic of neutrality on this? Can we at least call them something like "expanded police powers"?

Describing them as "anti-terrorism powers" is conceding virtually the whole argument to a side which has made no showing (in fact, has not really made even an effort of showing) that these new abilities will have any substantial effect in reducing the threat from terrorism (which surely, in Canada, must be among the lowest in the world already.)
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:36 PM on January 31, 2015 [6 favorites]


Can we at least call them something like "expanded police powers"?

As a matter of fact we cannot. These are not, generally, police powers. The only real aspect that deals with the police is in regards to the preventative arrests and how strong the belief of the police has to be. Which I dunno, feels pretty minor on my brief reading.

Any of the expanded CSIS powers are explicitly written as not police powers, because it gives CSIS powers to "disrupt terrorism" but not to do police-like things such as arrest people. All of the info-sharing provisions are about the modern administrative/regulatory state - motor vehicle registration people, department of fisheries, immigration canada, department of transportation - not the police.

I understand your point that calling them anti-terror powers tacitly accepts that they're useful again terror, but similarly "police powers" imply policing. Not sure what a better word would be. Anti-Charter would work but is pretty non-neutral.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:48 PM on January 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


The headline in my local paper was "Legislation Targets 'Violent Jihadism'" which conceded the frame completely to the government. Any article I've seen so far treats this as an anti-terrorism measure, and leaves any analysis to the reader. At least the CBC article in the FPP makes an attempt to describe the new provisions and includes a link to the actual bill. That's like 400% more effort than other media outlets have made.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:48 PM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Describing them as "anti-terrorism powers" is conceding virtually the whole argument to a side which has made no showing (in fact, has not really made even an effort of showing)...

Yeah, not in the slightest.

The act makes abundant reference to "terrorism." But nowhere in the definitions section does it define just what that actually is.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:49 PM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


At least the CBC article in the FPP makes an attempt to describe the new provisions and includes a link to the actual bill. That's like 400% more effort than other media outlets have made.

And that's why Harper has decreed the incremental disembowelment of the CBC as a public broadcaster.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:53 PM on January 31, 2015 [8 favorites]


Fuck Stephen Harper, seriously fuck him. You know what's the worst thing about him? He seems nigh-on unstoppable. He does horrible horrible things that, yes, I agree with jokeefe, are wrecking everything about this country that I hold dear. And yet there is no consequence for him. He is like a steamroller, calmly flattening everything in its path.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:38 PM on January 31, 2015 [5 favorites]


After the next election if things don't change it am not sure I want to stay... I never thought I would say that EVER. But really where is better?
posted by mrgroweler at 1:49 PM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


The act makes abundant reference to "terrorism." But nowhere in the definitions section does it define just what that actually is.

Terrorism is defined pretty exhaustively in the criminal code (section 83.01). Doesn't make sense for the new bill to repeat it.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:49 PM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Terrorism is defined pretty exhaustively in the criminal code (section 83.01). Doesn't make sense for the new bill to repeat it.

Ah. Merci.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:52 PM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


But really where is better?

New Zealand seems to be the last bastion of sanity outside of Scandinavia.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:52 PM on January 31, 2015 [4 favorites]


New Zealand seems to be the last bastion of sanity outside of Scandinavia.

I take it you're not an internet piracy magnate?
posted by Sys Rq at 1:56 PM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Turns out canceling the long form census has had exactly the desired result. Harper is systematically working towards a Canada that can be more easily controlled and coerced through misinformation and paranoia. These guys know exactly what they are doing and it has nothing to do with "good government".
posted by Poldo at 1:59 PM on January 31, 2015 [20 favorites]


This is also not just a Canadian issue because so many countries both fly through Canadian airspace on their way to the United States and/or consider Gander their emergency landing field. You can find yourself in Canada without necessarily choosing to.
posted by srboisvert at 2:06 PM on January 31, 2015


These guys know exactly what they are doing and it has nothing to do with "good government"

This is such an excellent point. As the party that bills itself as the "pro-business" party, businesses have actually taken a very dim view of this move:

In the private sector, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, whose network represents 200,000 businesses across the country, is publicly calling on the federal government to restore the mandatory long-form census.

It fucked up the ability of both the public and private sector to carry out planning based on demographic trends observable through uniform data.

As you say, it has everything to do with political power, and nothing to do even with the party's core ideology.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:07 PM on January 31, 2015 [7 favorites]


I kind of feel like Canada died the day Harper got his majority.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:07 PM on January 31, 2015 [7 favorites]


You Canadians really need to hold your country together so that I have a place to go when the US goes completely off the rails.
posted by double block and bleed at 2:19 PM on January 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


I had to put this book down because it was depressing the hell out of me, but I feel like I need to get back to it.

Sigh.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:19 PM on January 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, here's some light reading to cheer you up. On the other hand, I don't think The Longer I'm Prime Minister is depressing enough.
posted by sneebler at 2:28 PM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


I kind of feel like Canada died the day Harper got his majority.


Yes, the idea of Canada took a big, big hit that day.

My parents are the perfect example of the Harper Conundrum, they are intelligent and considered, well read but very small town, for equal rights but conservative, and will vote for Harper regardless of ANYTHING he does until the day they die. They refuse to defend this position, any attempts to engage them on Harper issues result in nothing more than an "mmm-hmm".

After years of pondering I know the answer, they vote for Harper because he is not the alternative, to them he is not rich, not urban, not educated, not corrupted, not slick, not sneaky, not out of touch with the common man... you know, like all the other leaders in all the other parties.
posted by Cosine at 2:45 PM on January 31, 2015


If I had a dollar for every comment I've seen on social media to the effect of "I'm Canadian, so I don't have to worry about surveillance," I could afford a much better apartment. Which CSIS would probably bug anyway.

Relevant:

Lux et Umbra

CJFE: Resources for Canadians
posted by quiet earth at 2:50 PM on January 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


> I could afford a much better apartment. Which CSIS would probably bug anyway.

Now don't be silly, that's a way too labour-intensive way to surveill the entire citizenry.
posted by anthill at 3:45 PM on January 31, 2015


Ah, but I've been approached by CSIS, so I could see it happening to me. The rest of you probably don't have to worry. They're only watching everything you do on the Internet. Happy browsing.
posted by quiet earth at 3:53 PM on January 31, 2015


New Zealand seems to be the last bastion of sanity outside of Scandinavia.

My suggestion? Better start learning Norwegian, or maybe Finnish.
posted by MikeKD at 4:01 PM on January 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


This bill is essentially Harper's election platform. He has made such a spectacular mess of things with his vision of Canada as an energy super power and 'his firm hand on the tiller of the economy' that he needs something else to run on. So, to rally the base and frighten uninformed Canadians into voting for him to keep us safe we have the spectacle of perhaps the most absurd fear mongering in modern Canadian history by a sitting PM. It's a good thing for the Cons that our media is so compliant and spineless that Harper might actually get away with it. Beyond despicable.

And, this a a first hand account of the launching of the bill in the usual Harperite fashion.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 4:42 PM on January 31, 2015 [8 favorites]


to them he is not rich, not urban, not educated, not corrupted, not slick, not sneaky, not out of touch with the common man...

...not Stephen Harper?
posted by Sys Rq at 5:13 PM on January 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


I now count myself a low-information voter, because I reached a point where I had to turn away from the violence this fucking book-burner has done to every institution keeping us civil. I was born during Trudeau senior's tenure, and seeing the Canada I knew torn to shreds is like a bad dream, I can't even believe it. So I admit it, I haven't been keeping track, because it fucking hurts.

But ok. It's time to wake up. I know some of us tried to vote strategically in the last election, but we have GOT to get our shit together for this next one. A minority government is what we can probably do. Let's do it. Riding by riding. We have to start now.
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:35 PM on January 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


to them he is not rich, not urban, not educated, not corrupted, not slick, not sneaky, not out of touch with the common man...

...not Stephen Harper?


Yeah, the level of cognitive dissonance among Harper's base is pretty goddamn high. Also consider that he played on resentment towards "Toronto" and the central Canadian "elites" as an Alberta MP. Despite being FROM THERE.

It's sort of analogous to George W. Bush positioning himself as some kind of Texan everyman despite being being the scion of a New England blue blood family.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:54 PM on January 31, 2015 [9 favorites]


the violence this fucking book-burner has done to every institution keeping us civil.

Previously, in case anyone missed it.
posted by homunculus at 5:55 PM on January 31, 2015


On the other hand, I don't think The Longer I'm Prime Minister is depressing enough.

Now that you point that out, I think that's why I was finding it so depressing.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:57 PM on January 31, 2015


Meanwhile, across the pond: British securocrats try to sneak in Snooper’s Charter yet again
posted by homunculus at 6:05 PM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Which CSIS would probably bug anyway.

But in the process of so doing, they would leave the box the bug came in on your counter by accident.

One of the truly frightening things about CSIS is the Simpsons-esque levels of incompetence they strive to maintain as though it was their mandate. I mean, it's like they were doing a piss take on the Simpsons episode where Burns and Smithers go through several secret ultra-secure doors to get to a control centre, only to find an open screen door when they get there.

They've even gone so far as to admit "we don't really know what the fuck we're doing, but hey, we're collecting your data anyway."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:11 PM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


And I realize that the padlock thing was at CSEC headquarters, not CSIS, but let's just agree that Canada's intelligence apparatus is a gong show whose oversight has been pared back by Harper:

In her final report as inspector general of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Eva Plunkett says CSIS’s reputation and effectiveness may suffer if the problems aren’t addressed.

The “re-occurring and high rate of non-compliance with policy, and the ever increasing rate of errors in reporting identified in what is a relatively small review sample of CSIS activities is a concern to me and should be a serious concern of the Service,” Plunkett says in the annual report card.

“Errors in intelligence reporting, as I have repeatedly stated over my tenure, are a serious matter and have the potential for far-reaching consequences.”

The Canadian Press obtained a declassified version of Plunkett’s top secret November 2011 evaluation Friday under the Access to Information Act.

Plunkett retired last December and the Conservative government recently abolished her office, saying it would save money and eliminate duplication.

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:20 PM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Surely this, eh?
posted by klanawa at 6:50 PM on January 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


Phlegmco(tm): "He has made such a spectacular mess of things with his vision of Canada as an energy super power and 'his firm hand on the tiller of the economy' that he needs something else to run on. "

A 65 cent dollar and high unemployment in Alberta may have interesting effects on the next federal election.
posted by Mitheral at 6:57 PM on January 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


I mean, the ONLY reason Michael Zehauf-Bibeau made it into the Centre Block of Parliament was that the, uh, front door was unlocked. Oops, eh?

Why is that an "oops"? It's always been open. Still is at the time of day he got in, AFAIK. Obviously they could have done with better security at the front door, but it's supposed to be open to the public
posted by Hoopo at 9:13 PM on January 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


A reminder that there will likely be a federal election this year. If you hate Harper, get off your internets and work for a damn candidate.
posted by dry white toast at 9:51 PM on January 31, 2015 [9 favorites]


The global security apparatus has to be in place before the neoliberal oligarchs can finally liquidate the first world

Or I might be a paranoid crank but I can't tell anymore
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:52 AM on February 1, 2015 [2 favorites]




A reminder that there will likely be a federal election this year. If you hate Harper, get off your internets and work for a damn candidate.
posted by dry white toast at 12:51 AM on February 1 [4 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Also, a reminder to citizens of Canada who are displeased with the policies that are being set forth. You have the right and privalage to contact your Prime Minister and express your opinion:
The Prime Minister greatly values the thoughts and suggestions of Canadians. You may write or fax his office at:

Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Fax: 613-941-6900

You may also use this form.
Also, don't forget your local MP.
posted by Fizz at 6:11 AM on February 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm a Permanent Resident of Canada and I love/believe in this country (much more than I do than my native country) enough to want to help facilitate change. And my local MP's office is just down the street from me. So Ted Hsu, I'll be paying you a visit!
posted by Kitteh at 6:16 AM on February 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


Why is that an "oops"? It's always been open. Still is at the time of day he got in, AFAIK. Obviously they could have done with better security at the front door, but it's supposed to be open to the public.

Don't disagree. I was just gaming out what would have happened if he had gotten to the doors and they didn't open, or if entry was just a little more tricky.

In the security video footage of the events, it's clear that if he been held up in his forward progress somehow (a coordinated response whereby those doors would have been locked PDQ, say), the whole thing would have ended one way or another on the steps versus inside, where he would end up mere metres from elected officials.

As the Auditor General pointed out in the report I linked to upthread, inside those doors it was over to another two security services altogether - the RCMP being responsible for what's going on outside. That may have slowed the response.

Those recommendations gathered dust for a couple of years until the aformentioned events prompted some action on that front.

All of which is to say: preventive detention and expansion of the surveillance state won't do anything to make anyone safer. The smaller, undramatic steps that might "improve security" but leave certain civil liberties intact don't fit into that narrative.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:25 AM on February 1, 2015


A reminder that there will likely be a federal election this year. If you hate Harper, get off your internets and work for a damn candidate.

Truth.

I mean for fuck's sake people, we get the government we deserve.

Figure 1: Official Turnout Rate in Canadian Federal General Elections, 1945 to 2011.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:29 AM on February 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Nothing good ever comes of a country's spy agency turning its eye toward its citizens. Canada, meet your Stasi.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:52 AM on February 1, 2015


Nothing good ever comes of a country's spy agency turning its eye toward its citizens. Canada, meet your Stasi.

It's actually been turned that way for some time. This makes granting them greater powers and less oversight all the more worrisome.

But the Stasi analogy suggests they're at least competent in their nefariousness.

CSIS was created after its predecessor organization shit the bed.

Then, after the sheets were changed, CSIS carried on that proud tradition (Canada's Security Agency Accused of Spying on Canadians, NYT from 1994).

The Security Intelligence Review Committee, the body that ostensibly oversees CSIS, has been run by political appointees and an accused fraudster who is currently being held in Panama, awaiting extradition to Canada.

And we still don't know what the hell happened when SIRC was supposed to be investigating how CSIS handled the Air India bombing (an act of real honest-to-goodness terrorism that killed 329 people, mostly Canadian citizens).

In the final result, by granting these new statutory powers, Harper might as well be handing out power tools at a children's birthday party.

Nothing will get fixed, and lots of people will get hurt.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:17 AM on February 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


to them he is not rich, not urban, not educated, not corrupted, not slick, not sneaky, not out of touch with the common man...

This reminds me of the Stringband classic (and ironic) tribute song, Dief is the Chief in which Dief has a bunch of prestigious titles, is even a personal acquaintance of the queen ... And yes "he's always been a friend of the working man", and was raised in the prairie grain.

He is, of course, contrasted with the man in Ottawa with "cold water in his veins" (Trudeau)... Some propaganda tropes never change.
posted by chapps at 9:53 AM on February 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, it was mentioned above the Liberals have supported this bill. Is there a good article on this someone already has? I'd like to read more on that.
The Liberals have this petition which seems weaker than I'd like but not exactly supportive.
posted by chapps at 10:08 AM on February 1, 2015


OK so scratch that, the petition is from last year.
posted by chapps at 10:54 AM on February 1, 2015


It would seem that neither opposition party has really taken a stand one way or another, and since it's only at first reading, we don't yet have a recorded vote on it.

Both the NDP and Liberal critics on the portfolio seems to have given pretty milquetoast responses so far.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:49 PM on February 1, 2015




Well, yeah. It's pretty obvious that this is all directed to citizens, not foreigners. This is all about the very tough times ahead for those of us who thought we were middle class. Shit is coming down the pike and TPTB ain't taking chances.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:30 PM on February 1, 2015 [3 favorites]






Great news, everyone!

Maybe he's the first rat to desert the sinking ship?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:37 PM on February 2, 2015


To take up the post of fabulous affairs, amirite?

But, even today in question period, the opposition didn't go after the Tories that hard. In fact, they're still hemming and hawing over the whole thing.

I mean, partisan politics aside, could you not pick a clearer winner for a barnburner of a question period speech here? To wit:

"The same government that claimed the long-form census is a violation of your privacy is reviewing everything you download. Now they want even more power.

Also, John Baird is gay."

*mic drop*
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:07 PM on February 2, 2015


Well it's either a rat deserting a sinking ship or someone was going to say something very publicly about Baird's orientation in a way that the base wouldn't like.

And actually, given Harper, I suspect the latter.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:26 PM on February 2, 2015


Given that Baird's star was a rising one, it's certainly curious. Foreign affairs isn't a dead-end portfolio, and Baird's not old.

The thing is, Harper's base, broadly speaking, couldn't give two shits if that foreign affairs fella there is a little light in the loafers. He's not obvious! He keeps it to himself!

Sure, they'll crack jokes, but whatevs.

Something's up.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:44 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


He's making some form of statement at 10am tomorrow in the HoC. We'll find out soon!
posted by Lemurrhea at 8:17 PM on February 2, 2015


Oh and the chatter on twitter (various cbc/globe reporters, a few others) is that this caught the PMO by surprise, they had an unplanned all-hands meeting this evening to deal with it. So yeah!
posted by Lemurrhea at 8:19 PM on February 2, 2015


I know a male unnamed-ministry staffer who had an innapropriate run-in with the honourable minister he had to flee. He's still a little traumatized.

So if I had to put some money down on what it is...but that would be mere speculation on my part.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:38 PM on February 2, 2015


Craig Forcese, who Lemurrhea linked to in his first comment, has published some more analysis of C-51. BTW, Lemurrhea, thanks for mentioning this guy. Interesting stuff.

Tangentially, Baird's speech this morning didn't really shed any light on why he's leaving.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:20 AM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised that anyone would expect a member of the Harper government to say anything that isn't boilerplate talking points in public.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:54 AM on February 3, 2015


I'm surprised that anyone would expect a member of the Harper government to say anything that isn't boilerplate talking points in public.

I was just hoping for some glaring omission that would hint at the intrigue swirling beneath the surface.

As objectionable as Baird was, the cast of characters from whom his successor will be chosen just makes me want to vomit in terror.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:08 AM on February 3, 2015


Baird's orientation has been a very open secret for decades (as well as that of a number of his colleagues). I would be surprised if that was part of what's happening at all. I don't think officially outing him would cause any significant embarrassment at all. If his Ottawa constituents don't know already, I doubt it would shock too much, and I very much doubt any media outlets or political candidates would want to make hay with it. His private life is a non-issue. And kinda gross to bring up, I have to say.

I think Baird has simply read the tea leaves and thinks this is a good time to leave. He doesn't want to be leader, and the time of the Conservative Party in power is coming to an end. I doubt he wants to sit in opposition again.

I think this has much, much more to do with Kevin Rudd (ex-PM Australia) reportedly dangling a plum UN job in front of him last week. Leading the WHO was mentioned. There is probably no cushier retirement for an old hack than that.

Baird has no other skills. He has always been a politician. I think he's just looking for an exit.
posted by bonehead at 9:30 AM on February 3, 2015


And kinda gross to bring up, I have to say.

I absolutely agree that a politician's private life is their own business. Except when they are pretending one thing and doing another, or hiding something for votes. There's a big overlap between the PC base and homophobes; he wants to have his cake in the Village and eat it too.

I think Baird has simply read the tea leaves and thinks this is a good time to leave.

Maybe, but the timing is incredibly sudden. The WHO job may well have been an influence--but only if it's in the bag. This would be a very strange departure otherwise.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:44 AM on February 3, 2015


His private life is a non-issue. And kinda gross to bring up, I have to say.

Given that he is (was) part of the inner circle in a party that has used anti-gay bigotry to win votes, it's absolutely fair game. That said, you're right, it's an open secret and by no means a revelation.

He doesn't want to be leader

True enough. Jason Kenney, though...you can smell the leadership aspirations on him. *shudder*


A diplomatic sinecure would probably suit Baird - and better to go out on a high note/
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:49 AM on February 3, 2015


Jason Kenney, though...you can smell the leadership aspirations on him.

I thought that was flop-sweat induced by the continuing refusal of brown people to vanish into thin air.

Or with PCs is that the same thing?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:57 AM on February 3, 2015


I thought that was flop-sweat induced by the continuing refusal of brown people to vanish into thin air.

No, he likes them if they hate teh gay.

I think it's just the sweating of his very soul.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:05 AM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


The unspoken hypocrisy demonstrated in that link there is very strong. I'm surprised Brison was so restrained.
posted by bonehead at 10:37 AM on February 3, 2015


So for those interested, Forcese and Roach have posted a 25-page analysis of the "promoting terrorism" aspect of C-51 here, and seemingly will be posting analyses of different aspects later. It may be a little legalese, I'm only starting it now, but it'll be some of the best discussion around.

Spoiler: at best they find it extremely concerning. They believe this aspect of the bill will make us less safe, in addition to restricting our freedom.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:08 PM on February 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


In a surprise to exactly no one, Michael Geist is against it, but it's still worth reading his commentary.
posted by Lemurrhea at 8:19 AM on February 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Liberals officially come out in support, despite their concerns. If elected they would bring in oversight into the bill. No comment on other provisions. The NDP have yet to say.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:18 AM on February 4, 2015


Bob Rae had a column in the G&M yesterday previewing the party line: powers good, lack of oversight bad.

Mulcair has said that comments will be made at the appropriate time (i.e. in Parlaiment).
posted by bonehead at 12:58 PM on February 4, 2015


But the Liberals will support the legislation even if the Conservatives don’t agree to the amendments, Trudeau said, and will instead bring “robust oversight and appropriate review if we have the honour of forming government in the next election.” An election will be held later this year.

Well then. Why don't we resurrect the War Measures Act while were at it, you daft dauphin?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:54 PM on February 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Walrus just published an analysis of the bill by Forcese and Roach.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:22 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


A group of "murderous misfits" had their plots foiled by the cops yesterday out in Halifax. Police spokesman last night & Mackay today explicitly rejects the use of the word terrorism, and yet makes the argument that it shows better surveillance laws are needed. Even though the current laws, well, worked.

(3 guesses what skin colour/religion the suspects weren't, if this isn't being called terrorism.)
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:08 AM on February 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


They don't say it in that article, but reading between the lines gives the impression that the plot was foiled when someone at O'Hare or Stanfield noticed a big bag o' guns on the x-ray scanner. Doy, murderous misfits. Doy.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:44 AM on February 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


In all fairness to Peter MacKay, he's one dumb motherfucker. It's telling that he didn't characterize Justin Bourque's rampage as terrorism either. But its unsurprising given that it was an act of terrorism inspired by an ideology that MacKay himself would seem to endorse.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:50 PM on February 14, 2015


C-51: Conservatives demand limit on anti-terror bill expert testimony.

Because the last people they want to hear from is, uh, experts.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:53 PM on February 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well that's not exactly news (the not hearing from experts I mean).
posted by Mitheral at 2:45 PM on February 25, 2015


Who needs experts when CSEC has My Little Pony to guide them?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:41 AM on February 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Craig Forcese has published a video primer on C-51 as well. It's pretty well done.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:22 AM on February 26, 2015


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