Feb 17, 2012

Electronic surveillance bill: Big Bro Toews wants your data

Canadian Public Safety Minister, Vic Toews, is pushing a draconian surveillance bill that would give police extraordinary powers to snoop on Canadians. On a different but related matter Toews wants an investigation into a Twitter account - @vikileaks30 - that has been exposing details of his marital breakdown. How does it feel Vic - having people nosing into your affairs? Not much fun eh?

The Conservatives are outraged. The Twitter account allegedly links back to an IP address in the House of Commons. The Tories are fingering the NDP as prime suspects. The NDP denies involvement.

Toews clearly doesn't like the invasion of his privacy. Who would? Yet this is the same Minister who is behind Bill C-30, a surveillance nightmare that opens the door to violations of Canadians' privacy. The CBC reports that Internet providers would be required to hand over subscriber data, name, address, mobile phone number, IP address and online ID's - without a warrant. The Bill would also compel internet providers to provide a "back door" to make communications accessible to police. Essentially a spy portal. More on C-30 provisions from CBC - here.

Toews is the same guy who tarred a Liberal MP who questioned the Bill's provisions with "he can either stand with us or with the child pornographers." To call the smear disgusting is an understatement. The sacrifice of Canadians who fought in two world wars in defence of liberty is besmirched by Toews' gutter politics on a matter so integral to Canadians rights and freedoms. The police already have the resources to wage a fight against predators. C-30 is a road too far and would grant way too much power to the authorities.

The Berlin Wall may have come down but the snoop-and-control tactics of the Stasi are alive and well in Stephen Harper's Conservative Party. It's just a question of how much we will allow them to get away with. The Tories are a punitive, vengeful bunch who punish and ridicule people who disagree with them. The former leader of the NDP, Jack Layton, was smeared as "Taliban Jack" for proposing talks with the Taliban - eminently reasonable as compared to Harper's gung-ho no-cut-and-run rhetoric in the face of a no-win mission. Another Tory target - British MP George Galloway - was denied entry into Canada to speak. He was smeared by a Tory spokesperson as "an infandous street-corner Cromwell."

By choosing his moves carefully when he was in a minority position Harper managed to seduce the soft vote that helped to put him over the top. His attempt to sell himself as good old Stevie included tickling the ivories, crooning for the cameras and taking part in a TV comedy show.

Now we're seeing the real agenda emerging. More prisons even though crime stats have shown a downward trend, a cynical effort to pass a draconian surveillance bill using child victims as cover, an attempt to reshape Canadian institutions along conservative lines - just some of the items on the agenda. Harper wants to give Canada an American-style makeover and in the course of doing that change the very essence of what it means to be Canadian.

Beneath the NDP's Charlie Angus defending freedom in Canada: