It's pretty clear that in the public discourse around C-51, there are serious fears on each side. One side is afraid of terrorism infiltrating Canada; the other is afraid of abuse of power through government surveillance. How are we to get back to a real public dialogue, instead of talking past one another?
A scientist, or any knowledgeable person, will tell you climate change is a serious threat for Canada and the world. But the RCMP has a different take. A secret report by the national police force, obtained by Greenpeace, both minimizes the threat of global warming and conjures a spectre of threats posed by people who rightly call for sanity in dealing with problems caused by burning fossil fuels.
Conveniently, the fear appeals being made by ISIS, Al Shabab, and the other myriad terror groups we tend to lump together are quite literally textbook examples of fear appeals. What's more, the terrorists and our own government actually work together for a good part of the process, increasing the fear we feel for their own insidious ends.
I think our inter-faith leaders -- every priest, rabbi, pundit, imam and granthi -- would do this country a great service if they enforce a message of peace and harmony against and speak to their captive audience against the symptoms of sadistic behaviour -- manipulation, the thrill of violence, power, and control that comes from inflicting pain on other.
No matter how you slice it, Harper has failed to lead Canada towards a sustained economic recovery from the financial crisis seven years ago. It doesn't matter how much public money he spends on ads claiming otherwise. Facts are facts. So, what does a government facing re-election do when its top agenda item, economic management, is in tatters? It changes the channel to something else.
Convicting and incarcerating those who return to Canada from fighting with extremist groups overseas alone is not enough. Radicalization spreads, particularly in prison, where many individuals feel wronged by the system and society more generally. Once those prisoners return to civilian life they take with them their twisted and radicalized beliefs and spread them in the communities where they live. Many of Canada's allies have their own de-radicalization programs in place for those who return home after joining terrorist organizations abroad.
Last week King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died at the age of 90. From the time he received the throne in 1995 until the day he died, Abdullah watched, mostly in silence, as the world became mired in religious extremism and as blame for the chaos fell squarely upon the shoulders of ordinary Muslims. Abdullah knew and implicitly sealed the export of hateful Wahabism from Saudi Arabia's borders to all corners of the earth, ignoring centuries of tradition from its Islamic anti-thesis, Sufism.
Now a few days after the horrific attack in Paris, hashtag #JeSuisCharlie floats about the Internet as a neoliberal nod of solidarity to those who were killed in yesterday's attack. While I see its good intentions, in the big picture this hashtag serves as a demonstration of alliance with that coveted icon of western identity: freedom of speech. But make no mistake, the reasons the perpetrators carried out this attack were more complex than simply freedom of speech. For what is pitifully lacking in most every media representation of the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo is the historical background of what this attack was about.
Slowly, but surely, I see my ancestral city die a slow death at the hands of religious fanatics. From Boko Haram in Nigeria, who kidnapped 276 young girls from a school in April 2014, to the TTP, who has repeatedly attacked schoolchildren in Pakistan, the Islamic fundamentalists are systematically attacking schools and students. Their goal is to deprive the future generation of Muslims of education and return them back to the dark ages. It is time for the West to right the wrongs and help save Peshawar from the apocalyptic mercenaries.