Given the parliamentary majority that the Harper government currently enjoys, official effective opposition to its typically extreme legislative proposal lies squarely in the hands of the Supreme Court. Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau's respective decisions to stand aside the bill as it makes its way in the House of Commons, preferring instead to pitch oversight-related amendments as part of their prospective federal electoral platforms, reinforces this reality.
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.
What could be some of the factors leading to this pattern emerging from the province? One factor may be the high level of support the anti-terrorism bill has in the province. According to a LEGER poll released on February 9, a whopping 74 percent of Quebecers support the bill, and a further 62 percent support the mission against ISIS in Iraq.
Anyone can be a victim of surveillance. If you've used any of over a hundred popular file-hosting websites in the past three years, chances are you've had your online activity collected and analyzed by CSEC, acting without a warrant and with no independent oversight. There is a great deal that can be done to tackle our privacy deficit.
The Harper government's newly introduced "anti-terrorism" legislature, Bill C-51, has been roundly condemned as an assault on privacy and free speech -- and rightly so. Besides hunting down would-be terrorists, the new laws could be used to stifle dissent, remove due process and lead to the creation of a secret police force, critics say. In a supposedly enlightened and democratic country such as Canada, these would be unwelcome developments to say the least. But there is a deeper cost to eroding privacy than just the spurring of undesirable changes in external entities such as courts and communications networks. Also at stake is the very freedom of Canadians to internally determine who they are and want to be.
The two terrorist attacks in October and the Charlie Hebdo incident in Paris have created a climate of fear in Canada around terrorism. In order to assuage these concerns, the government recently announced its intention to introduce further anti-terrorism legislation. But there are two ways to stop terrorism: you can create new laws and you can also provide adequate funding. While choosing the former option may create the illusion that Harper is tough on terrorism, it's in the latter area that our national security agencies are in greatest need.
Conservative MPs had an historic, unprecedented chance to throw off their chains and empower themselves and all MPs, and political party riding associations, to represent voters. Instead, they changed the Reform Act to the "Hope for Reform Act," essentially giving up the chance to limit party leaders' powers.
Mr. Moore, Mr. Harper, Mr. Blais, we have given the large carriers our trust. And they have abused it. It's now up to you -- we need you to work together to ensure that our networks are open to content producers, to innovative service providers, and most of all, to ordinary Canadian citizens. We need more than tweets, more than press releases and pamphlets. We are asking for a firm commitment to ensure that the large network operators will no longer be artificially favoured over upstart innovators and competitors, a commitment to providing Canadians with a bright and lasting digital future.