The rushed passage of Bill C-51 through Parliament, the furthest-reaching national security reforms in Canada since 2001, continues. It is soon to be passed by the House of Commons and then head off to the Senate. And all signs are that the government intends to push it through the Senate as quickly as possible, with an eye to the Bill becoming law before the summer Parliamentary break. At its heart Bill C-51 grounds itself in the flawed notion that human rights have to give way when national security is on the line.
Looking at Bill C-51, Ecojustice's primary concerns revolve around the proposed information-sharing regime and its implications for First Nations and environmentalists engaged in non-violent protests against fracking, pipelines, or other projects that pose serious risks to the environment and human health. Bill C-51 should be amended to exempt all forms of "advocacy, protest, dissent or artistic expression" so long as they do not endanger life. A peaceful Aboriginal blockade or environmental protest is not a national security threat.
The province's new ID card, known as the BC Services Card, began rolling out earlier this year. At present, it combines both drivers licence and provincial health care card. Given the hundreds of millions of dollars the government has spent on other high-profile IT projects that failed miserably -- including BCeSIS, Integrated Case Management -- the provincial government has real reason to be concerned about what citizens think of their latest project.
Harper was invited to the White House today for a bilateral meeting this week to let the public know what officials have known for months -- the extent and scope of efficient border management. It shouldn't have taken so long to make this announcement of what will be, after all, a to-do list and not a litany of accomplishments.
In a world that is so readily connected to so much information, it seems totally counterintuitive that useful, timely, relevant information is a rarity. We're all tracking, seeking and consuming more information all the time. The problem is there's so much to sort and filter through to find the good stuff.