The current terrain of Canadian spying legislation is complex. Bill C-30 is dead, and that is cause to celebrate. But it's also important to remain vigilant. Serious questions remain over bill C-55 and its so-called "emergency" situations, as well as how long authorities can continue to monitor communications after getting approval for intercept. At the same time, bill C-55 represents an opportunity to limit warrantless wiretaps to emergency situations only. Such a stipulation would prevent future attempts at mass surveillance along the lines of bill C-30.
Trudeau's Protection of Privacy Act made it illegal for people to use wiretaps and other forms of electronic devices without a person's consent. The law has since evolved, but its spirit still resonates with Canadians. That explains the widespread wince last winter, following Vic Toews' tabling of an "online snooping bill" that put an electronic prisoner's bracelet on every Canadian. And members of the LGBT community were left disturbed and frightened when a GLBT-themed message from the minister's office landed in their email inbox in September. The Harper government's Orwellian strategies constitute an affront on the Canadian way of life and the freedoms we all cherish.