Essential Knowledge Needed to Grow a Democracy – Part 23
Presumed Innocent Until Proven Guilty
There is justice and security in being innocent until you are proven guilty in a court of law, It would be nice if our Conservative Government also understand the concept. It seems ludicrous that on the one hand the Conservatives are striking down the Gun Registry, because it treats innocent gun owners as if they are criminals, and yet they do not understand that their Bill C 30 does exactly that – it opens the door to treating the innocent internet users like criminals. In doing so they are in fact attacking the very foundation of our ancient Common Law right to being treated innocent until a jury of your peers find you guilty in court.
Ontario’s Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian was correct when she said that Bill C 30 can be used for other purposes than to catch child predators. If Trudeau was asked why he instituted the War Measures Act, at the time he did it, he would have said that the War Measures Act was to stop the Terrorist in Quebec. When the War Measures Act was implemented during the FLQ Crisis, the RCMP came to our family home and told me they were going to search the house. I asked them to show me their warrant and I was told that because of the War Measures Act being in effect, they did not need a warrant. Did they go to a judge to receive a warrant, they did not have to.
I was not affiliated with the FLQ, I was not living in Quebec. I did not even speak French; I was just an 18 year old kid that did drugs. So, did they use the War Measures Act for purposed for which it was not intended? Yes!
Our Common Law was framed because there is always someone ready and willing to use their authority to abuse our rights. First we must have laws that protect us and our rights, and then there has to be consequences for our rights being abused by law enforcers that exceed their powers. Bill C30 will be permission to officers willing to trample our rights, just the same as the War Measures Act gave the 6 officers the right to invade my family home.
According to Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian, with the law drafted as it is, it would also allow police to see what sites people view as they surf the net; allowing police to form a profile of anyone without going to judge for a warrant.
“RCMP’s Secret Files on Tommy Douglas” was the title of an article from the Toronto Sun, that told how Tommy Douglas, the man that was voted “the greatest Canadian”, was “trailed him for 50 years trying to prove he was a Communist”, which shows how some officers can get so bent out of shape to prove some silly notion in their minds that a right does not seem to be any consideration.
See news clip on Tommy Douglas http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2011/02/19/17345081.html
It is not the Conservatives’ first encroachment in Canadians’ Common Law presumption of innocence. From Canada.com we find the http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/editorial/story.html?id=9c2707f4-d3e7-471b-9257-12f1c52c54ad
From the article we read “It is refreshing therefore to see Dr. Keith Martin, Liberal MP for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, bucking the tradition and taking a stand against the Canadian Human Rights Act.”
Specifically, Martin has introduced a private member’s motion to delete subsection 13(1) of the act.
This is the subsection typically referred to as the “thought crime” or “pre-crime” component of the law. Subsection 13(1) of the Canadian Rights Act makes it an offense to electronically communicate anything “likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt.” Like something out of a science-fiction novel, the section gives human-rights commissioners the authority to gaze into the future and convict people based on what “might” happen. (end of article)
It also seems hypocritical that our Harper Government seeks to pry into the public’s computers while at the same time they are becoming more and more evasive and secretive in their own activities. See CBC News article “Failing grade for government on information access” http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/05/10/pol-cjfe-harper-fail.html
And it is also interesting that during our past 2 elections the Harper Government was negotiating a free trade deal with the European Union and did not disclose it to the electorate so we could be informed on the issues before we voted. This is governance by stealth at the very time that Bill C -30 would pry into our privacy.
We have a problem the day that our Government begins enacting laws that encroach upon the freedoms of Canadian citizens. We have a problem the day that our Government is secretive and tries to hide it’s doings from it’s democratic citizens. And we have a much bigger problem when the citizens see that these things are being done, and we don’t do anything to stop them. It is a message to our Government that we don’t care, or that we are asleep. It seems a recipe for more and worse abuses to come.
This blog and others on the topic of establishing a Democracy can be found at https://pushinback.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=158
Here is an article from the National Post on the bill.
Online Surveillance Bill ‘a gold mine’ for Hackers: Ontario Privacy Commissioner
Allison Cross Feb 14, 2012 – 5:55 PM ET Tyler Anderson/ National Post files
The Conservative government revealed legislation on Tuesday that would increase online surveillance of citizens, as critics and privacy experts argued the bill would unjustly infringe upon the rights of Canadians and act as a magnet for data-hungry hackers.
“This is going to be like the Fort Knox of information that the hackers and the real bad guys will want to go after. This is going to be a gold mine,” said Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian.
“The government will say that they can protect the data, and they can encrypt it. Are you kidding me? The bad guys are always one step ahead.”
Online surveillance bill ‘will put an electronic prisoner’s bracelet on every Canadian’
Vic Toews will ‘entertain amendments’ to online surveillance bill
Bill C-30, tabled as The Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act in the House of Commons on Tuesday, will require telecommunications companies to give police customers’ information without a court order.
This provision, contained in a previous bill that died when the federal election was called last year, resulted in a sustained campaign by the federal and provincial commissioners to get “warrantless access” to subscriber info scrapped from the bill before the Conservatives re-introduced it.
The bill will also require ISPs and cellphone companies to install equipment for real-time surveillance and create new police powers designed to obtain access to the surveillance data.
“It is a solution in search of a problem because there is no problem,” Ms. Cavoukian said. “The police have been using our system of warrants and judicial authorization for many years with great success … the system is working, and the beauty of it is it goes after the bad guys.”
Chris Wattie / Reuters
Canada’s Public Safety Minister Vic Toews speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Feb. 14, 2012.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said the new legislation is consistent with what is already in place in the U.S. the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
“(The provision) will assist authorities where they have warrants or are dealing with emergency situations,” Mr. Toews said at the press conference. “In terms of access, nothing has changed in the law.”
Mr. Toews sparked outrage on Monday by claiming opponents of the legislation were siding with “child pornographers” by not supporting the planned laws.
It’s time Canadians come to grips with the unfortunate truth that the federal government simply isn’t interested in demonstrating any sort of thoughtful leadership when it comes to the pressing digital issues of our day.
Comment from Financial Post’s Matt Hartley
The claim, which caused outrage among opposition MPs, came after Liberal public safety critic Francis Scarpaleggia asked Mr. Toews in the House of Commons how Canadians were supposed to trust the government wouldn’t use the private information they obtained online to intimidate citizens.
“We are proposing measures to bring our laws into the 21st century and to provide the police with the lawful tools that they need,” Mr. Toews said to the MP for Lac-Saint-Louis, Que. “He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers.”
OpenMedia.ca joined with several other organizations to launch the Stop Online Spying petition in May. So far 80,000 Canadians have signed it.
“They use similar technologies as China and Syria. They are able to track down the IP addresses of people using the Internet (and then locate them),” Steve Anderson, the executive director of OpenMedia.ca, said. “In Syria and China, they use them to track down dissidents.”
“(The bill) isn’t necessary and it’s profoundly unpopular,” Mr. Anderson said. “It’s profoundly undemocratic. (The government’s) own privacy commissioners don’t want it.”
Canada’s privacy commissioners banded together last year to write an open letter to Toews, saying police shouldn’t have unrestricted access to basic subscriber information held by telecommunications companies. This, along with other new powers, adds “significant new capabilities for investigators to track and search and seize digital information about individuals.”
“We’re concerned that they’re downgrading privacy protections at every level,” said Abby Deshman, director of the public safety program for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. “We’re obviously going to ask to appear before committee. We hope there will be a robust discussion in committee.”
National Post, with files from Matt Hartley and Postmedia News