Posts Tagged anti-terror

Protection Our Constitutional Rights Should Be A Priority For Trudeau As A Result Of Trump Nomination

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(Anti-terror bill C51 just took on a whole new face with Donald Trump’s nomination for US President)

 

Has anyone noticed that one of the major policy promises the Trudeau Liberals were elected on seems to be missing in action?  When Justin Trudeau took office it seems like the mad rush to legalize pot was more of a priority than our charter rights.  Just this spring the government announced plans to legalize pot by spring of 2017, yet the government hasn’t committed “yet” to looking at our draconian anti-terror legislation which was a major issue due to the Liberals position of support for the legislation prior to our election last year.

During the 2015 federal election campaign Trudeau and fellow Liberals were blasted over their support for the Conservative lead anti-terror bill.  Trudeau committed to voters that if elected he would overhaul the bill, rather than scrap it, too ensure it was compliant with Canadian Charter rights.  Around the same time the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression launched a charter challenge on the bill.

It very well could be that the government is waiting on the decision of the charter challenge (which can take years if not decades) before Canadians can expect any meaningful changes to the bill.  The lack of response from the Liberal government to protect Canadians constitutional rights should be way more of concern now especially with Donald Trump being nominated the republican nominee for president state side.  Most of our Internet traffic routes through the US than back to Canada, and the US is no stranger to its mass collection of data that crosses its boarders.

Back a few years ago the collection of data to root out possible terror attacks was front and center of a global debate on personal privacy online.  Heading up that debate was a former National Security Agency (NSA) systems administrator Edward Snowden who leaked several documents to journalists detailing the mass invasion of privacy in the US and around the globe. Snowden came out strong on ones right to privacy.  On the other side of that debate was General Michael Hayden who stated that collection of data was necessary to protect the US homeland from attacks.  Now even Hayden is extremely concerned about what a Trump presidency could bring (especially at time index 5:07 in the below video):

It’s not just nukes the world needs to worry about, it’s how our private data would be used by the US under Trump; I would even state under Hillary Clinton as well.  In the face of what is happening in US politics right now, Canadian law makers need to assure Canadians that our data remains private, secure, and out of the hands of foreign countries. We need immediate action on bill C-51 as a result.

 

 

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Canadian Government Could Benefit From Town Hall Public Consultations on Anti-Terror Bill

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(Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale)

During the election the Liberals heard from Canadians on the new anti-terror bill C-51, and promised to repeal sections of this bill that are problematic. We still don’t know exactly which provisions will be repealed. This past Friday, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale took to the airwaves stating that Canada must be a world leader in tackling radicalization.  During the last election the Liberals promised to reform the Conservatives Anti-Terror bill promising to consult with the public and experts.

In 2009 I took part in the Governments copyright consultations.  These consultations were held in town hall meetings with then Minister of Industry Tony Clement, and Heritage Minister at the time James Moore in a public forum.   These town hall meetings were open up to the public, and also encouraged the public to attend online.  There was also a forum set up by pollster Nic Nanos where people from across the country could air their concerns and debate those concerns in the forum setting regarding copyright legislation and digital rights.  What came out of this consultation process was a balanced approach to copyright law based on the views expressed during the consultation process. A made in Canada approach to public policy regarding copyright.In my opinion this was one of the crowning achievements of the last Government when it came to public policy consultation (a process which the Conservatives later abandoned), and there’s a significant need in the debate between civil liberties and security that demands this type of consultation.

Since the NSA leaks from former NSA system administrator Edward Snowden there has been lengthy and informal debates around the issues between civil liberties and security.  The Liberal platform during the last election promised evidence based approach to public policy, and widespread consultation with the public and experts on issues relating to the anti-terror bill.  What better way to do that, than using the previous Governments copyright consultation process as a benchmark in the debate around anti-terror and radicalization.

If we are to become a world leader in tackling radicalization, than government needs to hear from not just stakeholders, but the public as well.  The Liberals won the last election from what the polls suggested, not on the exclusivity of the Liberal platform and stance on the Conservatives anti-terror bill, but rather a vast majority looked to have voted strategically to overthrow Steven Harper’s Conservatives.  Canadians will be watching very closely to how the Liberals treat the anti-terror bill, and whether the current Government will take the time to consult broadly with the public, rather than using their elected mandate to ignore public concerns on the bill and shut them out of any consultation process.

If we are to become a world leader in tackling radicalization, we must also become a world leader in listening to public will, and working together to come up with solutions that are balanced and encompass a wide range of views.   Only then can other world leaders look upon Canada as a beaming example of how to get it right.  For Canada to become a world leader in tackling radicalization we must develop a balanced approach to policy.  In order to achieve that true balance, all Canadians should be broadly consulted in a more formal manner by Government.

 

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Did The Liberals Cave on Anti-Terror Bill C-51?

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From the Paris attacks to last week’s mass shootings in California, like many in the civilized world over the past month I’ve been trying to wrap my head around these attacks, and why under mass surveillance are they continuing to happen with greater frequency.

Last week the 42nd parliament resumed with no word or mention from the Liberal government in the throne speech on one of the parties biggest promises, which was to fix the Conservatives anti-terror bill C-51.  On this past Sunday, US President Barack Obama took to the airwaves from the oval office, and told Americans that with the build-up of the Russian military in Syria, that the US fight against ISIL will remain an intelligence gathering and special forces mission.  Could the Liberal government here in Canada be stalling on anti-terror reforms as a result of US pressure?

I recently watched an investigative report on ISIL’s recruitment of women in the UK.  The investigation took almost a year to complete. The report detailed one undercover Muslim women’s journey to seek out and try to get accepted into an ISIL cell.  After 3 weeks of baiting radicalized ideology exclusively and very openly on Twitter, she started getting re-tweets and reply’s back from known ISIL terrorists.  Within a few months, she was able to penetrate an ISIL supported cell in the UK and record with hidden cameras the meetings with other female ISIL supporters.

ISIL is using social media very openly on Twitter and Facebook to recruit people to their cause.  Obama stated in his oval office address that he expects social media companies to do more in dealing with radicalized individuals.  Twitter for its part in the UK investigative report started suspending radicalized accounts including the undercover journalist, which can be counterproductive to the intelligence community.  In Canada under our anti-terror law C-51 it is a crime to openly support ISIL.  This type of law makes our collection of targeted intelligence against ISIL that much harder, as those communications move from a public forum on the internet, to more private one making it that much harder for our law enforcement to track.  What the Conservative government did with C-51 is make Canada less secure.

Dealing with radicalized ideology very much needs to be countered.  The answer isn’t mass surveillance, its targeted surveillance. France for instance, has one of the world’s top intelligence agencies which specialize in Middle Eastern, and African intelligence.  Yet one cold November night Paris came under attack by radicalized ISIL supporters.  The problem is that there is too much information coming into our intelligence agencies as a result of mass surveillance, that these intelligence agencies miss what’s happening in plain view.  Many intelligence professionals took to the airwaves after the Paris attacks stating that mass surveillance is only useful after the fact, and not in preventing terror attacks.

How do we counter radicalized ideology?  You can’t counter someone’s belief systems with bombs and killing, you counter it with facts, and common sense.  Going back to that UK investigative report, what should have been done is that the Muslim leadership in the UK should be showing other investigative pieces as to what happens with women and girls once they are in ISIL controlled territories.  PBS did an excellent investigative piece on this.  Women and girls in ISIL controlled territories are continually raped, beaten and passed around like trading cards.  Those women that are often loured by the extreme ideology of ISIL, find themselves trapped in hell (not utopia) and are often wanting to flee for their lives.

Canada needs to be a leader in changing the conversation away from mass Internet surveillance to one that is targeted surveillance.  There is no need for C-51.  Laws before C-51 very much allow for this to already be done within the scope of the criminal code of Canada.  We need a national strategy that is inclusive among Canada’s Muslim community to deal with radicalization. The Liberals promised to base their positions on fact based policy making.  We’ve seen no indication from last week’s throne speech that will happen with C-51, and with the past months events in Paris and around the world, I think Canadians expected the anti-terror policy to be at the top of the Liberals policy agenda.  Instead it’s been excluded as a top priority, and was a top priority for the Liberals during the election.  I don’t think Canadians can expect meaningful reforms to C-51 in the future, if the US is pressuring for more mass surveillance.

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Did Big Media Play A Big Role In The Liberals Big Win?

I’ve been fairly critical of the media’s role in this election.  From the consortium threatening to pull Conservative Ads on false copyright pretenses, to political favoritism in the Munk Debates, and now the situation with the former National Post editorial editor Andrew Coyne when the post refused to post his endorsement of a political candidate.

I called last nights big win for the Liberals hours prior to the election taking place.  From the looks of things, the Conservative progressive vote (which is based around civil liberties) and the anti-conservative vote went to the NDP at the very beginning of the campaign as a result of the Liberal support for Bill C-51.  I think the tipping point for the Conservative progressives was the Liberal policy on TPP and trade in which the Greens and NDP wanted to kill.  All of the poll numbers suggested to me that’s when the NDP and Conservative vote started to go down, and Liberals went up at the time of the signing of the TPP.  Last night the anti-conservative vote, voted strategically and rallied behind the Conservative progressive move to the Liberals and oust Harper.

Besides getting screamed at for hours after my call for a Liberal win from my conservative friends on Facebook (too which now owe me a bottle of rum), this was a big shocker to some.  Did big media have any pull in the election? It’s quite clear throughout this election that the consortium has been acting inappropriately.  The Globe debates were some of the most horrible debates I’ve ever seen with Conservative leaning questions, and statements from the editor of the Globe (who’s editorial board ended up supporting the Conservatives days before the election).  Not to mention the lack of coverage Elizabeth May’s responses to debate questions on social media as a result of her being left out of several debates.  I think it may be too soon to tell to see if traditional media had the impact they were hoping for.

I think traditional media’s role here really depends on the break down of voter engagement.  If the youth voted in big numbers, than traditional media and poll results had very little pull with voter intentions.  Most in this age group get their media online and through social media.  The Liberals had a strong social media presence in this campaign.  I ran into it a few times, especially with MP Wayne Easter (which I congratulated last night on his re-election) debating C-51, not to mention many other potential Liberal MPs on the bill.  The Liberals weren’t shy on social media, and came out fighting (and most without per-scripted talking points), unlike most of the NDP and Conservative hopefuls.

If the voter engagement was more balanced, than I think there needs to be questions put by Canadians on exactly how the media and/or lobby groups played a role in trying to intentionally sway voter intentions to the benefit of one or more parties.  Do you think traditional media played a big role in the Liberal election win?  Post your comments/observations below.

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TGIF – Political Week In Review – June 12th, 2015

Starting today I’m going to be doing up a Friday Political Week In Review (PWIR) posts throughout the campaign.  The summer is going to be a bit slow regarding political news, but these posts come fall will be beneficial to my readers to catch up on the busy election campaign and political news.

In this weeks post:

  • The Canadian Senate extends middle finger to Canadian tax payers three times
  • Becoming an art dealer is not okay with CBC political journalism ethics, however intentionally misleading Canadians in newscasts for political gain is ethical
  • Prime Minister Harper throws poutine at Russian frigates, than refuses to ask the Pope for forgiveness
  • Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose outraged by Supreme Court Decision to list pot as a “drug”
  • Busy week in Canadian politics so lets get to it.  If you are a Liberal than you are definitely not where you want to be.

On Tuesday the Auditor General released his findings regarding the senate expenses.  9 Senators have been referred to the RCMP for questionable expenses and possible fraud charges.  Also on Tuesday the Senate voted approval on the controversial anti-terror legislation bill c51 after widespread public opposition.  The final vote count Yay, 44. Nay, 28. Abstentions, 0 which passed with applause from Conservative senators. The final slap in the face to Canadian tax payers is that the Senate is going to court on the public dime to try and block key details about Senator’s residencies.

The CBC this week announced that it has fired political talk show host Evan Solomon.  Solomon was a hard hitting political journalist and hosted “Power and Politics”.  Solomon was let go after a Toronto Star investigation found evidence that Solomon was using his position to sell art on the side, in which CBC executives state was against ethical standards.  Meanwhile CBC’s internal e-mails point to chief anchor Peter Mansbridge being one of the masterminds behind a collaborative effort among major broadcasters to intentionally mislead Canadians back in the fall of 2014 on Canadian law to stop political attack ads.  Mansbridge could end up facing criminal charges as a result, and is still employed by the CBC.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper this week stood on the deck of Canadian frigate HMCS Fredericton and started yelling at passing Russian warships about Russia’s military advances in Ukraine.  Later Harper met with Pope Francis and refused to ask the pope to address the truth and reconciliation report in which Canadian Aboriginals were abused at Catholic schools.  A key recommendation in that report was to get the Pope to recognize what happened and for the church to ask for forgiveness.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled this week that it is unconstitutional for medical pot users to be forced to smoke the drug.  Smoking the drug (the court found) is detrimental to the health of medical pot users.  Legal dispensaries will now be able to sell “baked goods” such as brownies, cookies for those who need the medicinal uses of pot rather than to just smoke it.  In a press conference Health Minister Rona Ambrose slammed the Supreme Court decision stating pot was not an authorized drug from Health Canada and that the Courts should have no say on what a “drug” is.  That decision Ambrose said, “should be up to Health Canada to decide.”

Latest Ekos poll results now show NDP starting to get a commanding lead at the expense of the Liberal and Conservative position on the new anti-terror bill. The NDP is now at 34%, Conservatives 27%, and the Liberals 23% (which is getting close to Stephane Dion territory which is pretty low for the Liberals).  I had an interesting twitter conversation about the new anti-terror bill and the Liberal position on it with Liberal MP Wayne Easter (who sat in the House of Commons committee on this bill and is probably one of the masterminds of the Liberal position behind it).  The full conversation is here.

Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog through e-mail on the upper right hand side to keep up to date on the political news throughout the election along with some commentary on policy.  Also don’t forget to follow me on twitter, and join the MindBending Politics facebook page.

 

 

 

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Senate Passes Anti-Terror Bill With Applause From Conservative Senators

Well folks the order of accountability seems to be the theme today, so I have to start by saying I was wrong.  I was wrong to believe in an institution that clearly can’t see past their own crackers, and gourmet meals. I was wrong to have hope that for once the red chamber would rise above the house of commons and display sober second thought.  I was wrong to believe that the Senate is looking to redeem itself from scandal, and I was wrong to believe accountability and civil liberties remain a core principle of the Conservative caucus.

The Senate passed the anti-terror bill with NO amendments with thunderous applause from the Conservative senators.  Final vote count: Yay, 44. Nay, 28. Abstentions, 0  It now receives royal assent, and is now the law of the land.  Passing the anti-terror bill with no amendments means the Senate beleives (counter to experts that testified) this law is constitutional.  More on the political fall out of the vote to come soon..

 

 

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Will Tomorrow’s Anti-Terror Vote Determine Election Timing?

JUNE 9TH, 2015 UPDATE:  SENATE JUST PASSED ANTI-TERROR BILL.  MORE HERE

Green party leader Elizabeth May is calling on the Senate to delay the final vote on C51, stating:

“Tomorrow, Canadians will learn the details of the Auditor General’s report on Senate expenses. We will find that 30 Senators have filed inappropriate expense claims and nine have had their files referred to the RCMP. On the very same day, the Senate is also scheduled to vote on C-51 at third reading. The seconder of the bill in the Senate is under investigation by the RCMP and has resigned from the Conservative caucus. The eyes of Canadians will be on the Senate tomorrow. If, on the same day that we learn the details of the Senate’s culture of misusing public funds, the Senate votes for a bill as massive and controversial as C-51, the harm to the Senate’s reputation could be irreparable.”

On political talk shows, both the NDP and Conservatives have been in sync regarding their messaging on the Senate.  Those lines consist of the Senate has to be dealt with in large part because it’s “an unelected body that keeps vetoing the will of parliament”.  It’s possible that if the Senate votes down C51 tomorrow, that the Conservatives will start making noise about the Senate vetoing a national security bill in favor of the popular approach to scraping the bill,  and that parliament (as a result of this important legislation not going through) is not currently operating on full cylinders. Steven Harper therefore could prorogue Parliament within a few days.

It could very well be that the Conservative caucus has given a directive to the Conservative senators to vote down the anti-terror bill.  Politically this would try and take the wind out of the sails of the surging NDP.  A summer election would be possible if the Conservatives are playing politics, banking low voter turn out to stop an NDP surge.  This would go against Harper’s law on early election calls, but with the Conservatives trailing in the polls, anything is possible. This could all explain why the NDP and Conservative messaging has changed over the past weekend on the Senate, and May’s unwillingness to see the Senate vote on the anti-terror bill.  The NDP seem ready and willing to bring an election on.

Regardless of all the politics of this, whatever the Senate decides to do at this point, will be extremely self-serving.  The Senate has already been irreparably damaged by passing bills with known constitutional flaws, and rather than being the House of Common’s sober second thought, they have continually demonstrated contempt for their jobs by voting along party lines, and abusing the public purse.  They should be fixing flaws in these bills, and respecting tax payers money.  A delay on the new anti-terror bill, would only delay the election, not the public perception of the chamber.  A delay would only serve to solidify the public’s perception of it.

Canadians don’t care about the politics of the new anti-terror bill.  They want it stopped!  If that means an early election as a result of the senate voting it down, than so be it.  I’m ready to vote on the best party that protects my civil rights.  Are you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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