I'm in kind of a soulsearching mood these days. I always thought I was a normal, somewhat rational fellow. Now it turns out the federal government believes people like me are no better than creepy people like child molesters and pedophiles.
That was the message delivered by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews Monday while he was defending new legislation from Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Tories - hereafter known as The Party - that will ramp up police powers when it comes to online surveillance.
According to Toews, Canada needs this tough legislation to root out computer savvy criminals such as those involved in child pornography.
However, the proposed new law has drawn fire for the sweeping powers it would give authorities, including a provision requiring internet service providers to give out personal information to police without a warrant.
And no doubt future amendments to the bill will change Canada to Oceania, the provinces will be renamed Air Strips 1 through 10, and The Party will move forward on specific legislation against thought crimes.
All we'll need in future cabinets is ministries for Truth, Peace, Plenty and Love. Doubleplusgood! (Confused? Google "Orwell, George.")
When questioned about the bill Monday, Toews declared that Canadians "can either stand with us or with the child pornographers."
Wowsers. So when it comes to this bit of legislation, my choice is either side with scumbags or with a group of sheeple mindlessly following a party leader with an increasingly totalitarian mindset.
Come to think of it, Toews made the decision an easy one: If the choice is perverts or Big Brother, then go ahead and lump me in with the skeezy creeps - they don't have an army to back up their agenda.
You know a government has overstepped its boundaries when it starts dealing in heavy-handed absolutes and trumpeting motherhood morality - Our new Civil Responsibilities Act will require telemarketers to only phone between the hours of 1 and 1: 27 p.m., make car seats mandatory for children under the age of 18, impound the vehicles of drivers who don't signal left turns and impose 10year prison sentences on people with more than 15 items in the express lane at supermarkets.
What? You are opposed to this legislation? Then clearly you are in favour of having innocent children bouncing off the dashboards of vehicles across the country.
If the government wants to make things tougher on child pornographers, then make the law specific to the intended target. The legislation The Party has put forward is extremely sloppy and leaves the door wide open for future abuse. If passed, agents working at the behest of The Party will have free reign to nose around the inboxes of every Canadian deemed to be involved in anti-government activities. Judging by the balloting in the last federal election, that would be the roughly 60 per cent of Canadians who voted for someone other than the full patch Harperites wearing the pinstriped suits on Parliament Hill.
And what of Canadians who are involved in lawsuits with the federal government? If this law is passed, then the feds would have free reign to snoop into all communication related to the case.
There's a reason the police need warrants to access such information now. To get a warrant, the police have to prove to a judge they have reasonable cause to search for the information/ evidence.
You can't get one to just go on a fishing expedition because you don't like a person's views, political affiliation, bowling league membership or what they wrote in a letter to the editor.
But this new law would allow the authorities to do just that.
Years ago, a popular politician wrote, "The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefits of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation."
Toews and his cronies in The Party are apparently taking a page out of this playbook.
You might want to pick up a copy. When it first appeared in the 1920s it was published in German and titled Mein Kampf...
Michael Booth can be reached at mbooth@ thenownewspaper.com
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