83% of Canadians support Stephen Harper's Anti-Terrorism Bill as he looks to get re-elected in the same fashion as Bush in 2004
As horrendous as the 9/11 terror attacks were, I remember criticizing Americans in its aftermath for trading some personal freedoms in order to feel safe. Americans believed Bush’s lie that 9/11 was an attack on “American freedom” and then promptly gave some of that freedom up by enacting the “Patriot Act.” In essence, Americans gave up some of their freedom in order to defend freedom.
What really happened however, was Americans gave up their freedom for the illusion of safety, and at the time, 71% of Americans were in favour of doing so. Thanks in large part to Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, following the Boston Bombing, the number of Americans willing to trade freedom for security dropped below 50%. Clearly a lesson had been learned.
Unfortunately, the lessons of the overbearing Patriot Act and the NSA spying scandal have been completely lost on Canadians. Riding the waves of two small, but separate lone wolf attacks that left two Canadian servicemen dead, Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper is set to pass his new Anti-Terrorism Bill (Bill C-51).
Simply put, Bill C-51 is a broad and over-reaching bill condemned as an assault on privacy and free speech. It gives new powers to Canadian police as well as Canada’s Spy Agency (CSIS) and the language used in the bill is vague and open to interpretation. Furthermore, there is little oversight to ensure the new laws do not get abused.
Given the small nature of the attacks and the post 9/11 security measures already in place in Canada, any government security action following the attacks should have been a waste of time and money. Alas there is always one political party out there willing to score political points after a tragedy.
Following the Ottawa shooting, Stephen Harper’s speech came right out of George Bush’s playbook and he’s been pumping out the fear to Canadians ever since. At first I was upset over his apparent overreaction to the tragedy, but I was quick to realize that this anti-terrorism bill was done on purpose and was well calculated.
Canada’s opposition parties soon fell into the security trap. The Liberal Party was quick to throw their support behind the anti-terrorism bill, the NDP meanwhile have both given it support and disdain. No party wants to be seen as being soft on terror, particularly in an election year.
You see, Stephen Harper’s campaign of fear has been so successful that a whopping 83% of Canadians nationwide support his anti-terrorism bill. That number includes 87% of Quebecois, who tend to support the Conservative Party as much as Americans support Fidel Castro.
While most would like to see more accountability within the bill, it seems a vast majority of Canadians are willing to give up a little freedom just to feel a little safer. Most Canadians see the words terrorist and terrorism written a lot within the bill so they figure it doesn’t concern them. The problem is nothing is clearly defined.
In an open letter to MPs Friday urging them to reject the legislation, more than 100 Canadian academics called the bill a “dangerous piece of legislation” that would subvert the normal role of judges by asking them to approve tactics that would otherwise be illegal. Edward Snowden called on Canadians to be “extraordinarily cautious.”
This anti-terrorism bill was designed for two reasons. So that the powers that be can subvert our rights when it suits them and so the Conservative Party has a leg to walk on heading into the coming election.
It seems the Conservatives have everyone fooled. They were significantly behind in the polls until the “fear the Jihadi” campaign began. Now, despite failed environmental policies, a one sided foreign policy and an economy collapsing around them (along with the price of oil), Conservatives are once again in the lead.
No one in the world thought Americans could be so stupid as to elect George W. Bush for a second term, but he won didn’t he? He won by scaring the American people into believing that only the Republican Party could be trusted to keep Americans safe.
For a country who used to pride itself on being different than our American neighbors, Canadians are sure looking stupid these days…