Posts Tagged ‘Wikipedia’
Do you remember NAFTA?
Canadians exercised our democratic right to fire Brian Mulroney and his entire political party (save 2) for inflicting NAFTA on Canada. We said NO to NAFTA.
In decimating the Progressive Conservative Party, we replaced Mulroney with a new Liberal Prime Minister. PM Jean Chrétien took office with a decisive majority, because he had:
“…campaigned on a promise to renegotiate or abrogate NAFTA; however, Chrétien subsequently negotiated two supplemental agreements with the new US president.”
No one doubted that the majority of Canadians emphatically said NO. We did what we are supposed to: we changed the government to make our point. Yet it didn’t help. NAFTA is alive and well in Canada.
[And people wonder why so many Canadians don't vote.]
It’s no wonder governments seek to negotiate trade agreements in secret; citizens might vote them out if we knew what they were doing. Even our protests might slow them down.
In spite of onerous non-disclosure agreements, information about the dreadful secret trade agreement ACTA (the so-called “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement”) kept leaking out. I blogged extensively about ACTA in my interweb freedom blog. Enough was known about it to frighten Europeans into taking to the streets. The result was that ACTA was rejected emphatically after European citizens took to the streets to tell their governments “NO!”
The ACTA agreement crumbled, or so the world thought . . .
The agreement was signed in October 2011 by Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States. In 2012, Mexico, the European Union and 22 countries which are member states of the European Union signed as well. One signatory (Japan) has ratified (formally approved) the agreement, which would come into force in countries that ratified it after ratification by six countries.
Although many people believe the world rejected ACTA, Canada has not. Some of the worst of the laws that erode civil rights that are being forged by Canada’s “majority government” are in service of the ACTA trade agreement. ACTA is alive and well in Canada.
And now the The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership is coming.
Governments and special interests pursue these treaties in secret because the terms are detrimental to citizen interests. They then use the existence of such “trade treaties” to justify draconian changes they then make to our domestic laws. We are told they “have to do it” because of the treaty commitment. Funny how the Harper Government doesn’t “have to” live up to Canada’s Kyoto commitment.
Make A Difference
The Inter-Continental Day of Action, 31 January 2013 is gearing up across Canada, the United States and Mexico to protest the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement (TPP), the latest in the dizzying proliferation of “trade agreements” that sacrifice the public good in the interests of servicing the objectives of corporations.
Find your local event, or start your own!
In Canada we can write or call our Member of Parliament (MP) to let them know when they are making a mistake. I expect the legislation drafted as Bill C-60: Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1 — An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 21, 2013 and other measures has other problems threaded throughout its 128 pages but the mistake that concerns me is the bit about Crown Corporations in general, and in particular, the CBC.
To make it easy for Canadians, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting set up an online form letter. I’m one of the 71,393 Canadians (so far) to use their form letter to tell Prime Minister Stephen Harper and my own MP, Harold Albrecht, not to threaten the CBC’s autonomy by passing Bill C-60.
I haven’t heard back from the Prime Minister’s Office, but today I heard from my own MP, Harold Albrecht.
Thank you for contacting my office to express your concerns regarding Bill C-60 and the CBC. I appreciate your input on this matter.
Crown Corporations, such as the CBC, receive appropriations from Parliament, and our Government would like to see consistency in wage and benefits among all Crown Corporations and the civil service. This means that any individual doing the same type of work at the CBC should be receiving the same amount of money if they were doing the same job in any other Crown Corporation or Federal Department.
This is what Bill C-60 is seeking to secure. This mandate will make certain that we have the correct instruments in place to protect taxpayer dollars at the bargaining table if it is necessary. We have a responsibility and commitment to spend taxpayer dollars wisely and will work closely with Crown corporations to ensure this happens.
I would like to ensure you that the measures in Bill C-60 do not affect the funding or the independent operation of the CBC, or any other Crown Corporations.
I thank you again for contacting my office to express your concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact my office with any future concerns or inquiries.
Harold Albrecht, MP
While I am sure Harold is sincere, his government has missed a couple of key points, so I decided to help matters along by writing him back to clear a few things up.
Harold Albrecht, MP
House of Commons
Thank you for your response. While I do understand your position, it fails to take into account two very important considerations.
The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has no equivalent to Mr. Dressup.
Nor is a Camera Operator a Letter Carrier. A Letter Carrier follows a set of rules laid down from above, while a Camera Operator has achieved a level of technical expertise which is used in conjunction with a certain degree of creativity.
Although I have not myself worked at CBC, I have written television drama professionally, and I very much hope that there is no job like that at the Bank of Canada.
Canadian commitment to the CBC (and the NFB) has helped grow our cultural heritage. No one is suggesting that CBC is perfect, but direct government intervention to micromanage it is not the way to go.
The second crucial consideration is the other reason CBC was established, to ensure all Canadians have access to Canadian News — which does not simply mean a regional version of American News.
Public broadcasting is important to ensure Corporate agendas don’t trump the public good, which is why Canada is not the only nation in the world delivering public broadcasting to its citizens. Even the United States – the world leader in commercial broadcasting – has independent Public Broadcasting.
For the better part of the first two years I was writing the Stop Usage Based Billing blog, the only national mainstream media outlet in Canada that reported on our peculiarly Canadian UBB issue was CBC. Unlike its self interested commercial competitors (which worked to keep the issue away from Canadians), CBC’s mandate is not just the the bottom line, but to keep Canadians informed.
While it is appropriate for the Federal Government to disburse funds to CBC, if government dictates how the money will be spent, journalistic independence will be lost and news will become propaganda. If the news media is controlled by government, there can be no free press.
You must appreciate that while your government has a responsibility to spend taxpayer dollars wisely, this can be done without compromising press freedom. The Broadcasting Act gave CBC total autonomy in staffing decisions to ensure a free press, which is a necessary component of democracy.
Your assurance that the measures in Bill C-60 will not affect the funding or the independent operation of the CBC, or any other Crown Corporations, rings hollow in light of your government’s rejection of the Peggy Nash motion asking the finance committee to study the measure. If we are to have accountable democratic government, legislation requires sufficient scrutiny.
Bill C-60 will do remarkable damage both to Canadian culture and Press Freedom. For these reasons, as well as others echoed across the news media and the Internet, I ask you, as my duly elected Member of Parliament, to please vote “no” to Bill C-60.
Laurel L. Russwurm
I didn’t go into the inappropriateness of Omnibus Bills in a democracy ~ this one contains so much disparate material that Peggy Nash wanted it split into six parts.
Since I’m not an expert on Crown Corporations, I limited myself to addressing the CBC issues.
Maybe I should have suggested it would be wise to consider why these Crown Corporations were established as independent entities in the first place. The CBC is not a branch of the Civil Service, nor should it be.
Bill C-60: An attack on CBC’s autonomy by Karl Nerenberg on Rabble
Will Bill C-60 influence Bank of Canada’s independence? Flaherty should explain by Kevin Carmichael, Globe and Mail
Ottawa kicks the CBC, a wounded critter on a short leash by John Doyle, Globe and Mail
Maybe it’s because of movies I’ve seen, or possibly because of my interest in history, or both, but Remembrance Day has always been important to me.
When I was a kid I borrowed the vinyl LP “Billy Bishop Goes To War” from the local public library. More than once.
This masterpiece of Canadian theatre has everything that a good war story ought to have. Humour. Drama. A valient hero. Politics. And tragedy. Later I bought my own copy, which I played for my child on Remembrance Day.
One of the most haunting songs I’ve ever heard is Chris DeBurgh’s “This Song For You.”
All are powerful works of art, each carrying the clear message that wars should be avoided.
On past Remembrance Days I’ve written about copyright in The Eleventh Minute, the Eleventh Hour, the Eleventh Day and the tragic monument at the University of Toronto: In Flanders Fields….
Sadly, the wrongs that I wrote about have not yet been righted. Earlier this week my friend Satipera shared this powerful article from the UK which looks closely at the wearing of the poppy Robert Fisk: Do those who flaunt the poppy on their lapels know that they mock the war dead?
I very much doubt that a single Canadian politician anywhere in the world will be without a poppy today. Yet who, more than they, hold the responsibility for the continued sacrifice of a new crop of young Canadians soldiers engaged in a war because … ?
“Since 2001, 158 Canadians have died in Afghanistan and another 6,700 are collecting disability payments from Veterans Affairs, about 130 of them under the age of 25. “
— Tamsin McMahon ~ National Post: “Canada’s newest veterans having trouble accepting the label“
Canada has been involved in an almost invisible war for nearly a decade. It is barely spoken of, but young Canadians fight and die and I can’t tell you why. I suspect they can’t, either. Unlike the glamorous Great War, or the Second World War, the only citizens who are really involved and affected are the Canadians whose children are overseas, fighting and dying. Has a decade of this fixed anything? Has anything good come of this war? A war that Canada is supposed to be withdrawing from by the end of this year. Will we really withdraw?
I can’t begin to count the times in my life that I’ve heard it said that our soldiers fought for our freedom. But there is much less freedom now than there was when I was young.
The erosion of civil rights that the blood of our soldiers was to have bought for us was never more clear than in the events around last year’s G20 Summit in Toronto.
Today, Canadians across the country are organizing and participating in the “Occupy” movement.
And Byron Sonne is on trial in Toronto. He’s fighting for his freedom, and ours.
Where did our freedom go?
“Airfield to Salute” photograph by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Aramis X. Ramirez
Wikipedia: KANDAHAR, Afghanistan–Troops deployed to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Regional Command South gathered on the flightline of Kandahar Air Field to salute fallen Canadian servicemember Sapper Sean David Greenfield on February 1, 2009. Greenfield, who was deployed as part of the 24 Field Engineers Squadron out of Petawawa, Ontario, was killed in action in the Zhari District of Kandahar Province on Jan. 31, 2009 ISAF photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Aramis X. Ramirez (RELEASED). ~ This file is a work of a sailor or employee of the U.S. Navy, taken or made during the course of the person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.
freebyron poppy cc by laurelrusswurm
Once a nation honored for our commitment to peacekeeping, today Canada’s international reputation is in tatters thanks to Tom Flanagan.
EVERY Canadian needs to see this CBC interview video clip. You can watch it on YouTube:
Tom Flanagan, described by Wikipedia as a “political scientist”, a man who previously served as Canadian Prime Minister Harper’s Chief of Staff, characterized by the Walrus as The Man Behind Stephen Harper, is currently employed as a Professor by the University of Calgary. Far from being a media novice, Flanagan has run federal political campaigns.
Yet this week Professor Flanagan said the unspeakable live on air in the CBC’s Power & Politics interview.
“I think Assange should be assassinated, actually, [laughs], I think Obama should put out a contract or maybe use a drone or something.”
—Professor Tom Flanagan, CBC’s Power & Politics interview, November 30th, 2010
CBC Interviewer Evan Solomon tried very hard to give Professor Flanagan the opportunity to backpedal, but instead of retracting or making light of his statement, Flanagan reiterated it:
“I woudn’t be unhappy if Assange disappeared.”
—Professor Tom Flanagan, CBC’s Power & Politics interview, November 30th, 2010
It is one thing for ordinary citizens to discuss the pros and cons of the #Cablegate issue, or even to think this is a reasonable response to #WikiLeaks. It is quite something else for a man with such close connections to the Canadian Government to advocate assassination.
This from a man saying that WikiLeaks is irresponsible. But what Wikileaks does is bring government and corporate malfeasance under public scrutiny. Professor Flanagan advocated assassination as a valid method for government to handle opposition. Not a method I would connect with democratic government.
Flanagan is often described as a member of the “Calgary School,” which is a small group of conservatively inclined professors at the University of Calgary, including Barry Cooper, David Bercuson, F.L. (Ted) Morton, and Rainer Knopff. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Fraser Institute and a founder and former president of Civitas, a national conservative discussion society in Canada.
Terrorists assassinate people with opposing viewpoints.
Who is Julian Assange?
Julian Assange is a man on Time Magazine’s shortlist for “Person of the Year” because of his dedication to the concept of government transparency. He created the WikiLeaks website.
What is Wikileaks?
WikiLeaks is a website that publishes “leaked” documents, making the “secret” information available to anyone who cares to read the information online.
Wikileaks makes information that governments want suppressed available to citizens. WikiLeaks publishes information that is “leaked” by concerned citizens with access to this information. Citizens concerned by paths and actions their governments are taking. Government Policies that are being undertaken in secret.
I believe that the reason for making these things known is to allow the public the opportunity to form an opinion. Perhaps I am naïve, but I think that is eminently reasonable in a democratic nation. Transparency and dissent must exist in a democracy. If they don’t, democracy hasn’t got a prayer.
Tom Flanagan is/was an unelected Canadian power broker who may or may not have the ear of the Canadian Government. As an ordinary Canadian I have no way of knowing. What I do know is that he is employed to impart his wisdom to some of Canada’s brightest young minds at the University of Calgary.
His statements are not only overwhelmingly arrogant, they embody “above the law” thinking.
I would think that someone who actually teaches political science at the university level would have at least a nodding acquaintance with the cautionary tale of Thomas Becket, and appreciate the danger of anyone in public life making such statements. That was, after all, one of the classic political gaffes in recorded history.
Clearly, the public outcry following these irresponsible statements was enough to convince Professor Flanagan to recant. And today he
regrets his “glib comment”
But because of Tom Flanagan’s strong ties with the Canadian government, his words and statements ring with far more authority than that of the average Canadian history professor. His words taint Canada’s international reputation.
At the very least, this calls for strong government censure. Perhaps even criminal charges. Does Canada actually support assassinating whistle blowers?
The Canadian Government must speak up.
As a Canadian I am appalled.
The WikiLeaks website has been suffering problems,possibly friom huge traffic, possibly from a DDoS attacks.
You can also attempt to access Cablegate cables directly, but of course that site is also having problems.
Julian Assange at New Media Days 2009 Photo by New Media Days / Peter Erichsen
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (cc-by-sa)
Canadian Flag CC-by lothlaurien.ca
OGG conversion via TinyOgg
NOTE: The original video I linked to has been taken down; so I’ve replaced it with another copy of the same.
The United States is signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
I would think that should afford their citizens a reasonable expectation that the American Government would take these human rights into account when drafting government policy.
Before stripping these inalienable rights from citizens.
What is happening under government auspices at TSA (Transit Security Administration) checkpoints in airports across the United States is wrong.
At best, the “BS Scanners” are an invasion of privacy, at worst, a serious health risk.
Clearly what is being done to citizens by the TSA contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Here, for your information, is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting some of the bits both the American Government and the TSA need to remember:
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948
On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.”
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
The General Assembly
Proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
- Article 1
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
- Article 2
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
- Article 3
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person.
- Article 4
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
- Article 5
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
- Article 6
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
- Article 7
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against all types of discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to any form of discrimination.
- Article 8
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
- Article 9
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
- Article 10
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
- Article 11
(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
- Article 12
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
- Article 13
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
- Article 14
(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
- Article 15
(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
- Article 16
(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
- Article 17
(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
- Article 18
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
- Article 19
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
- Article 20
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
- Article 21
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
- Article 22
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
- Article 23
(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
- Article 24
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
- Article 25
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
- Article 26
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
- Article 27
(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
- Article 28
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
- Article 29
(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
- Article 30
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.
—Universal Declaration of Human Rights Wikipedia
To my American friends
I hope none of you need to fly.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is excerpted from an official document of the United Nations. The policy of this organization is to keep most of its documents in the public domain in order to disseminate “as widely as possible the ideas (contained) in the United Nations Publications”.
Activism is an incredibly broad term that can mean many things to many people.
Activism consists of intentional action to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change.
This action is in support of, or opposition to, one side of an often controversial argument. In contemporary use, “activism” tends to be a word associated with the actions and ideologies of those on the political left.
The word “activism” is used synonymously with protest or dissent, but activism can take a wide range of forms from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing businesses, rallies, street marches, strikes, both sit-ins and hunger strikes, or even guerrilla tactics.”
Of course, you can’t always believe what you read. Just because something is in print does not necessarily mean it is true or accurate, whether in a book, a newspaper or a web page. Wikipedia is certainly in error in conflating “violent revolutionary activities” with Malcolm X, who was himself non-violent like the majority of activists. It was only after Malcolm X was assasinated that his followers turned to “violent revolutionary activities.”
I’ve never met Byron Sonne, and only heard about him recently. The publication ban means what I know about it is limited to what has already been published. Which may or may not be true. Still, there is enough there in the public record to cause me concern, which is why I’ve written a couple of blog posts about it.
One of the comments posted to my first article Silencing Online Activism: From “Officer Bubbles” to “Free Byron” states emphatically that:
Byron Sonne is in jail because he purchased TATP explosives over the internet deliberately to provoke the police into arresting him. “
—BelchSpeak commenting on Silencing Online Activism: From “Officer Bubbles” to “Free Byron.”
If Mr. BelchSpeak is correct, that would certainly qualify Mr. Sonne’s actions as being political. Which would be an act of political activism. The objective of that type of activism is to challenge laws and the legal system.
When I attempted to point that out to Mr. BelchSpeak, he didn’t seem to understand what I was saying, which is why I’ve written this post to explain it a little better.
In itself, buying explosives is not activism.
Explosives may be bought to blow up the large stump and root system that makes half your field unusable. That’s farming, not activism.
Explosives might be bought to blow the door off a safe. (An excellent Parker story springs to mind…) That’s criminal activity, not activism.
Explosives were bought to drop out of Lancaster Bombers on Nazi Germany in the second world war. That was an act of war, not activism.
Explosives might be bought to create pyrotechnic special effects in Raiders of the Lost Arc. That’s special effects, not activism.
Explosives are sometimes bought to blow up symbolic buildings as a means of attempting to intimidate governments into doing things they otherwise would not do. That’s terrorism, not activism.
Explosives are bought to create community fireworks displays in communities across Canada on Victoria Day or Canada Day. That’s community spirit, not activism.
Explosives can also be bought to set off in back yards, although they are often used inappropriately and too often one hears stories of children harming themselves, sometimes even losing body parts or causing damage when using these fireworks without adequate supervision. That’s foolishness, not activisim.
But if explosives are bought for the express purpose of provoking the police, that would in fact be activism. Explosives purchased to expose flaws in G8/G20 Summit Security arrangements, with the intent of ridiculing the authorities, in the hope of encouraging them to not hold the G8/G20 Summit here now, or any in the future, would certainly qualify as activism, because it would be “intentional action to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change”
Again, I have no way of knowing if it’s true or not, I’m simply basing this on what BelchSpeak said.
But if it is true, it would mean Byron Sonne is an unlikely flight risk. Because this type of activism is done in order to challenge, draw attention to and hopefully change societal and legal inequities.
Mr. Sonne had a well ordered and comfortable life. He owned a business, a beautiful home, had strong community ties. People aren’t often willing to jeopardize those things unless they fee very strongly about an issue. Usually that the risk is warranted if there is a chance that wrongs can be righted. The last thing that Byron Sonne would be is a flight risk, since because having a day in court would be the point.
People accused of murder are routinely released on bail. Bail is granted if they are not considered a danger to others or a flight risk. Accused people are allowed to resume their normal lives while preparing for a trial date which may be years in the future. An accusation is not a conviction, and in the eyes of the law, people accused of crimes are considered innocent until they are proven guilty. Even convicted felons are sometimes subject to serve a sentence of “House Arrest” or “Work Release.”
I do not pretend to have all the facts. I don’t know what Byron Sonne actually did. The point is that the charges brought against him could be very broadly interpreted.
The facts that I do have are that Byron Sonne has been charged, but not convicted of anything. Unless and until he is actually convicted of anything, he should not have to serve years in jail.
So if what Mr. BelchSpeak wrote is true, it would mean that Byron Sonne is neither dangerous or a flight risk, Byron Sonne’s denial of bail would itself be a serious miscarriage of justice.
Because it would mean that his bail was denied as a punishment.
Canada don’t need no stinkin’ DMCA
Title amendment at June 1st, 2010
Michael Geist says that they are planning to call the new “copyright” law
the Digital Copyright Modernization Act or Canadian DCMA
I guess that ways they can say it isn’t a “Canadian DMCA” with a straight face…. llr
Yesterday morning I was just taking a quick peek at Twitter before getting back to revisions when I saw a tweet from The Electronic Frontier Foundation:
RT@BoingBoing Canadian Prime Minister promises to enact a Canadian DMCA in six weeks http://bit.ly/c8Re4h
That did not sound promising. In fact it sounded downright scary. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) is widely known to be a deeply flawed draconian copyright law. And that isn’t just a Canadian perception, that’s an opinion shared by many people around the world. It is reasonable to assume that a good part of the citizen resistance to A.C.T.A. is a direct result of seeing the DMCA in action.
You might wonder why I am so concerned. After all, this is just the announcement of a bill that won’t even be available for First Reading before June. This bill is so new it doesn’t have a number yet. But previous drafts of so called Canadian “copyright reforms” have been bad. And the fact that representatives of this government are involved in the fast tracked secret A.C.T.A. negotiations does not instill confidence.
It seems that increasingly our elected representatives choose to ignore Canadians. After all, more than eight thousand concerned Canadians made submissions to the copyright consultation. What we said appears not to have been heard by our government.
As a mother, I have a powerful stake in the future. As a creator and a consumer, copyright is also very important to me. But I am only a private citizen. One person. So it takes a lot to make my voice heard.
When my government demonstrates its willingness to ignore not just my voice, but the voices of thousands of my fellow citizens, then I need to do my best to encourage even more citizens to speak up. That means starting now, before the new bill is released to public scrutiny because there must be time to inform many more Canadians of the issue.
In 2007, the architect of the DMCA and the WIPO Internet Treaties admitted:
“…our attempts at copyright control have not been successful…”
—Chairman Bruce Lehman, International Intellectual Property Institute March 24, 2007
boingboing: DMCA’s author says the DMCA is a failure, blames record industry
Like most Canadians, back then I was so busy with my life that I wasn’t paying much attention. I was leaving politics and lawmaking to the professionals. After all, that’s what they’re paid for, right?
It seems that the politicians want Canada to ratify the WIPO treaties. But that can’t happen until we have enacted domestic laws to back them up. This is why first the Liberals, and now the Conservatives, are trying to put through copyright reform.
The thing of it is, according to Howard Knopf Canada has strong copyright Laws, maybe too strong. In many ways stronger than American Copyright Law.
Now, in 2010, the EFF has made this assessment of the DMCA:
- The DMCA Chills Free Expression and Scientific Research.
Experience with section 1201 demonstrates that it is being used to stifle free speech and scientific research. The lawsuit against 2600 magazine, threats against Princeton Professor Edward Felten’s team of researchers, and prosecution of Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov have chilled the legitimate activities of journalists, publishers, scientists, students, programmers, and members of the public.
- The DMCA Jeopardizes Fair Use.
By banning all acts of circumvention, and all technologies and tools that can be used for circumvention, the DMCA grants to copyright owners the power to unilaterally eliminate the public’s fair use rights. Already, the movie industry’s use of encryption on DVDs has curtailed consumers’ ability to make legitimate, personal-use copies of movies they have purchased.
- The DMCA Impedes Competition and Innovation.
Rather than focusing on pirates, some have wielded the DMCA to hinder legitimate competitors. For example, the DMCA has been used to block aftermarket competition in laser printer toner cartridges, garage door openers, and computer maintenance services. Similarly, Apple has used the DMCA to tie its iPhone and iPod devices to Apple’s own software and services.
- The DMCA Interferes with Computer Intrusion Laws.
Further, the DMCA has been misused as a general-purpose prohibition on computer network access, a task for which it was not designed and to which it is ill-suited. For example, a disgruntled employer used the DMCA against a former contractor for simply connecting to the company’s computer system through a virtual private network (“VPN”).”
— Electronic Frontier Foundation, Unintended Consequences: Twelve Years under the DMCA
Canada has been under heavy pressure from the United States to follow their legislative lead and create our own DMCA.
First, the Liberal Party of Canada gave it a try with Bill C-60. Fortunately for Canada, the Liberal Party had a minority government at the time and a non-confidence vote killed their Bill C-60. I have no doubt that this law would have passed had there been a Liberal majority.
Next, the Conservative Party of Canada put forth their own Bill C-61 in an attempt to create a Canadian DMCA. Canada was again lucky to have a minority government. There was an even greater outcry from the citizenry. Embarrassing articles in ars technica: “Canadian DMCA” brings “balanced” copyright to Canada and boingboing: Canadian DMCA is worse than the American one seem to have been prevalent. I have no doubt that this law would have passed had there been a Conservative majority.
Luckily for us, Bill C-61 was scrapped by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s first premature prorogation. The Conservatives promised to re-introduce Bill C-61 if they were re-elected. But although they were re-elected, it was without the majority they expected.
but we can’t bank on being lucky
With a minority government, the Conservative government took the reasonable path of addressing one of the chief complaints about the previous attempts — lack of meaningful public consultation. The Ministry of Industry mounted a Canada wide Copyright Consultation. They held “Town Hall” meetings across the country. Unfortunately complaints of “stacking” the speakers, incidents of interested parties being prevented from disseminating literature, or citizens being denied access to the “town hall” venues of these “public” meetings were leveled throughout this part of the process.
But this is the 21st Century. They don’t call this the Information Age for nothing. And to their credit, Industry Canada’s web site hosted an online consultation that would accept submissions from any and all Canadians who cared to speak up. As a citizen, I thought this a good use of technology. This is a prime example of just how democracy can be fine tuned to accurately reflect the will of the people in the 21st Century.
Isn’t the point of a democracy the creation of laws that reflect society’s mores?
How better than to assess the wants and needs of Canadian society than by soliciting the input of concerned Canadians?
More than 8,000 Canadians made written copyright consultation submissions answering the handful of questions posed by the Ministry. Michael Geist provided a nice breakdown and this rebuttal of Robert Owen’s analysis is a good too.
The Canadian government asked for citizen input and they got it. Instead of the few hundred submissions that I gather are a more common response, they received thousands of submissions. Many Canadians assumed that our government might actually consider what we told them. After all, they asked us what we thought.
Was the copyright consultation all smoke and mirrors?
Apparently the phrase “Canadian DMCA” got so much play yesterday that it actually became a Twitter trending topic. Hmmmm, sure sounds as though Canadians actually care about this issue.
the boingboing comment that got to me was
CG • #9said:
“…they didn’t listen to the consultation; why would they listen this time?”
If we look at it that way, and throw up our hands in disgust, THEY WILL HAVE WON.
How is the government looking at this? This is a protest by a “special interest group”. A mere handful of Canadians… less than 9,000… made submissions. Come on, out of 33 million? That’s only a tiny fraction. Do the math.
Prime Minister Harper doesn’t think it is enough opposition to make a difference. After all, it is ONLY some lowly radical tech people who are against it. And maybe a few of the musicians who have begun establishing recording careers without having to give record companies their copyright. [Did you know that 30% of the Canadian recording industry has gone independent? Is THAT the real reason the music biz wants to stop p2p?]
The problem is that the Government is correct. Most Canadians don’t understand what is happening or what this will mean.
Perhaps our government is counting on us getting angry at being ignored, and then frustrated beyond endurance, until we come to the point we have to give up and get on with our real lives, leaving them free to do whatever they want.
In this instance pandering to the American Government– who are in turn pandering to their own giant media corporations. Make no mistake– the American DMCA does not serve American citizens, it serves American corporations. You know the ones I mean. Corporations like Disney, who want copyright to never end. Corporations like the big music companies who used to control the entire recording industry of the entire world. In Canada, that’s the CRIA, the “Big Four” American branch plants that used to control 100% of the Canadian recording Industry.
Since the advent of the Internet, and p2p filesharing, Canadian musicians are going independent. Leaving the four CRIA record companies in control of only 70% of the Canadian recording industry.
That is probably the real reason Canada makes it onto the USTR watch list every year. That USTR list is one of the main reasons why Canada is perceived to be a haven of piracy when in fact there is far less infringement here than most places. Certainly less than the United States. On April 14th of this year, Michael Geist reported American government findings: U.S. Government Study: Counterfeiting and Piracy Data Unreliable, and on April 30th USTR’s Bully Report Unfairly Blames Canada Again. Yet the Canadian government didn’t even make an issue of this or make a submission to the USTR.
So the United States keeps putting Canada on their “watch list”. Our friendly neighbor to the south is accusing us — in the absence of credible facts — of being a pirate nation.
First they call us names, and malign our international reputation, but then they promise to stop if we give them what they want. Isn’t there a word for that?
All they want is our sovereignty.
This is why it so important to NOT GIVE UP.
Canadians can’t afford to give up in frustration. And there are things to do. If enough of us do them, we may be heard.
- 1. First: TELL everybody that you know. The mainstream news media isn’t talking about it, so we need to.
- 2. EXPLAIN the issues to everybody who will listen. If you can’t explain it, (after all, how many of us are IP lawyers?) send them to any of the links above, send them to Michael Geist, Howard Knopf, BoingBoing, p2pnet, zeropaid, wikipedia… wherever, whatever it takes.
- 3. Write letters to politicians.
- 4. Submit letters to the Editor to your local newspaper, or one of the national ones, or magazines like MacLeans. Comment online (where appropriate). Talk to your local radio station– great interview topic, make for a good phone in show… Or find a local Indie band. Chances are they will know exactly how important this fight is. Maybe they’ll play a free concert in the park to raise awareness.
- 5. Blog if you’ve got a blog. If you don’t, it’s really easy to start one. (most blogs are much shorter than this. Really.) If you really don’t want to start a blog, but you’ve got something to say, contact me (or another blogger of your choice) about doing a guest blog post.
- 6. Use Twitter, Identi.ca, Facebook, IRC channel chat rooms– or any other internet information sharing thing you are part of– to spread the word. (Michael Geist has a Fair Copyright for Canada group on Facebook, and the Facebook CAPP group is still out there.
- 7. There is also Fairvote Canada a grass roots non-partisan electoral reform movement which is growing local chapters across the country. On Wednesday May 12th the Waterloo, Chapter is hosting a debate Debate: Strategic Voting – What’s a voter to do?.
Michael Geist recommends sending an actual paper mail letter via snail mail postal mail. Right or wrong, politicians attach far more weight to paper letters than email. After all, anyone could say they were anyone on an email. (Like that doesn’t hold true for a paper letter.) But email is EASY. It takes so little effort for us to send that maybe it doesn’t mean we’re really serious. We haven’t showed our commitment to the issue by writing on actual paper and giving Canada Post something to do. Last year when I emailed politicians about an issue, some of them weren’t tech savvy enough to turn off the email confirmations. Of those, about half confirmed that my email was deleted without being read. So look at it this way, if you send them a paper letter, someone in the office has to at least open it before throwing it out.
If you don’t know who your representative is in your riding, this is a link to the MP postal code look-up. Find your MP and the first letter should go to your own MP, but don’t stop there. Send letters to:
The Right Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., B.A., M.A.
House of Commons
Minister of Industry
The Hon. Tony Clement, P.C., B.A., LL.B.
House of Commons
Minister of Heritage
The Hon. James Moore, P.C., B.A.
House of Commons
Michael Ignatieff, B.A., M.A., Ph.D.
House of Commons
House of Commons
[*M. Duceppe would prefer communication in French, but I've heard that he's classy enough to respond to mono-lingual English speakers in English
(in other words, English would be better than a bad Google translation]
The Hon. Jack Layton, P.C., B.A., M.A., Ph.D.
House of Commons
NDP Technology Critic
House of Commons
Unelected leader of the Green Party
[The green party of canada only makes phone and web contact information available on their site. I guess that's a reasonable stance for an environmental party.
(Maybe I just couldn't find it since I'm tired, being up way past my bedtime to finish this.) You could call during business hours, but my guess is that emailing would be fine here.]
The Unelected Leader of the Pirate Party of Canada
Pirate Party of Canada
43 Samson Blvd #165
Laval QC H7X 3R8
[Since the Pirate Party exists to promote copyright reform, it's reasonable to assume they oppose any DMCA like legislation, but it wouldn't hurt to discuss the issues with them. One reason I plug them is because they legally distribute music from some great Canadian bands free online through their p2p Pirate Tracker. Great for Canadian heritage, eh? Last I heard the PPOC was expecting the official party status notification which will make them eligible to field candidates for the next Federal Election.]
It certainly wouldn’t hurt to ferret out any smaller political parties that may exist in your riding. Wikipedia of course has a list of canadian political parties which would be an excellent starting point. The more people we have talking about copyright, the better
It has taken so long to get this article done that it’s Thursday… and I’m just about to post this monstrosity but I thought I’d include a link to Michael Geist’s latest on the subject Covering the Return of the Canadian DMCA as he’s included many links to articles I haven’t had time to look at yet both online and (ahem) in the mainstream news media.
(If there’s enough buzz, the mainstream HAS to follow.)
Get involved. There are many ways to participate. It’s for our future.
Update May 9th, 2010
It wouldn’t hurt to add two more to the list of letter recipients:
Liberal Industry critic
House of Commons
Liberal Heritage critic
House of Commons
These late additions are courtesy of Canadian Coalition for Electronic Rights. This group has a nice form letter on offer so you can Send A Letter To Ottawa To Stop The Canadian DMCA. You can customize the letter in their online form, and when you submit it, they will electronically submit your letter to an array of politicians (a less extensive list than mine, which is a kitchen sink approach) and then the CCER also undertakes to forward a hard copy to these same politicians.
Certainly it is less work to allow someone else to do the mailing for you, but that’s always a bit dangerous. One of the simplest ways to protect yourself online–a simple internet security safeguard– is to not give out any more personal info than you absolutely have to online. There are times when we haven’t a choice. When dealing with my bank, I HAVE to identify myself to them if I want to be able to access my cash. But then, I only access my bank through their secure (read encrypted) web page.
I wouldn’t use a form myself, partly because I’m a writer, and partly because, like email, politicians assign less weight to a form letter. On the other hand, a form letter is much better than no response at all. Of course, I might cut and past their form letter into Open Office to use as a road map for writing my own.
This is not to malign the Canadian Coalition for Electronic Rights. They are just trying to make it as easy as possible for concerned citizens to put their two cents worth in, because the CCER understands the importance of speaking out. But ANY time you fill in a form like this and send your unencrypted personal information over the Internet it can easily go astray or be harvested by spammers. Especially in Canada where the CRTC has given Bell Canada permission to use Deep Packet Inspection on Canadian Internet traffic. DPI makes it possible for Bell to see anything unencrypted that we put online. Bell Canada assured the CRTC that it would not abuse this process, but there is no oversight or any meaningful complaint procedure in place should your personal information be compromised in any way.
I’ll opt for caution.
P.S. The bill is scheduled to be tabled (introduced into the legislature, I think that means first reading but I may be wrong) this afternoon.
For breaking news check Michael Geist’s blog. Curerently this is the latest:
Not because I’m made of money; certainly not. But once you pay, you have a vested interest in shopping there. But you remain a customer without any influence on what products the store will carry. If the retailer I patronize stops carrying the brand I find essential, I want the freedom to go somewhere else. I don’t want to have to weigh that against how much money I’ll lose by walking away from my “membership”. For myself, I much prefer freedom of choice.
I do not now, nor have I ever, belonged to a political party for much the same reason. Even if political parties had established ideologies I don’t think it would make sense to belong to one.
If anything I am prejudiced against both Conservatives and Liberals, because the one thing both parties have done pretty consistently is pander to big business– which helps line their war chests with enough cash to run ridiculous media campaigns. However, if either of these parties start actually looking out for the rights of citizens instead of corporations I might be inclined to swing their way.
The actions of a political party don’t always reflect their stated ideology. Sometimes a political party doesn’t have an ideology beyond wanting to be in charge. Like the Conservatives. Or the Liberals.
And you can’t really tell if the one you vote for will really do what they say until they actually get the brass ring. Or if the party leader actually believes the party ideology. Say what you want about Adolph Hitler, at least he honestly laid out exactly what he wanted to do in his political platform Mein Kampf.
The whole “party” system produced the idea of “strategic voting”. Therein lays madness. Under First Past the Post our votes mean so little already we should never even think about voting the way someone else wants us to vote.
Take for example the NDP accidental majority government in Ontario a few years back. It was a clear case of voters “voting against”, and no one was more surprised than the NDP to find themselves with a majority. They spent pretty much their whole term trying to appease business interests at the expense of ordinary people. Certainly they did real damage to Ontario’s health care system. Even so, they did not go far enough to make Corporate Ontario happy. In essence, the Ontario NDP government ended up annoying everyone and pleasing no one, effectively ensuring that it will be a very long time before the NDP will be able to come to power in Ontario again.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper certainly brings home the realization that a party leader can make a huge difference in how a political party behaves. And isn’t it interesting that after the NDP’s resounding ouster it quickly became apparent that the NDP provincial Premier Bob Rae was in actuality a Liberal in NDP clothing.
Certainly Mr. Rae is now thoroughly ensconced in the upper echelons of the federal Liberal Party of Canada. Personally, I don’t think it was a Liberal plot, I think Bob Rae just took the easy way to establishing “a name” in politics. Because although the NDP is considered one of the three main Ontario parties, it is not one of the ruling parties. Everyone acknowledges that the Bob Rae majority was totally unexpected from all quarters.
But Bob Rae got himself a “name” on the NDP nickel, saving himself from obscurity he may have had in the Federal pond he swims in now. It is much easier to rise in the ranks of a party that almost never wins than it is to rise in the hierarchy of one of the alternating ruling parties. I would expect that there is a lot of attrition due to burnout among the non-ruling political parties. It has to take a lot of stamina to run an election campaign knowing your chances of winning are slim to none. I know how depressing it is to go out and vote every time for candidates of parties who aren’t likely to get elected.
I had mixed feelings about Prime Minister Jean Chrétien for example. (OMG: he was YOUNGER than my Dad! No way!) As a mom I was furious our Prime Minster would punch out a protestor. Not exactly my idea of a leader responsive to the people he is supposed to represent.
Let’s teach our kids that even a bully can become the Prime Minister. The BS about the GST didn’t particularly thrill me either: adding an entirely new tax requiring a bloated bureaucracy which eats up the bulk of the generated income was not even close to a good deal for Canadians.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Chrétien was the only politician with the chutzpa to keep Canada out of an ill advised war. Had he chosen to stay on as the Liberal leader I might well have ignored all the patronage scandals etc. and voted for him forever just to keep our Canadian soldiers safe from being killed off in an uncalled for foreign war being waged solely to prop up a bad American president.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if that same war might bring down our Prime Minister because of the torture scandal. It isn’t as though Prime Minister Stephen Harper is doing anything to bring our troops home.
In my own riding a local politician I very much respect (because of what he does) is Andrew Telegdi. He made quite a rousing speech at the Waterloo NoProrogue Rally, explaining that he lost the last election by 17 votes. Too bad… first past the post. But I won’t vote for him because my biggest fear right now is that we will end up with a backlash Liberal majority government. Should that happen I am not remotely confident that the Liberals won’t end up giving up sovereign Canadian right to craft our own domestic laws on incredibly important issues like copyright and the Internet.
With minority governments there is a possibility that the government will at least consult with the citizenry.
What it boils down to is that the party system does not work in the way that we think it does.
When we think we are electing candidates we are really electing a party.
Write to your Member of Parliament and tell them what you think about premature prorogation or anything else! You can find your MP with this lovely link – it will also help you find out who your MP is if you don’t know. It’s time that Canadians started letting them know what we think about how they represent us.
Find your Member of Parliament
Write to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and tell him too!
Prime Minister/Premier Ministre Stephen Harper <email@example.com>
The government gives more weight to postal mail: you can mail your comments without a stamp!!:
The Right Hon. Stephen Joseph Harper, P.C., B.A., M.A.
1600 90th Avenue Southwest, suite A-203
Canada badly needs electoral reform. Take a peek at the Non-Partisan Fair Vote Canada site to get information some ideas of electoral reform. All Canadians need to join in these non-partisan discussions.