Whoa! Canada

laurel l. russwurm's political musings

Bill C-51 Must Be Withdrawn

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Kitchener-Waterloo Day of Action Against Bill C-51

The rising tide of Canadian outrage about Bill C-51 has prompted the Harper Government to bend . . . a little.

The CBC reports, Anti-terror Bill C-51 to be changed as Tories respond to criticism

Min_Reyes Anti-terror Bill C-51 to be changed as Tories respond to criticism  http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/anti-terror-bill-c-51-to-be-changed-as-tories-respond-to-criticism-1.3012694 @laurelrusswurm I was afraid they would do that... they will change wee little things but not mass surveillance and preventative arrests  @Min_Reyes @laurelrusswurm yup. make the original bill so extreme that any changes would appeal as remotely democratic

There is so much wrong in very fabric of Bill C-51 that making some cosmetic changes will not touch the worst excesses.

Bill C-51 still needs to be stopped because there is no place for mass surveillance in a democracy.

Or preventative detentions.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is too important to cast aside.

SAVE OUR Canadian Charter - Landscape

 

Written by Laurel L. Russwurm

March 27, 2015 at 6:30 pm

A Party of One

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"Party of One" by Michael Harris on the table with penelists Jason Blokhuis and Susan Watson at the Guelph Robocalls Town Hall, 2015

“Party of One” by Michael Harris rests on the table with panelists Jason Blokhuis and Susan Watson at the Guelph Robocalls Town Hall, 2015

Fair Vote Canada’s Waterloo Region Chapter and Wordsworth Books welcome maverick political journalist Michael Harris to Waterloo Region on April 18th, 2015.

Mr. Harris will be speaking to what will certainly be a sold out crowd at the Registry Theatre in Kitchener.  There weren’t many tickets left when I took a peek at the Eventbright site yesterday, so if you want to go, you’d best book yours before they are all gone.  Tickets are free but required to keep attendance within the seating limitation of the venue.

I have not yet read the book, but it came highly recommended by the panel at the Guelph Robocalls Town Hall.   I’ll be picking up my copy from one of the event sponsors, Wordsworth Books next time I’m uptown.

Michael Harris Party of One
Fair Vote Canada and WordsWorth Books
Saturday, 18 April 2015
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM (EDT)

The Onion Router #Privacy Matters

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anonymity

Privacy is an important part of personal protection.  That’s why it’s protected in the UDHR and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Without the ability to speak anonymously, free speech isn’t actually possible.

Even if corporations and governments are not going to respect our privacy, there are tools we can use to protect ourselves when we use the Internet.    And if they actually pass Bill C-51 we will certainly need to use tools like TOR even more than we do now.

One of the best tools out there is the excellent TOR, not to be confused with the science fiction publishing imprint, the TOR I’m talking about is “The Onion Router.”  Here’s a video they’ve recently released that does a nice job of explaining how it works and why we should use it.  I am pleased to present it in both of Canada’s official languages:

 

 

Written by Laurel L. Russwurm

March 22, 2015 at 10:00 am

Liberal Leader Gets Bill C-51 Wrong

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In spite of the fact the Harper Government fast tracked Bill C-51, the Parliamentary Committee won’t re-convene until next week. When you consider the Harper Government’s vow to have this legislation rushed through so it can be passed by the end of the month, this is a dramatic demonstration of how little scrutiny the Harper Government is willing to accord Bill C-51. The same can’t be said for the rest of us, because Bill C-51 is actually getting a great deal of scrutiny outside the Parliament Buildings. There are a lot of terrible things in this draft legislation, but as a writer I am especially concerned about it’s assault on Free Speech.   Ordinarily I only blog about Canadian Politics sporadically, but this week I hope to post daily.   Previous posts include: David Weber warns Bill C-51 will lead to a Police State #RejectTerror #StopBillC51 the film I’ll be seeing tonight, The Secret Trial 5 ~ Screening Tour,  Learned at the KW Stop C-51 Day of Action, and Thursday’s Stop Bill C-51 the Musical.  Better late than never, here is #5.


 

Not long ago I joined the local Liberal Party in hopes of making a difference for the 2015 federal election.  Over the years I’ve got to know some LPC folks through events like the Electoral Reform debate local MP Candidate Bardish Chagger hosted a few years back.

I made a point of notifying the local Liberal Candidate Nominees and Candidates about last week’s National Day of Action.  A week ago today a great many concerned citizens across Canada held more than 70 events to protest the fatally flawed Bill C-51 the Harper Government has been trying to sell as an “anti terrorism” measure.

Mr. Trudeau's idea of a National Day of ActionI was aware of Justin Trudeau’s promised support of Bill C-51 but expected the Liberals to come anyway, maybe to hear the other side so they might make informed choices when the time came to vote, or at least to take the opportunity to explain the Liberal stance to an audience of people who will certainly vote in the next election.   So you can imagine my surprise when not a single LPC Candidate showed up at the Kitchener rally.  Worse, I heard a rumour that the Liberal Party had ordered its candidates to avoid the Day of Action.   I was stunned.   I was going to bring the matter up with the local Electoral District Association before making a decision about whether to remain a Party member.

And then I got another ridiculous email from the LPC inviting me to a “Day of Action.”   I had previously explained the absurdity of calling a party fund raising or volunteer training or t-shirt designing gathering for the Liberal Youth Movement a “Day of Action” and yet here they are doing it again.

Particularly after ordering Party members to avoid a real Day of Action.

Since the local Liberal Candidates are not allowed to explain the LPC position on Bill C-51, I realize I had to find out just why young Mr. Trudeau believes supporting it is a good thing.

Liberals: newly minted Kitchener Centre MP Candidate Bardish Chagger moderates an LPC panel on Electoral Reform.

Apparently, Justin Trudeau’s primary reasons for supporting C-51 are:

  • Expanded powers related to preventive arrest which make it easier for police to detain someone, and to hold them in custody without a charge or a warrant for longer
  • Strengthening of the no-fly list
  • Increased information sharing between government departments and agencies

“[These] are significant improvements that will keep Canadians safer,” he told the crowd.

Liberals Are Supporting Bill C-51 So Tories Can’t Make ‘Political Hay,’ Trudeau Says

Preventative Arrest.

That means Canadians would be liable for arrest because we might do something.  Think about that, now. What does that mean, exactly?  Not because you have done a criminal act, and not because you planned to engage in a criminal act.   The laws we have now give law enforcement ample provision to prosecute anyone for crimes committed, and even for crimes that have only been planned, as we know from the prosecution of the VIA Terrorist Plot.  Canadian law allows such prosecutions because, when there is a real crime, there is real evidence.  Under Bill C-51 you could go to jail  because someone thinks you might do something.

I expect most people have been misjuged at least once in our lives.  Imagine if someone in law enforcement decided you were a potential terrorist because you attended a Day of Action.

Very few of us have been personally connected with criminal activity; even fewer have had any actual contact with terrorists. So let’s think about this one in more human terms.

Let’s say you are married, and you and your spouse go to a party. As often happens, the two of you end up in different corners socializing with different people. It’s a good party, you’ve had fun, but when you get home you discover your spouse is angry and wants a divorce — because you might have an affair with someone you had an animated conversation with at the party.

Or say you’re in your final year of university. It’s been a tough year, you’ve had to take on a part time job to make ends meet. So your studies have been extra difficult, and your work isn’t up to your usual standards. When it’s time to take the final exam, your professor doesn’t believe you are capable of passing the exam, so she refuses to allow you to take the exam since she thinks you might cheat.

Or maybe you’re going through a messy divorce. Imagine how you might feel if, instead of the shared custody you had been working toward, the judge awards sole custody of your children to the other parent and you are now limited to state supervised visitation twice a month. Because the judge has been convinced you might take off with the child.

This law won’t make Canadians safer, it will strip us of our Charter Rights.  It is unconstitutional.

If you want to get an idea how these things might play out, you should watch the powerful documentary “The Secret Trial 5.”

The No Fly List

I have to wonder if the No Fly list is constitutional in an of itself.   If all it takes is an allegation to abrogate out Charter rights, the Charter doesn’t offer us much protection at all.   People used to be innocent until proven guilty.

Increased information sharing between government departments and agencies

Such irresponsible flagrant invasion of privacy is certainly unconstitutional.

I understand Mr. Trudeau might wish to get out from under his famous father’s shadow, but throwing the Canadian Charter of Right and Freedoms under the bus is not the way to do this.

Imagine a World With No Privacy....

 

Stop Bill C-51 the Musical

with 2 comments

In spite of the fact the Harper Government fast tracked Bill C-51, the Parliamentary Committee won’t re-convene until next week.  When you consider the Harper Government’s vow to have this legislation rushed through so it can be passed by the end of the month, this is a dramatic demonstration of how little scrutiny the Harper Government is willing to accord Bill C-51.

The same can’t be said for the rest of us, because Bill C-51 is actually getting a great deal of scrutiny outside the Parliament Buildings.

There are a lot of terrible things in this draft legislation, but as a writer I am especially concerned about it’s assault on Free Speech.   Ordinarily I only blog about Canadian Politics sporadically, but this week I hope to post daily.   Previous posts include: David Weber warns Bill C-51 will lead to a Police State #RejectTerror #StopBillC51 the film I’ll be seeing tonight, The Secret Trial 5 ~ Screening Tour, and yesterday’s Learned at the KW Stop C-51 Day of Action


Okay, well, I have to admit  there isn’t really a musical… not yet, anyway.   Maybe that will be James Gordon’s next project?

But in the mean time, concerned Canadians across this land have begun to engage in the making of Stop Bill C-51 protest songs.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

The Raging Grannies

SolidariGLEE


This one is not a musical.

I hope to put together a series of small films made from the video snippets I recorded at the KW Stop Bill C51 Day of Action.  Here is the first:

Security Certificates: KW Stop Bill C51 Day of Action

Please share!

Written by Laurel L. Russwurm

March 19, 2015 at 2:34 pm

Learned at the KW Stop C-51 Day of Action

with 2 comments

In spite of the fact the Harper Government fast tracked Bill C-51, the Parliamentary Committee won’t re-convene until next week.  When you consider the Harper Government’s vow to have this legislation rushed through so it can be passed by the end of the month, this is a dramatic demonstration of how little scrutiny the Harper Government is willing to accord Bill C-51.

The same can’t be said for the rest of us, because Bill C-51 is actually getting a great deal of scrutiny outside the Parliament Buildings.

There are a lot of terrible things in this draft legislation, but as a writer I am especially concerned about it’s assault on Free Speech.   Ordinarily I only blog about Canadian Politics sporadically, but this week I hope to post daily.   I began Monday with David Weber warns Bill C-51 will lead to a Police State #RejectTerror #StopBillC51 and yesterday I posted about the film I’ll be seeing tomorrow night, The Secret Trial 5 ~ Screening Tour.  Today I want to talk a little about how the news media has let us all down.


Telling the KW Stop Bill C-51 Rally about COMERS vs Bank of Canada

Speaker at the Kitchener-Waterloo Day of Action Against Bill C-51

The Watchdog Press Is Dead

For a long time I’ve known the mainstream “news media” we trust to keep us abreast of the things have dropped the ball. Even though we are most definitely in the information age, newspapers, radio and tv news are not telling us what we we need to know if we are to be thee informed citizenry of a free country.  Because the mainstream news media is not a public service, but the property of corporate entities. Lou Grant was fictional, and in today’s world, Woodward and Bernstein wouldn’t have brought down a presidency, they would have landed in Guantanamo Bay.

In Canada the largest commercial advertiser, the single biggest consumer of advertising in the country is the Canadian Government.

So it is understandable that newspapers and tv networks don’t want to alienate their biggest client. Then too, these media outlets are at the mercy of corporate advertisers — who have their own agenda.  With a big enough bankroll of advertising dollars might make it possible to influence news programming and/or editorial styles.  In addition to the substantial influences exerted both by business and government, the main stream media also happen to be owned by corporate entities with their own agendas. So it isn’t surprising that the “news” what we see on mainstream television, hear on mainstream radio and read in mainstream newspapers comes wrapped in bias. And since these mainstream outlets compete for advertising dollars, the “news” must entertain to try to attract the largest audience.

Our silver bullet to ward off government control of our news media was supposed to be Canada’s independent arms-length national broadcaster, the CBC. Unfortunately CBC has not proven itself immune from government intervention. On the Harper Government’s watch I understand the CBC Board of Directors is dominated by Conservatives. Making things even worse, the Canadian government’s failure to fully fund what should be a public service has made the CBC vulnerable to advertisers in the same way the “commercial” news media is. So although there are occasional blips of CBC independence, it isn’t  really surprising CBC has failed to defend itself or stand up to the powerful forces arrayed against it.

All of which means that even the biggest Canadian news junkies are not actually very informed by the mainstream media.

The Internet is providing alternatives to the mainstream, but even though we are seeing the rise of citizen journalism with both reportage and opinions via blogs and podcasts and social media, even though alternative news outlets like websites like Rabble, the Tyee, Media Co-Op, Canadaland, Huffington Post Canada, Yahoo News etc. are growing their audiences, they are still overshadowed by the powerful mainstream media dinosaurs who still walk the land.

StopBillC51 at Kitchener City Hall

Comer vs Bank of Canada

All of this explains why most Canadians, like me, have never heard of Comer. The first I heard of this very important issue was when a young man got up on the stage at Kitchener City Hall and said a few words to the crowd about how Canadians Sued The Bank Of Canada & Won. Mainstream Media & Government Blacks Out Story

As someone who feels mathematically challenged I am still trying to get my mind around what this means, but at minimum it is something that Canadians should be hearing about. You can find out more at the COMER website.

Even though the mainstream media has apparently chosen (or been told) to ignore this issue, there has been new media coverage.   I am certainly no economist, but there does seem to be information out there.  So far I have just scratched the surface, so I have not read much of the information available; nor have I watched all the videos in the playlist.  It will take time to get a handle on this.

Still Report #356: Good News From Canada

New World Next Week: Canadian Sue the Bank of Canada

Written by Laurel L. Russwurm

March 18, 2015 at 7:03 pm

The Secret Trial 5 ~ Screening Tour

with 4 comments

The Parliamentary Committee on Bill C-51 won’t re-convene until next week.  When you consider the Harper Government’s vow to have this legislation rushed through so it can be passed by the end of the month, this is a dramatic demonstration of how little scrutiny the Harper Government is willing to accord Bill C-51.

The same can’t be said for the rest of us, because Bill C-51 is actually getting a great deal of scrutiny outside the Parliament Buildings.

There are a lot of terrible things in this draft legislation, but as a writer I am especially concerned about its assault on Free Speech.   Ordinarily I only blog about Canadian Politics sporadically, but this week I hope to post daily.   I began yesterday with David Weber warns Bill C-51 will lead to a Police State #RejectTerror #StopBillC51

But today I want to say a few words about our Day of Action.

The Kitchener-Waterloo Day of Action Against Bill C-51 wasn’t just a rally, it wasn’t just a protest,  and it wasn’t just a group of disturbed citizens demonstrating our opposition to Bill C-51 to the Harper Government.   What it was was a community meeting.  The event at Kitchener City Hall proved to be both interactive and a valuable learning experience.

Only 2 speakers were officially scheduled to make short speeches, and from there on out it was opened up to anyone who wanted to speak via an open mic.  It is winter in Canada, and the event organizers understood that Canadians (especially with small children) wouldn’t want to be outside for long, so the whole thing was optimistically intended to go for an hour.

But it went for two.

There was certainly a good bit of audience churn… not everyone arrived at the start and not all those who did stuck it out for the duration.

And I learned some things.  One thing I learned was about this independent feature length Documentary called “The Secret Trial 5.”  I had never even heard of the project, and the only reason I have now is because a brave young woman got up on stage in front of hundreds of people at Kitchener City Hall and told us about it.  The thing is, this young woman (the one in the picture, whose name I don’t even know) isn’t even one of the filmmakers.  The reason she knows about the movie is because her friend did research for it.  She didn’t claim to be an expert, but she was clearly moved by the project, and she thinks, as I do, that Canadians need to see this film.

The Secret Trial 5

The Secret Trial 5 looks at the “Security Certificates” the Canadian Government started using in the wake of 9/11.

While most of us have heard these words, “Security Certificates,” if you’re like me, you never really understood what these are, exactly. Although I haven’t yet seen the film, I have watched the trailer.  This was powerful enough to ensure I will be one of the people at the Screening at the Original Princess in Waterloo on Thursday night.

Bill C-51 is starting to wake Canadians up to the fact the Canadian Charter of Right and Freedoms is in jeopardy.  The Charter is part of the Canadian Constitution, and it forms the legal basis for Canadian civil rights in Canadian Law.  The Charter is also the foundation of the democratic freedom that ensures Canada is a free county.

To me the single most important message of this film is that the rights in our Charter are standing on quicksand, and may have already been breached.   Bill C-51 will just finish them off.

There will be a screening in Waterloo on Thursday night.  As part of the program I understand the film makers will there to host a Q & A and discuss the serious issues their film broaches with the audience.  You can get a jump on things by reading the interview Documentary director Amar Wala on ‘The Secret Trial 5′, Bill C51, and the stigma of terror suspicion.

I realize this is short notice, so you might be busy that night, or maybe you can’t get to Waterloo, or they might be sold out, or the venue itself might not be doable since its an old building that isn’t accessible.  But all is not lost.  I expect there will be other screenings in other places, but the film is also conveniently available for screening or download online.

The Secret Trial 5 Screening Tour – KITCHENER / WATERLOO – Filmmakers in Attendance

Thursday at 6:30pm

Princess Cinemas, Original Theatre, 6 Princess Street West, Waterloo, ON

To make sure you get a seat, order your tickets in advance http://secrettrial5-waterloo.eventbrite.com/?aff=efbevent

https://www.facebook.com/events/948195911892117/


My Photos from the National Day of Action to Stop Bill C-51 ~ March 14th, 2015 can be found in my Flickr Album

NOTE: My Original Mini Poster for the Screening had the date wrong; it has now been corrected.

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