Saturday, May 26, 2012

And here I thought the Internet Surveillance Act was gone…

Open Media sent me a nice email letting me know that it seems that our pal Vic Toews is still working on locking up the paedophiles and miscreants on the internet by peeking into all of our computers.  It even seems that Vic is even squirreling money away to pay for this effort.  Some are putting the costs at $3 Billion.

If you are interested, here is the link to the Open Media site where they discuss this:

It is well worth the click and it’s short, less than a minute of video and a couple of short paragraphs.  Even a Harper Party Member can deal with that. 

Now can someone help me with this?  We had to get rid of the long form of the census because it was far too intrusive… It is too intrusive to find out how many bedrooms are in your house but it is fine to peek inside your home to see that you spend an inordinate amount of time searching for LoL Cats?  They can be found here:

The other far too intrusive law that we had to get rid of was the infamous “Billion Dollar Boondoggle”.  This is, of course, the Long Gun Registry.

Lord Stephen and his minions felt it was far too intrusive for the police to know that your neighbour has a rifle or a shot gun in their possession.  How horrendous it is to have someone register a firearm with the government.  Of course the owners of these weapons would know that the government had a record of their purchase because it was in the open.  That is transparency.

Oh, and it was too expensive.

However, Lord Stephen and his minion Vic Toews want to be able to sneak a peek inside your browser to see what you are up to without even bothering to tell you.  They want your Internet Provider to record your stops on the information super highway without telling you.  That is not transparency.

Did you know that if you are investigated for a crime, and they have a Warrant to search your car, they are not legally able to look into your laptop in the back seat without a Warrant to let them?  It seems if you keep a diary, they need a Warrant to open the cover and read it too. 

These are Constitutional Rights.  Vic and Stephen don’t seem to give a rap about Your Constitutional Rights do they?

Another tidbit gleaned from the Open Media link, is the cost of the proposed Bill 30… Now we all have seen the issues our buddies in Ottawa have with telling the truth about how much things cost…

How about $3 Billion?  That’s the projected tab on the Internet Surveillance Act according to those who know about these things.  Why that’s THREE TIMES the amount of the Billion Dollar Boondoggle!  All this to find out that the Bear Cat looks at LoL Cats!

Don’t worry, according to Open Media, the costs will be covered by a telecommunication tax.  You’ll pay a surcharge for Internet Service and for Telephone Service to cover this.

So, Vic is going to spew forth how this is for the children, and I’m all for stopping child porn but this is not the answer.

Vic and his buddies have already laced Bill 30 with loopholes, ways to create exemptions from this online spying bill.  As I understand it, the Cell Phone Carriers are already exempt!  I’ll let you in on a secret, for Ten Bucks per month, I can browse the Internet on my Cell Phone.  If I plug my Cell Phone into my computer, I can use it for a modem to browse the Internet and download whatever I please, Bill C 30 free.  [edit: tethering your device to a computer is probably against your cell agreement... best not to do this eh?]

Listen, the paedophiles are already pretty good at getting their stuff across the Internet without getting caught, how long do you think it would take them to figure a way around Bill 30 Vic?  It took me about 30 seconds and I’m a good guy, I don’t figure out ways around the system for evil.

I figure Vic and his cohorts will try to link this to a recent trial where an accused murderer was found to have child pornography on his computer.  [This information was not available at the trial because there was no warrant to search the computer.]  They will say that the pornography was the reason that this man and his accomplice murdered a child.  The fact that he had the pornography is disturbing, the fact that he murdered is that he is a psychopath.

My biggest fear, and the fear of many I know is that the government will use this law to try and curtail freedom of expression in Canada.  They will use it to track “trouble makers” and others who voice opinions against the current government.

It is already illegal to possess and create child porn in Canada, we don’t need a special law to snoop.  When an arrest is made, the information available to the police on the computer should be sufficient to generate Warrants to investigate others.  We hear about these rings being broken up regularly, by good old fashioned police work.

Look, our Country was built, in part, on the notion that people have certain rights to privacy.  The Police cannot look in your windows or wander through your home without a warrant, they have to justify the need to access your stuff.  The Internet is no different.  If there is reason to believe that someone is looking at bad things on the Internet, if there is reason to believe people are plotting the overthrow of our government, there is a system in place to deal with that.  Get some proof and get a warrant.

It’s that easy and it won’t cost Three Billion Dollars.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Canadian Democracy is found, in Etobicoke Centre

Yes! Yes! Yes!

The results are in on the Court Challenge for the disputed Federal Election in Etobicoke Centre, and Harper Party MP Ted Opitz has received an eviction notice from the House of Commons.

The Lawyer representing the Liberal Incumbent, Borys Wrzesnewskyj had argued that 181 ballots were in dispute and the Judge hearing the case, Justice Thomas Lederer set aside 79 ballots.

The ballots set aside included some from people who had voted outside of their own polling station but who were in fact stroked off the list at their home polls, showing they had apparently voted twice.  Other ballots set aside included several instances where the voters arrived with no voter’s card or identification but were allowed to vote anyway.

There were other ballots set aside for people who had voted outside of their home polling station and even voting outside of their home riding.

Now the Judge did say that there were no indication of the Opitz campaign doing anything wrong but because there were 79 ballots set aside, and the difference in the election was only 26 votes the Vote was declared null and void and there will need to be a new election.

A Harper Party spokesman, Fred DeLorey complained that the ruling threw the “democratic decision” of the 52,000 who voted “into doubt”, but what of the people who had voted for Wrzesnewskyj?  I think this throws a harsh light on the Harper Party attitude.

There is no way to prove who these improper ballots were for but the fact that they exist shows that the result is in question.  If he had said that they had hoped for a different result but would respect the verdict of Justice Lederer, that would have sounded much better to my ears, how about yours?

Justice Lederer said in his ruling that Canadians must have confidence in our electoral system and that "If that confidence is diminished, it follows that our interest in, and respect for, government will be similarly diminished. It surely follows that if people who are not qualified to vote were permitted to do so, or if there is a concern that people may have been permitted to vote more than once, confidence in our electoral process will fade."

This is an important issue folks.  Too many people do not vote now because they feel their vote doesn’t count or worse, that none of the candidates are worth voting for.  We can’t afford to have the view that it doesn’t matter because the result is predetermined and will be made to happen by any way they want.

This includes “robocalls.” 

Wouldn’t you think that a Party that boasts about being the “Law and Order Party” would be the first to want tighter rules governing how elections are run and how the votes are cast?  Wouldn’t they be the ones insisting that the Officers at the Polling Stations are properly trained and able to perform their duties properly?

Now the Harper Party may wish to appeal this, I hope they don’t.  It would show that they don’t care about the truth of the vote… that they don’t care about Democracy in Canada.

We take pride in the fact that we are asked to send observers to oversee elections in countries where they are still learning how to be Democratic.  It is sad to think that we need observers as well…

I have no doubt that should this election be rerun, that it will be under the microscope and well it should be.  [I refer to the possibility of an appeal here]

All elections should be.

You see Mr. DeLorey the issue is not about the 52,000 who followed the rules and voted properly, the issue is the 79 votes that Justice Lederer set aside.

Some of these people appear to have voted twice-that is illegal.

Some of these people voted in a riding they do not reside in-that is illegal.

Some of these people voted without proper identification-that is illegal.

Justice Lederer is speaking for the 52,000 who followed the rules.  Their right to elect a representative has been taken from them by the actions of 79 people.

The choice is your Mr. DeLorey.  It is the same choice facing the members of the Stephen Harper Party.

Do you choose to stand with the 52,000 who followed the rules, who believe in casting one ballot each to select their elected Member of Parliament, who believe in Democracy?  Their votes were not called into question, but the results of their votes were.  Because of the actions of just 79 people.

Stephen Harper and the Harper Party should be standing up and strengthening Elections Canada not cutting their budget willy nilly.  The Harper Party should be standing with the other parties of the House in calling for stronger laws governing Election Fraud.

But instead the Harper Party is disappointed when a Judge finds in favour of Democracy.  They bluster and bully whenever charges of Election Fraud are raised.

Listen, I’ll gladly dip my finger in ink to show that I voted.  If it helps to prevent others from trying to vote twice then that is so much the better. 

I’ll wear that ink with pride, people will know that I care enough about my country to take a moment to have my say about who should be running it.

But I choose which finger gets dipped.

Monday, May 7, 2012

More Harper equals Less Democracy

[Preamble:  I’ve had a number of thoughts running loose in my head and I’ve tried to stitch them together somewhat here.  At the risk of having Godwin’s Law or one of the corollaries tossed at me, I even read about Germany in the 1930’s.  There are parallels… look it up for yourself.
We as Canadians have taken our democracy for granted.  It seems our government was based on the idea that no party would go outside the mostly unwritten rules that have been followed for over 140 years.  Ooops.
Democracy in Canada is at risk, if it still exists today. 
This is a bit of an omnibus rant, a catchall for my thoughts. 
If you have any thoughts to add, please do.  I’d like to hear what other people thinking.  B.C.]

In a recent post, I wondered about the cost of the F-35 JSF program to Canadians.

What I was thinking was Dollars and Cents, but the biggest costs are to Truth, Honesty and Integrity of our government and our system of government.

We live in a Parliamentary Democracy.  Or at least we used to.  The voice of every member of the House is supposed to be equal and every member is supposed to be representing the voice of their constituency.

These members are charged with the responsibility of listening to and taking part in the arguments for and against proposed legislation and policy of our government both at the committee level and as part of the House.

How can this be done without the actual information that backs the proposals made by the government?

This pulls me right back to the F 35 fiasco as well as just about any legislation that the Stephen Harper Party (SHP) puts forward.

How can you realistically decide on what kind of aircraft we can afford when the numbers being provided by the SHP don’t agree with anything outside of the SHP’s little scenarios?

And now we get yet another ominous omnibus bill.

This time it’s a budget bill… 498 pages of budget bill (or so I’ve read) which contains over 100 pages of changes to the way environmental assessments are performed in the future.  Basically, the Harper Party doesn’t want interlopers like the Sierra Club or Greenpeace from having a say in any assessments, only those who are directly involved.  So if they want to run a pipeline through Your community, you can say something, your neighbours can too… then the corporate lawyers representing the corporate interests get their say.

Who will have a better argument?  I’ll bet on the lawyers.

And if some organization wants to stick up for you?  They’re not directly involved, they don’t get to speak.

And then there are changes for EI in this “budget bill” as well, such as moving changes in EI rules from legislation to regulation.

Meaning what?  That now the changes to EI will be decided behind closed doors by Ministers rather than being debated and voted on in the House.

Oh yes, they’ve limited debate on this bill as well.

Is this what the Reformers wanted?  I thought Reform was all about grass roots democracy, more say for the people.

What we are getting is less debate, more decisions behind closed doors and no say for the people.  Less democracy.

What we are getting are omnibus bills with limited debate and whole provisions added with no formal announcements or explanations from the government.  Again, less democracy.

For the first time in history we’ve have a Prime Minister who was found to be in contempt of the House of Commons for failure to provide information requested by the House.  We have Bev not Oda who lied to the House and earned a charge of contempt as well.  A government who privately boast of doing “God’s work” in promoting the Tar Sands… the list just goes on and on.

Whenever things got bad in the House for Lord Stephen in a minority, he locked the doors.  In a childish tantrum he picked up the ball and went home…  Well actually he ran to the Governor General and hid behind her skirt… twice.

Now that he has a majority, he no longer needs to run away, he just yells “Shut Up!” and limits debate and then we go to the Marionette Theatre once again.

Look, this old cat has been around long enough to see his share nonsense floating around in Ottawa.

I just want an honest and open debate about why they are doing what they are doing… without invoking closure or limiting debate.

That is democracy Stephen.  If you don’t like it, take your Party and leave.

On an aside, I wonder if instead of calling them the Stephen Harper Party (SHP) I should have called them the Stephen Harper Team?