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Federal government wants to snoop

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  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 06:00 am

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"You're either with us or with the pornographers," said former federal Conservative Party minister Vic Toews regarding the Orwellian efforts to control cyber-bullying through bills such as C-13.

Now under the control of one of Prime Minister Stephen Harperís most trusted stormtroopers, Peter MacKay, C-13, also called the cyber-bullying control bill, continues efforts to control online chicanery through fearmongering and, it seems, intimidation worthy of the worst cyber-bully.

Part of the bill is laudable, making it illegal for youth in particular to harass or intimidate through online means. This is the bun wrapped around the greasy and flawed meat of search-and-seizure directives granted to police and governments across the country.

Picture a rumour circulating in St. Albert about an alleged crack house. If the provisions in the cyber-bullying law were expanded to include residences, police would be able to go door-to-door searching every house in the city at will without warrants in their efforts to find the crack house, if it ever existed in the first place.

Thatís what Harperís C-13 wants to do to Canadiansí online information.

MacKay claims police need the expanded online authority to get up to date, into the 21st century, as it were, to keep up to online bullies. Itís not exactly clear how expanded police online search-and-seizure authority is going to prevent teens from dying by suicide after their social lives are destroyed by cyber-bullying.

One of the most noteworthy cases cited, Amanda Todd, a young lady who took her own life after private photos of her were made public online by an online sleazebag, doesnít even apply in this case. The sleazebag in question lives in Europe, so canít even be prosecuted in Canada.

Amanda Toddís mother has even come forward and said to a parliamentary committee, "We should not have to sacrifice our children's privacy rights to make them safe from cyber-bullying.Ē

In fact, the entire C-13 project seems like a camouflaged effort to get increased search-and-seizure measures through Parliament by connecting the questionable snooping powers to the tragic issue of cyber-bullying. It gives Harper and MacKay, not to mention guys like Toews, the ability to label critics as creeps, pornographers or stalkers. Back in reality, though, the vast majority of C-13 critics actually have very valid points.

Canadians should be very wary of Harper and MacKay, or any politician who wraps himself in armour of morality, claiming the erosion of personal rights is just for the good of the country. Canadiansí rights were guaranteed by the veterans who fought and died for Canada.

Canadians canít let fear of a remote danger allow them to concede a right to privacy. The government is using that fear and the bill's name itself to distract Canadians from the serious deficiencies in C-13. Good legislation will withstand close scrutiny and be improved by it.


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