Saturday, June 07, 2014
Stephen Harper's Monstrous Abuse of Power
In two weeks time Parliament is expected to adjourn for the summer. But before it does it will have made this ghastly Harperland an even more sinister place.
For never has this country seen such a collection of reactionary bills.
And as Andrew Coyne points out, never has there been such an abuse of power.
Time was when we had to wait weeks, even months for each new abuse of power by the Harper government. Now they arrive by the day, sometimes two and three at a time.
A prostitution bill that would endanger the lives of sex workers, and is designed to be used as a weapon in the next federal election.
Not content with leaving the impugned provisions, but for a few cosmetic changes, essentially intact, the government imposed new restrictions, for example banning prostitutes from advertising: not just in violation of the Constitution, it would seem, but in defiance of it. The bill is written as if calculated to provoke another confrontation with the court, ideally in time for the next election.
A so-called cyber-bullying bill which would give the government and the police the powers to spy on us with impunity.
Tacked onto the bill is a number of unrelated measures — among others, one that would make it easier for police and other authorities to obtain customers’ personal data from Internet and telephone providers, without a warrant — easier that is, than it already is, which is plenty.
A digital privacy bill which would allow organizations to share their customer information without a warrant with ANYONE not just the police. Coupled with a new privacy commissioner who is part of the problem.
Of all the people the government might have picked to replace the outgoing commissioner, it chose a top lawyer in the Department of Justice, known for his work on security and public safety issues: exactly the sort of person the privacy commissioner is supposed to keep tabs on.
Bill C-31 that would allow Revenue Canada to handover taxpayer information to police without a warrant or a court order.
Bill C-24 that would would allow the government to banish and exile its own citizens.
Along with an order that would turn every government department into a spying agency.
And all of those reactionary bills and orders being issued or passed in rapid succession, like the dictates of some military junta, are just the latest examples of Stephen Harper's total contempt for democracy, and his depraved lust for power...
Several themes run throughout these: a contempt for civil liberties, for due process, for established convention, for consultation, for openness, replaced throughout by a culture of secrecy, control, expedience and partisan advantage. Worse, there is virtually nothing anyone can do about it. All governments have displayed some of these traits. If this government has pushed things rather further, it is because it can: because we have so centralized power in the Prime Minister’s Office, with so few constraints or countervailing powers.
And the good news? His appalling lack of judgment hasn't worked out as he might have hoped.
It is a kind of tribute to the prime minister that so many of his appointees have proved so disruptive of his designs: the Senators who have defied the whip, the Supreme Court judges who have ruled against his legislation; the auditor general and the parliamentary budget officer and the chief electoral officer, whom his people have done their best to smear and demean.
And his contempt for democracy will come back to haunt him in the next election.
Because now it should be clear to most Canadians that Stephen Harper is the problem. A growing cancer in the heart of our democracy.
A threat to our civil liberties, the worst Prime Minister this country has ever seen.
And that none of us will be safe until the day he is defeated...
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