Friday, April 07, 2006

Living in the Age of Big Brother

When history looks back at this time, they will call it “Living in the Age of Big Brother”. This would not be an incorrect assessment or presentation of where we are in history. All around us government agencies are eroding our civil liberties and cloaking it in the name of our protection. Both the Canadian and the U.S. Governments are enacting new laws that give them far reaching powers to invade our privacy.

The U.S. Patriot Act enacted after 9/11 gives the government the right to arbitrary arrests with secret trials and non-disclosure of evidence in the name of National Security. The FBI, CIA and Homeland Security all have the right to invade your life and you are virtually powerless to stop it if you even find out about it. They have even gone so far as to attempt to get librarians to release a list of books that you take out.

Here in Canada, we are not yet at the Patriot Act stage but we are reaching very close. Under the guise of revamping Bill C-14, the government has extended their power. The RCMP and CSIS are now able to detain at will though they still must prove to the courts why they would detain a person. With a Neo-Conservative government in power (albeit a minority), one would have to assume that though they have a minority government they will still attempt to push through a bill extending governmental powers. While Canadians seem like we are a complacent lot; when our rights and freedoms come under attack, we are not complacent at all. Should the government in Canada try to ride roughshod over our rights and freedoms the way they have in the U.S., Canadians will fight it tooth and nail. Unfortunately, as we voted them into power, we are stuck with them until the minority government falls. Until then, we will have to be diligent and very aware of any changes made to any law enforcement acts.

Normally in a case where your very life is being violated, you would turn to the government for protection but who protects you from the government. If those charged with protecting us are the ones violating us, we have no recourse but to fight it through the courts. In order to do this, we need to educate ourselves. Know your civil rights. The information is readily accessible from the Government websites. Keep up with the news; make sure you know what your government representative is doing and what bills are looking to pass through parliament. Make your voice heard to your representative if you don’t like what the government is doing with your rights. Knowing and defending your rights is the best defence against having them abused.


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