Tag Archives: Charter of Rights and Freedoms
November 13, 2014

R. v. Spencer: Our Right to Privacy vs Police Need to Investigate Crime – Who Wins?

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Police want easy access to personal information, generally with the assurance that they will not misuse the data they collect. The trouble is they almost always misuse the data, or if that statement seems too unfair, they often use it in ways never intended and they said they would never do.

Take the testimony of Scott Naylor of the Ontario Provincial Police before the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs regarding the so-called “lawful access” Bill C-13, also known as the “Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act”.

Naylor and the Ontario Provincial Police correctly want to stop child sexual exploitation and cyber-bullying. They get themselves in hot water, however, due to their overreaching desire to strip Canadians of their Right to Privacy in the process.

Here is Naylor’s testimony before the committee, courtesy of privacy expert Michael Geist:

If the bag was open and I could do anything, the biggest problem that I see in the world of child sexual exploitation is anonymity on the Internet. When we get our driver’s licence we’re required to get our picture taken for identification. When you get a mortgage you have to sign and provide identification. When you sign up for the Internet, there is absolutely no requirement for any kind of non-anonymity qualifier. There are a lot of people who are hiding behind the Internet to do all kinds of crime, including cybercrime, fraud, sexual exploitation and things along those lines.

The Internet is moving so quickly that law enforcement cannot keep up. If there were one thing that I would ask for discussion on is that there has to be some mechanism of accountability for you to sign on to an Internet account that makes it like a digital fingerprint that identifies it to you sitting behind the computer or something at that time. There are mechanisms to do it, but the Internet is so big and so vast at this point, and it’s worldwide, I’m not sure how that could happen, but that would certainly assist everybody. In that way I can make a digital qualification that that’s the person that I’m talking to. If I had one choice, that’s what I would ask for.

As Michael Geist points out, Scott Naylor starts his argument with something completely disconnected and irrelevant to the discussion of privacy rights and internet anonymity: driver’s licenses and mortgages.

I am required to prove who I am when I take out a mortgage because the bank needs to know who they have on a string, and where to go to yank on that string when required. A driver’s license is required to drive a motor vehicle on the state’s roadways. These comparisons are ludicrous, yet Naylor delivered these statements with a straight face as though some non-existent causal link between the two and privacy on the internet actually exists.

It doesn’t.

More to the point, and this is something a police officer looking to violate our Charter Right to Privacy ought to be fully aware of, is that Canada’s Supreme Court already ruled this year that our right to privacy is a paramount concern, and should only be violated in the most egregious cases.

The case I’m referring to is R. v. Spencer, 2014 SCC 43, where the Supreme Court made these statements about internet access and anonymity in a child pornography case:

The nature of the privacy interest engaged by the state conduct turns on the privacy of the area or the thing being searched and the impact of the search on its target, not the legal or illegal nature of the items sought. In this case, the primary concern is with informational privacy. Informational privacy is often equated with secrecy or confidentiality, and also includes the related but wider notion of control over, access to and use of information.

However, particularly important in the context of Internet usage is the understanding of privacy as anonymity. The identity of a person linked to their use of the Internet must be recognized as giving rise to a privacy interest beyond that inherent in the person’s name, address and telephone number found in the subscriber information.

Subscriber information, by tending to link particular kinds of information to identifiable individuals may implicate privacy interests relating to an individual’s identity as the source, possessor or user of that information. Some degree of anonymity is a feature of much Internet activity and depending on the totality of the circumstances, anonymity may be the foundation of a privacy interest that engages constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

In this case, the police request to link a given IP address to subscriber information was in effect a request to link a specific person to specific online activities. This sort of request engages the anonymity aspect of the informational privacy interest by attempting to link the suspect with anonymously undertaken online activities, activities which have been recognized in other circumstances as engaging significant privacy interests.

The Court goes on to say:

[66] In my view, in the totality of the circumstances of this case, there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in the subscriber information. The disclosure of this information will often amount to the identification of a user with intimate or sensitive activities being carried out online, usually on the understanding that these activities would be anonymous. A request by a police officer that an ISP voluntarily disclose such information amounts to a search.

[67] The intervener the Attorney General of Alberta raised a concern that if the police were not permitted to request disclosure of subscriber information, then other routine inquiries that might reveal sensitive information about a suspect would also be prohibited, and this would unduly impede the investigation of crimes. For example, when the police interview the victim of a crime, core biographical details of a suspect’s lifestyle might be revealed. I do not agree that this result follows from the principles set out in these reasons. Where a police officer requests disclosure of information relating to a suspect from a third party, whether there is a search depends on whether, in light of the totality of the circumstances, the suspect has a reasonable expectation of privacy in that information: Plant, at p. 293; Gomboc, at paras. 27-30, per Deschamps J. In Duarte, the Court distinguished between a person repeating a conversation with a suspect to the police and the police procuring an audio recording of the same conversation. The Court held that the danger is “not the risk that someone will repeat our words but the much more insidious danger inherent in allowing the state, in its unfettered discretion, to record and transmit our words“: at pp. 43-44.

Similarly in this case, the police request that the ISP disclose the subscriber information was in effect a request to link Mr. Spencer with precise online activity that had been the subject of monitoring by the police and thus engaged a more significant privacy interest than a simple question posed by the police in the course of an investigation.

Police routinely make requests for internet subscriber information from Internet Service Providers (ISPs). While there is no legal requirement for ISPs to surrender this data, and in fact a very real legal requirement to protect the personal information of their clients, the act of a police officer asking for someone’s personal information creates the illusion that their request has the authority of law and cannot be denied.

It does not, as the Supreme Court makes clear.

Turning to whether the search of Mr. Spencer’s home and computer was lawful, the Supreme Court makes it crystal clear that it was not.

[73] With respect, I cannot accept that this conclusion applies to s. 7(3) (c.1)(ii) of PIPEDA . Section 487.014(1) is a declaratory provision that confirms the existing common law powers of police officers to make enquiries, as indicated by the fact that the section begins with the phrase “[f]or greater certainty”: see Ward, at para. 49. PIPEDA is a statute whose purpose, as set out in s. 3 , is to increase the protection of personal information. Since in the circumstances of this case the police do not have the power to conduct a search for subscriber information in the absence of exigent circumstances or a reasonable law, I do not see how they could gain a new search power through the combination of a declaratory provision and a provision enacted to promote the protection of personal information.

[74] The subscriber information obtained by police was used in support of the Information to Obtain which led to the issuance of a warrant to search Ms. Spencer’s residence. Without that information, the warrant could not have been obtained. It follows that if that information is excluded from consideration as it must be because it was unconstitutionally obtained, there were not adequate grounds to sustain the issuance of the warrant, and the search of the residence was therefore unlawful. I conclude, therefore, that the conduct of the search of Ms. Spencer’s residence violated the Charter : Plant, at p. 296; Hunter v. Southam, at p. 161. Nothing in these reasons addresses or diminishes any existing powers of the police to obtain subscriber information in exigent circumstances such as, for example, where the information is required to prevent imminent bodily harm. There were no such circumstances here.

Quite clearly the highest court in the land takes our right to personal privacy and anonymity on the internet very seriously. Equally clear is the fact that police forces routinely do NOT take that right seriously at all, and in fact ignore it as often as possible, since ignoring our rights makes their job of investigating crime much easier.

Is it a problem for police that we mere citizens have Rights and Freedoms guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Absolutely, and as a result they must find ways of doing their job that does not violate our rights.

Police don’t like that.

I suppose were I in their shoes I wouldn’t like my job being made more difficult either, but as I view this issue from the standpoint of a mere citizen I naturally disagree with police and their quest for the easy way out.

My right to privacy has meaning. I don’t care that they don’t like it, or that it makes their jobs more difficult.

Tough.

Where I find fault with the Supreme Court decision in this case is that even though the police request for information was not “lawful” the court ruled their behaviour was not egregious enough to warrant tossing out the evidence simply because police “reasonably thought” they acted lawfully when they did not.

While I would not want to be understood to be encouraging the police to act without warrants in “gray areas”, in light of the fact that the trial judge and three judges of the Court of Appeal concluded that Det. Sgt. Parisien had acted lawfully, his belief was clearly reasonable. In short, the police were acting by what they reasonably thought were lawful means to pursue an important law enforcement purpose.

They cite the fact that a trial judge and three Court of Appeal judges concluded Det. Sgt. Parisien acted reasonably as proof that he did. That is not the case. They said this, yet in the very next paragraph explain that the Charter violation is extremely serious.

[78] The second Grant factor is the impact of the Charter-infringing conduct on Mr. Spencer’s Charter-protected interests. That impact here was serious. As discussed above, anonymity is an important safeguard for privacy interests online. The violation of that anonymity exposed personal choices made by Mr. Spencer to be his own and subjected them to police scrutiny as such. This weighs in favour of excluding the evidence.

Their decision to allow the evidence to stand ultimately rests on the idea that since they’d caught a man with child pornography, the ends justified the means. I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea. Here is their actual written rationale:

[80] The offences here are serious and carry minimum prison sentences. Society has both a strong interest in the adjudication of the case and also in ensuring that the justice system remains above reproach in its treatment of those charged with these serious offences. If the evidence is excluded, the Crown will effectively have no case. The impugned evidence (the electronic files containing child pornography) is reliable and was admitted by the defence at trial to constitute child pornography. Society undoubtedly has an interest in seeing a full and fair trial based on reliable evidence, and all the more so for a crime which implicates the safety of children.

[81] Balancing the three factors, my view is that exclusion of the evidence rather than its admission would bring the administration of justice into disrepute, and I would uphold its admission.

Having caught someone who is downloading and distributing child pornography the Supreme Court says it must overlook the “serious” violation of Mr. Spencer’s Charter Rights because not to do so would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

This ruling essentially tells police they can do as they please so long as they “reasonably believe” they are following the law when they are not.

That is a very dangerous precedent to set.

Where do we draw the line between our Right to Privacy and police violations of it under the rationale that to do otherwise would bring the administration of justice into disrepute? It’s a hard question and one our Supreme Court did its best to answer in R. v. Spencer.

Did they get it right?

I would prefer that our Supreme Court hold our police to a higher standard when they violate our right to privacy. Just because the police wrongly believed they were acting in good faith when they clearly are not doesn’t justify their violation of our rights. This leads us down a road none of us want.

However, the Supreme Court of Canada concluded that when it the choice is between our Right to Privacy vs the need of police to investigate crime, the police win.

 

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July 6, 2014

The Canadian Charter of Approved Beliefs? I thought it was the Charter of Rights and Freedoms!

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I could have sworn we mere citizens, through the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, enjoyed a quaint little notion called Freedom of Religion and that we could not be discriminated against because of our choice of religion.

It appears I was mistaken. Either that or the moronic bigots at Nanaimo City Hall violated the Charter Rights of Canadians they identified as “Christians.”

Councillor Fred Pattje, the bigot who introduced the motion to ban the Christian leadership event, said in his introduction to his motion,

“The Nanaimo Daily News had sponsored an event, a leadership event, a cast, a podcast, in this facility that among others was sponsored by a company in the United States called Chic Fil-A, the owner of which has a rich history of homophobia and other divisive practices. The gentleman’s name is Mr. Dan Cathy.”

Dan Cathy is a Christian businessman who views marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Mr. Cathy also views homosexuality as a sin, just as stealing, adultery and murder are sins.

Allowing Mr. Cathy’s company to sponsor this event last year offended “members of the LGBT” community, said Mr. Pattje.

Well, we can’t have that, can we?

Councillor Jim Kipp compared Christians to terrorists after expressing his horror that Chic-fil-A funded “a very strong unbelievable Christian belief” opposing same-sex marriage.

“The company is renowned for major funding of what I would call a very strong unbelievable Christian belief, so for me this is really, real simple for us. We’ve said before to it, it’s not just… it’s not just the speakers coming here, it’s who’s funding it, what their messages are outside of this one realm where I… I can’t support it at all, the way they spread the stuff that they do.”

He went on to compare Dan Cathy and his family restaurant to criminals and terrorists.

“We won’t accept if a criminal organization wants to come into our community and, um, set up and have a podcast, so I just say this one…. I find this almost to be a criminal point of view in this day and age with the hatred that we’ve seen this past week in our own community? And the stuff that’s going on around the world… Little girls, 270 girls are missing? This is this is just nuts.”

That a man and his company can be vilified because of his religious beliefs is utterly offensive.

What shocks me is nobody has yet, to the best of my knowledge, filed a Human Rights Complaint against the Nanaimo City Council for both their vitriolic 20-minute anti-Christian tirade they call a City Council Meeting and the motion banning Christians from using the city-owned Convention Center.

Councillor George Anderson had the gall to say this:

“I think that goes to show that this council is showing leadership itself by saying we will not accept acts of hate and its even within our Charter of Rights and Freedoms that hate speech is not permitted and so for us to go ahead and say because it is just a leadership event that organizations that promote hate should be able to use our facility sends the wrong message. So I am happy top support the motion because its unfortunate to see this type of organization coming and using a publicly owned publicly funded facility so I’m happy to support the motion.”

Invoking the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to justify your violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms… Now that’s “progressive” in action.

Well done Councillor George Anderson!

Neither Dan Cathy or his company, Chic-fil-A, “promote hate”. They promote Christian family values. There is a difference, but one that the self-described progressive city council of Nanaimo can’t grasp.

Comparing Mr. Cathy’s Christian beliefs to “hate speech” and “hate crimes” is absurd. Mr. Cathy supports the traditional family. His chain of restaurants cater to families.

Bill Bestwick, proudly donning the hat of Nanaimo’s Chief Censor, declared it would be more effective to black out the event, to simply turn off the equipment in the convention center, than to cancel it entirely.

“I don’t want… Personally I don’t want to hear what this has to say. So, the reason that I might have suggested, that if I knew (ahead of the motion being presented) because staff knew on Friday and I totally respect the motion and I’ll support the motion, but for me I would love to black them, if all of the other speakers, if there’s a dozen or ten and its three hours long or however long it is, then black that out. I think it’s… Personally I think would be, actually more effective… to… to… it’s a blackout. You can’t get this game in BC. You can’t get this person in Nanaimo. Because we don’t support it.”

Censorship.

Yes, that’s the answer.

Censorship is ALWAYS the answer when you can’t handle an opinion that is different than your own.

Censorship is the sign of an incredibly small and closed mind.

When you are so terrified of opinion, as the members of Nanaimo City Council are, that you refuse to let anyone else hear that opinion either you reveal to the world what you truly are: petty, puny and ignorant.

When asked if the sponsor of the LeaderCast event, the Nanaimo Daily News newspaper, was aware a motion to cancel the event was before city council, Fred Pattje responded with,

“They were not. I know that as late as an hour and a half ago city staff have had a conversation with senior staff at the Nanaimo Daily News and I don’t know whether at that point that person was advised or not but it’s kind of beside the point as far as I’m concerned.”

What more would you expect from politicians behaving like cockroaches?

Why hear all sides to a story when you can proclaim from on high all that is Right and Good in the world, then ridicule and defame anyone who disagrees with you.

Like with all cockroaches, however, when you shine the light of truth on them they scurry for cover.

First the city issued a formal statement (PDF) on June 26, 2014. Like councillor George Anderson, they attempted to use the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to justify their asinine and criminal act of discrimination.

The City of Nanaimo and its Council fully support and are committed to upholding the fundamental rights and freedoms of all Canadians under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Human Rights Code.

The City of Nanaimo and its Council also recognize that the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Human Rights Code apply equally to the protection against discrimination of Canadians of all races, national or ethnic origin, colour, age, mental or physical disability, religions, sex and sexual orientation.

And finally, the City of Nanaimo and its Council recognize that the fundamental rights and freedoms under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Human Rights Code must sometimes be balanced between groups of Canadians having differing views and that the process of creating this balance is both challenging and complex.

Nanaimo’s Council accepts that, in passing the May 5 resolution, some Canadians support its actions while other Canadians do not. However, if presented with comparable circumstances again, Nanaimo’s current Council is confident that actions similar to those taken on May 5 would not be repeated.

The City of Nanaimo and its Council strongly believe that Canadians of all races, national or ethnic origin, colour, age, mental or physical disability, religions, sex and sexual orientation are entitled to use any facility that is either owned by or in the control of the City in the same manner, subject always to the rule of law.

Let me interpret for you.

“We didn’t do anything wrong but if faced with the same decision again we would not do it again.”

If you didn’t do anything wrong then have the courage of your convictions.

Don’t hide from what you did. Own it!

But they did do something wrong and each and every one of Nanaimo’s city council knew it. They could only defend the indefensible so much before they could no longer believe the drivel coming out of their own mouths.

Ezra Levant, after he was notified of the anti-Freedom act of Nanaimo City Council by the citizens of that city, got hold of this issue and went to town on it.

Whatever else you may think of Ezra Levant, the man is fearless when confronting petty thugs and censors like the Nanaimo City Council.

He ran special programs on Nanaimo’s anti-Christian bigotry. He started a legal defense fund to sue Nanaimo City Council. He started a petition that garnered over 5,000 signatures in 24-hours. He forwarded everything to the members of Nanaimo City Council.

Then he flew to Nanaimo to confront them in person.

I must confess I smiled as I watched both Nanaimo mayor John Ruttan and Fred Pattje backpedal as though their lives depended on it. Their political lives may very well depend on their backpedalling ability, given civic elections only a few months away.

Cockroaches hate the light. They despise being seen for what they are. That was evident as both men fell over themselves apologizing for their atrocious actions.

What was most fascinating to watch was Councillor Fred Pattje’s shock and hurt that anyone would disagree with him.

It was a deeply humbled Fred Pattje who Ezra Levant interviewed this week, not the outraged man calling Fred Cathy and Chic-fil-A “awful” for the heinous crime of defending traditional marriage.

“The connection alone between Leadership.com, you can go on the website, and the connection between that and Chi-fil-A and their awful history of dealing with things gay and lesbian should be enough (to cancel the event). This is about an organization that is being sponsored by a man who has done tremendous damage.”

That thousands of mere citizens from across this great land wrote him and expressed their disgust genuinely appeared to hurt him. That anyone would call him a “Nazi”, especially his own nationality, clearly distressed him greatly.

What is appalling is that until that moment, until his own bigotry was tossed in his face, Fred Pattje could not comprehend he did offended and discriminated against Christians without a moment’s hesitation.

As a result of Ezra Levant’s online petition, legal fundraising and relentless national coverage of their flagrant violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Nanaimo City Council is about to repeal the motion banning Christian organizations from using the Nanaimo convention center.

The lesson of Nanaimo’s bigotry and Charter violations is simple.

Petty tyrants and bullies must be fought everywhere we find them.

In this case it was at the municipal level and, in the grand scheme of things, took very little to force them to do the right thing.

But they had to be forced.

They refused to do the right thing on their own, despite being given many opportunities to do so. It took mere citizens standing up for themselves and their precious Rights and Freedoms.

It took the Light of the World being shone upon them before they would step back and obey the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

 

If you’re interested in seeing the entire fiasco unfold you can view the timeline of events at http://therealbigots.com/nanaimo-bigots.php

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October 15, 2012

Mass Hysteria: Government’s Age-Old Boogeyman

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Has the world suddenly gone bonkers?

Well, no.

The world seemingly has been afflicted with mass insanity since time immemorial.

Hi-tech toys merely allow the madness to be refined.

Eavesdropping on every telephone conversation, snooping into every e-mail message, cameras and recorders spying on and listening to citizens on every street corner, super-snoop data-mining centers sucking up and storing our every word, thought, move, including bank statements, till receipts and credit and debit card transactions.

All are methods for identifying and disappearing “terrorists”.

But, of course, you aren’t a terrorist…as long as you can “prove it”, which you can’t.

This is called “reverse onus”.

“Presumed innocence until proven guilty” under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is passé. Whereas the upside down “reverse onus” supposedly means “guilty until proven innocent” in governmentese, it actually means “GUILTY until proven GUILTY” because gun owners and terrorists, of which you are tagged one or the other, are not going to be found “innocent”.

The lunacy knows no boundaries.

Toll-free hot lines promote anonymous tips for every real or imagined slight.

Unidentified squealers are protected while the unknowing victim of the allegation is subjected to search, seizure and deprivation of liberty, all the while never able to know the identity of his accuser, let alone confront them in a court of law.

This civil-persecution system that views the accuser as always truthful and the accused as always guilty harkens back to “witch-hunting”.

The first mass witchcraft trials reached fever pitch sometime in the 15th century and crescendoed to mass hysteria between 1550-1650.

Nobody should be horrified that the “witch-hunters” have everybody under suspicion and surveillance in Canada today. The United States created mass hysteria searching for A Red Under Every Bed in the 1940-50s. These tactics also were used during the Nazi Germany and Stalinist eras of the 1930-40s.

Witchcraft trials were an on-again, off-again fad for nearly three centuries before witch burnings finally faded out of favour.

Then, just as today, public health and public safety issues played an integral role in the witch-hunts.

In the wake of the bubonic plague of 1347-49, which medieval Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio described as so rapid and devastating that the victims often “ate lunch with their friends and dinner with their ancestors in paradise”, rumours were rampant and fingers pointed accusingly at plague-spreading witches.

Forget about the disease-spreading rats and fleas. That would be too logical.

In Nazi Germany, Fuehrer Adolf Hitler convinced his stable of legalized murderers that vermin-carrying Jews were a threat to public health and had to be exterminated.

Today, terrorism is the latest fad setting off mass hysteria, and is used once again as an excuse for government to erode citizens’ rights. They do so under the same shop-worn mantra of “public safety” and “national security”.

Unfortunately, common sense can’t be legislated.

And for some strange reason, the public accepts the “safe” and “secure” premise wholesale, although government’s job is not to keep people safe; it can’t. The government’s job is to uphold the constitution and keep people free.

Sadly, people must be individually scorched by these Draconian laws before they will open their eyes and minds and stand against them.

The very notion of “justice” has been turned on its head. Only a government that fears its people would stoop to implementing programs that protect the identity of the accuser and leave the accused defenseless.

Nobody outside the firearms community paid heed to the gun owners rattling their sabers over a criminal law that blatantly violates Constitutional rights and freedoms no less than 28 times.

And, now, the unlawful provisions prescribed in that trailblazing piece of Liberal Party trash called the Canadian Firearms Act have finally caught up with the rabid non-gun owners alike. Hope you like all the strip searches on the lawns in broad daylight and surprise police raids into your homes without a search warrant while they “come in to look around and take what they want”.

Under a law only a dictator could love, firearms owners can be sent to a federal penitentiary for merely failing to report their address change. Yet countless violent offenders, child molesters and rapists roam the country, free from such “violations” of their civil liberties and whose names never get into the data banks.

They are called “informers” who are motivated by payoffs and perks to give information; it doesn’t matter if the information is correct before the police leap.

Hundreds of firearms owners have had their homes and businesses ransacked without due cause since the Liberals’ Bill C-68 came into effect in 1995. Many others have been thrown into jail cells without provocation. The police use their powers to force the prisoners to give up their guns without having to go to the trouble to apply for a search warrant.

Drivers don’t go to jail when caught operating a vehicle with licenses, registration or insurance cards that are expired or suspended, although there are fines, points and community services imposed. Why were gun owners demonized so harshly as second-class resident paper criminals (they don’t even rank as citizens)?

It wasn’t until the anti-terrorism legislation (Bill C-36) was rushed into law in late December, 2001–less than four months after the 9/11 attack on America which indicates it was waiting in the wings–that well-known Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby felt the pinch over the exact things that firearms owners had decried for years and he rebuffed.

Thinking along Liberal lines, his theory was that only police and the military needed guns.

Yet in a by-lined Globe and Mail article of December 11, 2001, Ruby expressed fears that the threat of terrorism was impelling Canadians to give up or distort their fundamental rights and democratic freedoms.

“It is the role of lawyers in a free society to defend the rights of the oppressed, and not to be conscripted by government to secretly inform on their clients,” he contended. “The chilling effect of these provisions may make it impossible for individuals or organizations targeted by the government to obtain any access to justice at all.”

It was on January 21, 2004 that Ottawa Citizen journalist Julie O’Neill personally felt the electric jolt from the same long arm of the law. She came to the stark realization that the future of her profession–and freedom of the press–was under attack.

On March 20, she told the University of King’s College School of Journalism in Halifax, Nova Scotia, she no longer took her freedoms for granted.

She, of all people, never should have taken her freedoms for granted in the first place. One must always be vigilant for lurking dangers.

On that fateful January day, O’Neill could have commiserated with gun owners’ plight. Her private life was shattered. Her sense of her home as a private sanctuary evaporated. She no longer assumes–and never should have assumed–that her telephone conversations and e-mail correspondence were private nor that her computer files belonged to her.

Every nook and cranny of her “castle” was searched. She was now living in a glass house. Not even her lingerie drawer escaped the indignities. Her garbage was whisked away by one of the 20 armed RCMP officers from the Orwellian 1984 Truth Verification squad who flooded her house, guarded her premises and simultaneously raided her newspaper office. (Suggested reading of this spooky matter is the detailed article The Wrong Arm of the Law, Ryerson Review of Journalism, summer 2005, http://www.rrj.ca/m3509/)

What had O’Neill done to invite and deserve such oppressive state-perpetrated tactics? After all, this is supposed to be Canada.

She had written a newspaper article.

O’Neill was incredulous when she discovered writing for a public journal can be hazardous to your health; it is punishable for up to 14 years in prison.

The police raided her home and office in search of her source of information and a document cited by her in an Ottawa Citizen article of November 8, 2003.

Her story focused on Maher Arar, the Syrian-born Canadian computing engineer. She related he was deemed an al-Qaeda terrorist by U.S. authorities. Arar was detained in New York and taken to Syria. When returned to Canada in October, 2003, a year later, he told tales of imprisonment and torture.

O’Neill’s story told how he came to the attention of anti-terrorist investigators in Canada and of a series of security leaks that linked him to terrorism.

I don’t know where this woman of the mass media press had been. But when she returned to the real world, hopefully she was less naive. This is Kanuckistan after all, the True North Proud and Gagged by such freedom-sucking legislation as C-68 (the Firearms Act), C-36 (Anti-Terrorism), and, at the relevant time, the new Elections Act.

I had long begged people of O’Neill’s ilk and prestige to keep vigilance on Yukonslavia as the Petri-dish of what was happening to Canada, but they obviously can’t be bothered with such trivial matters…not until their ox is gored.

Now my invitation doesn’t matter because these atrocities have gone on a global scale, thanks to the New York City-based United Nations that is leading the charge to a One-World Order totalitarian society in which individualism is taboo; the masses will dress, eat and think alike, live in identical stack’em-pack’em units and be allowed to own only bare, government-issued necessities to exist.

Interestingly, O’Neill was caught under the Security of Information Act portion of the anti-terrorism legislation which seemed redundant, anyway. O’Neill noted that s. 4 reads exactly the same as the dusty old Official Secrets Act of 1939, which she didn’t believe was intended to prevent journalists from doing their job.

I wouldn’t bet on that, although the accepted purpose was for Canadians to catch German spies and Communist infiltrators like their American counterparts were doing at the relevant time.

In 1949-50, the Alger Hiss-Whittaker Chambers spy case was underway before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Hiss, a Harvard-trained lawyer, was a high-ranking employee in the State Department who denied any espionage involvement with Communists. Chambers, a self-confessed Communist, accused Hiss of espionage.

Believe it or not, a five-year statue of limitations existed on espionage, but no statute of limitations existed on perjury, for which Hiss was tried and sentenced to five years in a federal penitentiary.

The state is always able to find SOMETHING the sinner can be convicted of, no matter how self-serving.

The conviction offered little-known Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin a golden opportunity to make political hay. He railed that the State Department was infested with Communists.

Then came the mass hysteria.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation had been stalking those considered disloyal since 1947. The agency conducted a check of two million names on the federal payrolls and the 500,000 who annually applied for U.S. government jobs.

Any dirt–regardless how minor–would bring on a full investigation into a person’s past. No proof of subversive activities was necessary for dismissal.

Often, civil servants were fired without knowing why and not knowing who had accused them of having ties with the Communist Party. Since the accused didn’t know who they were fighting, they were defenseless.

Once the wrongdoer was pinpointed and neighbours interrogated, the victim and his family were automatically and immediately ostracized from society. So-called friends and neighbours were afraid to associate with someone accused of Communist activities.

Movie extras, film stars, entertainers–even kindergarten teachers–were blacklisted from working in their respective occupations. Successful one minute, they were out in the streets penniless the next.

Justice under the vigilantes was kangaroo-court style. The deck was forever stacked against the accused, despite investigators lacking any knowledge at all about the informer’s background or motives. And they didn’t care.

It was akin to the Puritans’ Salem witch trials of 1692, and just as bad, if not worse, then what has happening in Soviet Russia under Communism, and what Canada has adopted today.

Sometime back in the late 15th century Europe, Christian church clergymen had been directed that when sorcery with the Devil was charged by someone, but went unproven, the consequences would be suffered by the accuser–NOT the accused.

It did wonders for minimizing false accusations against the innocents and certainly cut down considerably on expensive public-funded trials.

I advocate returning to this policy posthaste.

October 14, 2012

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March 1, 2012

Police overwhelmingly support C-30’s warrantless searches and violation of privacy

Come Back with a Warrant

It really isn’t a shock to see police chiefs from across Canada coming out in support of the warrantless search and privacy violations contained in Bill C-30, disingenuously named “Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act”.  The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) even go so far as calling it a “reasonable tool” in the battle against crime.

Obviously they use a very different dictionary than I do, since mine doesn’t classify warrantless searches and privacy invasion as “reasonable.”  Then again, there isn’t a lot the CACP and I agree on.  If a law or proposed law violates yours and my Charter Rights, then it’s a lock that the CACP will be for it and I will be against it.

Bill C-30 is no different.

Dubbing it “lawful access” as if simply calling warrantless searches “lawful” can make them so, police do themselves and Canadians a great disservice by playing these types of semantic games.  There is nothing “lawful” about violating our Right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.

Under the title “Why we are asking for “Lawful Access,” the CACP says the following:

The Global Internet, cellular phones and social media have been widely adopted and enjoyed by Canadians, young and old. Many of us have been affected by computer viruses, spam and increasingly, bank or credit card fraud. These new media are also being used as a safe haven for serious criminal activity – identity theft, child and sexual exploitation, gangs, organized crime and national security threats.

I have no doubt that all of these things are happening, and that police should be doing what they can to prevent them where possible and prosecute the offenders where it is not, there is still this pesky little thing called the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada.

The CACP and the police forces it represents would be much happier, I am sure, if the government would simply tear up that document so police could do whatever they want. (more…)

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December 16, 2011

Individual Rights: What’s the big deal?

individual-rights

I am in the middle of an email conversation with a colleague who professes to believe in the Individual Rights and Freedoms of all Canadians.  I say “professes”, because this individual seems unable to grasp the concept of Individual Rights at all.

This individual asked a small group of us whether or not we each individually believed in the Supremacy of God.  Now before any atheists or the God-hating among us runs away, I would urge you to read the rest of this article.  You just might be surprised.

First of all, it’s a great question. However, by demanding an answer to that question from a group of individuals who believe strongly in the Rights of the Individual, that tells me the person asking the question and more importantly, demanding an answer to it, hasn’t got a clue what an individual right really is.

Every human being is born with the freedom to believe what they choose about the Supremacy of God, or even if there is a God in the first place.

Believing what we want about God is our Individual Right.

Whether I like it or not, and whether I agree with them or not.

We, as individuals, are certainly under no obligation to answer any demands others may have about what we do or do not believe.

To insist that I or anyone else is obligated to answer a question simply because someone asked it is, in my opinion, insane.

(more…)

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October 16, 2011

Terrorism Law: A War on Internet

one-does-not-simply-declare-war-against-the-internet

All levels of government are trying to feed balderdash to ordinary Canadians as a way of brainwashing them into feeling guilty unless they willingly accept reverse onus (guilty as charged and no way to prove innocence) without uttering a whimper or protest to unwarranted Internet surveillance.

(Translation: stupid, low-life minions aren’t trustworthy or deserving, let alone intellectually qualified, to express and share ideas and opinions over the Internet. Only the elite should have the privilege to access such a valuable commodity.)

Show your true-blue Canadian spirit, the governments promote. After all, it’s for your own safety and in the name of national security. Canadians really have no choice. If they don’t comply eagerly to the diktat, the governments will force their dull-witted bureaucratic demands on their newly-minted slaves, anyway.

In my not-to-humble opinion, the answers the governments seek to avoid hackers are simple. Governments should stop operating antiquated electronic equipment and software, and always stay a jump ahead of hackers by springing for excellence in updated virus protection, locks and alarm systems, and, as any five-year-old child knows, change passwords often.

Further, and most importantly, stop hiring multicultural, politically-correct traitors who are freeload hackers, given open-door access to high-security areas where they can roam unencumbered in the confidential databases for days, downloading sensitive information without interruption.

So, don’t whine to me, Vic Toews, minister of Public Safety, with stupid, long-winded, sniveling verbosity on your Website that groups are breaking into government computer systems, searching through files, causing systems to crash, and stealing industrial and national security secrets, and personal identities.

It’s not my fault; it’s your fault.

“We don’t see them, we don’t hear them, and we don’t always catch them,” Toews complained about his incompetence. “At times they are mere nuisances. At other times, they present real threats to our families, companies and to our country.”

But, no, instead of correcting the problem, it is more fun for governments to play dictator and tighten the screws on scrupulous Internet users who will no longer be able to express their outrage of bureaucrats and politicians.

Since Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s so-called Conservative bunch is hell-bent to follow the Liberal Party’s lead and table privacy-sucking (Un)Lawful Access to the Internet legislation during Parliament’s fall sitting (StopSpying.ca), it seems only fitting that I should post a reminder article from my “I-Told-You-So” files.

This one was originally published in the Whitehorse Star on February 25, 2002.

In keeping with the Red Book election campaign promises, Prime Minister Jean Chretien and his Industry Canada minister of the day, Brian Tobin, had promised everybody in Canada access to high-speed Internet by 2004.

The terrorist attack on America saved the Liberals the trouble of having to fulfill their commitment. In mid-December (2001), a hastily-drafted, ill-debated anti-terrorist bill was pushed into law as a so-called security measure in the aftermath of 9-11 events.

Various cabinet ministers, interviewed on separate occasions by Anthony Germaine, host of CBC’s radio show The House, began to back-peddle their official political-pledge position. They blamed budgetary restraints due to the measures that had to be addressed in the new terrorism legislation. So, the altered target date, they said, for high-speed computer access was “as quickly as possible”.

Expressing overtures about the priority to implement protective procedures throughout government were Finance Minister Paul Martin, Human Resources Minister Jane Stewart and Allan Rock, who inherited the Industry Canada portfolio from “retiree” Tobin during Chretien’s sweeping cabinet shuffle in mid-January (2002).

The weekend before the swearing-in-ceremony, computer wizards were “said” to have hacked into the computer system served from Ottawa. Like jilted wives, government employees were evidently the last to know that the external e-mail access was first on the list of items to be dismantled and disabled Canadawide on January 12, 2002.

Instead of improving Internet services for “everybody in Canada”, especially in remote regions, the government inconvenienced users by firewalling access to all Web-mail sites, such as Hotmail, Yahoo, Magma, Netscape, AOL, Sympatico, etc.

A denial notice, posted by Linda Bloskie, director of IC (Industry Canada) Network Services, explained the security measure was the result of terrorism acts against New York and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

Bloskie invited anyone with questions or comments to e-mail her but she didn’t provide an address.

“The security measure is being taken because the use of such e-mail accounts by desktops on the IC Network can inadvertently introduce e-mail viruses from those sites,” said the notice.

That is a crock of IT (intelligent technology in polite circles). Anyone bent on infecting the system can send a message to a government e-mail address from an outside Web-mail site, anyway.

The disabling was for the expressed purpose of scrubbing messages, which had been slow reaching their destinations because government was screening the material for unacceptable “hate” words–a direct fallout from anti-terrorist bill C-36.

This terrifying law, which was purported to be a war on terrorism in the spirit of national security, has turned into a war on the Internet and free speech.

Suppression of information is the tyrannical deed of the devil. And the only effective way to combat the wickedness and retain a semblance of a free and democratic society is to be informed.

Free exchange of information on the Internet is more vital than ever to defend civil liberties against the depredations of evil leftists who are spreading lies and poisonous half-truths widely through the Net and liberal mainstream media. It is obvious that pseudo-journalists and “politically-correct” hacks, who have no principles nor integrity, cannot be trusted with facts.

Muzzling the Internet will play into the agenda of these dangerous busybodies by severely crippling fundamental rights and freedoms as guaranteed in 2(b) of the Charter: “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communications.”

“Should we allow one day of terror, executed by nine suicide bombers, to scare us into relinquishing the civil liberties that have been won through blood, sweat and tears, since the time of the Magna Carta?”

So asks Jim McKee in his piece titled “Trading Liberty for Security”. The Ontario-based writer pointed out in a recent Dialogue magazine that one of the police-state powers given the government and its agencies under C-36 authorizes judges to order the deletion of material from any Internet site in Canada that is deemed to be “hateful”.

To merely criticize the delicately-sensitive government might be considered “hate”. For sure, to specifically criticize its poor immigration policy would be open season for Website censorship.

You and the judge could become bosom buddies. From the time the court orders your Website gagged until it can potentially be restored could be five years or longer winding through courts while exhausting appeals.

Among the 15 or more statutes that need amending to accommodate the terrorism legislation is the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Paul Fromm, director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression, noted in a newsletter that the Human Rights Act makes discrimination out of any published material that is “likely to expose hatred or contempt” on members of privileged groups.

The privileged are designated by race, national or ethnic origin, colour, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability, even those whose conviction of an offence has been granted pardon.

These type discriminatory acts water down democracy by trying to pretend that giving special rights to select groups supersede natural rights.

“But under Section 13.1 of the Human Rights Act, truth is no defence, nor does intention matter,” Fromm reminds us. The censorship lobby, which has long had its sights fixed on the Internet, is ecstatic, he added.

These self-righteous, politically-correct socialists are crawling out of the dark corners like so many repulsive roaches to intentionally destroy people’s freedom of expression and their rights to ownership of intellectual and entertainment properties.

The January 2002 issue of Canadian Intelligence Service also acknowledges the whole government attack on the Internet as nothing more than an attack on freedom of speech and communication for all except those of politically-correct opinion.

“In every respect, its provisions are the very denial and negation of English common law, which is the basis of Canadian law,” the CIS bulletin states.

But using the Internet to attack freedom is not making an iota of contribution to Canadian security, nor to the war against terrorism.

Nope. “(It) is in reality itself an attack on Canadians’ freedoms and the institutionalizing of bureaucratic terrorism,” continues the CIS commentary, “using the present crisis as the excuse for inflicting such a Draconian measure on our own people.”

The Canadian government’s tampering with the Internet is a scary, maggot-infested, people-control device that any freedom-loving person knows must be stopped dead in its tracks.

Otherwise, the next tyrannical move is for government agents to round up and chuck hard copies of your Bibles and books, CDs and photographs into fiery incinerators, along with your firearms, and then seize all independently-owned printing presses.

Jane Gaffin, October 16, 2011

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September 12, 2011

Was Ireneusz Janiszewski Exercising His Charter Rights or Obstructing Justice?

police-brutality-because-we-can

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a few days, but other things just get in the way sometimes.  That’s unfortunate, because this is an important case that deserves attention.

On May 30th, 2011 Ireneusz Janiszewski photographed police arresting a man who was allegedly drunk in public and causing a disturbance.

It is a fact that you are allowed to photograph and/or video our police doing their jobs.  They are public servants and while on duty they have no reasonable expectation of privacy while they perform the duties we hired them to do.

Makes sense, and is exactly as it should be.

But the case of Mr. Janiszewski really asks the question about where do we citizens cross the line from photographing police doing their jobs into preventing them from being able to do their jobs?

It’s a good question, and one that is not easily answered, not even in a courtroom.

(more…)

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July 3, 2011

Rookie Woodstock Constables violate Charter, get case tossed

Royal_Canadian_Legion1

“This could only happen in Canada, the judge rules and that’s it,” said Charlie Dalgarno, past-president of the Woodstock Royal Canadian Legion.

Legion members were very upset with the ruling by Judge Marietta Roberts that set alleged swastika graffiti painter Christopher Saggau free. Saggau was accused of painting swastikas on the Victoria Park Cenotaph the night before Remembrance Day, 2009.

I’m actually surprised that Legion members were upset with Judge Roberts. She wasn’t the one who violated Christopher Saggau’s Charter Rights. That error in judgment is on the heads of Woodstock Police Department rookies Constable Henk Ruitenbeek and Constable Michael Routly.

If Legion members feel any need to be upset with someone for the case against Christopher Saggau being dismissed, they ought to direct their anger at these two rookies. It was their “insufficient regard for the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms“, to quote Judge Roberts, that forced her to dismiss the case.

They should also be upset with Woodstock Police Chief Rod Freeman, who clearly has not provided proper training for the men and women under his command. Had he, his two rookie constables would have shown proper respect for the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

(more…)

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June 20, 2011

If we’re willing to stifle free speech at the Langley School Board, how are we supposed to teach our children what it means?

Langley, British Columbia is the latest battleground for freedom of speech, but that battle isn’t happening inside a courtroom.  It’s happening in the Langley School Board Office.

Schools are supposed to be the place where we teach our children what it means to be a citizen.  It’s where we are supposed to teach them what our Rights and Freedoms are.  It’s where, each November 11th, we are supposed to teach them about the valiant men and women who gave their lives for the very freedoms we take for granted.

In Langley, it’s also the place where we teach the parents of our children that they have no right to say anything that might upset the School Board.

At least it was about to be until the Langley School Board backed down from voting on their motion to limit what questions parents could ask, and how often they could ask them.

Is this really the message we want to send to our children?  That freedom of expression must fit only between the hours of 3 and 5pm?  Or that free speech means you can say what you want, but only once every three months, and on a schedule set by someone else?

The Langley School Board should think long and hard about their motion to stifle the free expression of parents at meetings of their board.  It is those parents, after all, that the Board works for, isn’t it?

Clearly this school board has forgotten that fundamental fact.

The Board claims to want input from parents, but when they are invited to Parent Advisory meetings, they can’t be bothered to show up.

As for their own Board meetings, it would seem that keeping a schedule is far more important than a parent’s concern for how the education system is being managed in Langley.

That this board “put off” voting on this motion until September is hardly something to applaud.  Rescinding the motion in its entirety would have been the honorable and decent thing to do.

But postponing it?

Are they hoping people will have forgotten their moronic plans after the summer?  Really?

“They had some correspondence that they hadn’t had time to consider.”

So says district communications manager Craig Spence.

Yes, I imagine they did.  Probably some very angry correspondence from parents and taxpayers irate at the Board’s stupidity.

Parents, indeed every taxpayer in Langley has the right to ask questions of this Scool Board.  That the Board thinks taxpayers do not have that right clearly shows they’ve outgrown their usefulness to the good citizens of Langley, British Columbia.

Regardless of whether the Langley School Board passes this motion whenever they have the balls to bring it to a vote, the citizens of Langley should, at the next civic election, kick these morons out of office and elect citizens that actually comprehend what the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms means.

Clearly the current School Board has never even read that document.

That disgusts me.

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June 10, 2011

Corporations use lawsuits to Muzzle our Freedom of Speech

Canadians supposedly enjoy, under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Right to Freedom of Speech. That Right has been reduced to a mere privilege over the past 40 years through the use of Human Rights Tribunals and Hate Crime legislation.

What used to be our God-given Right is now reduced to mere “Approved Speech”. The trouble for Canadians is this: Who must we get that approval from?

I know there are many that will say I’m full of crap, and that Canadians do indeed have Freedom of Speech.

Maybe you’ll think differently about that by the end of this article.

The latest round of attacks now comes, not from our own government like I would expect, but from corporations using our court system to silence dissent. As ridiculous as it sounds, companies are routinely filing lawsuits against individuals who disagree with a company’s practices or adherence to, for example, environmental laws.

Take the case of Serge Galipeau and Christine Landry, a couple from Cantley, Quebec, who spoke out about the foul odours and toxic emissions from a nearby garbage dump.

(more…)

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