In the midst of the honeymoon period of the new Justin Trudeau Liberal government, we’re seeing positive changes in a lot of the top areas that resonate with Canadians. However, we’ve still not heard anything about resolving Bill C-51, one of the top political issues in Canada this year.
This is the controversial “Anti-Terrorism Act” of 2015, the straw that broke the Canadian surveillance culture camel’s back.
A quick reminder that surveillance culture in Canada really got a push at Christmas 2001 with Bill C-36, the first omnibus anti-terrorism bill that was perceived as incompatible with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that culture has grown with a new bill from almost every terrorist related tragedy in the United States or Canada since. We continue to react to terrorism, letting the agenda of the terrorists win.
We want a leader that does not let the terrorists win.
We’ve yet to see a leader in the global community stand firmly aligned with privacy, liberty, and human rights in an effort to unite a country to let terrorists know that a single death, or a lot, will not have any impact on our policy. We want a leader that does not let the terrorists win. That is the country where we want to live.
It seems obvious that the longer we proactively fight in illegal wars on foreign soil, the longer that terrorism is likely to exist on our soil. It seems that every time we have homegrown terrorism the one thing the religious extremists all claim, is that their actions are based on our illegal military intervention in the middle east.
As terrorism continues around the world, the recent tragedy in Paris demonstrates that with 14 years of effectively untethered surveillance and attackers using unencrypted text messages over the public cell phone networks, that broad surveillance is not an effective solution in terms of prevention or cost.
There is a hornet’s nest in the middle east right now, and it will not get resolved through the current war on terrorism, but will require UN or at least full NATO intervention. Anything less is putting our own citizens at risk for a generation until we pull out of participating in unsanctioned intervention. Surveilling every Canadian at home will not resolve this, it only makes us less safe.
Let’s start the national conversation about terrorism, surveillance culture, and more immediately, the repeal of Bill C-51.
What would it take to engage the Privacy Commissioner, civil liberties groups, data security experts, industry, law enforcement, and intelligence alike to come up with a collaborative strategy that can get Canada back into a global leadership role in the area of privacy and data security while handling our international commitments.
We’re ready to resolve Bill C-51 and surveillance culture in this country, and leverage the economic and safety benefits of doing so.
Not only would such a strategy make Canadians safer, there is a large pending business opportunity to improving privacy and data security in the post-Snowden world, as the global community looks for a trusted country to host their data. I would like to see Canada positioned as that country. I envision a Canada where warrantless dragnet surveillance is not the default, but instead we have a trusted warrant based process with transparency, oversight, and accountability that has the trust of the global data community, especially the tech sector.
But first, we must repeal Bill C-51, and have commitment from our leadership to curtail the failed global surveillance culture. My company, PrivaSecTech, along with other leaders in the industry have written Mr. Trudeau regarding the Urgent Need for Debate on Bill C-51’s legacy. We’re ready to resolve Bill C-51 and surveillance culture in this country, and leverage the economic and safety benefits of doing so.
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