Reaction to surveillance at Canadian airports
Our story on new HD video cameras and microphones being installed at a Canadian airport and our story Public Safety Minister Vic Toews subsequently ordering those microphones not be used for surveillance combined for over 1,200 comments.
Some were relieved that the Canadian Border Services Agency was told to stop listening in on travellers' conversations, but some doubted Toews' sincerity on the issue.
- "Common sense prevails. For once," said citizenyep.
- "Not holding my breath. They did the same thing about Bill C-30. Let it sit for a few months until it stopped getting as much press and then re-introduced it--after making it worse," said Unexploded.
- "I can hear Vic now.... 'I'm shocked, shocked to find that illegal surveillance of Canadians is going on here,'" said NoDogma.
- "I am tired of Vic Toews's proposed and actual breaches of our privacy -- whether it be in conversations he wants to record at borders or in spying on our use of the internet -- always justified in the name of crime prevention. Warrants, sir, court-issued warrants, are what are -- and should be -- required before you ever spy and eavesdrop on any of us. And those warrants should be granted to you only in exceptional circumstances by a fully independent judiciary," said sealag.
- "Did you read the article or just go automatically into a rant about the Conservatives? The CBSA instituted this policy and the Conservatives put a stop to it. The complete opposite of your anti-Conservative childish rant," replied Specimen Yarp.
- "There is a quaint notion you may want to familiarize yourself with -- a concept antiquated under the Harper Conservatives: Ministerial responsibility," replied sealag.
Other commenters also harkened back to the online surveillance bill in their criticism of Toews.
- "Toews assured MPs that 'the privacy rights of law-abiding Canadians are respected at all times." Really? This is the same person who suggested Canadian are with the government on internet privacy or are with the child pornographers? I am getting the impression that Canadians are not considered 'law-abiding' if they overtly oppose what this government is doing," said acerbic_two.
- "Canada has really become a scary country to live in. Canadians were brought up thinking that eavesdropping was prevalent in the communist countries but never in our own backyard. This is really scary stuff folks and Canadians from coast to coast have to tell our government to put the brakes on this B.S. because we are heading for an Orwellian future. I voted for Harpers government in the last Federal election and I am now totally regretting what I did, this government is starting to scare the hell out of me," said SUNLOVER.
- "It really is outrageous that we continually find sneaky attempts by this government to bypass legal rights provided by the charter...and basic democracy," said Groucho4EVER.
CBC Community member HoboMan suggested turning the tables on the government.
"This kind of technology should be placed in every office of every MP and every minister's office and information freely available to the RCMP so that they can monitor all the conversations to detect possible illegal doings within those offices. After all, if you are an MP and not doing anything wrong then there should be no problem having law enforcement listen in on you. If any of you, including Vic Toews are against this, then you are with the criminals."
And JimLang addressed an argument in favour of more government surveillance that we see many times in the comments of these stories.
"I've lived long enough to have heard the phrase, 'Law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear,' many times and each time it causes me to shiver. Advocates for greater policing powers have always trotted it out to reassure us that limits on our rights are not an issue if we're not breaking any laws. In our democracy we cherish our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the State is not allowed to intrude on our privacy unless it suspects us of breaking the law--and even then, it must use proper procedures, such as getting court orders etc. This is how we prevent our democracy from becoming a police state.
"Mr. Toews seems far too willing to trot down the authoritarian path in order to seem to be seen as 'tough on crime.' Time and again he is hauled back to earth by our pesky Charter--the same Charter that the Conservatives not only refuse to celebrate, but often publicly disparage. Canadians should be worried. You'll note that the government did not inform us of their intentions in advance, just as they didn't tell us about changing OAS, EI, killing environmental and democracy watch groups. What might we expect next? Jackboots on our doorsteps?"
Thank you, as always, for following our coverage. Please feel free to comment on or challenge any of these points and continue the conversation below.
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