For the past couple of years, the Senate, you know, that appointed body of people who are either retired politicians or people who couldn’t get elected to office, worked on an Anti-Terrorism Bill. The bill has a list of goodies for the RCMP and local police, but here are the two worst things that it has:
- Pre-emptive Arrest: The police can arrest you and hold you for 72 hours because of mere suspicion. It's arguable that the police can already do that, but now they need even less evidence to do so.</li>
- Imprisonment for up to 12 months for refusing to testify during an investigative hearing</li> </ul> The second one should sound familiar, because it is</a>. Remember what happened to Matt Duran, Maddy Pfeiffer and Kteeo Olejnik? Now the witch-hunts can happen north of the border as well. This means that I can face a year in prison for not cooperating with an investigative hearing. If they can come for me, they can come for you just for having that one weird friend. I know that once S7 passes, I'm going to have a to get an emergency "Joe's going to jail for no fucking good reason" account going because if I'm asked to testify, I'd rather go to jail for the 12 months than tell the state even the most mundane shit. The fact is that the state shouldn't be able to go on fishing expeditions and this new power in this Anti-Terrorism legislation allows them to do so in Canada. What is the status of Bill S-7?</strong> Bill S-7 is out of the senate, and is now in the House of Commons. Not only that, this has passed the second reading of the House of Commons</a>, which means that only one more vote by the House of Commons will make this thing a law. This is kind of the reverse of the usual parliamentary process since this was a bill that was written up by unelected officials who were appointed by Stephen Harper and other past Prime Ministers. This is also why both the Liberal Party of Canada and the Conservative Party support this bill. The likelihood of this bill going into law is really good. S7 in Committee: Reading Committee Minutes is HARD</strong> It seems that the committee is talking a lot about September 11th, Air India and the Toronto 18 and that this is done with a certain type of terrorist in mind. I have to say that the NDP really did a good job on this committee, and that's why they're voting against this legislation. They have been asking the questions that I would have asked, and I find it strange that the Liberal Party of Canada is mostly silent and useless on this. They pressed on the Beyond the Border program, Exit Visas and other issues. The Civil Libertarians that came before the committee did get their point across, but it seemed like the Conservatives were constantly trying to pit them against the victims of terrorism as if it was a zero sum game between the two. The fact of the matter is that it should never be a zero-sum game. Also, I agree with the Canadian Bar Association about the worth of a law to compel people to testify. This is an excellent reality check</a> when you look at actual terrorism versus what the state calls terrorism. While I don't see this making the public any safer from terrorist attacks from those that committed the Boston Marathon, I do see this as making the government able to silence critics by throwing them in jail for not wanting to testify against their associates. The number one cop-out that the government has is the reasonable limits clause, which is basically what the government uses when they create these bullshit laws. They say that because there is terrorism, it's reasonable to pre-emptively arrest someone based on their political beliefs, or based on what they were doing in another country, whether or not it's terrorism. For example, do my trips to Chaos Communications Congress and Chaos Communications Camp count as terrorist training? It seemed to back when I was under surveillance by the RCMP during the Olympics. When the word terrorism means nothing, and when the government tries to use that term to cover movements like Idle No More and the environmental movement as a whole, we're going to be in a really serious police state rather quickly. I feel that we should have mobilized against this bill long ago, and we should have at least done the whole petition thing to stop this like what happened with Internet Spying. The thing is that this is so much worse than the internet spying bills, since this has to do with freedom of association. If you're suspected of associating with terrorists, you'll be dragged into questioning, and if you don't sell out your friends, you'll be jailed. While that may be common practice in the US already, and may be a common practice in Canada soon, it does make us all far less free. Sorry for the lack of substance in this post. In the next week or so, I'll fire off a series of ATIPs to CSIS, RCMP, CBSA and others about their S7 briefings, and how they're pushing for these new powers. I probably won't get all the answers, but at least what we will get may see the light of day.