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    Without Accountability the Rule of Law is an illusion. Shame on the International Community - Physician heal thyself! http://www.ijsd.org/2015/07/01/accountability-within-the-international-community/
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    Canadians are concerned about Bill C-51 and speaking out! The following is an informed and interesting read in that regard. C-51 – Subverting That Pesky Charter As a citizen, a veteran, a father and grandfather, I have followed carefully the unfolding of the government’s legislative approach to its critical responsibility to defend Canadians against the threat of terrorism. This analysis, focused on a particular aspect of Bill C-51, is non-partisan. I feel somewhat qualified to advance some thoughts, based upon more than 40 years in the law, including work as defence counsel and prosecutor, service as a military judge, service as a member of a Federal quasi-judicial tribunal, provision of operational advice to investigating authorities in the police and intelligence communities, and countless hours of analyzing laws and government actions as to their compliance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In particular, I’m interested in Part 4 of Bill C-51, which proposes amendments to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act to permit CSIS “to take, within and outside Canada, measures to reduce threats to the security of Canada, including measures that are authorized by the Federal Court.” Who could argue with taking measures to reduce threats to the security of Canada? What could go wrong? Please note immediately that this is a radical change in the CSIS role. At present, CSIS is authorized only to “collect, by investigation or otherwise, to the extent that it is strictly necessary, and analyse and retain information and intelligence respecting activities that may on reasonable grounds be suspected of constituting threats to the security of Canada…”. Actually taking measures to reduce threats is a whole new mandate – think every dramatic national security TV show and movie you’ve seen, think break and enter, think aggressive hacking, think rendition, think “enhanced interrogation”. Canadians have two great shields against the willful or stupid abuse of the power of the state. Our general protection – the cornerstone in the foundation of democracy – comes in the form of the Rule of Law. Canada is a country “where everyone is subject to the law; (where) no one, no matter how important or powerful, is above the law — not the government; not the prime minister, or any other minister; not the Queen or the Governor General or any lieutenant-governor; not the most powerful bureaucrat; not the armed forces; not Parliament itself, or any provincial legislature.” (Thank you, Eugene Forsey). Our specific protections are enumerated in the early sections of the Charter, which is, simply, “the supreme law of Canada”. Of particular interest are our rights to life, liberty and security of the person, the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure and the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned. What’s to worry about? With these rights firmly in place, nothing. That’s why C-51 is so wrong-headed, so dangerous, so objectionable. If enacted as written, C-51 will allow CSIS, with virtually no effective control or oversight, to ride roughshod over the Charter and its protections. It’s important to understand some things about the Charter. First, it was designed to be very hard to change: a change requires more broad-based political agreement in Canada than you’re going to see in my time. No country-wide consensus, no change, and that’s a good thing: our rights aren’t meant to be easily swept away. Specifically, the contents of the Charter cannot be changed by the Federal government acting alone. Second, although the rights aren’t absolute, the state’s ability to limit them is severely constrained. There is a provision (the “notwithstanding” clause --section 33 of the Charter) which, within limitations, allows the government to temporarily override some Charter rights. It has never been used by the Federal government. Not only would it require an Act of Parliament for every single use, the political cost would be incalculable. Definitely not a helpful tool for CSIS. Charter rights are guaranteed, “subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society”. A small number of “reasonable limit” cases have been decided by the Supreme Court of Canada after the presentation of highly complex and detailed evidence and argument on both sides of the issue. Taken together, these provisions make it plain that there simply is no quiet or easy way for the state or its agents (read CSIS) to get around that pesky Charter. Let’s keep that in mind as we look at the new powers proposed for CSIS under Bill C-51. CSIS officials will be able to apply in secret to a Federal Court judge, for a warrant allowing them to contravene a right or freedom guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Applications will be wholly one-sided, and will be based entirely on the wish list presented by the CSIS official applying for permission to violate someone’s Charter rights. If I were appearing before the Commons Committee looking at C-51, I’d want to know how the applicant’s wish list could conceivably be considered “prescribed by law”. I’d question the wisdom of handing a “reasonable limit” determination to a single Federal Court judge who won’t even be hearing both sides of the argument. I’d ask how appropriate it is to give that single judge the power to strike down a Charter right in a proceeding the record of which will almost certainly never see the light of day. I’d demand to know how that judge’s rulings on warrant applications will be appealed or reviewed (hint: there’s no provision for that in C-51, not even for a review by SIRC). C-51 is nothing more than a camouflaged attempt to hand CSIS extraordinary and frightening power to contravene Canadians’ Charter rights with very little control and no apparent oversight. Does “police state” ring a bell? These proposed measures evoke thoughts of Stalin and the Stasi. There’s no convincing evidence that we need C-51 as it stands. Canada will be the worse for it. Sincerely, Fred Blair Wooler, Ontario (Capt (N) (Ret'd) Fred Blair is an Ontario lawyer and a former Deputy Judge Advocate General)
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    Farley Mowat speaks from the grave through an impassioned and so called "retired journo", who will never get published in the local Sun Media. Very much worth a read. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Kids will never die in Iraq or Iran. Other sons & daughters will. Dear Editor: Back in 2003 when Republican George Bush lied to his own citizens and the rest of our world about Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction”, to justify his invasion of Iraq, Canadians would have followed the Americans into that bloody desert if Stephen Harper had been our Prime Minister at the time. If the Republicans gain the presidency of the United States in 2016 and Harper is re-elected as Prime Minister in 2015 chances are very good Canadian soldiers will soon be dying in Iran. Benjamin Netanyahu made that very clear when he was greeted with thunderous applause as he told Republicans crowding the US Congress last week that Iran was proceeding with its plans to get nuclear weapons to wipe Israel from the face of the Earth and something should be done about it now! Stephen Harper is unequivocal in his backing of whatever Israel does. If you do not believe me ask Senator Irving Gerstein, the Conservative Party’s head of fundraising. On February 23, 2011, Irving Gerstein was charged along with Senator Doug Finley for violations of the Canada Elections Act. Elections Canada alleged that Irving Gerstein was complicit in a scheme that involved filing false tax claims and exceeding federal spending limits on campaign advertisements. If found guilty, Gerstein would have faced up to a year in prison and fines exceeding $25,000; however, the charges were dropped after the Conservative Party agreed to pay a $52,000 fine. Chump change to Conservatives. All Canadian taxpayers are the chumps. If the above noted players are still in power over the next couple of years much more Canadian blood will flow into the sand of the Middle East. On Saturday, March 7, 2015 Canadians learned that one Canadian soldier was killed and three others wounded just behind the front line in Iraq. Friendly fire is just as deadly as unfriendly fire. Few Canadian’s believed Harper’s lie that we would be bombing Iraq with our F18s for just 60 days. He might as well have told us 10 days. This conflict has no end. We will only get in deeper, especially if the political cards fall as described above. Fifty-five seconds of clarity were left behind on the cell phone of the religious lunatic who charged onto Parliament Hill with a rifle, murdering one innocent along the way while forcing Harper to hide in a closet. Harper continually tells us he is making Canadians safer by forging Canada into a warrior nation like the Americans. In truth he is doing exactly the opposite as these words of the killer on the Hill prove: “This is in retaliation for Afghanistan and because Harper wants to send his troops to Iraq. So we are retaliating, the Mujahedin of this world. Canada’s officially become one of our enemies by fighting and bombing us. Stop occupying and killing the righteous of us who are trying to bring back religious laws in our countries. Thank you.” Therein lies the truth. While Harper takes cynical advantage of death-delivering tragedies to instill hyper-fear into Canadians on a daily basis to further his evangelical agenda what he is actually doing is making us more vulnerable to terrorism. He uses fear as the cover for his current move through Bill C-51 to establish a network of secret police. In the last chapter of Party of One author Michael Harris goes out to Cape Breton to visit Farley Mowat. Farley’s analysis of the current state of affairs was, “We don’t elect pacifists. We admire the killer instincts in leaders. It’s genetic. It is inevitable that people in high positions like Harper reach out for a bloody stick or sword. The people who run the world today are psychopaths. Everybody can see it, so why are we so obedient? All they care about is the economy because that means money. A virus is sweeping through the human race. At the top, all over the world, we are rotting away as a species from the top down. The leaders have gone beyond greed to the sheer amassing of power. There is no effective morality, just power.” And when asked what he thought of Margaret Atwood’s comment that Stephen Harper’s modus operandi was “Stalinist.” Farley replied: “Stalin had small balls compared to this guy. Stephen Harper is probably the most dangerous human being ever elevated to power in Canada. How the population has acquiesced in following this son of a bitch, and to let him take over their lives, I’ll never know. You have to create warrior nations, they are not born. They have to be made. It is the preliminary step of a tyrant. And this son of a bitch incited Canada to become a warrior nation.” In conclusion Farley said, that Fall in Cape Breton just before his death, “About the country and our future. It is like an aura that seems to have gone wrong. I have the sound of old cannon fired in 1812 in my ears. It is the sound of war again. War is coming back. There is an inevitable sense about it. I’m pretty pessimistic.” I fear Farley’s pessimism was well placed. Alan Coxwell Stirling, Ontario
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    Sending Godspeed and best wishes to my friend and fellow Lib to Sharlene Weitzman in her climbing of Mt Kilimanjaro on behalf of kids and others. Gives walking for charity a whole new perspective:-) Not too late to contribute! http://outwardboundcanada.blogspot.ca/?m=1
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