Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Update #2 on Anti-Terrorist Laws

Well, well, the Supreme Court of Canada made waves in the New York Times. An editorial on the 27th praised the Court for its decision to limit the sweeping powers of security certificates.

Ok, so not everybody thinks the NY Times is such a big deal, but you all remember what Frank Sinatra said..."If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere..."

First of all, the editorial reminded me that the Court was unanimous in its decision. (But it also wasn't completely dismissive of the concept of security certificates.)

Secondly, the editorial compared the legal situation in the US unfavourably to that in Canada:
The contrast with the United States could not be more disturbing. The Canadian court ruling came just days after a federal appeals court in Washington ruled that Congress could deny inmates of the Guantánamo Bay detention camp the ancient right to challenge their confinement in court. The 2006 military tribunals law revoked that right for a select group who had been designated “illegal enemy combatants” without a semblance of judicial process.

In late January, Canada created another unflattering contrast with United States policy when it offered a formal apology and financial compensation to Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen who was a victim of Mr. Bush’s decision to approve open-ended detentions, summary deportations and even torture after 9/11.
And thirdly, it gave high praise to the Court at the end:
Lawmakers have only to look to the Canadian court for easy-to-follow directions back to the high ground on basic human rights and civil liberties.
Canada is not the US. It is not Australia. It is not France or Germany or Great Britain. Thank God, too, it is not Iraq or Saudi Arabia, oily as they may be.

Meanwhile, tomorrow is the day the other two laws lapse, having been defeated in the House of Common Bawdy Houses a couple days ago. There was an enormous degree of politicking going on around this, which I find rather distasteful. It just seems to me certain laws or principles are beyond muckraking politics and civil liberties is one of them (or group of them...civil liberties are...a group of them...how the hell do you say this grammatically?)

Related to this, I'm embarrassed to see the tone of the commentary I've been reading on the Net, on blogs and in comments and on public sites. I'm beginning to think the more I read these sites, the less I like the people who read them (or comment on them).

Oops! What did I just say? I don't like people who read and comment on blogs? (But am I not one of them? If you prick me, do I not blog?)

Let's say, certain sites. As I mentioned a few posts ago, I signed up with Digg. I've been on there a few times since, and some of the people commenting on submitted articles are real jerks. Downright rude. Clever sometimes, but rude in the process, even abusive. Same goes for some of the conservative political blogs I've been on. And the jerks come from all sides of the spectrum.

As with many things in life, the readers of these sites most often go there to reinforce the views they already hold. If someone with a different point of view or even a more nuanced one wades into the fray, he/she is liable to be pilloried and called all sorts of unspeakable names.

A little civility please!

In our blogosphere. And in our civil society. It seems to me that Canada is coming back to its senses (a little) since the orgy of fear created by 9/11. In other words a more civil civil society.

(Then again, we did throw a little girl off the soccer field for wearing a hijab....)

PS. I have a copy of the Supreme Court's decision, but it's something like 80 pages and my reading list is already too long. I'll let you know if I dig anything out of it...

Digg! diigo it

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