Thursday, February 22, 2007

Update on Anti-Terrorist Laws

The acrimoniousness of the debate about these laws (including an attempted low blow on a Gliberal MP by Prime Minister Stephen Harpie in the House of Common Bawdy Houses) is a clear demonstration of the essential dichotomy our (western) society has experienced since 9/11. The pendulum has two ends: preservation of civil liberties; and maintenance of security.

Proponents of extending the laws say these extraordinary powers are necessary -- just in case we need them.

Opponents point to the fact that we have never yet used them, that good ordinary police work is sufficient, and therefore they are not necessary.

I say nothing at all justifies the abrogation of fundamental civil liberties such as the right to a fair trial, the right to representation, the right to face one's accuser, the right to know the evidence against one, the freedom from torture.

To contemplate the possibility that such fundamental rights can be by-passed even temporarily (and what is temporary? Five years, as is the case with some of those held under security certificates?) is to admit that Canada is no longer a democratic state.

Of what use is security if our civil liberties are not secure?

Has the pendulum swung too far? I think it has. What do you think?

As for the political elements of this. The Gliberals are taking a bit of a beating about this, because they're opposing the extension of the laws...laws which they themselves introduced. If I remember correctly, they opposed the sunset clause at the time. Now they're trying to take advantage of it. I'm inclined to let the Gliberals get away with this (cuz I oppose the laws). The so-called sunset clause was included for a reason. These are extreme measures and should not be allowed to stand unexamined. Now it's time to examine them, and thoughtful, conscientious MPs are allowed to change their minds about whether they are necessary.

Digg! diigo it

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