The ‘Total Information Awareness’ Crowd Depends On Canadians Volunteering To Be Dumb Cattle

Michael Geist

Michael Geist

"Total Information Awareness": The Disastrous Privacy Consequences of Bill C-51 – Michael Geist.

Michael Geist is one of the good guys, even if he makes me nuts when he joins two sentences with ‘however’ on a regular basis. I also can’t follow much of what he says because he makes little effort to put his commentary into terms that non experts like myself can understand. Still…

An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Michael Geist follows:

The House of Commons debate over Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism bill, began yesterday with strong opposition from the NDP, disappointing support from the Liberals, and an effort to politicize seemingly any criticism or analysis from the Conservative government. With the government already serving notice that it will limit debate, the hopes for a non-partisan, in-depth analysis of the anti-terrorism legislation may have already been dashed. This is an incredibly troubling development since the proposed legislation has all the hallmarks of being pulled together quickly with limited analysis…

The only detailed review to date has come from Professors Kent Roach and Craig Forcese. Their ongoing work – three lengthy background papers so far (Advocating or Promoting Terrorism, new CSIS powers, expanded information sharing) – provides by far the most exhaustive analysis of the bill and is a must-read for anyone concerned with the issue…

1. Information sharing purposes

The bill opens the door to information sharing due to “activity that undermines the security of Canada.” Rather than using the CSIS Act definition, however, it creates a new expansive definition that covers:
any activity, including any of the following activities, if it undermines the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of Canada or the lives or the security of the people of Canada: (a) interference with the capability of the Government of Canada in relation to intelligence, defence, border operations, public safety, the administration of justice, diplomatic or consular relations, or the economic or financial stability of Canada;
(b) changing or unduly influencing a government in Canada by force or unlawful means;
(c) espionage, sabotage or covert foreign-influenced activities;
(d) terrorism;
(e) proliferation of nuclear, chemical, radiological or biological weapons;
(f) interference with critical infrastructure;
(g) interference with the global information infrastructure, as defined in section 273.61 of the National Defence Act; [that provision reads: ““global information infrastructure” includes electromagnetic emissions, communications systems, information technology systems and networks, and any data or technical information carried on, contained in or relating to those emissions, systems or networks.”]
(h) an activity that causes serious harm to a person or their property because of that person’s association with Canada; and
(i) an activity that takes place in Canada and undermines the security of another state. For greater certainty, it does not include lawful advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression.

Terrorism is included within the definition, but several of these provisions would seemingly allow for information sharing for almost any investigative purpose, particularly “public safety” and the “economic or financial stability of Canada” (think of the government’s recent reaction to the proposed CP strike, which was said to have major implications for the protection of the Canadian economy).

Steven Blaney (photo by Adrian Wyld w Canadian Press) Stephen Harper and Peter Munk (photo by Darren Calabrese w Canadian Press)

Steven Blaney (photo by Adrian Wyld w Canadian Press) Stephen Harper and Peter Munk (photo by Darren Calabrese w Canadian Press)

My online response to the above linked-to article follows:

(i) an activity that takes place in Canada and undermines the security of another state. For greater certainty, it does not include lawful advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression.

Where’s the out for Canadian mining companies in that? Then again, Laws can always be broken by those with the ‘right’ political views or connections. Bruce Livesay’s book, “Thieves Of Bay Street,” makes the point that Canadian banks are protected from serious examination by the RCMP because of their connections to politicians. Similarly, Prime Minister Harper is protected from serious examination by any agency due to his, and their, fear of and partnership with uncle Sam. Anyone imagining that Stephen Harper, who was cited by Peter Milliken for contempt of Parliament (a finding supported later by the Procedure Committee), is all about law and order should examine Yves Engler’s book titled “The Ugly Canadian.”

Regarding Canada-based mining companies, still free to destroy ‘everywhere’ since our law and order-minded PM and other ‘honorable’ MPs killed off Bill C-300 (, consider the following:

“Canadian mining corporations operate thousands of mining projects outside this country and many of these mines have displaced communities, destroyed ecosystems and provoked violence. Pick almost any country in the Global South – from Papua New Guinea to Ghana, Ecuador and the Philippines – and you will find a Canadian-run mine that has caused environmental devastation or been the scene of violent confrontations…

“Under Harper all levels of Canadian diplomacy have promoted mining. Anthony Bebbington, director of the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University, told the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development in February 2012 that a “sub-secretary in a [Latin American] ministry of energy and mines” told him “as far as I can tell, the Canadian ambassador here is a representative for Canadian mining companies.” The Massachusetts-based academic also quoted an unnamed Latin American environment minister, who complained about Canadian lobbying and mining, saying: “I don’t know if Canada has been quite so discredited in its history.””

In this upside down world, and with ramped up police state laws like C-51, corporations working with governments will do much of the terrorism happening while those, including immediate, direct victims of it, will wear the (government’s) label of terrorist. It’s upside down. It’s perverse. It’s godless. But God, who they who would replace God, call by all their violence and perversity to “Bring it!,” has taken notice.

*edit, October 13, 2017 – The quote in the above online response is from pages 43, 52 & 53 of Yves Engler’s “The Ugly Canadian.”

*edit, June 17, 2016 – Re-reading this, I see that I totally bungled the last sentence of the above quote. The reader might not even know what I’m saying, it’s so garbled. It should look more like this: “But the false God of humankind, who would replace God, by all their violence and perversity call for the true God to “Bring it!” And he has taken notice.”

Kent Roach and Craig Forcese’s papers:

Bill C-51 Backgrounder #1: The New Advocating or Promoting Terrorism Offence

Bill C-51 Backgrounder #2: The Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s Proposed Power to ‘Reduce’ Security Threats Through Conduct that May Violate the Law and Charter

Bill C-51 Backgrounder # 3: Sharing Information and Lost Lessons from the Maher Arar Experience

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