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“Big Brother” is officially watching us. A recent article in the Toronto Star reports that Defence Minister Peter MacKay has issued new instructions to Canada’s electronic eavesdropping agency that detail how and when it can help the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP investigate Canadians.
They are watching who we talk to. They want to know who we associating with. They want to know which countries we are travelling to. They have been reading our private emails. When we dare to remind Big Brother that he is supposed to be working for us, when we remind Big Brother that we are supposed to be living in a free and democratic country, the representatives of Big Brother line up like a uniform chorus from a Greek tragedy and gently admonish us with stories of boogeyman terrorists in the wake of 9/11.
Sadly, most Canadians are perfectly willing to trade their hard-earned freedoms for a false sense of security. I for one do not wish to slide down the slippery slope of apathy and indifference and eventually embrace the political ethos and mindset endorsed and justified by a totalitarian state.
The representatives from the government with velvet voices, smooth and cold, ask us to “trust” them. They try to assure us that there are plenty of safeguards “built in” within the checks and balances within our justice system to keep them in check. They try to placate us by saying that the jack-booted men with big guns and waterboarding kits will only go after the guilty parties. The majority of us will be left alone. We must not worry. They want us to accept their not so subtle message: If you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about.
I am being asked to trust institutions that destroy incriminating emails in financial scandals and arrange to pay off party hack debts by using hidden funds. I am asked to trust institutions that deliberately keep the truth from us and spy on us without our knowledge or consent. I am asked to trust institutions that when asked, “Which kind of programs, and how many different programs, do you guys have to spy on us?” typically reply, “We can’t tell you.”
I regret to advise that I personally have a lot of issues “trusting” institutions as such. History has shown that absolute power, even when given to a democratically elected leader, where he goes on public television and openly declares, “I am not a crook” cannot be absolutely “trusted.” For those of you, who have forgotten your recent history, refer to the Watergate scandal.
I would urge all Canadians to remain very skeptical of those who seek to permanently take away our rights in a free and democratic society in “secret.” Those who seek to gain our trust must earn that sacred trust by actual deeds and honest sacrifice. We cannot be told that they are all above board when there is evidence to the contrary.
We cannot be kept in the constant dark because we are deemed to be the ignorant masses. We deserve better. We deserve more respect. They work for us.