Friday, March 27, 2015

A Step in the Right (er... Correct) Direction

Newsflash: Anti-Terror Bill C-51 to be Scaled Back as Tories Respond to Criticism

I'll have to read what the amendments they are proposing are. All I know so far is what's in the CBC article linked above, which was published while I was at work. So I have no comment yet, except to say that up until now, I hadn't read any indication that the government was open to any sort of amendment. So this is a step in the right direction. And I do know that other bills the government has propsed over the past few years, which would have had privacy implications, have been dramatically scaled back after public pressure (or the supreme court ruling them unconstitutional). A future post will give you a few examples. I have half of it written, but then I realized that fact checking will take hours and it's 11PM and I want to get this post out.

I think what would be really useful is one of those comparison charts you often get for the free vs. "professional" version of software (like this), except like this:

Definition of “activities that undermine the security of Canada”

Removal of “lawful” to exempt all protest, including civil disobedience

Problem 3

Problem 4

to allow people to easily compare the amendments that are on the table.

But I haven't made that table yet. How I'm going to do it is to take this document from, make a list of all the suggestions it makes, and see which of them are covered in each of the partys' suggested amendment schemes. That could take a while, but there's a weekend, so I guess it'll be OK. If anyone who happens to be on the other side of the world and will be awake for the 8 hours or so that I'm soon going to be asleep, and wants to just do it for me and e-mail it to, that would be wonderful. If you can find details on what each of the parties are proposing. I know Elizabeth May (Green) is going to have hers out on Monday, but the Conservatives and the NDP seem to have theirs ready. (Note: I don't draw any negative conclusions from the fact that she didn't have amendments ready to go immediately. I'm really looking forward to seeing what Elizabeth May proposes. I was at a lecture where she was speaking earlier this week, and she talked about C-51 for a few minutes, and her comments were 100% accurate, and summarized the problems eloquently but in a way that was easy to understand. I was very impressed, and I think she understands this bill very well.)

A closing note: Just because the government is now open to amendments, doesn't mean victory for the people who have raised issues with this bill. It's just the first step in the right direction. But it's a big step, so that's good.