Let freedom stand
Don’t let the Ottawa tragedy serve as cover for rights removals.
Author: Sydney McWilliams
In the wake of the terrible tragedy at Parliament Hill, Stephen Harper and his government are panicking. There is no doubt in my mind that being attacked on our soil is frightening. However, we cannot give too much power to our police and security forces before Canada heads down a dark path to a police state. Every leader of the three major political parties made statements about the shooting; of the three, Harper seemed to be the most affected. Trudeau and Mulcair all but pleaded for these events not to change the strong welcoming nation that we are, but Harper is now fast-tracking new legislation that will give Canada’s police force more power.
The Combating Terrorism Act was first passed after the 9/11 attacks; another bill was passed in April of 2013 that amended the first act and put in new additions. Now in 2014, Harper is planning to make changes to a bill with already controversial aspects. If these changes pass, it will make it easier for police to make preventive arrests when they suspect terrorism. So, if the police thought you were suspicious or planning on acting on terrorism, they can arrest and detain you without an actual charge. They can also make you regularly check in with officers, again without actual charges. This sounds fantastic on the surface, but if you really think about it, how are they getting this information? They do not automatically know who is going to be planning these attacks. There are really only two explanations for this and they all lead to the same point. Either the government is racially stereotyping groups of people and watching them, or they are watching everyone under the guise of national security. I feel as though these new laws are a dismissal of civil rights. I do believe that our government should do everything in its power to keep its people safe, but giving the police more power is a drastic and rushed way of going about it. Rather than actually not running scared, Harper is saying to the world that these attacks can and will change the free country that we live in.
One of the only laws that I agree with is making it illegal to glorify a terrorist act online. In modern society, people should know that the Internet is not, and never will be, a private affair. Anything you send, post, or download can and will be seen by somebody else. Terrorism is illegal and glorifying or condoning these acts online should be illegal, too, because by doing this, you are supporting a threat to our national security.
However, I believe most of these new laws to be completely unnecessary. Try as we might, we are never going to be able to completely stop terrorism; it is by definition the act of using terror to achieve a political, religious or ideological end. It has been going on since man has been on this Earth. We should not have to give up our civil rights in order to feel safe.