The Real Agenda behind Bill C-51

Buried behind the government’s simplistic anti-terror talking points is a desire to liberate CSIS from its dysfunctional relationship with the RCMP

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Photograph of Bill C-51 protesters by Jeremy Board
Jeremy Board / CC BY 2.0 Vancouver rallies against Bill C-51.

As criticism mounts over the federal government’s controversial new security legislation, Bill C-51, the Conservatives have fallen back on a series of point-form justifications—one of which is that the new law would “Allow CSIS agents to speak with the parents of radicalized youth in order to disrupt terrorist travel plans.”

Certainly, no reasonable person could object to such a policy. But government agents already perform such family interventions under existing legal rules. So why mention this example in official talking points, unless the object is to distract attention from the many areas in which CSIS powers will be expanded in unsettling ways?

Under C-51, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service will be allowed to take any action that agency officials believe is reasonable to “reduce . . . threats to the security of Canada,” including (with judicial permission provided after a secret, one-sided hearing) breaking the law and violating the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The only outer constraint is that CSIS must not inflict bodily harm, obstruct justice, or violate sexual integrity.

Such broadly defined powers are very different from merely sending agents to speak “with the parents of radicalized youth.” Moreover, these new provisions will apply to CSIS’s full security mandate, not just anti-terrorism. The agency will be able to exercise these powers to reduce threats associated with sabotage, espionage, foreign-influenced activity, and subversion.

Government counter-subversion campaigns—which involve the infiltration and surveillance of anarchists and other radical groups that seek to overthrow the existing social, economic, and political order—were abandoned by CSIS years ago. However, the powers were never deleted from the statute, as recommended by CSIS’s review body, the Security Intelligence Review Committee. So CSIS’s power to engage in counter-subversion technically remains on the books, only a change in government policy away from being reactivated.

This fact raises legitimate concerns that, under Bill C-51, CSIS will be able to play “dirty tricks” on protesters it believes are attempting to undermine Canada’s constitutional system of government. That would be darkly ironic, given that one of the reasons CSIS was created as a pure intelligence agency in the first place was public anger over the litany of rogue, illegal activities perpetrated by the RCMP in the 1970s.

As for CSIS’s mandate to monitor “foreign-influenced” activity in Canada, the Security Intelligence Review Committee has recommended that it be tightened. Instead, with the expanded powers contained in Bill C-51, CSIS will not only be permitted to continue focusing on (for instance) suspicious Chinese state-sponsored activity in Canada; it also will have the legal authority to, say, provide misinformation to anonymous foreign environmentalists seeking to fund a secretive civil disobedience protest against the Keystone XL pipeline or other Ottawa-supported energy projects.

In broad terms, Bill C-51 converts CSIS from a mere information-collection agency into one that also can take kinetic steps to address a broad range of security threats. Despite this important policy shift, the government has hewed to a superficial narrative that focuses almost entirely on frightening rhetoric involving Islamist terrorists, or else harmless-seeming references to discussions with family members of at-risk youth. Sadly, most commentators have followed suit.

What is the government’s real goal in pushing Bill C-51? From what has been said on the record by government witnesses at parliamentary hearings, we can infer that one government priority is to give CSIS the power to detain, if not formally arrest, suspects who are being investigated. Some government statements on the record also suggest that the bill could even facilitate foreign renditions—which is to say, forcibly removing a person from one state to another through extraordinary and controversial means.

Unfortunately, we don’t really know the full extent to which CSIS would use the powers contained in C-51, because the government won’t tell us. As a result, Canadians are unable to have a full democratic debate on whether the proposed legislative changes are worth the price we will pay in civil liberties. This marks an enormous departure from the sort of public discussion that has taken place since 9/11 in other advanced democracies—including the UK’s recent debate on “temporary exclusion orders” of citizens who joined foreign terrorist fights.

In recent weeks, we have been speaking to counterparts in comparable nations—notably the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States. None of these countries appear to issue their CSIS equivalents with an open-ended, indefinite power to break the law. In Australia, for instance, the CSIS equivalent may disrupt a computer system, but it can do so only pursuant to a detailed warrant issued under the provisions of a tightly administered legal framework that itself is subject to review by an inspector general, as well as potential scrutiny from a special security committee of the Australian parliament.

The United Kingdom, meanwhile, has just witnessed a vigorous debate about what steps its agencies may take to limit re-entry of UK nationals who have become foreign paramilitary fighters. It has not given its security services—either MI5 or its foreign service, MI6 (of James Bond fame)—special new powers to break the law or violate human rights.

None of that informed debate is occurring (or, it seems, will occur) in Canada, because our government has chosen simply to provide a virtual carte blanche to CSIS, allowing it to pick from a long menu of surveillance and “disruption” techniques. These new powers are subject to judicial approval processes only when they would violate Canadian law or the Charter, in a proceeding in which the government is the only party, there is no possibility of appeal, and no public disclosure of any warrant issued.

We consider ourselves to be moderate-minded academics, not activists. We aren’t conspiracy theorists, and we generally believe that CSIS officials do not have malign intentions. Indeed, we don’t think CSIS really wants to be in the rendition game. We don’t think CSIS has any interest in running a detention facility, either at home or abroad. We don’t think CSIS wants to perform a political function by steering foreign environmental foundations away from funding local protest groups. But this is a law that may persist for a long time, and as with any government agency, the intentions of CSIS may well change as internal cultures evolve and, even in good faith, the service tests the bounds of its new powers.

In this regard, one issue that deserves emphasis is the agency’s long-standing difficulty in working hand in glove with law enforcement. This issue, which has become a preoccupation among many CSIS officials, was closely studied by the commission of inquiry into the investigation of the bombing of Air India Flight 182. Our familiarity with that work leads us to suspect that long-standing “de-confliction” problems between CSIS and RCMP operations—as well as related concerns about CSIS operations becoming fodder in criminal trials—is a central factor motivating the creation of C-51.

Consider the testimony of Joseph Fogarty, who until recently served as UK security liaison to Canada. Speaking before the senate committee studying C-51 on April 2, he offered these comments:

A key difference at the time [of my assignment to Canada] between the UK and Canadian operational systems was that CSIS and the RCMP had not been provided with a framework within which they could both share information extensively and also protect themselves from the disclosure of sensitive capability and relationships when encountering the criminal justice system.

By this, Fogarty referred to the reluctance of CSIS agents to reveal their sources and undercover operations to the RCMP, and a related wariness by the RCMP to receive information not collected according to the evidential standards that a court will expect. (Bill C-51, Fogarty observed, “does not solve [this] fundamental problem in the information sharing relationship between CSIS and the RCMP.” More on this below.)

In 2010, the Air India commission recommended that the government force CSIS to share information about terrorism offences. But the government rejected this idea. Indeed, in his testimony before the Senate, Fogarty confirmed that, at the very time the commission was doing its work, CSIS still was keeping critical information out of RCMP hands.

While the Toronto 18 terrorism case often is cited as an exemplar of the modern, closer relations between CSIS and the RCMP, court decisions, such as an April 8, 2009 judgment on disclosure in the case of R v. Ahmad, suggest that problems remain. Fogarty testified that during this investigation:

CSIS discovered the location of a suspected terrorist training camp inside Canada. This is not an insignificant thing to discover. Having discovered it, knowing it has no executive authority of its own—it’s not a police service and at the time couldn’t disrupt [the camp]—it decides not to tell the RCMP about it.


. . . .  later on in that investigation, CSIS realized that the RCMP was following the wrong targets. So, having identified certain people who are believed, by that stage, to be threats to public safety, realizing that the RCMP was following the wrong people, CSIS decided not to say anything.

In other words, CSIS limited its disclosures to the RCMP even when such reticence threatened to place criminal investigations and prosecutions—indeed public safety—at risk.

The pattern recurred years later in the Jeffrey Delisle matter—a case in which a Canadian naval officer was found to be spying for the Russians. The Canadian Press reported in May 2013 that CSIS knew of the spying but had failed to alert the RCMP, which learned of the espionage (and arrested Delisle) only after receiving a tipoff from the FBI.

One large reason why CSIS is so slow to share information with the police is that Canada has extremely broad criminal trial disclosure obligations under the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark 1991 Stinchcombe decision. That judgment dictated that the Crown must provide the criminally accused with all relevant evidence—even evidence that is not cited directly by prosecutors.

CSIS does not want its lifeblood of informers leaked via RCMP disclosures to defendants. The police, in turn, have learned to live with less CSIS-provided information than would be ideal, because they often share CSIS’s reluctance to reveal secret information. The scenarios at play here are far from hypothetical. To avoid disclosing the identity of informers, for instance, two prosecutions of alleged Sikh terrorism were terminated in the 1980s and 1990s—including that of the alleged mastermind of the 1985 Air India bombing.

Comparing the Canadian situation to that of the UK, Fogarty observed:

Imagine, going back to the 1980s or 1990s, that MI5 sees a Provisional IRA active service unit, realizes that the military and the police are following the wrong people and decides not to say anything. It’s a tragedy waiting to happen. You have been remarkably lucky, as a country, that you have not faced fast-moving, sophisticated opponents since 2001, because you could have been living in tragedy here.

Critically, C-51 will not fix the above-described intelligence-to-evidence problem. Yes, the bill broadens the possibility of information sharing—something that always has been a prospect for CSIS and RCMP in criminal cases. But it does not follow the Air India commission’s recommendations in compelling CSIS to notify other agencies of information regarding suspected terrorists.

Instead, C-51 offers CSIS an alternative strategy: the agency will be able to do an end-run around the dilemma of handing information to the police by exercising its new disruption powers. It will be able to so unilaterally, without participation by the police or anyone else, and avoid the problem of subsequent disclosures during criminal prosecutions.

This prospect seems to have been confirmed in the testimony of Ray Boisvert, former CSIS director of intelligence, in testimony to the Commons committee studying C-51:

While I was with CSIS, I often worried that our tool kit was highly restricted by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act. Disclosure rules of the day thwarted the flow of potential intelligence leads. Other impediments hampered the transfer of CSIS intelligence into viable evidence for the RCMP . . . I was involved in it in the Toronto 18 investigation and in subsequent terrorism-related charges. I worked with the RCMP as the director general of counterterrorism. I can tell you it is a very complex choreography. This bill will give CSIS a chance to more directly deal with threats without having to engage in that choreography.

At some level, this CSIS unilateralism may sound attractive: by keeping sensitive information within one silo, it may help agents do a better job of keeping our country safe from terrorism and other deadly threats. But caution is warranted. The new physical role that C-51 gives CSIS amounts to sidelining the traditional criminal justice model of anti-terrorism in favour of a more fluid, potentially more lawless covert disruption approach. Even setting aside the troubling civil-liberties implications, we worry about its sustainability as a security strategy for reasons explained in the hypothetical contained in the paragraphs following.

To properly understand this example, consider that the RCMP and its partners already have an established “counter violent extremism” (CVE) program by which they discuss the problem of radicalism with Canadians in at-risk communities. The literature suggests that such programs may be our most important weapon against terror incubation. But this initiative depends on willing participation by community members, especially (given the current security environment) those in the Muslim community. It also requires ample “pre-criminal space” in which those with radical sympathies—but who as yet show no violent tendencies—are able to voice their opinions. But under Bill C-51, that “pre-criminal space” shrinks. That’s because the government is introducing a new speech crime that targets anyone who, by speaking, writing, recording, gesturing or through other visible representations, knowingly advocates or promotes the plausible commission of “terrorism offences in general.”

The government has supplied a written statement specifying that this new crime covers statements that are:

more nuanced and nebulous [than covered by the already broad, present terrorism law]. They do not encourage the commission of any specific terrorism offence or type of terrorism offence, but rather actively encourage that some sort of unspecified action should be taken to do something bad against Canadians or our allies, or to do something to support extreme jihadism. Whether specific or unspecific, these statements are harmful.

This extremely broad language may deter Muslim Canadians from participating in CVE programs (or even talking to the RCMP and CSIS), because it raises the stakes.

Imagine, for instance, that after the passage of C-51, CVE program representatives reach out to the leaders of a mosque, wishing to convene a meeting in which community members discuss the dangers of ISIS and al-Qaeda inspired ideology, which posits that Islam is under attack by “Western crusaders” and that it is the duty of good Muslims to act in its defence, even with violence. The desired airing of views requires a venue in which local Muslims can speak freely, and the mosque is asked to provide it. Whereas the imam might formerly have cooperated, he will now have to worry that at such a meeting members of his congregation may make general comments interpreted as supporting the broad concept of violent jihad; or they may critique Canadian foreign policy in a way that is seen as sympathetic with Muslim terrorist groups.

Wisely, the imam might consult with a local lawyer who concludes that such statements at the meeting might be interpreted as active encouragement of “terrorism offences in general,” since they would be voiced in a venue where the speaker may know that other participants might be inclined to then commit a terrorism offence (say, by giving money to an overseas group that practices political violence). Under the legal elements of the new speech crime, what was once the RCMP’s “pre-criminal” CVE space would turn into a criminal space, full stop. The imam has no choice but to cancel the meeting, and the CVE program fails to reach a key constituency.

To continue the hypothetical example, imagine that a member of this community truly does get radicalized, and becomes the charismatic nucleus around which the usual band of misfits, thrill-seekers, and the merely impressionable begin to gel. Imagine that, like the Toronto 18, this is an amateurish group, and it leaks information that eventually ends up in the hands of CSIS. Confronting the standard dilemma about information sharing with the RCMP, the agency declines to notify the RCMP and instead acts itself, using its new powers under C-51. It chooses a judicious mix of “disruption” measures. Perhaps CSIS agents notify the parents of the suspected would-be terrorists. Or maybe CSIS goes further, and spreads disinformation about the men within the Muslim community, or drains a bank account, or deploys some sort of agent provocateur to steer the conspiracy in a new direction. Some of these measures require a judicial warrant, some don’t. But we never know, since in all cases the operation is secret—unlike a conventional RCMP investigation and prosecution that would result in a conviction in open court.

Under the post-C-51 result, there may never be any criminal proceeding. There is no prosecution, no negative publicity in the media, no revelation about how these would-be terrorists were penetrated and exposed by police agents. Several of the key functions of criminal law in our society—denunciation and deterrence—are not achieved. Moreover, even if such a CSIS approach works, the agency must now constantly monitor these people, at great expense, for as many years as they persist as a security risk.

And if they fail to do so—not implausible given how difficult full-time covert surveillance is—the result may be a later successful attack by one or more plotters who slip the surveillance web. That is one possible consequence of not putting people in prison, and instead prioritizing disruption.

We do not dispute that CSIS should have some tools of disruption. But we believe that those tools must be carefully circumscribed, and enacted only after democratic debate. Moreover, CSIS needs to work within our criminal justice system, not in a parallel universe or at cross-purposes to conventional law enforcement.

To its credit, our government was ahead of the curve when, in 2013, it enacted four new offences targeting attempts to leave Canada to engage in terrorism abroad. And the government is correct to warn Canadians that recent events—in Ottawa, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Paris, Kenya, Denmark, the Middle East, and elsewhere—reveal just how serious the terror threat is. But dealing with it will require more than just enhanced powers for our security and intelligence services. It also will require a commitment to prosecute and punish terror suspects in a manner that is consistent with due process, civil liberties, and human rights.

Bill C-51 does the opposite. Moreover, it does nothing to address the core problem with our existing system, which is the awkward relationship between the RCMP and CSIS. This larger issue can be solved—even in a legal landscape dominated by the Stinchcombe rules regarding disclosure in criminal trials. The Air India commission devoted four years of study to this issue, and offered concrete solutions, all of which were ignored. By revisiting those recommendations, the government would do the country a far greater service than ramming through the expanded CSIS powers contained in Bill C-51.

Craig Forcese and Kent Roach teach national security law at, respectively, the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law (Common Law) and the University of Toronto. Their book, False Security: The Radicalization of Canada’s Terror Laws, will be published by Irwin Law this fall. You can follow their progress at antiterrorlaw.ca, with additional commentary on nationalsecuritylaw.ca and on Twitter at @cforcese.

  • https://paul.kishimoto.name/ Paul Kishimoto

    Thanks for your continued contributions on this important topic.

    Although your scenarios in which the provisions of C-51 would be counterproductive are valuable, I think they may be too modest, given other, real examples. For instance: http://harpers.org/archive/2011/08/to-catch-a-terrorist/

    …in announcing the arrest of Aref and Hossain, the FBI allowed that their crimes were “not real” and that the public had never actually been in jeopardy. The plot had been a sting operation wherein the FBI concocted the assassination plan and furnished the weapon. Though much of the evidence against the two men remained classified, it was unclear that either man even knew he was involved in a terrorist plot.

    • Craig Forcese

      Thanks Paul. Your point is well taken. There will be enormous risks of “false
      positives”. Even in a criminal justice system (fully adversarial and
      burdens of proof beyond a reasonable doubt) there are miscarriages of
      justice. The more we empower the state to act of lesser thresholds,
      with debased checks and balances, the greater the prospect of error —
      and the greater the risk of tunnel vision will go undetected and lead to
      Maher Arar 2.0 style events. Roach and I see a role of disruption only
      at the “in case of emergency break glass” end of the spectrum. But
      Bill C-51 risks institutionalizing it as a tool of convenience, not a
      tool of last resort. This is, of course, a civil liberties issue — but
      we genuinely believe, like Fogarty (and others), that it is horrible
      for security as well.

  • Guest

    Your point is well taken. There will be enormous risks of “false positives”. Even in a criminal justice system (fully adversarial and burdens of proof beyond a reasonable doubt) there are miscarriages of justice. The more we empower the state to act of lesser thresholds, with debased checks and balances, the greater the prospect of error — and the greater the risk of tunnel vision will go undetected and lead to Maher Arar 2.0 style events. Roach and I see a role of disruption only at the “in case of emergency break glass” end of the spectrum. But Bill C-51 risks institutionalizing it as a tool of convenience, not a tool of last resort. This is, of course, a civil liberties issue — but we genuinely believe, like Fogarty (and others), that it is horrible for security as well.

  • Dan Jenneson

    Another great read to add to all of the informative literature that Forcese and Roach have already supplied the Canadian public with. We are very fortunate in Canada to have you two.

    Quite apart from the flaws revealed by this insightful legal analysis, it seems to me that there are several other factors contributing to the current state of paranoia,fear, and confusion in Canada. For one, Canada is a strong ally of Saudi Arabia, which is known by virtually everyone to be the world’s financial and ideological epicenter of jihadism. Our government cannot sincerely claim to have public security against jihadism in mind while enabling its prime source with billions of dollars in oil money and a fourteen year contract to supply it with weapons. Secondly, our government cannot claim to have its citizens security against jihadism as a top priority while it is escalating a bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria. It is both logical as well as proven in several studies (including one produced by the U.S. state department at the request of Donald Rumsfeld circa 2004) that jihad attacks are motivated overwhelmingly by foreign military aggression and occupation. The Americans have a term for this; blowback. Clearly intervention is needed in the turbulent middle east, but all evidence and expert analysis concludes that bombing is the least effective, most haphazard (ie resulting in the most civilian deaths) and one could reasonably assert that it maximizes “blowback.”

    It seems like nothing but a charade to me that our government has its citizens security as a primary objective.

  • Richard Fantin

    Hard for me to believe CSIS/Canada is really intent on “stopping” terrorism when we directly helped build ISIS in the first place:


    And then there’s Syria, where western gov’ts were denying the ISIS presence back in 2012 when many of these kidnappings those who have been beheaded were actually occuring:


    Al-Qaeda is not sacrificing its “martyrs” in Syria merely to overthrow Assad. Liberation of the Syrian people is a bonus, but the main aim is to create an Islamist state in all or part of the country. Failing that, they hope to at least establish a strategic base for the organization’s remnants across the border in Iraq, and create a regional headquarters where mujahideen can enjoy a safe haven. If al-Qaeda continues to play an increasingly important role in the rebellion, then a post-Assad government will be indebted to the tribes and regions allied to the Jabhat. Failing to honor the Jabhat’s future requests, assuming Assad falls, could see a continuation of conflict in Syria.

    Thus far, Washington seems reluctant to weigh heavily into this issue. In May 2012, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta publicly accepted al-Qaeda’s presence in Syria (Guardian). And in July, the State Department’s counterterrorism chief, Daniel Benjamin, rather incredulously suggested that the United States will simply ask the FSA to reject al-Qaeda. The unspoken political calculation among policymakers is to get rid of Assad first—weakening Iran’s position in the region—and then deal with al-Qaeda later.

    You don’t believe CSIS has malicious intent, yet interviews with protestors in the documentary “Into the Fire” from the G20 in 2010 would beg to differ, where “officers” would introduce themselves as Officer C” and Officer “SIS” – CSIS. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zejD0UkMGGY

    Here is my deduction of the real agenda behind C51, and it has absolutely nothing to do with foreign terrorists or homegrown “extremists”: http://www.canadiantrendsblog.ca/2015/02/understanding-low-interest-in-risk_20.html – It actually has a lot more to do with the economy and the next (or continuation of) the great recession and the further looting of an ever-increasingly suspicious public.

  • http://ljpkjsah.wordpress.com/ G. Murphy Donovan

    The truth is always a glass half full. What you don’t say is often as important as what you do say. First, the cops and the intelligence services are not the enemy. Nor is the Canadian PM the enemy. The enemy isn’t “terrorism” either.” The enemy is a rapidly metastasizing brand of Islam. Call it religious fascism if you will. Using a democratic criminal code to adjudicate terror tactics makes about as much sense as letting a Sharia court handle women or gay rights.

    Second, the problem is laws of war, not criminal or civil codes. ISIS or al Qaeda is not some Mafia, drug cartel, or random jaywalkers. Imperial Islam now owns the better part of two nation states in the cradle of civilization. . Ninety other countries now openly export warriors to that jihad.

    Thirdly, Forcese and Roach wear the shibboleth of “moderation” like a veil. Pandering from an overwhelmingly liberal academy is part of the Islamist problem, not the solution. There’s a profound difference between “explanation and excuse.” If you can’t define the enemy, ideology, or the pathology that motivates the forlorn hopefuls, then you are an apologist not an academic.

    • Andy Briar

      And if you consistently define the WRONG enemy, reduce the enemy to a “brand of Islam,” and ignore actual pathology in favor of anti-terror rhetoric, what are you then? “Liberal Academia” is not the enemy either, as much as the Canadian PM would like us to think so. He knows which side his bread is buttered on, of course.

      If we are to follow “laws of war,” then LET’S. Lest we forget, Harper openly mocked Mulcair when asked if the war he was promoting was legal. The PC Conservatives are also wearing “the shibboleth of ‘moderation’ like a veil,” ex-Reform Party/Northern Foundation evangelical crazies that they are. How else would they ever have been voted into power without a “we won’t bring up gay marriage and abortion” moderation smokescreen in the first place?

      Lo, watch the apologist reinforce the bigotry of our leaders.

      • http://ljpkjsah.wordpress.com/ G. Murphy Donovan

        Indeed Andy, the pandering infects both sides of the political spectrum: in Canada, the US, and the EU. The mirror imaging midst Muslims is more than a little ironic too. The so-called moderate Islamist and the ISIS Islamist make the same argument, to wit: the other side is not authentic Islam. Both cannot be correct. What matters is behavior not belief. On that score, the chaps with the bombs and knives have center stage – and they believe it’s war not “crime.”

    • Le Franco Nord Américain

      Give your head a shake. The problem lies as much if not more with the interests of our capitalist system and the fact that the only economic engine it has firing on all cyinders to sustain it are those of a military machinee/economy. Since you allude to “academia” as your forté, try givnig some thought to the validity of Naomi Klein’s writings re: same or again those of Thomas King who has indicated that while we are correct in saying that “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”, when one looks at the profits reaped in the past 50 years alone from ventures in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, the adage should have as corollary: “Those who understand the lessons of war are only tooo happy to repeat them.” Nine million killed in Iraq wars instigated by the Western world between 1914 and now does not justify the madness of bodies such as ISIS ,,,but it does go a long way to expalining how and why they have come to be. Careful who you point fingers at.

      • http://ljpkjsah.wordpress.com/ G. Murphy Donovan

        As I say, the academy is part of the problem. All these arguments about victims and exploiters, imperialism, and colonialism are neo- Marxist excuses. The more recent “Orientalism” of Edward Said is probably the most infamous derivative. That’s what happens when English majors write history. It’s ironic that the Communist political juggernaut lost the war in the public square, yet still battles on in the schoolhouse.

        When we make excuses for bad behavior, we unable the pathology. The great problems that face mankind are moral, not legal or scientific. With terror and Islamism the confusion is moral. Islam is not morally equivalent to the democratic West, any more than a republic is the equivalent of a theocracy. The picayune tediousness of misdemeanors and felonies confuses the tactical with the strategic. If the Islamist believes that he is at war, how can we pretend that we are not?

        Like it or not, conflict is our past, our present, and our likely future. If this historical meme is correct, then only one relevant question remains. Which would you rather be, a winner or a loser? Losers do not make the rules, nor do they remake the future. We don’t inherit a better world, too often we must fight for it.

        Some reading for Klein and king at link on the moral requirements for real change. Thanks for your thoughts, Franco.


        • Le Franco Nord Américain

          You say “The great problems that face mankind are moral, not legal or scientific.”
          I agree and so does Chris Hedges in his latest book “Wages of Rebellion” in wich he calls it our moral imperative to dump the system we have. As for good guys being us and bad guys beying them and “who’s side would you rather be on?” my answer is the morally right side and I’ve seen little evidence that that is our side. As for the profession of a soldier, it is to do as he is told. No more, no less. And he is usually told to do the bidding of the élite that rules the camp he is in. No more, no less. A soldier;s duty is not to think but to do as he is told.

          • http://ljpkjsah.wordpress.com/ G. Murphy Donovan

            Te binary world is an illusion. Real life is a little more complicated. Most people, I believe, soldiers included, can walk and chew gum at the same time. Thinking and duty are not incompatible. Indeed, any good leader learns to follow before

          • Le Franco Nord Américain

            “those who know the least follow the best” …are you speaking about George W. Bush? Hitler? Stalin? Popes? They all had many followers. and yes I’ll grant you they could think and chew gum at the same tme. As for functional literacy[ …it is not a measure of intellegence, o r humanity. Your hardwiring when it comes to Muslims (apparently all Muslims) is much like blind followers of Popes during the Crusades or again followers of Nixon during war again the Vietnamese (the then enemies of the day). Stay tuned you;ll soon be told who to hate next. and try to keep in mind tht the bloodiest century of all was the 20th Century when Christan white men were busy fighting and killing one another and responsible for more genocides than ever; … and by the way, most of them were literate.

          • http://ljpkjsah.wordpress.com/ G. Murphy Donovan

            Let’s take a different tack. The most literate of Islamic states today are those former USSR republics.- a civic literacy that was imposed. Illiteracy in the larger Ummah today is actually a political asset. Surely that’s the case where the madrasa is the only schooling option. Wherever Koranic memorization is a pinnacle of scholarship, functional illiteracy, ignorance, and intollerance is cultivated

  • windship

    Great! ~ our very own CIA! Pretty soon they will be trading arms and smuggling drugs, assassinating whistleblowers and creating even more false-flag terror events to heighten hatred, insecurity and paranoia, and justifying an increase to the exponential CSIS budget.

    Under Harper, not only have we become a vassal state of the American Empire, bombing women and babies under Pentagon command, but we’re even outdoing Russia and China by placing all executive power over the state within unelected and unsupervised hands. To paraphrase Frank Zappa, elections and our entire Parliament/Senate are now just the entertainment divisions of Canada’s exploding military-industrial-security complex.

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  • Brian Gray

    Obviously C-51 is to set in motion the totalitarian dictats needed for one world governavce…Harper is just dutifully carrying out his orders from his British masters!

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  • ethicalwriter

    This is all well and good to write a piece for a publication and dissection, but where are you you two when the chips are down for Canadians? I contacted both Mr. Roach and Mr Forcese regarding the abuse I experienced in an email a few months ago. I asked for assistance in regards to getting my story out, direction to point me in to obtain some help. I have experienced employment interference, threats, holdings at the border that my wife; and now, the loss of our home. A few rah rah’s and back to the quarry I guess. I didn’t even get the dignity of a response from them.

    I suppose this is the Canadian way. Talk a great game and let someone else do the heavy lifting and face the reality, it’s easy to type a few empty words, quite a different animal to confront the abusers as my wife and I have. You won’t see CBC or any other media outlet dare address these abuses out of their own fear (is this REALLY a democracy?). Oh, for the record, I don’t have a criminal record, any allegations against me nor have posed a danger to anyone but the security apparatus itself in the knowledge that I have in my experiences.

    Anyone here willing to speak up and understand the lengths of abuses BEFORE C-51 (this will only get worse certainly)? Then you let me know and I can give you details of what’s in practice, not just theory.

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