Friday, June 26, 2015

WHY WE NEED BILL C-51

It's fascinating what tidbits of information people grasp onto and accept as fact.

The NDP opposition, as I've watched them for years, oppose everything the sitting government does with zealous overreaction. Red face, smoke coming out their ears, oppose, oppose, oppose.

It doesn't matter if it's good policy or not. It doesn't matter if deep down they agree with it or not. Oppose, oppose, oppose.

This red-faced, smoke-from-the-ears opposition to Bill C-51 seems to have struck a note with the public. It's killing the Liberal Party.

The fact that Trudeau voted for it seems to have pushed the NDP into the lead, and NDP momentum is a dangerous thing, just ask the Alberta Conservatives.

The NDP is still enjoying their honeymoon with Alberta, a fact in itself which raises their popularity country wide. It's too bad the election is looming. Give the NDP a few years, and that shine will start to be coated in the soot churned out by the oil sands, coupled with the fact that a body of complete unknowns, and likely more than a few nincompoops ended up in power.

So how can Mr. Trudeau recover from his faux pas?

Whether Bill C-51 is right or wrong, in fickle voters minds, he took the wrong side.

Here is what I would do.

I would justify my vote for Bill C51 because I believe in exigent circumstances. I believe that imminent terrorist threats require a collaborative, concerted effort to thwart them.

In the same way that police can kick down a door down if someone is screaming, "Don't kill me," or, "Help," or shouting, "I'm going to kill you." Police can kick down the same doors when terrorist threats come upon their radar.

This means that police don't have to have someone guarding the front and back door, while another member rushes back to the detachment, spends two hours drafting a warrant, taking that warrant to a judge, who reads the warrant, signs it, and finally gives the police permission to enter.

Applying that logic to Bill C51. What Trudeau was effectively voting for was to extend exigent circumstances to encompass imminent and potential terrorist threats.

Just like police having the authority to kick down that door down to stop a violent offence from happening, bill C-51 provides law enforcement and national security with the tools to take on terrorists.

When it is believed that someone is plotting terrorist activities, and their detention is necessary to thwart those activities, and sharing private information between government agencies can disrupt that threat, they can act.

When these powers are exercised they should be scrutinized afterwards. There should be oversight. There should be a process for dealing with complaints and possible abuses of this authority. These are things that need to be worked out.

There is another reason we need bill C-51 though. It's the opposite to what the NDP are crying foul with Big Brother communism knocking on our doorstep.

The RCMP has been gutted by the Harper government. Their manpower is way below where it  needs to be to fight crime. The RCMP are overworked and underpaid. Good candidates, smart candidates, even good RCMP members are joining other police forces.

The RCMP was just charged under the Canada Labour Code, in part for being dangerously undermanned and dangerously overworked.

The fact is, the RCMP needs shortcuts. They barely have time to tie their shoes, let alone write up production orders and spend hundreds of hours on each potential threat that crosses their radar.

Plain and simple, with too few members to take on the crime out there, it's impossible, despite what the NDP would have you believe, to become a big-brother state.

The national security forces need a break. They need these shortcuts. They need this life-preserving legislation, to go from drowning in bureaucracy, to just gasping for air.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Should Canada Abolish the Senate?

What is the Senate anyways? 

Before looking it up, this is what I think it is.

A group of government appointed people, from a broad swathe of society, to debate legislature and provide sober second thought.

I looked it up, and that's pretty much what it is supposed to be.

The big criticism is that sometimes it gets filled with rubber-stamp government lackeys. It is a reward to people loyal to the government of the day. An easy ride, if you will.

I like to think the Senate should be made up of people of influence from inside and outside the public service. 

Some former judges, ex-police commissioners, military men, doctors, politicians from various levels. Ex-mayors, counsellors, well-regarded independent politicians.

Some heroes, ex-star athletes. 

Well regarded businessmen, if we can deem their hearts in the right place.

There should be rules for one to become a senator. Be debt free. Be of good standing. No criminal record. Pass a drug test and be prepared for random drug testing.

There should be a list of criteria, as passed by parliament, that the Senate should strive to attain in order to be diverse, just, and responsible.

In other words...

Not Mike Duffy, or Patrick Brazeau. 

Looking at these two, one has to wonder if Stephen Harper had some master plan to fill the senate with nincompoops in order to have fodder for it's abolishment.

It's abolishment would provide one less layer of government oversight. For those up in arms over bill C51 - less oversight is the greater evil if you ask me. Greater than letting our security services detain suspected terrorists.

Imperfect as the Senate may be. Incompetent as our current politicians have made it, it is a reflection of these politicians and their hiring decisions. Don't abolish the Senate. Reform the selection process.

I would like to see a healthy senate. Not some coke-head, strip-joint manager who beats up his wife. Nor some greedy, debt-laden journalist who gave soft soundbites to his conservative friends over the course of his journalistic career.

I want to see an ex-pro hockey player. I want to see the former head of an international charity. I want to see an ex-city police commissioner. A former mayor still held in high regard. A university professor, a former surgeon, an agriculturist, an environmentalist.

I'm sure we have some of those. Lets see what pieces are missing and put those people in the senate.

Not Harper's buddies. 

The second last word.

Did Don Meredith commit a crime?

The last word.

If you were to appoint someone to help oversee the biggest decisions being made in the country, who would you choose?