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.