Where is modern civilization heading?

As a society are we heading in the same direction as the ancient Romans? If so the question becomes.......

Are our leaders fiddling while civilization burns?

While we ponder the question I will post my personal thoughts on this blog. Often I will focus on current events that catch my interest, however I am not and do not pretend to be a news organization. I'm simply a guy with his own thoughts on issues that I believe affect our country and society.

Be forewarned, I have been accused of being a right wing thinker and if that is offensive please move on. Remember, this is my blog and my opinions, and unlike many facets of our already over-governed modern society they are not being forced on anyone.

However, please feel free to leave your comments, good, bad or indifferent, after all this is a free society we live in (at least for now).

Friday, February 24, 2012

Our Government, So right one day, so wrong the next

If you are like me last week was one for celebration. The Conservative government finally made good on their promise to scrap the Long Gun Registry by the passing of Bill C-19, and to say this was long overdue would be an understatement. This legislation when first enacted by the previous Liberal government was promised to make the streets safer and be self-funding, unfortunately like so many promises made by those in power this was a hollow one. Not only were the safety benefits of the program questioned by everyone ( including many in law enforcement) but in short order the program ran up a cost to the Canadian  government of over $1 Billion.... Surprise

Well fortunately after 'only" a billion or so of taxpayer money wasted this program is close to being history. Public Safety Minister Toews stated
It criminalizes hard-working and law-abiding citizens such as farmers and sport shooters, and it has been a billion-dollar boondoggle left to us by the previous Liberal government.”
(You have that right Vic, good for you)

According to Bill C-19, all data pertaining to non-restricted firearms will be deleted as a measure to protect individual privacy. Unfortunately, once the bill is finally passed into law, Quebec has indicated it will immediately seek an injunction from the courts to halt the destruction of the registry data. Gotta luv Quebec...

Congratulations to Mr Harper and his party for doing the right thing, now hopefully the Liberals in the Senate don't hold up the passing of the bill.

Now, lets look at another effort on the part of the Harper government, one that is not so "right".

A bill that has been in the news lately is the The Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act, formerly called the Lawful Access Act, which if enacted would require all ISPs (Internet Service Providers) such as Bell, Telus, Shaw, etc. to install monitoring equipment. This in turn would provide the police and other government authorities (including the RCMP, CSIS and even the Competition Bureau!) access to an internet user’s online history and communications, as well as their physical and email addresses, IP information, and other identifiers. The underlying intention of this piece of legislation is to provide the authorities with warrantless access to the personal information of any Canadian using the Internet

This bill which was introduced to parliament by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews (yep, the same Vic I praised above) faced immediate criticism, in part for Vic telling one political opponent of the bill that he "can either stand with us or with the child pornographers." What is interesting is the fact that the governments position (or at least Vic's) on this is that non-support of the bill somehow equates to approval of child pornography. I suspect the logic behind this is simple, no MP in their right mind wants to be accused of favoring child pornographers so regardless of how flawed the bill might be they will probably support it to avoid any flack. This tactic was obvious by the quick renaming of the bill, or as New Democratic Party spokesman Charlie Angus stated.

At 10 am yesterday, the name of the bill he brought in was called 'lawful access'. By 11 am, he was (Vic Toews) being hammered in the media. Therefore, by 11:17 am, he changed the name of the bill to 'Protecting children from Internet predators'. It is about using child victims as political cover so the minister can treat average Canadians like criminals.”

The comments by Toews came around to bite him personally when an anonymous Twitter account was set up and proceeded to publish details of Toews private life, including details of his expense claims and personal divorce proceedings. Interestingly enough Vic apparently didn't appreciate this invasion of his own privacy  and quickly called for government action to find the culprit.

Now, the fact is that this bill is so wrong in so many ways I have difficulty knowing where to start. What the government is asking for would be the equivalent of having phone companies (landline and cellular) record every voice and data transmission so that law enforcement could access the information if they felt they needed to. On top of granting authorities virtually unlimited access to personal information this bill also makes it an offense for telecommunication companies to tell customers whether their personal information has been handed over to investigators, police or government. So not only to they want complete access to your information they also don't want you to know they had a peek. This in turn means that there is virtually no chance of any citizen protesting about having had their privacy violated because they will not be aware it occurred.

Analysts, lawyers, security experts and MPs on both sides of the House of Commons have criticized the bill for overreaching and invading the privacy of Canadians. Thankfully public backlash has been such that it appears our government is backing down. However I suspect this only means they will put the bill on the back burner and attempt to reintroduce it (or a slightly amended version) at a later date.

On a last note, why is it that governments in general feel that the easiest way to deal with isolated criminal activities is to place everyone under the same microscope?  The Long Gun Registry and the Internet Bill discussed above are classic examples of tarring everyone with the same brush. From my point of view as a citizen of this country I would prefer that our government and law enforcement agencies respect my right to privacy and work towards strengthening (or at the very least enforcing those already on the books) the penalties for those convicted of crimes. Child pornographers and pedophiles tend to be habitual offenders (it's the nature of the beast), so why is it that we keep attempting to "rehabilitate" them and worse yet give them prison sentences that do little to protect our children and the public in general.


  1. Frustrated Joe,
    I read this post with some disbelief as I generally agree with most of what I see on this blog. But my man you are way off base in your opinions about the Long Gun Registry. This legislation was intended to and actually was protecting the average Canadian from gun wielding nut jobs. If I remember right it was introduced in response to the massacre of female students on a Quebec campus by a clearly unstable psycho with a rifle. Why on earth would you suggest that the abolishing this legislation is a good thing?

    Signed "A Disenchanted Reader

  2. Hey "DR",
    First off, thanks for taking the time to post a comment, they are all appreciated and it lets me know that one of my topics has stirred a readers mind enough for them to speak out about it. By the same token this may be one of those topics that you and I simply have to agree to disagree.

    Asking law abiding citizens to register rifles or face criminal charges is somewhat counter productive and quite frankly a further invasion of our privacy when you consider just how extensively the information is shared.

    First, when weapons (of any kind) are used to commit a crime it is generally by criminals not law abiding citizens, the very definition of a criminal when you boil it down is "someone who does not obey the law". So why by any stretch of the imagination would you expect criminals (the most dangerous segment of society) to rush down to the local police station to register their weapons. Under any logic you use it is just not going to happen! So what you end up with in fact after spending a billion dollars or so is that the government has a vague idea which law abiding citizens have rifles tucked away in their homes. Tell me, how does prevent crime or potentially reduce violence?

    Secondly, your right about how this legislation was introduced. Frankly it was a knee jerk reaction by the government to do something, anything, to show that they were proactive after the horrible massacre that occurred. Unfortunately, even if the Long Gun Registry had been in place prior to the shooting there is no reason to assume that the unbalanced individual who committed the crime would have obeyed the law and registered the rifle. But let's assume for a moment that he would have, tell me how would that have prevented the shooting. The only difference would have been that it would have been committed with a registered weapon. The victims would be no more alive than they are today.

    Thirdly, do you think for one moment that when local law enforcement checks the Long Gun Registry prior to answering say a domestic abuse call, that if there are no weapons registered that they breath a sigh of relief and leave their guns at the station. Of course not, individuals in law enforcement that I have spoken to have told me that they answer every call in exactly the manner they have been trained for, to be prepared at all times, that they are not going to gamble their lives or the life of anyone else on the fact that all weapons in Canada have been registered by their owners. Tell me, would you trust your life to the accuracy of a program that has been rife with reporting issues since its launch?

    Last but not least, guns by their very nature are easy to focus on as a cause of "crime and violence" after all they only have one purpose and that is to be used by an individual to shoot something (a target, an animal, or another person)and at times during the commission of a crime. For a moment imagine that a very mentally unstable individual drives a minivan down a crowded sidewalk maiming and killing dozens of people, do you believe that this would result in a public outcry to restrict or ban motor vehicles. Of course not! The reality is that the vast majority of legal drivers are law abiding stable individuals (just like the vast majority of legal gun owners) and no one would suggest punishing all drivers for the action of one or a very few. In reality a stronger argument could be made to restrict or ban automobiles based solely on the number of deaths attributed to them each year. Statistics clearly demonstrate that auto deaths far outnumber deaths by guns in Canada on an annual basis. You can read more about these statistics at http://dwindlingempire.blogspot.com/2011/10/gun-laws-in-canada-do-they-actually.html

  3. I find myself in agreement with the premise of your post on the SOPA Act that The American Congress is attempting to foist upon all of us through anti-First Amendment Regulations and Laws.

    America is supposed to be the Land of Free Speech and Individual Liberties but now I am afraid that I do not wish to have Business or The Government up my nose on the internet which is, for all intents and purposes, the last bastion of Free Expression left in the World.

    So, I hope that you will consider addressing this situation some more in future postings because you have the ability to do good research and to speak truths even though I don't always like to hear what you are saying because I am a staunch Liberal, etc.

    But when it comes to threats against Liberty, I think we can set differences aside for awhile.

    I hope that you and other bloggers will see the danger in what is being done and I hope that all social media will respond and take up this vital question.

  4. John,
    I think we can both agree on this one. The first thing governments in general do when trying to oppress a people to restrict the individuals ability to freely communicate. We have seen hundreds of examples in the past, one that come to mind for me is Tiananmen Square, the Chinese communist government did everything with in their power to bring communications to a halt.

    I am by no means comparing China to either of our countries, however, but as they say "give them an inch".


Here at Dwindling Empire we welcome your comments. Although we ask that you refrain from profanity, sexist, racist, or comments of a sexual nature.

However you can poke fun at Frustrated Joe all you want, but we warn you if your going to disagree with him try to do so with some facts, this will garner you a lot more respect from everyone.
Greatly Appreciated