Originally appeared on BackoftheBook.ca
How can I write this without sounding, well, paranoid? I believe the RCMP is watching too many people, and abusing its resources. There are plenty of signs this is taking place, and it worries me. The police should not be monitoring Canadians without having a reasonable suspicion that criminal acts are imminent or are taking place. It is not a valid reason to pay police to watch all activists, especially ones who peacefully oppose prevailing political governance. Are we not a society free to disagree with our government?
Here’s an incomplete, but startling, list of reports that suggest the Mounties are getting their man by putting everyone, innocent people too, under a microscope.
- Yinka Dene Alliance is not a terrorist organization. If the report had said RCMP were monitoring “Polish Canadians” (as a random example), do you think there would be more outrage?
- RCMP interrogate former Conservative candidate for passing documents from anonymous source to Ethics Commissioner in Parliament (after Parliament mail room lost first submission).
- A BC man got a visit from the RCMP after contacting the Prime Minister.
- Until the 1980s, the RCMP kept a secret list of people they considered to be Communists, and were prepared to round these people up in the unlikely event of the Cold War heating up. PROFUNC was ended by accident.
- The G8/G20 brought Canada’s so-called “largest ever” police spy operation down on activists whose worst members did damage comparable to unruly drunk hockey fans in Vancouver. Meanwhile, the police assigned to watch the protests ended up being charged with crimes. RCMP “abandoned policy”, and kettled protesters, which resulted in the arrests of hundreds, to possibly over a thousand, innocent people.
Since there are no laws clearly governing the use of your personal information collected by the ruling political party into their CIMS database, they could be sharing this intelligence with the Mounties. Would it change your answer to any survey or political phone call if you knew your response could end up on an RCMP surveillance watchlist?
As a political blogger, I’m pretty much screwed if the government takes an active interest in me. Even though I’ve previously worked in a job for the government where people, with less oversight and more authority than the RCMP, confirmed I’m loyal to Canada (and the Queen even) and am the opposite of a threat to national security, I have little doubt that now I’m an unhappy smiley face in CIMS, and who knows what other police-state Stasi-style databases. With social networking, it’s easy to track most of my contacts. When Toews’ Bill C-30 passes, the police will be able to do legally what they’ve probably been doing since September 11th, 2001. I also carry a cell phone, so my movements could be mapped, or conversations bugged using the phone mic. Ubiquitous technology is stacked against a free, democratic Canada.
Will the RCMP maintain the peace in Canada, or bring an end to it? Will they resist the pull of pervasive electronic monitoring of every person? I know what I hope for, but the signs are pointing in the wrong direction.