Thursday, September 15, 2011

Transparency: losing control over our privacy rights

            Canada is a democracy which protects the civil rights of its citizens, right?

            So here's a theoretical question: which is more important to the Harper government, trade with the USA or protection of privacy and civil rights here at home?

            Well, you might be inclined to say, given that Canada is a democracy which protects the civil rights of its citizens, that's really a no brainer! Rights trump trade..

             Think again! Former diplomat Gar Pardy - who has worked on US-Can relations - has issued a warning: Canada is thinking of trading off privacy and civil rights protection against trade in recent negotiations with the States.

               Who is Mr. Pardy? 

              And here is his warning, in an Ottawa Citizen piece dated September 12, 2011:

"The essence of the security measures in the Shared Vision declaration requires the transfer of information to the United States on, potentially, millions of people, most of whom would be Canadian citizens. Officials with the Canadian Shared Vision working group negotiating with the Americans, in briefing interested Canadians this summer, were frank in declaring that increased Canadian co-operation on security was the price to be paid for the removal of border restraints and constraints. They were equally frank in stating that the privacy rights of Canadians could be affected in paying that price."

                  The former diplomat's conclusion is chilling:
"If Canadians are not vigilant they may soon discover that the Americans have more control over their privacy rights than we do at home."

                   Once again, we are forced to face the inevitable: in the neocon - and neocon wanabe - hierarchy of value, despite all the hairy chested talk about "freedom", "choice", and "individualism", profits trump civil rights and civil society everytime.
                    Forewarned is forearmed, for those with wit to see..
                    Au pays des aveugles, les borgnes sont roi / in the land of the blind, the one-eyed are king

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