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last words…

May 13, 2014

As if from a Orwellian or Kafka-esque pre-World-War-II novel, discussions this year around dinner tables about state surveillance – and the state’s growing surveillance powers – led to some of our friendships being changed forever, and for others to end.

That most Canadians, while concerned, are overwhelmingly apathetic to the whole state surveillance issue is apparent. We barely seem to have the energy to shrug our shoulders over the matter. Thank God, we think to ourselves, that our western democracies are so benign. Sure, its evil when Russia or China do it. But they’re evil people. Besides, ultimately, if push-came-to-shove, we still have our democratic institutions to protect us from such evil. We voted our guys into power, we can vote them out.

(Who exactly we have voted into power, how much “choice” we have in “choosing” that candidate, and who actually is making the surveillance decisions – (not politicians) – is a discussion for another day.)

Will our indifferent sentiments one day come back to haunt us, in the way progressive Germans sat and talked in the early 1920’s about the democratic election of that upstart crazy nationalist politician named Adolf?

Most of us probably doubt it – “that could never happen again!” – right? That’s just taking an extreme alarmist point of view. The government is simply trying to protect us from terrorists.*

So, with that, I give the final words to Glen Greenwald – the civil rights lawyer who was interviewed by Stephen Colbert last night on the Colbert Report…

*On a related note, the Harper government introduced legislation today that would allow Revenue Canada to share all of our tax information with police and intelligence services without the need of a warrant.


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