Steve Harper is taking a page, maybe a chapter, out of Dick Cheney's neocon playbook to exploit a couple of relatively minor incidents to plunge Canada into a deeper form of surveillance state.
A report in Foreign Policy magazine warns that Canada - the Canadian public, you and me - could be headed for NSA-style surveillance sooner than anyone imagined.
When Harper proclaimed that Canadians would not be intimidated by this week's killings he was lying through his teeth. He's counting on Canadians being fearful and intimidated enough to let him shred our rights and freedoms in the name of national security.
The measures that Harper wants enacted aren't strictly targeting terrorists, domestic and foreign. They're multi-purpose powers that could as easily be used by the unscrupulous against opponents and dissenters.
You need to ask yourself whether you want these powers vested in Stephen Harper. You've only had 8+ years to observe how deceitful, manipulative, how secretive this lowlife can be and is. You know that he rejects all notions of accountability and transparency, the bait he used to lure voters into trusting him to govern. This is a man less principled than any we've had in Sussex Drive. He even considers himself and his government above the law, a law unto himself.
"This may be just the start of souped-up spy legislation, not the finish," said Colin Freeze, a reporter with the who has written extensively about Canada's shadowy signals intelligence agency, the Communications Security Establishment Canada, which is the counterpart to the American NSA.
...But in light of the shooting, as well as another attack this week in which a suspected Islamic radical drove his car into two Canadian soldiers, killing one, the proposals look to fall on more receptive ears in parliament. The members who may soon be voting on expanding the powers were among those hiding in their offices as the gunman ran through the halls of Canada's lawmaking body.
As the Globe's reporter, Freeze, puts it, this may be just the start of Harper's designs. He'd like nothing better than to roll Canada back to the days of 9/11 and reinstate the panic-fueled measures, including secret trials, that we succumbed to back then. The tragic killings of this week may be Harper's Reichstag Fire.
Unless our opposition MPs drag themselves out from under their desks, unlock their office doors and stand up for Canada on this one, you have very little to hope for from Ottawa. If they roll over now chances are they'll roll over the next time Harper comes knocking, demanding new powers.
It's time that progressive Canadians listen to Elizabeth May.