by Barry Weisleder
The massive ‘anti-terror’ Bill C-51 that Stephen Harper’s Conservative government is rushing through the House of Commons has been roundly denounced, including by four former Prime Ministers and five ex-Supreme Court judges. It would create a secret police force with powers to spy on Canadians, to break the law in order to disrupt protest groups, and to detain suspects on the thin grounds that a crime “may occur.”
The Liberal Party led by Justin Trudeau, after emitting muted criticism, voted for the draconian legislation. Trudeau complained about the speed of passage. That prompted reminders that Jean Chretien’s Liberal government in 2001 curtailed debate on the first wave of anti-terror laws. Even more telling is the like-father-like-son comfort Justin has with repressive statutes. The infamous War Measures Act was imposed by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in October 1970, resulting in the incarceration of hundreds of Quebecois cultural and political personalities who were never convicted of any crime.
The other instance of behaviour grossly bereft of principle was Justin Trudeau’s red carpet, open-arms welcome into Liberal ranks of former Tory MP Eve Adams. She crossed the floor after Harper blocked her re-nomination as a Conservative candidate (citing alleged local campaign improprieties). While Adams claimed she could no longer belong to a party led by “a bully”, or champion policies that favour the affluent, she is notorious as a long time enthusiast for Harper’s tactics and a strong advocate of Harper’s income-splitting tax measures that reward the stay-at-home moms of wealthy families.
The likelihood that Trudeau absorbed Adams in order to integrate her evil -genius spouse, Dimitri Soudas, a former top Harper confidante, only adds to the moral turpitude. While crass political opportunism takes a back seat to a vicious assault on civil liberties – in aid of capitalist austerity and permanent war no less – aren’t these actions really birds of a feather?
Some solace can be found in New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair finally getting off the fence. For weeks he seemed content merely to demand “more oversight” of the expanding Canadian Security Intelligence Service. Finally, he opposed C-51 in principle.
The fact that Mulcair had to be publicly cajoled by aged social democratic icons Ed Broadbent and Roy Romanow, and by legions of social justice activists and civil liberties lawyers, is disturbing. Diplomatically, that’s called ‘leading from the rear.’
Now the task is for the NDP and its labour allies to win working class public opinion to oppose the terror law, and the corporate terrorists behind it. There is great need just to make up for lost time. That will entail ensuring that defense of civil rights and opposition to imperialist war are made prominent issues in the campaign leading up to the October 19 federal election. In any case, labour proponents of the spurious tactic of voting Liberal to defeat the Tories have suffered a serious setback.