Posts Tagged ‘canada’

Jailed for Reading 1984

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Grad Student Marilyne Veilleix shares a riveting encounter with Montreal law enforcement during her own personal protest of the F1 Grand Prix. Her plan was to ride the metro back and forth while reading George Orwell’s 1984, a novel describing life under a totalitarian regime known as Big Brother. Seems harmless enough, right?

Unfortunately the mere act of nonviolent civil disobedience is enough to get you incarcerated now that a police state has descended upon Montreal.

Riding the subway, reading her provocative book while sitting across from a police officer, someone took her photograph. This was enough to incense the cop, who promptly called for backup. The troops summoned, Marilyne and others were placed against the wall and then escorted out of the metro. They were told that if they returned they would be arrested with no explanation as to why they were kicked out in the first place.

Marilyne describes what happened next:

I committed a terrible act of civil disobedience by going back down into the station and returning to read in a subway car.  When the police officers saw me eating my apple, they shouted at me that they recognized my tattoos and came after me.  I asked them what I had done wrong, other than peacefully reading, and they said that I had disobeyed police orders.  I asked my question again, asking what was wrong with reading in the metro, and I got no answer.  I was put under arrest and the two police officers did a high five to congratulate themselves on their good work.

I was transported, as if I were a criminal, to the SPVM detention centre in downtown Montreal, where they took mug shots.  After confiscating my personal belongings, the officers took me took cell 52, where there were already three other women.  I spent the day behind bars, in a cell with a dirty toilet, sleeping on a bench, without knowing when I would be released.  All this for reading in a subway car, and then repeating this revolutionary act.  Around 3:30 PM, I was released with a citation telling me that all this circus was for a charge of refusing to circulate.

Now you just know some people, upon hearing this story, will feel like that damn hippie got what she deserved. Not only did she antagonize the officer initially with the book, she went on to clearly defied a police order. Lock that bitch up!

But, here in Canada where education ranks amongst the best in the world, you better believe that most of us see something terribly wrong with what happened to Marilyne. It has taken so little for freedom to evaporate and for society to decay into a police state. And look just how quickly law enforcement snatch up any opportunity to exercise authority over their fellow humans.

A few months ago, a college aged person reading a book on the subway would not provoke a response. But now that police have the pretense that there is a war of sorts going on, anyone who fits the bill as a potential threat is fair game. Young? Check. Engaged mindset? Check. Sporting a red square or maybe just some tattoos? Check. Okay, release the Kraken!

If there’s anything to be learned is just how important it is to keep police powers in check right now. Sure, during peace time when everything is relatively calm, law enforcement will keep a low profile. But given a green light, these same personnel can become a free society’s worst enemy, cracking down at the slightest sign of dissent.

This is why we need to speak out against the ham-handed use of police force in Montreal. Just like we need to follow through on punishing cops who overstepped during the G-20 summit. The more we hold power-tripping law enforcement accountable to the public, the less abuse will happen in the future, and the better protected will our freedoms be.

Big Brother in the Great White North

Friday, June 8th, 2012

We protested. We rallied. We petitioned. They didn’t care. No matter how vocal we Canadians have been against ludicrous surveillance bills and privacy eroding legislation, corporately-owned politicians like Vic Toews refuse to quit their attempts to force unwanted rulings into Canada’s law books.

What is it this time, you ask? None other than our old nemesis Bill C-30. Except now that it’s been reanimated, it has extra ghoulish powers, like giving warrantless surveillance not just to Canadian agencies, but also to US authorities who would then have access to our private information.

The bill is not without it’s dissenters. According to OpenMedia.ca, “nearly two-thirds of opposition MPs” stand against Bill C-30, a number sure to grow the more noise the public makes.

Still, as Law Professor Michael Geist points out in a lengthy yet insightful posting, the Intellectual Property Lobby tends to ignore facts in favor of ideology, looking at counterfeiting and piracy as vile evils to be fought at any expense.

But, as pointed out by myself and others, the fight against file-sharing stems from a few behemoth media companies sporting archaic business models that won’t adapt to today’s market. So they do the only thing they can: try to pass laws that protect their bottom line no matter the greater cost to society.

It’s sad and scary to think our elected officials are working so feverishly to screw us all over. Worse still, if the public keeps shutting down individual bills, the Tories might just cram them all together into next year’s omnibus budget bill and then ram it through parliament.

Just 3 more years. 3 more years? Oh man.

Constable 728: Canada’s Own Pepper Spray Cop

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Remember the infamous Pepper Spray Cop? Yeah, that guy whose callous use of toxic chemicals on peaceful UC Davis students earned him a lasting spot in Internet memeology. Well, it seems we Canadians now have our own more feminine version – Constable 728.

Watch as she proves the old adage: give someone a hammer and pretty soon everything looks like a nail. Just like if you give people a badge, powerful weapons, and the loosely sheathed authority to use them, a select few will unleash said powers at a moments notice.

Check out the video. Whatever what happened in the moments before, whether or not the students were warned, there is no evidence that this use of pepper spray was at all warranted. All that is clear is a disgusting abuse of power by an actor of the state.

Unconstitutional? Undemocratic? Certainly unCanadian. No matter how you may feel about the ongoing student protests, this incident cannot go unpunished. Otherwise we will just be opening the door to more of it in the future.

More Tall Tales from Tories

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay has been in hot water as of late for falling short by about $10 Billion in his quotes for acquiring what many believe are unnecessary and ill-suited F-35 fighter planes.

And now, in what seems to be a consistent theme from the Harper government, MacKay has been caught in another lie, yet again. (more…)

Canadian Cops Crush Peaceful Protests

Friday, April 27th, 2012

MONTREAL: Seizing upon the distractions of a public protest, a handful of unruly miscreants take the opportunity to vandalize private property. In response, heavily armed police units crack down on the demonstration as a whole, claiming protection of the public good.

Peaceful assembly: 0  Police State: 1 (more…)

Get Canada Out of Afghanistan

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Just a few moments ago during today’s question period, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in his trademark condescending tone, danced around the question as to whether or not Canada’s military role in Afghanistan will be extended beyond 2014.

He pulled the old ‘best interest of the country’ line which, not unlike the catch-all ‘because we are at war’ rationale, really refers to the interests of his wealthiest supporters and is intended to silence any criticism. “What… don’t you care about protecting Canadians or Afghans?” (more…)

Worth Watching: Wells Fargo Furthers For-Profit Prisons

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Here’s a solid video making a nice follow up to yesterday’s post about the prison problems in Canada.

Wells Fargo, the too-big-to-fail entity bailed out by taxpayers only to give CEO’s ridiculous bonuses, is the primary investor in for-profit prisons across America. (more…)

Axe to Fall on Tories

Friday, April 6th, 2012

The Canadian government has been caught in a 25 billion dollar lie, and someone must be fired. But who will it be?

While many would like to see Stephen Harper take the blame, his natural greasiness will probably allow him to slip out from under the impending axe. Defense Minister Peter MacKay might not be so lucky, and who better than him to serve as the whipping boy.

No matter who takes the fall for this fiasco, their untimely departure will do little to restore the Conservative’s credibility with Canadians.

Passing expensive, unwanted and unnecessary crime bills, threatening the sanctity of our free Internet, enacting widespread electoral fraud and, now, straight-up deception with Parliament and the public alike.

If the Tories don’t get the boot after all this, we may as well just give them a license to bend us over at the waist.

F-35′s Overdue Overhaul

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Hallelujah… Canada’s democracy still works!

Auditor General Michael Ferguson, in a report released today, slammed the Conservative government’s plans to purchase F-35 fighter jets, saying the entire process lacked sufficient oversight and did not exercise due diligence.

National defense officials stand accused of low-balling the costs of the controversial aircraft, and of keeping Canadians in the dark about the true risks of participating in a project beset by delays and cost overruns.

Wow! What is this strange feeling that has overtaken me? It’s some kind of fuzzy, warm reassurance that politics in Canada has not been usurped by the military industrial complex.

The purchase of replacement jets will still continue, only now with more transparency and more accountability. And instead of giving sole responsibility to the Defense department, the big ticket purchase will be shared with Public Works and other branches of office.

Opposition members are going to have a field day with this during question period. My hope is that they set their sights on none other than the Defense Minister himself, Peter MacKay. Who better to take the axe than the guy who vehemently pushed for the buggy and overpriced jets?

Even if MacKay does weasel his way out of this, Canadians can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that, even with a majority government, Conservatives can still brought to bear for their unscrupulous dealings.

Tories: Reverse Robin Hoods

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Take from the poor, give to the rich. Once again, the Conservative’s true agenda is shining through in the 2012 federal budget.

Science spending is getting slashed. The environment is taking a hit, and social services are being dropped. Pensions are being pilfered (unless your a Member of Parliament). Even our cherished CBC is taking a blow, despite promises to the contrary.

Do you know what’s not getting touched? (more…)