Justifying jackboots on Wellington Street.

Wellington Street in Ottawa, Ontario is where various important buildings are located. These include the Supreme Court, the Bank of Canada, the American Embassy and the Parliament Buildings. A jackboot is a military-style knee height leather boot derived from an earlier cavalry boot. It usually had a steel plate on the heel and when the wearer clicked the heels together, it could sound like a rifle shot. Until yesterday you would never have expected to find someone who might wear such boots on Wellington Street.

To the shame of all Canadians, a law was debated and approved by Parliament this week that was the equivalent of introducing jackboots on Wellington Street. It is a law that ignores citizens’ rights. It is a law that gives police forces in Canada powers that are not needed to keep the peace. It is a despicable and demeaning affront to Canadians.

Not since Billy Blair’s bully-boys ran amok during the G-20 meeting in Toronto in 2010 have Canadians witnessed this type of police activity. And they did not like it then.

What is particularly galling is Mr. Harper’s timing in bringing forward this bill. He moved the bill forward to Monday, moving the Liberal Party day to a day when Justin Trudeau was known to be expected in Labrador to support his candidate in the by-election. The only reason Mr. Harper could have had for his timing was that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had kept him advised about the two suspected terrorists who were believed to be planning something to do with a VIA Train. The police must have told Mr. Harper on which day they would make the arrest. As the arrests did not seem overly urgent, maybe Mr. Harper or his office told the federal police when the arrest would be convenient for the government.

While the arrests were carried out in time for the government MPs to use the arrests as a talking point, no new police action was needed for the surveillance or arrest of the suspects. In effect, the police did not need to violate the rights of the suspected terrorists. They did not need to hold them for up to three days without charge. Nor did the security forces need to hold kangaroo courts where the accused either incriminate themselves or go to jail. These draconian measures in the bill were not needed.

It is also with disgust, we have to report that the Liberal caucus in Parliament supported the bill. All we can say about that is shame, shame, shame.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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