Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Americanization of Canadian Politics II: RCMP, Border Services to Allow Torture

I don't have a small child to frown at you, so you're going to have to settle for me looking unimpressed (to put it tacitly).

I've been working in the kitchen all morning, trying to get it ready for a long week of what I suspect will be low-cycle mentality, and I've finally taken a break scant hours before I have to go to work. I don't like the day-to-day feeling of banality that comes from only having the news of the mall to talk about, so today I flicked open the CBC page and had a little look.

Banner Headline: RCMP, border agents can use torture-tainted information.

Now, being a social liberal and having always leaned just slightly to the left of Christ Himself when it comes to how people should and shouldn't be treated by the governments they empower, a standing displeasure with the direction my country has been heading in has more or less been the norm for about... a decade or so. I wish I was kidding, but I'm not.

Still, it's a common practice to sensationalize your headlines to raise eyebrows and get people to read the article, and being the perfect little sheep I am, I have. I'll even admit to having done the same to my headline.

Directives issued about a year ago to the RCMP and the Border Service have recently been released to the press under various information requests. These directives make it clear that in exceptional circumstances (which are never properly defined), either agency may make use of information from all available sources - including foreign agencies, even if they suspect said information is derived from torture. This is some fuzzy logic away from being the same as the American practice of Extraordinary Rendition, a practice that I'll not seems not to have decelerated under the sitting President. 

In either event, it is simply an allowance of torture. While I'm not suggesting that we start fighting wars to end torture (I think that would be a job for some kind of UN standing army, not Canadian peacekeepers), it's absurd to believe that these foreign agencies would simply be feeding us their torture-gathered information for no reason. Somewhere, hidden in the accounting, to be sure, there's going to be economic or political consideration to these people. And that's why we're the enablers, which is why I get to use the phrase "Allow Torture".

I was disappointed when I started taking law and world issues courses in high school, and when I started paying attention to the news, because that was precisely when I started to learn that America, our dear neighbour to the south, has been denying her dream for years. That's when I started learning about Guantanamo and Abu Graib. I learned the real reasons behind Canadian involvement in the NATO invasion of Afghanistan - how we were holding the most dangerous neighbourhoods with some of the weakest equipment. I was extremely proud - as proud as a 14 year old could have been - when I found out we wouldn't be going to Iraq. It wasn't our fight.

To find out we're adopting this policy... this Jack Bauer, "where's the bomb!", enhanced interrogation policy... whether on our own soil or through well-paid foreign hands, is actually the last straw. I am a Canadian. I stand for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and I think that it should apply globally rather than nationally. I served two training tours as a Royal Canadian Army Cadet and I've considered, on and off again, making a career of military service. My true patriot land may still be free, but it is no longer glorious. This cannot, shall not stand.

Tell everyone you know about this. Tell everyone you know that his honour, the Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, is killing Canada.


  1. I wish they'd stop it here (and everywhere)... It's one of those things that get ranted against but that no one in power ever seems interested in stopping... not matter what they say before the election.

    1. I've noticed that. Promises to put a halt to it was a big reason I urged my American friends to vote Obama. This year... well, I've got better things to do than adjudicate the lesser of another country's two evils.

      We as a global society need to have an awakening, I think, or there'll be no real reason to publish new history books every year.

  2. The tree of libery must be from time to time refreshed by the blood of patriot and tyrant.
    _Thomas Jefferson-

    1. While I would never endorse violent revolution, I can tell you that Jefferson lives.