Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Chrystia Freeland writes about the dangers of increased concentration of wealth - particularly when it bears at best a passing relationship to any worthwhile contribution to society at large. And CBC's report on Peter Sabourin's investment fraud highlights the fact that the tax havens which have allowed for extreme accumulation of wealth have also facilitated crime against anybody aspiring to join the elite.

- Toby Sanger provides a handy list of 12 problems with the Cons' anti-union legislation.

- Pat Atkinson questions the Cons' complete failure to ensure that Canadians can trust that their food is safe. Murray Mandryk sees no justification for the Sask Party's creation of a corporate right to privacy. Readers of my column won't be surprised that I concur on both counts.

- Finally, Julie Lalonde recognizes that the only change involved in the Cons' new prohibition against anonymous protesting is one for the worse:
It is important to remember that the mass arrests made in Toronto highlighted several incidents of police officers removing their identification and concealing their identity. When complaints were filed, officers argued that they violated Chief Bill Blair’s rules because they feared retaliation from the public and wanted to protect their privacy.

What about the rights of public servants who want to attend demonstrations while concealing their identity to protect their jobs? What about pro-choice advocates who fear being the targets of anti-abortion violence if their identities are revealed? Are they not entitled to the same protections as police officers?
Bill C-309 was not about hockey riots. There are existing measures to address those. It was about a government afraid of the power of collectivity. It is about the efficiency of the Quebec student protests and the frightening law and order agenda exposed during the G8/G20 arrests.

Conservative MP Blake Richards said his bill would make communities safer, but he couldn’t be further from the truth. This new law will make us vulnerable to the biggest threat of all: fear. If every activist is guilty until proven innocent, we will see fewer willing to take the risk of arrest and detainment. As a result, our collective rights suffer.

Bill C-309 is a canary in the mine. As an activist, I may have nothing to hide but I have everything to lose.

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