- Paul Krugman laments how faith-based economics which value unmeasurable market confidence over any meaningful outcome continue to form the basis for disastrous austerity policies around the world.
- Bill Curry reports on the PBO's latest study showing that the only reason the Cons are in a position to brag about a nominally balanced budget is their continued siphoning off of EI premiums which are supposed to be for the benefit of the many workers who have lost their jobs. And Andrew Jackson puts the Cons' miserable jobs record in context.
- Meanwhile, Eliza Anyangwe points out that we shouldn't expect the fortunate few who profit from policies designed to destroy working classes to accept a change in direction without a fight. And Jon Queally discusses the prospects of building a U.S. progressive populist movement.
- Finally, Daniel Tseghay comments on the connection between C-51, security certificates and race-based fearmongering. And Craig Forcese and Kent Roach discuss the real purpose of the Cons' terror bill - being to create an open-ended permission for CSIS to disrupt the private activities of Canadians without any meaningful oversight:
In recent weeks, we have been speaking to counterparts in comparable nations—notably the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States. None of these countries appear to issue their CSIS equivalents with an open-ended, indefinite power to break the law. In Australia, for instance, the CSIS equivalent may disrupt a computer system, but it can do so only pursuant to a detailed warrant issued under the provisions of a tightly administered legal framework that itself is subject to review by an inspector general, as well as potential scrutiny from a special security committee of the Australian parliament.
The United Kingdom, meanwhile, has just witnessed a vigorous debate about what steps its agencies may take to limit re-entry of UK nationals who have become foreign paramilitary fighters. It has not given its security services—either MI5 or its foreign service, MI6 (of James Bond fame)—special new powers to break the law or violate human rights.
None of that informed debate is occurring (or, it seems, will occur) in Canada, because our government has chosen simply to provide a virtual carte blanche to CSIS, allowing it to pick from a long menu of surveillance and “disruption” techniques. These new powers are subject to judicial approval processes only when they would violate Canadian law or the Charter, in a proceeding in which the government is the only party, there is no possibility of appeal, and no public disclosure of any warrant issued.
We consider ourselves to be moderate-minded academics, not activists. We aren’t conspiracy theorists, and we generally believe that CSIS officials do not have malign intentions. Indeed, we don’t think CSIS really wants to be in the rendition game. We don’t think CSIS has any interest in running a detention facility, either at home or abroad. We don’t think CSIS wants to perform a political function by steering foreign environmental foundations away from funding local protest groups. But this is a law that may persist for a long time, and as with any government agency, the intentions of CSIS may well change as internal cultures evolve and, even in good faith, the service tests the bounds of its new powers.