Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yeah, about that "law and order" obsession ...


CSIS taping conversations between lawyers, terrorism suspects, judge says

Canada's spy agency is taping conversations between men held as terrorism suspects and their defence lawyers, according to a Federal Court Judge, who suggests state agents cease such wiretaps and delete the tapes.

Should we even bother taking bets as to whether a single Blogging Tory will protest? Come on ... I'll give you odds.


Anonymous said...

And when connies are taped, they just end up looking stupid as with the Cadman case...

Robert G. Harvie, Q.C. said...

I hate to prove you wrong, but here's a BT who thinks that this is beyond offensive, and who, as a lawyer, is also incensed that we, under current Canadian law, are required to maintain records of all clients identification, including their occupation, which is subject to verification by each law society.

Now - you may say, "so what?". Well, why have information if it isn't going to be "looked at" by someone. To comfort our clients, Law Societies assure us that "Information would not be provided to the authorities without a court order, which will give due consideration to solicitor-client confidentiality and privilege." Yeah. I feel all warm and fuzzy.. trust me, if the state wants a record maintained, they have to have an expectation they will be allowed to access it in more than a trivial manner.

Privileged (protected) Communication between a lawyer and their client is one of the most fundamental aspects of a free judicial system. The ability for a client to be honest and forthright to their counsel, particularly where that counsel is the only barrier between the client and the abuse of the power of the state is sancrosanct, and has, throughout our Canadian (and American for that matter) judicial history, been viewed as inviolate.

For our government to use the protection of the state as an excuse to encroach on fundamentally understood freedoms is inexcuseable. Period.

Now.. before you Liberals start patting yourselves on the back too much, I can point you to amendments to our criminal code under Liberal governments as well which have whittled down things like, oh, presumptions of innocence and a right to full answer to the case against you.. and let us not forget a little thing called the "War Measures Act" under P.E.Trudeau, which allowed for arbitrary arrest and detention.. "to protect the state".

This is where, if we aren't careful, partisan loyalty hurts us all. We should be wary of all government - including that which we personally support, using their authority to interfere with our right to live unmolested by government intrusion.

Government, in general, enjoys the benefits of power, the benefits of pushing around the populace to meet their own agendas, and those agendas come from the right and the left.

I will say, without reservation, that one of the problems with conservative thought, is the pre-occupation with use of police as a tool of "social correction".

And - before you respond - I'll agree that it's pretty inconsistent to say, "we should be able to be free to say whatever we want whether you find it acceptable or not".. and at the same time say, "your freedom to speak candidly to your lawyer is not truly protected if I think what you're talking about isn't "acceptable" to me.

Really - wouldn't it be better if the "state" (read "politicians with an agenda") just stayed the hell away from us all to the extent reasonably possible?

Ti-Guy said...

This is Canada, Roblaw, one of the oldest democracies in the modern world and the one with the longest stretch of continuous democracy. Relax. Focus.

Robert G. Harvie, Q.C. said...

Ti-Guy.. I'm not about to take arms, so, don't worry.. but, as a lawyer, perhaps more than others, I see the slow, creepy, intrusion of the state into our lives which we, in the hope of comfort and safety, sort of invite.

I see Courts, more and more, ignoring years of precedent and rules of evidence in support of achieving what THEY deem to be noble social ends.. I see governments, Conservative and Liberal, who feel very comfortable with the "ends justify the means" concept - and I think that the recent mess in parliament is, to a great extent, an example of that coming from all ends.

I'm not some wacky libertarian looking to live in the mountains with my shotgun.. and I feel truly blessed to live in Canada.. but I think we're getting a little bit, well, enslaved by the governments who are supposed to be serving us.

..I don't want to wake up one day and find out that CC has been arrested by some well-intentioned thought police for calling me or my ilk a "cunt" - because it's offensive to women.. what kind of world would THAT be? LOL..

Sheena said...

Since when is cunt offensive to women? Crap. I better go edit my blog.

wv = licronin

I have no idea. But it sounds fun.

Unknown said...

"Layden-Stevenson also said if the men's bail terms are changed to specifically refer to the interception of solicitor-client communications, the spy and border agencies could end the monitoring, or delete the interception as soon as they realized what they were listening to."

Ti-Guy said...

I like libertarians. I really do.

Unknown said...


the problem is the politics is utterly schizophrenic, they are trying to have it both ways and most idealist too.

As for Trudeau and the War Measures Act. At least he realized he had gone too far and tried to right the wrong. Nobody is perfect but I have a lot more respect for Trudeau and what he has done (and how) than I have for the politicians in this country for the last 20 years (I've been here ten).

I have an outside perspective on Canadian politics, mainly too because I can't vote and can watch the whole thing with a bit of amusement at times (not so much when I look at my own country where I still hold citizenship), and as such I have come to a conclusion that nobody should like:

The Liberals tried to steal from the country, the Conservatives under Harper are trying to steal the country.

Both are shitty things, which one stinks less depends on what side of the aisle you fall I guess.

It is sad statement for everybody if the only SANE choice would actually be the NDP, at least they are still true to their hertiage.

sooey said...

Yeah. What was Trudeau thinking? He should have bombed France. Rid us of this damnable FLQ once and for all.

Robert G. Harvie, Q.C. said...

..what politicians take away from us is, quite often, we have so much more in common than they like to suggest.. which is a common thread in my blogs.. and sometimes, on topics like this, it is helpful for the right and the left and everyone in between to say, uh, NO. This is not OK.

Most people, deep down, want the same things.. but it doesn't help at the polls for one party or the other to point this out.. much more helpful to polarize the population and to leave an impression that those "not like us" are somehow evil.. this sort of slight of hand misdirection that avoids us looking at what's REALLY going on.