Secret hearings stab at the heart of democracy. What democracy? Under Steve Harper, Alberta’s foot rot has spread across the country

Monday’s Letters: Secret hearings stab at the heart of democracy by Anne Hamre, Edmonton, August 17, 2015

Re: “Secret spy hearings have chilling effect on our rights,” Aug. 13

Much-needed attention has been drawn to an increasingly troubling fact in our society: Our federal government is showing a growing willingness to treat any kind of law-abiding protest as dangerous to their objectives, and we are willing to let them do it.

Environmental agencies and community groups lawfully protesting decisions made by oil companies have every right to publicly state their concerns and objections. Indeed, lawful protest is an essence of democracy. Spying on groups and individuals whose opinion is contrary to economic giants and federal policy smacks of something quite sinister.

In a democracy, lawful dissent is essential. It enables non-political groups and individuals to express opinions, raise issues and draw attention to misguided policies.

Spying and information-sharing about the activity of such groups by those in power should make every citizen shiver.

Why have such law-abiding and effective environmental groups as the Dogwood Initiative been categorized as worthy of surveillance? Is it to shut down opposition to the oil pipelines within the populace? After all, who’s going to protest this endeavour if they are going to end up on some police list somewhere?

If environmental groups are coming under suspicion, what will the government do with those who protest other policies, such as those affecting First Nations or participation in overseas wars?

Perhaps the crux of the matter is economics. After all, one of Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s constant themes is economic growth at all costs. Spying on those who oppose this objective probably makes sense to his distorted view of the world.

But what’s most concerning is how this policy is going to affect not just the environment, but all Canadians. If, for whatever reason, people feel that it is not safe to stand up and say “no” to governmental policies, then what is the difference between Canada and any dictatorship, past or present? [Emphasis added]

Muting the dissenters by Melle Huizinga, Edmonton, August 17, 2015, Edmonton Journal

Re: “Harper blasts NDP on own turf,” Aug. 13

Tory Leader Stephen Harper’s election rally in Edmonton was attended only by selected supporters and media.

Interested voters could fill in an online form. If approved by the party, they would receive an email which would serve as their admission ticket.

Abraham Lincoln characterized democracy as “Government of the people, by the people and for the people.” Harper’s redefinition seems to be “Government of the chosen, by the elite and for the ideologically correct.”

There’s something about democracy he does not get. [Or, perhaps he gets it very well, and needs to destroy the democratic rights of Canadians and our Charter – both interfere with the profits of non-living corporations]

[Refer also to:

Meet ASSIST: Alberta’s very own Spy Agency, “Alberta Security and Strategic Intelligence Support Team” ]

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