Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Steven Blaney calls a cat a cat

"The Holocaust," intoned Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney today, "did not begin in the gas chamber; it began with words."  

He's right, of course. It began with a government capitalizing on a disaster event to demonize a segment of the population and suppress civil rights - including freedom of expression, assembly, and the expectation of privacy in personal communications - while hurriedly implementing a legal basis for the secret imprisonment of anyone considered not friendly to the government's agenda of security over democracy.

So it began with a law something like Bill C-51.

Press Progress is already all over Blaney's peculiar mention of the Holocaust to justify certain measures of Anti-terrorism Act 2015 at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security studying Bill C-51 today, but I noticed it was a somewhat leading - dare I say, planted - question from Con MP Rick Norlock that preceded and provoked it.

Norlock awkwardly read a question off his prepared question sheet regarding the takedown of internet sites :

 Norlock at 49:35:
 "Can you explain the gap in the legislation you're trying to fill and I'm referring mainly to the promotion and and takedown threshold with regards to internet sites. We've heard some folks say that this portion of the legislation is an attack on our freedom of speech. I don't believe it is but I do believe, I do not believe, that promoting the commission of terrorism acts is acceptable. Can you explain the legislation and how it is different than the current hate speech laws that are focused on certain groups."
Certain groups? I hadn't realized we had "current hate speech laws that are focused on certain groups".

After JustMin Peter MacKay's response, Blaney signalled he wished to speak to the question also:

At the 53:45 mark, Blaney : 
"As you know our government has tabled a counter-terrorism strategy that has four pillars - to prevent, detect, deny, and response. And the fact that as a government , as a society, as we will be able to shut down those websites who are promoting hatred and violence is a tool helping us in the first pillar of prevention of radicalization because as we know, we've heard it, the Holocaust did not began in the gas chamber, it began with words. So we have to be careful and that's why this measure I feel is so important and I also am committed as Minister of Public Safety to work with my partners such as Minister Bernard Cazeneuve of France, our European partners, American - so that websites that could be hosted in other countries could also be shut down if they are promoting hatred, extremist ideology, and violence. So I believe this measure, C-51, is part, is helping the four pillar of our counter-terrorism strategy. Thank you."
Randall Garrison (NDP - Esquimalt- Juan de Fuca, BC) protested Blaney's rhetorical trivialization of the Holocaust and Blaney doubled down in the portion Press Progress posted :

Asked about possible abuses of C-51, Blaney explained he was not worried because he would be the one signing off on the warrants.

Gosh was it only six weeks ago that Blaney gave a speech to the UN General Assembly on the Holocaust and Canada's efforts to combat anti-Semitism in the form of the BDS movement? :

"One year ago our Prime Minister Harper stood in the Knesset in Jerusalem to declare that through fire and water Canada would stand with the people of Israel and all the Jewish communities in the face of anti-Semitism. ... That is why Canada plays a leading role in the fight against the Islamic State. Prime Minister Harper spoke at the Ottawa conference on combating anti-Semitism, clearly outlining the real threat of anti-Semitism and Canada's duty to respond. He said " We must speak clearly, remembering the Holocaust is not merely an act of historical recognition - it must also be an understanding and an undertaking - an understanding that the same threats exists today and an undertaking of a solemn undertaking to fight those threats."

.... Canada has a zero tolerance to anti-Semitism in all forms of discrimination, including in rhetoric towards Israel and attempts to delegitimize Israel such as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. This is because that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are a great threat to us all. More works needs to be done to combat the scourge of discrimination inherent to anti-Semitism and under Prime Minister Harper's leadership, Canada will continue to be a leader in those efforts."

And just a couple of weeks before that, John Baird was in Israel signing a new MOU:
  • Deeply concerned by efforts to single out the State of Israel for criticism and isolate the State of Israel internationally including calls for a boycott of the State of Israel, for the divestment of investments, and for sanctions to be imposed on Israel
  • Recognizing that the selective targeting of Israel reflects the new face of anti‑Semitism
while another MOU (there were five) promised Israel and Canada would develop "a coordinated, public diplomacy initiative" to combat such criticism.

Meanwhile the website of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada addressed the new MOUs and "the challenge posed by terrorism", including more "standing with Israel through fire and water" and concluding  :
"Whether the fight against violent extremism is conducted over the skies of Iraq or in the tunnels under Gaza, Canada and the State of Israel are fighting enemies whose hateful ideologies and goals threaten all peaceful, democratic societies. That’s why we are committed to enhancing our collaboration on security and defence, especially in the increasingly important area of cyber-security."
From Part One of Bill C-51 : Security of Canada Information Sharing Act :
"Whereas Canada is not to be used as a conduit for the carrying out of activities that undermine the security of another state"
and where the last of nine definitions of "activities" is : 
(i) an activity that takes place in Canada and undermines the security of another state

So I ask again : how much of Bill C-51 is about the Cons soppy infatuation with the current rightwing government of Israel?
Wednesday Update : The first use I can find of the phrase "The Holocaust did not begin in the gas chambers - it began with words" is from Liberal MP Irwin Cotler writing for the Jerusalem Post five years ago. It's the title of his article.


Anonymous said...

I think we can assume any supporter of the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions movement against Israel’s apartheid policies will now be subject to police surveillance, pre-emptive detentions, seizure of computers, and CSIS disruption techniques. But you do have to wonder what kind of a moron would defend c51 by bringing up the Holocaust?

fern hill said...

OT, but some fans on Twitter are thinking Perps with Perks needs updating with the addition of Diane Finley. Can you squeeze her in beside hub?

Alison said...

Fern, I just finished listening to the Reichstag twins for two hours after work so I could write up a tl/dr post and now you ask for a friggin' picture? ;-) Will take some juggling ....

Did you read Dawson's report?
"Mr. [Nigel] Wright wrote [to Dawson] that he told her [Finley] he had been asked by the prime minister to 'sort it out'"

Boris said...

Alison, did you see this?


Weirdly, he still supports C-51.

Alison said...

Boris : Yes, describing the perils of Muslims in Canada under the Cons, Trudeau actually compared their plight to that of the Jews fleeing the Nazis and being refused entry into Canada. So he's doing a bit of fear-mongering himself here.

Trudeau is responding to/capitalizing on a bunch of recent Con - let's call them missteps - in balancing their rabid base with their multicultural outreach. Not sure how much of this you caught so ...

1) On International Womens Day, our new DefMin Jason Kenney tweeted this - inflammatory and misleading images debunked by Glen McGregor here and here. Kenney's tweet is still up tonight.

2) Their terrorism fundraiser re West Edmonton Mall

3) Harper called it offensive for a woman to wear a niqab during a public citizenship ceremony even though he knows perfectly well Muslim women are happy to take the oath face uncovered in private. Harper said "It's not the way we do things here" and is appealing the court ruling that struck down ban on wearing niqab during citizenship oath.
A fun and savvy response to that is dresscodePM.

4) related - Con MP John Williamson said "It makes no sense to pay whites to stay home while we bring in brown people to do these jobs"

There have been a bunch more like this.

Re Trudeau on C-51 : It appeals to Blue Dog lib voters and disaffected con votes while insulating himself from soft-on-terrorism attacks from the PMO. It's also in line with the LPC history of supporting every anti-terrorism bill that's ever been tabled plus some that haven't.
Trudeau defends his stance on supporting C-51 here.

Anonymous said...

Remember eight years ago when the Cons tried to prevent niqabis from voting until it was pointed out to them that mail-in voters don't have to show their faces. Cons very fond of clash of cultures speak.

Alison said...

Anon : Loved this from the Beaverton yesterday:

"“The niqab is rooted in a culture that is inherently anti-women,” Harper said asserting pro-woman male dominance during Question Period. “Men in these cultures have been dictating what they can and cannot wear. But, as a man defending women, I know what’s best for them and the niqab is clearly not. Women wearing niqabs cannot understand that they’re being oppressed. Therefore, anyone who wears the niqab must be shunned and denied citizenship.”

Harper also stated that he would be banning other anti-women fashion which will be determined by an all-male judicial panel headed by Justice Minister Peter MacKay.

“A woman’s face is not like a Senate expense scandal or election fraud,” Harper added. “It shouldn’t be covered up by a higher power.”

Anonymous said...



A couple of interesting articles, particularly from the UK about what the Five Eyes are doing.

Given that they're already spying on other countries for industry then it stands to reason that the industrial espionage is simply going to go into over-drive

Alison said...

Anon: Indeed and presumably particularly so under cover of all those "asterisks of concealment".

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