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Re: Why all Canadians should support Internet law (Nov. 9). My office appreciates the challenges faced by police officers in fighting online crime, with out-of-date tools and at a time of rapidly changing technologies.
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We agree with Jim Chu, chief constable of the Vancouver Police Department and president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, when he states the federal government's lawful access bill could be improved to better protect privacy rights in Canada.
We were encouraged to see the head of the police association specifically support a provision to clarify privacy rights, in his recent op-ed. In fact, Bill C-30 must be amended to respect privacy rights.
Chu suggests the information behind an IP address is equivalent to information found in a phone book. To me, this vastly underestimates what it may reveal about someone. Unlike a phone book, information behind an IP address is not generally publicly available and can unlock doors to much more information about people.
My office's technologists are currently looking at this, and studying the degree of privacy intrusiveness in relation to the specific information that the Bill proposes to make readily accessible to law enforcement. We are also continuing our discussions with public safety and law-enforcement officials, as well as civil society, to ensure privacy issues are adequately addressed.
It is true law-enforcement powers need to be modernized, but so too do the laws that ensure Canadians' privacy rights are fully respected. The Privacy Act, which applies to federal departments and agencies, has not been substantially amended in more than 30 years and, as a result, citizens have little mechanism for redress when things go wrong. The federal private-sector privacy law, PIPEDA, is also well overdue for an update.
Privacy Commissioner of Canada
Jim Chu seems to be simply repeating Vic Toews's talking points on C-30, without the arrogance. However, there is no mention in his article of what, in my opinion, are the two biggest flaws with Bill C-30.
First, there is currently no plan to compensate Internet service providers for the millions of dollars in spying technology this bill will force them to install. These costs will ultimately be passed down to Canadian consumers, who already pay some of the highest rates in the developed world for Internet and cellphone services. This is not to mention the fact a large database of personal information like this would be a treasure trove for hackers.
Second, sections 33 and 34 of this bill, dealing with appointed "inspectors," are disturbing. These inspectors could be anyone, not just police officers. They could be recording industry lobbyists, or Conservative party members. No warrant is required. This is unacceptable.
Knowing the cost
In his Nov. 12 letter, A bridge to prosperity, the federal infrastructure minister makes a convincing argument for a second Detroit-Windsor bridge. But he does not mention costs.
Canadian taxpayers have the right to know exactly how many Canadian dollars are being spent on Detroit roads. With the massive Canadian infrastructure deficit, it is tough to imagine how our federal government can justify any funding of roads in an American city.
Absence of risk
In his Nov. 9 letter, Proactive step, Garth Bradley is critical of Gordon Sinclair Jr.'s Nov. 6 column, Taking a stand against frisking, which lends support to Dr. Tom Goodhand's refusal to be frisked at the last Blue Bomber game.
If there was a valid safety concern that precipitated the implementation of this practice, or if it were a standard procedure at all other CFL venues, I would possibly share Bradley's criticism. However, what I see is the confiscation of bags of licorice, peanuts and bottles of water, which clearly does not constitute a risk to safety.
I have been a season-ticket holder for 35 years and admit that, in years gone by, when our team was playing into November, I found that a Thermos of hot chocolate and a few ounces of Bailey's sure warded off the evening chills. If frisking were justifiable, a reasonable person would think at least one other venue in the CFL would have implemented it.
Better spending options
I have attended several sessions of the Clean Environment Commission hearings regarding the Bipole III hydro line. There have been many excellent presentations by retired hydro engineers, farmers, rural and urban residents, First Nations people and a former NDP cabinet minister.
Every presenter mentions the problems that will be caused by the proposed west-side route, plus the extra $1 billion cost, compared to the east-side route, which contrary to government information is not recoverable from sales of hydro electricity to the U.S. and will have to be paid by all Manitobans through higher taxes and higher hydro rates. I have yet to hear anyone speak in favour of the project.
If our government is intent on spending the extra $1 billion, there must be better places to spend it than on 500 kilometres of extra towers and transmission lines. Fixing up highways, bridges and streets, building more affordable housing or speeding up construction of the all-season road east of Lake Winnipeg would be a few possibilities.
I urge the CEC panel to deny the licence application of Manitoba Hydro. This would give the government a golden opportunity to reverse its decision on this ill-conceived idea and blame it on the CEC.
Something struck me odd in the Nov. 10 Food irradiation -- a gift horse (Nov 10). Nothing regarding the content, which was very interesting, but of the word irradiate.
Usually the prefix ir-, like un- or in-, means not, and alters the base word to mean the opposite, such as irregular, irreplaceable, irrelevant, irremovable and irreversible. So shouldn't the word irradiate, mean to not radiate? Yet a quick check in the dictionary confirms that to irradiate means to radiate. Doesn't that make the prefix redundant?
This is why parents should not be too upset if their child is having difficulty in reading and writing English, since it is such an illogical language. Or should I say irillogical?
Archaic practice should go
I suggest that included on the agenda for the next session of the legislature should be a motion to end daylight savings time in this province.
The people of Saskatchewan manage very well without this archaic practice. Let Manitoba lead in it coming to an end in this country.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 15, 2012 A17
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