The greatest struggle of the 21st century may not be between a deadly disease or radical religious sect wreaking havoc on the globe — it may be finding a balance between protection against terrorism and free speech.
On Feb. 13, House of Commons tabled legislation that will, according to the right honourable Prime Minister, ‘criminalize the promotion of terrorism.’
But is this a case of overkill?
Under Canada’s current terrorism laws, police and the federal government already have a wide range of tools and powers for combating a potential attack on Canadian soil.
Some of these include the right to arrest someone if the arresting officer has reasonable grounds to say he/she was preventing an act of terrorism.
Another tool included in the proposed Privacy Act will allow police to demand personal information from a judge if they can show intent of an individual to commit an act of terror.
Who knows what the precedent is for what may be considered ‘intent to commit an act of terror,’ but all any peace officer in Canada needs is permission from the Attorney General and a willing judge and, boom, they can begin scraping through your life piece by piece.
These are just two examples of the many tools that the government possesses that allow them to make Canada one of the safest and most stable countries to live in.
Current laws are sufficient
Countless individuals have been apprehended in the past decade because they were under surveillance, within the existing laws, and were stopped before they could do harm.
Since it seems we already have the tools to protect ourselves, this new knee-jerk reaction to the tragedies in October is unnecessary.
The truth is, it is impossible to completely protect ourselves against an attack form an unstable individual in a free society.
It is already very easy for the federal government to pry into everyone’s private information.
Battle lines drawn
The door is already open for them to do this, and the amendments that will be debated by the House of Commons in the coming year have the potential to blow the door off its hinges.
The battle lines are already drawn, as polls done in the past year show more and more Canadians are concerned about their private information being more accessible.
Let us hope that desires of the voting public will override the reactionary federal government, and force it to realize that more weapons in the fight against terror are unnecessary.