February 26, 2007

Feb. 26, 2007: RCMP, Language, Privacy, Rights

Federal watchdog and RCMP battle privacy protection , Carly Weeks, CanWest, February 23, 2007


OTTAWA - The federal privacy commissioner is squaring off against the RCMP for urging the government to adopt changes that would legally compel companies to give police personal information of employees and customers without their knowledge or consent - changes the office says would invade the privacy of Canadians.

The RCMP is also seeking changes to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) that would prohibit banks, employers and other institutions from letting Canadians know the police is [sic] looking at their personal information without the RCMP's permission.

[....] In fact, the clause is the "single largest impediment" to the force's child-exploitation investigations, Supt. Earla-Kim McColl with the RCMP's National Child Exploitation Centre, told committee members earlier this week. For example, she said Internet service providers often refuse to provide personal information to the police when conducting investigations into suspected pedophiles, she said.

Most of us would have no problem with efforts to track pedophiles; however, rights tend to expand ... and expand ... What if a government were to become hostile about an individual's internet use ... say, for dissemination of information, not of prurient interest, perhaps information that would impact the political. There has/had been no effective whistleblower legislation and that may have served the purpose of those involved in wrong-doing or corruption. What if a whistleblower used the internet to inform, even though doing right for the good of the country? Would that person have any right to privacy if someone powerful, maybe someone in government, wanted information? Could a powerful government individual use the RCMP or CSIS to curb the flow of information? To shut down any further inquiry? (Remember the APEC - pepper spray affair? What happened to various whistleblowers' careers?) Where would the power lie in a conflict over privacy and someone's power to command?

RCMP and language ... rights

Once something is declared a "right", then the rest have only the right to bow in the face of a juggernaut ... and to pay. Whatever the actual need, if something has been declared a "right" for a favoured group, then it gets funding. This amounts to garnishee of one group's tax funds to satisfy an ever-expanding concept of what a right to service involves for another group. Not enough money for health care? Whatever ... money will be available to expand bilingual rights services. Does it seem entirely democratic to you?

RCMP officers patrolling TCH should be bilingual -- Senate , Campbell Morrison, February 23rd, 2007, Canada East / Daily Gleaner A3


OTTAWA - A Senate committee is recommending that the government should force the RCMP to provide service in English and French along the entire length of the Trans-Canada Highway under its protection.

The Senate standing committee on official languages concluded that the government's response to losing a Nova Scotia court case was inadequate and minority-language groups deserved a better response.

The Federal Court of Canada found that Donnie Doucet's right to service in French was violated when he was pulled over by an English-speaking officer in 1998 for speeding on the Trans-Canada Highway near Amherst, N.S.

The federal government amended the regulations governing the service of language by adding the need to provide bilingual service if the RCMP detachment is responsible for an entry point of an officially bilingual province.

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