Friday, October 13, 2006

civil liberties vs security

Friday, October 13, 2006
in november 1970, in the face the FLQ kidnapping crisis, pierre trudeau invoked canada's war measures act. effectly this decision suspended the bill of rights . worse yet, military rule under the war measures act could go on indefinitely, until such time as the PM declares an end to the insurrection, revoking rule-by-decree. sounds quite broad and sweeping, doesn't it? sounds quite questionably corruptable, doesn't it? well, yes. recall, though, the social and historical context of the war measures act. proclaimed, in force, at the start of WWI. and again during WWII the canadian government invoked the act.

so the issue for any such government becomes balancing national security against civil liberties. and remaining ever cognisant of the wisdom in that old adage 'power corrupts absolutely.' in 1970, during the FLQ crisis, many raised concerns regarding the potential threat to civil liberties. recalling the government's past use of the act - ie to isolate and/or persecute particular groups of society deemed 'hostile' or 'enemy' groups - validates these concerns. yes, trudeau's decision to invoke the war measures act in response to the FLQ insurrection did provide a swift end to the crisis and to any FLQ and related terrorist activity. does the end justify the means?

i wonder. more on this ... just not right now.