The Vancouver Police officially endorsed Bill C-30, the proposed bill to change the ability of the state to monitor internet activity. The police note that warrants would be required for all privacy invasions, except for exigent situations such as kidnapping or suicide.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is facing continued criticism for the Conservative’s proposed Internet Surveillance Bill. The condemnations are not only coming from Opposition MPs, but also from the public. Indeed, one attempt to exemplify the impact such an invasion of privacy will have has been through the airing of details about Toews’ divorce through Twitter.
Interestingly, Toews is demanding the person responsible for the dissemination of this information be tracked down, and furiously attacked those in the House who he thought were responsible.
It seems the Minister is not such a strong supporter of privacy infringements when he is the recipient.
The first sentencing for a Vancouver Stanley Cup rioter is to occur today. However, due to Judge Malcolm McLean’s requirement that the impact of cameras during sentencing requires assistance from an amicus curiae, no cameras will be present. The delay this would cause means that this first sentencing – of Ryan Dickson – will not be broadcast.
Premier Clark’s push to introduce cameras into BC courts has put a spotlight on the conflict between societal interests in seeing justice done and individuals’ privacy concerns. While the Supreme Court of Canada already allows televised hearings, the concept has received relatively little support in BC.
The emotions of the Vancouver riots last year sparked calls for justice, and a vow from Christy Clark that the rioters would not be allowed to remain anonymous.
Having cameras in the courtrooms poses problems for privacy. There is the concern that innocent accused can face social stigma from appearing in a trial. However, the values of justice and the public nature of the riots lend themselves to the public having a stake in the proceedings as well.
As this issue continues, it will be interesting to see how much of an impact it has on the court system in BC, as well as the political career of the Premier who is championing it.
The ongoing issue of polygamy being illegally practiced in Canada is winding its way up the courts system. Here in BC, the government has known for years about the adherents to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) in Bountiful, who routinely practice the crime. For decades, nothing was done about it, but it has recently been challenged. The recent decision by the BC Supreme Court upheld the polygamy laws, but it will undoubtedly make its way to the Supreme Court.
The clear issue with maintaining the illegality of polygamy is that it encroaches on freedom of religion (and even perhaps freedom of association). However, the overwhelming concern is the increased risk of sexual assault and exploitation in these situations.
There is a risk that those who willingly enter into polyamorous relationships could be negatively impacted by Canada’s polygamy laws being upheld, as well as a risk to the freedoms of Canadian Muslims and other religious groups who practice it as well.
However, can we risk that the abuse that has taken place by some of Bountiful, BC’s residents through polygamy goes unpunished? It will be interesting to see the next step in this important issue.
The protesters involved in Occupy Vancouver have been issued a notice to take down their tents. The written notice given by City Manager Penny Ballem was issued in response to the recent death of 23 year old Ashlie Gough, who died in the makeshift camp on Saturday. While the protesters are unsurprisingly framing the notice as an attempt to shut down the movement, it would not prevent them from continuing to protest; however, the tent city itself would have to be dismantled. It remains to be seen how the Occupy Vancouver protesters will respond. The written notice raises the issue at pla