We’re all for protecting children from Internet predators but that doesn’t mean we can’t also be seriously opposed to Bill C-30.
The federal Conservatives’ proposed legislation is intended to give police more tools for rooting out the bad guys in an increasingly wired world. However, there is a growing chorus of critics warning that the measures will profoundly damage personal freedoms.
The unfortunate thing is the argument is being made on the extremes of the issue.
Some supporters of the bill say you have to side with them if you want to help police stop the horrific sexual exploitation of kids. Some opponents argue that giving cops the power to demand Internet providers hand over customers’ names, email addresses and other personal information — without a warrant — sets us on our way to becoming a police state.
But there are plenty of other, less-sensational problems that Bill C-30 would create. As Canadians, we have carefully cultivated a culture where freedom is cherished. We don’t want government peering into our bedrooms and we don’t want to be forced to hand over the keys to our lives at the whim of any police officer.
Right now, even without the proposed legislation, police have relatively little trouble getting customer information from Internet providers. Very few requests are actually turned down (about six per cent, according to RCMP numbers), so there is a real question about why the new law is needed.
There is more to this legislation than rooting out evil-doers. By framing the argument as being simply about fighting the exploitation of children, the Conservative majority is insulting Canadians who want to do the right thing.
If this government was so opposed to the “invasiveness” of the long-gun registry and the long-form census, how can they now demand Canadians accept an even more intrusive law?
We deserve to have a better discussion about Bill C-30 before the Torys force it into law.