I am conflicted re Bill C51. Michael Geist is a pretty smart guy; the information sharing provisions do seem overly broad. But since the Snowden revelations never impressed me (its all meta-stuff about spies spying), I sometimes find myself wondering if at least some of the complaints over C51 are similarly over-egged.
And so then Connie Fournier of (the relaunched) Free Dominion comes along and writes this for Open Media:
The part of the Bill that concerns me most is that provides CSIS with the power to "disrupt" groups of Canadian citizens. This word sets off alarm bells for a couple of reasons.
First, it is a word that was used in a "Five Eyes" PowerPoint presentation that was released some time ago by Edward Snowden. The "Five Eyes" countries include Canada, the USA, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand. This presentation was given to the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group and it was entitled, "The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations".
Secondly, this is where it becomes personal. Beginning in the Spring of 2006, government operatives began signing up on our discussion forum, Free Dominion. We have since identified operatives from the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), the Department of Defence, at least one Police Department, and many, many posters using proxies who posted divisive or racist comments in our forum. In 2007 we received a Section 13 complaint with regard to a link that was posted on our site. We reacted strongly and publicly to the complaint and it was later dropped.
We don't believe that it is any coincidence that the self-described strategy of the government employee who sued us four times and ultimately caused the forum to be closed, is called "Maximum Disruption". The fact that that same word shows up in the "Five Eyes" powerpoint, and that it also shows up in Bill C-51 is, to say the least, chilling.
OK, now we've hopped the train to crazy town. And just to address one point. FreeD's problem with racist comments didn't stem from undercover cops, "operatives" from the CHRC, or anonymous posters. They were typically contained in diatribes by the likes of long-time regulars such as Ed Kennedy, Bill Whatcott, Marc Lemire, and EdS. You can google their names. They were hate-mongering lunatics, and all members in good standing at FreeD until they became too toxic to keep around.
Of course, nobody reads Open Media but, arguably, people read The Tyee, so its particularly disappointing to see the same kind of nonsense expressed over there.
In brief, if you are dealing with thr Fourniers you're dealing with kooks. Having these people on board the anti-C51 cause will not help it.