My public trust in the government and it's corporate and arms-length agencies is long gone. By default now I assume they're lying in some capacity or omitting facts, or simply taking advantage of people's short attention spans and redirecting their attention to something superficial so you don't notice something they don't want you to see.
We allow the government to engage in secret activities, have secret funds, because of the social license built on trust. If the government persists with the secrecy and rampant abuses even after that trust has been lost they now are in the territory of tyranny. Ultimately the government is supposed to work for the people and if the people can not trust the government to say, collect metadata on everyone everywhere despite the people saying 'no', yet it persists in doing so anyway it has now become a tyrannical government in which "continuity of government' (and by extension the banking system) becomes the main focus. Not serving the people.
How this tyranny manifests will be different in every case, but when it occurs if the people push hard enough it will always eventually and inevitably turn into violence. We like to think we're "free and democratic" but the reality is if you're doing something the government doesn't want your freedom to do it doesn't matter at all and the 'political suppression squads' come out. I call them political suppression squads because they are used far more often for "protests" than they are for actual riots.
MONTREAL - Riot police swiftly snuffed out a demonstration Thursday in Montreal after a few dozen marchers had barely hit the streets to protest a controversial plan to pipe oilsands crude eastward.No "riot", just a demonstration.
Meanwhile in Quebec...
MONTREAL — In an unprecedented move, Quebec's provincial police force has formally charged its own former director and two other ex-bosses with fraud, theft and breach of trust.Now despite the fact that they have finally been charged there is a long-term effect from findings like this, the erosion of public trust. The police of course will insist this private fund is completely necessary for their job. Undercover drug ops, and what not. But do they have enough trust in them by the people to have earned such a privilege? When crime like this goes all the way to the top such as the "assistant director in charge of criminal investigations" I would have to say that it's a resounding no. Sorry cops, figure out how to do your job transparently and legally. If you really needed these secret funds earmarked and it was really important then you wouldn't have fucked it up for yourselves.
Steven Chabot, Alfred Tremblay and former top cop Richard Deschesnes are accused of siphoning money from a secret police fund to pay a bonus and illegal consulting fees.
The case has given the public a rare look into the internal workings of the police force, known as the SQ.
Deschesnes ran the SQ from June 2008 until October 2012, when the Parti Quebecois reassigned him shortly after it took power.
His co-accused, Chabot, now retired, was the SQ's assistant director in charge of criminal investigations.
Tremblay, the third man charged this week, was once a chief inspector at the SQ.
All three men were charged by summons and were to be fingerprinted and photographed Wednesday at a Montreal police precinct.
The former officers are scheduled to appear at the Montreal courthouse on Feb. 13.
In December 2012, shortly after the PQ removed Deschesnes, Public Security Minister Stephane Bergeron held a news conference to announce an investigation into what he called "extremely disturbing" findings.
He said a secret SQ expense fund had been used for a severance payment and to hire a consultant who was ineligible to work for the government because of back taxes.
The off-the-books fund is earmarked for operations such as drug transactions by undercover officers or to pay informants.
This finding simply leads me to believe the entire purpose of such secret funds is to carry out criminal operations and have secret payoffs. Considering the operation of such funds are secret there is no form of oversight that itself can't be bought off or corrupted. This is the daisy chain of what the erosion of public trust creates. No trust in anything, or anyone. This trust is simply further destroyed by using the police against the people for purely political purposes.
The same goes for Harper's comments on Chuck Strahl.
OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered a rousing defence Friday of former Conservative MP Chuck Strahl, the latest chairman of Canada's spy watchdog to step down under a cloud of allegations.I guess honorable is a relative term. I don't believe that anyone who believes in lobbying is honorable at all. Yes, I realize lobbying is legal, but legality doesn't really matter when the criminals run the show. Laws can be changed and often are once crime is discovered to simply make the crime legal. What I object to is the very notion democracy and your democratic voice can and should be purchasable. Anyone who believes in the principal of 1 dollar, 1 voice, which lobbying inherently represents, is not honorable at all. They are circumventing the democratic process for a preferred voice.
Strahl was not forced to resign, and indeed had been fully cleared by the federal ethics commissioner of claims involving an alleged conflict of interest, Harper told the House of Commons.
"Chuck Strahl is one of the most honourable and decent people I have ever worked with in the Parliament of Canada," the prime minister said as the Conservative benches erupted with applause.
But more so than that is Harper's assertion there is no conflict of interest. The very fact CSIS is spying on and monitoring on Canadians with environmental concerns is a conflict of interest unto itself. You can see this conflict right on this post, "riot" police stop a demonstration against a pipeline before it had barely begun. Where do you think they got their intelligence from? Then you have Chuck Strahl who believes so strongly in these pipelines he would subvert democracy to have them and we're all to trust Harper that he's really just a stand-up great guy.
It's very hard to give Harper and Chuck Strahl the benefit of the doubt when CSEC, CSIS, and the government has been lying and denying non-stop about the extent that they violate Canadians privacy. Nevermind all the additional lies, and scandals, election fraud, etc, occurring at the same time. Each and every one of these events has an accumulative corrosive effect on the public trust and social license.
The government and police say they need these easily abused powers for national security, but there can be no national security if the government continually demonstrates that it feels that secrecy and control are entitlements it should receive regardless.
When people say "well there must be some spying" that's always making the assumption that the "national security" they portray is the reason they're spying and that "corporate security" is not the primary purpose. These Snowden NSA/CSEC/Five Eyes revelations show that governments have taken the social license and ran with it. No "reform" can restore that trust, the social license must be retracted entirely and re-earned. Government's must do their intelligence gathering in the open and prove their intentions if they ever expect to retain the benefit of the doubt they've been operating within when there is such a strong reason now to believe their intentions are not as they say. The same thing goes with secret police funds, and any other secret operations the government and it's agencies engages in.
Of course, I don't expect that will happen. We're no longer in anything even resembling a democracy and the government isn't going to wiling give up it's advantage over the population. That's tyranny in a nutshell. But if it doesn't happen then I do expect that the public trust, even here in Canada, will decline into dangerous levels and once it's gone it's nearly impossible to get back again.
I keep seeing people on Twitter that say things like "does the Harper government really care?". This is the benefit of the doubt I'm talking about. We continue going in circles, wondering why the government isn't doing their job as we see their job as being, but never ask if maybe they're doing exactly the job they've set out to do. No, Harper doesn't care, and neither does Trudeau or Muclair. If they did then you would see the "opposition" actually "oppose" the extreme illegality and abuses that's going on. In the Ukraine the opposition leaders are out with the people, protesting. Here they continue to play the game of parliament no matter how rigged or corrupt that game ends up being.
This is not to say however I want to see the destruction of our parliamentary democracy, but rather simply that my observations tell me it is already destroyed. The parliamentary democracy we see is a powerless facsimile that is much more interested in political grandstanding and talking points than it is in serving the people. The real power lies behind the scenes, in the hands of those who have preferred access to the corporatized global spy-net, and are actively using it in their interests against the population. They won't be giving up this power by choice and that inevitably only has one ending. It's only a matter of time.
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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.
Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.