George Orwell was more than just a brilliant author and enticing storyteller. If you’ve been paying attention to Canadian politics lately, it appears Orwell also had the power to see into the future.
In his ground breaking novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell tells the story of Oceania, an oppressive police state overseen by an all seeing government known as the “Inner Party,” which has the ability to monitor anyone, anywhere, at any time. Anybody caught disagreeing with the Inner Party or challenging the status quo are found guilty of thought crimes and are inevitably disposed of.
This brings us to Bill C-51, which is Canada’s answer to America’s Patriot Act. In these troubling times and with the constant reminder of home-based terrorism, our political leaders have cooked up a bill that will essentially allow them to do everything I just described from the novel. Bill C-51 will allow police to conduct searches and make arrests without warrant, pre-emptively arrest people and detain them indefinitely. Protesting things or speaking out against the government will be made a huge no-no and any and all of your online activities can and will be monitored (even though I have a feeling they already are anyway). It doesn’t stop there, though. Oh-no! Bill C-51 will allow agencies like Health Canada and the Canadian Revenue agency to share your info with the RCMP. How screwed up is that?
Think about it – any and all privacy you have is virtually out the window. You have to watch everything you do or say because stepping out of line could land you in the hot seat and you’ll be deemed a threat and if you speak out and call bullshit on something that is in fact bullshit, you can be silenced in the name of national security. You can literally be incarcerated for your thoughts and expressions. You will be made a thought criminal. This isn’t far off at all from the picture that Orwell painted in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Don’t get me wrong, we do need security but not from terrorists. We need it from Stephen Harper and his thought police.
Then, of course, there’s the classic argument of “if you’ve done nothing wrong, then you’ve got nothing to hide.” That’s not the point, buddy. The invasion of privacy is wrong, whether you’re doing wrong or not. Privacy is a right of every human being and shouldn’t be invaded. Whether you have anything to hide or not, having your basic right to a private life infringed on is a travesty and no one, not even our government should have the right to do so. That’s the point of living in a free country.
I encourage all of you to read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, then take a look at Bill C-51 and tell me how strikingly similar they are. We’re about to enter Oceania, ladies and gentlemen. Better stay away from your telescreens. So while we still have the privilege, question authority, think outside the box and make your voice heard if you disagree with something. It’s not illegal … yet.