Trudeau Government Seeking New Warrantless Access Program

Feds seeking to revive program that would give police access to the data of Canadians without needing a warrant

According to a report by Vice News, the Trudeau Liberals are pushing for an expansion of police surveillance tactics and investigative powers in a new “Warrantless Access” program. This is despite the fact that a previous warrantless access program was deemed unconstitutional by Canada’s Supreme Court.

According to Vice, “The program that Ottawa is looking to reboot allowed police, spy agencies, and possibly others to obtain Canadians’ data and personal information without a warrant from telecommunications companies and others.”

While the government had argued that all they wanted was basic information about Canadians online, the Supreme Court found the program was actually about “linking a specific person to specific online activities.” According to Vice, the Supreme Court “concluded it was an infringement on Canadians’ privacy and ordered it to end, except in emergency situations.”

Now, the Trudeau Liberals are trying to restart it.

Dishonesty about consultations

Vice points out the dishonesty of the government approach in pushing for this new legislation. The government had held “public consultations” on whether or not to restart a warrantless access program. However, they decided to start with new legislation three months before the consultations ended.

This is yet another example of the almost pathological dishonesty of the Trudeau government, saying one thing to the public and doing something completely different behind the scenes.

An important discussion, handled in the wrong way

The government has denied that they are working on new legislation related to warrantless access, but considering the Vice report was obtained through Access-To-Information, I’m inclined to ignore what the government has to say. After all, the Trudeau government has demonstrated such a consistent pattern of lying that there is no reason to trust them anymore.

Disturbingly, the civil service has advised the government to make details of the legislation public, but the government has refused to do so. As a result information on potential expanded surveillance powers is being kept hidden from Canadians.

This is unfortunate, because there is a legitimate conversation to be had about surveillance powers, especially with the continuing rise of radical Islamist terrorism. Police chiefs and security officials understandably want to have up-to-date technology and a strong legal framework to keep people safe. Of course, that must be balanced with protecting the rights of Canadians.

That discussion can only happen out in the open, and it will only work if all Canadians have the chance to be heard and participate. On a complex issue like this, the government must show faith in the Canadian people and our ability to look at all aspects and come to a solution.

Instead, the Trudeau government is hiding info from Canadians, and lying about their intentions. Their fake consultations are a sign of the disrespect and contempt the Trudeau government has for the people they should be serving.

That contemptuous attitude will cause Canadians to doubt the intentions of the Trudeau government, and it raises serious questions about what the government could do with such power in their hands.

Spencer Fernando