Sun Dec 9, 2012, 05:12 PM
shockedcanadian (647 posts)
What do you call a country that refuses to reveal 80 year old dossiers on dead politicians? Canada!
Tommy Douglas intelligence dossier battle goes to Supreme Court
Only a few totalitarian systems do not allow access to secrets many years after the expiry date. This is after dozens of files went "missing" when the judge ordered disclosure to the public. Now they are pushing for absolute concealment of such files forever, and this was a major political figure; imagine what lengths they go to hide their activities against regular citizens? To what extent they will interfere with their lives.
"The Canadian Security Intelligence Service, which replaced the Mounties’ security service and advised Library and Archives on release of the Douglas file, has argued strenuously against full disclosure. Although some information in the file dates back almost 80 years, the agency maintains uncensored release of the dossier would reveal secrets of the spy trade, which could jeopardize the lives of confidential informants and compromise the agency’s ability to conduct secret surveillance....
...In an application seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, Champ argues that the Federal Court of Appeal ruling means “hundreds of documents about Tommy Douglas — some over 70 years old — will be permanently withheld from the Canadian public.”
4 replies, 736 views
What do you call a country that refuses to reveal 80 year old dossiers on dead politicians? Canada! (Original post)
Response to shockedcanadian (Original post)
Sun Dec 9, 2012, 05:22 PM
Cleita (71,620 posts)
1. Maybe you guys need an Occupy the Archives movement.
Any law, even if archaic that promotes that kind of secrecy, is not a friend of democracy. Usually, I use Canada as an example of progressive actions but this isn't one of them.
Response to Cleita (Reply #1)
Sun Dec 9, 2012, 05:33 PM
shockedcanadian (647 posts)
2. Thank you for the response Cleita
If you are interested in a more granular and personal experience, please read one of my other posts "Why Canada Can't be Trusted" in which I opened up about my own experiences with the security apparatus.
I have spoken to many Americans and I have always found one thing about them; a straightforward and honest discourse of their opinion. I can only attribute this to one very important and dare I say sacred asset to the U.S system; the Constitution, in particular the First Amendment. You speak freely, you allow all voices and opinions and you are a transparent society (as far as transparency can go). This freedom is taken as God ordained, accepted without question, little do you know how little other countries do not exercise it, especially countries like Canada who talk a great game but don't walk the walk.
I am on somewhat of a crusade against my own country, a country which has failed me miserably even as I have attempted to do my part, and sometimes more than my part to help Canada to thrive. My own personal woes in regards to extreme employment interferance among other things is shocking to people when they hear about it (hence my username). These draconian and extreme levels of secrecy are hardly even reported, our major news networks don't report it, there is no uproar about it, nor is there any organization working to protect our Charter of Rights and Freedom (which quite honestly is a token piece of paper that outlines what freedoms we are supposed to enjoy, not practiced very closely by the security apparatus). I had a legal battle to try and gain access to my dossier, it was an exercise in humiliation.
At some point we may need to start lobbying the American government to save Canadians...akin to the citizens of East Berlin screaming to the West Berliners for help...
Response to shockedcanadian (Reply #2)
Sun Dec 9, 2012, 05:57 PM
Cleita (71,620 posts)
3. Well, that's only because President LBJ signed the Freedom of Information Act
into law in 1966. I doubt if it would have passed today.
Response to Cleita (Reply #3)
Sun Dec 9, 2012, 06:27 PM
shockedcanadian (647 posts)
4. Good for LBJ to enact this
I am glad he had the foresight and I am glad you provided that link it is great information. To illustrate the other side of the continuum, here is Canada's "Security of Information Act" (formerly the Official Secrecy Act").
Here is a key component of this law:
Various actions are prohibited under the Act, including, but not necessarily limited to:
# Leakage of special operational information
# Leakage of information that the Government of Canada or of a province is taking measures to safeguard
This Act was put into place to essentially silence any members of CSIS (your CIA), RCMP (your FBI) and the Communications Security Establishment (your NSA). At the outset it seems reasonable in theory, I don't want those protecting Canadian security to disclose secrets, fair enough; however, the term "province is taking measures to safeguard" is VERY subjective and open to interpretation. So for instance, I allege I have been wronged by the establishment, I sued CSIS and the RCMP, let's say there is someone within this organization who reads my dossier and agrees with me, he cannot, by LAW, blow the whistle on my injustice. As it stands the establishment would deem my injustice and persecution as information they are wanting to protect...they have free reign to destroy as they please. By the way the penalty is severe for these whistleblowers and meant to be so to absolutely eliminate any insubordination; including loss of pension (how undemocratic is that!?) and prison time, not to mention the unspoken rule of what your actions will mean for the future prospects of your family. A little research into how whistleblowers across the board are dealt with severely is astonishing, it flies in the face of democracy and justice. It breaks my heart to consider how far down the slope we have slid.
So, bridging from this point, I understand your argument in regards to the law which LBJ put into place, and I am not doubting what you state; however I really do think this desire for transparency goes beyond this. Call me a nostalgic Canuck, but there is absolutely a difference in the way Americans walk and act and how Canadians act. Freedom is ingrained in your dna, it really is. I remember being in Niagara Falls and speaking with two Americans, one of them told me how friendly Canadians were the second apologized to me and said "they just seem to be less willing to speak their minds and state the truth". We laughed but it was a point well taken and sadly it has merit.
We have always had that Big Brother overshadowing our freedoms, before and after the book was written.
America is much older than Canada and it was founded on principals that stand the test of time. America has in GENERAL had an opinion that freedom, expression and access to opportunity trump entitlement and restrictions. You see someone in America cannot understand how much 500 years of this type of ideology has on a nation compared to a country like Canada that still has the queen on our money...no disrespect at all meant towards the queen or the monarchy, but Canada should have drawn up it's own course some time ago...instead we are often told how superior we are to Americans and how much crime you have etc. but only of late am I hearing the dissenting voices (which include mine) who are stating the absolute freedoms you not only enjoy but demand. Whether it is the right to bear arms (something I probably will never do) or the disclosure of sensitive documents by the FBI years after the fact, at least you are following the Constitution and laws as they were meant to be followed.