Friday, August 24, 2007

Which is the Greater Threat?

"The union president who exposed undercover cops posing as protesters at the Montebello summit earlier this week says the controversy is distracting the public from the real issue. "

As glad as I am that this story appears to have gained some legs I am going to take issue with Mr. Coles assertion regarding the relative importance of the issues raised.

The way the SPP is being handled is certainly worth protesting over. It's possible that SPP is as benign as the politicos claim it to be but given the secrecy we just don't know. I don't think anything that has the potential to introduce yet another threat to our national sovereignty is a good idea but given the realities of an interconnected world I'm willing to at least engage in a conversation. But a conversation isn't happening. A one-sided lecture is.

So I take no issue with Mr. Coles regarding the protest.

I do take issue with him regarding his statement that the controversy about under cover police acting as agents provocateur is distracting from the real issue.

For one thing I see government secrecy and state use of police as agents provocateurs as both being symptomatic of the profound contempt with which we the citizens are regarded. I can't in my own mind cleanly separate one from the other. Only a government that values secrecy above transparency would wink at police action of this kind.

But if what we are most worried about is national sovereignty then the far greater immediate threat to that is the existence of out of control police forces. I say out of control because no indication has yet appeared that any civilian authority directly mandated this action at Montebello. I grant you that given how little we know about the inner workings of either the Harper government or the Charest government that it's entirely possible to have been undertaken under civilian control.

But either scenario, out of control police or government ordered action, is, in my opinion, a greater threat to you and I than something like SPP, which as Rick Salutin notes today is more fait accompli than conspiracy anyway.

Let's remember that the greatest damage is that we inflict on ourselves.

No comments: